Obama Saving the West
WASHINGTON – In the never-ending struggle in the West over whether public lands should be harvested for their valuable metals, fuels and timber or set aside for future generations of people and wildlife, environmental interests have gained the upper hand since President Barack Obama moved into the White House.
Obama has begun a dramatic reversal in Western land-use policy that already has had a major impact in Arizona. In a sharp departure from the Bush administration, the Obama team has halted new uranium-mining claims near the Grand Canyon, proposed new preserves for wild mustangs and funded the expansion of the Petrified Forest National Park.
Obama also signed into law the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 that protected thousands of miles of scenic, historic and recreational trails, including the 807-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail from the state line with Mexico to the Utah border. The sweeping bill designated more than 2 million acres as wilderness area – nearly as much protected land as President George W. Bush created in two terms in office.
by Erin Kelly – Nov. 5, 2009 12:00 AM
Republic Washington Bureau