New developments in stories we’ve been following recently.
CURWOOD: Time now to follow up on some of the news stories we've been tracking lately. After a long bout with a massive outbreak of foot and mouth disease in British livestock, the U.K. is now officially free of the disease. James Hughes, First Secretary of Agriculture and Trade at the British Embassy in Washington, says British beef will now be allowed back into the international food market.
HUGHES: This means that it's another step forward. It means that we can look to, hopefully in the next few weeks or so, beginning to resume exports, and it means that the industry can start to return to a little bit of normality.
CURWOOD: Mr. Hughes promises there will be a great deal more regulation of animal movement in Great Britain to prevent the spread of any future foot and mouth outbreaks.
Last week, we highlighted the role of the Federal Bureau of Land Management in energy production on public lands. This week, the Bureau announced that it is considering allowing drilling of eight natural gas wells on Upper Missouri Breaks' national monument in Montana, which was designated a monument by President Clinton. The exploration companies say that these types of wells can be drilled with minimal environmental impact. Bob Decker, the executive director of the Montana Wilderness Association, disagrees.
DECKER: Where has development in this kind of undeveloped, scenic, historically valuable public land occurred without significant environmental impacts? We always challenge the industry to prove it, and they haven't yet.
CURWOOD: Mr. Decker says this region is a last remnant of the wild Missouri River system, and remains much the same as Lewis & Clark saw it, more than 200 years ago.
Interior Secretary Gale Norton has announced that the new federal budget would boost spending on the National Wildlife Refuge system by 18 percent, the largest dollar increase ever.
NORTON: The $56 million increase will include $30 million for refuge maintenance, and that will allow us to do a number of things to enhance the ability of visitors to come to refuges, that will take care of some of the problems that have long been neglected.
CURWOOD: Some examples of these improvements are, to give better access for the disabled, as well as boardwalk and trail maintenance. Secretary Norton says this will help visitors and also prevent visitors from disturbing wildlife by wandering off the trail. And that's this week's follow-up on the news from Living on Earth.
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