GOP conservation ethic is not a new revelation


AN HISTORICAL DOCUMENT: Letter to the editor, Grand Junction (CO) Daily Sentinel, published August 8, 2001


The “epiphany” that many congressional Republicans are having about the environment is not a new revelation, but a restoration of an old conservation tradition. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that Republicans were at the forefront of conservation efforts.

You don’t have to be old to remember that Richard Nixon pushed through numerous environmental laws and created the Environmental Protection Agency.

Before him, Dwight Eisenhower established the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

And before him, a conservative Republican congressman, Pennsylvania’s John Saylor, was instrumental in passing laws to protect America’s wilderness and wild rivers.

And before him — well, everybody knows about Teddy Roosevelt.

We at Republicans for Environmental Protection, a national grassroots organization, are gratified that a growing number of our party’s elected leaders are getting reacquainted with the GOP conservation tradition. Rank-and-file Republicans have always been strong supporters of laws protecting our air, water and natural heritage, as polls have shown time and again.

We’re pleased that more of our leaders have realized that it’s politically smart and in our country’s best interests to protect the environment.

Unfortunately, we still have a ways to go. Too many of our Republican leaders are indifferent or even hostile to conservation. It’s time for President Bush and congressional leaders to fully restore the GOP’s conservation tradition and come up with a positive environmental agenda that will earn the American people’s support.