Monday, November 15, 2010

Big Green imposes its agenda — with or without Congress

We learned earlier this week in The Washington Examiner about Natural Resources Defense Council Chairman Frances Beinecke instructing House Republicans not to listen to folks who voted them in on a “cresting wave of economic ire,” but to only impose the enviro agenda. She ended with the steely warning, “We are going to get there with Congress or without Congress.” How does Big Green deliver on big talk like that? Shortly before Republicans won the bloodiest midterm election victory in living memory, 12-term Oregon Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio worried that his bid for a 13th term might fall to Republican opponent Art Robinson and cresting economic ire. His timber-rich 4th District once held vibrant communities of loggers earning high wages. But when the spotted owl was protected by the Endangered Species Act in 1989, you couldn’t cut trees, and 15,000 loggers and mill workers found themselves jobless. That demonstrated that Big Green had its Bigger Hammer; thereafter, greens flocked to court to stop everything with the Endangered Species Act. So how could DeFazio convince voters today that he was pro-jobs?...more

Fazio invited Interior Secretary Salazar to his district, one week before the election. Salazar promised to free up trees for logging by promoting an "innovative pilot project."

Then a funny thing happened within 24 hours of the Salazar/Fazio meeting. Susan Jane Brown of the Western Environmental Law Center filed a lawsuit to stop a BLM timber sale. And who is Susan Jane Brown?
"Brown, lead attorney, was staff counsel for DeFazio from 2007 to 2009. While a professor at Lewis  and Clark Law School, her professional bio bragged, “Susan Jane has been litigating timber sales since 2000. Due in large part to her efforts, the logging levels on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest have declined 96 percent since 1997.” The 1.3 million-acre Gifford Pinchot National Forest covers four counties of Washington state. Brown sent the average unemployment rate in those counties soaring from about 8.5 percent to 14.7 percent. DeFazio knew about Brown’s litigating timber sales when he hired her in Washington. He also hired extremist David Dreher as legislative aide in 2000, now with the Pew-funded Campaign for America’s Wilderness. DeFazio’s office is practically an incubator for radicals."
So Fazio's former staff counsel filed suit to stop a timber sale, just after Fazio held a big political meeting about increasing logging. Not to worry, Fazio still won re-election.

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