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Wednesday, December 8 2004

NWF, KWF, and the EPA

The title of this post is quite an alphabet soup, but it is accurate.

This past week, representatives from National Wildlife Federation affiliates met in Washington DC with senior leadership from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Kansas Wildlife Federation was one of the more than 20 state groups that sent a representative.

While it’s hard to have an open dialogue with so many people in one room, the meeting did show that there is truly nation-wide interest on the part of hunters and anglers in regards to the issues of mercury emissions and wetlands.

What we communicated as a group is a level of frustration with the White House’s initiatives in these two areas, mostly because we view the policies as self-contradictory. While it’s great that the President wants to add 3 million acres of wetlands in America, it’s hard to do this when the EPA is still telling the Corps that “isolated wetlands” enjoy no protection.

If you’re a waterfowler, you know how important seasonal wetlands such as prairie potholes are to the success of duck and goose migration and nesting. A policy to add wetland acreage is laudable, and very possible, but only if we close up a loophole that currently places about 20 million acres at risk.

Our other agenda item was on mercury. The White House has floated a plan that would cut mercury emissions by 30% over 5 years and 70% over 15 years.

The problem is that it’s possible to do much better. It’s realistic and cost-effective to cut mercury emissions by 90% by 2010. While we can discuss the right mechanism to cut those emissions, the nation is not served when the goals laid out are so modest.

Mercury is a special issue for Kansans: we’re 32nd in population in the country - and 18th in mercury emissions.

+ Dan @ 06:07pm

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