‘Republicans for Environmental Protection’ – Endangered Species?

The word “conservation” and conservative are closely related, but there seems no room for conservationists in today’s radicalized Republican Party-

So-called “conservative” Republican activists are bent on tearing down protections for the land, water, wildlife, and human safety from toxic elements. Below the New York Times blog interviews the head of the group Republicans for Environmental Protection, which has for a time a least lost all of its clout among  tea-partyized Republican activists and elected officials.

‘Republicans for Environmental Protection’ – Endangered Species? By Andrew C. Revkin. Dot Earth. New York Times.





  1. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    Tea Party Republicans in Mo have legislation proposing a rollback in the new puppy mill regulations that will according to them put the trailer trash operators out of business. Name one Republican since Nixon that has cared about the environment? Moderate Republicans are almost unrecognizable to these tea party idiots. They hate babies after they are born and will kill doctors to protect the unborn- They hate puppies, they hate minorities, they hate the unemployed, and they hate women. But they like tax cuts!!! Oh yes

    1. Phil Avatar

      william: I can see why some hunters approve of these Republicans.

      1. SBH CLAY Avatar

        Why, because the hunters and the Republicans “hate” all wild animals enough to murder them?

    2. Salle Avatar

      The religious factions seem, to me at least, to have the perception that if they thump their holy book hard enough ~ like a war drum ~ they will become god-like. Insisting that everyone else buy into their beliefs only speeds up this process of becoming god-like. Their belief system(s) seem to be in keeping with male-dominance of females and demands that all of the females acquiesce to this BS or be treated to brutality of many sorts.

      I always thought there was some part of the Constitution that prohibits melding of church and state but the christians seem to think that his applies to all other religions except theirs. This exceptionalism is what is part of the major problem here… they think they are chosen to dominate the world and in so doing find that if you don’t believe as they do then you are like the Native Americans whom they practiced genocide against because ~ as the pope’s excuse determined ~ they we’re human because they weren’t christians. That mindset has never left the religious world as far as the Abraham-based belief systems are concerned, it’s become quite blatant in the religious right.

      I’m getting pretty burned out on this religion vs. the Constitution battle. If you can’t keep your religion to yourself, I feel you are in violation of the concept of separation of church and state. It’s a personal set of choices not to be bulllishly imposed on others as has been taking place over the last couple decades.

      1. Rob Sisson Avatar

        Every mainstream faith organization in the US has a strong statement or position on climate change and environmental stewardship, including Fred Upton’s own Presbyterian USA organization.

        God’s Climate Plan — great piece by Dave Jenkins, subject of the above interview: http://www.rep.org/C.E.P.Quarterly_spring09.pdf

      2. Doryfun Avatar

        Right On, Salle. Sickem.

    3. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      Couldn’t have said it better myself William.

  2. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    What a paradox that the great environmental seed legislation of our times (Clean Air , Clean Water, ESA, NEPA and creating EPA , etc) were actively supported by mainstream Republicans and signed into law by Republican presidents … and opposed by blue collar Democrats and unions as job killers.

    Reagan and his henchman James Gaius Watt fired up an Inverter and began the long reversal of key environmental policy that is bearing such poison fruit today , and the Dems have taken up the green cause , as much for job innovation as a matter of conscience.

    We do indeed live in strange times.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading out to stock up on disposable radiation dosimeter badges….

    1. SEAK Mossback Avatar
      SEAK Mossback

      It’s true. When the Democrats were run by the unions, they rationalized and championed mind-bogglingly destructive big public works projects like the Rampart Dam, Project Chariot and any number of water projects. Anything no matter how destructive and wasteful that would put a bunch of trade union people to work on a short-term basis. When one of the natives in the 7 villages to be submerged by the Rampart Dam on the Yukon asked “What are we supposed to do, swim?” Our great Democratic senator Ernest Gruening said, absolutely not we’ll move our natives whereever they want to go. That’s compassion.

      I think my mother had her politics about right. She voted strictly Republican up through Nixon’s first election and never voted for another one after that.

      1. Doryfun Avatar

        “Hear me people: We now have to deal with another race—small and feeble when our fathers first met them, but now great and overbearing.
        Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil and the love of possessions is a disease with them.
        They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule.”
        – Chief Sitting Bull
        I think your mother had the right idea. My folks use to be Republicans around the same time frame, then changed forever, too. I was always more independent, but for several years now have not seemed to find much I can ever support coming from a Republican

    2. Doryfun Avatar

      Interesting observation. Say, could you save me one of those radiomathingabobs? In your search, I think it is on the same shelf as the Iodine tablets? Heck, I’m still trying to figure out just which part of the sky not to stand under.

