ATLANTA – For years, Georgia has raised money for wildlife protection by selling custom license plates with wildlife scenes. Sales skyrocketed this year for new tags featuring the bald eagle (search) and the American flag.
But some environmentalists say they do not want to contribute to the state's wildlife protection fund through a flag-waving symbol they believe will be seen as being linked to President Bush.
"The tag to me said politics, and the wildlife tag shouldn't be. It should be above the fray. It should be Republican. It should be Democrat. Everyone should be for the environment, and that tag doesn't say that," said environmentalist Michael Moody.
While a handful of liberal environmentalists claim the bald eagle and Old Glory together implies support for President Bush, big business and the war in Iraq, state wildlife officials say when they test-marketed several license plate designs, the eagle and flag tag came in first.
"We understand the conservationists or environmentalists may have preferred to see a more habitat-oriented design on this tag. However, we are trying to appeal to a broader market to support wildlife funding in Georgia," said Beth Brown of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (search).
That strategy appears to be working. In January, the eagle and flag plate outsold Georgia's other wildlife tag, which features deer and quail, by a margin of two to one.
Click here for a complete report by Fox News' Jonathan Serrie.