Thursday, December 15, 2005

Random Ramblings in Local Newspapers

(All quoted passages unless otherwise stipulated will be from the article itself.)

In The New Mexican (Santa Fe newspaper) in a column written by Jay Miller, whose column is syndicated statewide, I learned that the U.S. Interior Department has made a proposal to Congress, under pressure from the radical right --to begin the privatizing of our national parks.

This proposal would allow "cell phone towers, jet skis, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, air and noise pollution, livestock grazing, land sales and commercial advertising.

Why can't we leave the national parks alone? (96% of visitors express approval of our parks.)

Well---the parks need improvements, essential maintenance. And, our government, supposedly cannot afford to do this. The Iraq War has cost over 200 billion. (A tiny amount of this war's cost would do the job). Then, there were the large reductions in taxes to those who already have more than they need. Then the powerful ideologues within the Republican Party believe that every public institution would be better off in private hands. Oh, don't bring up Enron, et al.

If they have their way, nothing much in America will any longer belong to The People of America but to a small wealthy elite and multi-corporations.

If the changes go through, Park Managers will have to take up market economics: how to gain the most private investment in their parks: billboards, visitor centers (Walmart Grand Canyon Lodge), trails (Taco Bell Wildflower Trail). McDonalds withinn the park to fill the needs of the visitors

The changes have created such an uproar that even some Republicans are horrified.

For the time being---our natural heritage will remain pristine, and not turned into the commercial sideshow of, e.g. The Olympics.

BTW the suggestions from the Interior Department recently released were the second draft. The first one was so extreme that it was stopped before official release.