In Need of Wilderness Balance
The Obama administration so far falls short on protecting Wilderness and other conservation measures.
The Obama administration has leased 2.5 times more land to oil and gas as it has protected for conservation
Nearly four years ago, as President Obama entered his first term, conservationists had high hopes for the administration as it got off to a good start - signing Wilderness protections into law that included 202,000 acres of some of Oregon's natural treasures.
Since then, the administration - and Congress - has focused more on energy development on public lands than increased conservation.
A recent essay posted by The Center for American Progress calls out this major imbalance:
...[J]ust 2.6 million acres of public lands have been permanently protected during the Obama administration by both the president and Congress. ...
The number of acres protected over the last four years is far fewer than under President Obama’s four predecessors, including even President George W. Bush, who was condemned by environmentalists and the public for his dismal environmental record.
...[T]his administration has leased approximately 2.5 times more land to oil and gas companies than it has permanently protected for the American people and future generations to use for recreation, clean air and water, and historical purposes.
With well-vetted legislation proposed in previous Congresses for the Devil's Staircase, and Wild Rogue Wilderness areas, the Molalla Wild and Scenic River, and expansions to the Oregon Caves National Monument (among others that should be considered), it's time for the Obama administration and the 113th Congress to act to reintroduce, pass, and sign these bills which add permanent protections for some of Oregon's wildest and most treasured landscapes.