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for people who care about the West

Ed Marston's revisionism

  Dear HCN,


Ed Marston wrote: "Environmentalism in the West is no longer a puny movement struggling to get the attention of the American public. For eight years, we sat at the right hand of power in the Clinton administration, working a revolution.


"We had that power because the American people have bought into environmentalism and Clinton knew it. In a brief few decades, everything in the West has changed except one thing: We in the environmental movement still see ourselves as a beleaguered minority fighting against all odds to change the American West.


Wow. What a piece of revisionism!


In reality, in eight years "at the right hand of power in the Clinton administration," we saw the resumption of old-growth logging on a 50-year liquidation plan, called a "victory" by the Big Green right handers. As if that wasn't enough, Clinton then signed (with his left hand) into law the "Salvage Rider." We saw the opening of the California and Alaska national petroleum reserves and the lifting of the ban on exports of Alaskan oil. We saw the proliferation of chip mills in the Southeast. We saw the only administration since Ford to not increase vehicles' mileage requirements. We saw an administration continue to exempt SUVs from mileage requirements. (According to Harper's Index, if SUVs got just 3 percent better efficiency - saving some 49,000,000 gallons of fuel per day - it would more than offset the 42,000,000 per day estimates available from ANWR!) We saw no dams come down and we saw Gore put off a decision on the Snake River salmon killer dams for 10 years! Not a thing was actually accomplished regarding hardrock mining - I have no idea what Marston's puffing here. And so on.


And, Bush Sr. didn't end nuclear testing, as Marston asserts. That was achieved by the heroic efforts of Rep. Mike Kopetski, D-Ore., who also was instrumental in gaining the sole new Northwest Wilderness during Clintontime - Opal Creek.


Under the "Environmental President" Bush Sr., we did have an Injunction against any Ancient Forest logging. We had the spotted owl on the cover of Time. Marston's Clinton "revolution" undid that and gave us the liquidation plan. The real environmental movement still is a "beleaguered minority," still fending off rapacious industries across the West. The Big Green/Big Oil foundation industry Marston belongs to is just another exploiter we have to take on.


Michael Donnelly
Salem, Oregon