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Is Richard Pombo (R-CA) the "Darth Vader of the Environment?"
It sounded like hyperbole when green groups started calling Rep. Richard “Dick” Pombo (R- CA) the “Darth Vader of the Environment.” But as they say in Texas “it ain’t braggin if you can do it”, and Pombo has shown he can – and will – do it to sportsmen and the environment at every turn.
As chair of the House Resources Committee Pombo pushed to allow road building in the Tongass National Forest, sell national parks to private industry, eliminate the moratorium on selling federal lands to mining companies, remove regulations that force energy companies to respect wetlands and wildlife values on public lands, weaken the Endangered Species Act, and rewrite the National Environmental Policy Act so industry would have a more profitable time on public lands at the expense of fish, wildlife, and sportsmen. No wonder real estate developers have paid almost $250,000 into his campaign chest over the years (Center for Responsive Politics.)
The looming election hasn’t made Pombo back off. Now he’s pushing a bill that would remove the popular 25-year ban on drilling for oil and gas off fragile coastlines. This stinks on its own, but it could also torpedo a Senate-passed drilling bill by Mary Landrieu (D-LA), that would actually help fish and wildlife. The Senate version opens new areas to drilling only in the northern Gulf, which already has lived with the industry for more than 50 years. In exchange, four coastal states would receive 37.5 percent of the royalties for habitat restoration. Louisiana urgently needs the money to help rebuild the nation’s most valuable coastal estuary, half of which has been destroyed by erosion over the last 50 years – a process largely a result of the many miles of canals dredged for oil and gas related work.
Pombo is hoping to push his agenda in a conference committee, a strategy the record shows could sorely cost fish, wildlife and sportsmen. For a full review of Pombo’s record, click here.