Salazar was not first choice of conservationists-

I guess I didn’t really need to write that.

On the other hand, he is far better than Bush’s secretaries Gale Norton and Dirk Kempthorne, both the absolute bottom of the barrel. We’ll now see if he gets a free hand to choose the assistant secretaries  in DOI or whether conservation wildlife groups gets a few choice appointments.

Story in the LA Times. ” Obama picks Salazar as Interior secretary. The Colorado senator, an attorney with expertise in water law, has criticized the department for opening up his state’s Roan Plateau to drilling.” By Jim Tankersley and Julie Cart.

Obama’s Choice of Salazar Raises Progressive Concern. Beyond Chron.org. By Randy Shaw‚ Dec. 16‚ 2008

Obama punts public lands passion in choosing Salazar. By Billie Stanton. Tucson Citizen.com.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

32 Responses to Obama picks Salazar as Interior secretary

  1. avatar JimT says:

    I agree, Ralph, about the BLM, Forest Service, USFWS, Solicitor, and MMS appointments being huge signals about Salazar’s intent for the level and direction of Interior. There is a wire story this morning that Julie MacDonald may be the worst Interior official in dozens of years with her actions scuttling ESA listings and putting dozens of species into risk of extinction in violation of the law. And that is only one person we know about. It is that level of corruption that needs to be rooted out and then reversed with competent, passionate folks who care about the laws and the ecosystems they address. The fact that Salazar is being seen as a good choice by the cattlemen speaks volumes about his record….

    Color me disappointed.

  2. avatar kt says:

    Well Salazar to me is a clear signal that the Obama Admin. is already capitulating to the Republicans – a losing strategy if ever there was one. How absurd – there are fewer than 20,000 public lands permit holders IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. More and more they are foreign-owned gold mines, the southern Nevada Water Authority (the Las Vegas water pirates), and Simplot types. I think it about keeping the Cattlemen as figureheads for continue exploitation and destruction of public lands. This is capitulation to Repubs and corporatists. And a clear sign that Obama is NOT going to roll back the evil doings of the Bush Admin., and instead that many of the worst ones will stand. Sure there will be fanfare over Salazar at some point huffing about an Oil Well or 2 in the Red Rock country – but a lot of Evil regulatory and other crap is going t continue. Day One of the Obama Admin – Will Salazar/Obama get rid of the Guns In Parks? Will they act to immediately re-list wolves (after the latest bloody move comes down likely some time before Xmas), will they issue an Order saying all grazing permit actions must undergo at least an EA?

    I think the 130 groups OR MORE that signed the letter in support Grijalva should band together, form a coalition, and say NO as a unified voice to continued assaults on the environment from Bush programs Salazar continues and new programs that may damage the lands we all care about. We need to lay out changes that need to be made, both Rollbacks and Moving Forward.

    The only GOOD thing about Salazar is that he is in some ways the worst pick Obama could have made on public lands and ESA issues – so he will be easier to be against from Day One.

    I recall years ago going to a Patagonia-sponsored activist training meeting. One of the things the presenters said, and that few envtl groups really do, is to effectively Oppose/Expose actions that harm wild lands/wildlife, you have to have to have a PERSON, A FACE, A NAME for the public to identify with. In cowboy-hatted rancher Salazar, especially after the cowboy excesses of Bush, the Obama folks – Rahm Emanuel or Harry Reid/Pelosi or whoever they are – have given us an easy Target to stand up against. Check out these words of ‘ol wimpy Harry Reid on Salazar from the campaign ’08 days:

    http://www.lasvegassun.com/blogs/early-line/2008/aug/21/reid-obama-doesnt-need-cowboy-hat-boots/

    “”Barack Obama doesn’t wear cowboy boots, doesn’t wear a cowboy hat — because it wouldn’t look right,” Reid said. “That’s for people like Ken Salazar who really are ranchers.” (Salazar, the Democratic Colorado senator, was also on the call.)”

    HAS the Fix been in for Salazar all the while – and tis name floating was just to give the illusion of the Obamans considering others?

    What we need to make them all aware of is more and more folks view that Cowboy hat with revulsion, as it is a symbol of the ongoing destruction of the West’s wild lands and wildlife.

  3. avatar Salle says:

    …and send him some shoes, or better yet boots.

  4. avatar Jon Way says:

    Unbelievable, and I truly believed that change was forthcoming….

