Wolf delisting rider and most of the highly unpopular giveaways to polluters and abusers of our public lands are defeated-

The conference report on the 2012 appropriations bill for most non-defense expenditures has been finalized.  Instead of merely appropriating more or less money for agencies many ideologically loaded amendments or riders were added, mostly by Republicans, to do such things as block Endangered Species Act listings and critical habitat designations for FY2012. The was also a rider to block judicial review of any decision to delist wolves in Wyoming or the Great Lakes region (such as was done earlier for the wolf in Idaho and Montana). It is now gone.

Virtually all of these riders were blocked in the end or watered down, although devil is in the details on some to the “watered down” compromises such as Mike Simpsons’ effort to allow domestic sheep to keep passing diseases to bighorn sheep on public lands but tying the Forest Service’s hands to close domestic sheep grazing allotments.  There was a compromise here, but we will have to see the wording.

In the actual appropriations, $23 million was appropriated to list Endangered Species rather than no money at all. The Land and Water Conservation fund which has for years been the major vehicle for acquiring wildlife habitat (buying private lands to add to national parks and forests) was raised from the original $66-million to $323-million. The EPA’ s original proposed budget went from $7.15 billion to $8.46 billion in the final.

Much more needs to be written, and it will be. Here is the statement from the ranking minority member in the House, Representative Norm Dicks of Washington State. Following his statement are the facts and figures.

This Congress has been billed by many as the worst in the history of the United States, and for a variety of reasons. It has one more year to run. Present from 8 to 12 % of Americans approve of its actions (depending on the poll).

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Cynthia Lummis U.S. Representative from Wyoming, co-sponsor of the anti-wolf amendment, issued a statement claiming that radical environmentalists used what she called “their considerable sway in the White House” to remove the language. Attention has recently fallen on Lummis for being a radically rich scion of the “one per cent” — the 7th richest member of the U.S. House. Congress removes wolf ‘no lawsuit’ rider from bill, Lummis blames environmentalists. The Republic.

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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.

34 Responses to “Worst Congress in history” falls short in its efforts to savage our environment

  1. avatar Daniel Berg says:

    A shameful assault by republicans on the environment in the name of economic stimulation. I will never completely forgive them for perverting the push for fiscal austerity into an opportunity to pay homage to their corporate masters. In reality, most republicans are no more able to meaningfully improve our economic situation than the most idealistic of progressives.

  2. avatar jdubya says:

    The pipeline rider that they got in for the two month extension of the payroll tax cut, though, was a major slap in the head to the environment. I frankly don’t worry much about the pipeline, we have thousands and thousands of those things all over the country and, for the most part, they are a non-issue. But this pipeline opens up the tar sands to such a degree as to simply be an environmental disaster. By far the best thing to happen would be for those tar sands to simply be shut down.

    Interesting read in the NYTimes this am on the melting (and burning) permafrost and the methane and other gases released after it melts. It becomes a one way street in a hurry with the potential of the release of devastating amounts of green house gases. Cooking the oil out of those tar sands is just bringing us that much closer to an environmental nightmare. And the congress and Obama’s lack of spine is simply hastening that outcome.

    • avatar Dude, the bagman says:

      I agree, but I don’t think either party or the president is actually going to take a stand against the pipeline. Obama just wanted to delay a decision until after the election, and Republicans just wanted to force his hand. Obama just wanted to look like he was putting up an effort against the Republicans before rolling over for big business (again).

      Such is life when the country’s political process is owned and controlled by multinational corporations. First, we’ll liberate Iraq and Afghanistan, then we’ll build a pipeline across the U.S. to sell the oil on the international market whether the population wants it or not (just using us as a conduit to increase their profits like the megaloads controversy). At least they haven’t liberated (bombed) us yet.

  3. avatar Salle says:

    Yes, but I read this week that the Canadian Gov’t approved a permit to open yet another large tract of land for mining in the tar sands. I’ll have to look around for that info… (I’ve read so many articles from numerous sites and have to go back and review where that info came from… sorry. It might take a little time.)

    • I know most Americans don’t pay much attention to Canadian politics, but they should.

      Several months ago they had national elections and the Conservative Party won, putting Stephen Harper in as prime minister. He is a right wing errand boy for the international corporations. By fighting Keystone we are fighting not just for our own country as Americans and to protect the world’s environment, but also to free Canada of international oil company tyranny. Harper and his people need to stopped from screwing up the planet.

