Skip to main content

Note that this blog was crossposted from the The Checks and Balances Project with permission.

The Congressional Western Caucus announced last week it will launch an online, Western Caucus University. The caucus claims the point of the new website is to educate the public on “what it means to live and work in the West.” Since the western caucus is comprised of oil- and gas-funded members of Congress who commonly advocate for the oil and gas industry, it’s likely this university’s “curriculum” will include whitewashed information about drilling and fracking.

Indications are already present that the website will be used to promote government handouts of public lands – national parks, monuments, forests, and wildlife areas – to the oil and gas industry, at the expense of agricultural, outdoor recreation, and tourism industries that are economic drivers in the West. Here’s some information we’re willing to bet won’t make it onto the site:

U.S. oil production has surged to a 20 year high.

The combination of profit, geology and technology are driving oil and gas drilling to private land. 93% of all onshore shale oil and mixed oil and gas plays– the source of the recent oil boom – are found under nonfederal lands. Even in the Rocky Mountain West, where more federal land is located, 89% of the shale oil and mixed oil and gas plays are under nonfederal lands.

The Obama Administration has leased 2.5 times more public lands to oil and gas companies than it has protected.  

In the West, where most federal lands are located, the areas with more than 30% protected federal lands increased jobs by 345%, from 1970 to 2010, compared to 83% job growth in counties with no protected lands.

The outdoor recreation industry, which relies heavily on protected lands like national parks, generates $646 billion in spending each year and 6.1 million American jobs.

The Government Accounting Office and industry experts have said oil shale could use up to 140 percent of what Denver Water provides its customers, today.

Big Oil was the top campaign contributor to the Congressional Western Caucus co-chairs Rep. Cynthia Lummis ($108,050 – more than double the next biggest contributing industry) and Rep. Steve Pearce ($206,100 – also more than double).

Two questions for Congressional Western Caucus members:

Is this online advocacy paid for with taxpayer dollars?

How much input will oil and gas lobbyists have into what is included in the website?

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