  5. avatar timz says:

    Change in Washington?? I hate to say I told you so but I told you so.

  6. avatar Save bears says:

    At this point in time, it won’t matter who gets the office, Washington Politics is Washington Politics and really until such time as we get some of these old time good ole’ boys out of the senate it will continue to be the same.

  7. avatar Ron Kearns says:

    Mr. Salazar continually said he was “not interested” in the DOI Secretary position. If he accepts the position while knowing all along that the job was his, then that would make him a *public liar*. Just what the DOI does not need following the past 8 years.

    I am a 30-year registered Republican who took a chance by voting for Mr. Obama because of the colossal turmoil the U.S. is experiencing. However, appearances are that the Democrats are just as disingenuous as the Republicans, and perhaps more so. With my crossover vote, I simply traded liars with big D’s as their party affiliations instead of one’s with a big R before their names.

    As a man who grew up around horses, outfitted from an early age in Colorado, and rodeod in high school and college, I wore a cowboy hat “when needed.” Salazar displays his phoniness when he wears his “cowboy” hat indoors and during TV interviews. Only pretentious “urban cowboy-type” so called “cuntree wasturn sangers” and phonies like Salazar wear their “big hats” indoors, unless to keep their bald heads’ warm. What next, will Salazar don a pair of borrowed chaps and wear them behind his DOI Secretary’s desk? What about dem spurs? ‘Hot dang and Yee Haw!, we dun got deputy dawg as DOI sekeetaree..’ Maw, brang that man a chaw of ‘tabaccy ‘ an hisn’ jug of corn squeezins’ cause he done lied to us all and dem cows is a’gonna increase roamin’ across dem once-pristine ranges as fur as the eye kin gander. (Snark off)

    How can those opposed to Mr. Salazar’s nomination influence the confirmation hearings to prevent his becoming DOI Secretary?

    Ron Kearns
    USFWS Retired

  8. avatar Maska says:

    While I sympathize with Ron Kearns and wish it were possible to derail this nomination in the confirmation hearing, the fact that Salazar is a member of the Senate makes it a near impossibility. Senators generally line up behind one of “their own.” Unless he has some really smelly carcass in the closet, he’s probably a shoo-in.

  9. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    a fisheries biologist just noted to me that during his (biologist’s) time in Colorado Salazar was instrumental in keeping the Rio Grande cutthroat trout, Colorado River cutthroat trout, Rio Grande chub, and Rio Grande sucker off Federal lists by cutting deals with USFWS – to keep the water flowing for ranchers.

    this on top of the prairie-dog fiasco. it’s not looking good – i’m not so sure about how much better this will be.

    Demarcated landscapes tips a glass and reminds us how the Nationals refused to endorse when it meant the most – more access over integrity.

  10. Ron and Brian,

    It’s a big disappointment, but there are lots of lower level positions of great importance to fill.

    Furthermore, Salazar is hardly in the same class as Gale Norton or Dirk Kempthorne.

    Like-minded people sometimes can get a bit too much into positive and negative reinforcement.

  11. avatar Buffaloed says:

    This is not a done deal yet Ralph, I have heard from 3 sources now that when calling the transition team that this is yet another trial balloon to test reactions. Of course the cattlemen like him so it is a bad choice.

    You can call 202-540-3000, ext. 2 and tell them how you feel. I did and I encourage anyone to do the same.

    GRIJALVA is the only real choice.

  12. I certainly hope you are right.

    If so, the premature announcements of various media indicates that have no real connections and/or they are players in the game.

  13. avatar SAP says:

    New York Times has NOT reported any announcement yet; see this neat little graphic:

    http://projects.nytimes.com/44th_president/new_team

  14. avatar Salle says:

    I think Ralph is right. i just heard, on NPR’s All Things Considered, that only ranching and mining interests are happy with the selection and that most others want Grijalva…

    For what it’s worth, Obama hasn’t made “the announcement” yet.

    I didn’t call but I did, for the fourth time, write to the transition team and chastised them for not paying attention to what’s really happening in the interior west and then invited Obama to come out here and I would gladly give him a guided tour of what I think he should see.

    Mind you, yesterday I was asked, via e-mail from John Podesta, to personally hold a community discussion, in my little town, on health care concerns. (There is only a clinic run by a CNP or PA and a visiting RN or Dr. on occasion, the nearest hospital facility is about 90 miles up the road.) I was surprised and will probably give it a try.

