Logical, illogical, or ecological? Food for thought on environmentalist ratings and rantings.
Earlier today, the Center for Biological Diversity issued its press release giving the Obama Administration a "C" grade for its first year of handling of endangered species, climate, energy, public lands and oceans. According to the CBD press release "While the Obama administration has not shown the ideological opposition to environmental protection of the previous administration and has taken a number of positive steps, the administration has fallen far short of delivering the promised "change" in overall environmental policies." In discussing the Endangered Species Act, CBD offered the following analysis, quoting Noah Greenwald, the CBD endangered species program director:
"On endangered species, the Center gave the administration a solid C, as for every positive action there seemed to be a negative action of equal scope. For example, the Obama administration rescinded regulations passed in the final days of the Bush administration that would have gutted enforcement of key provisions of the Endangered Species Act, but retained a rule weakening protection for the polar bear. The Obama administration also moved forward with a Bush initiative to remove protections for the gray wolf, and has only listed two new species as endangered, which is the fewest protected in the first year of any administration since the Reagan administration. The Obama administration has not prioritized protection of the nation's endangered species, meriting their grade of a C. After the dark days of the Bush administration, wholesale reform of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's endangered species program was needed and this has simply not occurred."
In other words, after years of screaming at an ecotone-deaf Bush Administration, CBD has a receptive ear in President Obama, and they ... continue screaming? Taking a cynical, "all publicity is good publicity" viewpoint, CBD is making news, so they must be doing quite well. (After all, they got ink here, right?) But then again, here are my three food-for-thought questions:
- Sensible strategy, or self-defeating? Is CBD performing a valuable role as an outlier in the world of interest group politics, shifting the debate to help other environmental groups seem moderate? Or is CBD a poster-child for a clueless environmental movement that bites the hand that feeds it?
- Does every action have an equal and opposite reaction? Regardless of whether you believe CBD is a clever strategic outlier, or just an ineffective radical, does their approach simply spawn counterbalancing techniques by groups like the Pacific Legal Foundation, and others?
- Does it work? Do continuous criticisms compel politicians to revisit their own actions, or does it make political leaders more likely to reject and ignore the critics altogether?
Alas, in this complex world of interest group politics and intense partisan politics, I suspect the answer is (D) -- "all of the above." What do you think?
Humorous and outlandish protests are not limited to the United States. These three creatures were protesting climate change and poverty issues in Perth, Australia. Photo by Chalpat Sonti (WA Today) available at howardsattlerisanidiot.wordpress.com.