Letter: Who’s really a front for dark money?
I recently broached thoughts about the current push to transfer ownership of federal public lands to the states. Reasons to oppose such a transfer are manifold, starting with public opposition, already covered. Will Coggin, of the EPA (that’s Environmental Policy Alliance, not the federal folks protecting your environment …) rebutted, labeling certain hook and bullet clubs as “green decoys” funded by opaque, nefarious liberal organizations that are “hell-bent on shutting down energy production and other job creating activity…” Let’s examine his claims…
I belong to Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a group dedicated to preserving traditional hunting and fishing heritage and privilege on public lands. Our finances are public. They are posted on our website. Our few sponsors are listed right there for anybody to see and research.
The EPA that employs Will Coggin is a Washington, D.C., PR firm headed by Rick Berman, the notorious “gunslinger for hire” for extractive industries. When asked who their backers are, Berman replied, “We run all of this stuff through nonprofit organizations that are insulated from having to disclose donors.” Hmm … so who’s really a front for dark money?
Federal public land is managed for multiple uses. State trust lands are required by statute to produce as much money as possible. Here in Colorado, that has created trust lands that are 80 percent closed to the public. When these trust lands cease producing money and become a financial liability to the state, the state auctions them off. Once in private hands, they are gone forever.
Coggin and his bosses don’t care about multiple use. They simply want to make public lands available for unfettered resource extraction. These lands were set aside for all Americans to use — hikers, hunters, ATV users, equestrians, mountain bikers, dirt bikers, bird and wildlife watchers — the list goes on. Will Coggin and Rick Berman would rather see that list shortened to Koch Industries, Peabody Coal, Exxon-Mobil, Plum Creek Timber and the rest of their benefactors. Coggin advised to be wary of “puppets in camo hats.” I’d be far more concerned with liars and hypocrites in suits and ties.
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