  3. Thomas Avatar

    Something about the return of wolves you can read at European Wildlife pages at http://www.eurowildlife.org

  4. Rob Sisson Avatar

    Reagan’s leadership on the Montreal Protocol has been the single most effective act to prevent global warming gases from entering the atmosphere. Too many self-described conservatives today are not conservatives, they are libertarians. Republicans for Environmental Protection works to educate Republicans of their long pro-conservation heritage, and of the conservative underpinnings of environmental protection. All the ammo you need to talk to your GOP neighbors and friends can be found at rep.org or climateconservative.org

    Rob Sisson, President
    Republicans for Environmental Protection

    1. mikarooni Avatar

      Republicans, including REP, are quick to lay claim to the environmental leadership of Theodore Roosevelt, Nixon, and Raygun; but, a bit more examination is needed to sort out the real truth.

      When the GOP latched onto Roosevelt, it was a party in trouble. The Democratic Party was in resurgence and the GOP was being characterized as a party of obese, ossified, old oligarchs, a party of the past. The GOP grabbed Roosevelt as a young vibrant man in his prime, with virile outdoor pursuits who could strike a more populist tone and used him, as a political tool, to shore up a party ticket headed by, voila, an obese, ossified, old oligarch. The GOP power brokers had no idea that an assassination would raise him into the presidency and give him enough momentum for a term of his own; they were horrified by his policies, both as far as the income tax and his conservation achievements. Those were Roosevelt’s achievements, not the GOP’s. When he ran as the incumbent for a second full term, the GOP turned on him at the convention and ousted him; yet, the GOP, including REP, very, very, very hypocritically continues to claim Roosevelt’s conservation heritage as their own. The GOP betrayed Roosevelt and forced him to cobble together the “Bull Moose” party for a run as an independent and Roosevelt hated the GOP from then on as a result, even counseling his cousin Franklin, our greatest president, to fight the GOP as a Democrat. The GOP, including REP, are just talking trash when they try to usurp Roosevelt’s legacy at this point.

      Nixon signed progressive legislation into law because he was in political trouble and would have signed nearly anything, especially at the end, to weasel out of his political and legal troubles. Ronald Raygun was always even more cynical than Nixon; he knew he could agree with abstract notions on this or that and, as long as they weren’t attached to hard commitments for concrete action, just slither out of them later. With Raygun, you could never listen to the talk; you always had to look at the walk and Raygun walked, on the environment, literally all over the environment, with James Watt and then Manual “he always did it with his hands” Lujan.

      Now, Sisson and his little band of log cabin prevaricators in REP want to hypocritically lay another GOP claim to Theodore Roosevelt (their mendacity makes me puke) and then con us into believing James Watt’s patron, Ronald Raygun, was an environmentalist. This just flat disgusts me!

    2. mikarooni Avatar

      The only thing that Republicans really stand for is selfishness and Sisson’s willingness to piss on the truth in his own selfish lunge toward self-aggrandizement just extends the principle. This is just so, so, so Ralph Reed.

      1. Rob Sisson Avatar

        mikarooni, have a cup of coffee before you post again.

        Obviously, you’ve completely missed the point of REP’s existence. It is to restore that conservation ethic that has been missing for decades. We are not apologists for the current or recent crop of ill informed Republican officeholders. Go to our website…read the vast amount of work we’ve put out over the past 15 years. Look at our Congressional Scorecard, where we only score Republicans…not too many stand out on that list.

        Anyone who truly values environmental protection and conservation, should support our efforts. Why? Because don’t we all want this to be a non-partisan priority? If a person can’t answer “yes” to that, then I guess their priority is Democratic politics, not the environment.

        By the way, REP’s sister 501c3, ConservAmerica, has registered the domain names wolfcountrybeef, wolfcountrylamb, and wolfcountryfoods as part of our effort to offer ranchers a premium for their products if they raise their animals in a predator friendly manner.

  5. Nancy Avatar

    +The simple fact is that nuclear energy has a much more positive track record than its critics will concede—both on safety and environmental grounds+

    Rob – this statement (from Jenkins piece) might make sense to the those that want to promote nuclear energy, but it doesn’t make sense, especially now, to those that have to live with the consequences of “Boy! Didn’t see that one coming”

    1. Rob Sisson Avatar

      That’s a good point Nancy. We’ve been working for several years on better public policy on a similar issue. We should not permit building anything…let alone a sensitive asset like a nuclear plant…on a fault zone or a coastal area where flooding is a frequent occurrence. Our national flood policy has been horrible public policy.

      New nuclear designs…especially small scale nuclear generators…offer very exciting prospects with much stronger safety features.

