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.
The outgoing president has been up to some last minute attacks on the environment. That is no surprise to some. However, President Bush’s use of the Antiquities Act to protect a large area of the western Pacific Ocean as a National Monument may also be a surprise to some, and it should be commended. He continues a presidential tradition of using the Act to protect some of the nation’s most spectacular natural and cultural resources. In fact, only three presidents since the passage of the Act in 1906 — Presidents Nixon, Reagan, and George H.W.
In the waning days of the Bush administration it seems every new day brings with it another new midnight regulation. The final day of 2008 was no different. On Dec. 31 in Portland, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued Records of Decision moving forward with the Western Oregon Plan Revision, also known as WOPR. This occurred in spite of the 264 filed protests and the request of Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski to delay the adoption of the plan, not to mention the 80,000 letters generated by The Wilderness Society’s Wild Alert community.
The planned blasting and removal of 530,000 cubic yards of rock and extensive grading and leveling to allow for a road inside the Otay Mesa Wilderness area in California will leave the area irrevocably damaged while also violating the Wilderness Act of 1964. With little prior notice, the Department of Homeland (DHS) security began work on the road on Dec. 24 in order to allow the continued building of its border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
After eight years of Bush Administration environmental roll-backs and land hand-outs to industry, the nation finally has a real chance to create better days for wild places. The time for change is here, and with your help we’re leading the charge to make that happen.
Since November’s election, our staff and policy experts have been working full-speed ahead with members of the presidential transition team and with members of Congress to prepare them on steps they can quickly take to right many of the environmental wrongs of the past eight years.
When Aaron and Katherine (“K.K.”) Prussian moved to Thorne Bay, Alaska on Prince of Wales Island to take jobs with the Forest Service’s watershed restoration program, their work may have felt a bit like a stream in a forest of big trees — overshadowed.
Thorne Bay was for many years home to one of North America’s largest logging camps, and timber production has remained a major focus of Forest Service activities there.
But Aaron, a biologist, and K.K., a hydrologist, quickly seized an opportunity to make a real difference.