Food for thought | Tom Camfield

Tom Camfield
Posted 12/9/20

THE DEATH OF BILLIONS OF BIRDS ALONE is more than enough to keep Donald Trump out of any position of public power as far as I’m concerned. With just a couple of the petulant pen strokes during …

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Food for thought | Tom Camfield


THE DEATH OF BILLIONS OF BIRDS ALONE is more than enough to keep Donald Trump out of any position of public power as far as I’m concerned.

With just a couple of the petulant pen strokes during his lame duck session as president he has signed the death warrant for at least hundreds of millions, as likely billions of assorted other beings. One major Associated Press story (Matthew Brown and Ellen Knickmeyer) began: “The Trump administration moved forward Friday [Nov. 27, 2020] on gutting a long-standing federal protection for the nation’s birds over objections from former federal officials and many scientists that billions more birds will likely perish as a result.”

As most everyone knows by now, there are 41 days left (depending on just when you read this), and Donald’s rushing as fast as he can to leave our government bogged down in as great a state of difficulty and disorder as possible.

Daily headlines include hurry-ups such as “Trump administration moves ahead on gutting bird protections,” quoted above. “American industry already kills 450 million to 1.1 billion birds annually out of roughly 7 billion birds in North America, according to recent studies of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.”

Meanwhile, the mainstream media is filled each day (both print and digital) with facts and statistics such as the Nov. 28 story about birds. On the same page as that story, dealing with things more generally, an adjoining headline is “EPA’s career staff moves to slow Trump last-minute regulation repeal.”

The rollback of bird protections proposed by Trump is seen as having a major “negative” effect on the many species covered by the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act (that’s right — 102 years ago), ranging from hawks and eagles to seabirds, storks, songbirds and sparrows . . .

All it takes is one Donald Trump.

So with industry operations already killing an estimated 450 million to 1.1 billion (that’s 1,100,000,000) birds a year in North America. Trump is reported to be “in a frenzy” to change the manner in which the 102-year-old law is enforced, and make things even worse all-around before the Biden-Harris administration can take office.

AND THEN THERE IS the ever-warming and thawing “final frontier,” the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The Trump administration said this past week that it would sell oil and gas leases in ANWR in early January, further accelerating its last-ditch effort to allow drilling there.

The question of whether to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been an ongoing political controversy in the United States since 1977. As of 2017, Republicans have attempted to allow drilling in ANWR almost 50 times, finally being successful to a degree with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (under Trump). However, required legal hearings for present plans would extend to just before or beyond the inauguration as president Jan. 20 of Joe Biden, who has opposed such drilling in the refuge.

In the words of executive director Michael Brune of the Sierra Club: “This is a shameful attempt by Donald Trump to give one last handout to the fossil fuel industry on his way out the door, at the expense of our public lands and our climate.”

And all the more reason for residents of Georgia to vote for Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Democratic control of the U.S. Senate in the runoff election Jan. 5.

OR ONE COULD TALK ABOUT the Tongass, the nation’s largest national forest — much of it old growth — which covers most of Southeast Alaska.

The Trump administration recently cleared the way to open this largest national forest to more development and logging.

In a revised environmental impact study, the Department of Agriculture recommended granting a "full exemption" for the Tongass National Forest, which covers some 25,000 square miles in southeastern Alaska. In the final EIS, the U.S. Forest Service recommends removing nearly the entire Tongass from roadless designation. The forest plays a major role in the battle against climate change: The Tongass is an enormous natural carbon sink, holding an estimated 8 percent of all carbon stored in U.S. National Forests.

And, as Inauguration Day nears, it is generally suggested that Trump is “quite capable” of not attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, saying the outgoing president might “very well declare a 2024 run before then and thereby try to deprive Biden of the attention that he deserves.”

So he likes cucumbers, and the stock market, and golf .