Senate moves on Arctic refuge, bioterror

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2001:


WASHINGTON D.C.–Post-September 11 concerns about
bio-security and U.S. dependence upon Middle Eastern oil boosted U.S.
Senate efforts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil
drilling, and to upgrade the investigative capabilities of the USDA,
including the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
U.S. President George Bush took office pledging to allow
drilling in the Arctic refuge, an issue split along party lines,
but his chances dwindled when Senator Jim Jeffords, of Vermont,
changed his affiliation from Republican to Democrat, giving
Democrats the Senate majority. The Republican-controlled House of
Representatives passed an enabling bill, however, in August.
Sensing that current events might have weakened Democratic
resolve, Repub-lican Senators tried twice in September to attach
enabling amendments to bills on defense funding and energy policy.
Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) pledged to filibuster against
any pro-Arctic refuge drilling bills that reached the floor.

“It is completely inappropriate to take advantage of the
current climate by pushing a contentious and divisive issue like
drill-ing in the Arctic refuge,” Kerry said. “Drilling in the refuge
will not keep us safe from terrorism or enhance our energy security.”
Senate majority leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) on
October 9 assigned Energy and Natural Resources Committee chair Jeff
Bingaman (D-New Mexico) to write a compromise energy bill to go
directly to the floor–apparently without any pro-Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge drilling language.

$3.5 billion for USDA

Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) on October 12 said he would
introduce an amendment to the current USDA appropriations bill to
spend $3.5 billion in fiscal 2002 to modernize federal laboratories,
research vaccines and antidotes, and seek better methods of pest
control. $600 million of the total would be spent at the Plum Island
lab complex in New York and the Ames laboratory in Iowa.
Senators Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Richard Lugar (R-Indiana)
October 5 pledged to introduce a bill to boost the maximum penalty
for illegally importing meat products from the present $1,000 to
$50,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a business. A similar
bill has already been introduced in the House.
The Roberts and Harkin/Lugar proposals focus on concern about
the possible spread of hoof-and-mouth disease and mad cow disease to
the U.S. through routine commerce, but gained momentum from rising
anxiety about the risk of bioterrorism.
Earlier, Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) and John Edwards
(D-North Carolina) introduced a bill seeking $450 million for efforts
to protect farms from terrorism, and Philip Brasher of Associated
Press reported that the American Farm Bureau Federation had asked
newly appointed Office of Home-land Security chief Tom Ridge to
appoint “a specialist to oversee protection of agriculture.”
Agricultural terrorism is usually said to have begun with the
Biblical story of Samson setting 300 foxes on fire and releasing them
in Philistine grain fields, an incident often cited in classic texts
on guerilla warfare. It was also cited by University of California
at San Diego psychology researcher Eric Altschuler, M.D., who
argued in the February 2001 edition of Archives of General Psychiatry
that Samson exhibited six of the seven classic symptoms of Antisocial
Personality Disorder.
Recently the term “agricultural terrorism” has most often
been applied to releases of animals from fur farms and destruction of
genetically modified crops, claimed in the names of animal rights
and environmentalism.

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