Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Redford: Bush plan to drill around national parks 'criminal'

Redford: Bush plan to drill around national parks 'criminal'
RawStory 11/25/2008 @ 10:02 am
Filed by David Edwards and Muriel Kane

Among George W. Bush's parting gifts to the American people have been several actions that appear as direct assaults on the environment, meant to be impossible for the Obama administration to reverse.

One such last-minute assault noted by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow is that "the Bush administration has decided to open up vast swaths of wilderness in eastern Utah for oil and gas extraction -- right next to the pristine natural beauty of places like Arches National Park."

"On Election Day," Maddow explained, "the Bureau of Land Management proposed leasing almost 360,000 acres of land to oil and gas speculators -- bypassing the National Park Service to do it. And the thing about defiling nature to drill is that once it's done, it's done. You don't get pristine back."

"Do you think they'll get away with it?" Maddow asked actor and environmentalist Robert Redford.

"Bush's environmental policies have been a disaster," Redford replied. "Whether it's going to work or not is going to depend on whether the public wakes up to what's really going on."

"Whenever they couldn't get a bill passed legitimately, they would go behind our backs," Redford continued. "When you stop and think about thirty years of hard work to get certain protections passed into law ... he's tried in his eight years to undo just about every one of those laws. ... It's pretty cynical -- and in my opinion, it's criminal."

As an example of the cynicism he sees, Redford pointed to "the fact that they would do that on Election Day when everybody was distracted by the election, and set a date for December the 19th, and the sister agency ... wasn't even told about it."

"They went behind their backs so they could jam it through," Redford concluded. "So obviously, there's a plan as Bush goes out."

In response to Maddow's questions about what can still be done, Redford was short on specifics, but he did affirm, "We could stop this. ... I think the American people will stop it -- and can stop it -- but they're going to have to act fast."

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