The National Wildlife Federation has this report on the continued destruction of conservation funding by Congress, this time in the Senate Appropriations committee: Roadkill: Lawmakers Throw Wildlife Under the Bus – National Wildlife Federation.
Nicholas Kristoff offered a provocative column; Republicans, Zealots and Our Security, in Sunday’s New Your Times. Kristoff opens with an intriguing notion. If foreign fanatics were to take our country to the brink of financial crisis we would be up in arms. He makes a compelling case that ideology by the more conservative wing of the GOP should be no different.
We tend to think of national security narrowly as the risk of a military or terrorist attack. But national security is about protecting our people and our national strength — and the blunt truth is that the biggest threat to America’s national security this summer doesn’t come from China, Iran or any other foreign power. It comes from budget machinations, and budget maniacs, at home.
In other words, Republican zeal to lower debts could result in increased interest expenses and higher debts. Their mania to save taxpayers could cost taxpayers. That suggests not governance so much as fanaticism.
We should be alarmed and outraged.
How did we get to this point? When did politics become more important than responsible governing?
Kristoff focuses on the damage this mania for budget cuts does to education. The same could be said for conservation and environmental programs. Try substituting conservation or the environment for education, Kristoff’s words ring just as true.
More broadly, a default would leave America a global laughingstock. Our “soft power,” our promotion of democracy around the world, and our influence would all take a hit. The spectacle of paralysis in the world’s largest economy is already bewildering to many countries. If there is awe for our military prowess and delight in our movies and music, there is scorn for our political/economic management.
While one danger to national security comes from the risk of default, another comes from overzealous budget cuts — especially in education, at the local, state and national levels. When we cut to the education bone, we’re not preserving our future but undermining it.
This is going to be a long hot summer…
We were warned
When Bob Marshal wrote, This will be the year that will test the commitment of the outdoors community, he gave us fair and early warning of the assault on conservation that was coming.
The conservation battles sportsmen fought to protect fish and wildlife habitat in the past may seem like speed bumps to the wall being raised in Washington this year.
Hal Herring took up the battle cry when he wrote Are There Any Politicians Who Really Understand Sportsmen’s Concerns?
What is disturbing is that we seem to have lost any conservative political leaders who understand sportsmen’s concerns, or, in the same vein, who recognize that there can be value in undisturbed land, or waters, or that intact ecosystems, with their healthy game and fish populations, also hold economic value in producing clean water, clean air, grazing, wildlife, flood or invasive weed control, all those elements that may not always add to the bottom line of corporate profit, but are the actual bottom line of life on this planet.
Not long after that Kirk Deeter added his voice in Should Conservation Be a Political Issue?
In my humble opinion, conservation shouldn’t be a political issue. It should be a cultural issue. And in that regard, I think those doing the real heavy lifting to protect wild places for fishing and hunting aren’t so much “green” as they are “camo.”
U.S. House takes an axe to conservation
Yesterday Deeter sounded the alarm loud and strong in his reaction to the US House of Representatives passage of HR1, Proposed Conservation Funding Cuts Could Devastate Fly Fishing Resources.
HR1 is a bill in Congress right now that would slash funding for a number of important conservation programs that impact fly fishing from coast to coast. I don’t care what your political persuasion is…if you’re a fly fisher, this should concern you, because any threat to habitat is a threat to opportunity. And in many cases, once a resource is gone, it’s gone.