A New Year, A New Congress

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few.”

—Wendell Phillips
19th century abolitionist, activist, and attorney

We conservationists have our work cut out for us. With Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives AND the Senate, plus key Committee Leaders professing:

  • anti-government
  • anti-wilderness
  • anti-conservation
  • and anti-public lands views
    —anything is possible!

At the first of the year, the Keystone XL Bill included a smörgåsbord of riders, such as Alaska Senator Murkowski’s amendment eliminating protection for millions of acres of Wilderness Study Areas if not designated by Congress within the year—and everyone knows Congress can’t move that fast.

Another rider attempted to strip the President of his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate National Monuments, unless the Congress AND State happen to agree! With criteria like that, we’d have lost Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, and Olympic National Parks to development. While these riders were removed, a number of similar bills are already in play.

Congress is making Endangered Species Act decisions that scientists should be making. As they prevent listing of the sage-grouse and push for de-listing of gray wolves, Congress is eviscerating the ESA and hastening extinction and ecological collapse.

Now, more than ever, we must be ever vigilant to stop these threats to the wild lands we love. Keep your congressional contact information handy, sharpen your pencils, and get your dialing fingers limbered up!