Reform was killed by `100 Peacocks in heat"
Brant Calkin, who
until a few months ago was head of the Southern Utah Wilderness
Alliance, one of the region's most aggressive environmental groups,
thinks he knows why the Rangeland Reform "94 initiative crashed and
burned. He says environmentalists could have been more energetic on
behalf of reform, and the White House could have been more skillful
in dealing with the U.S. Senate. But mostly, he says, fault lies
with the senators.
"I look at
that bunch and it's 100 peacocks in heat. Basically, it's one
industry per one senator. The Senate does not represent popular
opinion. The Senate's rules favor selfish behavior."
Calkin, who ran SUWA for six years, has little
hope for Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt's fallback position: the
Colorado approach. "My view is that it's the Balkanization of
public-land management. I don't like the politics or the substance.
And I don't think it has enough support in the environmental
community to be credible."
He says the Colorado
approach is driven by Babbitt's aversion to controversy - -He goes
to extraordinary lengths to quiet the scene around him' - possibly
backed by instructions from the White House to keep the West quiet.
"This is not a firebrand administration. My guess is that the White
House has told Babbitt not to push reform very fast."
Calkin thinks the strategy may backfire. "If
the Colorado grazing approach is pursued, there's going to be a
rebellion in the West, but it won't be the Western senators. It
will be the environmentalists, when we find we've been