Posts Tagged earthjustice

Does Civil Disobedience Make Some Environmentalists Nervous?

One Utah author Warnick asks: “Is Tim making the big Washington-based enviro groups nervous?”

SHOULD the enviro groups be nervous that one guy acting alone with no budget, in one afternoon, saved more land from government subsidized than they might in any given month?

From Rachael Maddow’s, Dec. 22: Lame Duck Watch: “Utah wilderness auctioned”

The Bush Administration auctioned off sections of the Utah wilderness to be used for oil and gas drilling. One man against the auction signed up as a bidder, sabotaging some of the bids and may now face fraud charges. Rachel Maddow is joined by Earthjustice president Trip Van Noppen.

Maddow: This young man from the UofU deciding essentially to sabotage the auction, I know that has not been the tactic that your law firm has chosen to fight this sort of thing … . What do you make of his tactics, of his actions.

Noppen: …We think that there is a remedy for this in the courts. I do understand that civil disobedience has had a place in history at times when the law won’t work. We actually think in this case the Bush administration is violating the law and the court will remedy it and so we’re in court to stop it.

It was generous of Trip Nolen to concede that there is ‘a place for civil disobedience…when the law won’t work,’ unfortunately, Earthjustice, NRDC and all the lawyers in the world represent at best, a few symbolic successes against the wholesale violation of environmental law, the destruction of habitat, and the poisoning of our air and water by industry.

And unfortunately, the cases they do choose, are just the ones with the highest likelyhood of drawing media attention and ones for which they can raise lots of money.

If Noppen means it when he says, “there is a place for civil disobedience when the law doesn’t work” then I would say every day and every place is a ‘place’ for civil disobedience.

Lets be honest, in this case, EarthJustice (Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund) was not successful in stopping the lease of tens of thousands of acres. Though the expensive attempt produced some marginal wins on technical grounds, but virtually no affect on preventing Bush from giving away a huge chunk of ‘The Farm’ to his best buddies.

May Tim’s ‘tactics’ be found in the mainstream of ‘tactics’ to save our lives.

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