Tuesday, February 07, 2006

'Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) Named "Wildlife Villain"'

February 2, 2006
CONTACT: William Lutz 202/772-0269Deborah Bagocius (202) 772-0239


Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) Named "Wildlife Villain"

Washington, D.C. -- After a year that saw both the first vote ever to effectively dismantle the Endangered Species Act, and a tremendous conservation victory on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund today named eight members of the House of Representatives and four members of the Senate as 2006 "Wildlife Heroes." The selection of these heroes and the naming of Rep. Richard Pombo as the 2006 "Wildlife Villain" were based largely on the leadership the congressional members played on those two paramount issues.

In conjunction with the awards, the Defenders Action Fund released its 2005 Conservation Report Card, which evaluates how well members of Congress protected wildlife and wild lands for future generations. This year's report card includes votes on two of the most important conservation and wildlife issues in decades: a vote to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and a vote for a substitute bill to counter Rep. Pombo's bill to gut the Endangered Species Act.

The eight House members receiving the 2006 "Wildlife Hero" awards are: Representatives Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), John Dingell (D-MI), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ed Markey (D-MA), George Miller (D-CA), Nick Rahall (D-WV), Jim Saxton (R-NJ) and Tom Udall (D-NM). Senate awardees are Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Jim Jeffords (I-VT) and Harry Reid (D-NV).

"Each of our awardees exhibited tremendous leadership in a very visible and effective manner, choosing to stand against anti-conservation special interests, President George Bush, and other powerful members of Congress," stated Rodger Schlickeisen, president of the Defenders Action Fund. "They put the interests of America's wildlife conservation heritage and our children's future ahead of political expediency and lobbyists' contributions -- something too rare in Washington these days."

Although the action fund is not dedicated to naming a "Wildlife Villain" each year, Schlickeisen declared, "Looking back on 2005, there is no question that Richard Pombo of California stood out as the "Wildlife Villain" of the year. He is far and away the most anti-conservation member of Congress we can remember." Continued Schlickeisen, "Pombo appears to have set himself on a mission to destroy every major federal conservation law we have on the books. Not only did he have a 'zero' on his wildlife conservation report card, but he actively led efforts to: sell national parks for commercial exploitation; create a massive oil industrial complex in the Arctic refuge; remove the 25-year ban on drilling for oil and gas off our fragile coastlines; eliminate the 11-year moratorium on selling federal lands to mining companies; and -- worst of all -- effectively eliminate the federal government's efforts to save and recover endangered wildlife."

A full accounting of the grades earned by all members of Congress, and a complete list of votes scored in the House and Senate, can be found at (Here).

Affiliated with Defenders of Wildlife, the Defenders Action Fund is 501(c)(4) organization created to provide the wildlife conservation community with a stronger voice in the political process. For more information, see http://www.defendersactionfund.org/.



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