In­te­rior must pri­or­i­tize Colorado val­ues

The Denver Post - - OPINION - By Scott Braden Re: Scott Braden is the Wilder­ness and Pub­lic Lands Ad­vo­cate at Con­ser­va­tion Colorado.

“A solid choice for in­te­rior sec­re­tary,” Dec. 1 ed­i­to­rial.

Like many peo­ple who care about our way of life in Colorado, I’ve been shocked and dis­heart­ened to hear the names be­ing floated for Don­ald Trump’s sec­re­tary of the in­te­rior. The vast ma­jor­ity of these can­di­dates do not em­body the val­ues that Coloradans — and West­ern­ers — want to see in the per­son who stew­ards our na­tion’s na­tional parks and cul­tural her­itage. This in­cludes for­mer Colorado con­gress­man and two-time gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Bob Beauprez, whom The Post en­dorsed for the po­si­tion yes­ter­day.The sec­re­tary of the in­te­rior over­sees our na­tional parks, wildlife refuges, rivers, and other valu­able na­tional as­sets. These lands and wa­ters be­long to all of us, sup­port­ing a mas­sive and grow­ing out­door re­cre­ation econ­omy and our ex­cep­tional qual­ity of life.

Here’s what we need to see in the next sec­re­tary of the in­te­rior. First and fore­most, he or she must re­ject the no­tion that Colorado’s 24 mil­lion acres of na­tional pub­lic lands should be turned over to the state govern­ment. This is a costly and fringe idea– go­ing well be­yond main­stream con­ser­va­tive thought– that has been re­pu­di­ated by vot­ers and at the state leg­is­la­ture.

We also need some­one who un­der­stands that there are mul­ti­ple uses of our pub­lic lands, in­clud­ing sight­see­ing, en­ergy de­vel­op­ment, re­cre­ation, and con­ser­va­tion. Im­por­tantly, en­ergy projects should not be sited in places that have higher and bet­ter uses.

Fi­nally, the next In­te­rior Sec­re­tary must em­brace the sci­ence of cli­mate change. This is be­cause he or she will lead the U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey and myr­iad agency sci­en­tists. It de­fies rea­son that some­one who con­sid­ers cli­mate changes to be a hoax could over­see some of the most ground­break­ing sci­en­tific re­search in the coun­try.

Is there room for im­prove­ment on how our pub­lic lands are man­aged? Of course. We need more co­op­er­a­tion and stew­ard­ship be­tween land man­agers, lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, and the state. But fun­da­men­tally, we need a sec­re­tary who un­der­stands that pub­lic lands should re­main in pub­lic hands, and that pub­lic lands work best when we come to­gether as stew­ards for the com­mon good.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.