Wilderness Society warns on US policy

Posted: 11 February 2002

The very old, and large, US conservative conservation organisation, The Wilderness Society, has issued an unusual warning and action alert about the anti-environmental movements of the George W. Bush administration.

The Wilderness Society says that it, "found that, on issue after issue, the president and his appointees have failed to safeguard our air, water, land, and wildlife, siding instead with those interests eager to make a quick profit. We've concluded that informed and aroused activists like you, along with a vigilant Congress, are essential to blunt the administration's anti-environmental actions." It stated that, "while our country wisely focuses on countering terrorism, the Bush administration continues to move at full speed to implement its anti-environmental agenda - mostly under the radar. Since September 11, Interior Secretary Gale Norton and others have invoked "national security" to justify massive oil development not only in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but also on fragile western public lands across the lower 48 states. But homeland security includes wildland protection. The clean air and water, biological diversity, and inspiration that our national parks, wilderness, and other natural reserves provide are of vital importance. "The truly patriotic course of action is not to plunder the most stunning lands we have inherited, but to protect them. Each generation serves as trustee of these natural treasures, and this administration is breaching that trust." The Wilderness Society warns that, "the White House is championing an energy plan that is a half-century out of date and appears to draw more on the advice of Enron and other fossil-fuel industry executives than on anyone else's. Under this blueprint, our environment would be sacrificed in a host of ways. "The new administration has ignored or misstated findings of the scientific community. Scientists extol the value of roadless forests, but the Bush administration is trying to undermine the policy that would protect 58.5 million acres of roadless national forest lands. Interior Secretary Norton gave inaccurate testimony to Congress on Arctic caribou calving facts, claiming later that it was a typo. She told the US Army Corps of Engineers that she supported its wetlands proposals - but failed to pass along criticism from biologists at the US Fish & Wildlife Service." Many appointees to key positions in the Administration are former lobbyists or employees of powerful timber, oil and gas, coal mining, and energy companies. They include: Mark Rey, Steven Griles, James Connaughton, James Cason, William Myers, Paul Hoffman, Drue Pierce, Rebecca Watson, Bennet Raley, and Camden Toohey.

Related link:

See full report from the Wilderness Society