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Reply to Will Steger
by Reps. Jim Oberstar, Wayne Owens

And Bruce Vento

January 30, 1990


Will, this is Jim Oberstar, speaking to you from

the Committee on Public Works hearing room.

It's a significant

day, the day we received the President's budget and soon we will

be receiving his State of the Union message.

We've just listened

to your "State of Antarctica" message, which arrived just a couple

of days ago in my office and we're here to send you a message back

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preserving Antarctica, Wayne Owens of Utah, to speak and then our

colleague from Minnesota, whom you know very well, Bruce Vento.

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we've watched your slow-but-steady and, I guess, ahead-of-schedule

progress across the continent down there.

A few weeks ago we saw on television--on a special--you wash

your hair (I think it was you.) and stick your head out of a tent



at 50 degrees below zero.

That looked like quite an exercise.

We've introduced a resolution here and have almost, at this

point, ten percent of the House in support of it, which in essence

encourages the non-ratification of the mineral convention (which

encourages exploration in Antarctica) and encourages the United

States to pursue a new treaty which would ban mineral exploration. Interestingly enough, our country, along with Japan and Britain,

seem to be the most anxious to take advantage of the resources that


down there, therefore it

is very relevant that you are


American, that you are advocating the very noble goals which you

set forth in this tape, which was a thrill to hear.

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positions of leadership here to affect some of those measures which

you've encouraged. Together, I think we can do something.

We want

to be supportive of what you are doing, congratulate you and wish

you well.

Look forward to seeing you when you're here this spring.



Thank you very much, Wayne.

And now Bruce Vento,

who chairs the Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands on

the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, the man who has more

to do with National Parks and preservation of the priceless natural


resource heritage of this country than anyone else in the House.



Well, thanks a lot Jim, and Will, I hope this message

finds you and your crew well.

We're out here opening up a new session and looking forward

to your return and hosting you in Washington in celebration of your

victory and also to gain the insights that you have had these past

months that you have been going through this very arduous journey.



very much appreciated the message

Jim. He's been sharing it. We know that it will be helpful in term of delivering the message, in terms of what public policies we should have.

Back home in Minnesota, of course, while you've probably seen

enough snow and ice for a while, we were hoping for a little more.

St. Paul's Winter Carnival suffered from lack of that. In fact we

had to import snow

from other parts to Minnesota,

if you


believe that, and had nearly a snowless Winter Carnival.

All Minnesotans, Will,

are proud of you and your team down

there that are working with you and are, of course, happy that you are pointing out and reflecting some of the values about Minnesota

and our environment and the problems you are seeing with pollution

in Antarctica.

If there is one place left on earth where we



and should protect the land and water and air from man's careless

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attention with special insight and, of course, that's you, Will,

that's you and your comrades.




is getting more

acceptable these days to use the word "comrade", as you noted in

your comments to

our Congressman Oberstar.

I think that your

cooperation with your comrades is a wonderful example and we hope


that will be multiplied many times in light of the


developments in the world.

When you return, I and others certainly would like to invite

you to return to Washington to share your insights with us, and we

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the future of Antarctica and our efforts to protect it.

All of us

that can't--and shouldn't--visit the great continent of Antarctica

(even well intentioned visits for the sake of curiosity risk harm

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Congress is going to write a strong clean Air Act this

Your help there might be key as well as to something really 5


on our agenda.

back here in a

warm Washington.

So, we want you to mush those

noble dogs, and mush the explorers way down under.

We wish you a

happy Ground Hog's Day, Valentine's Day and President's Day as we

don't know when this will arrive, but we look forward to seeing

you back in Minnesota and back in Washington.

Good luck!

REP. OBERSTAR: Thank you, Bruce.

You reminded me of an experience

a visitor had to a wilderness area many years ago.

On arriving at

the entrance to that wilderness, he was greeted by a sign that

said, "Help us save the wilderness. Leave this place!" That's the

message, I think, that needs to go forth about Antarctica: "Don't

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attention of the nation to your exploit across the continent and

you've galvanized attention here

in Congress to

the needs of

preservation in Antarctica.

I just wanted you to know that we are


Your words have not gone, as they do in space, into a

dark beyond, but they have fallen on some very receptive ears. Last night at a town forum in Duluth on the budget, its priorities

and the environment, some 200 people listened to your message and

applauded it at the end, and urged the Congress to support the

position you advocated, which is the point of the resolution, H.J.

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