Defenders of Wildlife today announced that it will have rare Izembek Wilderness area footage from Alaska available tomorrow, October 9. Citing the timely availability of this footage, Defenders President Rodger Schlickeisen said that the "Izembek Road Rider" is a glaring example of the many dozens of damaging anti-environmental riders that Congress is trying to sneak through on various 1999 appropriations bills.
"This is a prime example of how this Congress is on track to become the most anti-environmental in history," Schlickeisen said. "This provision to carve up a valuable wilderness area would never stand a chance as stand-alone legislation, so anti-environmentalists in Congress have stealthily attached it as a rider to an appropriations bill while trying to create a smokescreen with the president's personal problems."
This rider, one of more than 20 attached to the Senate Interior spending bill, would authorize construction of a $30 million, 30-mile gravel road through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. It would establish a dangerous precedent, authorizing the first new, permanent road built in a congressionally designated wilderness area. The road would threaten a variety of species, including the entire North American population of black brant and most of the world's emperor geese.
"The president last night reiterated his pledge to veto appropriations bills that contain damaging riders like the Izembek road rider," Schlickeisen said. "It's the same position the administration has taken since these riders surfaced earlier this year."
He concluded, "If a government shutdown occurs, it is important to remember it's only because of the stealth tactics Congress is using to enact these horrible provisions. To find the real reasons behind a possible shutdown, we need to look beyond Capitol Hill's sordid smokescreen and outside Washington-- to places as far away as the remote Alaska wilderness at Izembek, or to the salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest, or to wild grizzly habitat in Idaho."
The Available B-roll Was Shot Last Week in Izembek During the Peak Bird Migration Season by Veteran Photographer Joel Bennet.
Contact(s):Ken Goldman, 202-682-9400 x221
Robert Dewey, 202-682-9400 x228 (Habitat Director)