GOP: Defend the land

A.Green tongassravencall at hotmail.com
Mon Feb 2 10:06:36 EST 2004


In support of the Landless Tlingits from Alaska's National Forest
Tongass :-) http://cooday8.tripod.com/alaska.htm#anchorAKissues
This is our invite to you..

wolfbat359 at mindspring.com (Donald L Ferrt) wrote in message news:<b9eb3efe.0402011736.36d7e1cd at posting.google.com>...
> http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~75~1923450,00.html
> 
> Headline:
> 
> Article Published: Sunday, February 01, 2004  
> perspective
> GOP: Defend the land
> 
> By John Hereford
> 
>  Over the holidays, the Bush administration issued a guideline
> reintroducing commercial logging into roadless areas of the Tongass
> National Forest in Alaska. Like many Republicans, I read this news
> with resignation. While not exactly the coming of the apocalypse, it
> does appear to be yet another disappointing example of the GOP coming
> out on the wrong side of an important and mainstream environmental
> issue.
> 
> In this particular case, the decision seems based not on economic or
> scientific logic, but almost exclusively on political pressure
> successfully applied by a narrow special interest group. The Tongass
> provides some of the best wilderness hunting and fishing opportunities
> in the country. It is part of a recreation complex that provides more
> than five times as many jobs in the area as logging, an industry that
> in the Tongass alone received more than $38 million per year in
> government subsidies. Nor is there a national economic imperative to
> exploit one of our last best wilderness treasures for paper supply.
> Even major corporate consumers such as Staples oppose the decision,
> noting that there is already plenty of supply from other, less
> threatened areas.
> 
> Yet the Tongass example highlights the larger issue of how the
> Republican Party, both nationally and in Colorado, confronts
> mainstream environmental issues. Whether they become a defining
> element in the current election cycle is unclear, but a growing number
> of moderate Republicans and independents are clearly frustrated with
> the way the GOP is perceived and how it allows itself to be perceived
> on critical issues of open space, clean water and land-use planning.
> 
> Having worked on the front lines of Colorado's environmental politics
> as head of Great Outdoors Colorado, I have been surprised at how far
> the party has shifted from its conservation and environmental roots.
> At what point did support for clean water, abundant open spaces and
> wildlife habitat and sensible land-use planning become a threat to the
> GOP's defining political philosophy?
> 
> While there are certainly Republican leaders nationally and here in
> Colorado with an environmental ethic, as a whole, the party seems
> adrift on these issues, despite the growing number of self-described
> conservatives who both oppose increasing subsidies for polluting
> industries and who worry greatly about the impact of sprawl and bad
> planning on our community, our values and spiritual integrity.
> 
> Election after election indicates how important conservation measures
> are to voters in Colorado, particularly among Republican voters. GOCO
> polling in 2001 showed that Republicans were more likely than
> Democrats to support additional funding for open space, parks and
> wildlife habitat, with the strongest support coming from the Front
> Range suburban communities that are considered bedrock Republican
> country.
> 
> So why are the people so far ahead of the politicians? One reason is
> that moderates are not voicing their opinions on these issues in
> sufficient strength or at sufficient volume to neutralize the more
> vocal and significantly better-organized ideological wing of the
> party. Perhaps the more important reason is that the party's political
> leadership has failed to recognize the sweeping demographic shift in
> the state.
> 
> More and more people moved here specifically because of our outdoor
> resources and quality of life. This, combined with increasingly
> centrist Democratic positions on other issues, makes environmental
> concerns a potential wedge between the GOP and those critical swing
> votes that have been so important to Republican statewide candidates.
> If the Republican Party and its leaders fail to recognize that
> Colorado voters want economic growth that doesn't come at the expense
> of clean water, abundant open spaces and a high quality of life
> environmentally, then they will have left very fertile ground for
> Democrats to harvest.
> 
> One important step is for Republicans to move beyond the widely held
> notion of environmental politics as defined by the Sierra Club, the
> Snail Darter and scruffy young guys throwing bottles at a World Trade
> Organization conference. The resulting frustration with the tactics
> and demeanor of the environmental left can lead the Republicans to
> discount what may otherwise be very important and legitimate issues.
> 
> Fortunately, there is a more centrist brand of environmental politics
> that seeks to move beyond the daisy-chain recriminations and partisan
> gridlock of the past. Led by groups like The Nature Conservancy and
> Trust for Public Lands, traditional antagonists come together -
> ranchers, mining companies, local governments, and environmentalists -
> in order to identify common interests and develop common solutions. Of
> even greater importance, this results-oriented work can be a beacon
> around which Republican environmentalists can rally.
> 
> Republican environmental advocacy requires challenging false truths,
> often cloaked in the compelling but false rhetoric of economic
> development. But these battles are not new to environmental
> Republicans. Teddy Roosevelt faced down enormous political pressure in
> order to save the Grand Canyon from development and to set aside
> millions of acres for the national forest system. Indeed, Roosevelt's
> example presents a good case of how the "economy versus the
> environment" argument is turned upside down when considered through
> the prism of true conservative values - objective economic analysis
> and abiding concern for future generations. After all, who could
> dispute the economic, much less aesthetic, wisdom of Roosevelt's
> actions 100 years ago? ... (cont)



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