August 21, 2003

Bush Wages War

from Common Dreams...

Homeland security? T.A. Barron suggests that "our wilderness and public lands must be at the core of what we seek to defend."

"Not for President Bush and his team, however. Fueled by zealous anti-environmentalism and corporate special interests, they have launched what amounts to a sustained and systematic attack on America's public lands. Instead of honoring the public trust that requires protecting these national assets for our children and grandchildren, they have aggressively pushed exploitation by the mining, timber, oil and gas, and snowmobile industries. Well aware of the public outcry that such radical policy changes would provoke, they have pursued this war with stealth and deception."

Whah? Stealth and deception from these stalwarts of virtue?

"Recently Interior Secretary Gale Norton summarily removed any portion of 262 million acres from possible wilderness protection, thereby paving the way -- literally -- for extractive industries. By renouncing all federal authority to study or protect wilderness values in these lands, this action removed even the possibility that future generations might ever choose to conserve them."

"Behind the scenes, Bush and company have forced sweeping changes in public lands management policies, abandoning decades-old bipartisan approaches in favor of immediate exploitation. [...] Aware of the radical extent of these changes, the Bush team has worked hard to hide them from public view. Norton's action affecting 262 million acres, for example, came after no public hearings, open debate, or congressional oversight. It was not even announced on the Interior Department's web site. It was simply revealed in a legal settlement with Utah and released on a Friday night, after reporters' 5 o'clock deadlines, just after Congress had left for spring recess."

This is just sleazy and this is NOT okay. Twenty-five years later, and I still feel the need to read Monkey Wrench Gang one more time.

Posted by fred1st at August 21, 2003 05:28 PM | TrackBack

You sound like a man longing for a pound of sugar or is it a taste for survey stakes...

Ecoterrorism is unacceptable. It is often far more destructive than the cause it is fighting. There are much better ways to address environmental concerns. I do, however, really like the MWG and would recommend it to my students if I wasn't afraid some of them would act it out.

Posted by: punctilious at August 21, 2003 07:37 PM

I think a lot more comes across in Abbey's screed than his apparent condoning of anarchy in his characters, and would prefer to make war by my
vote, my blog and my consumer habits. I know what you mean about being hesitant to suggest that the means are justified by the end. Still, where are the activists of today if you take away those who strap themselves in the tops of Redwoods or stand down Japanese whaling vessels at great peril?

Posted by: fredf at August 21, 2003 08:59 PM

There's plenty to get riled up about here, Fred. I heard news story after story in different parts of the country about local issues, one by one, which amounts to a frontal attack on the environment by the exploiters and big money.

Fortunately, environmentalists have organizations that are still viable. We can join, protest, and act. Monkey wrenches probably won't be necessary, but some of us do have to get off our butts. I'm afraid we've all become too complacent.

Posted by: trish at August 21, 2003 09:15 PM

Wait a minute...conservationists aren't always right as experience has borne out. By clinging to a failed policy, overgrown, diseased and pest ridden forests in the West are being decimated by raging wildfires. Far more acreage is being lost by mis-management than would be impacted by undergrowth clearing and/or culling.

I am not endorsing logging, but something has to change or this issue will be moot in many parts of the West by the decade's end.

CA and Arizona in particular stand lose much of the native fir forests if the current situation continues. Lakes Arrowhead and Tahoe are examples of a disasterous management policy.

I have friend who lives in Prescott. His property backs onto the Prescott National forest, where you may recall, they had horrendous fires last year. They came very close to losing the historic section of Prescott and thousands of homes. The forest adjacent to his home is infected with bark beetle and is 40% dead. All he can do is spray his trees and hope as the beetle spreads unchecked. The community begged the govt to spray and cull when the beetle began to invade the forest and their property. It was blocked by environmentalist purists. So now the trees they were "protecting" are dead and all the communities nearby can do is wait for the beetles and fires.

That's not conservation.

I've always felt that snowmobiles and jet skis should be banned for recreational use in national forests and public waterways. Snowmobiles have a legitimate rescue function...but if you've ever been roared down upon by one of the nasty things you know what I mean.

Mountain bikes are another pest/hazard that should be banned from public trails. I've never quite understood the necessity in hurling one's self down public hiking trails at breakneck speed...they really are a problem in many parks around the Bay Area...we seem to have a particularly obnoxious breed of bike cowboy.

Local communities should have input into the management of trails and access...not all are poor stewards of the land. The govt has been too heavy handed in some cases and too lax in permitted access in others.

We've an example of reverse stupidity in the Bay Area. The Crystal Springs Watershed on the SF Peninsula is the collection resevoir for SF's drinking water. Surrounded by beautiful coastal mountains and forests... it has been a closed, protected watershed for more than 80 years. They are opening trails and bike paths this month...yep...might as well post signs:

Terrorists: This Way To SF's Drinking Water

Sometimes mistakes are made with good intensions...a few years ago south Bay marshes and wet lands were planted with a non-native species of grass to stop tidal erosion as the areas underwent restoration. Turns out that it's invasive and if they don't remove it much of what they gained and endangered wildlife will be lost. You guessed it...they have been denied permits thus far.

Posted by: feste at August 22, 2003 01:11 AM

Why are President Bush and the US government not in favour of signing the Kyoto Protocol to cut greenhouse emissions?

Posted by: Jenny at August 22, 2003 02:23 AM

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