This Congress finally died (adjourned sine die) after passing a massive bill full of good, bad, and mixed, but almost entirely unrelated matters–“Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006”.

Among the good items was a legislative ban on new oil and gas leasing along the 100 mile long Rocky Mountain Front to the south of Montana’s Glacier National Park. The bill also includes a financial incentive to retire the 60 or so outstanding leases. Many folks believe the Front is the jewel of Montana, where the plains and the mountains dramatically meet and grizzly bears still wander well out into the plains.

Although the vote on the final catchall bill is hard to interpret, it is telling the Montana’s lone U.S. Representative thought the area should drilled because “drilling is needed at a time when the United States is struggling to meet its energy needs.”

This might sound plausible to folks who don’t know the potential of the Front as a percentage of U.S. energy demand, don’t know the lowest cost source of new energy (efficiency), don’t all the other areas in the Rockies that have been sacrificed to oil and gas, and don’t realize that no country has an objectively identifiable quantity of energy demand called “its needs.”

Story on the Front. AP

rockymtnfront.jpg
Rocky Mountain Front near the Sun River. Google Earth

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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