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Conservation IssuesFrom Alaska to Hawaii
Pat Sziber

From Alaska to Hawaii
Pat Sziber

More than 240 North American scientists sent President Clinton a letter in early November calling on the President to "permanently protect, for future generations, the biological diversity and wilderness character of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." The letter was organized by staff scientists in the Alaska State Office of NAS, in cooperation with the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Distinguished scientists endorsing the letter include Dr. George Schaller of the WCS, Dr. E. O. Wilson of Harvard University, Dr. Paul Erlich of Stanford University, Professor Emeritus Dr. David R. Klein of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Professor Emeritus Dr. Michael Soule of the University of California Santa Cruz. More than 60 Alaskan scientists signed the letter, as did 25 Canadians. To view the letter and a complete list of signers, go to www.alaskawild.org/energy.

On November 9, the National Audubon Society called on President Clinton to designate the coral reefs of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands a National Monument through an immediate executive order. The reefs are one of the most fragile habitats in the world and serve as critical breeding habitat for the last remaining Laysan albatross and back-footed albatross populations. The reef system is home to more than 7,000 species of plants and animals, half of which are found nowhere else in the world. It is also home to threatened and endangered species including several sea turtles, Hawaiian monk seals, hundreds of fish species and 14 million nesting Pacific seabirds.

The reefs are threatened by overfishing, oil spills and vessel groundings, among other things. The Clinton administration is fully aware of the need to save the reef system and has been considering whether to designate it a National Marine Sanctuary managed by the Department of Commerce or a National Monument managed by the Department of the Interior. National Monument designation would afford greater protection. It is hoped that the President will have made the designation by the time you receive this newsletter.

To contact President regarding the Arctic Refuge or other issues, you may write to: President William J. Clinton, The White House, Washington, DC 20500. White House Comment Desk: 1-888-750-4897 (toll free); FAX: (202) 456-2461.



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Last revision: Monday, November 27, 2000 - 10:12 PM