    I would like it more if they asked me to advise them on the issues we discuss here.

  15. avatar jdubya says:

    And, with Salazar on Wed we get Vilsack for Agriculture Secretary. This is a big green agriculture, windmills, ethanol, GM foods kind of guy. More of those Bt potatoes for you all in Idaho, which ain’t such a bad thing (unless you like pesticides with your steak). Nice op ed in the Times the other day how this job needs to change to Secretary of Food: Vil might be the guy to do it……or not.

  16. avatar Buffaloed says:

    The announcement of Salazar has been different in that there was no trial balloon with his name while there has been with all of the others.

    Here are the instructions I received from someone about another way to get your choice heard:
    For those who are looking for the link to comment to President-elect Obama on the appointment of Salazar, it is http://change.gov/agenda/energy_and_environment_agenda/ and click on Submit Your Ideas in the blue box on he right side of he page. You can then enter your comments.

  17. avatar JimT says:

    Could be a trail balloon, but it would also cast a sour taste in Ken’s mouth if he was put out there as a test, and yanked back, and there would be payback in the Senate….

    And I know you are right, Ralph, but there are so many other more worthy candidates based on experience, vision, and being the right person for these sets of problems facing Interior. I don’t think we need a caretaker; I think we need a revolutionary to get Interior turned around. And yes, there are lots of important sub agency appointments, but the bottom line is that Interior will take its course based on Obama’s lead, and the others will follow or be gone.

    I would LOVE to see Gloria Flora as USFS after what was done to her…~S~ As for Agriculture, I think Pollan’s books provide a great framework for the transformation of that department. Vilsack, if that is the guy, may not move as quickly on subsidies as we need to do due to his background.

    Wonder if Kessler would come to the FDA? And is Howard Dean headed to the Surgeon General’s post?

  18. avatar Salle says:

    here’s what I wrote today after reviewing the agenda segment on Sportsmen:

    ______________
    [T]his shows me that you are not paying attention to what is really happening in the interior west. Furthermore, the probable selection of Salazar to Interior is additional evidence that you are missing the point entirely. We don’t need to have the hook and bullet groups continue to drive a bus that is careening into an abyss of no return.

    Please pay attention to the smaller voices in the region who are putting their lives on the line, literally, for the health of the biosphere. The national organizations talk a good game but are rarely known for “walking their talk”. They are, essentially, lobbyists for the wealthy land grabbers who fund their overhead in return for capitulation to their interests which aren’t exactly protecting “the commons”.

    If you really are sincere about addressing global warming and environmental degradation, you will take out the magnifying glass and have a closer look at the difference between big bucks lobbyists and those of us who are actually working to stop the constant degradation of the public “commons”.

    This degradation is currently enforced by the state fish and game agencies who only seem to be serving the the hook and bullet groups and welfare ranchers by mismanaging wildlife at a state of imbalance for profit, not in the interests of wildlife and endangered species that are essential to the environmental health of the nation.

    APHIS’s Wildlife Services is nothing more than a “hit squad” for welfare and hobby ranchers who can’t seem to interest themselves in doing their jobs, and they do so at taxpayer expense. If one isn’t really interested in doing their job, shouldn’t they lose it? The working stiffs in every other line of work have to play by those rules… Meanwhile, the state and federal employees who really are trying to do the right thing are being silenced by their superiors within and by job and/or death threats from the temper-tantrum specialists on the outside.

    Better yet, Mr. Obama, come out here and see for yourself. I’d be glad to give you a tour of the great wild west myself. It isn’t pretty in most places anymore thanks to the hook and bullet groups driving the conservation bus fueled by the corporate land rapers and paid for by taxpayers.

    We’re tired of getting “rolled” but we won’t go away until appropriate change actually comes to the west.
    __________
    I added that I hope they are paying attention to the uproar and that they should avoid DC style politics on this nomination.

  19. avatar Ron Kearns says:

    Ralph,

    I am a very ‘conservative’ Republican and I doubt that I am very like-minded regarding some of the progressives and liberals who post within your blog. I worked in the oil fields; I wrangled horses on public lands; I milked cows; I did farm labor and I was a ranch hand; I started hunting at age 6; however, I understand that tradition cannot continue unabated if science dictates that we all must change our extreme consumptive ways.

