The Natural Community Conservation Planning program is not a "new approach" to conservation ("Big Piece of Common Ground," April 14). Developers learned many years ago that you could get more out of compliant environmentalists than you could from a regulatory agency or the Legislature. And who was invited to play in this destructive game? Only "soft" environmental groups--those whose boards are now open to developers, whose coffers are filled with money from corporate foundations, and whose passive members see themselves as mediators rather than as advocates for the environment.
"Radicals" need not apply. But when you mix a soft environmentalist with a hard developer you get "win-win" compromises that defy science and defy their promises of environmental preservation.
While those who sat at the table forging the NCCP celebrate their "success," I and others like me will continue to mourn the failure of an environmental movement that held so much promise on Earth Day 1970. When environmentalists return to advocating for the environment, when property rights do not include a right to destroy the environment, when we stop touting failure as success, we can then begin again on a road to recovery.