12 Jun 2008, 4:14pm
Federal forest policy Politics and politicians
by admin

Dust Devils

We invite you (strongly urge you) to read Dust Devils: Cynical Politics Is the Hot Wind that Powers Environmental Radicals by Tim Findley, published in RANGE Magazine, Summer 2008 [here] (264KB pdf file — requires Adobe Reader 8.0 available here).

Range Magazine is the premier periodical of the West today. In their own words:

RANGE Magazine is an award-winning publication devoted to the issues that threaten the West, its people, lifestyles, lands and wildlife. Known for its powerful photos and straight talk, RANGE exposes a land and lifestyle in crisis and shows how daily challenges are being met with grit, determination and humor. No stranger to controversy, RANGE is the leading forum for divergent viewpoints in the search for solutions that will halt the depletion of a national resource, the American cowboy.

While RANGE Magazine is a subscription periodical, Editor C.J. Hadley generously posts a few articles from each issue on their website. Dust Devils is one of those articles made available to non-subscribers. Author Tim Findley is the top journalist at RANGE, and one on the most important contemporary voices discussing rural issues in the country. His latest essay is a retrospective about how we got into the environmental mess we are in today.

In Dust Devils Findley relates the interwoven machinations of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bruce Babbitt, Dave Foreman, the Nature Conservancy, and many others, and how their radical politics have threatened and engendered catastrophe for residents of the American West over the last twenty years.

Findley highlights the 1.7 million acre land grab of the Grand Staircase-Escalante region in Utah, and connects the dots to the usurping of even vaster tracts of the West for putative “wilderness”; land grabs that have led to the catastrophic destruction, not protection or conservation, of millions upon millions of acres.

The destructive land grabbing continues to this day.

A small excerpt from Dust Devils by Tim Findley:

In a politically frozen government, resources of fuel, timber and minerals remain untouched by any new initiative. Future policy was still enclosed by the paradigm of shadows. In Utah, 12 years after the Escalante’s grab, and despite opposition from the state’s entire congressional delegation, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has enlisted the support of New York politicians to produce legislation that would declare another nine million acres of Utah wilderness.

But that much is just an old familiar tune compared to more than 20 pieces of legislation for legacy-building wilderness that are coiled in congressional committees awaiting approval this year or next. They include the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act sponsored by a New York Congresswoman and 187 cosponsors. That act alone would designate more than 20 million acres across the spine of the nation as human-excluding wilderness.

Dreaming on their own, the U.S. Forest Service has on the table a conservation strategy to promote “wilderness values” on 400 million acres, including private land.

Taken together or even apart, the plans have their only equivalent in the Louisiana Purchase. It is not a myth; it is not even regarded in Washington as an outrage. But it is certainly audacious.

The long campaign leading to this November’s presidential election has given almost no attention at all to the West, except it has been seen as the most obvious victim of the swarm of illegal immigration, which, ironically, is the chief source of Foreman’s feared population growth. President Bush himself has made gestures to protect the border, but he has also not been clear about his secret talks with Canadian and Mexican heads of state that investigators say may lead to a sovereignty-surrendering North American Union. …

The devils fade away in the shadows of the night. Do we know what we may be sacrificing?

14 Jun 2008, 1:54pm
by John M.

Tim did his usual good job of sorting through the babble coming from the BINGOS and associates, and he speaks to the key issues threatening the public lands here in the West. His last thought about the apathy that is allowing this mischief to happen is on target in my opinion.

Dust Devils is certainly worth the time to read and think about.



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