Spring 2005

    Issue: Spring 2005

    Table of Contents

    • The push to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge appears, to many observers, as a bid to pave the way for drilling in environmentally sensitive areas which are currently off-limits. And the Bush administration, emboldened by the 2004 election, is leading a new assault to open the Arctic Refuge to big oil. As ActionLine goes to press, efforts are underway to introduce a measure in the budget bill of the 109th Congress.By inserting funds from oil leases from the Arctic Refuge into the annual budget bill, the measure’s proponents have shielded their proposal from one possible recourse of more thoughtful lawmakers: the filibuster. It takes 60 votes to end the tactically long argument known as the filibuster — a daunting number. So pro-drillers avoided the more obvious option of framing the proposal as energy legislation. Budget bills are safe from the filibuster.The last attempt to allow drilling in the Arctic Refuge was through a proposed amendment to the 2003 budget bill. Senators voted against the proposed amendment, 52 to 48. Three Senators who opposed drilling have since been replaced. Their seats are now filled by Senators Mel Martinez (R-FL), Jim DeMint (R-SC), and Richard Burr (R-NC). As members of the House of Representatives, DeMint and Burr voted for drilling. Martinez has gone on record as supporting drilling in the Arctic Refuge, but may be persuaded to change that position in light of calls from Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, to revive gas drilling off Florida’s coast.Drilling will not significantly lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that less than a six-month supply of oil could be economically recovered from the Arctic Refuge (about 3.2 billion barrels, spread out over a 50-year period), and that it would take at least 10 years of exploration, drilling and pipeline construction before the oil would reach refineries. In 2027, the projected peak year of production, the Arctic Refuge would yield less than 2% of projected U.S. consumption.Fortunately, the public is steadfast in its support for the pristine land. A Zogby International poll, conducted on Dec. 21, 2004, found 55% against drilling in contrast to the 38% who backed it.Industry support for drilling in the refuge appears to be fading as oil companies look to increase production from fields already established in Alaska and elsewhere. In early January, ConocoPhillips, the largest oil company operating on the North Slope of Alaska, announced it was dropping out of Arctic Power, the lobbying group that promotes drilling in the refuge. British Petroleum, the second-largest operator on the North Slope, left Arctic Power in November of 2002. [fn]Mary Pemberton, “Conoco Pulls Out of Group Pushing for ANWR Drilling” (Associated Press; 7 Jan. 2005).[/fn]Drilling proponents insist that the area slated for development would be limited to a 2000-acre segment of the refuge. Yet in a 2003 study of the effect of drilling on Alaska’s North Slope, the National Academy of Sciences found that the environmental effects of roads, well pads, pipelines and other infrastructure on the landscape, water systems, vegetation, and animals extend well beyond the “footprint”, or physical area covered.[fn]National Academy of Sciences, “Cumulative Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Activities on Alaska’s North Slope” (2003).[/fn] The incentive for damage is even more complex, considering reports by the U.S. Geological Survey, that the distribution of potential oil and gas of the Arctic Refuge is not likely to be located in one spot, but scattered in several deposits across the Coastal Plain.[fn]U.S. Geological Service, “The Oil and Gas Resource Potential of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 1002 Area, Alaska” (Open-file Report, at 98-34; 1999).[/fn]Another claim of drilling proponents is that the Coastal Plain of the refuge is “empty, wasted land,” and that oil drilling operations in Prudhoe Bay show a successful example of environmentally sound development.Several representatives of Friends of Animals have been to the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain; we have first-hand knowledge of what is at stake. The Coastal Plain is the nation’s most important polar bear denning habitat. It also hosts up to 300,000 snow geese who stay there when readying themselves for their southern migration. It is home to the 130,000 migrating caribou of the Porcupine herd. The area slated for development includes the land which this herd has used as a birthing ground for 25 years.We have also visited Prudhoe Bay, now an industrial complex and an environmental disaster. We cannot allow a similar fate for the Coastal Plain. The reasons to preserve the Arctic Refuge have not changed since the 108th Congress did just that. In important ways, this pristine land does not just belong to us. It provides a home for hundreds of thousands of other species of animals. It belongs to all of them, and to the world.What You Can DoPlease contact your senators and Congressional representatives and ask them to actively oppose any and all attempts to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and exploration. It is especially helpful to visit the state offices of your senator or representatives. If you are able to do this, contact Bill Dollinger in our Washington DC office, at 202.296.2172.You can locate your senators and representatives at http://www.congress.orgThe Honorable ______United States House of RepresentativesWashington, DC 20515Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121The Honorable ______United States SenateWashington, DC 20510Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121

