Voters put ‘conserve’ back in conservative. By Blaine Harden. The Washington Post.
There has been a lot of this happy talk lately. I hope it’s true, but certainly haven’t seen anything in the agencies or on the ground to indicate that anything has changed except that the Western outdoors is being destroyed at an increasing rate by the energy companies, sub-divisions, overgrazing, lawless all terrain vehicles.
They are still feeding wintering elk in Wyoming, and as a result, chronic wasting disease keeps marching across the landscape. Montana won’t let bison leave Yellowstone. Despite blistering editorials to tear down the dams, the salmon killing, pork-barrel dams on the lower Snake River in Washington State still keep decimating the salmon that struggle back to Idaho. The national parks are underfunded, the national forests are unfunded, and every where you turn there are fees now.
The grizzly bear is being delisted and the states are talking about new ways to kill the great bear. Snowmobiles will be let back into the range of the endangered woodland caribou (pop. 20) of northern Idaho. The desert aquifers of Nevada, 2/3 the way to the Idaho border, are being mined to fuel endless growth of Las Vegas.
A few really awful new things, like privatizing the public lands in its most blatant form, have been killed.
There is a lot of talk about the new “consensus groups,” which so far have resulted in proposals for a little bit of wilderness designation of lands here and there, but these lands are already wilderness in fact, if not by law. In return the “consensus” will spawn new development, lucrative buyouts of ranchers, and photos for politicians.