Every Last Square Inch

It is striking to me that the interests in the U.S. and Canada that wish to promote more forestry, mining, and oil drilling have no inherent interest in preserving even one square foot of pristine wilderness or ocean. They do not care. They can never care: that’s not what they do. They would, if not prevented, take every last tree, mine every wilderness, and drill every square foot of shoreline. After they despoil an area, they sell their interests to small shadow companies that often end up bankrupt before they are able to pay the costs of any form of restoration. Google inactive mining sites to see the results.

Assuming that a reasonable person would agree that some of these activities produce a public good– jobs, government income, useful products– it is alarming when a government openly promotes unlimited access to natural resources, even in areas it once “protected”. This is publicly described as a “balanced” approach when it is clear that the government itself has joined its interests with those of the industries it is supposed to regulate and completely excluded the public interest in preservation. As when the EPA chief– the “Environmental Protection Agency” is an industry flack, as he is now.

Teddy Roosevelt understood that mining and oil and forestry companies have no reason to preserve anything. George W. Bush understood it. I think even Ronald Reagan liked some natural wilderness. I don’t think Trump would know a wilderness if it slapped him in the face with its flipper, and I suspect that if he was shown a wilderness area he would say something like, “what a great place for a casino.” He will probably do what most Republicans have done in the past: partition off a small portion for “preservation” and open the rest to drilling. He knows full well that in twenty years, a new Republican administration will look at that preserved area and go, “hey, why can’t we drill there? Look at all the high-paying jobs.” and a new smaller portion will be partitioned off for “preservation”.

And there will be lots of chortling and giggling among the oil executives at short memories and big cars.

I know this is long and probably boring but I was just reading about the Trump administration’s plans to open the ANWR to oil exploration. One of the very last remaining areas of pristine wilderness. And they want that too. I think that area is unbelievably beautiful and should be preserved, like Tombstone Park up near Dawson City with its stunning vistas. I don’t think this administration thinks there is the slightest value in that beauty. Even worse: they don’t see any value in respecting the wishes of the constituency that does wish to preserve it.

[whohit]Every Square Inch[/whohit]