When Deb Haaland was nominated for the position of Secretary of Interior, I received dozens of emails from nearly every large conservation organization to support her nomination. She was appointed without having any particular experience or background in public lands issues and limited executive experience in running major federal land management agencies such as the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management.

When I asked some of these organizations why I should support her as Secretary of Interior, I was told that she was a Native American and that was enough qualifications for the job. Presumably, these groups assumed that someone who is part Indian somehow has a genetic predisposition to protect the land and wildlife.

Even worse for the public lands, these same conservation organizations had shown themselves unwilling to publicly criticize environmentally destructive positions or policies by Haaland and the Biden Administration-decisions that they did oppose when the Trump Administration proposed them.

As the top administrator for America’s public lands agencies including the National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges and Bureau of Land Management, she can have a major influence over how these lands are managed now and in the future. But so far she has failed to be a strong advocate for protecting these icons of the American landscape.

The Bears Ears National Monument, Utah. Photo George Wuerthner 

To Haaland and Biden’s credit, they reinstated the boundaries of the Grand Staircase Escalante, Bears Ears, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments, which had been reduced in size by the Trump administration. But Haaland and Biden must do more than merely reverse some of the decisions of the Trump Adiministration.

However, at the halfway point in the Biden Administration’s tour of duty, I think it’s appropriate to evaluate what Haaland has accomplished in her position as the top land manager for the nation. The Administration has promised to protect 30 percent of the American landscape and waters by 2030, but they have accomplished little towards that goal, and have even supported positions that are counter productive.

What exactly has Haaland and Biden Administration accomplished protecting wildlife and wildlands? Let’s look at the list.


For instance, Haaland has failed to relist wolves under the ESA to protect them from the slaughter imposed by some western states such as Idaho and Montana.

She has sided with the Trump administration for a land trade with native groups that would permit the construction of a road through the designated wilderness of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Previous administrations have consistently rejected the road in favor of wildlife protection.

She has supported opening the Naval Petroleum Reserve, the largest undeveloped wildlands in Alaska, a landscape that is functionally a wilderness to oil development.

The Ambler Road would cut across a portion of the Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska. Photo George Wuerthner 

She has remained silent on the proposal to build a 211-mile-long road across the southern Brooks Range and Gates of the Arctic National park to develop a vast mineral deposit owned by Alaskan natives. Is this not a conflict of interest?

Bison at Yellowstone Park. Photo George Wuerthner 

She has failed to halt the slaughter of bison that leave Yellowstone National Park seeking winter range on other public lands outside of the park without voicing opposition to the unnecessary killing.

Cattle degrating Point Reyes National Seashore. Photo George Wuerthner

She has failed to condemn the continued degradation of Point Reyes National Seashore by ranching interests.

Haaland has failed to protect old-growth on BLM lands and elsewhere from logging.

Haaland and the Biden administration promote large-scale industrial solar and wind development on federal lands, all at the expense of wildlife and landscape integrity.

Haaland and the Biden Administration support more oil leasing of federal lands outside of Alaska, including in Wyoming.


Secretary of Interior Haaland and the Biden administration could redeem themselves in the next two years by advocating, supporting, and aggressively pursuing the following.

  1. Support Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement legislation.
  2. Oppose the 211-mile-long Ambler Road in the Brooks Range, Alaska.
  3. Oppose and stop the Izembek Road across the designated wilderness of the Izembek NWR, Alaska,
  4. Oppose Road access to a proposed gold mine in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska,
  5. Oppose oil drilling in the Naval Petroleum Reserve, Alaska.
  6. Relist wolves under the ESA in the Northern Rockies.
  7. Terminating tribal slaughter of bison merely attempting to expand their range on other public lands outside Yellowstone National Park.
  8. Support the reintroduction of wild bison to the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, Montana
  9. Oppose and prevent wind or solar energy development on public lands. There are numerous opportunites for renewable energy development on private lands including distributed solar on houses, as well as abandoned ag lands.
  10. Terminate ranching in Point Reyes National Seashore, California.
  11. Support and Designate National Monument Status for the following areas:

