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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

News Follow-Up

Air Date: Week of June 29, 2001

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New developments in stories we’ve been following recently.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Time now to follow up on some of the new stories we've been tracking lately. Interior Secretary Gale Norton made a recent visit to Arctic Village, Alaska, to meet with representatives of the native Gwich'n people. The tribe adamantly opposes drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, because they believe it will endanger the caribou that support their traditional way of life. Faith Gemmill is a member of the Gwich'in Steering Committee. She felt that Secretary Norton was just paying them a courtesy visit.

GEMMEL: It seemed that she didn't have an open mind. She came here with her mind set on development and she was determined that nothing we said was going to change that.

CURWOOD: Ms. Norton brought along two newly appointed Alaska assistants, both of whom are long-time supporters of drilling in ANWR.

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CURWOOD: Secretary Norton was also in the news when she chose not to go forward with a Clinton-era decision to reintroduce grizzlies into Central Idaho, essentially killing the plan. Environmental groups and timber organizations had collaborated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a proposal. It would have allowed local management of the bear population. Tom France of the National Wildlife Federation says objections from state officials influenced the Interior Department's decision.

FRANCE: Secretary Norton's decision is very ominous for many, many different endangered species programs around the country. In essence she let a governor veto six years of work by the Fish and Wildlife Service and citizen groups in fashioning a very innovative plan.

CURWOOD: Mr. France says a healthy grizzly population in Idaho's Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem is essential for the bear's overall success in the west. The public does have sixty days to comment on the plan before the decision becomes final.

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CURWOOD: And our update on our coverage last week of the World Worm-Charming Championships in Willaston, England. Eleven year old Nicholas O'Malley once again took the title, working as a team with his sister, Alissa. They enticed two hundred and ninety worms out of the ground, using his vibrating garden fork technique.

That's this week's follow-up on the news from Living on Earth.

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