Friday, April 20, 2012

Venality in action

It has come to my attention that H.R. 1505, sponsored by Rep. Bishop (R-UT), would stop all enforcement of several landmark environmental and conservation laws that the National Park System uses to manage and protect our national parks and forests, which annually serve millions of park visitors.

Our national parks and forests are, collectively, my property, which I look forward to visiting and enjoying as often as I can. As I understand this bill, it would eliminate any and all environmental, historical and cultural protections now afforded properties under the control of the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior, permitting for-profit companies unfettered, unregulated access for their own personal gains. The purported national security objective is a poor excuse for this legislation, because we have no hostile countries on our borders.

There was a time when "conservatives" were champions of conservation. Republican President Theodore Roosevelt was a staunch advocate for preserving natural treasures for future generations of Americans. H.R. 1505 is a frontal assault on this concept, a blatant example of Congresspersons willing to sell our priceless heritage for a few campaign contributions.

In 2001, Taliban militia leader Mulla Mohammed Omar in 2001 ordered the destruction of all statues in Afghanistan, including ancient relics and an ancient and priceless statue of Buddha dating back some 2,000 years. His religious ideology drove him to such grotesque lengths. By sponsoring H.R. 1505, the Republicans in the House have shown themselves to be the American Taliban, squandering billions of dollars of priceless real estate for their own ideology, that for-profit companies cannot do wrong and government cannot do right. Garnering a few thousands of dollars from private companies for their re-election campaigns is not incidental to their objectives. Indeed, I submit that this re-election funding is central to it.

Sponsors of this legislation can be found here. Call them, write them, e-mail them, pester them to death - well, not actually to death, but until they understand how awful this legislation is. If they stand by their support of H.R. 1505, work actively to elect their opponent in the fall.

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