'The more protection we have, the better'

 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Dick Anderson is an environmental specialist at Death Valley National Park:

"There wasn't complete agreement with the Desert Protection Act within the park. Just because it was the law doesn't mean it was wholeheartedly supported by the staff, not at all. Myself not included - I like the law. The more protection we have, the better it is for the few wild lands we have left.

"We've got groundwater contamination coming our way from the Nevada Test Site, future groundwater contamination from Yucca Mountain (a proposed nuclear waste storage site), groundwater contamination from the low-level radioactive dump site near Beatty, the expansion of Fort Irwin and then low-level (military) overflights within the park.

"Then you have this big black line on the map, and inside that is what we're supposed to protect. I think we ought to say (the Desert Protection Act) helps us do our job, this helps us protect resources better. It's a little bit of a pat on the back that says this land is more important than we thought."