Enviros cheer, critics jeer report on 'flawed' Utah oil leases

Salazar’s concession to Utah’s Senator Bennett to allow Hayes to be confirmed number two at Interior doesn’t turn out like the Senator wanted-

Enviros cheer, critics jeer report on ‘flawed’ oil leases. Bishop » Utah congressman calls it “crap,” Bennett is conciliatory. By Thomas Burr.
The Salt Lake Tribune.

From my perspective this dust-up turned out very well. 🙂

New on June. 13, 2008. Drilling decisions. Report shows flawed BLM process. Salt Lake Tribune Editorial



  1. JimT Avatar

    I agree that the report undermines Bennett, but remember, he is still is allegedly holding up the Solicitor nominee for oil leases, so he has another shot at “encouraging” BLM to release some of them, and the skeptical side of me would predict a deal has been made already for Bennett to be so meek in his response.

    Also, check out the news releases on the latest for the undersecretary’s position. It now appears that Colorado’s own DNR leader is the leading choice, and he is NOT being cheered on by local enviros, let me tell you. One more instance of Big Hat’s following of the old model of appointments.

    Here is a story from the Durango Herald….

    Groups oppose candidate to lead Forest Service
    Environmentalists also resist action on roadless rule
    by Joe Hanel
    Herald Denver Bureau
    Article Last Updated; Friday, June 12, 2009
    President Barack Obama is considering hiring Coloradan Harris Sherman to lead the U.S. Forest Service, according to environmental groups that oppose the move.

    Katie Ogier – The Wells Group
    custom residential construction

    Sherman serves as director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. DNR spokesman Theo Stein refused comment on the rumor, which has been circulating among environmentalists for at least a week.

    Separately, environmental groups including Durango’s Colorado Wild are asking Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to delay final action on Colorado’s roadless rule until the Obama administration finalizes its national policy on backcountry forests.

    Colorado was one of only two states to draft its own roadless rule during the Bush administration. Gov. Bill Ritter endorsed the Colorado plan, which offers weaker protections than the 2001 national roadless rule, because it offered an “insurance policy” in case judges overturned the national rule. The USDA and state officials are working on final wording for the rule.

    Environmentalists have fought against the Colorado rule since the early days of the Ritter administration, and their dislike of the rule lies at the heart of their opposition to Sherman.

    Michael Francis of the Wilderness Society complained about Sherman in a Thursday story in Greenwire, an online environmental news service.

    “The process that Mr. Sherman has been leading in Colorado would essentially eviscerate the protections of the 2001 rule,” Francis told Greenwire. “I question whether he could do what the president would want him to do.”

    The Agriculture Department job in question is undersecretary for natural resources and environment, the post held by Mark Rey during the Bush administration.

    Sherman has played a high-profile role in the Ritter’s cabinet. He serves as chairman of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, where he led a major overhaul to make the agency’s rules focus more on health, wildlife and the environment.

    Environmental groups sent a letter Thursday to Vilsack, asking for a delay on the Colorado rule. Last month, Vilsack banned all road-building projects in roadless areas unless reviewed by his office. Environmentalists took that as a signal that Obama intends to return to the Clinton administration’s 2001 policy that put 58 million acres of forests off limits to new roads.

    As currently written, Colorado’s rule would maintain most of the Clinton protections, but it would allow exceptions for coal mines, ski areas and possibly some gas and oil leases. It also would allow backcountry logging if done as part of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan – something that especially bothers Ryan Demmy Bidwell of Colorado Wild.

    The exceptions could open tens of thousands of acres to logging roads in the Hermosa Creek roadless area, said Colorado Wild.

    Ritter said he shares the same goal as the Obama administration, and the final Colorado rule will be reviewed in the context of the new national policy.

    “I have always supported strong protections for Colorado’s roadless areas and will continue to work with stakeholders on refining the Colorado petition. I appreciate the continued input from the many parties who have worked so hard to assist the state in protecting our roadless lands,” Ritter said in an e-mailed statement.

    Bidwell said there’s no more need for a separate Colorado rule as an insurance policy.

    “I think that was a logical argument at the time Governor Ritter made it,” Bidwell said. “The new administration has indicated it wants to protect these areas. In some respects, a different insurance policy has been put in place.”

  2. JimT Avatar

    Actually NOT the undersecretary.but head of the Forest Service. Sorry for the confusion.

    I read it as the Undersecretary? Ralph Maughan

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Thanks JimT.

    Here is a story on it from the Colorado Independent. Sherman mentioned for USDA post, but roadless rule could be roadblock

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