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Of Pigs and Forests

Will Gov. Christie Sign Logging Bill for Same Reason He Vetoed Pig Crate Bill?

After I wrote yesterday’s post about similarities between the NJ State Forest logging bill and a Wisconsin mining bill signed into law by another Gov. who is a right wing hero, Gov. Scott Walker, I read NJ Senator Lesniak’s Op-Ed urging the Legislature to over-ride Gov. Christie’s veto of the pig crate bill.

When I first read about the Christie pig crate veto, I reached the exact same conclusion that Lesniak did, and Tweeted about how the Christie veto played in Wisconsin – tweeting a press release by the National Pork Council:

Senator Lesniak hit the nail on the head when he wrote:

The governor won’t admit it, but his political ambitions appear to be dictating his decision. He must have Iowa on his mind. It is the first state to conduct a Republican primary for president, it is one of the largest pork producers in the country and it is home to the National Pork Council. It appears that he sold his soul to Iowa and sold out to his ambitions for higher office beyond New Jersey.

So, it occurred to me, could there be similar national political incentives for Christie to sign the logging bill?

A pro-public lands logging position is red meat to the Republican base – the mining, logging, drilling, “wise use” property rights crowd – and would play well in Iowa.

It would send a strong message that Christie was no wimpy northeastern moderate pro-environment Republican in the Christie Whitman or Lincoln Chafee mold.

Some say these politics explain the Gov.’s climate change denial.

In addition, the NJ logging bill has certain similarities not only to the Wisconsin mining law, but to an ALEC model forestry bill, and, just like Gov. Christie’s climate change denial, signing it could prompt contributions from the Koch Brothers corporate big money crowd.

And other key factions in the Republican base, including the “bait and bullet” sportsmen’s lobby and gun advocates, also support the NJ logging bill.

Last, the NJ logging bill also appeals to the “black helicopter” faction of there Republican base, who see all sorts of conspiracy and Homeland Security threats from “eco-terrorsts”. The NJ Outdoor Alliance has played the “eco-terror” smear & fear card, and they too support the NJ logging bill.

My initial thoughts were that Gov.  Christie would conditionally veto or absolutely veto the bill, because of DEP opposition to FSC and to the fiscal (cost) implications and new bureaucracy the bill would create.

But, when viewed through an Iowa lens, I am reconsidering that conclusion and fear that the Gov. might sign the bill – for the same reason he vetoed the pig crate ban bill: IOWA.

In doing so, he’d send a message to major right wing factions of the Republican base: the corporate Koch Brothers anti-environmental/pro-exploitation of public lands interests; wise use/property rights advocates; sportsmen and gun rights folks; and the authoritarian/paranoid conspiracy theory camp who see environmentalists as “eco-terrorists”.

Remarkably, the NJ logging bill is sponsored by Democrats and supported by the “Green Mafia” – who seem to have teed up another opportunity for Gov. Christie to fundraise and play to a national audience.

Heckofajob guys!

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