    • I should also add that joining, giving money to, and most important, working with conservation organizations is very important.

      If it wasn’t for local and national groups working to kill these awful riders in the Appropriations bill, we would now have our air and water quality laws gutted and wolves would have been delisted without any judicial recourse in the Great Lakes and Wyoming.

      We give memberships to some of these organization as holiday presidents to certain people who are inclined to the right view of nature.

      • avatar IDhiker says:

        I guess my next question is: which of these conservation organizations are the most effective on the national stage? Which national and local ones worked hard to eliminate the wolf etc. riders?

        We always give money, but it is unfortunately limited, so we’d like to give where it will do the most good.

  4. avatar Richie G. says:

    Thanks Ralph you are correct giving something to groups like watershed and earthjustice,just to name a few is very important. Let’s not forget the cats and dogs that are abused by people in our country and all over the world. Oh and all other creatures, Humane Society, ASPCA etc. These are all good organizations.

    • avatar IDhiker says:

      As far as dogs, cats, etc. BEST FRIENDS shelter in Kanab, Utah is a great one. Been there twice. And your local shelters are all deserving, too. We currently have two shelter dogs and they’re the greatest!

  5. avatar Kayla says:

    Personally anymore I think it doesn’t freaking matter onebit which of these two parties are in control. For both parties nowdays are nothing but puppets for the world’s elites and in the pockets of the Bankers, Wall Street, and the world’s major corporations. And it seems as if both parties have no allegience to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, on which this country was founded. And do think neither of the two parties or even who occupies the whitehouse really do not care onebit when it comes to the Environment and the Planet we live on with all the varied and marvelous life thereon. The Beast Lives!!! And this Human Two Legged society and culture of ours nowdays seems to be only about our greeds, our egos, our lust for money and power, and our materialistic selfishness it seems. When any of the two parites do say or do something for the environment, anymore it is just a bone being tossed to the dogs for the political votes they will receive in return it seems. I gave up on both parties a whole lonnnggg time ago.

    Sometime ago I thought that most of these politicans want us to be nothing but to be dumbed down and braindead serfs and slaves for the corporate elites with being nothing but consumers of stupid made material stuff from China it seems.

    Personally wish could be more optimistic but as of late have become so pessimistic it seems. Do think it will get a whole lot worse before we even begin to see the daylight. Just my opinion and my two cents worth!

    • avatar IDhiker says:

      Kayla,

      I often think many similar thoughts as yours. My older brother believes the whole situation is hopeless and there is no point in even trying to stem the tide. That human greed, short-sightedness, and “lust for power” combined with population growth will eventually win out completely, as it has for thousands of years.

      Most people don’t even pay any attention to what is going on. But, all I can say is: don’t give up, because what is the alternative? It’s better to go down fighting, even if it’s hopeless, than to weakly submit. Giving up is just what the “other side” would prefer that we do.

      • avatar Kayla says:

        IDHiker, Thanks for your comment. Personally, I just go back into the back deep wilds with wandering about and living and enjoying life. I see the whole situation as soooo unsustainable with believing that most probably oneday soon it will all just collapse. And then we Human Two Leggeds will be the Endangered Species

  6. Pictures are worth thousands of words. The photo of the Yellow super cub with the wolf prints pasted on it has brought a lot of attention to the shooting of wolves by Wildlife Services. It is all over facebook and in at least two newspapers. I see that Defenders has posted it on their site as well.
    I think there is too much bickering between different environmental groups. I see Defenders bashed on this website frequently.

    We should take the attitude that all environmental groups are good, and that some are just better than others. (I heard that from a older guy when I was in my teens working on a construction site. He was refering to something else, but it applies here)

  7. avatar Richie G. says:

    To all do not give up, and I like that you guys have good shelers,so many cats in New Jersey.At a place I work people keep cats to kill the mice in all our our treatment plants are like this. I brought home two, but thinking of calling the aspca, I might open a can of worms. One more note,I said this before but when Clinton was in office, he had Bruce Babbit the ex president of the wilderness society, as secretary of interior, not this Salazar,who is for the ranchers.