Sutton Mountain, NM, Oregon; Owyhee Canyonlands NM, Oregon; Range of Light NM, California; Douglas Fir NM, Oregon; Castner Range NM, Texas; Avi Kwa Ame  NM, Nevada; Chumash National Marine Sanctuary, California; Cahokia Mounds NM, Illinois,

  1. Support and Designate a Red Desert National Conservation Area for Wyoming.
  2. Support the removal of Snake River Dams.
  3. Oppose the Uintah Basin oil railway across southern Utah that would facilitate more oil development.
  4. Support the White Mountains National Park in New Hampshire.
  5. Support livestock removal from Missouri Breaks National Monument.
  6. She should terminate all predator control on public lands.
  7. Haaland could recommend that the Biden Administration give all Department of Interior Wilderness Study Areas permanet protection as national monuments or other status until such time as Congress determines their fate.
  8. Haaland can be an active voice for more parks, and other national preserves near urban centers so these lands are more easily accessed by city dwellers, including minorities.

Given that we are facing a biodiveristy and climate crisis of immense proportions, enacting major shifts in our public lands from exploitation to preservation is essential. By frequently abandoning the public interest in favor of industrial development and Indian-owned commercial interests, Haaland has turned her back on Americans and their public lands.

She has a small window of time to reverse her failure to conserve wildlife and ecosystems on public land, but the road map above lays out the path for redemption. Does she, and the Biden administration, have the fortitude to act on behalf of preservation of one of America’s greatest legacy–its public lands, national parks, wilderness areas and wildlife?

About The Author

George Wuerthner

George Wuerthner is an ecologist and former hunting guide with a degree in wildlife biology

62 Responses to Time to Assess Sec of Interior Deb Haaland

  1. Maggie Frazier says:

    “Oppose and prevent wind or solar energy development on public lands. There are numerous opportunites for renewable energy development on private lands including distributed solar on houses, as well as abandoned ag lands.” Absolutely!
    And take advantage of the many parking ramps, urban buildings etc & put solar arrays on all of them! How many thousands of these arrays could be facilitated IF all these places were used? Strange how that idea never gets put forth!
    I first read that suggestion on the Land Desk – makes much more sense to me than destroying public lands & wildlife habitat.
    so when do we start(!) the 30 x 30 procedures?

    • Willie says:

      I am concerned re the placement of publicly funded solar or other alt energy infrastructure on privately-owned properties. The potential, especially in today’s world, for corruption & profiteering is off the charts high.

      I am also concerned about the potential of pilferage & vandalism of $$$ equipment in readily accessible open spaces in ~Yourtown, USA. We’ve seen this many times when Cu prices ramped up & HVAC equipment was stripped in many cities across the country.

      Still, we have many public areas which have the profiles needed (sustained, ~predictable wind, high level of sunlight, etc) which doesn’t impair the life of flora & fauna. It’s just a matter of making environmental protection an important facet of any contract.

      As the ~current lifecycle of wind farms are beginning to reach its terminus, who will pay for the decommission (where public $$ or ownership is obligated)? Even in rural areas, folk are complaining about noise & light pollution. We shouldn’t expect the public to remain silent on expanded wind turbines in ‘Nowheresville’.

      • Ralph Maughan says:

        What do you bet the way the wind and solar farms end up being disbanded is to just walk away from them, leaving all that massive capital investment to clutter and degrade the lands on which they were sited?

        • Ida Lupine says:

          This is my fear as well. 🙁

        • Willie says:

          This is already an issue with the large wind turbines which have reached their anticipated life span (~25 years). There was an article a ~month ago re folk in rural OK (I believe) which addressed not only the permanent light pollution (red warning lights flashing in unison every single night) but also noise pollution (they’re NOT silent)- and then the giant blades falling to the ground.

          Many of the initial govt subsidy agreements have ended- companies which bought in are either stuck w/ rehab & retrofitting or … walking away like so many polluted, played out mines in the mountain states (as well as coal in Appalachia).


          • Jeff Hoffman says:

            This is just more of the massive evidence that there’s no such thing as “green” energy. The book Bright Green Lies shows this quite clearly, and the film Planet of the Humans does so to a lesser extent and not nearly as clearly.

