One-click activism has been a one-click failure with the Bush administration thus far. The Interior Department, for example, received 360,000 public comments (the huge majority of them sent by email) about the future of snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks; 80 percent of the writers asked that the government ban the snowmobiles. Last week, however, the administration said it would let the machines continue to rumble through the parks. What gives? Public comments have carried increasingly less weight since a 1987 court ruling that gave officials permission to ignore mass mailings, such as the one generated when green advocacy groups encouraged their members to sign form letters about the snowmobiles. Accordingly, the administration also discarded 93 percent of the comments it received about its plans to roll back protections for roadless areas in national forests, arguing that only 7 percent of the comments were “original” and not the result of a Beltway-orchestrated campaign.
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