    I understood the need for drastic changes and that is why I voted for Mr. Obama–a man I do not particularly like. However, he promised change—and though I realize that most politicians are disingenuous—I forced myself to give him a chance. The choices he has made so far do *not* herald change for which he harped on ad infinitum.
    There are strong reasons why all those scientists supported Mr. Grijalva. They knew that with Grijalva, scientists had a chance under his leadership to do their jobs in an open, transparent manner, and without the retributions and cover-ups that occurred under the Bush Administration. Mr. Grijalva did not “look the part” was not as educated as others, and his is often disparaged in his home district as “poncho, taco grinder, Fajita bandit, etc.” The fact that he is a humble man from a meager background, but who has done a very good job as a Congressman, means that he would likely choose people of far superior intellect and scientific experience to fill positions within the DOI and then let them perform their jobs. With Mr. Salazar, and others like him, the selection process will include people who agree with his philosophy and who will not question his lack of a scientific background or knowledge. Cronies fit his bill perfectly for those important lower level positions of which you wrote. His law license gives Salazar no particular qualifications for DOI Secretary.

    Silly remarks made by Senator Reid about how Mr. Salazar looks right in his cowboy hat and boots and Mr. Obama’s comments that the DOI Secretary had to be someone who was a hunter and fisherman to understand the issues, demonstrates a childish misunderstanding of the western environment, the difficult issues facing the rapid loss of wildlife habitat, and the over-manipulative game management policies of the western states’ game and fish departments. Therefore, Mr. Obama must have seen Salazar with his boots n’ big ‘kaboy hat—while Obama is puffin’ on a dirty cig in his mouth to help him *think* through these stressful decisions—proclaims that with a cowboy git-up like that, Salazar must hunt n’ fish and he is my guy for DOI.

    You life-long Democrats—moderate, progressive, or liberal—best keep pressure on these Blue Dog Democrats or in 4-8 years, we might return to a viable Republican presidential candidate, especially since appearances are that Mr. Obama is incapable of keeping the most fundamental pledges with which he espoused during the campaign.
    While I realize that President-elect Obama has not had the opportunity to make changes while in office, his choices of others for important positions sends a signal of betrayal to those who desperately wanted and needed change in our failing government.

    The fact for me is simple; if we must be saddled with a liar for president, perhaps inevitable and regardless of party, I would rather support a liar who at last agrees with my fundamental conservative philosophy of limited government, as opposed to a man who misrepresented his Democratic philosophies to his staunchest supporters. Such a man represents the most disingenuous and destructive demagogue of them all, regardless of party affiliations.

    I want Mr. Obama to succeed because our Nation will only survive by eliminating the corruption throughout state and federal government; however, he cannot succeed if he is dishonest with us.

  20. avatar JimT says:

    First, thanks for posting. We could all use more thoughtful missives like yours even if we disagree on the path to progress.

    But I have to ask..in your first paragraph, you State..

    “I am a very ‘conservative’ Republican and I doubt that I am very like-minded regarding some of the progressives and liberals who post within your blog. I worked in the oil fields; I wrangled horses on public lands; I milked cows; I did farm labor and I was a ranch hand; I started hunting at age 6”

    Why is it that conservatives assume that progressives and liberals don’t come from working class backgrounds, or worked on farms, or even factories? Why is it you think liberals all fit this so called eastern elite category? Just curious…I don’t assume all Republicans are born to riches, by the way..VBG.. And I have to say, the conservative model of unfettered capitalism isn’t looking very credible these days…perhaps a middle ground is needed to ensure a responsibly conducted economy?

  21. I don’t think Obama will lead, rather than his appointees, on public lands and other Western issues.

    He will lead in other areas, but he is just not familiar enough with the issues the come before Dept. of Interior to lead.

    Where would he get the knowledge to lead?

  22. avatar IzabelaM says:

    Well.. I just called the 202-540-3000, ext. 2 and told them how I felt.
    I actually got to talk to a LIVE person.
    Buffaloed. Thanks for the number.

  23. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    John Podesta, Obama Transition Team Head, John.Podesta@ptt.gov, fax 202-682-1867; Greg Nelson – liaison to Mr. Podesta, Greg.Nelson@ptt.gov, fax 202-443-4724

  24. avatar VickiS says:

    Although I read this blog almost daily, I rarely comment.

