The Ecological Costs of Environmentalist Collaboration


If history has taught us anything, it’s that America is a much better place when environmental laws are enforced.   We need to make sure that people and organizations whose stated mission is to protect and enforce such laws remain fully committed to that mission.  But right now, especially in regard to those lauding collaboration, it’s very difficult to tell where some conservation groups stand.

Significant environmental compromises are being made by groups supporting national forest management legislation that negatively impacts wildlife habitat and old-growth forests and undermines the Wilderness Act of 1964.  Unfortunately, such compromises fail to take into account the vast number of compromises that have already been made over the past century.  As one friend put it recently, “They’ve cut the baby in half for so long they’re now down to the toenails.”

A number of Montana timber mills recently ran a statewide attack ad on the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, claiming “the Forest Service is being held hostage by a small group of professional obstructionists.”  Senator Tester, meanwhile, publicly had this to say about those who oppose his Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, “extremists are extremists and I don’t really care.”

We don’t see taking an active part in national forest management or participating in a public policy debate as falling under such derogatory labels.

What’s surprising is that while the Montana timber industry ads openly called for rolling back or eliminating public involvement in order to increase logging on public lands, the conservation groups with whom they’ve been collaborating have been strangely silent.

Do these groups agree with the timber industry’s demands?  If the “collaborative” groups believe we should eliminate the public appeals process and exempt many Montana timber sales from judicial review, they should say so openly to their members and the general public so everyone knows exactly where they stand.  If their goal is to protect land and wildlife in a meaningful way, they should speak up in defense of maintaining full public involvement and judicial review in public lands management.

The mission of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies is “to secure ecological integrity of the Wild Rockies bioregion through citizen empowerment and the application of conservation biology, sustainable economic models and environmental law.”  Enforcing the environmental laws of the United States that apply to public lands management is critical to maintaining ecological integrity.

When our government doesn’t follow the requirements of those laws, the Alliance turns to the courts to force federal agencies to follow the law.  Our record is clear.  Our success in the vast majority of our lawsuits proves beyond a doubt that our claims have merit.

It’s easy to see how a climate of silence from the “collaborative” groups might encourage the Forest Service to believe it can avoid full compliance with environmental laws. It’s more difficult to understand why, when a citizen group steps forward to see that our nation’s laws are enforced, the “collaborative” conservation groups go on a well-financed public relations campaign and their industry “partners” launch statewide attack ads against that group.

It’s clear that corporations want subsidized access to public lands unencumbered by environmental laws.  When the government follows the law, the Alliance supports its actions.  When it doesn’t, we go to court.  That’s how democracy works, and that’s where we stand.

Mike Garrity is a 5th generation Montanan and the Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.

Carole King is a singer, songwriter, author, longtime resident of Central Idaho, and a former Board member of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. She has just published her memoirs: A Natural Woman.
Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria
Robert Fantina
Canadian Universities vs. Israeli Apartheid
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: Europe’s Left Batting 1000
John Feffer
Mouths Wide Shut: Obama’s War on Whistleblowers
Paul Craig Roberts
The Impulsiveness of US Power
Ron Jacobs
The Murderer as American Hero
Alex Nunns
“A Movement Looking for a Home”: the Meaning of Jeremy Corbyn
Philippe Marlière
Class Struggle at Air France
Binoy Kampmark
Waiting in Vain for Moderation: Syria, Russia and Washington’s Problem
Paul Edwards
Empire of Disaster
Xanthe Hall
Nuclear Madness: NATO’s WMD ‘Sharing’ Must End
Margaret Knapke
These Salvadoran Women Went to Prison for Suffering Miscarriages
Uri Avnery
Abbas: the Leader Without Glory
Halima Hatimy
#BlackLivesMatter: Black Liberation or Black Liberal Distraction?
Michael Brenner
Kissinger Revisited
Cesar Chelala
The Perverse Rise of Killer Robots
Halyna Mokrushyna
On Ukraine’s ‘Incorrect’ Past
Jason Cone
Even Wars Have Rules: a Fact Sheet on the Bombing of Kunduz Hospital
Walter Brasch
Mass Murders are Good for Business
William Hadfield
Sophistry Rising: the Refugee Debate in Germany
Christopher Brauchli
Why the NRA Profits From Mass Shootings
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
Pete Dolack
There is Still Time to Defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Marc Norton
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Andre Vltchek
Stop Millions of Western Immigrants!
David Rosen
If Donald Dump Was President
Dave Lindorff
America’s Latest War Crime
Ann Garrison
Sankarist Spirit Resurges in Burkina Faso
Franklin Lamb
Official Investigation Needed After Afghan Hospital Bombing
Linn Washington Jr.
Wrongs In Wine-Land
Ronald Bleier
Am I Drinking Enough Water? Sneezing’s A Clue
Charles R. Larson
Prelude to the Spanish Civil War: Eduard Mendoza’s “An Englishman in Madrid”
David Yearsley
Papal Pop and Circumstance
October 08, 2015
Michael Horton
Why is the US Aiding and Enabling Saudi Arabia’s Genocidal War in Yemen?