Forty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson enacted one of the most forward-looking environmental laws in human history. By signing the 1964
Wilderness Act and creating the National Wilderness Preservation System, President Johnson endorsed a uniquely American philosophy: America's wild
lands, untrammeled by industry or machinery -- yet open to the enjoyment of all citizens -- possess special values that merit permanent protection for
their own sake.
The decision to preserve wild lands was without precedent anywhere in the world. It symbolized Americans' deep pride in our greatest national asset
-- our public lands. The act also inspired an extended period of reflection among the nation's historians, who saw the good in a people who
collectively could act beyond the immediate desires of the present and protect something for those who came after them:
"In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia." Charles A. Lindbergh, LIFE magazine, 22
with the arrival of the Bush Administration, the nation's remaining wild lands are instead now targeted for development by the oil, gas, timber and
By definition, Wilderness Areas are off-limits to industrial use, and so have a natural enemy in the extractive industries. When President Bush came
to power in 2000, he stacked his cabinet and federal agencies with industry lobbyists who spent their careers fighting the protection of wild
Interior Secretary Gale Norton cut her teeth learning legal tricks from her infamous predecessor and mentor, Reagan Interior Secretary James Watt -- a
man who actually advocated selling off our National Parks.
Commerce Secretary Don Evans, a life-long oil and gas man, headed a methane company that is aggressively fighting wilderness designation in the
Rockies. Mark Rey, Undersecretary of Agriculture for Environment and Natural Resources, made his living as a top lobbyist for the timber industry
before gaining oversight of the National Forest system.
This team of industry handmaidens quickly went to work dismantling the system that allows for Wilderness preservation. The first major volley was an
under-cover-of-night decision by Secretary Norton to settle a controversial lawsuit with then-Utah Governor Mike Leavitt (now chief of the
Environmental Protection Agency). Morewww.bushgreenwatch.org...
Would this coincide with Bush wanting to insert nuclear weapons into that mountain? If I could just remember the name of it... I'll have to find a
This just makes me sick.. See what happens when you don't have a leash on capitalism and government, it runs wild and will just destroy the
ecosystems and our environment...
Who wants to live in an industrialised dump? Bring on the smog