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Radical Environmentalism Poses Grave Threat to True Conservation Efforts

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Jay Reeves

There is a grave environmental crisis afoot.

Mind you, it isn’t the oft-discussed “climate crisis”— but a threat that’s conveniently overlooked: radical preservationism. 

Preservationists, namely the far-Left and their environmentalist allies, have falsely presented themselves as true conservationists. But they’ve finally been unmasked. How? Anytime their policies are enacted, the results are ruinous to both people and nature. 

Take raging wildfires out West. A lack of forest management, due to preservationist policies, has led to the destruction of nearly 20 percent of sequoia trees in the last two years. That’s unconscionable.  

Here are some additional examples of destructive preservationist environmentalist policies being pushed today.

Cancelling the Keystone Pipeline

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden announced his administration would revoke the Keystone Pipeline’s permit—claiming the project “would not serve the U.S. national interest.”

11,000 jobs, many of them temporary, were lost. It led to the displacement of thousands from good-paying jobs. 

TC Energy, which owns the pipeline, noted it would be the first pipeline totally powered by renewable energy.

This summer, the energy company announced it was suing the Biden administration for $15 billion dollars, citing the government’s breach of “free trade obligations.”

Undermining Future Oil & Gas Leases on Federal Public Lands

Under the multiple-use philosophy of public lands management, federal oil and gas leases are standard.

This greatly irks the Biden administration, which is adamant about abandoning them for unreliable alternatives that ironically require lots of fossil fuels. 

After entering office, President Biden announced the pausing of new onshore and offshore leases. A federal judge in Louisiana later blocked the pause. 

“The omission of any rational explanation in cancelling the lease sales, and in enacting the Pause, results in this Court ruling that Plaintiff States also have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of this claim,” wrote Judge Terry Doughty. 

Instead of begging OPEC to supply us with fuel or opening the Strategic Petroleum Reserve with a paltry 50 million barrels of oil to be consumed within 2.5 days, the Biden administration could have increased domestic production. But they refused. 

Last Friday, Biden’s Interior Department released a long-anticipated report highlighting the “shortcomings” of the existing leasing program. Unsurprisingly, they urged immediate decarbonization from fossil fuels. 

Yes, they’re undoubtedly waging a War on Oil and Gas. And unfortunately for us, we’ll be burdened with higher electricity bills. 

Refusal to Explore Nuclear and Geothermal Energy

If America is to embrace a clean energy future, nuclear and geothermal energy development must be prioritized. 

There’s growing consensus to explore nuclear energy. 

As IWF Policy Analyst Charlotte Whelan observed, “Nuclear power is an energy source that the U.S. must take advantage of. Not only does it provide our only source of reliable carbon-free electricity, it is also a matter of national security and global leadership. If we do not lead the world in the development and deployment of nuclear energy, China, Russia and other international competitors will.”

The Diablo Canyon Power Plant, California’s last nuclear plant, is facing closure in three years, despite it being sustainable and cost-saving.

Similarly, geothermal has been discussed as a viable option yet congressional Democrats and green groups are reluctant to embrace it.

They strongly oppose The Enhancing Geothermal Production on Federal Lands Act, which would create “a categorical exclusion to NEPA to streamline the approval process for development on federal public lands and reduce high-upfront capital costs currently befalling the industry.”

Like nuclear, geothermal is fairly reliable and environmentally-friendly.

Not an inconvenient truth: Solar and wind have vast shortcomings. These true clean energy options, however, have potential and should be pursued. 

Restricting Conservationists from Public Lands Access

Radical environmentalists masquerading as conservationists desire to restrict the public, namely hunters and anglers, from public lands access—be it U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) lands or national monuments. 

Why? They vehemently oppose activities like hunting, which primarily funds conservation programs here. 

In the case of USFWS lands, ambulance chasers like the Center for Biological Diversity are filing lawsuits to block the opening of national wildlife refuges for new fishing and hunting opportunities. Why? Participants will be able to use lead bullets and tackle: 

“The Center for Biological Diversity brings this lawsuit to challenge a rule heralded by the Trump Administration as the largest-ever expansion of hunting and fishing on the National Wildlife Refuge System,” the suit said. “Promulgated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Hunting and Fishing Rule expands use of lead ammunition and tackle on numerous units of the Refuge System, including refuges where the agency never previously allowed hunting or fishing.”

“As practiced on refuges, hunting does not pose a threat to the wildlife populations – and in some instances it is necessary for sound wildlife management,” the USFWS website reads. “The harvesting of wildlife on refuges is carefully regulated to ensure equilibrium between population levels and wildlife habitat.”

Regarding national monuments, groups like Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council support enlarging them, especially the two controversial Utah ones, to ultimately limit access to fewer outdoor recreationists—targeting sportsmen and women in particular. 

As I recently noted in Deseret News, “One unintended consequence of enlarging national monuments is how this limits recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women — the biggest contributors to conservation funding in the U.S.” 


In order to pursue sound environmental policies, measures calling to upend our way of life must be rejected. 

True conservation—which calls for wise use, not no use, of natural resources—is the sustainable path forward. Let’s keep it that way.

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