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47894American Wilderness Faces the Firing Squad

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  • Teresa Binstock
    Jul 6, 2014

      American Wilderness Faces the Firing Squad

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/06/american-wilderness-faces-the-firing-squad.html

      On the even of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, conservative congressmen, theorists, and even Outside magazine seem eager to destroy what’s left of the wild in America.

      “I come more and more to the conclusion that wilderness, in America or anywhere else, is the only thing left worth saving.” —Edward Abbey

      On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, wilderness in America, as physical sanctuary and as an idea, finds itself under an unprecedented swarm of threats.

      The first of these threats is the usual business of extracting resources, pushed urgently to the forefront by discoveries in the energy field: coal-bed methane, fracking technology, and the tar sands of Alberta. Everyday, here in Montana, you can watch the protracted lines of coal cars headed night and day to Pacific ports where the dirtiest of fuel is shipped to feed an endless Asian appetite for energy. Settling over wilderness areas everywhere, like a deadly fog, is the scourge of our time: global warming.

      Two bills recently passed by the U. S. House of Representatives aim at decimating wilderness protection: The first (H. R. 3942) would open wilderness areas in Yellowstone National Park to high-tech boating, while the second bill (H.R. 4089) passed in April, would gut the entire 1964 Wilderness Act, opening wilderness areas to development and managing the wildlife of these wild places as game farms. The sponsors of both these bills are well-known conservative enemies of wilderness and the wild animals who range freely in these habitats. Both bills aim at driving a political wedge between environmental communities and their past allies in the outdoor recreational industries....