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Another part of *'s horrible legacy: the oil leases in the West... [View All]

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CaliforniaPeggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 01:55 AM
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Another part of *'s horrible legacy: the oil leases in the West...
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Oil lays waste to the West
The greed, speed and scale of development in wild lands is an open wound on America.

By Terry Tempest Williams

December 7, 2008

On election day, the Bureau of Land Management in Utah quietly announced its last round of oil and gas lease sales for the year. On Dec. 19, close to 400,000 acres of America's redrock wilderness -- much of it adjacent to Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Dinosaur National Monument -- were to be sold for drilling to the highest bidders.

Public outcry was fierce. The National Park Service had not been consulted, as it usually was, and much of the land listed for auction had long been proposed for wilderness protection. The BLM succumbed to the pressure and met with the National Park Service, which asked that 93 oil and gas leases be removed from the list. The BLM backed off 22 parcels, and then later deferred other leases in sensitive areas.

From a cynical perspective, the lease sale announcement could be seen as a fire the BLM set intentionally around the edges of Utah's most precious natural treasures, knowing it could extinguish the flames, emerge as a reasonable land steward and still get what its current boss, the Bush administration, wants -- more and more public land in the American West to exploit.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, riding bareback and backward in the last gasp of their fossil-fuel governance, are holding fast to their dictum that what is good for the oil business is good for the country. In the interior West, we know this is a lie. Just look at Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah and see how they have been laid to waste, a wide-open wound in America's failed energy policy.

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