Wednesday, October 5, 2011

U.S. Chamber of Horrors

R. Bruce talks with the "fair and balanced" folks. What a knob.
It seems that big industry in this country is relentlessly continuing its attack on the public lands that belong to every single American. This time, it's the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that's going on the record and supporting the Fish and Game Subversives Act, which would open up millions of acres of high-quality fish and wildlife habitat to development.

And that, of course, is exactly what this right-wing outfit wants. Contrary to its very name, the USCC is not so much a friend to commerce as it is to big industry. Thousands of mom-and-pop businesses out there that are members of this organization are being duped into thinking this overarching outfit is out to help the flow of cash through their communities when, in reality, this slave to Big Business is simply doing the bidding of the industry that desperately wants to develop public lands for their subsurface minerals.

In a letter to U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the evil mastermind behind the FAGS act that would open up unprotected public lands to eventual development and unchecked use by the reckless off-road vehicle community, USCC Executive Vice President for Government Affairs wrote: "This legislation would direct that these lands be managed for multiple uses, which would include increased recreational opportunities, responsible resource development and better access to enhance firefighting and insect control capabilities. The bill would allow local land managers and surrounding communities to determine through the local land management planning process how these lands should be used."
Ah, yes... R and W. Rich and White and out to rape
America's public lands.

It's proof that R. Bruce Josten (what kind of blue-blood uses an initial for his first name, anyway?) knows virtually nothing about the millions of acres of land in question and is simply parroting the message clearly delivered to him by the moneyed extraction industry that, more than anything, wants to build inventory and enslave the nation to decades more of fossil fuel dependence. If he had an orginal thought, R. would have considered the impact that trashing prime fish and game habitat would have on the long-term economy in rural America that depends on the billions of renewable dollars that flow into these communities each year thanks to hunters, anglers and others who have no trouble "accessing" these apparently inaccessible lands. He'd know that these lands are already subject to multiple use, even the kind he's so blindly supporting. In short, R. is a tool ... of the extraction industry.

And he's a dick, too.

It's one thing to have sell-out organizations like the Safari Club and the NRA (themselves political mouthpieces of the rich white guys who run outfits like Exxon-Mobil and Shell) throwing themselves into this arena and declaring the lands that are supposedly unfit for wilderness are now only of value if they're turned under in favor of oil and gas extraction. But to have the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the assumed parent organization (even though that's not true) of all chambers of commerce across the nation, ignoring the healthy, steady income that keeps much of the rural West afloat in favor of short-term gain for the richest of its members is unconscionable.

Are these lands unfit for wilderness? That's debatable. Are they only worth something if they're opened up to the rape-and-ruin plans put forth by the USCC and the right-wing extraction industry? Uh, no. There are millions of acres of roaded front-country land that every American with a desire can access, and then there are roadless lands that provide vital refuge for big game herds, irreplaceable habitat for wild fish and, oh yeah, unfettered access to every American with the will to take a step up a trail without the help of a fucking machine. And then there's wilderness, industry's favorite four-letter word. Why is there an assumption that, if land isn't appropriate for wilderness distinction (and wilderness, too, is accessible to every single American with the nerve to walk) then it must only be good for industrial and motorized destruction?

That's the USCC for you... a slave to industry, not the servant of America's small businesses.

And that's not my original thought. Take the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce in Massachusetts, which recently cancelled its membership in the USCC, citing the organizations bias toward industry and its lack of assistance to simple business. 

Harry Robinson of the Brookline, Mass., Chamber of Commerce, said his organization made an effort to further distance itself from the USCC because, "I think they are viewed in some circles as more in favor of large corporations as opposed to small businesses..." 

Hmm. Imagine that. And that's from some far-flung chamber in Massachusetts, where roadless lands are but a rumor.

So, while big business and industry continue their assault on the best of what's left of our public lands, it falls to hunters and anglers to get off their collective ass and start communicating with the bought-and-paid for douchebags in Congress, who will do the bidding of industry because, frankly, it was industry that paid to get them elected

Remind Congress, particularly those right-wingers in the West, that we've seen the impact industry and unchecked motorized access have on fish and game habitat and our ability to hunt and fish on public lands. Tell them that the money we spend in these rural communities we visit as we fish and hunt is real money, and that we spend it every single year in restaurants, convenience stores, motels and retail stores. It pays the bills for rural America, and will for generations to come if they'll just leave well enough alone.

Industry has its inventory already. Much of the West is leased and awaiting development. Drill there. Leave the good stuff alone. The real Americans who hunt, fish, hike and camp will thank you for it.

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