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Who Else Should Join Pombo and Pearce on the Sidelines?


    So many politicians, so little time.
    So, how about a short-list of others whose departures from Congress would benefit the national park system?
    * Representative Candice Miller, R-Michigan. Ms. Miller has a thing for personal watercraft ... and anyone who stands in their way. Earlier this year the Republican held a hearing of her
Government Reform Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs to demand of the Park Service why it was taking so long on granting PWC access to a handful of national seashores, preserves and recreation areas. And one thing she made abundantly clear was that "the Subcommittee's principal concern is not whether PWC use has a detrimental impact on the environment."
    * Senator Conrad Burns, R-Montana. Now, Conrad already has plenty of problems standing in the way of his re-election, namely his ties to the Abramoff scandal. Beyond that, he hasn't found a snowmobile he wouldn't love to throttle through Yellowstone. Perhaps fearful that the latest environmental impact statement on snowmobiles in Yellowstone determines -- for the third time -- that the machines are not compatible with the park, the senator has been working quietly behind the scenes to see that snowmobiles remain in the park at least through 2010.
    * Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. C'mon, how friendly to national parks can this guy be? After all, he single-handedly shoved through legislation to turn a portion of Channel Islands National Park into a hunting preserve for the military. And the park isn't even in his district!
    * Rep. Charles Taylor, R-North Carolina. This guy's hard to figure. Rather than opt for a $52 million buyout on the so-called "Road to Nowhere" in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one just about everyone favors, he'd rather force the Park Service to spend $600 million on the road! This is the same Rep. Taylor who back in April pointed out to former NPS Director Fran Mainella that her agency was drowning in red ink.
    With friends like these, the park system won't climb out of its deep, dark financial hole for a long, long time.


Check out Basically, the park service is telling visitors that it's not safe to visit Organ Pipe National Monument. And if you do visit you're going to see piles of trash and human waste. Roads are closed due to safety concerns for visitors. It's due to illegal immigrants and drug smugglers. Check out how your representative voted on the Border Fence Bill. A vote for the fence is a vote to protect Organ Pipe.

That's easy...most of Congress!

On the other hand, a fence constitutes a migration barrier to terrestrial wildlife. Who else among the infamous anti-conservation crowd in Congress is worthy of attention? I pick Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the two-term member of the League of Conservation Voters' "Oil Slick Seven." Here's a newspaper column I wrote about this guy: Uh oh, that Clinton-loving-librul-ex-hippie is back. Actually, I’m not an ex-hippie. I wore a crewcut while in junior high back in the 60s and later served 10 years’ active duty in the Air Force and another 16 in the Air Force Reserve, retiring two years ago as a lieutenant colonel. I’m about as far from being an ex-hippie as one could find around these parts. During my college years, I even turned down an offer for a marijuana cigarette while working a summer job for the Idaho city of Pocatello’s parks department. A reader once gave me the Clinton label after I pointed out a politician’s dismal record of support for fish and wildlife protections. I really enjoy hearing from readers. Now, though, another election is coming up and hunters, fishers and other outdoors people have a clear black-and-white choice when considering our state’s two U.S. Senate candidates. The candidates, of course, are Rick Santorum and Bob Casey. By now, you may have seen one or more of the sparring partners’ tee vee ads. Neither one has said much in their commercials about conservation, but at least we know that Rick and Bob authorized their ads. Casey, of course, doesn’t have much of a voting record. His present job, state treasurer, doesn’t require a lot of voting. It’s mostly accounting stuff. But Ed, my sporting friend who’s a member of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, says Casey "hit a home run" when he spoke at the organization’s recent convention. "Of course, some in the crowd gave him a hard time, including asking him about pulling out of the United Nations," Ed says. "But you should have seen slick Rick in action. After talking briefly about his great record on guns and his ‘support’ for conservation, he went into this incredible tirade about terrorism. So we got to hear and see the Karl Rove strategy in person." Some in the crowd gave the incumbent a standing ovation. "But I also heard a number of positive comments about Casey," Ed says. Some Googling helps shed light on the candidates’ records and what we could expect in the future from each man when it comes to conservation. The nonpartisan League of Conservation Voters likes Santorum so much that he landed a coveted spot on the group’s "Oil Slick Seven" roster. "We call them the ‘Oil Slick Seven’ because they are all in the pocket of big oil companies," the League notes on its Web site. Just how did Rick win this honor? o By voting, the League notes, to "let oil companies have their cake and eat it too." o By saying "no to renewable energy." o By supporting legislation favoring "bigger and bigger cars with lower and lower [gas] mileage." o By saying yes to a 20-year delay in the reduction, from coal-fired power plants, of mercury emissions. Never mind that it’s probably not a good idea to eat fish caught from Pennsylvania waterways. o And by voting against a bipartisan Senate resolution putting the legislative body "on record that global warming is real and that mandatory limits are necessary to slow, stop and reverse the growth of global warming pollution." Rick’s voting record earned him a whopping 10 percent score on the League’s 2005 scorecard of environmental voting records. In fact, the senator has a lifetime scorecard record of – only – 10 percent. Rick’s record of Big Oil campaign contributions probably helped him land a spot on the Oil Slick Seven. According to the League, the incumbent has accepted $463,578 from the oil and gas industry during his legislative career. Because Casey has no voting record of his own, we’re left to ponder his campaign pledges. The challenger, on his campaign Web site: o Says he’s "deeply committed to preserving our great natural resources." o Supports reinstating the "polluter pays" principle for the clean up of toxic waste sites. o Opposes opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. o Encourages federal tax code changes encouraging more conservation of land and fish and wildlife habitat. Rick will once again get votes from some sportsmen who somehow manage to equate "freedom" with "conservation." But joining the Oil Slick Seven, while a noteworthy achievement, is hardly a ringing endorsement. As the campaign swung into high gear recently, Santorum had an epiphany, touting his environmental record. "Eleventh-hour attempts to do something positive regarding our natural resources will not change Santorum’s true record," a letter writer told the Harrisburg Patriot-News. "Santorum would rather do the bidding of an oil company than acknowledge the need for environmental stewardship," the writer said in quoting the League of Conservation Voters’ Web site. Take it from an old guy who’s not an ex-hippie. If you care about our natural world and its many threats, there is only one way to vote in the Senate race, regardless of party affiliation.

I'm against damage to the National Parks period. This article demonstrates the damage done by Mexican drug cartels growing marijuana on public lands, mentioning in particular Point Reyes National Seashore and Sequoia National Park. Damage to the watershed by fertilizers and pesticides. Damage to wildlife. Trash, pipes for irrigation, guns. 80% of the marijuana grown on public lands is done by Mexican drug cartels hiring illegals to do the work. This site shouldn't get so caught up in politics that some dangers to national parks are highlighted but others ignored.

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