Yes folks, we’re apparently fighting WWII all over again, because we’re having to rape the National Parks System for lumber and minerals. It’s been such a hardship paying these outrageous, environmental-protection inflated prices: 88 cents for a 2×4 at Home Depot, $2 for a twelve pack of soda in aluminum cans.
And before I start hearing any of this “bolstering local economies” crap vomited back from the press release, let me remind you, these are national parks! By definition they’re in the middle of nowhere. They are the middle of nowhere. That’s what they’re for. There are no local economies (except maybe tourism, and logging is good for that right?). Plus, mining and logging are no longer local businesses anyway. According to Erik Reece’s recent Harper’s article, only nine men are required to shear off the top of a mountain and completely mine it of coal. Nine guys, and they ain’t locals–they’re itinerant specialists. They’re staying in Motel 6 and eating at McDonald’s, so unless you’ve got really expensive prostitutes in your town and they spend like there’s no tomorrow, I’m not sure where even a trickle-down local economic boost is coming from. Strip mining (the only kind now regularly employed for bulk mineral extraction in this country) and clear-cut logging are, by definition, get-in-and-get-out operations. They’re undertaken by highly-mobile, limited-liability shell companies tenuously owned (but wholly controlled) by giant corporations. They don’t linger, they don’t build infrastructure, and they don’t contribute to the local tax base.
So yeah, I was being sarcastic there in the beginning. This isn’t about shortages. It’s not even about economics. It’s about one of the more absurdist plays in the current administration’s playbook: if it happened under Clinton, undo it. Clinton wanted to protect the national parks? Well hell, bubba, we gotta fix that!