Obama's Environmental Policies Reflect Bush

Obama’s environmental policies reflect Bush’s. By John H. Weis. Op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune

My opinion. Ralph Maughan. Obama is interesting in abating climate change and some high profile issues, but as we have complained many times he doesn’t seem to have any feeling for the public lands of the West, except maybe for the national parks. In that, he is a typical American who doesn’t live in the West. He might not even understand what the BLM is. I think he’s a smart man, but with a big hole in his knowledge.






  1. kt Avatar

    That is a very perceptive OpEd! I think Obama does not understand and does not care. The only way that he will care is if it is brought to his attention that western public lands – and what goes on there – affects climate change and citylife (loss of water through public land despoilation of watersheds, dust storms causing earlier snowmelt, etc. With backwards self-serving land despoilers like Salazar as a Window to the West … that will never happen.

    Has the author commented here in the past? I kind of recognize the name.

  2. gline Avatar

    “Wolves do not respect state lines, thus any plan had to include Wyoming. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy … “The Service has distinguished a natural population of wolves based on a political line, not the best available science. That, by definition, seems arbitrary and capricious.”
    I love this line… what is the status of the lawsuit right now? anyone know?

  3. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    From my understanding, there won’t be any oral arguments heard until around February some time, so unless something drastically changes, the hunting season will probably continue this year..

  4. JimT Avatar

    Ralph, you are spot on about Obama and his immediate circle. And the folks he put in place to manage the land, water and species issues are not exactly folks who are going to bang on the table demanding he pay attention.

    Someone had better clue him in that it is WATER, even in the energy and climate change equation, that is the key issue here. The amount of water projected to be used…and lost..in the one act of cooling the solar panels is staggering. Those who don’t get the West, have never been in a desert environment, think water is something like a ACME package in a Roadrunner and Coyote cartoon episode. See, all you need to do is to put 1 drop of water on an ACME package that says “Add water”..and Voila..you have a lake.

    There are too many users for too little water. Someday, someone is going to “get that”, but it may take a mass exodus from Phoenix or Santa Fe, or Tucson before they wake up.

    Maybe the way to reach Obama is through his kids..and not just the cute Park experience. One can hope, but be prepared to be disappointed.

  5. mikepost Avatar

    This Nobel prize winner (???) came out of the machine politics of Chicago/Illinois and never would have become a senator if he did not know how to play the game with the party and the party funders. He talks a great game but in the end he will be a player, not a ground breaker. You guys all got sucked in last year by his rhetoric, which was not backed up by any past supporting performance. I hope your hopes can be realized but I will wait to be pleasantly surprised and not the least bit distraught when I am not.

  6. jdubya Avatar

    Well I wrote that after the decision on the Snake River dams. Since then his group seems to be taking a better tack on re-analyzing the ESA filings for a number of species, but he is still, in my opinion, way off the mark on many issues. I supported him then, and I do now, but I don’t mind holding his feet to the fire.

  7. nabeki Avatar

    I completely agree Ralph, I don’t think Obama has a grasp of western issues at all. He picked Salazar because he was hoping to gain favor with ranchers and hunters.

    The gray wolf delisting by Salazar was one of the biggest disappointments. After eight years of GWB what did we get with Obama? A rancher heading up the Interior and wolves in the crossfire.

    Another one of Salazar’s hair brained ideas is to ship all the poor rounded up wild horses, standing around in BLM holding pens, East off their home range. I think there’s plenty of room for the wild horses if we could just get the dang cattle off our publlic lands.


  8. richie Avatar

    Obama just doesn’t get it, might be where he lived, he did not have an upbringing of mountains and oceans. Clinton on the other hand was very different, he made his share of mistakes, NAFTA was a big one in my opinion, but was very good to the environment. All I know we must get this president to understand and that takes letters and phone calls.

  9. richie Avatar

    One other thought,when Obama introduced Salazar with his cowboy hat I knew something was up.

  10. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native


    The Jonah Field, Pinedale Anticline, and the Jack Morrow Hills in the Red Desert, all in Wyoming, and the Roan Plateau in Colorado would disagree with your statement that Clinton was “good to the environement”.

    Clinton sucked really bad when it came to Western Public Land issues, especially concerning the energy industry. His administration laid the ground work for almost all the development that has taken place concerning the oil and gas industry in the last twenty years.

  11. Ryan Avatar

    I think I mentioned this in our presidential debate thread we had prior to the election. Mc Cain has actually worked on range restoration in AZ, where as the messiah doesn’t know shit from shinola about western issues. If you think a Democrat is going to go after farmers and ranchers, you’d be sorely mistaken.

  12. JB Avatar

    Wyo Native:

    I agree that Clinton sucked for the environment; but please recall the reason. After losing both houses of Congress in the 1994 midterms, Clinton lost all momentum when it came to environmental issues. In fact, Babbit (his Secretary of the Interior) spent the rest of his time playing defense, trying to prevent Republicans from gutting the ESA and giving even more handouts to big oil and gas. Let’s not engage in revisionist history!

    – – – –

    Western public lands issues simply aren’t on Obama’s radar, and the longer health care reform is delayed, the less chance we have in making him take notice.

  13. richie Avatar

    Maybe I will call myself richie 1,as long as Obama lets Salazar have free control nothing is going to change.

  14. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    Come on now JB!

    The Democrats loosing control of both houses in ’94 had absolutely nothing to do with the Clinton Admins assault on our public lands in the west. If that were the case the Dems could have put the stop to the west’s drilling when they won control in 2006.

    Enron, McMurray Oil, Exxon, Mobil, Chevron and Texaco, were all big supporters of him and his administration during the ’90s. Hell his admin even let four of these companies merge and eliminate competition in the industry. We have him to thank for the present day giants of ExxonMobil, and ChevronTexaco.

    Clinton himself made backroom deals with the oil execs while on vaction in Jackson to exploit our lands in Wyoming and Montana which has led to the present day Coal Bed Methane debacle.

    His admin is also responsible for transfering the Naval Oil Shell Reserves on the Roan Plateau to Babbit’s DOI in 1997. Babbit’s DOI is also responsible for siging the Record of Decision that opened up portions of the Roan Plateau to drilling in 1999. And the same Babbit led DOI started the 8 year long leasing process for the remaining Roan Plateau lands, along with public lands in the Piceance Basin.

    The Jonah Field and Anticline were also opened up to drilling and experimental fractionization proceses under Clinton well before the Dems lost control of Congress. McMurray oil started drilling the first well in the Jonah in 1993. We all know what has happened since.

    Also blaming the health care bebate for Obama’s lack of understanding of Public Land is nothing but a Red Herring.

    By the way the Dems have the numbers in both houses to impose their will on anything they want, but the lack the political will. Plain and simple!

  15. jdubya Avatar

    Clinton did give us Grand Staircase which was terrific protection from a coal mine deep in the planning stages. Interesting how it is easier for presidents such as Clinton and Dubya to protect land (or oceans) via Monument designations (except in Wyoming) than it is to protect via legislation.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan