Sierra Club Response to Idaho Falls Post-Register Editorial about CIEDRA:
A Dream, not a Nightmare.
May 18, 2005
SUBJECT: RESPONSE TO IDAHO FALLS POST-REGISTER EDITORIAL “A DREAM, NOT A
NIGHTMARE” (RE. CIEDRA)
As we await Representative Mike Simpson’s final CIEDRA bill, the Sierra
Club would like to respond to your May 15 editorial “A dream, not a
Think you know what an environmentalist looks like? Strike that image from
your head. These days, the most compelling voices for environmental
stewardship are as likely to be a minister, a hunter, a nurse, a
soccer-mom, or a union shop steward.
There’s been a lot of talk this year about how divided our country has
become. But if you look around you’ll see that environmental issues are
creating uncommon alliances and providing common ground for people who
agree on little else -- but who have reached a broad consensus on the need
to conserve land, clean-up pollution and protect wildlife. In an
increasingly polarized nation, environmental issues may be a natural way
to unite groups across the spectrum.
It turns out green is the bridge between red and blue, left and right, the
evangelical and the agnostic. At the national level and in our own
backyard, unusual allies are joining together to underscore this trend—and
to show the face of a new environmental movement that is not just for
“conservationists,” but for everyone who breathes air, drinks water, and
loves the outdoors.
Take, for example, recent actions by conservative evangelicals who
recently sent a letter to President Bush that said, “Protection of the
global climate is an essential requirement for faithful human stewardship
of God’s creation on Earth.” The National Council of Churches, which
represents over 100,000 congregations nationwide, has begun to describe
stewardship of the earth as a critical “moral value.”
It's not just religious groups. Hunters and anglers are the most vocal
allies of wetlands protection and they represent a formidable obstacle to
anyone proposing to weaken existing protections. Unions have also taken up
the environment as a cause; they know better than anyone that developing
clean energy technologies will create quality jobs. And Latinos and
African-Americans are also becoming more visibly linked to
conservationists because it’s their families and communities that are
disproportionately affected by pollution.
The whole notion of environmental politics as a unifying issue is as true
in Idaho as it is anywhere. Perhaps nothing better demonstrates this trend
than the fight to protect the Sawtooth Natural Recreation Area (SNRA). A
diverse coalition of voices from across the nation are joining together to
say we need to invest in our wildlife habitat and wild land. The SNRA is
our Yellowstone Park and to start selling off lands within the SNRA is
Whether you’re liberal or conservative, small business owner or a worker,
all Idahoan’s can agree on one thing: the SNRA is one of Idaho’s crown
jewels. What we have learned over and over again is that everyone has a
stake when it comes to protecting our air, water, and natural places. The
values we are talking about – like fairness, responsibility, health and
safety – are universal. And many of the solutions to our environmental
challenges are well within reach, if we work together.
“When we try to pick out anything by itself," Sierra Club founder John
Muir famously said, "we find it hitched to everything else in the
universe.” That's more true today than ever.