Perhaps inspired by the triple-digit heat afflicting Washington D.C., the House of Representatives is putting legislative flames to our important environmental and public health protections.
The Latest On: public lands
Late in his administration, Bill Clinton attempted to build a conservation legacy worthy of Teddy Roosevelt by designating more than a dozen national monuments across the West.
George W. Bush tried to undo that legacy.
And President Barack Obama, to his dis-credit, has allowed the Bush-adopted, monument-undercutting status quo to remain, despite being the "hope-y, change-y" candidate in 2008.
But a little more background.
The 112th Session of the House of Representatives is at it again, doing what they do best: writing legislation to strike and block the clean air and clean water laws that keep us alive and healthy.
Since the GOP won a majority in the House in 2010, the Obama administration has gone into "go-slow" mode - or even has taken a U-turn on presidential initiatives on air pollution and climate change. The Los Angeles Times took aim at this in a tough May 20 editorial headlined: "In the 2012 campaign, environmentalists don't matter." It opens:
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.
(This is the fourth in a series of Q & A's on the Crown of the Continent, a 10-million-acre expanse of land in northern Montana and southern Canada. Earthjustice is currently working to protect several wild creatures in the Crown like the wolverine. To learn more about this wild place and how Earthjustice is working to protect it, check out our Crown web feature.)
Last week we wrote about an effort by three Republican members of the House of Representatives to repeal the Roadless Area Conservation Rule that protects nearly 60 million acres of unspoiled lands on the national forests and to deny the Bureau of Land Management's authority to declare its unspoiled areas "wilderness study areas" and protect them until Congress can decide whether to give them permanent protection.
Today is the 173rd birthday of John Muir. If the legacy of wildland preservation in this country were a river long with oxbows, falls and many notable tributaries, Muir's contributions would certainly be the headwaters.