Bush's War On Everything; Congressional Corporate Pawns Poised for Ecological Devastation |
This coming winter's winds are sounding a wild waking howl of warnings. A Congress beholden to Bush's corporate industry agenda of profits and ecological devastation sits poised -and apparently willing- to unravel decades of environmental protection and policy laws. In the wake of this country's recent Plutocratic election farce, the previously squabbling factions of Congress have become more homogenous, and Bush's corporate agenda more likely of passage. Threatened are this nation's last remaining ecological treasures, from the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to the last remaining public wildlands of the National Forest and BLM. Similar to Bush's perpetual (and farcical) war "on terror", the administration intends to unleash a similar war on nature itself.
Utilizing everything from fraudulent "reports" of the severity, intensity, and scope (acreage) of this season's fires, to oil industry speculation, hype, and head-in-the-sands-denial alarms of "oil shortages", as well as "war on terror" "necessary" military exemptions from environmental laws; Bush and his Congressional corporate prot?g?s stand ready with a sleight of bills and riders sure to benefit industrial profits "bottom lines' at the expense of ecological integrity. Such Congressional actions threaten yet more extirpations and extinctions of numerous fish and wildlife species?, many whose populations are already in serious decline.
Over the past several years many non-profit ecological advocacy organizations have been increasingly successful at exposing and stopping egregious government projects, from timber sales to military bombing ranges to herbicide and biocide sprayings. This year alone the League of Wilderness Defenders-Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project has won five federal lawsuits, setting legal precedents and stopping six timber sales, a herbicide plan, and a FS project to spray BTk (which kills all species of lepidoptera?moths and butterflies) on up to 5 million acres of forest for a native species of moth (see EF!J issue xxx).
Three of the timber sales were post-fire salvage sales, which challenge the government's current plans to log this season's burns. Among the year's victories for the Center for Biological Diversity was a federal court ruling halting military bombing on Farallon de Medinilla (of the Northern Mariana Islands) due to violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (during court proceedings a government attorney had the malicious audacity to argue that the military's killing of birds benefits birders because "bird watchers get more enjoyment spotting rare birds than they do spotting a common one"). Many activists have long been aware, upon entering into the government's legal arenas, that catching government agencies, from the Forest "Service" to the military, in breaking laws would likely only result in temporary protections. Rather than enforce the laws, and hold lawbreaking government agencies accountable, Congress has now begun to change the rules of the legal arena, and to weaken and remove the laws.
November 14th saw the first in an escalating series of impending Congressional assaults upon federal environmental laws. Congress sent a bill to Bush for signing which exempts the military from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and will allow the military to resume?and escalate its wildlife killing bombing trainings. In January, when Congress reconvenes, it is expected that this assault will continue with the looming passage of a fire-logging rider as part of the fiscal year 2003 Interior Appropriations Bill. Following this is an expected attempt to pass Senator Larry Craig's S2474 bill, which would permanently rewrite all forest management laws to the benefit of timber corporations?and the detriment and irretrievable loss of wild nature. Other bills to watch (and hopefully scuttle as well) are the McInnis Bill HR 5319 and Bush's (Orwellian titled) "Healthy Forests Initiative". Rumors of a renewed attempt to open the artic refuge to oil drilling, as well as bills and riders ensuring the "rights" of ranchers and mining corporations to devastate nature, lurk in the ember fantasies of industrial profiteers. On top of this looming pile of legislative effluence is a Forest Service revision of forest planning regulations, which would gut current environmental protection policies and laws.
As can be surmised, next year looms as yet another parable of "interesting times". The above, coupled with the Patriot Act, and unfettered police state powers of the FBI and cops present challenges to all aware, caring, and action oriented people. Indeed, it is largely thought that the recent spate of felony charges brought in the Northwest against activists who were simply attending an auction demonstration, were brought in large part to intimidate activists, and to attempt to quash activist resistance in preparation for the destruction to come when these bills are unleashed.
Yet wild nature, the current and future heritage of us all, beyond the generations, cannot be usurped by wanton profiteering corporations. Paper laws passed by a criminally corrupt Congress are just that?paper. Since Corporate hierarchal society and their Congressional pawns have forgotten that they too are part of nature, and what befalls nature will befall them too, it is time to remind them. In nature exists the real powers of this living Earth, of life itself. If this industrial society's answer to impending extinctions and continuing loss of wild habitat is only machines, bombs and more destruction, then we must meet such insanity with campaigns which embody the powers inherent in nature; the unpredictability of earthquakes, the fury of hurricanes, the wildness of winter's storms, the fiery flash of lightning. In the Pacific Northwest activists are gathering, planning for what we do to protect and restore nature when all the laws are gone?or rendered a meaningless farce. Plans for Cascadia Summer are emerging into a strong season of direct action campaigns as all of Cascadia Rising to meet the inane insanity of Bush, Congress, their police thugs, and the corrupt corporate plunder and perpetual "war on everything" alive. What do we do when the laws are removed? The only thing we can do: take creative, strong, effective actions for this living Earth, sending the planned destruction back-home to the corporate destroyers themselves. See you in the woods, the streets, the offices and corporate homes! For the Wild!!Basta!!
BTW, rumor has it that The Earth First! Journal is in dire need of lots of newsubscriptions to keep it going. It's long been one of the best sources for up-to-date info on direct action campaigns worldwide, inspiring reports and announcements about actions to get involved with, basically just a kickass publication. To get one sent to you or your loved ones, (prisoners get free subscriptions, and you might even be able to get one free sample for yourself) here's the info:
Earth First! Journal
POB 3023, Tucson, AZ 85702
(520) 620-6900, Fax: (413) 254-0057
Direct Action Fund
Canyon, CA 91516