I’ll be doing a little guest blogging on environmental issues over at Dissent. Here’s the first:
Nixon would never have let this happen. Back when Tricky Dicky ruled, Americans had nearly annihilated such creatures as the bison, the peregrine falcon, and the bald eagle, but were making efforts to bring them all back. It was 1973 when Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act, crafted in a collaborative effort between scientists and government, with a hearty dose of lawyerly input. It was a monumental step for species survival, ensuring a place for the marginalized flora and fauna that were at risk of extinction as a “consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation.” The year 1973 also marked the culmination of an era when conservatives could publicly support conservation without being vilified. The intent of the landmark law was that, once in place, decisions about listing—and delisting—species as endangered would be based on conservation science, not politics.
That all changed this month when Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), a music teacher turned farmer, and Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID), a dentist, placed a rider on the federal budget bill that removes wolves in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Utah from the federal endangered species list.