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Ted Zukoski's blog

Colorado is the most populous, developed state in the Rocky Mountain West. Despite all the cities and towns, highways, oil rigs and second homes, about 4.4 million acres of roadless national forest remain. And that’s in addition to the 3 million-plus acres of existing wilderness.

How should America's 190 million acres of national forest be managed?  Nine Republican congressmen, led by Rep. Stevan Pearce of New Mexico, have the answer in a bill introduced last month:  Forests are for logging. And to hell with everything else.

The bill, H.R. 1202, is short and not-so-sweet. The meat of the bill is a single sentence: 

In 2009, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued an order taking aim at climate change, saying: "The Department is ... taking the lead in protecting our country's lands and resources from the dramatic effects of climate change....  The realities of climate change require us to change how we manage the land, water, fish and wildlife ... and resources we oversee."  Bold stuff.

There's a lot of backward movement on the environment in Congress these days.  EPA is under assault for trying to regulate greenhouse gases.  The Interior Department's efforts to protect some wildlands are also being attacked.

But why should Congress have all the fun?  Here in the Rocky Mountain West, the 2012 elections also brought some backsliding.

Jim DiPeso, executive director of Republicans for Environmental Protection, has a nice blog post describing the latest machinations of the GOP (and coal state Sen. Jay Rockefeller) taking aim at the EPA.  Gingrich wants to abolish the agency that has helped clear the air and clean the water.  (He's apparently nailing down the all-important "don't need to breathe or drink" demographic).

In the not-too-distant past, Interior Sec. Ken Salazar issued a bold call to action for his department. With authority over hundreds of millions of acres of public lands and the vast majority of coal, oil, and gas owned by taxpayers, he stated that his department would be "taking the lead" in protecting the nation's wildlife and water from climate change, and that doing so would "require us to change how we manage the lands."

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