LARAMIE, Wyo. – These are dark days for public lands and environmental conservation, with Donald Trump set to assume the presidency of the United States. President-elect Trump will have the power to assign political appointees to oversee all of the of the federal agencies who manage western public lands on behalf of all Americans, oversee the recovery of rare and imperiled wildlife and plants, as well as agencies established to prevent pollution and environmental destruction of clean air and clean water. We call upon President-elect Trump to eschew the impulse to appoint anti-environmental politicians or corporate shills to top posts in his administration.
The fact that Mr. Trump has advanced Republican Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) to his short list of candidates for Secretary of Interior indicates a hostile stance toward public lands and responsible land stewardship. Rep. Lummis has been an entrenched opponent of conservation throughout her tenure in the House, even voting against the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, a bill supported by both Republican Senators from Wyoming as the dying wish of Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY). Rep. Lummis’ anti-environmental voting record has been both consistent and extreme throughout her tenure in the House of Representatives.
Western public lands belong to all Americans, and are treasured for their beauty, wildness, and diversity. We are concerned that assaults against our bedrock environmental safeguards will amplify during the coming four years, and it will be more important than ever to have vigilant environmental watchdogs like Western Watersheds Project, willing to take strong stands against unlawful abuses of our public lands, waters, and wildlife.
Conservation should not be a partisan issue. The cost of reversing progress on curbing carbon emissions and addressing climate change would be catastrophic – in dollars, lives, property, and irreversible ecological damage. All Americans have an ownership stake in our millions of acres of public lands. Private uses of public lands must only occur where they are sustainable, fostering the health of the land and supporting thriving populations of native wildlife, which also belong to the public and are managed in trust for the public good. America’s legacy and inheritance of public lands, waters, and wildlife must be carefully managed for the long-term health of the land and its wildlife, not sacrificed for the short-term corporate profits of an elite few. The mantle of responsibility for environmental stewardship that now passes to President-elect Trump must not be taken lightly.