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NFC: Fw: Audubon Advisory

                                                      AUDUBON ADVISORY
Audubon's Twice-Monthly Update From Washington, D.C.
March 22, 2002
(Vol. 2002, Issue 6)
            On Friday, March 22, the U.S. Congress adjourned for their
annual Spring recess without the U.S. Senate completing its work on an
energy proposal - a debate that will likely include a vote on whether to
open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.  The Senate
spent two weeks on the energy bill.  This was to be the third straight
week of debate, however, action was slowed a bit by Majority Leader Tom
Daschle's (D-S.D.) decision to push for a Senate vote on campaign finance
reform prior to the recess.  That means the Senate energy bill debate
will pick up once Congress returns to Washington.  Senator Daschle has
said a vote on the Arctic Refuge may happen on April 9!
            In preparation for the imminent vote, pro-drilling supporters
are stepping up their efforts!  Earlier this week, pro-drilling Senators
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Larry Craig (R-ID), and Frank Murkowski
(R-AK) held a press event with Teamsters and the leader of several large
Veterans groups to call for drilling in the Arctic Refuge.  They
announced that these groups would be rallying their troops with regional
events around the country.  
            That means we must counteract these forces with some force of
our own! Senators are hearing from their constituents against drilling in
the Arctic Refuge - often five to ten times more than they are hearing
from individuals supporting opening the Refuge to drilling.  Yet despite
these numbers, as many as 10 lawmakers are still undecided as to how they
will vote. That speaks directly to the political power of pro-drilling
supporters and special interests!  That's why it's critical we keep the
pressure on!  Continue to contact your two U.S. Senators and urge them to
oppose any an all efforts to open the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas
drilling.  Here are a couple of things you can do over the next two weeks
while the Senate is in recess and your Senators are likely back in your
(1) Contact your Senators in their state offices and urge them to protect
the Arctic Refuge from oil and gas drilling!
(2) Submit a Letter to the Editor to your local newspaper urging your
Senators to protect the Arctic Refuge from oil drilling.
Remember, for more background information on this issue, check out the
new list of lawmakers who have not officially decided where they stand on
the issue, or to instantly communicate with your U.S. Senators, please
visit our special website at http://www.protectthearctic.com.   On this
site, you can also, read Audubon’s latest policy report on the “Toxic
Tundra,” hear Audubon’s radio ads opposing drilling, or order our free
Protect the Arctic kit and video!
Initial word from the House-Senate Conference Committee working on the
farm bill says there will be an increase in funding for conservation
programs included in the farm bill, however, it will not be as high as
the Senate-passed totals.  While they haven’t reached a final agreement
yet, and will not until Congress returns in April, it looks like
Conservation spending will be increased by at least $17.1 billion over
the next ten years – more than the $15.8 billion increase in the House
bill, but far less than the $21.3 billion in the Senate bill.   

As you know, Audubon supports increasing funding for the farm bill’s
conservation programs as a way to protect birds, wildlife and their
habitat on private lands. These programs include the Wetlands Reserve
Program (WRP), the Farmland Protection Program (FPP), the Wildlife
Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), and the newly proposed Grasslands
Reserve Program (GRP) which will help save habitat for migratory
songbirds, grassland birds, and other wildlife.   Audubon believes these
programs provide the greatest protection to birds and wildlife in the
farm bill, yet they take up less than 15% of the funds in the
conservation title.  If the conferees have to make cuts to the
conservation title, then they shouldn’t cut the most effective programs
with the greatest conservation benefits.  We’ll continue to push for the
Senate-passed funding levels until the Committee has made its final
decision – and you can help! Please contact your lawmakers and urge them
and their colleagues on the Conference Committee to restore the cuts to
the Senate Conservation title. To take action, please click this link:
            No new updates to report on other important conservation
issues – so there’s still time to weigh in on these issues with your
lawmakers.  Click the links provided for more information and to take
http://www.capitolconnect.com/audubon/contact/default.asp?subject=39 . 
Audubon Advisory
Audubon Public Policy Division
1901 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Suite 1100
Washington, D.C.  20006
(202) 861-2242

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