    I am compelled, however, to comment on the appointment of Ken Salazar as the new Sec. of Interior.

    As a Colorado native, I’ve lived in town, in the mountains, and for the last 15 years in Elbert County, CO. Ranch country. Old-timers out here are fiercely anti-predator, independent, gun-totin’ Republican cattlemen. They mostly love Ken Salazar. It’s the ranch-y connection.

    As “Independents” who actually enjoy having coyotes den on our property and record the the antics of the pups, my husband and I are obviously in the minority out here. We’d also love to see wolves reintroduced to CO.

    I was optimistically hoping for Grijalva as Sec. of Int., and literally swallowed my gum driving home in the car last night when it was tentatively announced that Ken Salazar would be appointed instead. My first thought was, “well, the wolves will be taking it in the shorts again soon.”

    That said, while I am less than thrilled to have Salazar at the helm of Interior, I feel it is important to try to be positive about his appointment.

    Thinking hard, I’ve come up with a couple of positive things to say about Mr. Salazar: 1) if nothing else, he does unfailingly respond to his constituents’ concerns via email. Over the last year, I’ve emailed my representatives on several issues of concern to me, i.e., health care, alternative energy, and several environmental issues. Most just send back some “canned” response, but Ken Salazar unfailingly shot back a detailed response within about a week. He has always responded to my concerns line by line, citing things he will be introducing to congress, etc.
    2)
    Couldn’t quite come up with a second thing, but I’ll think about it.

    Anyway, while I am sure Mr. Salazar will support delisting the wolf, and would never consider reintroducing wolves to CO, I encourage everyone to write, email, etc., both him and his staff with your concerns in the future. Keep the pressure on them to protect our wildlife and their habitats. Hopefully some good staff will be appointed to serve around him, and if he begins to turn a deaf ear to us, perhaps he will listen to them.

    Let’s hope.

    While I am

  25. avatar Salle says:

    Ron Kearns,

    I am glad to read your post, because we need self proclaimed “conservatives” who can articulate their thoughts and concerns as eloquently as you have here.

    But, as JimT said, not all the progressives and liberals, by label, came from eastern city desk job lifestyles.

    I come from the north east, but I was all over this country before I was old enough to vote, worked in factories, then the oil industry, hauled truckloads of meat and produce and petroleum all over this continent for fifteen years and then I went to college after I settled in the west.

    It was academia that helped me to organize the sick feelings and thoughts I had about what I had seen out in the work-a-day world that made me realize that things were going terribly wrong with the American dream. My parents were devout conservatives, but now even my dear old mom is thinking much like you claim to in your post.

    I don’t call myself a liberal because I am pretty conservative about a lot of things like following the rule of law and in governance according to the Constitution…

    What I do know is, we need to change as you have mentioned. I do know that this applies all of us, not just those folks of one particular group or another. I am also interested in trying new approaches to old problems… in that light some would call me a liberal but I would be glad to be called such a name for that reason.

    I do fear for all of us, as a country, as a specie and the affect we have upon all other living beings on the planet. I think we went off track somewhere and need to “reset” if you will, before it’s too late. I get a lot of ridicule for what I think could be by those who are afraid to try anything different.

    I am thankful to see that folks who have cheered for other teams are seeing that some significant changes are needed now and that we all have to make an effort to get there, not just some with given labels.

    Please hang out with us and continue to share your thoughts… they sound like god ideas to me, even if some of us have already mentioned some of them… or not. New perspectives are good to explore, the spice of life!

  26. avatar Ron Kearns says:

    JimT & Salle,

    The majority of progressives–and especially liberals–are viewed, rightfully so or not, as anti’s to this and that regarding hunting, grazing on public lands, reestablishing endangered species at all costs, lab research, and others. My comments were not intended, whatsoever, as disparaging. I simply grew up with a different, neither better nor worse, value system (1950s/60s era) than most who post here and I am not opposed to some of the concepts and actions that many others here oppose. I learned a phrase in my federal law enforcement training that has deep and relevant meaning regarding how each of us views or values life’s circumstances: “You are what you were when.”

    Salle, almost everything we say nowadays derives from previous material (the ‘standing on the shoulder of giants’ concept) and the best we can do is express our thoughts and experiences in a slightly different vein.

    I like this site and I will most likely post here frequently. We all are aware of the pitfalls of blogging and having a good host with a political science background, including tenured academia, is a somewhat unusual situation.

