Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day 2015: more wildlife habitat or more shopping malls?

Wild Lands for Sale?
As I recall, I took a walk on the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970. As I passed the local high school, I paused to pick up a pop can and after I got home, I deposited it in the trash. Forty-five years later, I'm pleased that we continue to celebrate Earth Day, even though much remains to be done to preserve and protect this small planet, including our wildlife and the environment.

So it is this morning that Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders of Wildlife, emailed me and posed a critical question.

Dear Virginia,
What would you rather have: More wildlife habitat and wilderness or more shopping malls and clear-cut forests?
Hmm, I thought, I don't need more shopping malls or clear-cut forests.
Then Jamie informed me:

A move is afoot to potentially give away massive chunks of our national public lands (parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, etc.) to the states. The states will then be free to sell off these lands to the highest bidders.
Special interest lobbyists are currently using the annual budget process as a cover to open up our most precious places to the frackers, drillers, clear cutters, developers and other profiteers.
In late March, Senator Murkowski pressed through an Amendment to the annual budget resolution that specifically authorizes the sale, transfer or exchange of federal public lands to state and local governments, potentially for resale to private interests.
If this Amendment is adopted in the final budget resolution, it could set the stage for future land disposal legislation, resulting in widespread destruction of some of our most beloved and most fragile landscapes. Wildlife will lose critical habitat. Future generations will never experience the wide-open spaces and unspoiled places that you and I cherish so much.

Most Americans wholeheartedly want to keep our public lands in public hands.

Thanks for all you do.

Jaime Rappaport Clark
Jamie Rappaport Clark President, Defenders of Wildlife

I say friends, we're fortunate on Earth Day 2015 to have Jamie Rappaport Clark and the organization she represents, Defenders of Wildlife, continue the battle to preserve and protect the environment and life on this small planet. In turn, let's thank Jamie and Defenders of Wildlife for all they do!

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