    • The owners of the totally vegan Sweet Onion Inn have decided to move on, and sold their B&B.

    • We regret to inform our readers that the excellent Sunwishes has closed. If we hear of a re-opening, we’ll update this page. Meanwhile, please remember the importance of supporting your local vegan restaurant. In Philadelphia, we especially recommend SuTao Café (in Malvern 20 miles west of the city; casual; reasonably priced buffet and complete Chinese-style vegan menu) and Horizons (downtown; reservations required; has a bar and excellent desserts). This airy yet intimate spot opened just over a year ago, reversing the usual trend: Rather than compromising to attract a broader customer base, Sunwishes actually became a vegan restaurant.The aroma is warm garlic, the atmosphere jaunty and garden-like. The two floors of tables accommodate groups of two to three; yet the upper loft would easily hold a group of up to 20, and can be reserved in advance for parties of eight or more. Nostalgically tucked into a traditional apartment building in the city’s shopping district, Sunwishes is the ideal spot for dining with out-of-town guests of all ages; there is no alcohol on the menu. And imagine a vegan’s delight to find that even the cucumber and aloe hand soap is vegan and not animal-tested.Pamela cheerily explained everything, but the explanation was wonderfully simple: It’s vegan. No honey, no dairy cream — just pure vegetarian food and drink, served with a generous spirit.A starter plate such as the Ethiopian Lentil Wrap ($5.00) makes an ample lunch. This is a hearty purée made of spicy lentils and sweet potato, and served burrito-style. I sampled a variation on this theme, the Lentil Wrap II ($5.50), made from red lentils seasoned with curry and garlic, and wrapped with sautéed chard. Its delicious sourdough injera had been baked slightly to hold a firm shape — a creative and practical touch.The Caramelized Pear Salad ($6.00) was the perfect complement to this dish, and would surely go well with anything on the menu. It’s an abundance of fresh baby spinach, topped with warm, caramelized pears, shredded butternut squash, cucumbers, red onions, and spiced pumpkin seeds, with a vanilla caramel vinaigrette served on the side.Sandwiches include an Indian Spice Seitan with Almond Sauce ($10.00); the Tropical Grilled Tempeh topped with fresh avocado and mango mayonnaise and served on an onion focaccia roll ($10.00); and, for the mushroom lover, a Wild Mushroom Steak Sandwich, served with spinach, caramelized onions, and an Alfredo sauce over a baguette ($9.50).A selection of pure juices (not made on site) are available, and the herbal teas are served in loose bags with large cups and saucers. The desserts — fresh cheesecakes and layer cakes — are extremely popular with regular visitors. After sampling a slice of mocha cheesecake, I knew why.Sunwishes2027 Walnut StreetPhiladelphia, PA 19103215.255.8408Nearest SEPTA train stop:Suburban StationHours:Monday — Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.Visit date for this review:December 2004