  27. avatar Salle says:

    Ron Kearns,

    I too, am a child of the 50’s and 60’s… Didn’t start attending college until I was in my mid 30’s… I had a military upbringing…

    I was fortunate to meet Ralph while in college…

    I know that several of those who post here are cohorts or maybe a little older, some are younger but…

    Glad to hear new voices regardless of their age, upbringing.

  28. avatar vickif says:

    Ron Kearns,

    I grew up in the seventies, my dad says a century too late and a century too early- you can only imagine how grey I turned his hair by seventeen.

    I am growing even now! I have to say, ‘thank you’. It is a good thing and a lesson every time someone has the ability and the desire to speak up, especially when they do it in a field of perceived adversaries.

    I thought, back when I first posted here, that I would be hung out to dry. I am a hunter, and believe there is a place for it in conservation.

    But, to my pleasant suprise, people embraced the opportunity to hear the other side of things. I soon discovered most folks here fall some place in the middle. By that I mean, there are some vegans, some extreme animal rights folks, some anti-conservation and pro unlimited publlic land ranchers, some extreme quantity firts hunters….but most of us lie smack dab in the middle-just hoping for a little help to save what we hold so dear to our hearts.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and please keep it up. Without a clear view of ‘who we were when’, we will never have a vision of ‘who we should be now and later’.

  29. avatar JimT says:

    I think context is always important in any discussion, and personal history certainly filters one’s perceptions. My old communications teacher in college once said “everyone interprets reality according to their own background and experience”. Not exactly earth shattering or original, but important to keep active as we experience daily life .

    But, that said, those backgrounds that shape us can be changed if one is open to new things, new ideas, and fact-based changes. So, while I recognize the accuracy of your quote from the USFWS days, I don’t believe it is immutable, and my history is proof of that. Lower middle class upbringing in a rural upstate NY town, a quarter mile from Calhoun’s farm. Spent my youth in the woods, walking, swimming, interacting. Parents..never went to college. Now, here I am, possessing three degrees,still pursuing those childhood loves, and as the saying goes, now far from the apple tree from which I fell from my parent’s perspective. I made those changes purposefully as I matured and goals and priorities were clarified. So, I don’t believe we are static at any age or point in life. I don’t accept the traditional extractive industries demonization of the progressives and the liberals; I hold those people accountable for their ignorance, and I believe it is time the federal agencies and their enforcement personnel should as well. There should be no place, for example, for Catron County where federal front line staff are routinely threatened and intimidated as they try to do their jobs; where laws and permits are routinely ignored due to this sense of wrongful entitlement. Those who break the law should lose their permits…permanently. I am weary of tolerating the intolerant.

    The groups who historically have been taking advantage of the public lands and its riches…grazing, mining, oil and gas, foresters…now feel entitled to these lands regardless of the oft-litigated truth that they are not; they are users, not owners. The Sagebrush Rebellion is a self serving myth, an exercise in puffery. And it is this refusal to change, to adjust to the new realities of the natural world of the West–drought, habitat loss, species extinction, eradication of aquifers through groundwater pillaging– that offends me the most because it leads to more rationalized, destructive, selfish behaviors that the natural world pays for a thousand times over.

    And that is why the appointment of Salazar offends me. He is not capable or willing to lead this kind of badly needed change in the management and use and preservation of the Western lands, its resources and inhabitants.

    I think I reflect the thinking of a majority of environmentalists, naturalists, conservationists, and ecologists when I say we, as a community, would be very happy to let science determine the course of management of the public lands, whether that science be biology, hydrology, ecology, etc. I doubt the grazers and the foresters and the oil and gas folks and miners would ever come to a consensus on that, or accept it for it would mean a sea change in the scope and nature of activities on public lands. It would mean the resource is co-equal with the activities of man, and its importance and well being would be evaluated for its worth, and not with an overlay of “what value do humans get from this” as a measure of worthiness.

    I am glad our conservative commentator will be sticking around. Perhaps, in his conversations with his compatriots, he can encourage them to come to blogs like this one, and engage in intense thought civil debate. I suspect we are all agreed we love these lands; it is the human impact on these lands and the fragility of these lands to absorb it ad infinitum that separates us.

  30. avatar Ron Kearns says:

    Sounds good JimT, Salle, and vickif.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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