      1. william huard Avatar
        william huard

        How are you going to deal with the dumbing down of all the house Republicans who suddenly develop amnesia and do 180 degree turns like Upton did on climate change. The power of money and the influence of the two idiot sons to shape policy that serves their business interests is ruining democracy as we know it. It is SO IRRESPONSIBLE for Republicans to deny the effects of climate change!

  6. Jon Way Avatar

    Hi Rob,
    Thanks for posting here. As an Independent (like many on this blog), I would love to have an actual decision to make rather than “At least the Democrat I vote for will actually care for the environment”. While I generalize a bit there, I find this quote from the NY Times article interesting. And frankly, I would like to know where these Republicans occur? See here:
    “A majority of rank and file Republicans poll well on environmental issues and see a clear government role in protecting our environment. This leads me to believe that most hold traditionalist conservative ideas about stewardship.”

    I am not much into politics, but I haven’t seen this to be the case even with east coast Republicans who seemingly try to keep that conservative tea party like stance – Mitt Romney is first to come to mind.

    1. Rob Sisson Avatar

      I read this blog everyday. My family and I come out to Wyoming every year to hike and fly fish around the Tetons. We’re big fans of wolves and grizzlies, too!

      I don’t have the polling in hand, but even in Upton’s district, recent polling shows more than 60% of Republican voters want Congress to keep its hands off the EPA.

      The problem is the primary election system…it rewards extremism. And, as we all know from local politics, angry people tend to show up in greater numbers than mild mannered citizens. The tea party appealed to a huge demographic last year…of normal people who are afraid of their futures, maybe out of job, don’t know how they’ll ever retire, etc. That was the reason why R’s took the House in large numbers.

      We’ve met with legislators from the Northeast…I don’t think it is as dire as we might think. They’re hearing from more and more Republicans from main street…we’re receiving requests for policy papers, etc…more so than recent history.

      I would point to the two Maine senators and Scott Brown of Massachusetts (who was a long time member of REP before his election) as examples of fairly courageous Republicans in the northeast.

      Be patient…I think you’ll see one or two electable GOP candidates for president step up on this issue before summer.

      By the way…my 10:35 post was a response to William Huard…it didn’t post in the place I intended for it.

  7. Rob Sisson Avatar

    Thank you for that question. For fifteen years, REP has been more of a think tank than an activist organization. I want to change that. It was the missing piece last August (according to Sen. Graham), when the senate dropped climate legislation. We need rank and file Republicans–in a grassroots movement– calling Republicans in DC to tell them, “I vote Republican, and I’m not voting for you again unless….”

    It’s all about power and getting re-elected. My office is in Upton’s district. He’s been a friend of mine for nearly 30 years, and you’re right…he made a 180degree turn. I’m so disappointed.

    Our membership is up 12% year to date…because there are thousands of rank-and-file Republicans who are sick and tired what Republicans in DC (and elsewhere) are doing.

    What is so irresponsible about my party, now, is that they’ve sacrificed any semblance of true conservatism to kow tow to the libertarian viewpoints of talk radio, and put their own self interest ahead of that of our nations.

    We need environmentalists and conservationists…especially those passionately aligned on the left side of the spectrum…to send their “conservative” friends our way.

    1. william huard Avatar
      william huard

      I have to give you credit for trying, because quite frankly I’m embarrassed for the Republican Party, and I’m not saying that to be partisan. There is a major battle among conservatives as to what exactly conservatism is! Are they for really big government which extends that overreach into a person’s bedroom and doctor’s office or are they for limited government?

  8. Doryfun Avatar

    Thanks for posting here. Guilty, as charged ( a little, anyway) of assuming that most Republicans are negative when it comes to conservation and the environment. I guess it comes from livng in a red state (Ideeho) with leaders whose vision of a green environment, is only by measure of dollar signs. I’m tainted, what can I say.
    But, I will say, you are right about (or should be) this being a non-partisan issue. Glad to see some effort on your part and the organization you represent in evolving more into a better take on environmental issue. It probably has something to do with your love of fishing, and being advocates for wolves and grizzlies. Animals have a way of doing that to us people folks. Anyway, you give me a glimmer of hope for the red side of the tide.

    1. Savebears Avatar


      There are lots of us that are republican that are for conservation, environmental responsibility and balanced management..

      1. Doryfun Avatar

        SB – Great. Thats good to hear.

    2. Daniel Berg Avatar
      Daniel Berg

      As someone who is more fiscally conservative than most democrats, I resent attempts by certain republicans to gut environmental laws under the banner of saving money. It makes me pretty angry, actually.

      In my opinion, the federal budget tightening initiative that has gained steam over the last couple of years has been partially hijacked by incompetent clowns.


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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