Most people would agree that Theodore Roosevelt did more for conservation in this country than any other person then or since. He was born into a privileged family, and his conservation ethic did not come as a result of his birthright. He was fascinated with nature from the time he could walk and he constantly returned to the outdoors to re-energize his body and soul.
Along the way he came to fully understand and appreciate the essence of and foundation that nature played in our livelihood. That understanding evolved into a belief that our natural resources belonged “to the public and should not be used for profit.”
Fortunately for us, he became president and was able to act on his beliefs in spite of organized opposition from corporations and corrupt politicians. Lest anyone forget, Roosevelt was a Republican.
Congress should not have to struggle to find bipartisan support for full funding of this country’s Land and Water Conservation Fund. Roosevelt would have done it with a swing of his fist to the podium. Sen. Maria Cantwell is co-sponsoring the legislation, and Sen. Patty Murray should as well.
This fund preserves the kind of places that helped a young Roosevelt develop his appreciation of nature. And with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill still fresh in our minds, what better way to fund it than with some of the revenue offshore oil and gas leases?