From the sometimes-insular vantage point of lofty outposts like Aspen, the environmental record associated with the Trump administration might seem distant, even abstract. After all, the chances of vast swaths of public land at the upper end of the Roaring Fork Valley being transferred to state or private ownership seems remote. As are the chances of a coal mine suddenly blighting the views from atop Aspen Mountain. Such environmental affronts would simply not be conceivable, much less allowed.
But the social and geographic remove from what is being perceived as the most anti-environment administration since that of Ronald Reagan and his notorious Secretary of the Interior James Watt are anything but distant. Like it or not, Trump’s war on the environment is flowing against the current of the Roaring Fork River and inching its way upstream toward the roundabout.
Carbondale-based Wilderness Workshop (WW), which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, recently decided to take the step of aggregating some of the Trump administration’s most noteworthy environmental sins and then to lay those sins as close as possible to the doorstep of the city that thinks of itself as America’s canary in a coal mine.
“The Trump Administration’s anti-conservation agenda of the past year has been the worst in memory at the Wilderness Workshop,” Justin Patrick, WW’s communications manager, wrote in the introduction to a report making the case against the administration’s environmental policies. “We have been scrambling to keep up with the assaults emanating from Washington, D.C., as well as those filtering down locally, that would have a negative impact on the clean air, clean water and healthy public lands prized by locals and visitors alike.