Interior must prioritize Colorado values
“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.