Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

$150,000 for "Rat Island"

There's no question that outgoing GOP Sen. Ted Stevens has a rat problem up north — and he made sure federal dollars were enlisted to help clean it up. The Alaska Senator was able to pass a $150,000 earmark in the FY 2008 agriculture appropriation legislation in order to improve rodent control on the Aleutian Islands to help the seabirds whose nesting habitats have been disrupted. The so-called Rat Island is home to thousands of Norway rats that arrived there before 1780 due to a Japanese shipwreck. Since then they've multiplied, spread to at least 16 other islands in the region and been impossible to exterminate. The landscape there is covered with rat burrows, rat trails, rat droppings and chewed vegetation, and certain plants are all but gone.