Response to 'squishy-soft'

  Dear HCN,


Few historians make Westerners more uncomfortable than Bernard DeVoto. Ed Marston's Aug. 25, "Squishy-soft processes - hard results" article brings to mind one of DeVoto's stinging bromides: "The West does not really want to be liberated from the system of exploitation that it has always violently resented. It only wants to buy into it" (The Easy Chair, 1955).


DeVoto and advocates opposing collaborative negotiations understand that corporate democracies are designed to offer the public no agreeable options to protect the environment.-Because government is generally both unwilling and incapable of defending against corporate banditry, the task falls to the passions of a few advocates.-But when activist ardor wanes, extraction corporations pounce with their best strategy - collaborative negotiations.


Northern Plains Resource Council and its affiliates willingly took the co-optation bait by assuming the moral authority to negotiate secretly the future of public lands and waters near Montana's Stillwater and East Boulder Rivers.


Stillwater Mining is understandably delighted.-As an added bonus, the kinds of agreements conceived and negotiated by NPRC produce newly minted models for mining companies to seek the most compliant environmental corporations with which to cut deals.


These nonprofit corporations and their officers should be legally and financially responsible for resource degradation arising from their private agreements; their privileges to accept tax-deductible contributions and foundation grants should be rescinded; and their revenues should be taxed.


Larry Tuttle
Portland, Oregon


Larry Tuttle is the secretary/treasurer of the Center for Environmental Equity, a nonprofit but not tax-exempt Oregon corporation.

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