How the Wise Use Movement Is Tied to the #OregonStandoff
By Kert Davies, Climate Investigations Center
Last weekend, when an armed group of men in eastern Oregon occupied a building within a National Wildlife Refuge to protest the jailing of a rancher for federal crimes, we immediately went to the Anti-Environmental Archives to do some research. Lo and behold, the archives contain lots of documents about the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and lots of information on the decades-long conflict between ranchers like Dwight Hammond who want to run their cattle into protected areas and federal authorities seeking to uphold the law and protect the area from despoliation.
ICYMI: @RepRaulGrijalva's statement on the #OregonStandoff. Please RT... https://t.co/7mvotyc6qE https://t.co/L1klNDCAbZ— Wilderness Society (@Wilderness Society)1452276924.0
The refuge, home to millions of migratory birds, was established in 1908 by former President Theodore Roosevelt. Starting in March, according to the Fish & Wildlife Service website, visitors will see the annual torrent of "greater sandhill cranes, tundra swans, northern pintails and white-fronted, snow, Ross' and Canada geese ... American white pelicans, double-crested cormorants, western grebes, long-billed curlews and American avocets" along with numerous songbirds. Must be something to see and hear. Meanwhile, there are a few non-migratory armed thugs in cowboy hats.
We published the Anti-Environmental Archives in April 2015, a catalog of thousands of original documents published by and about the groups involved in the Wise Use Movement. You can search the archives for yourself here.
Much of the media coverage of the Oregon situation has been light on the long history of anti-federal government agitation in the West. Some reporters have described the “Sagebrush Rebellion," the resistance to federal control of Western lands that originally dates back to the early 1990s and was emboldened by the Reagan Administration and Interior Secretary James Watt.
Missing from coverage is the mention of the pro-logging, pro-ranching, pro-mining Wise Use Movement, which escalated in the early 1990s during the Clinton Administration. These local fights eventually led to the election of such extremists as Republican of California Rep. Richard Pombo who authored the book This Land is Our Land: How to End the War on Private Property in 1996. The most memorable was over the protection of the endangered Spotted Owl in western Oregon and Washington state, which restricted logging of old growth timber. But the fight with the Bureau of Land Management over grazing "rights" was at the heart of Wise Use conflict. In fact, Western ranchers are recipients of the one of the largest federal welfare programs, (approximately $500 Million in taxpayer money in 2014), getting below-market-value leases to public lands to graze their cattle.
Much of the reporting on the armed occupation in Oregon has also failed to go very deep on rancher Dwight Hammond, the inspiration for the protest that begat the armed occupation of the refuge last weekend. Its important context that Hammond has been at war with the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and federal authorities going back to the 1970s and that he was arrested in the early 1990s for blocking a fence being built on the Refuge border. These incidents were well before the 2001 arson, for which they were convicted and for which Hammond and son are now in prison. Thus the Hammonds became hero/martyrs of the Wise Use Movement more than 20 years ago.
The right wing media is playing this like a righteous fight against the oppressive federal government. The racial hypocrisy in press coverage of this mess is not unnoticed. Will we see a Republican candidate make anti-environmental anti-federal land ownership promises?
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
- Thom Yorke of Radiohead Releases Song With Greenpeace to Help ... ›
- Patti Smith, Thom Yorke, Flea and More Featured on Just Released ... ›
- Musicians and Activists Unite at 'Pathway to Paris' - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A national park in Thailand has come up with an innovative way to make sure guests clean up their own trash: mail it back to them.
- Supermarkets in Thailand and Vietnam Swap Plastic Packaging for ... ›
- Malaysia Sends Plastic Waste Back to 13 Wealthy Countries, Says It ... ›
- Thailand Begins the New Year With Plastic Bag Ban - EcoWatch ›
- Coronavirus Worsens Thailand's Plastic Waste Crisis - EcoWatch ›
- Marium, Thailand's Beloved Baby Dugong, Is the Latest Victim of ... ›
By Ilana Cohen
Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
- 7 Republicans Joined Senate Democrats in Vote to Fight Climate ... ›
- Climate Change Acknowledged by Increasing Number of ... ›
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that 64 high-income nations have joined an effort to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine fairly, prioritizing the most vulnerable citizens, as Science reported. The program is called the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, and it is a joint effort led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
- Trump Denies CDC Director's 2021 Timeline for Coronavirus Vaccine ›
- CDC Tells States to Prepare for a Vaccine Before November Election ›
- Fauci Warns Pre-Pandemic Normalcy Not Likely Until Late 2021 ... ›
By Gloria Oladipo
In the face of dangerous heat waves this summer, Americans have taken shelter in air conditioned cooling centers. Normally, that would be a wise choice, but during a pandemic, indoor shelters present new risks. The same air conditioning systems that keep us cool recirculate air around us, potentially spreading the coronavirus.