January 08, 2007

Bush's Policies Turn Off Hunters

The Bush-Cheney focus on drilling every inch of US land is backfiring on Republicans. For several years, ranchers in Wyoming have seen their land and water despoiled by the expanded drilling for oil and gas.

And now it seems that all that drilling on the nation's public lands is creating another problem for the GOP. WaPo reports that the NRA is getting a lot of pressure from their members to stop backing Bush's energy policies and to start doing more to protect public lands.

The new emphasis on the issue of access to public lands, which Schmeits said is at the "discussion" level among the NRA's directors, would represent a strategic shift for the NRA, whose leadership in Washington has long maintained that its 4 million members were not complaining or even asking questions about access to public lands.

But, during the past six years, an increasing number of the country's 46 million hunters and anglers, including Republican-leaning shooting organizations such as the Boone and Crockett Club, have been grumbling about the Bush's administration fast-tracking of oil and gas drilling leases on public lands.

It seems that hunters are joining other conservationists and environmentalists in wanting to have healthy habitat. And this means that more westerners would like to see the Clinton land policies enacted.

For six years, the NRA joined the Bush administration in opposing the Clinton-era roadless rule, a broad land-protection measure that put nearly a third of the national forests off limits to most development -- while keeping them open for hunters and anglers willing to walk or ride horseback into the backcountry.

The 2001 rule, which was overturned by the Bush administration but reinstated by a federal judge in September, had little initial support from state fish and game agencies, Western governors or many major hunting groups. The NRA opposed the rule, arguing that it was too broad and prevented older, less mobile and disabled hunters from using prime hunting lands.

But years of aggressive oil and gas leasing on prime hunting areas in the federal lands of the Rocky Mountain West seem to have made those protections more attractive. Fish and game agencies in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana now support the roadless rule, as do most of the region's governors and more and more hunters.

Here's a visible sign that the extremism of the Bush-Cheney administration has opened the west for further erosion of the Republican hold. Because now the ranchers, the hunters and even many of the evangelical Christians have come to realize the environment is one area that most people can find common cause.

Posted by Mary at January 8, 2007 12:35 AM | Environment | Technorati links |
Comments

Helen Chenoweth, a revered three term Republican Congressperson from Idaho, was a champion of the ďSagebrush Rebellion,Ē an ignorant organization dedicated to pillaging our land into ruin. They fought for buck-an-acre leasing to overgraze BLM land to the point of desertification. Why? Because they always did it that way and Republicans canít learn. She could never learn that farmed salmon arenít wild salmon. Never learned that the wild salmon are an indication of the health of her rivers, the watershed she lived in and represented. She said she just donít get it.

Now, itís too late. Her not getting another simple idea has caused her to die in a single car crash. The kind you live through, if you wear safety belts, some of that governmental common sense Republicans disdain. She wasnít and she died. She was holding a 5 month old baby, endangering it with her stupid philosophy. She never got it.

This is a metaphor for all Republicans. They donít get it, and they get it done poorly. They are endangering our children, our teenagers, our troops, our money, our environment, our borders and jobs, our Future, our Constitution, and our reputation and security. Did I mention our morality?

Posted by: Richard W. Crews at January 9, 2007 12:15 AM