Bush Sells Off Our Natural Resources to Timber Industry

Timber industry lobbyist and agri-business legal mouthpiece Ann Veneman also happens to be the Agriculture Secretary. Veneman, who never saw a check to corporate greed she could support or a corporate proposal to appropriate publicly-owned resources that she couldn’t, is going to turn 60 million acres of previously protected land over to the the timber industry.

The Bush administration said yesterday it plans to overturn a Clinton-era rule that made nearly 60 million acres of national forest off-limits to road-building and logging, setting aside one of the most sweeping land preservation measures in decades.Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman proposed replacing the Clinton rule with a policy that would allow governors to petition the federal government if they wished to keep certain areas roadless. She said this approach would encourage cooperation between state and federal officials and end the litigation that has dogged Clinton’s “roadless” rule since its inception.

The litigation of which she speaks, making it sound as if it’s those nasty, tree-hugging. prosperity-hating, anti-American, spotted-owl-loving, snail-darter-protecting environmentalists again, actually turns out to have been the work of a timber industry that is incapable of taking ‘No’ for an answer.

Western states and timber companies had challenged the roadless rule in six courts after Clinton put it in place before leaving office in January 2001. The regulation prohibited development in areas spanning more than 5,000 acres, accounting for nearly a third of the national forests. Twelve Western states are home to 97 percent of all roadless areas, some of which provide drinking water to local communities as well as wildlife habitat.The Bush administration had left the roadless prohibitions on the books but had not actively defended them in court, arguing that the rule was flawed because it did not take the needs of state and local communities into account.

As always, we must translate for the Post. ‘The needs of state and local communities’ means ‘the greed of the state and local corporations who own the political process’; ‘taking into account’ means ‘kissing their asses and doing whatever they tell us to do’. It’s simple once you get the hang of it; if you want to know what they really mean, simply reverse everything they say. Up is Down, Black is White, Day is Night, Greed is Efficiency, Public is Private, and Yours is Theirs.

Timber organizations hailed yesterday’s announcement, saying the Clinton administration had excluded them from the process when it drafted the rule.

Poor babies. So Veneman, who felt sorry for them I guess, made it up to them by letting them write this one. How thoughtful of her. How sweet of her. How obedient to her slave masters of her. The WaPo did finally get around to quoting somebody who was less than thrilled with this sale.

“It’s another case of the Bush administration having happy talk on the environment, but it’s basically rape and pillage,” said Earthjustice attorney Doug Honnold, who has defended the rule in Idaho, Wyoming and D.C. courts.

If there were any honesty in govt (a forlorn hope if ever there was one), ‘Rape and Pillage’ would be the Bush/Cheney ’04 campaign slogan. It’s the translation into real English of ‘Peace and Prosperity’.

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