From the Associated Press:
Of course it was. Neither the Southern Environmental Law Center nor The Wilderness Society are headquartered in Southwest Virginia. They could give a damn what happens to the local citizenry. The SELC has its offices in Charlottesville, a pristine wilderness if there ever was one, and The Wilderness Society has its headquarters in that sublime forestland otherwise known as downtown Washington DC. I guess if I were staring at asphalt for as far as the eye can see, I'd demand that others preserve some trees for me to occasionally view too. Both groups are hellbent on preserving our trees and rocks down here for those twice-a-year excursions they make to our neighborhood to buy our pots, listen to us strum our banjos, smoke their dope, and pretend they are one with nature. Oh, and they ask that we change the linens and scrub the toiletbowl for when they camp out at the Hampton Inn over in Fort Chiswell.
Warner seeks U.S. protection of wilderness areas in Virginia
By Sue Lindsey, Associated Press Writer
December 22, 2005 Roanoke, Va. -- Gov. Mark R. Warner on Thursday petitioned federal officials to protect more than 380,000 acres of mountain wilderness in Virginia's national forests from development.
Warner asked Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns to issue rules restricting road construction and commercial activity in the wild areas of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests.
The petition asked Johanns to restore in Virginia a 2001 regulation that prohibited development of wilderness areas nationwide except to protect public health and safety.
Warner's petition, the first filed in the nation, was lauded by the Southern Environmental Law Center and The Wilderness Society. (link)
It would do us all well to remember who these people are and who's side they're on.
The Roanoke Times, in an editorial this morning, picks up on the "Warner is going to make Southwest Virginia an uninhabitable wasteland" news (where does he live again?) and has this:
Gov. Mark Warner's praiseworthy petition this week asking the federal government to protect 380,000 acres of mountain wilderness areas in Virginia was the first from the states seeking to restrict construction of roads and other commercial activity in national forests.So there are 90,000 residents from the DC suburbs who demand that Southwest Virginia revert (more rapidly) to its stone age origins. Swell. Personally I think our next governor should petition the federal government to have Northern Virginia declared a wilderness area and to demand that it be turned into one big unemployment line.
With more than 90,000 signatures from Virginians supporting such wilderness protection, Warner pointed out in his petition how crucial such pristine areas are in supporting wildlife habitat, purifying water sources* and enhancing tourism [my emphasis] (link)
Look. I don't take the Roanoke Times editorial staff seriously but a governor who's worming his way into a coveted meeting with Michael Moore some day is dangerous.
And Warner's proposal is destructive.
I know Governor Warner and the boulder aficionados rejoice at the thought that the logging industry would be destroyed but, with the exception of the burgeoning hiking trail construction industry (along with the pathetic ceramic pot crafting business that we are all expected to participate in), we have little else.
Rather than close off the national forests to development completely, I'd rather we opened them up to logging - and mining - interests and put some of the poor people around here to work. I'd also ask that government that professes to have our best interests at heart to fascilitate their growth and vitality. That's what governments once were expected to do.
Either that or come down here and direct traffic as the hundreds and hundreds of poverty-stricken families descend on the Bland Ministry Center to receive their handouts of food and clothing and Christmas gifts for their destitute children.
I can't, however, guarantee that you'll enjoy the view.
* For details on that "purifying water sources" crap, see this Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy study on the "purified water" flowing down Callahan Creek, a source of drinking water that is unfit for human consumption.