RANGE, The Cowboy Spirit on America's Outback
PO Box 639, Carson City, NV 89702-0639
1-800-RANGE-4-U or click here for 20% off!
Business & Editorial
106 E. Adams, Suite 201
Carson City, Nevada 89706

775-884-2200, Fax 775-884-2213

The West 2000 Page 14

Git Home! | The West 2000 Page 1

Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8 | Page 9
Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12 | Page 13 | Page 14 | Page 15 | Page 16


No other single environmental group can come close to TNC’s holdings, which also include over a million acres of land. Recent practice has been for activist groups to form coalitions with shared funding targeted at a particular cause, such as halting logging in the Southwest, with financial coffers commonly totaling half a million dollars a year on each issue. It is spent on influence, both on politicians and in the public media.

By contrast, the total budget for lobbying activities of the National Cattlemen’s and Beef Association is about $2 million a year, including salaries and costs. Yet these funds, derived from a much smaller base of the population, must be devoted to a number of issues and even individual cases. Even if agricultural groups could combine their assets in the way that environmentalist groups do under shelter of foundations, the strain on a limited pool of rural contributors would itself threaten the continued existence of many of them. The bitter choice among those in agriculture is in whether they can afford to just stay even with a “movement” that enjoys enough funding to expend more and more in soliciting financial support from the cities and suburbs.

• • •

The public popularity of “saving” the environment is by itself so potent that sometimes little special interest pressure at all is necessary to trigger administrative action that is not even offered for public debate. The outstanding example, though not the only one, was the 1996 campaign designation of the Grand Staircase Escalante in Utah as a National Heritage Site, surprising even the entire Utah congressional delegation.

Indeed, what has characterized the Clinton administration is evasion of public debate, even in Congress, by using administrative orders and regulations to carry out major policy changes on public lands.

Secretary Babbitt has frequently expressed his frustration with congressional reluctance to approve his proposals. Not for the first time, Babbitt infuriated some in Congress recently by telling the National Journal–“We’ve switched the rules of the game. We’re not going to do anything legislatively.”

It’s that kind of bluster, along with previous actions, that has helped stir opposition to the administration. Yet even mild political dissent to such authority has been branded as “anti-government” in the heated issue of public lands.

Opponents to environmental initiatives by the administration are frequently labeled as dupes or tools of powerful corporations such as oil companies. Ironically, however, a huge amount of wealth employed by the leading environmental organizations can be traced to grants from fortunes made in the 20th century from corporate exploitation of natural resources. This includes The Rockefeller Family Foundation (Standard Oil), The Pew Charitable Trusts (Sun Oil), The Ford Foundation, and a long list of other well-known corporate titles with charitable foundations that donate hundreds of millions of dollars a year to environmental groups. When it comes to funding, there is no doubt that the “big” money is in green hands.

• • •

The idea persists among many westerners that it is some kind of international conspiracy involving a plan to turn over large parts of the United States to the United Nations. There are 47 “Biosphere Reserves”

“Biosphere Reserves” and 27 “World Heritage” sites in the United States covering as much as 70 percent of national parks and monuments which are in theory protected under international agreement with the United Nations.

That does not mean those lands are controlled by the U.N., but what is less understood is the power awarded in settling disputes over these lands to the influence of nationally and internationally recognized “Non Government Organizations” (NGOs) such as The Nature Conservancy.

Such politically-weighted “international authority” has also been used by the Clinton administration to avoid a national debate (notably in blocking the New World Mine near the border of Yellowstone National Park).

Secretary Babbitt is certainly aware of the appearance of demagoguery in his administration and has initiated other measures such as Resource Advisory Councils (RACs) to provide what some argue is only an appearance of democratic participation among ranchers, recreationists, academicians, environmentalists and local government in deciding use of public lands.

In what they say is an attempt to reach consensus on such issues as multiple land use, federal authorities have established training programs for land management staff in “facilitated” meetings now commonly experienced by many westerners. They are recognizable in their signature direction by a “facilitator” writing the views of participants on easel-sized tablets of white butcher paper.

That the methodology is so common is no accident. Breaking participants into small groups generally unfamiliar with each other is intended not only to produce a variety of thought, but to discourage disagreement in a politely uncertain social setting. Translating their views into simple statements listed on the paper makes their differences seem even less significant. What comes of it, according to critics of this “Delphi” method, is the appearance of agreement on a pre-planned solution. The critics say participants are simply manipulated into thinking they have found consensus. Whether or not the critics are right about that, such “facilitated” methods appear to be taking the place of social and scientific debate. Those with particular expertise and knowledge in the field, in fact, are characteristically excluded from the consensus process.

To say there is a conspiracy or some sort of grand plan for a socialist takeover of the West distorts the reality of a vastly more complex (not to mention more capitalist funded) environmental “movement” that has captured the enthusiasm of young people in particular through a public media campaign that presents an opportunity for redemption of some mutually held social guilt. If it distorts reality and ignores its own responsibility for the creation of social and even environmental crises, it has evolved less as a conspiracy than as a political agenda which yet requires an educated response.


From the very beginning of their campaign in 1989, the Sierra Club made no secret of the fact that the spotted owl was virtually invented from questionable research as a “surrogate” useful to halting all old growth forest harvesting in the Northwest.

Andy Stahl of the Sierra Club was delighted in comparing the owl to “Bambi” as a symbol of the


Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8 | Page 9
Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12 | Page 13 | Page 14 | Page 15 | Page 16


Git Home! | The West 2000 Page 1

To Subscribe: Please click here for subscription or call 1-800-RANGE-4-U for a special web price

Copyright © 1998-2004 magazine
For problems or questions regarding this site, please contact Dolphin Enterprises.

last page update: 10.27.04