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for people who care about the West

Reborn Interior? That dog won't hunt

  Dear HCN,


I read Ed Marston's article, titled "Bush administration faces a reborn Interior," and got a funny feeling in my stomach.


I believe Ed is way off base believing the Bush administration will not succeed in using the so-called "reborn Interior" as the typical exploiters' treasure trove. I see no evidence from the choices made for people to lead Interior and the obvious hunger for oil/gas that permeates the new administration that anything has changed for this group. Seems a lot like the Reagan administration.


I also disagree that Interior is fundamentally changed, "reborn." Remember, Bruce Babbitt helped destroy the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act. Babbitt allowed Habitat Conservation Plans that legally approved massive take of endangered species and their habitats, did not require that private citizens and corporate entities shoulder their share of society's responsibility to protect endangered species, implemented a Safe Harbor Act that ensures endangered species have nowhere to go on private lands, stopped virtually all listings and recovery plan activities unless forced to complete these by lawsuits, and asked Congress to defund the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service budget so no listings could be made. This does not sound like a guardian of the Endangered Species Act to me.


Sure, Babbitt did some good things and I appreciate national monuments as much as the next person. But what he gave us with his right hand, he took away and made worse with his left hand.


Remember how grazing reform cratered? Remember his threats to environmental groups if they did not support the Northwest Forest Plan debacle? Remember his all-out support for clear-cutting disguised as forest restoration by Dr. Covington and company in Arizona?


Sorry, Ed, that dog won't hunt!


Brandt Mannchen
Bellaire, Texas