Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Two Republican Senators Oppose Pombo Amendment


There’s some hope on the Pombo mining provision front. It looks like Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) has joined Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY) in opposing the Pombo’s mining provision, now apparently universally known as the Pombo Amendment.

At the end of November, Senator Thomas issued a press release in which he said, “I won’t stand by and let a band-aid fix to the Mining Act become a chronic injury to land use in our state.” So much for the spin that opposition to the provision is only coming from rabid environmentalist.

Today, Senator Allard chimed in with a slightly less hostile, but nonetheless equally oppositional press release. The money quote is: “‘As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I intend to oppose its inclusion,’ Senator Allard said.”

Why the sudden change of heart? Well the blog tells us something interesting. According to their website, “Some 43 groups, mostly hunting and fishing organizations, ganged up on Sen. Allard to urge him to oppose the provisions.” Those hunters and anglers who make up hunting and fishing organizations are pretty reliably Republican voters who, as Babaloo has discussed, get mighty worked up about access to their favorite hunting lands and fishing stream.


And they have every damn right to, in my opinion.

There’s not on solitary reason to support the Pombo Amendment in its current form. Having the open spaces we do is part of what makes the America West a great place. And it’s part of our cultural birthright and heritage.

I grew up visiting Redding and Mt. Shasta sometimes eight to ten times in a year, and the family friends we had up there did their best to introduce me to their way of enjoying the wilderness. Granted, I think the idea of me carrying a rifle put the fear of God into people who were already vaguely nervous about me catching their ear when casting a fishing line. Still, they did the best they could to give me a perspective on what was for them a way of life.
I think about what this provision would do to people like these family friends, and it makes me really sad. There is something that strikes me as uniquely American about their experience. And as the population grows and cities reach out to suburbs that reach out to exurbs, I can’t help thinking about how that will affect their way of life. (For a look at what this means to Tracy, I highly recommend this wonderful piece by Bill Hatch of Badlands Journal).

Richard Pombo is a developer’s developer. The only way of life he seems to care about is his fat cat existence as the servant to every businesses interest that can make a buck off of exploiting the environment.
Sometimes thinking about him just makes me mad. But sometimes, perhaps when I’m at my most nostalgic, I think about how unerringly her serves Mammon and I wonder, Does he not understand what he is doing, or does he simply not care? Are I’m not sure whether to despise him or pity him. In these moments of irreconcilable ambivalence, I just know that I have to fight him. And I’m grateful for all of you who stand with me in this fight.


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