Everybody is patting themselves on the back. Representative John Hall had a recommended diary touting Victory on the Energy Bill. SusanG frontpaged the Houses' passage of the bill in Democrats Pass House Energy Bill, 235-181. Most comments were supportive of the bill, but one headline was missing:
THE ROAN PLATEAU GETS SCREWED!
The contraversy is big news here. Both the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News are covering the Roan provisions specifically, and I'm sure outdoor columnist Ed Dentry is going to be breathing fire next week.
Every Democratic member of the Colorado delegation is against this provision and 20 state legislators have sent a letter to Governor Ritter to stop the rape of the Roan Plateau.
Now, overall it must be a pretty decent bill because even though Colorado Democratic delegation is universally against the Roan provisions, John Salazar D-03, Mark Udall D-02, Ed Perlmutter D-07, and Dianna Degette D-01 all voted for the bill. Maybe something more subtle is happening politically than I am able to grasp, but it would seem that if John Salazar CO-03, the representative for the Rifle and the Roan Plateau, is sending the BLM these recommendations maybe they should have protected the Roan:
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John T. Salazar (CO-3) today submitted comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Roan Plateau Planning Area. Emphasizing that the ultimate priority should be placed on the community’s concerns, Salazar submitted five recommendations to the Bureau of Land Management:
1 – not approve any drilling on top of the Roan Plateau;
2 – analyze and incorporate the measures of the “Community Alternative” whereappropriate;
3 – provide adequate spacing between gas wells and other mitigation plans;
4 – analyze implications on livestock grazing levels; and
5 – provide for full water quality monitoring.
You see the community that will be directly effected doesn't want drilling on top of the Plateau. 75,000 comments were went to the BLM and we get this. Drilling is okay, but don't screw up the water, the elk, deer, the mountain lions, the bobcats, the raptors or any other part of this jewel of the Rockies.
We're throwing the animals, the people around the Roan Plateau, and the future of the Plateau down the drain for cheap natural gas. I posted the following on the Denver Post Article after I read their article about what happens next:
The big money is the tourism and hunting dollars that come to Colorado because we have wild places like the Roan Plateau. Ritter needs to think about the 5.8 billion that hunting brings to Colorado and the tens of billions that tourism brings to the state. I guarantee you there are more hunters, hikers, fisherman, fishing guides, raft guides, tourists, and Coloradans that vote than Extractive Industry executives that rape the land and leave. At least they use to use local labor and American made rigs; they don't even do that any more. Every rig that I came up on this year was foreign made and foreign run. The natural gas will be there in 50 years, we'll need it even more, and horizontal drilling will make financial sense. Making some gas company hundreds of millions of dollars and screwing the people around Rifle makes no sense.
There is no downside to protecting the Roan. Ritter can depend on the people of Colorado to get his back. The gas men can him money; we can give him money and votes.
I got a nice bull on public land this year, I want my two year old to have the same opportunity when he's 40 and using up our land so a few can profit today is stupid.
Rocky Mountain Democrats are poised to permanently seize the hook and bullet vote, but we have to take care of our wild places and balance our need for energy today and the future we leave our kids tomorrow. The Roan is a special place for a lot of folks.
"We've killed a lot of good bulls up here," he said wistfully, like someone thinking of retiring. "We used to have a lot of deer. Not anymore."
Kieth Goddard says hunters who've been coming to the Roan for 30 years have sworn off because of noise, traffic, trash and the loss of a "quality experience."
He says he's tired of the mad rush to drill without regard for environmental consequences before the political wind changes.
"They just don't do it responsibly," he said. "If it was any other industry than oil and gas, they'd throw them under the prison."
Save the Roan!