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America's Debate > Archive > Assorted Issues Archive > [A] Science and Technology > [A] Environmental Debate
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DaffyGrl
Earth Day is this Thursday, April 22.

Many national parks are suffocating with high pollution levels, including the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon in California and many more. Budget cuts have stressed the National Park System’s resources to the breaking point. The environmentally hostile Bush administration is destroying our national resources at a record rate in the name of “future energy needs”.

The Bush administration overturned snowmobile ban in National Parks (National Resources Defense Council [NRDC])

An energy bill was passed allowing oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

Bush administration is selling 155 acres of Bureau of Land Management property near Crested Butte for $875 to Phelps Dodge Corp., a multinational mining company. Last year, Interior Secretary Gale Norton removed interim protection on 60,000 acres of potential wilderness on BLM land in Colorado, opening it to oil and gas exploration. (Denver Post)

QUOTE
Mining on public lands is legislated by an antiquated 1872 law. The Clinton administration did try to make mining practices on public lands more environmentally responsible, by adopting new rules (separate from the mining law) with significant protections for public lands. But in October 2001, the Bush administration undid most of this progress. Ignoring the careful public review process that had gone into the new rules, it abolished the authority of land managers to deny irresponsible mine proposals and weakened or eliminated all of the environmental performance standards. --NRDC


Some questions to consider:

Should decisions be made solely to gain energy resources, or to protect our lands as a legacy for future generations?

Can we supply the country’s growing energy needs while still maintaining the integrity of our National Parks and Forests?

Is it important to you that our National Parks are saved for future generations?
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Hobbes
First, let me say that it is entirely possible to be both a conservative and an environmentalist (hey, isn't the primary role of environmental to [/I]conserve[I] our national resources?) I think one of the great unnecessary battles is that between business and the environmental movement, with the assumption they're mutual exclusive. Remove that assumption, and a whole new world of possibilities opens up, beneficial to both ideologies. For instance, recycling both conservers resources and can help businesses reduce costs. In keeping with this philosophy:

Should decisions be made solely to gain energy resources, or to protect our lands as a legacy for future generations?

Never one or the other, but usually a balance between the two.

Can we supply the country’s growing energy needs while still maintaining the integrity of our National Parks and Forests?

Absolutely. It is entirely possible to have your cake and eat it too in most of these situations. For instance, in the examples cited, I see absolutely no mention of any long-term environmental damage done by allowing limited access to this land for purposes of energy exploration or production. This is particularly true in the petroleum industry--the resources are far underground, requiring only a very small footprint on the surface to harvest. This can therefore be done with only a very small environmental impact.

Is it important to you that our National Parks are saved for future generations?

Absolutely. However, this does not preclude limited use of this land. Keep in mind, allowing the excess of visitors that currently plague many national parks currently do far more environmental damage than oil exploration would ever do. Are you suggesting we should restrict people from visiting? I doubt it...the point being that the environmental impact of all actions should be considered, and intelligent choices made.
CruisingRam
Since this is one of the over-riding issues of our state- I will take a stab at it thumbsup.gif

Should decisions be made solely to gain energy resources, or to protect our lands as a legacy for future generations?

Balance should be the key- I don't mind, however, mind boggling red tape and beauracracy in this case- slows down the bad guys. When it comes to national parks and public land- it should be an exhaustive process with huge criminal sanctions for wrongdoing that does not punish the company- but past and present board members (if the past members had helped set up the corporate culture that allowed some awful behavior to continue- as in the case with Aleyska pipeline up here) and very small burden of proof to get convictions.

Can we supply the country’s growing energy needs while still maintaining the integrity of our National Parks and Forests?

Well- um, yes and no- we could strip mine every park we have and not have enough resources for this country LOL

Is it important to you that our National Parks are saved for future generations?

Well yes- I mean- even if you are the most pro-developement person in the world- as an American- don't you ever kinda wish you would have been around to see a herd of a million Bison rumbling by? Well- the same mentality that did away with those herds, keep shrinking our forests "Gee, there is just so much of it we can never use it all up"

And Hobbes is right- we are loving our parks to death- DG did mention the attempt by GW to lift the snowmachine ban- what was he thinking? thumbsup.gif - I mean- if parks personal are having to wear respirators- don't you think something oh, might be wrong? Duh! blink.gif

We are going to have to try to get some common sense regulations for our parks, pronto, or we are going to go to far extreme one way or the other, real soon.
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