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Old 08-30-2005, 07:55 AM   #1
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Bush Administration: How to Destroy the National Parks

August 29, 2005
Destroying the National Parks

Most of us think of America's national parks as everlasting places, parts of the bedrock of how we know our own country. But they are shaped and protected by an underlying body of legislation, which is distilled into a basic policy document that governs their operation. Over time, that document has slowly evolved, but it has always stayed true to the fundamental principle of leaving the parks unimpaired for future generations. That has meant, in part, sacrificing some of the ways we might use the parks today in order to protect them for tomorrow.

Recently, a secret draft revision of the national park system's basic management policy document has been circulating within the Interior Department. It was prepared, without consultation within the National Park Service, by Paul Hoffman, a deputy assistant secretary at Interior who once ran the Chamber of Commerce in Cody, Wyo., was a Congressional aide to Dick Cheney and has no park service experience.

Within national park circles, this rewrite of park rules has been met with profound dismay, for it essentially undermines the protected status of the national parks. The document makes it perfectly clear that this rewrite was not prompted by a compelling change in the park system's circumstances. It was prompted by a change in political circumstances - the opportunity to craft a vision of the national parks that suits the Bush administration.

Some of Mr. Hoffman's changes are trivial, although even apparently subtle changes in wording - from "protect" to "conserve," for instance - soften the standard used to judge the environmental effects of park policy.

But there is nothing subtle about the main thrust of this rewrite. It is a frontal attack on the idea of "impairment." According to the act that established the national parks, preventing impairment of park resources - including the landscape, wildlife and such intangibles as the soundscape of Yellowstone, for instance - is the "fundamental purpose." In Mr. Hoffman's world, it is now merely one of the purposes.

Mr. Hoffman's rewrite would open up nearly every park in the nation to off-road vehicles, snowmobiles and Jet Skis. According to his revision, the use of such vehicles would become one of the parks' purposes. To accommodate such activities, he redefines impairment to mean an irreversible impact. To prove that an activity is impairing the parks, under Mr. Hoffman's rules, you would have to prove that it is doing so irreversibly - a very high standard of proof. This would have a genuinely erosive effect on the standards used to protect the national parks.

The pattern prevails throughout this 194-page document - easing the rules that limit how visitors use the parks and toughening the standard of proof needed to block those uses. Behind this pattern, too, there is a fundamental shift in how the parks are regarded. If the laws establishing the national park system were fundamentally forward-looking - if their mission, first and foremost, was protecting the parks for the future - Mr. Hoffman's revisions place a new, unwelcome and unnecessary emphasis on the present, on what he calls "opportunities for visitors to use and enjoy their parks."

There is no question that we go to national parks to use and enjoy them. But part of the enjoyment of being in a place like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon is knowing that no matter how much it changes in the natural processes of time, it will continue to exist substantially unchanged.

There are other issues too. Mr. Hoffman would explicitly allow the sale of religious merchandise, and he removes from the policy document any reference to evolution or evolutionary processes. He does everything possible to strip away a scientific basis for park management. His rules would essentially require park superintendents to subordinate the management of their parks to local and state agendas. He also envisions a much wider range of commercial activity within the parks.

In short, this is not a policy for protecting the parks. It is a policy for destroying them.

The Interior Department has already begun to distance itself from this rewrite, which it kept hidden from park service employees. But 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.

It is clear by now that Mr. Bush has no real intention of living up to his campaign promise to fully finance the national parks. This document offers a vivid picture of the divide between the National Park Service, whose career employees remain committed to the fundamental purpose of leaving the parks unimpaired, and an Interior Department whose political appointees seem willing to alter them beyond recognition, partly in the service of commercial objectives.

Suddenly, many things - like the administration's efforts to force snowmobiles back into Yellowstone - seem very easy to explain.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/29/op...gewanted=print
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Old 08-30-2005, 08:08 AM   #2
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Looks like they want to turn it into a fucking playground.
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Old 08-30-2005, 08:11 AM   #3
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Makes me ask the question has Bush surrounded himself with any single person that has any legit scientific or environmental knowledge?
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Old 08-30-2005, 08:51 AM   #4
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The state parks are being ruined too, well they are in my state. My loser gov took a hatchet to the budget.

They allow certain uses in order to make money and that has an adverse impact on the parks. You also have to pay just to park there.
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Old 08-30-2005, 02:34 PM   #5
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WTF?

They want to turn national parks into amusement parks/christianity(since when they say religion they mean christianity) promotion centers? And they removed any mention of 'evolution' from the document even thought it likely wasn't even talking about evolution in the context of the universe's being?

Oh my god I can't wait for this absolute joke of an administration to be gone!
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Old 08-30-2005, 03:12 PM   #6
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By the time Bush gets through with his "agenda".......we may need the Iraqi's to "liberate" us.....this is a very low time to be an american...let's hope we all survive this adminastration..sorry to sound so bleak..but jayyyssuuss...
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Old 08-30-2005, 04:59 PM   #7
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...We need the iraqi's to liberate us?! What a statement.
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Old 08-30-2005, 06:41 PM   #8
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As a frequent and devoted visitor and supporter of our national parks, I can barely read these articles. Is there any business interest that Bush can say no to? All these fucks that voted for him should remember this when they take their American children to Canyonlands, Arches, Dinosaur, Glacier, Death Valley, and Canyon de Chelly (several of my favorites), and find that they've been destroyed by this idiot and his minions. My only hope is that with this kind of publicity, even the dumbshits who fell for his bullshit in the last election will tell him "No, even we won't allow you to fuck up like this."
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Old 08-30-2005, 06:56 PM   #9
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The mask comes down
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Old 08-30-2005, 07:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
As a frequent and devoted visitor and supporter of our national parks, I can barely read these articles. Is there any business interest that Bush can say no to? All these fucks that voted for him should remember this when they take their American children to Canyonlands, Arches, Dinosaur, Glacier, Death Valley, and Canyon de Chelly (several of my favorites), and find that they've been destroyed by this idiot and his minions. My only hope is that with this kind of publicity, even the dumbshits who fell for his bullshit in the last election will tell him "No, even we won't allow you to fuck up like this."

to quote dear dandy,
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Old 08-30-2005, 07:03 PM   #11
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Haliburton is behind this, I know it!
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Old 08-30-2005, 07:07 PM   #12
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Originally posted by theblazer
Haliburton is behind this, I know it!
Hey. You stole MY line.
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Old 08-30-2005, 07:47 PM   #13
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Take Mr. Hoffman to Yellowstone, tie him to a tree, string some steaks 'round his neck...and leave him to the the mercy of the bears........
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Old 08-30-2005, 09:10 PM   #14
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Take Mr. Hoffman to Yellowstone, tie him to a tree, string some steaks 'round his neck...and leave him to the the mercy of the bears........

Better leave some Rolaids, too; eating that poisonous little toadie is liable to give poor Teddy a tummy ache.
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Old 08-30-2005, 09:49 PM   #15
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"But we need those parks to drill for oil!!!!!! Don't you see the rising prices!!!!"

"But oil will eventually run out and a switch to a different type of fuel for our cars is inevitable. We have enough oil to last us the time it will take us to make this switch, so we don't wanna lose our national parks in an effort to delay an inevitable event."

"..... uhh..... umm...... stop hating America!"
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