Posted by: davepidgeon | September 21, 2009

What’s the hold up

I’m going to try to say this respectfully, but things like this are just upsetting. From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, the man who held up Washington’s Wild Sky Wilderness, has put a “hold” on confirmation of John Jarvis as the new director of the National Park Service.

Coburn and Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, accuse the U.S. Interior Department of “slow-walking” a sweeping request for documents pertaining to the Grand Canyon National Park, according to the on-line publication Politico.

“We will not release Jarvis until we get legitimate answers to the questions,” said Coburn. He acknowledged that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a former Senate colleague, has supplied much of the information.

By “legitimate,” I assume Coburn mistakenly means “answers which confirm my bias.”

Coburn has long been a barb in the wire when it comes to legislation to protect America’s wild areas, but as the article notes, this time his actions appear strangely mysterious:

The request for Grand Canyon documents has never been explained. Or as (www.politico.com) put it Wednesday, “Left unanswered by Coburn and Bishop, what are they looking for, and why?

One can assume Coburn and Bishop – and by the way, the Grand Canyon doesn’t touch either senator’s home states – are pursuing the filibuster because of controversial proposals to permit uranium mining a mere 20 miles from the national park’s northern border. From the Associated Press:

Canadian mining company Denison Mines Corp. says it could reopen its mine about 20 miles north of the canyon by the end of the year. Dennison received the final state permit it needed last week.

The (Bureau of Land Management) says Denison has an approved mine plan and should be allowed to resume operations after closing the site about 20 years ago.

But the Center for Biological Diversity, the Grand Canyon Trust and the Sierra Club argue that the BLM is relying on an old environmental analysis and isn’t considering potential impacts on endangered species.

The notice the groups filed Tuesday says they plan to file a lawsuit in 60 days.

No matter what the cause, two senators holding up confirmation of the national parks director for unspecified reasons – and to accuse the Department of the Interior of stalling when Interior officials apparently gave answers to your questions, just the ones you didn’t want to hear – just comes across as bizarre and petty. What’s more is that Jarvis’s record proves he’s a man capable of bringing many sides of a controversial issue together to draw up compromise, which seems to me how most Americans want their leaders to act.

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