            We need to greatly lower both our population and consumption, and eventually get rid of industrial society, which we could do this in 150-200 years if we were to start now. That’s the ONLY way to stop causing the problems caused by industrial living. So-called “green” energy and things like the Green New Deal are just attempts to save our destructive unnatural lifestyles, not to save the Earth or the life here. Thinking we can have our cake and eat it too by living so unnaturally without harming the planet or the life here is an immature childish fantasy that has no basis in reality.

          • Ralph Maughan says:

            Thanks for the link. The size of this waste is enormous!

            • Bob Aberth says:

              Prof. Maughan,

              I am trying to locate your history of the native wolf of Kelly Creek Idaho who originally migrated from Canada through Glacier Park. All the links I try are a dead end.

              Can you help me in this search?

              Thank you very much.

              Bob Aberth

    • Ida Lupine says:

      It makes so much sense, and I believe that there is not as much money to be made in it. They’d rather do the usual tearing up of large tracts of land. It really must be stopped.

      With all the development, rooftops and parking lots of Southern California, I bet they could solar power the world, or at least our country!

  2. Susan Rhem-Westhoff says:

    She’s a fraud and a disgrace. Thank you for letting others know.

  3. Maggie Frazier says:

    Just read the Mountain Journal article regarding the George Carlson picture of a coyote killed & displayed on a fence as what? Great picture – should be displayed & shown very publicly – showing the absolute wanton cruelty made very clear in this painting. Not a one-off – just another way of displaying the lack of empathy, uncaring & cruelty shown by humans!

    • Jeff Hoffman says:

      The support of Haaland by the large (i.e., corporate) conservation organizations is a perfect example of identity politics at work. Her bad or nonexistent policies are a perfect example of what’s wrong with identity politics.

      One issue with this essay: To my knowledge, Yellowstone bison are being killed at the behest of ranchers when they leave the Park. I don’t see what “tribal” has to do with it, unless George considers ranchers to be a tribe (they’re more like organized crime).

      • Jeff Hoffman says:

        Sorry Maggie, this was supposed to be a comment on George’s essay, not on your response.

        • Maggie Frazier says:

          Thats ok, Jeff.
          And the whole issue of the buffalo being slaughtered the minute they leave the Park? Thats just wrong. Politics in action!

          • Jeff Hoffman says:

            The ranchers claim that NATIVE bison transmit disease to their NON-NATIVE cattle. Ranchers want to kill everything they consider a danger to or in competition with their cattle, and this is a perfect example of that. It’s also a perfect example of the great harms caused by animal agriculture.

            • Willie says:

              where is Ted Turner on this? He is a big ‘bison’ player… is ‘he’ (or affiliates) supporting the execution of wild bison to ~protect his herd?

              • Jeff Hoffman says:

                People like Ted Turner, who kill trees so they can have better views, are not conservationists or even environmentalists. They just want a better environment for THEMSELVES, which is pretty much the opposite of what ecology teaches and conservationism is.

            • Maggie Frazier says:

              Jeff, we both know that whole brucellosis crap is a lie. Just an excuse – and yeah – “competition” with livestock? Sure – the subsidies given to the livestock industry – the tiny little fees charged ($1.35) the reliance on laws & regs from a hundred years ago? Just like the mining “law” of 1800s. Baloney!
              Excuses to push native animals & their habitat further & further away.

              • Jeff Hoffman says:

                Even if it weren’t a lie, it wouldn’t matter. Bison are native, cattle are not, that’s the only criterion needed.

                Ranchers are probably the most human supremacist (anthropocentric) of all of the destructive industries in the west. They kill and destroy everything but their cattle (which are of course killed eventually), and have no love, respect, nor empathy for the natural land or native species. Thoroughly disgusting, and the worst people I came across as an Earth First! campaigner when we were also fighting the mining & logging industries, and people who wanted to hunt mountain lions.

      • Ed Loosli says:

        Jeff Hoffman:: Just to let you know that it is not just the “ranchers” lining the Yellowstone boundary to easily kill a helpless bison when it dares to venture out of the invisible Park boundary. Several of the area’s tribes and their members eagerly take part in this legalized slaughter, which prevents the bison from ever re-discovering their former lands outside the Park.

