It would seem that preemptive measures are all the rage among anti-environmentalists these days. In Alaska, Gov. Frank Murkowski (R) is awaiting the Interior Department’s response to a request he made last year (while still a senator) to prohibit the establishment of new wilderness areas in the state. “Congress set aside all this wilderness, all these national parks and preserves, and we think that we ought to just stop there,” said Murkowski spokesperson John Manly. (Fifteen percent of Alaska is designated wilderness.) Meanwhile, in West Virginia, the coal industry has introduced a bill in the state legislature that would prevent the state from establishing any environmental restrictions on mining stricter than those mandated by the federal government. According to Chris Hamilton, vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, obtaining a mining permit in the state costs five times as much and takes three to four times as long as in neighboring Kentucky.
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