Congressman Opposes Program to Save Protected Turtles and Calls for Using Money to Build More Highways

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., has opposed a modest program to save turtles being wiped out along a highway in Michigan. Under the program, a simple two-mile fence will be built to keep the turtles for crossing the highway. The program only costs $318,000 and protects two state-protected species — the wood turtle and Blanding’s turtle as well as snapper, painted, box and map turtles.Officials support the program since it is not only deadly to turtles but dangerous for cars. However, Hoekstra, considered one of the more anti-environmental members of Congress, demanded to know why the Michigan Department of Transportation did not consider using the money for . . . . you guessed it, more highways and other projects “more related to the movement of people and products.” For the full story, click here The remarkable aspect of this story is that there is a very strong environmental community among Republicans. Yet, GOP leaders continue to represent the most extreme anti-environmental sentiments of the party. Even as the GOP continues to fall in polls, there is no effort to put forward a more moderate approach to public policy. If members cannot support a simple and relatively cheap way of protecting a species, there is little hope for the GOP in becoming a mainstream party in a country that is increasingly concerned with environmental issues.