Partisan, Inc.

America for sale
cold clean water
Photo: Arian Stevens

Let’s say you’re looking for an easy score. Maybe you want to put a huge, dangerous mine in the middle of Alaska's Bristol Bay region, which is the salmon capitol of North America. Or maybe you want to keep dumping fracking waste water into the Gulf of Mexico. Or you want to tear the tops off West Virginia’s remaining mountains to get at those last hidden seams of coal. Or you want to keep showering massive quantities of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers on genetically-modified crops from Florida to Ohio to California. Or maybe you can’t wait to privatize our vast public lands.

Whatever your play, it's obvious that you don’t care about our woods and waters, or a sustainable economy, or our kids and grandkids. You’re focused on the profits. It’s all about the coin.

So what do you do? You know that a healthy, well-informed United States of America, self-governed by reasonable men and women, won’t give you free rein to trash our landscapes. You know that responsible politicians and dedicated public servants will put the brakes on your plans to privatize and monetize our lands and waters. So there, sadly, goes your chance to inflate your bottom line at the public’s expense. How do you get around that roadblock?

Turns out the answer is easy. You go big. You go political. You go partisan. You lay things out along hyper-political lines, you turn father against son and brother against sister, and then you help yourself to the spoils while society descends into partisan rancor—along with the nastiest of ‘us vs them’ vitriol—and nobody else remembers to keep an eye on the prize.

Divide and conquer. That’s the way it works, right?

And this is especially true when it comes to the biggest threat we face: human-caused climate change. If America ever took the time to sit down and review the data - to look at the facts and the science and the trend lines and the forecasts—we’d realize almost immediately that we need to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Then we’d embark on a national program to modernize our energy infrastructure, dramatically cut our CO2 emissions, and ensure our place as the world’s technological leader for the new clean energy economy.

Sweet. Absent the political malaise, we’d look at the current situation, diagnose the problem, engineer the technical solutions, and lock in U.S. world leadership for at least another 50 or 75 years. How could anyone ever complain about that?

Unless, that is, you’re making serious bank on dirty fossil fuels, in which case you’re completely fixated on keeping those coal, oil and gas profits rolling in for as long as humanly possible.

Let’s face it. Some people are willing to sacrifice our fishing, and even our future, to keep stroking that golden goose.

Bottom line, there is no debate about climate change. We understand the science. We know how to fix the problem and eliminate the vast majority of the CO2 that will otherwise trash our future. Top brands like Orvis, Patagonia, Scientific Anglers, Winston, Sage, Redington, RIO, Costa, Yeti, Abel, Fishpond and Simms have stepped up and advocated for strong climate action. At the same time, well-known anglers like Craig Mathews, Tom Rosenbauer, Hilary Hutcheson, Tim Romano, Travis Swartz (aka Hank Patterson), Perk Perkins, Dylan Tomine, Kate Taylor, Hannah Belford, Simon Perkins, Els Van Woert and Yvon Chouinard have made the case for moving from dangerous, outdated fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.

It's time to come together, set the partisan vitriol aside, and fight for our fisheries and our families. Please watch this short (2 minute) video from Conservation Hawks and think about what's at stake. Then let's work together and give our kids and grandkids a real shot at a decent future.


First the companies listed should be supported so that they have the funds to help the cause.
This fight isn't just about fishing, it is about having some sort of quality of life for future generations to come. It is not safe for families to live near mercury spewing coal fired power plants. it is not safe for families that rely on ground water from wells to drink water that is contaminated with coal fines.
As the regulations on the oil industry are reduced the chemicals used in fracking operations are going to end up in rivers used for drinking water.
The politicians claim that this is all about jobs. There isn't a job associated with the reversals that will last more than 10 years, if that that long. There are and will be created in the clean energy sector than are sustained by dirty industry. Jobs are being lost to computer and robotically operated systems not green energy or public lands.
If your representatives are receiving money from the factions leading the charge for the repeal of clean energy and destroying public lands, vote against them. If there is enough public outrage this will stop and they will figure out how to support the countries future.

Thank you for writing and publishing this piece. Climate change deniers and supporters of habitat-degrading industry have no place in the fraternity of conservationist fly fishers. I am deeply grateful for people like Hilary Hutcheson who take the time and spend their energy trekking to Washington to make the case for legislation to fight climate change. Push has come to shove, and people who love fly fishing for trout need to understand that politics matters. Seeing candidates who have prostituted themselves for fossil fuel companies and unscrupulous extraction industries parade around in their waders with fly rods in campaign commercials fills me with wrath.