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26 August 2005



This effort to radically change the mission of the National Park Service (among the proposed changes: inserting the word "conservation" in place of "preservation") is akin to the Bush administration's ongoing effort to starve the agencies at the state and local levels. It has already happened here in Pennsylvania, where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was forced, by budget shortfalls, to shutter its Pocono office, an office set up specifically to stop the illegal filling of wetlands in a region noted for its wetlands. The drive, in other words, is to use the budget, not legislation, to force weaker enforcement of environmental laws.



Thanks for your note. It does seem that death by budgetary slaughter of programs and institutions critical to environmental quality, not to mention other key aspects of civilization, is central to what might be regarded as 'conservative' political strategy. In the American West, we have the additional problem of anti-tax initiatives in the states.

In regard to the Paul Hoffman revision of National Park management policy, I was pleased to see an extended, strongly worded editorial in the New York Times (29 August: "Destroying the National Parks"). The editorial emphasizes the failure of the Bush administration to fund the National Parks as promised during the elections--although if funding increases were tied to acceptance of the management policies sought by the Bush administration, then the Parks would probably be off without the additional dollars. In reference to the Hoffman revision of Park management, the Times editorial states: "In short, this is not a policy for protecting parks. It is a policy for destroying them." The editorial goes on to say " . . .what Mr. Hoffman has given us is a road map of what could happen to the parks if Mr. Bush's political appointees are allowed to have their way."

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