        Even the vaunted “Buffalo Field Campaign” is staying silent on the bison slaughter by Native Americans and others at the Yellowstone NP border.

        • Maggie Frazier says:

          Yes, lots of tippytoeing around to avoid the appearance of bashing Native Americans. Too bad that attitude took hundreds of years to arise, isnt it?
          The Buffalo Field Campaign is really limited on anything they can physically do to protect the bison with the current politics in those states.

        • Jeff Hoffman says:

          Yes, someone else on this website also raised that issue. My position is that I support the land, air, water, sky, and native wildlife first and foremost. While I also support TRADITIONAL Natives, that support takes a back seat to my support of the land and the life on it. Natives traditionally hunting bison if bison numbers were returned to historical levels would be OK, but we’re very far from those levels.

  4. cindy lang says:

    Thank you for this much-needed analysis and accompanying suggestions. Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland has been traveling constantly and apparently, her only goal and only vision are promoting her fellow Native Americans. Meanwhile, livestock ranchers continue to reap taxpayer funds and benefits while simultaneously continuing to destroy our ecosystems and biodiversity including their outright slaughter of our native wildlife. Biden needs to replace Haaland with a conservationist and scientist.

  5. Willie says:

    One of the MANY big issues which haunts the history of DOI is the outside, $$$ lobbying influence & control of BLM. A number of employees have resigned out of disgust, anger & zero intent to be associated with misogyny, lack of professionalism & embrace of zero performance.

    In concert with this, BLM’s decades long disregard for their actual role to protect wild horses & burros on our public lands. In 2015, ~2,000 wild horses were sold to Tom Davis, an individual who repeatedly stated that these protected animals should be sold off to the horse meat industry. He was never prosecuted even though evidence was provided & BLM was aware.

    Our public resources are being exploited to benefit the highly connected & very wealthy. Small farmers & ranchers are closing shop from unlevel playing field, climate change (extreme weather & extreme drought). Haaland has failed to address this very ugly facet of public land mismanagement.


    • Maggie Frazier says:

      Yes, the Tom Davis issue has been known & ignored just like the BLM’s selling wild horses out the “back” of the holding pens over the years. Just like paying – PAYING – people to “adopt” our Native Wild Horses – $1,000.00 – then after a period of time – likely not the whole year the BLM specifies – selling them at auction where the next step is slaughter.
      The BLM, & FS care only for the perks of the livestock industry – period.

      • Willie says:

        FWIW the Natl Park Service has an ‘open period’ for Q&A re the wild horses on the Teddy Roosevelt Natl Park (ND). They are planning to either take the herd size from ~200 to 20 or to remove them entirely.

        the Q&A is referenced as “Livestock Plan Scoping Newsletter”.

        This is in itself a dead (for our wildlife) giveaway. You had mentioned the $1.35HMA- a ridiculously low, lobbyist $$$ driven fee to graze livestock on OUR public lands- especially when private sector fees are ~10x- 15x that rate.

        When any politician points to environmentalists as the cause of ranchers dying off- well.. it’s the bias of the DOI/BLM to favor legacy land holders & Big $$ entities over the small guys & gals.

        It would really help if ALL OF YOU would comment on NPS website (hope its ok to share websites here).. to protect our wild horses from BS private sector exploitation of our public lands.


        • Jeff Hoffman says:

          I read the scoping doc. NPS is claiming that the horses are not native to this ecosystem. Do you have any evidence that they are? I love horses and used to have some a long time ago, but I don’t want them on land where they’re not native. (Of course they should get rid of the cattle, which aren’t native anywhere because they’re not naturally-evolved.)

          I need answers to these questions before I can submit a comment.

          • Ed Loosli says:

            Jeff: The scientific literature is full of articles stating that horses evolved in North America millions of years ago. They thrived and spread to Asia and Europe over land bridges. Around 10,000 years ago the wild horses in North America went extinct (due to hunting by humans and the ice age). However, in the 1500s, the Spanish re-introduced horses back to North America where the genus originated. So, YES – horses are Native to North America, and wild horses here now are indeed wild AND native.

