GUAM’S CONGRESSMAN UNDERWOOD SAYS SMITHSONIAN RESEARCH CONSERVATION ANDRESEARCH CENTER WILL REMAIN OPEN

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CONGRESSMAN ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD Delegate from Guam U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

NEWS RELEASE May 10, 2001

GUAM’S CONGRESSMAN UNDERWOOD SAYS SMITHSONIAN RESEARCH CONSERVATION AND RESEARCH CENTER WILL REMAIN OPEN

Congressman Robert A. Underwood hailed the Smithsonian Institute's decision, announced today in D.C., not to close its world-renown Conservation and Research Center in Fort Royal, Virginia, as previously announced. Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small and the Board of Regents, headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, reconsidered the shut down after receiving tremendous protests from the public, the scientific community and the Congress, Underwood said.

"This facility conducts research on endangered species and conducts specialized breeding programs. It is internationally known for training scientists in conservation biology and restoring endangered species, and it is the one that successfully bred Koko (Guam Rail) in captivity and allowed for the on-going effort to return some to their natural habitat in Guam and the Marianas," Congressman Underwood said, adding that the CRC also has conducted research on the Micronesian King Fisher and Marianas Crow, which also are endangered or potentially endangered local bird species.

In response to Secretary Small's announced plan to close the CRC as part of a reexamination of the Smithsonian Institute's science focus, Congressman Underwood, as the Ranking Member on the Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans, along with Subcommittee Chairman Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md) House Resources Chair Jim Hansen (R-Ut), Ranking Resources Member Nick Rahall (D-WV), sent a joint letter to Small earlier this month.

"In our opinion, the detrimental impacts to conservation biology and wildlife restoration far outweigh any short-term budgetary savings that might be achieved through the closing of this world-class facility, and we urge you to reconsider," the Members wrote. "We live in an era of shrinking habitats and ever-increasing stress on domestic and global wildlife populations. The loss of a world-class research facility dedicated to conservation biology and cutting-edge science would represent a major step backward in wildlife conservation and compromise future efforts to recover species on the brink of extinction.

The decision not to close the facility was announced informally.

The full, 17-member Board was slated to meet today and to vote formally on the decision.

For additional information, contact: Cathy Gault at 671-477-4272

Washington office: 2418 Rayburn Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Tel: 202-225-1188 Fax: 202-226-0341 Email: guamtodc@mail.house.gov 

Guam office: 120 Fr. Duenas Ave., Ste 107 Hagatna, GU 96932 Tel: 671-477-4272 Fax: 671-477-2587

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