With Congress back in session, our staff and policy experts have been working with members of the presidential transition team and with members of Congress to advise them on steps they can quickly take to right many of the environmental wrongs of the past eight years.
To help educate new members of Congress on the nation’s public land management system, our staff is busy delivering our new briefing book to Capitol Hill. The book contains sections on a wide variety of important land management issues from energy development to global warming.
Working with a coalition of over 50 environmental and public health groups, The Wilderness Society has scored a victory in the fight to cut greenhouse gases.
In early December, the state of California approved the nation’s most sweeping plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions, a plan that The Wilderness Society has been involved in developing over the past 2 years.
The Wilderness Society has presented its annual Congressional briefing book to members of the 111th Congress. In it we have outlined what we believe to be the most important federal land management issues for the new Congress, as well as substantial background material on our National Forests, National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The book contains the kind of information and analysis that Members of Congress and land-management professionals have come to rely on from us.
Two law suits filed in the U.S. District Court of Colorado would put the brakes on Bush-era regulations and land management plans to fast-track development of oil shale, a dirty fossil fuel that threatens water resources, communities and wildlife in the West. Oil shale development would also contribute to climate change.
Wilderness Society President William H. Meadows praised Secretary of the Interior nominee Ken Salazar Jan. 15 as a leader who “understands the land, water, and people of the West and the intricate connections among those key features of our natural and social landscape.” Meadows’s praise came as part of a written statement given to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources at a hearing held today on Senator Salazar’s, D-Colo., nomination to serve in the Obama administration.
The Wilderness Society joined other conservation groups Jan. 12 to ask the incoming Obama Administration to make it more difficult for local Forest Service officials to approve projects that would destroy the integrity of our roadless forests. The need for such a move comes after years of Bush Administration efforts to replace established national protections for roadless forests with policies that allow protection decisions to be made at a state level.
As an environmental economist for The Wilderness Society’s Northern Rockies Regional office, I am confident that rural western states are not immune from the financial mess in which the rest of the country finds itself.