Who Else Should Join Pombo and Pearce on the Sidelines?
So many politicians, so little time.
So, how about a short-list of others whose departures from Congress would benefit the national park system?
* Representative Candice Miller, R-Michigan. Ms. Miller has a thing for personal watercraft ... and anyone who stands in their way. Earlier this year the Republican held a hearing of her Government Reform Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs to demand of the Park Service why it was taking so long on granting PWC access to a handful of national seashores, preserves and recreation areas. And one thing she made abundantly clear was that "the Subcommittee's principal concern is not whether PWC use has a detrimental impact on the environment."
* Senator Conrad Burns, R-Montana. Now, Conrad already has plenty of problems standing in the way of his re-election, namely his ties to the Abramoff scandal. Beyond that, he hasn't found a snowmobile he wouldn't love to throttle through Yellowstone. Perhaps fearful that the latest environmental impact statement on snowmobiles in Yellowstone determines -- for the third time -- that the machines are not compatible with the park, the senator has been working quietly behind the scenes to see that snowmobiles remain in the park at least through 2010.
* Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. C'mon, how friendly to national parks can this guy be? After all, he single-handedly shoved through legislation to turn a portion of Channel Islands National Park into a hunting preserve for the military. And the park isn't even in his district!
* Rep. Charles Taylor, R-North Carolina. This guy's hard to figure. Rather than opt for a $52 million buyout on the so-called "Road to Nowhere" in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one just about everyone favors, he'd rather force the Park Service to spend $600 million on the road! This is the same Rep. Taylor who back in April pointed out to former NPS Director Fran Mainella that her agency was drowning in red ink.
With friends like these, the park system won't climb out of its deep, dark financial hole for a long, long time.