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Pomona professor explores public lands in new book

Professor Char Miller of Claremont’s Pomona College examines historic struggles and contemporary debates over public lands in the United States in his new book, Public Lands, Public Debates: A Century of Controversy published by Oregon State University Press.

Composed of 19 essays, the book explores the history of conservation efforts in this nation, tracks the development and reach of the U.S. Forest service, and addresses the broader debates about public lands. Mr. Miller, who is the W. M. Keck Professor of Environmental Studies at Pomona College, focuses on points of contention in negotiating issues of public land, and the (sometimes strange) specifics of shaping the administration thereof.

Other topics discussed in the book include the emergence of the idea of conservation, early legislation related to conservation, such as the Antiquities Act of 1906, a discussion of new national regulations beginning in the 1960s with the Wilderness Act (1964) and Endangered Species Act (1973), and the much more recent understanding of global interconnectedness of nature and climate change.

 “Americans have always fought over the public lands, about their physical existence, political purposes, economic benefits and environmental values,” Mr. Miller said. “My goal was to write a book about public lands, our fascination and frustration with them, that was accessible to the public.”

Mr. Miller is the director of the Environmental Analysis Program at Pomona, a senior fellow of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation and a contributing writer for the Texas Observer. He has written and edited numerous books including Gifford Pinchot and the Making of Modern Environmentalism, River Basins of the American West: A High Country News Reader and Water in the 21st Century West.

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