NANFA-- Drilling in Wilderness Areas?

Bruce Stallsmith (
Tue, 29 May 2001 22:15:12 -0400

Here's a subject sure to be more controversial than brown trout. I picked up
the following blurb from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Several
lingering political questions have now become rolled into one big issue:
should we maintain large Wilderness Areas (with significant anti-development
protections) on federal lands in this country; and should we massively
expand drilling for petroleum on federal lands, largely by relaxing
environmental protections?

My own opinion is that the Bush administration was going in this direction
anyway, but the current hysteria about gasoline reaching $2/gallon and the
very real problems with electricity in California have accelerated events. I
especially draw your attention to the various web sites at the bottom of
this message for both more information and ways you can send your message of
choice to your Senators.

I submit this not so much to raise partisan issues as to ask everyone if
they think expanded drilling on protected lands is a good idea right now.
Would we really improve our position, or do we merely degrade federal lands
for little gain? You decide... it's _your_ land! (native fishes and all!)

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL


Friends, the Bush Administration's energy plan, released on May 17, is a
grave threat to Utah wilderness and wild lands all over the West. It won't
help consumers or reduce high energy prices, but will open up some of
America's best wilderness areas, needlessly, to oil and gas drilling.
We're asking folks to write to President George W. Bush and tell him NO WAY

To sum up, the Bush energy plan gives lip service to energy conservation and
to renewable energy sources, then turns around and recommends a massive push
to open up our public lands for more oil and gas drilling and coal
development -- not for the benefit of consumers, but for the profits of a
few BIG OIL companies who contributed millions to the Bush campaign. THE

Specifically, Bush and Cheney's recommendations regarding oil and gas
leasing on our public lands are to "modify" any protective land status, land
withdrawal, or lease stipulation that impedes oil drilling or coal mining.

This means Secretary Norton will be looking to: get rid of seasonal leasing
restrictions that protect wildlife habitat or other environmental values;
revoke protective withdrawals of National Wildlife Refuges, National
Monuments such as the Grand Staircase-Escalante, National Conservation
Areas, military lands, and other public lands currently withdrawn from oil,
gas, or coal leasing; and even pressure Congress to release Wilderness Study
Areas for oil drilling (as evidenced in Norton's own leaked draft
recommendations which the press got hold of in April, see our alert dated

The Bush Administration didn't even bother to recommend that Congress
simply fund more BLM [Bureau of Land Management] staff to process fossil
fuel leases more quickly -- a non-brainer that the oil industry has
specifically requested and even most Democrats are willing to give them. No,
the Bush energy plan is all about rolling back existing land protections in
order to drill and mine our last wild places.

WILDERNESS." 88% of Utah's BLM lands are available for leasing already, and
there are plenty of hydrocarbons available OUTSIDE our last remaining
wilderness areas. We must not sacrifice the nation's few remaining wild
deserts, canyons, and mountains for the profits of a handful of wealthy oil
companies. We can do better. We can meet America's energy needs without
opening up some of our best wilderness areas to oil and gas drilling.

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
FAX: (202) 456-2461

See for yourself: The Bush-Cheney "National Energy Policy" is up on the Web
at (Chapter 5, regarding production on
public lands, is at

For more information on why drilling America's wilderness is a terrible idea
that will not solve any energy problems, check out The Wilderness Society's
web site at

To watch a funny movie and send an automatic response to your Senators,
check out But
please be sure and write President Bush at the White House too!

Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at

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