  6. ll says:

    I voted for Biden just because so many people thought Haaland would be a vast improvement over Trumps’s picks. And what an unbelievable letdown, disgrace, and joke she has been. Thank you for this extremely informative article. I wish George were running the Interior Department.

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      Biden and Haaland are not nearly as bad as what Trump did and tried to do with our public lands. Our criminal President had no sense of these great American lands. A man who tried to sell out the country itself certainly could not care about these lands unless maybe he thought he could fraudulently sell them, or give them away somehow. Having said that, Biden and Haaland are an improvement only compared to his environmental record of zero.

      • Jeff Hoffman says:

        This is strictly a question of which is the lesser evil. There’s nothing good about Biden or the Democrats, they’re just not as bad as Trump and Republicans on this issue.

      • Willie says:

        Ralph, you may be familiar with perc dot org?

        The plan by the extremely wealthy to privatize every facet of our fed govt has been in the works for decades & decades.

        We’re seeing the latest now re SocSec but there’s no doubt that the $$$ are having their backdoor donor dinners with House members to plot against our public ownership of OUR PUBLIC LANDS.

  7. Denise Fort says:

    The author overestimates the power of a Cabinet official in recent Presidential administrations. We can be sure that most of these decisions have been made by political people in the White House. We in the West need to get DC politicos to understand the modern West- they don’t, and they assume that standing up for the environment will cost the President and the party votes.

    • Jeff Hoffman says:

      Remember or ever hear of James Watt? The Secretary of the Interior has tremendous power over federal lands. The president may fire the Secretary any time they want, but while in office the Secretary can do whatever they want on public lands so long as it doesn’t violate any laws.

      • Willie says:

        As a wild horse & burro advocate, free roaming animals which are supposed to have federal protection since 1971 (Wild Horse Annie), the DOI/BLM damn well IS violating federal laws!

        It’s a matter of holding them accountable & peeling away the layers of corruption, incompetence & misogyny which festers in BLM. A number of whisteblowers have come forward to expose all of this- it falls on deaf ears.

        While USDA is a separate fed agency from DOI, it wields MASSIVE POWER; its subsidies amount to $100s of BILLIONS to the livestock, ag & dairy industries. Yeah.. that’s a big big stick!

        • Jeff Hoffman says:

          Our Mafia government is the definition of corruption. In addition to that, Americans (and many other people) love their beef and have a hero-worship complex when it comes to cowboys. So getting the majority of regular people to prioritize the health of native ecosystems and the life there over ranchers and cattle would be very difficult, though not impossible (we got the dolphin-safe tuna law passed despite how much people like tuna). I’ve said all along that we need a big & strong beef boycott movement to deal with this issue. I think that a major reduction in the consumption of beef is the only way to fix this.

    • Jeff Hoffman says:

      Ranchers have outsized influence in D.C. for some reason (everyone loves their beef, Americans worship cowboys, etc.).

      The Secretary of the Interior has virtually total control over federal lands; they only things they can’t do are things that would violate federal statutes. Remember James Watt? The damage he caused is still going on. Haaland could do all the things that George advocates, but she won’t. She’s not an advocate for the natural world or the life there, she just happens to be a Native here.

      • Denise Fort says:

        I’m not sure you got my point. The Secretary’s boss is the President. So, the buck stops with him. It’s not a question of statutory authority.

        • Jeff Hoffman says:

          Well sure, a president can fire the Secretary of State or any other member of the cabinet anytime they want, and the president hires them to begin with. But those facts don’t negate the great powers the secretaries have.

          Presidents don’t normally care about these issues (Reagan being a major exception in the wrong direction), so they leave it up to the Interior secretaries what to do. Of course if an industry comes crying to the president, then the Secretary might be told what to do or not do.

          The real problem here is that this society is rotten to the core, with the vast majority of its members either not caring about the natural environment, or at best not giving it any priority. But people will scream if the price of their damn burgers goes up a nickel. The president or Secretary of the Interior are the wrong places to focus. People need to stop eating beef, a totally needless and destructive food. We need to put ranchers out of business, not continually fight these often losing Whack-A-Mole battles about every inch of land.