  8. avatar Wolfy says:

    Corporate Oligarchy (Corporatocracy or “The Party” – 1984)or “Oiligarchy” defined: See US CONgress. It’s the Golden Rule; those with the gold make the rules. Our own greed and dissatisfaction with what we already have will consume us and our planet

    • avatar LesGrosman says:

      Why should the people of the world bow to your control and self-righteousness? I understand how easy it can be to loose sight of priorities for the emotional stimulation animals can bring, but to bring forth hate for people who literaly feed and cloth tens of thousands is just as sad. They brought forth invention and sustainability where previous human life could not exist. With an equal chance for all of your ancestors and decendents. Now person after person, spit in their faces for the emotional issues of stray cats and abused dogs?????? I challenge you to start a company and watch it grow as every week you put money in the hands of greatful individuals, who go home and feed decent families, filled with little children that are more important than any dog or cat dreamed of being.

      I want a clean environment for my children along with opportunities to see wildlife outside of zoos, but I also want them to have fiscal opportunities that I had, and my father before me, and a government that keeps its boot on the neck of industry will choke the life out of our economies.

      • avatar JB says:

        “I want a clean environment for my children along with opportunities to see wildlife outside of zoos, but I also want them to have fiscal opportunities that I had, and my father before me, and a government that keeps its boot on the neck of industry will choke the life out of our economies.”

        Les:

        If you recognize that our natural resources are limited, then you should see the impossibility of your desires. How do you propose to keep wildlife and wild places AND the same fiscal opportunities with an ever-increasing population. Our resources are finite, and with every new person there per capita availability is reduced.

        Regulation is a function of population. More people means more consumption, more pollution, and more demand for resources; our obsessive need for MORE and the waste it generates necessitates regulation; and more people in the society with the greatest per capita consumption only increases the need to regulate.

        • avatar LesGrosman says:

          So the advancement of the human race should come to screaching halt so you can feel better about oil not being taken out of the ground? Right now there is a child somewhere sitting in a classroom and you would like to cheat him out of an education so no trees get cut down to make paper for him to work on, or plastics from oil to make a computer for him to learn with, or copper and gold to make electronic circuits. This same kid could be the answer to your future. Maybe he would have made the first car to run off salt water, or the first solar powered city, but you denied him that chance. I would suggest you quit trying to control people to get your way and actually invest your time and energy in the future that will make using those resources you want to protect obsolete. I guess its easier for some people to make noise than to actually make a difference.

          • avatar Dude, the bagman says:

            To add to your hyperbole – it’s obviously because we hate freedom. Or maybe we’d rather see some of those resources recycled rather than having to open up a new mine/cut a new clearcut. Is opposing environmentally harmful activities because of those effects “controlling” people? Or is allowing industry to do whatever it wants despite the social consequences and ignoring opposition “controlling” people?

            I think we disagree about what “the advancement of the human race” really looks like.

          • avatar Doryfun says:

            Some people make noise, some make a difference, and some don’t make much sense and deny basic math.

          • avatar jb says:

            Sorry, les. I mistook you for someone interested in having a serious conversation. My mistake.

          • avatar Salle says:

            LesGrosman,

            “but to bring forth hate for people who literaly feed and cloth tens of thousands is just as sad. They brought forth invention and sustainability where previous human life could not exist.

            I’m just going to go with this part since it is at the root of the issue here. Perhaps the whole problem is/was that we have been able to go where humans otherwise would not exist. The fact that we have managed to discover means to inhabit almost the entirety of the land mass of the planet is probably what is where humans went wrong in the first place.

            Now that we’ve accomplished that and are finding that we have chosen a dead end path as an intelligent species… We need to change a lot of things from the way we think, act, act toward each other and all other living things that are also here on the planet. We fail to do so at our own peril. The biggest problem is that humans expect that the pursuit and procurement of convenience is a god-given right, it isn’t. Just because something is there does not automatically imply that it is there specifically for the first human who comes along to take it. Human nature is a base level of understanding – for humans – intelligence is the ability to manage that aspect of one’s own nature without insisting that all other living things accept and adopt the manner in which one chooses to go forth… the ability and willingness to think, rationalize and apply.

            Just because some people believe in an elevated status for our species and that we are somehow delegated the authority to choose which species should exist and which should not does not make it true, real or necessarily feasible.

            Not a matter of hatred for humans, as I see it. Personally, I’m discouraged and disgusted with my own species for their selective ignorance by choice that they practice with expert precision, especially in this country. And enormous frustration for the same reasons stated above.

