Steve Pearce: The Face of Radical Anti-environmentalism
Meet Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), the face of radical anti-environmentalism. Funded by the oil and gas lobby, Pearce and his colleagues are trying to sacrifice endangered species for filthy fossil fuel development, allow timber corporations unfettered access to our national forests and turn over control of federal land to extraction interests.
Pearce promotes his agenda through lies to create fear in rural communities because fear is the shortest path to political manipulation. Fear is also the shortest path to violence; thus it’s not surprising that Pearce and his allies often verge on inciting violence against environmentalists.
Pearce’s radical agenda is not only bad for the planet, it’s bad for democracy. A democratic society cannot function healthily when misled by cynical politicians.
Pearce claims that “most of the oil and gas jobs in southeast New Mexico are at risk” if the imperiled dunes sagebrush lizard is placed on the endangered species list. The claim has been denied by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is in charge of implementing the Endangered Species Act, yet Pearce continues to spread fear of massive job loss in southern New Mexico and northern Texas without any data to support the claim.
In truth, years of federal lizard conservation have had a minimal impact on oil and gas development. In a recent report, the Center for Biological Diversity examined the lizard’s effect on New Mexico oil and gas leases in 2010 and 2011 by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The report found that the range of the lizard overlaps less than 1 percent of all oil and gas lands in the Permian Basin oil patch. Federal protections on these lands affected less than one percent of lands that the BLM proposed to lease to oil and gas operators.
Simply put, the dunes sagebrush lizard has had, and will have, little effect on oil and gas drilling in the Permian Basin.
Inciting Violence Against Environmentalists
Pearce often shares the stage with, and is supported by, Marita Noon, director of two oil-boosting groups: Citizens for Responsible Energy and Energy Makes America Great. Noon is notorious for calling environmentalists watermelons, saying they are “green on the outside, red on the inside.” She then exhorts her followers to “smash the watermelons.”
Noon falsely accused environmentalists of “extorting” money from a solar energy company. Her accusations went so far that even conservative websites took down her blog when confronted with the truth.
By aligning himself with Noon and her violent, exaggerated rhetoric, Pearce is cynically advancing dangerous, shameful McCarthyite politics.
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