This jumbo green goodie bag would be a threat to financial security for untold numbers of workers in the demonized mining, logging and construction industries already reeling from economic hardship. Vigilant GOP Sen. James Inhofe has also called attention to how the Democrats' ambitious water protection schemes would enhance the "broad, and unprecedented, scope of authority it grants EPA over state permitting programs." In addition, restrictions on public access to newly expanded wilderness areas would hit hunters, fishermen and others in the recreation and tourism businesses.
The eco-job-killers' timing couldn't be worse. The Obama administration's de facto and de jure drilling moratoria have left Gulf Coast workers in crisis. Mom-and-pop fishing operations in New England are reeling from increased regulatory burdens. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and energy czar Carol Browner's War on the West has resulted in precipitous declines in new oil and natural gas leases on public lands. And Salazar's recent expansion of the National Landscape Conservation System and Community Partnerships in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) -- by administrative fiat -- will severely curtail energy development and tourism across more than 27 million acres of federally designated wilderness, conservation areas, rivers and monuments managed and protected by the BLM.
The extreme preservationists have run amok. It's time to fence them in.