        • Ida Lupine says:

          Oh yes. One point in her favor is that she has not lied about the fact that she is carrying out her boss’s agenda, and freely admits it.

          • Marc Bedner says:

            Haaland knows full well she was hired to carry out Biden’s agenda, and, as you point out, is proud to admit it. As an experienced politician, having served as NM Democratic Party chair and as a Member of Congress, Haaland knows full well what she’s doing.
            A big part of Biden’s agenda is appointing a “diverse” group of people to visible offices. Haaland fits the bill as a citizen of Laguna Pueblo (not a “half Indian” as George calls her, as Pueblos commonly define their membership matrilineally).
            There’s no danger of Biden firing anyone; that was Trump who famous for telling people “You’re fired!” Biden can’t even figure out how to fire Postmaster General Dejoy.

      • Ralph Maughan says:

        Yes, Americans have generally “learned” that they should worship cowboys and Indians both with the Republicans favoring the ranchers and Democrats the Indians. The leading TV series “Yellowstone” is a perfect example of how this deference to old west groups is transferred from one generation to the next — literally hundreds of cowboy and Indian programs over the last 120 years.

        • Jeff Hoffman says:

          That’s a totally false analogy. Ranchers are given handouts by the government and allowed to destroy the land and kill native species. Native people had their land stolen, often by ranchers, have been largely funneled into reservations, and have the highest poverty rate of any ethnicity in the U.S.

          And BTW, Democrats do NOT support traditional Natives. They might support the sellouts who want to live like white people, but that’s about it. And your movie example is ridiculous, the vast majority of those movies are totally racist and ethnocentric.

          • Ralph Maughan says:

            You might have mistaken my comment to mean that I supported the Old West ideology and was pleased with it being passed on from generation to generation with the help of most of the media. . . . and, yes, most of this is ethnocentric, etc.

            • Jeff Hoffman says:

              I meant to write “false equivalence,” not “false analogy.”

              I don’t understand your position on this. Your first comment seems to mean that cowboys and Indians have been treated equally, but your second one seems to negate that.

        • Ida Lupine says:

          Well they have now added an environmentalist into the group! 🙂

  8. Ed Loosli says:

    Another huge and important step Pres. Biden should take with advise from his Sec. of Interior, would be to declare all the Public Lands (Forest Service and BLM) surrounding Yellowstone Nat. Park (over 7 MILLION ACRES) as the Yellowstone National Monument. Biden has the sole authority to use this amazing tool because of the 1906 Antiquities Act. So far, Deb Haaland is mostly silent on using this tool of executive power and so is Pres. Biden.

  9. John philip says:

    To your list of proposed national monuments, I would add Plum Island, NY. I share your frustration, but I’m willing to extend the benefit of the doubt for now.

    • Jeff Hoffman says:

      If we just lowered our population greatly and returned to living naturally, we wouldn’t need ANY land to be protected because we wouldn’t be harming it in the first place. That’s the fundamental problem here, and if we don’t fix that, attempts at protection will ultimately fail, even though they’re necessary now as Band Aid measures until we can fix the root problems.

      • Willie says:

        That’s quite a request for Santa to deliver on!

        Even if the pop # was lowered, the people would still reside in the most desirable areas- ~say, coastal Florida for example.

        We need a total reworking of our food supply- it’s irrational to see the CA Central Valley which relies ~exclusively on imported water, to continue as the breadbasket for the nation (and beyond).

        Saudis have bought up vast water rights in AZ; CO former Gov Bill Owens, via his RWR has been acquiring water rights in the parched San Luis Valley of southern CO- all to export to $$$ housing developers in SomewhereElse, CO.

        Decades ago, Enron toyed with an expansion of energy trading… yep! Water trading (a sad statement re how shallow this business idea was.. electrons =/= water molecules! Giant pipelines from water saturated to water depleted may sound great on paper but falls apart pretty darn quickly.

        After 2005-08 crash, we started to see folk buying locally.. now, with eggs etc going $$$, with $300M+ in fed fines on BigMeat for price fixing (but no one in prison, how nice), another wakeup call?

        We’re seeing giant, generations-owned land holdings going up for sale- no aqua! Who has the $$$ to drop $10-20M for a ‘great hunting’ 400-2,000+ac compound?