            And one more thing that I say a lot:

            It’s the biosphere, folks.

  9. avatar LesGrosman says:

    Dude, I think you are right. We do have different pictures of the advancement of civilization. I think recycling is a great idea. Using giant government to stamp out industry has nothing to do with recycling.Yes, that is about control and power. You disagree with something and because you are too simple to come up with a constructive plan, you are more willing to cry to big brother and make him stomp the life out of your opponent. All you leave behind is jobless families. Hey maybe they can recycle the salt out of their tears and sell it on the open market.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      LesGrosman,

      You are new to this forum. The first part of your response is OK, but I think your response would have been better if you left out the “You disagree with something and because you are too simple to come up with a constructive plan, you are more willing to cry to big brother and make him stomp the life out of your opponent. All you leave behind is jobless families. Hey maybe they can recycle the salt out of their tears and sell it on the open market.”

      You don’t know anything at all about the person “Dude, the Bagman.”

      • avatar Dude, the bagman says:

        Yeah! I’m not simple, just an a-hole! I do like your idea about recycling the salt out of tears though.

    • avatar JB says:

      Okay, I’ll give reason one more chance. Go to the website below and follow the instructions; then come back and tell us all about how regulation is bad.

      http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/calculators/

      C’mon..do it!

    • avatar Salle says:

      That example sounds pretty much like what the ranching and other anti-wildlife folks do on a regular basis, there is no sense of reason for them, only emotional tirades backed up with unfortunately copious amounts of misinformation.

      • avatar Salle says:

        You disagree with something and because you are too simple to come up with a constructive plan, you are more willing to cry to big brother and make him stomp the life out of your opponent.

        That example sounds pretty much like what the ranching and other anti-wildlife folks do on a regular basis, there is no sense of reason for them, only emotional tirades backed up with unfortunately copious amounts of misinformation.

        (grrr.)

  10. avatar LesGrosman says:

    Okay, I’ll give reason one more chance. Go to the website below and follow the instructions; then come back and tell us all about how regulation is bad.

    http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/calculators/

    C’mon..do it!

    BO just blocked an international oil pipeline last week. It just cost Texans somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 jobs.

    Well, that took about two seconds.

    Look at the bright side. The plastics that they use for building electric cars will be more expensive so even fewer people will be able to afford them and still have to stick with their gas guzzlers that will increase the demand on the oil anyway.

    • avatar Dude, the bagman says:

      How many Texans does it take to build a pipeline?

      (Insert punchline here).

      Your parade of horribles is so amazingly out of touch with reality I don’t know where to start.

      How about this – the car I drive now gets about 38 mpg. It isn’t made of space-age plastic and cost me about $10,500 when it was 2 years old. I bought it because gas was already expensive, and because my previous 35 mpg car was getting long in the tooth. The economy didn’t force me to go for an older gas-guzzling freedom-mobile instead. Quite the opposite.

  11. avatar LesGrosman says:

    You don’t know anything at all about the person “Dude, the Bagman.”

    You are correct. But let me explain what I am trying to challenge these people to do. If you want to stop these “evil” corporations and their paid off politicians you have to actually out compete them. Not by crying for government to stop them, but actually making life better, through invention, and then burrying your competition. I would smile ear to ear if Dude would invent machines that made gasoline obsolite and got filthy rich doing it. Nobody likes the kid that cries because he can’t reach the cooky jar, but we root like hell for the kid that uses his brain and builds a vertical path to the cooky jar.

    • avatar Dude, the bagman says:

      “I would smile ear to ear if Dude would invent machines that made gasoline obsolite and got filthy rich doing it. Nobody likes the kid that cries because he can’t reach the cooky jar, but we root like hell for the kid that uses his brain and builds a vertical path to the cooky jar.”

      Then you’re going to be sorely disappointed to find out that I’m applying my energy toward inventing better ways to cry to the government and rob you of your god-given sense of entitlement – i.e. studying natural resource law. I don’t like cookies either.

      BUT…my old man used to work as an engineer for a company that made hydrogen fuel cells…before the deregulated economy crashed and he was laid off and semi-forced to retire.

      What you call crying to government, I call the democratic process. Tomayto, tomahto.

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Quote

‎"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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