Saturday, November 29, 2008


The Washington Post has a story today by Juliet Eilperin reporting that the Bush government is rushing ahead with conducting oil and gas leases on some of the most scenic land in Utah.

Writes Eilperin:

"Places such as Utah offer huge potential for energy producers, but development there has triggered controversy because of its proximity to some of the nation's most scenic parks and natural monuments. After Park Service officials on Monday identified 93 proposed auction parcels where leasing could jeopardize "air quality, water resources and natural sound," BLM officials announced late the next day that they would defer action on two dozen of those parcels as well as portions of four more, while pressing ahead with more than 210 parcels encompassing 313,000 acres.

"Environmental activists said oil and gas drilling on the 210 remaining parcels could jeopardize air quality and other natural features of some of the country's most treasured national parks, such as Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef, along with the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Dinosaur national monuments."

Republicans must be cheering, including Sarah Palin, whose dumb ridiculous slogan was, "Drill, baby,drill." Is this what Republicans want? Oil wells and oil exploration next to Arches National Park? Or drillers trampling over Kodachrome Basin?

Bush's latest move must be stopped. As I have said before, this guy is dangerous right up to the very last day he and Cheney occupy national office. Bush still can do a lot of damage, not only in messing up foreign policy but also, as we see here, in ruining America's environmental treasures.

Reports Eilperin:

""The Bush administration started its energy policy in back rooms with oil lobbyists, and it's fitting that's how they want to end it," said Bobby McEnaney, a public lands expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. "They're destroying the whole process that is designed to protect these lands. Once you get rid of wilderness, you can't get it back."

"David Garbett, a staff attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, said that in the last month, the administration also finalized six "resource management plans" that will allow the bureau to auction off other parts of these areas in the future.

""These plans will govern management of these lands for likely the next 20 years, and these plans have made areas like this available for leasing," Garbett said. "It's a final attempt by the administration to set in stone guidance for these lands for the long term, in a way that will not protect resources.""

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