Skip to main content

This graph is disheartening:

Kind of pisses me off really. In a disappointing kind of pissed.

Now I know Obama has done a lot on the "green" side of things, like the EPA gas mileage standards improvement, like doubling alternative energy production. But his lands records, as illustrated above, is really, really sorry. I mean, worse than Bush? Come on Obama. Maybe he will significantly improve in his second term. We'll see.

But for now people like former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt have to go to Washington and give a speech arguing for policies to protect our public lands when really, it should just happen. Like it did under Reagan. Or George HW. Bush, or like it did with Clinton. Or like it did under George W. F-ing Bush.

Look at that graph again.

Sad. Shameful. Disappointing.

Now for those of us who would cry out, "Yeah but republican congress! Or yeah but Obama can't do anything!" Look at that graph again and then look up who controlled Congress during those times. Yes this Congress is different, in a very "different" sort of way. But Obama, as President, can do something administratively that doesn't require this whacko Congress' approval. Just like that graph shows above, he can go around the 12 year olds of the 113th. George W. F-ing Bush did more to protect public lands using administrative powers than Obama has thus far.

Shameful.

What Bruce Babbitt is calling for is a new policy that would set aside one acre for public lands protection for every acre Obama opens up to drilling.  Obama has opened up over 6 million acres of public land to oil and gas drilling in just 4 years.

Or as Secretary Babbitt pointed out today at the National Press Club:

Under George H.W. Bush, conservation ran neck and neck with oil and gas.

Under President Clinton, conservation moved ahead.

Then, under President George W. Bush, conservation fell far behind, with the oil and gas industry taking down 7.5 acres for every acre of permanent conservation.

So far, under President Obama, industry has been winning the race as it obtains more and more land for oil and gas. Over the past four years, the industry has leased more than 6 million acres, compared with only 2.6 million acres permanently protected. In the Obama era, land conservation is again falling behind.

Sometimes pictures are better at getting the point across:
As Babbitt points out, the Oil and Gas Industry is winning the race to take over our public lands, but Obama has the power to change the outcome and ensure that our public lands are protected and should be viewed for their worth more than a mere resource to exploit:
Therefore, I am proposing today that the President adopt a common-sense principle: for every acre of land leased to the oil and gas industry during his tenure, one acre must be permanently protected for future generations. It's that simple: one to one.

This 'One-to-One principle' will ensure that the conservation of our public lands is on equal ground with energy development. The principle will ensure that tourism, hunting, fishing are on equal ground with the interests of oil and gas companies. And it will ensure that our responsibility to future generations and to the climate is on equal ground with the pressures and needs of today.

Now, how can the President right the balance between development and land conservation by the end of his second term, and achieve that one-to-one balance?
He can begin by committing to make up the deficit of the past four years by placing an additional 4 million acres of land into permanent protection. And going forward he should then, too, commit to place one additional acre into permanent protection for each acre leased out to the oil and gas industry.

Babbitt, in his prepared remarks, points out that the President has a very clear path to protect our public lands that has been used by previous Presidents, such as Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II. Please read Babbitt's prepared remarks to see how Obama can achieve these goals without (or with) the approval of the current "congress" (if that's what we must call them).

Obama's "All The Above" stance towards energy production doesn't seem to include public land protection. But it sure does include a lot of "Drill Baby Drill."

He can change his lasting legacy on our public lands. It's up to him to make a course correction over the next 4 years. Hopefully someone will show him that graph up there and that will light a spark. Hopefully that graph above is embarrassing enough that someone will bring it to the attention of the President.

Link to the policy proposal On Equal Ground.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site