I have always known politics has interfered with conservation so I decided to research how deeply politics plays a role in conservation efforts. I have to admit, I was a little surprised to learn it’s much worse than I had imagined.
I had started by researching donations to political campaigns from corporations such as Safari Club International, Koch Industries and Exxon Mobile. After seeing the totals that have been given to political campaign funds from these 3 corporations, I realized, there was no need to delve any further. These political bribes are called PAC Fund Donations so I’ll start by providing the links for the PAC Donations from these corporations. Once you see the totals, everything else makes sense.
Safari Club International 2014 and 2016 cycles.
Koch Industries 2014 cycle.
Exxon Mobile 2014 cycle.
The death of Cecil the Lion has opened the world’s eyes to the abuse and cruelty associated with trophy and canned hunting. It has also opened the eyes of some Americans to the conservation efforts to save wildlife and their natural habitats right here in the United States. While many Americans are screaming for the extradition of Walter Palmer and fighting for wildlife welfare in Africa, they have failed to realize the problems we face in the United States.
The FB group I belong to hasn’t exactly gotten a warm response to the information we have released and we had even been threatened. It had been suggested we stop releasing information about Republicans and the money they have taken from the above mentioned corporations. We were told, we would be better off. That threat had the opposite effect. We went on a hunt, so to speak and released every piece of information we were able to find.
Koch Brothers – Estimated net worth, 115 billion dollars.
The Koch brothers political practices include, employing a group of what they call, “Think Tank Americans”. They had, rallied reinforcement for Cliven Bundy to influence support against the Federal Government, to denounce the legitimacy of the Bereau of Land Managenent and challenge it’s administration of public lands. The same public lands, the Koch Brothers desire to own, to drill, frack, exploit, pillage and pollute with exemption from punishment.
Koch backed group PERC, calls for no more National Parks. (Property and Environment Research Center) Reed Watson, the executive director at the Koch backed (PERC) cited the backlog in maintenance for existing parks as their excuse for endorsing their campaign to close National Parks. Watson, previously worked at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, and in a 2009 commentary, criticized a number of bipartisan bills to protect wilderness, arguing that “land management agencies should turn a profit” by removing restrictions on timber and energy development.
PERC and its oil and gas allies in Congress have continued with their efforts to seize and sell off America’s public lands by endorsing their “No More National Parks” Campaign.
For the past 4 years the Koch Brothers have been waging war against bipartisan government policies that support renewable energy. As renewable energy grows, jobs and industries are being created. This success tends to rub the wealthy the wrong way. H. Sterling Burnett of the Heartland Institute was quoted as saying “renewable energy laws are basically the devil, created by “environmental lobbyists with a hatred for capitalism and fossil fuels that make modern society possible” along with “crony socialists and government elitists.”
In truth, renewable energy does not require drilling, fracking or the destruction of natural wildlife habitats. Therefore renewable energy contributes to conservation by preserving natural habitats and is not governed by the greed of the wealthy.
(Koch Pledge Tied to Congressional Climate Inaction) Very little was known about this pledge until recently. It should come as no surprise Congressional leaders bought by the Koch Brothers have signed a pledge to vote against legislation related to climate change.
Safari Club International
Safari Club International is also a large contributor to political campaign funds and according to their boasting, the only hunt club to maintain a fully staffed office in Washington D.C.
Safari Club International claims, they contribute more to the African Gross Domestic product than any other industry. I am more than happy to dispel that myth.
In 2013 IFAW stated, “As a portion of any national economy, trophy hunting revenue never accounts for more than 0.27 percent of the GDP. Additionally, trophy hunting revenues account for only 1.8 percent of overall tourism in nine investigated countries that allow trophy hunting, and even pro-hunting sources find that only 3 percent of the money actually reaches the rural communities where hunting occurs”.
SCI also claims, hunters travel to destinations tourists wouldn’t consider travelling to. Where would that be, a Protected Park such as Hwange? The park Cecil was baited and lured from, for Palmer to illegally slaughter or are they referring to the canned hunt farms where lions are bred purely for killing?
Dick Cheyney (R) Vice President under the Bush Administration, is a self proclaimed, avid hunter and has participated in antelope hunts. Cheyney’s hunting practices had led to what was called, “an accident” caused by a gun malfunction that resulted in him, shooting his quail hunting partner in the face, neck and chest.
Paul Broun former House Representative (R) Georgia, admitted in a 2013 interview, he had killed and eaten a lion on a 2010 hunting trip in Zimbabwe. Quoted from article ” As Roll Call reported in December, Broun prominently displays his hunting trophies in his congressional office. His taxidermy collection — which includes a bear, a lion, and six other animal heads”.
Not only has Exxon Mobile contributed large amounts of money to political campaigns through their PAC donations, there is one Senator the oil industry is fond of paying for his loyalty. Republicans have introduced 93 percent of the legislation and every one of the 66 bills and riders that have been introduced so far this year aimed at weakening the Endangered Species Act.
John Cornyn (R) Texas, has been paid, $2.9 million from oil and gas interests during his career. Cornyn has introduced legislation to weaken protections for several endangered salamanders in his state.
Ken Calvert (R) Caliornia has been paid, $277,074 from oil and gas interests during his career. Calvert has introduced 10 bills including legisaltion that would jeopardize species ranging from, the mountain yellow-legged frog to the African elephant.
Last year Exxon Mobile lobbied Congress opposing the listing of the Greater Sage Grouse on the Endangered Species List.
In 2008 Shell Oil lobbied against the listing of Polar Bears as an endangered species. Shell Oil records do not indicate their position on the issue but indicate, lobbying was part of an effort to open federal waters in the Arctic, to oil drilling.
In the past 4 years Republicans have introduced more than 150 bills aimed at weakening the Endangered Species Act and have targeted 100 individual species. Not a single bill would save a single animal or plant.
“S. 292, introduced by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, would require that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publish on the Internet all data used for an endangered species listing decision, including detailed maps that could lead to more illegal poaching or collecting”. What a way to ensure the extinction of a species.
Several other pieces of insane and irrational legislation are listed in the article.
Politicians who have accepted bribes from large corporations are a credible threat and danger to the preservation of endangered species and their natural habitats. Not only have they been well paid to oppose legislation protecting wildlife and habitats, they also contibute to the extinction of species such as lions with their hunting practices.
Americans no longer have the justification to dictate politics or policies to any other country in regards to wildlife and natural habitat preservation until we clean up our own backyard. How do we expect to make changes in other countries when we have been so ineffective at making those changes in our own country?
Americans, wildlife, natural habitats and natural resources are being used as pawns by the wealthy to fill their need for power and greed. I hope this is an eye opener for all Americans and I also hope, Americans will stand up and fight this corrupt political system.
One final note; I realize there are a lot of links and articles to read but it’s the most effective way to provide insight as to what is really happening in the United States.