Discovery's Tree Hugger blog site and Washington DC's The Hill both ran important news items on several pieces of conservation legislation being stalled in the U.S. Senate, primarily due to the efforts of one Senator Tom Coburn (R.-Okla.). His position was that the five bills, supported by several key Republican colleagues and ranging from issues regarding shark finning to marine mammals to great cats and canids to cranes, were a waste of money.
"The problems that are facing this country are so big and so massive that our attention ought to be focused on those large problems, not on five separate bills that have been proffered for special interest groups," the senator was quoted as saying.
While the current economic situation in the United States, and globally, is without question one of the more pressing issues today and will garner greater priority and attention than longer term environmental issues, the politics of fear combined with the campaign jargon of the moment must not derail responsible policymakers from making decisions that have implications, both environmental and economic, far beyond simply the conservation of a particular species. Maintaining a healthy biodiversity is not just a feel good moral issue, it is one that has concrete implications over a range of industries and worldwide economies.
As noted in Tree Hugger, The Huffington Post described Senator Coburn's actions this way, "Cautious spending is an important value, but so is the defense of animals from cruelty, the rescue of marine creatures injured by human actions, or the protection of wild species from extinction. Coburn has corrupted a laudable principle of fiscal conservatism, and used it to negate and nullify valuable initiatives designed to protect vulnerable species at serious risk."
Read the entire article in Discovery's Tree Hugger.
Read the entire article in The Hill.
Read the entire article in The Huffington Post.