Bush Policies Will Blow Through Nat'l Parks for Years
Putting commerce over conservation, White House stifled scientists' protests
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2009 1:40 PM CST
Vistas in national parks, like Utah's Bryce Canyon, are under threat from policies laid out during Bush's terms. Soon, new roads, heavy vehicles, and dusty air could encroach on public lands.   (©mandj98)
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(Newser) – Views of spacious skies and purple mountain majesties in US national parks may soon be interrupted by industrial roads and power lines, after years of Bush policies that pushed commerce over conservation, reports the Los Angeles Times. And unlike the many decisions that President Obama can quickly reverse, the changes looming for national parks may be difficult or impossible to prevent.

Moves like greenlighting a uranium mine on the Grand Canyon's doorstep or auctioning oil leases next-door to Arches National Park were met with near-universal dismay, but a "culture of fear" and "ethical failure" within the Interior Department quashed opposition. "The agency has been demoralized; the employees of the National Park Service have been beaten down," says one retired park superintendent.