Too Much Energy Drilling in Western States
And this time it isn’t just liberals and treehuggers who are complaining. A lot of Republicans and Conservatives are alarmed that wildlife and outdoor recreation are being jeopardized by excessive drilling on public lands.
In Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and California, Republicans are calling for bans or limits on drilling in national forests. The vice president of Trout Unlimited said “You are seeing more and more opposition from people who are concerned about hunting, about fishing, about drinking water supplies, about a state’s way of life.”
The biggest turnaround comes from Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Montana). He’s been a loyal Bush Republican who never saw an oil rig he didn’t love. But now he’s fighting for his political life this November, so he’s making some changes. Now he wants to ban future oil and gas leasing on national forestland and rangeland in his home state.
Governor Ahnuld has petitioned the federal government for permanent protection of 4.4 million acres of California national forest from road-building. By sheer coincidence, he also is facing a tough re-election campaign.
Senator Craig Thomas (R-Wyoming) recently said that most national forests should be off limits to drilling “because they’re part of our tradition, part of our future.”
Rep. Heather Wilson (R-New Mexico) is co-sponsoring legislation to block the federal government from drilling for natural gas in an elk refuge in New Mexico.
Thank God for NIMBYism (not in my backyard). There hasn’t been much development or drilling in Kennebunkport, ME or Crawford, TX for some strange reason. Now it seems other Republicans are having the same sentiments about their home states.
From the day Bush got appointed he’s been pushing federal agencies to expedite drilling on public lands (that’s OUR land, people). During Bush's first full year in office, 3,540 drilling permits were issued. During 2005 the number almost doubled to 7,018.
It looks like some of Bush’s most loyal Republicans have finally had enough.