Our Least Green Congressman

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There are lots of representatives with low marks on environmental issues. But based on a string of recent high-profile actions and missteps, Richard Pombo seems to have developed a special talent for raising the ire of environmentalists.

The California Republican is perhaps best known for the drastic changes to the Endangered Species Act he pushed through the House this Fall, changes friendly to industry groups. (And while we’re on the subject, you may want to check out my recently-posted article about one of the bill’s key provisions. It would have merely enshrined an earlier, little-noted rule change by the Bush Administration which already, in certain cases, ended oversight of federal projects by the government’s endangered species experts.)

Pombo, who chairs the House Resources committee, has also came under fire for recommending that the National Park Service auction off, and thereby privatize, 15 sites. The Center for Public Integrity recently determined that the Congressmen owed taxes on two trips sponsored by a foundation with “highly unusual” management and financial procedures—and funding ties to pro-whaling and fur trade groups.

And today comes a report, from the Environmental Working Group, that Pombo has slipped a line into the House’s budget reconciliation bill that would reverse a Clinton-era ban on selling over 350 million acres of public lands to miners, oil drillers and loggers. So far the provision hasn’t gotten much attention—and if there ever was an example of falling for blatant-spin, it’s this Reuters wire containing the news, entitled “Republican wants to help poor gather firewood.” Talk about burying the lede.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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