TUCSON -- The iconic cartoonist Walt Kelly first penned “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us” for an Earth Day poster in 1970. In an ironic echo of these words from his puckish possum Pogo, a Bush-appointed sporting panel convened to promote hunting has identified an array of administration policies as the biggest threats facing wildlife, according to a series of official “White Papers” released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Back on August 17, 2007, President Bush issued Executive Order 13443 directing national park, forest, refuge and BLM public land systems to write “a comprehensive Recreational Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Plan.” This plan was to be developed under the guidance of a Sporting Conservation Council made up of groups such as the NRA and Safari Club International, named by outgoing Interior Secretary Gale Norton.
In April 2008, the Sporting Conservation Council created a series of “White Papers” to aid federal agencies in “development of a comprehensive ten-year Recreational Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Plan called for in the EO” wrote Council officer Phyllis “Twinkle” Seitts in her June 6 transmittal letter.
While politely phrased, the White Papers unambiguously identify a series of Bush policies as the major “challenges” or “problems” facing hunters and wildlife, including –
- Loss of wetlands due to actions “in 2001 and 2006 by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers [which] have had the effect of removing wetlands protections that have been in place for more than 30 years”;
- Oil and gas drilling on federal wild lands which has become “a major wildlife concern in significant parts of several western states…”; and
- Politicized science and underfunded wildlife management, causing declines in biodiversity. “Federal land management planning decisions continue to hamper the ability …to effectively implement wildlife management projects” and conservation efforts.
The White Papers also cite the anemic response to climate change, border policies (such as walls) which inhibit “trans-boundary” wildlife management and deteriorating agency culture and capabilities.
Other coverage: Jackson Hole Daily (WY)