Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Schweitzer upstaging Wyoming's Freudenthal

Lesley Wischmann of Political State Report reports (pun intended) that the Democratic Governor of Wyoming, Dave Freudenthal, "seems to be nursing his own case of governor envy as Montana's newly-elected Democratic governor, Brian Schweitzer, basks in positive press as the darling of the western Democratic Party.">

Why is Schweitzer upstaging Freudenthal? It's mostly a matter of style (something that Schweitzer has and Freudenthal doesn't), and also that Freudenthal, for all his good points (and there are many), simply doesn't cut it when it comes to environmental protection. Here's a choice bit from Lesley -- contrast this with Schweitzer's demand for more resources and more federal aid to protect roadless areas:

Freudenthal, meanwhile, has not asked the federal government to turn over their resources so that he can do the job they have mandated. Instead, he noted that Wyoming has "a set of options, none of which are very attractive." Freudenthal told Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey, "If you want to give me control of the land, I'll go to the legislature and I'll get a budget to do this planning, but if I don't get to have any say about the decision, why should I do your job and ask my legislature to fund some unit to go out and plan national forests when in actuality all you're going to do is take the information and run it through your sausage-making system anyway?"
What a cop-out from a guy I'd been led to think well of. Freudenthal should be doing what Schweitzer is doing -- making sure the wildlands of his state are secure rather than getting lost in the bureaucratic slough.


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