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The Bush (II) Administration and Federal Lands and Resources: An Outsider's View at Mid-Term

John D. Leshy, Public Land Law, Regulation, and Management (2003)

A. Style. The Administration has learned lessons from James Watt's flamboyance: It presents a happy faced “four C's” - “consultation, collaboration, cooperation, in the pursuit of conservation.” Is it an empty slogan, or is there substance to it? My vote: More the former than the latter.

B. Politics and the Republican West. Yes, those Rocky Mountain states are all colored Republican red on that 2000 election map. Is there any significance in the fact that three of them have in the past few months elected Democratic governors?

C. Appointments - “people are policy.” The key Bush natural resource appointees are from the very conservative wing of the party. They are somewhat divided between ideological libertarians and defenders of traditional public lands users, but there are more of the latter than the former.

D. Forward to the Past: There is a strong, across-the-board policy tilt toward the old-guard traditional public lands users, including the minerals industry.

E. There is marked deference to local control, except where it conflicts with policy goals.

F. The Administration is openly seeking to change the terms of the environmental debate-demonizing the environmentalist establishment, and taking on some of the conservationists' sacred cows, such as NEPA.

G. They are now hitting their stride, with the wind seemingly at their