Yesterday, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) reintroduced our 23-million acre, 5-state ecosystem bill, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (S.1276) in the U.S. Senate (117th congress). First introduced in 1992 by Rep. Peter Kostmayer (D-PA), this legislation is the first of its kind to take a “beyond borders” (ecosystem) approach to public lands protection. Based on John and Frank Craighead’s work in Yellowstone National Park, primarily studying grizzly bears, we have tried to incorporate the most valuable fish and wildlife habitat in the “Wild Rockies bioregion” into legislative form to protect what’s left of “untrammeled nature” in the Lower 48.
Of course, not a single senator from the West signed on. But then again, not a single southern senator signed onto the Civil Rights Act. The (abusive) powers that be control the bills that pass through congress, lubed with big bags of money delivered by K Street lobbyists, so we’re not expecting passage in this congress. But what is life without vision?
In another newsy item, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and friends just stopped a burning project close to the western boundary of Yellowstone National Park. Rarely will the Jackson Hole News cover our small victories, no matter how big the impact on the landscape. This burning would have scorched some 1 million acres of national forest land for no good reason, except to gain more agency budget — they’re funded by annual acres “treated” — and a bigger staff. https://www.jhnewsandguide.com/news/environmental/forest-wide-prescribed-burn-plan-called-off-west-of-tetons/article_9215e3a5-d0f6-5b8b-aab1-93df00c07f32.html
Enjoy these small miracles, they don’t come often enough.