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Showing posts from January, 2016

Opposition to Monuments Based on Misinformation

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A majority of Californians have expressed support for three new monuments proposed for California's desert and under consideration by the President.  Voices opposing the designation of new national monuments, however, appear to be driven by misinformation and a distorted faith in Congress to act as a responsible steward of our wildlands.  They claim that conservation has run amok, that monument designations will lock out the public, and that only Congress should decide which lands to protect.

Tyrannical Conservation Designations?
The first claim - that conservation is some oppressive land management regime that has run amok - is relatively easy to dispute.  National Parks, monuments, and wilderness areas - wildlands that are protected from most types of industrial development - account for about 4% of the total land area of the United States.  With that number in mind, consider that we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction of wildlife species on Earth.  This is mostly dri…

Armed Takeover Another Troubling Step Against Public Lands

Armed extremists occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon's high desert continue to argue that our public lands be handed over to states or private interests to expand economic exploitation.  The sound bite media coverage of this occupation sometimes frames this standoff in a way that fails to convey what is at stake for you and me - the public.   The militia are attempting to rob us of our public lands using force and intimidation, threatening to fire upon any law enforcement effort to renew our access to the occupied lands.  The militia's alternative is to return to a corrupt giveaway of public lands that only leads to destruction and privatization of our natural heritage, a trend we had decided decades ago was not in our national interest. 

The militia say they are speaking for the public, but they are actually speaking for a small slice of the population that wants to do what they want with our lands without limitations or costs.  They'd like to let their …