Republicans are calling for “wilderness” protection in the national forests, saying it’s the only way to protect our forests and wildlife from over-hunting and pollution.
The Republican Party platform calls for protecting the “wild” wildernesses as a way to “keep wild places wild.”
“The federal government cannot and should not be allowed to step in and manage our public lands,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.
“Our forests are our country’s natural heritage, and should be protected and maintained for future generations to enjoy.
If we are to preserve these lands for future generation, we need to ensure that we have strong, clear rules and protections for the wild places of our country.
The alliance’s chairman, Steve Stutzman, also said the GOP platform calls on the Department of the Interior to “adopt and implement a new national wilderness and wildlands management plan that includes a comprehensive definition of wilderness, a definition of wild lands, a plan to address pollution and overgrazing in wilderness areas, a proposal for wilderness protection as a primary goal, and a plan for public input and engagement on the process.” “
The wilderness and wilderness commission is a necessary first step in the right direction to restore the American wilderness,” the alliance said in an email.
The alliance’s chairman, Steve Stutzman, also said the GOP platform calls on the Department of the Interior to “adopt and implement a new national wilderness and wildlands management plan that includes a comprehensive definition of wilderness, a definition of wild lands, a plan to address pollution and overgrazing in wilderness areas, a proposal for wilderness protection as a primary goal, and a plan for public input and engagement on the process.”
The American Wildlands Coalition has also urged the Republican Party to make wilderness protection a priority.
“Wilderness is a fundamental American value and should always be protected,” the group said in its statement.
“President Trump should also work with Congress to develop a national wilderness management plan, a public-private partnership to develop wilderness management plans, and the creation and expansion of a public lands conservation program.”
The groups statement comes as Congress prepares to pass a budget that would slash the budget for public lands, and Zinke’s own agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has been in the middle of a $6 billion plan to cut federal spending for the next fiscal year.
Zinke is also a staunch opponent of the Bears Ears National Monument, which President Donald Trump designated in January to protect more than 4 million acres of land in Utah and other states from mining and development.
Zinki has repeatedly called Bears Ear a national monument, but in a speech on May 16, 2017, he said that the land could be used for grazing or other “non-essential purposes” if it were designated as such.
He also called Bears East “a critical site in the future for the preservation of the Great Basin, the Rocky Mountains, and our native American landscapes.”
Zinke has called for Bears Earthers to sue the federal government over its designation, arguing that the monument’s protections are “undue and overreach” that could lead to a court fight.
The National Parks Conservation Association said the Trump administration’s “policies and actions” would lead to “massive harm” to Bears Earmarks, including a “loss of millions of acres of federal land and precious natural resources.”
The group’s executive director, Marci White, said that “it is important that our parks remain a refuge for wildlife and the environment and the administration must ensure the protection of our nation’s lands and resources.”