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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — America’s wildlife refuges are so short of money that one-third have no staff, boardwalks and buildings are in disrepair, and drug dealers are using them to grow marijuana and make methamphetamine, a group pushing for more funding says.
“Without adequate funding, we are jeopardizing some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife and wild lands,” said Evan Hirsche, president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and chairman of the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement.
The cooperative said in a report released Thursday to Congress that the nation’s 548 refuges and the 100-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System — about the size of California — is underfunded by 43 percent. The refuge system needs at least $765 million a year but is receiving $434 million, the report says.
A decrease in law enforcement has left the refuges vulnerable to criminal activity, including prostitution, torched cars and illegal immigrant camps along the Potomac River in suburban Washington, methamphetamine labs in Nevada and pot growing operations in Washington state, Hirsche said.
Here’s a thought, Evan. I won’t even go into the logic of stopping government “maintenance” of wildlife refuge altogether, but rather present a revenue-positive, easy solution which will take no effort other than a bunch of legislators voting for it.
Legalize drugs. Legalize prostitution. End all official discrimination against people who lack the proper papers.
Viola! We haven’t managed to stop the torching of cars, but we’ve managed to wipe out these three most pernicious dangers to “some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife and wild lands,” as you put it. And the $331 million per year you want will be chump change compared to the money saved by ceasing to prosecute those victimless crimes in America.
The wildlife will thank you.