Letters to the Editor: Wildlife conservation is pointless without taking on the fossil fuel industry
The battle for the planet’s climate is on – the oil and coal industry is its own worst enemy.
By Scott Nettleton
The opinions of the people are often based on what’s good for their pocketbook. However, as the public consciousness grows we need to understand the real world and what’s going on around us.
On Feb. 14, the National Audubon Society posted an appeal to its membership to “help save the country’s wildlife from a climate crisis of biblical proportions”.
It was signed by Dr. Mark Lynas and Dr. John Walsh, both top biologists at the University of Wisconsin.
These two scientists wrote: “If we want to protect wildlife, we have to act on climate change.
“If we want to protect wildlife from the threats of climate change, we have to act on fossil fuels.”
As a biologist, I agree with these scientists.
I have worked with them for a number of years, as the National Wildlife Refuge manager. They are both world-renowned wildlife researchers. Their work has advanced the science of climate change.
We are also fighting for the protection of the last wild places in this country.
For more than 40 years the federal government has left our national wildlife refuges empty. This was the law when they were created in the 1930s.
These refuges were created to protect wildlife from human activities. Wildlife advocates have been trying to change the laws since the 1960s.
For more than six decades, the Department of the Interior has neglected wildlife refuges.
During this time, the fossil fuel industry has fought to fill the refuge land with natural gas and coal leases.
At the beginning of the current administration, the fossil fuel industry offered $23 billion in tax breaks, and another $14 billion in other subsidies and tax breaks, to the oil and gas industry.
The fossil fuel industry has no problem with the subsidies, because they are already giving the billions of dollars to its friends and allies.
At least 13 groups signed an open letter to President Barack Obama urging him to veto the bill. They include the