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Reader: Wildlife and drilling cannot coexist 

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Recently, I visited Washington, D.C. to meet with Colorado legislators regarding attempts to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. The incredibly remote, unaltered refuge provides nesting habitat for over 200 species of birds that migrate through all 50 states. In Colorado, birding festivals in Monte Vista, Steamboat Springs and Lamar rely on migrating sandhill cranes and snow geese. The Arctic's significance extends far beyond Alaska.

In addition, it is inappropriate for Arctic drilling to be included as part of the budget: It disallows vigorous debate on this extremely critical non-partisan issue, and it is clear that the estimate on potential drilling revenue is drastically overblown. As one with a background in finance, I find it irresponsible for those with fiduciary responsibilities to move forward with this.

Many of us are concerned for the birds and the wildlife. Fishing and hiking guides' livelihoods are in jeopardy. Even Colorado breweries have gathered to take a stand.

Make no mistake: Wildlife and drilling cannot coexist.

— Linda Hodges, Conservation Chair, Aiken Audubon Society, Colorado Springs

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