Once again we have reached that time of year when politicians use back-door methods to pass anti-environmental legislation. Several very undesirable and deadly anti-environmental riders have already become law. Let's not blame the president for this because some of the riders are pretty sneaky. Even he can't possibly keep track of them all. Let's blame the anti-environmental members of Congress.
Congress knows that popular support for protecting our natural heritage of parks and forests is so strong that a full frontal attack on the laws that protect our public lands would be political suicide. But don't be fooled; stealth attacks have already happened that are even more deadly to our futures. That's why every summer some members of Congress have resorted to burying their attacks on public lands deep within the Interior Appropriations bills as "riders."Riders to several massive spending bills have already been passed, such as punching a highway through the Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico (which is disrespectful to the dead of antiquity and to human history in general).
These riders have opened the floodgates for riders to this year's Interior Appropriations bills. They have set a very dangerous precedent.
Without a doubt, there will be other riders that mysteriously appear as the summer progresses. It's high time that our members of Congress opt for a legislatively open approach that allows for lively debate and rigorous public review. Back-door, anti-environmental riders are dishonest and only serve to muddy the clear waters of our democracy. These riders will affect more than just the environment. They will make it much easier for us to lose our basic freedoms, safety as citizens, and common well-being that our nation is supposed to represent.