News Release

Bush on Public Lands: After the Photo-Op


Today’s newspapers include pictures of President Bush as he spoke about the importance of public lands in front of some of the world’s oldest trees. The following policy critics are available for interviews:

Executive director of the John Muir Project, Hanson said today: “George W. Bush’s speech from Sequoia National Park rings hollow. Surrounding that national park on all sides are national forests in which the Bush administration has vowed to increase logging levels. Bush’s new Forest Service chief, Dale Bosworth, recently pledged to do the same; and his Interior Secretary, Gale Norton, has threatened to reduce the boundaries of the new Sequoia National Monument so that logging corporations will be able to cut down currently protected old growth stands. The Bush administration also suggested that it might overturn the brand-new Sierra Nevada Forest Plan in order to eliminate the new environmental restrictions on deforestation. Bush’s new Agriculture secretary, Ann Veneman, actually wrote the timber industry’s comments on the Sierra Plan not long before she was appointed. Bush himself received $1.7 million from timber industry executives in one night during a campaign stop in Oregon. He is bought and paid for by logging interests. Given the Bush administration’s clear intent to plunder federal lands in the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere in the nation, Bush’s shameless photo-op in Sequoia was loaded with enough hypocrisy and cynicism to flatten a forest.”
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Campaign coordinator for the National Forest Protection Alliance, Kreilick said today: “Bush’s appearance at Sequoia National Park amounts to pure window dressing. By focusing on cutting haze in the national parks, the president is attempting to cloud Americans’ attention to the administration’s resource-extraction agenda on our public lands, particularly in our national forests. Like during former Secretary of Interior James Watt’s tenure in the early ’80s, the Interior and Agriculture departments have become the domain of industrialists intent on furthering the profits of the oil, gas, timber, mining and ranching industries. Bush’s trip to California was nothing more than a public relations smokescreen designed to reverse Bush’s anti-environmental image while still selling his bogus energy plan. The reality of the Bush administration’s policies is far different: rolling back the Forest Service’s Roadless Initiative … increasing taxpayer-financed logging of our national forests, opening up all federal lands and coastlines to oil and gas exploration and suspending any new listings for endangered plants and animals; all reflect the desire to place commodity interests above the public’s interests. Americans want to see their public lands de-commodified and so should not be fooled by such stunts.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167