Green elephants take on Greenscammers
by Aurie Kryzuda
Republicans for Environmental Protection seeks to move beyond the current
cognitive dissonance and oxymoron status afforded to environmental and conservation
issues by most GOP leaders today.
heodore Roosevelt is probably rolling over in his grave.
Legislation that would have sent this nature lover's arms flailing is now
being pushed, shoved, and finagled through his Republican Party today. Conservation
is now anathema by a once conservation-minded GOP. What happened and when
did the Republican Party become such anti-environmental thugs?
Appreciation for this country's vast resources is part
of our heritage. We even celebrate it in song. And never has that appreciation
been more evident then in our attempts to stem the degradation of streams,
lakes, and lands when Richard Nixon signed into law the Clean Water and
the Endangered Species Acts in the 1970's. These bipartisan laws were the
collective realizations that by killing our resources we were killing ourselves.
It was that simple.
That message is true even more so today. While we have
made enormous strides in bringing back some species from the brink of extinction
and cleaning some "dead" lakes and rivers, we are a far cry away
from a sustainable environment, given the current rate of destruction of
plants and animals. Ushering in this environmental grim reaper is the current
crop of Republican lawmakers who are having a heyday promoting anti-environmental
Intoxicated by their success in 1994, the Republicans
believed that Americans wanted a strong economy and creation of jobs at
all costs. They designed a Contract With America that was going to revolutionize
this country. But their biggest stealth target has been the environment.
In a flurry of anti-environmental headiness, they drafted legislation that
opened our national forests to more clear cutting, would allow oil drilling
in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, gut the Endangered Species Act,
sell our national parks, cut renewable energy investments, and weaken the
Clean Water Act - just to name a few.
But the revolutionaries have misfired. Americans do
not want their lands and resources destroyed. Survey upon survey has demonstrated
that well over 60 percent of the public supports strong environmental laws.
Responding to this shameless attack on the environment
by the 104th Congress, a handful of Republicans decided to take matters
into their own hands. Believing there were many like-minded individuals
who shared their concern for protecting our resources, Republicans for Environmental
Protection (REP) was created in 1995. No longer content to sit on the side
lines while their party dismantled decades of conservation successes, REP
solicited the support of citizens across the country to ban together and
persuade our legislators to return to their conservation roots started by
Theodore Roosevelt. And the results so far have been phenomenal. In less
than one year, chapters have been started in 43 states. Newspapers and magazines
are covering the story and membership is growing.
While still a fledgling organization, REP has been able
to convey their message to legislators that they will fight against laws
that weaken protection of our environment. REP maintains that preserving
our land and resources is of paramount importance and should not be compromised
by partisan politics or legislative finagling. Conservation is a moral obligation
that everyone should share in order to guarantee resource sustainability
for future generations. Short term economic gains at the expense of long
term environmental stability is not only self-serving but a formula for
REP will continue to press its agenda for strong environmental
policies and will do so within the system. We will not stand idly by and
allow the extremists' agenda that hides behind the cloak of constitutional
rights to continue their use and abuse practices.
This is more than a battle of environmentalism versus
economics. It is a war between the self-serving greed of a few who see our
resources from strictly a utilitarian perspective and those who understand
its intrinsic value. It is a war between those who want to maximize profits
at the expense of the land and public health and those who want to maximize
conservation for the benefit of society. It is property rights anarchy under
the guise of constitutional rights versus property responsibility for the
general right of the community as a whole. It is changing the attitude -
and the seat - of legislators like Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth (R-ID)
who believes that bears are "schizophrenic, manic-depressive animals"
who should not be allowed in her state.
REP will be speaking during the Republican National
Convention at the demonstration area on August 13th from 11:40 to 12:35pm.
A tentative press conference will also be held at 10 a.m. with awards given
to those Republican lawmakers who have been strong supporters of the environment.
Local members as well as those from across the country will be in attendance
to show their unity as Republicans who care deeply about the environment
and want to reestablish the party's long and honorable conservation tradition.
Representatives for KNOAH's ARC will be speaking at
the demonstration area during the Republican National Convention on August
13th from 3:10 to 4:05 pm. Speakers will include Les Braund, chairman of
ARC, who will discuss the current rash of anti-environmental legislation
and Mr. Peter Illyn, former minister of the Foursquare Church, who will
speak about our moral and religious responsibilities towards stewardship
of the land. A third speaker will be announced at a later time.
Anyone interested in participating in either of these
events, or to find out more about REP, please call Aurie Kryzuda at (619)
Aurie Kryzuda is the co-founder of REP and organizer of the California
Chapter, and a co-founder of KNOAH's ARC, a Christian environmental organization.