Nationalizing the West...Again


| April 30, 2001

Nationalizing the West...Again, Daniel Kemmis, Colorado Springs Independent
George W. Bush came to Washington promising to decentralize government. However, his administration's energy policies are imposing a whole new layer of national policy on the public lands of the Mountain West, says Daniel Kemmis, an Utne Visionary and former mayor of Missoula, Montana, who now heads the non-profit Center for the Rocky Mountain West. It's no surprise, he says, that Bush is rewarding his resource-industry contributors with greater access to the public domain. And within a few years the pendulum will swing back to the side of the national environmental groups. Rather than perpetuate this ideological see-saw between paternalistic national centralizers, Kemmis argues, 'let's pick some national forests and BLM districts where neither national roadless policies nor national energy policies dictate management regimes, but where ideologically diverse groups of westerners are given a decade or so to manage the public land under a congressionally imposed mandate to manage for ecological sustainability.' He continues: 'Those who argue that only national policy can protect western landscapes should watch what national policy may be about to do to the West.'
--Leif Utne
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