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The single-issue voter: A birder’s look at Tom Tancredo – R – OUT

August 16, 2007

It’s that time again. As civic-minded individuals do, I’m oft interested in how the platforms of those running for president affect my life, that’s as a birder naturally. With so many candidates and elections still more than a year off I decided to do the work so you, dear reader(s), don’t have to. So here’s what I hope will be a regular look as those who would be birder-in-chief. Starting with the long-shots and working my way up so that you all will be prepared when the time comes to cast your ballot. The second part of The Drinking Bird’s however-many-part series.

Once more into the breach we go with Republican congressman Tom Tancredo, currently polling at 1%. In his time as a congressman from Colorado, Tancredo has been something of a lightning rod, known primarily for his draconian views on immigration, illegal and otherwise. Understandingly, this is the focus of his campaign and thus his website. His views on the bird issues have been hard to come by. One however, can extrapolate where he might stand from his time in the House.

Tancredo believes that the free market should get involved in conservation stating, “To foster conservation…you make it profitable for people to get involved in conservation”. He voted against prohibition of drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, an important breeding area for many waterfowl and shorebirds, and for amendment of the Endangered Species Act to include provisions including repealing the authority to designate an area as “critical” for an endangered species and requiring a cost-analysis report to Congress on spending for individual listed species. To be fair the provisions also included policy for issuing grants to support private property owners who voluntarily help to increase the number of endangered or threatened species on their private land*. In 2004 Tancredo supported speeding up approval of forest thinning programs and all in all has been rated a mere 5% by the League of Conservation Voters which rates congressmen based on their commitment to environmental causes.

Tancredo argued against removal of oil and gas subsidies as stated in the Creating Long-term Energy Alternatives for the Nation (CLEAN) Act. These gas subsidies finance the continuation of natural gas exploration in protected parts of the west, which has a highly detrimental effect on the population of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse, endemic to Colorado and Utah.

Tancredo doesn’t touch upon his environmental policies much, but given his history it can likely be said a Tancredo presidency would have an adverse effect on bird populations and be pretty bad for birders.

Next: climbing the Democratic ladder…

*To not be fair the guy still seems like an colossal asshole

Update 12/19/07 – Tancredo has dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination

One Comment
  1. John permalink
    September 6, 2007 9:50 pm

    For Tancredo, I think that you have to consider the potential impact of his immigration views on birds. Border-fencing schemes are likely to destroy important habitat and may block some migration routes for land-bound wildlife. How much that will affect bird populations has yet to be determined, but it ought to be a concern.

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