One can be excused for missing the various Obama-era regulations that are being overturned right and left by the current administration. But, one New York Times headline in particular caught my attention, “Push to weaken law protecting at-risk wildlife.”
According to the article, the Endangered Species Act, which has been on the books for 45 years is now under attack by the White House, lawmakers and, of course, ranching, logging and oil drilling lobbyists. Why? Because the act protected such rare animals as the gray wolf in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes, the sage grouse, a chicken-size bird that inhabits millions of oil rich acres in the West and the American Burying Beetle, yet another bane to oil-drilling companies.
In the past two weeks alone, more than two dozen pieces of legislation, policy initiatives and amendments designed to weaken the Endangered Species Act have either been introduced or voted on in Congress.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not a fan of beetles (the insect, not the legendary group) or the sage grouse. But, I’ve always had the call of the wild in me and see myself as something of a lone gray wolf in an industry chock full of sameness.
But here’s the deal. I care about preserving wildlife for future generations and am vehemently opposed to destroying the environment and wiping out endangered species just to create jobs in a country with a record-low unemployment rate.
It’s just plain wrong and beyond shortsighted.
The real losers are the next generations of Americans who will inherit a heavily polluted, deforested and endangered species free world. I wouldn’t want that for my grandchildren, but Trump Republicans seem to view the world through a different lens.
In fact, Richard Pombo, a former Congressman from California who more than a decade ago led an attempt to rethink the Endangered Species Act and, surprise, surprise, is now a lobbyist whose clients include mining and water management companies, said: “It’s probably the best chance that we have had in 25 years to make any substantial changes.” That’s scary, sobering and sad.
My Repman columns focus on image and reputation. And, if I were one of these gung-ho environmental opponents and climate-change deniers, I’d think long and hard about putting the final nail in the coffin of endangered species. I believe in karma. And, Trump Republicans will eventually reap what they’ve sown (or, in this case, strip-mined).
Politicians, be they Republican, Democratic or Independent have a moral and ethical responsibility to preserve, protect and defend our national treasures for future generations.
How nice would it be if the collective cohort aiming to eradicate the wolf, sage grouse and beetle were themselves put on an endangered species list? Alas, only voters can make that happen. And by the time the midterms roll around, we may have seen the last of the wolf, grouse and beetle.