Thursday, November 08, 2007
This is a photo of the Gila Wilderness. It was the first wilderness area created in the United States. That was in 1924.
The Wilderness Society has just come out with a new report titled "Natural Dividends." Every elected official and news reporter should read it and then put it to use in their professions. This professional economic report really puts into focus a very clear fact, that protected public lands are better for economic growth in the west than the damaging extractive practices of the oil and gas and mining industries.
The real economic wealth is now coming from the professional and service industries, the outdoor recreation industry, entrepreneurs and retirees. The oil and gas extractive industries in 2005 accounted for just 1.3% of the region's personal income. And you can imagine where most of that money ends up. It ends up in the pockets of the stockholders and executives of the oil and gas industry who are not paying fair taxes and in fact are receiving tax subsidies.