Bubba's Free Ride and His Big Green Lap Dogs
The new president is in office. First on the agenda is a forest plan. Off to the Northwest he goes with his traveling show. Soon thereafter, a new logging plan is put into effect. The plan calls for 50 years of logging in old-growth habitat.
As if the new forest plan is not enough, the president soon signs a bill exempting logging from all environmental laws. This new law leads to massive clearcutting and no one is allowed to challenge the carnage in court.
Soon thereafter, the interior secretary announces that the new administration is placing a moratorium on new endangered species listings under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) enacted by President Nixon.
Then the interior secretary gets busy crafting habitat conservation plans (HCPs) which allow industry to circumvent the ESA and continue species-destroying actions. Conveniently, the 200-plus HCPs come with a bonus "No Surprises" rule which allows the exemptions to continue for 50 years no matter what new science or information is discovered.
By now, one would expect loud cries of protest from Green outfits in DC. But, no. The National Audubon Society's Vice President Brock Evans calls the new ancient forest liquidation plan a "victory." Many groups--even local groups that begin acting like the Big Greens--remain silent and receive large grants to, in their own words, "monitor the implementation" of the new plan.
One small local group actually gets Congress to pass legislation protecting 30,000 acres of ancient forest that the group worked to save for over 20 years. The president is so offended that he refuses to sign wilderness legislation, the first time that has ever happened. The Big Green groups label the group as "renegades" and a "fringe element," yet they claim the small victory as their own in order to raise funds.
The interior secretary then embarks on a wholesale effort to trade away choice forests on public lands for cut-over lands stolen earlier by big timber companies. An unprecedented number of such land exchanges take place with thousands of square miles transferring from the public to private profiteers.
But throughout, a masterful spin campaign is conducted, and the public is hoodwinked into believing that the administration is actually green and is actually saving things. Big Green groups heap voluminous praise on the president and secretary. A number of sham protection initiatives are put forth. Some new national monuments are declared. But, on reading the fine print, many of the areas are worse off. A new Redwoods National Monument allows increased logging within its boundaries.
The administration's chief of the Forest Service even makes a front-page call for "ending old-growth logging" in the administration's final days, begging the lie that it already gave us that victory. The administration put out an immediate disclaimer saying that the Forest Service chief was "speaking philosophically, not policy-wise"--a retraction that was buried deep in newspapers, if at all.
The president? George W. Bush? The interior secretary? Gale Norton? No. All this happened under Bill Clinton and Bruce Babbitt. The same Clinton and Babbitt who were given a "B+" by Big Green groups for their efforts on behalf of the environment. Imagine the grade had it been Bush/Norton.
How did such a sorry state of affairs come about?
The Big Green/Foundation/ Democrat cabal sold out the environment and crippled protection efforts in Ciintontime. Here's how it went down:
Justin Time's Rule: The amount of grant money received is inversely proportional to the amount of acres protected. And it is directly proportional to the rate of entropy afflicting activism in the grant-receiving organizations. In other words, less is saved and, perhaps most insidious, the future capacity to save ecosystems is reduced as well.
Remember the above example of the small local group's success? Well, Friends of Opal Creek spent less than $30,000 and saved nearly 30,000 acres of ancient forests. DC Green-led ancient forest efforts raised and spent $100 million, yet only those Opal Creek acres now have big "W" Wilderness status. Not a single acre of spotted owl habitat elsewhere gained this inviolate designation during Clintontime.
"Money doesn't talk. It swears." --Bob Dylan
The grants, from the big oil Pew Foundation-led Environmental Grantmakers Association, have created a cycle of dependency on foundations, putative leaders and the Democratic Party. Pew and the Rockefeller Foundation formed a cabal, the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA), and coerced a lot of smaller foundations to join. The goal of EGA was/is to dictate just what environmental efforts are to be funded. The criteria for gaining funding is strict adherence to the EGA/ Democrat greenwash agenda. For example, all groups that would not go along with Option 9 (Clinton's Forest Plan) and all groups that called for Zero Cut saw their grants dry up, while all the groups that sucked up and declared Option 9 a victory got lavish funding.
This is the worst betrayal of the roots of American environmentalism. It has undermined our independence, our sense of community and our optimism. We're told we can't succeed without big money, experts and political influential peddling. The truth is quite the reverse. These are the very factors that have emasculated our movement over the past decade.
Foundation-dependent environmentalists aren't that different from the Teamsters under Ron Carey. Carey allowed his union to be used to funnel money to the Democratic Party, and the DNC repaid the favor by rerouting money into Carey's election. The Big Greens have become an adjunct of the Democrats, pardoning Democrat-led eco-destruction time and again. The survival of the Dems is more important than the survival of old growth, spotted owls or grizzlies. And the Democrats have returned the favor by helping keep their faithful allies, such as Sierra Club's Carl Pope and flaks-for-hire, League of Conservation Voters' Deb Callahan and Oregon Natural Resources Council Conservation Director Ken Rait, in positions of power, throwing them meaningless crumbs every few months--a national monument here, a roadless area plan there.
Where do we go from here?
It now appears that the Big Greens have decided that the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is the most fertile fundraising ground given the oil-besotted background of the new president and vice president. So, the dance begins there, with both sides making predictable bleats. (If their fundraising showed more coming in from ANWR than, say the Amazon, the Big Greens would easily triage the Amazon. They uttered not a peep when Clinton and Gore opened up the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve and lifted the ban on Alaskan oil exports.)
I would be happy to cede to the Big Greens the ANWR issue if it meant they would no longer be mucking around in public forests and other crucial issues. In fact, it would be a very good opportunity for us if they would stay so money-driven and distracted.
But, no, we now see a renewed effort from DC central to again ride the ancient forest issue to fundraising success. And we now have the spectacle of the aforementioned Brock Evans of Option 9 victory shame, sitting on the board of directors of the National Forest Protection Alliance (NFPA), a group that was founded to pursue Zero Cut on public lands. Evens led the DC Greens in savaging Earth First!, Tim Hermach and other Zero Cut pioneers when they first proposed an end to all public lands logging. Now, Evans, not Hermach, is on the board. What does that say for the NFPA's chances?
Likewise, we now have Demo pimp/ Pew darling Ken Rait's current group, Oregon Natural Resources Council, trying to resurrect the old Oregon Wilderness Coalition (sans the democratic process of the original, of course) in an attempt to wring dollars for a new wilderness campaign. Of course, Clinton administration official, George Frampton, in his earlier incarnation as head of the Wilderness Society incredibly said back in 1988 that, "there will be no more wilderness bills."
Of course, there may be a success opportunity given the number of past acres designated under Republicans versus the paucity designated under Clinton and Gore. The fact that the enemy is now out in the open and not hiding behind a faux-green facade should also make it easier to fight the desecration. Having an honest, unapologetic Earth-raper in the White House means that we'll be more united. Hell, we may even accept the help of some of the Democrat sycophants now that greenwashing bad Dems won't be the problem for at least four years.
George II's Supreme Court selection just may be the best news our movement and our ecosystems have received in a long time. Let's make the most of it. Keep the pressure on. No compromise. We want it all back. Forget about grant money. Forget about help from the Dems. Remember Justin Time's Rule. As Dylan also said, "Don't follow leaders, watch your parking meters."
© Earth First! Journal, March-April 2001