Salazar in Jackson Hole tells Republicans to restore cuts to the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Land and Water Conservation Funds cuts hurt places that depend on wildlife and scenery, Interior Sec. says-

The Land and Water Conservation Fund dates to the Eisenhower Administration. It is to purchase important conservation lands (and waters).  The Fund’s monies come from oil leasing fees so to make up for the damage oil exploration and development may do on federal lands.

Presidents and Congress have typically shown their true priorities by letting these monies accumulate in the fund, and not buy conservation land, and so make the deficit appear lower. In other words, they take dedicated money for conservation and spend it on other stuff. Over $20-billion is now technically sitting in the Fund.

This year’s House Republican Congress have defunded it to its lowest level ever, and Secretary Salazar took the occasion of his visit to Jackson Hole to speak out about it.

Salazar: Replenish land and water fund. Parks are crucial for jobs in Jackson Hole, Interior Secretary says. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole News and Guide.



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  1. jon Avatar

    Salazar defended a pending deal between Gov. Matt Mead’s office and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that would remove wolves from Endangered Species Act protection. He said allowing wolves to be killed at any time, by any means, without a license in about 88 percent of the state is based on science.

    “We’ve approached this issue from a science point of view since day one,” he said.

    I call bs on this. This has nothing to do with science. It’s all politics. This plan is being put in place to satisfy hunters/ranchers.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Yes. It was all politics. Amazing!

  2. WM Avatar

    As the R’s gut federal jobs in natural resources, whether it be within Interior or the FS, many small rural communities with federal employees in their economic mix (likely some of the higher paying jobs), it will IMHO likely result in more foreclosures, property devaluation in the housing market, and small communities losing what few scientists and administrators (markers for college educated folks), and maybe leaders they have. It also opens the door for more rape and pillage as during the Bush the Younger years, when R interests had their way on public lands. Is the future of the West its past?

    1. JB Avatar

      I’ve news for you: they aren’t just gutting federal jobs in natural resources.

  3. Immer Treue Avatar
    Immer Treue

    Quite some time ago, Ralph made the comment that this whole thing is about an awful lot more than wolves.

    Same sort of thing has been going on in N MN. Supposedly on of richest finds of precious metals such as: Cu; Ni; Pt; Pd; and perhaps Au. All right on the edge of the Boundary Waters, perhaps the single greatest wilderness area in the lower 48.

    1. mikarooni Avatar

      Shades of the Black Hills, when thar’s gold in them thar hills, nothin stands in greed’s way, not wolves, not treaty rights, nothin.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      Immer Treue,

      I’m convinced that one of the reasons the Great Recession continues is because powerful political interests find great advantage in having a lot of desperate, job hungry people. It makes it so much easier cut through health, safety, environmental, civil rights, and many other laws. This is especially true if you can keep people divided fighting each other over side issues — cultural issues — like wildlife management. Stiring up cultural conflict, i.e., religious, ethnic, recreational, life-style issues are good ways to keep people from organizing to protect these other interests.

      1. Daniel Berg Avatar
        Daniel Berg

        The unfortunate thing is that politicians don’t even have to try that hard to pin voters against each other over cultural issues.

        A lot of republicans are trying to gut environmental protections under the premise of job creation. There is no room for questioning the long term value of those jobs, nor the potential impact certain industries can have on communities and the surrounding environment. In my opinion, some of the republican politicians in rural communities pitch environmental degredation as a cultural value of rural citizens……almost as if it’s a patriotic duty to support the destruction of their natural surroundings.

        Too many people are buying into it.

  4. Wolfy Avatar

    We have the mining companies here also doing full-scale media blitzes on how great new mines will be for the local ecnonomy and jobs. As Daniel says, it seems that the locals here see environmental degradation as a right and prosperous thing. Since when did ignorance and blatant destruction become a right or a valid political viewpoint?

    1. WM Avatar

      ++Since when did ignorance and blatant destruction become a right or a valid political viewpoint?++

      At least since the passage of the Mining Act of 1872, if not before. Atttempts have been made to reign things back for years, but unfortunately without success. The closest we have been able to get are some laws to attempt to marginally control impacts like the Clean Water, Clean Air and Superfund Acts. Job creation, unfortunately has a certain allure, especially now, which makes me believe even more that sinister R’s keep churning the political pot because it makes for a great atmosphere in which to do business, no matter how sinister the industry, and talk marginal jobs at any (environmental)cost.

      1. Immer Treue Avatar
        Immer Treue

        Also, unfortunately, many of these jobs do not go to the locals, but to specialists in the field who travel from mine site to mine site.

        1. mikarooni Avatar

          Actually, most of the jobs go to machinery vendors and manufacturers, the latter mostly in China nowadays.

          1. Immer Treue Avatar
            Immer Treue

            As I am not 100% sure on the numbers, in N MN, what I was told that approximately 250 jobs would be provided to the area for the precious metals mining project. Some locals will be lucky, but most will go to those with special skills, who can operate those machines at depths of 4500 feet, and work the sulfide extraction processes with the “guarantees” of no environmental damage.


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