        (side note- many of these elite listings bury the fact that BLM grazing leases are part of the total acreage. BLM is screws competition by making these evergreen for the original lease holder)

        • Jeff Hoffman says:

          The problems go much deeper than that, and the solutions will take hundreds to thousands of years to accomplish. We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we’re not getting out of it overnight either. As I said, I fully support rewilding to the greatest extent possible, and a complete prohibition of any unnatural activities that harm ecosystems, habitats, or native life of any kind. But those are Band Aid solutions, necessary now but ultimately doomed to failure if we don’t greatly lower our population and consumption, the latter including complete cessation of consuming things we should not be, like fossil fuels, farmed meat, and trees, to name just 3 off the top of my head.

          If we don’t live naturally in naturally small numbers, we will continue to destroy and kill, regardless of anything else we do. We can’t have our cake and eat it too, so the only way to live on the Earth without causing immoral unnatural harm, destruction, and killing is to greatly lower our population and eventually — thousands of years from now — return to living as hunter-gatherers.

  10. Thomas Stewart says:

    I was really hoping that Biden would have nominated Tom Udall rather than Deb Haaland. Given that there’s often turnover at the 2-year mark, I still have some hope of Udall taking the reins.

  11. Ida Lupine says:

    Thank you, George!

    If the wolf situation wasn’t enough, there are so many things she has not delivered on.

  12. Beeline says:

    Hello again: I have not posted in a long time because it seems that some of my comments were removed in the past when I commented about indigenous folks.

    I have tried to get people to understand what happened under the Reagan and Watt administration for around 40 years now. But still they do not or do not wish to understand, even when the information comes from someone that actually worked for the DOI.

    The level of corruption in the Reagan/Watt administration and the damage they did to our government cannot be comprehended I guess.

    Power attracts the corruptible (as we have witnessed more recently) and we can create all the wish lists we want but there are so many blockages in the system, purposely put there, that not much will ever happen. Especially when so called environmental organizations go corporate themselves and do not stand up to corruption and people keep electing folks that only believe in the ongoing capitalistic system of greed and cronyism.

    Real science and the integrity necessary to go with it have been pretty much wiped out. If you asked me what to do about it; about all I would say at this point, is do your best and do not fall for the lies of what America has now become.

    Good Luck.

    • Jeff Hoffman says:

      I don’t know what you said about Natives that was removed, but here’s my experience: I worked with members of the American Indian Movement and the International Indian Treaty Council in the 1980s when I was an Earth First! campaigner. There are traditional Natives and “progressive” Natives, though the latter are the opposite of what “progressive” means in standard U.S. politics. The traditionals were generally closely aligned with Earth First! when it came to conservation issues, while the progressives were on the other side. So you can’t just talk about Natives regarding these issues, that term is too broad of a generalization here.

      As to the U.S. government, I fully agree. The U.S. acts just like the Mafia, and it’s been that way for a long time. Reagan/Watt were a major step in the wrong direction (I almost left the country when Reagan got elected), but General Smedley Butler likened the U.S. to Al Capone (except much bigger with much more territory) before WWII, so this isn’t new. The problem of the U.S. not having anything resembling a representative government could be fixed, but the vast majority of people are both too clueless and too apathetic to do anything about it. So again I agree with you, the only thing one can do at this point is to do what one can and let the chips fall where they may.

  13. Rich says:

    An well written article relating to Items # 2, 3, 4 and 5 in George’s list and the importance of Haaland taking some critical action:


    Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act – “ANILCA is now under serious threat, and as a result, so is the achievement of our nation’s crucially important conservation and biodiversity goals. During the Trump Administration, without any public process or environmental law compliance whatsoever, two Department of Interior Secretaries entered into precedent-setting land exchange agreements, for the purposes of building a road through one of the most biologically significant areas in the nation: Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Wilderness. This Refuge is also critically important for Alaska Native subsistence , including for the 56 tribes that live in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.”

  14. Victoria Edwards says:

    A sad account of Deb Haaland’s performance. However, there are several interesting comments following this article.

  15. Julia romei says:



January 2023


‎"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