    • A visit to Foodswings, Brooklynrsquo;s first all-vegan fast-food restaurant, is designed to delight the visitorrsquo;s inner vegan kid. Located in the Williamsburg section away from the bustle of Bedford Street, itrsquo;s a refuge for vegans who crave vegan versions of the typical cheesy, meaty fast-food fare.Itrsquo;s hard to miss this restaurant, with its vibrant, green trim, and a giant mural of cheery animals surrounding its name. The kitschy, cozy interior is true to form, with humorous paintings with animal-rights themes on deep violet and gold walls. Glass table tops display collages of political and social figures. A counter near the entrance and facing the street is reserved for political literature and information.The owner and manager, Freedom, strives to make veganism ldquo;accessible, fun and easy.rdquo; The basic ethic is to feature a menu entirely free of animal products, accompanied by a mission to support animal rights and social justice causes.One corner of Foodswings is dedicated to a surprising variety of sweets and snacks mdash; Pixy Stix, Twizzlers, Faux ldquo;beefrdquo; jerky, freshly made chocolate chip cookies, dark chocolate espresso balls, Key Lime Pie, several cakes, and a freezer full of vegan ice cream.The menu itself features vegetarian variations of popular party fare, such as buffalo wings, chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, nachos, fish and chips, and a faux Philly cheese steak. But the restaurant does offer salads, along with numerous hot and cold sandwiches. A vegetarian Reuben sandwich consists of marinated tempeh, fresh raw spinach, and warm sauerkraut on sourdough bread, served with Dijonaise sauce.Defying the temptation to order The King, a sandwich named for Elvis Presley and described as peanut butter and banana griddles on a choice of bread, I opted for the popular Foodswings Pu-Pu Platter: two Mock Nuggets, two Sea Styx, and one of each Foodswings Drumsticks. Several delicious dipping sauces came with the dish. Especially impressive mdash; perhaps even too authentic mdash; were the drumsticks, with their crisp surface and tender faux chicken inside, and a wooden stick through the middle.Another winner is the messy and gooey quesadilla, a 10-inch flour tortilla with mock chicken, cheddar soy cheese, tofu sour cream.ldquo;I canrsquo;t believe itrsquo;s vegan, rdquo; was my reaction to the peanut butter and chocolate milkshake. Irsquo;ll be back for another.The next time you hear your friends insist that itrsquo;s just too hard to give up chicken or cheese, meet them at Foodswings. It might be the start of something wonderful.Foodswings295 Grand St.Brooklyn, New York718.388.1919http://www.foodswings.netFoodswings is open Tuesday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.Sunday Brunch: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Catering and free delivery available.

    • Friends of Animals recently joined with the Meat-Free Zone Campaign, and a symbol of endorsement from Friends of Animals will appear on Meat-Free Zone vegan signs in restaurants throughout New York City. Because we believe a plant-based diet is the most direct and holistic form of animal rights activism, wersquo;re committed to supporting the community of vegan restaurants. To this end, we publish Vegan Restaurant Guides, a source of information for diners in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle mdash; with more to come. And now, restaurants listed in our Vegan Restaurant Guides will be displaying Meat-Free Zone vegan signs with our symbol.Andy Glick, founder of the Woodstock Animal Rights Movement (WARM), came up with the idea of the Meat-Free Zone about five years ago. Andy was operating the WARM store in Woodstock, which was completely vegan mdash; a Meat-Free Zone in itself. Andy thought it would be appropriate to have a sign up that let customers know that his store did not contain any animal products at all. From there, the idea sprang.The Meat-Free Zone campaign has been in effect now for about two years. ldquo;The signs are meant to be a logo or symbol of a meat-free and cruelty-free lifestyle, very similar in effect to the smoke-free zone campaign,rdquo; says Andy. From homes and workplaces to restaurants throughout North America, the idea is spreading. ldquo;Our intention,rdquo; says Andy, ldquo;is to eventually gain acceptance for the Meat-Free Zone as the standard of living rather than the exception.rdquo;The mailing address for Woodstock Animal Rights Movement (WARM) is:WARMP.O. Box 746Woodstock,NY 12498 USAhttp://www.all-creatures.org/mfz

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