Greening Middle

Bettina Boxall writes in the Los Angeles Times:

If ever there was a Congress in which Republicans were positioned to remake the nation’s environmental laws, it was the 109th. But by the time the session ended last week, the GOP’s environmental agenda had been largely thwarted…

“It was the best chance for Republican-shaped initiatives for as long we can remember,” said Daniel Kemmis, senior fellow at the Center for the Rocky Mountain West at the University of Montana…

That they went home empty-handed, Kemmis and others say, is testament to a changing, greening West; the pitfalls of overreaching; and an emerging alliance between environmentalists and a traditional GOP base, hunters and anglers…

“The so-called hook-and-bullet constituency has become more concerned about protecting public lands, protecting open space in general. I don’t think that’s going to change,” he said…

Wilderness Society Executive Vice President Don Barry, an Interior Department official under the Clinton administration, said the GOP had its own boldness to blame for the string of defeats…

He cited the Bush administration’s proposal to auction national forest parcels. The idea inflamed sportsmen groups concerned about losing access to public land and was eventually disowned by even conservative Republican senators in the West…

Later in the article, Richard M. Frank, executive director of the California Center for Environmental Law & Policy at UC Berkeley, says that in over-reaching, the Republicans proved, “it is the middle on which either end of the political spectrum has to focus in actually getting any legislation of this type done.”

I think the middle is moving, becoming more green. The middle has accepted that global warming is real, and something must be done about it. As with sportsmen, ranchers today are more likely to join than fight environmentalists in their efforts to keep open space open, to keep access to public lands open to the ordinary citizen, and to oppose irresponsible exploitation by mining, lumber and energy companies. People of all political stripes are dismayed at falling water tables, annual summer holocausts of forest and range fires, forests decimated by drought and disease, the increasing frquency of catastrophic weather, and the apparent unconcern to all this of Congress and this administration.


One response to “Greening Middle

  1. Pingback: » Setting Boundaries: 10 Guidelines to Save Earth

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