27 Oct 2005

Take our land... please!

Although Pombo has said that his unbelievable proposal to sell several of our national parks was “not serious”, today the House Resources Committee will vote on a budget measure that could “give mining corporations control over much of America’s federal public land”.
From the news release:
The budget reconciliation proposal put forward by Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, a California Republican, would allow foreign and U.S. mining corporations to buy millions of acres of public lands in the West, including land in national parks, wilderness and other protected areas.
In addition, the proposal would undercut budget deficit reduction by prohibiting the federal government from imposing royalties on minerals and metals removed from public lands.
So, no, he's not selling the parks themselves, just several thousand acres within them so that private industry can rip all the natural resources out of them without having to pay any royalties.
This proposal also includes the ANWR details, which he now calls by the more long winded “Arctic Coastal Plain Domestic Energy Security Act of 2005”. How verbose. As long as the title is blatantly patronizing, I think we should have gone with the “Liberating Energy from the Ground and Protecting Our Children From Terrorists while Happy Fun Caribou Don't Mind Act”.
Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) introduced the Resources Committee’s budget reconciliation plan today, which includes opening the northern coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to energy production and granting more control of offshore energy production to coastal states.
We're drilling everywhere! Off our shores, the Arctic Coastal Plain (the plain formerly known as ANWR), giving out mining patents – if you have a drill, we've got a patch of land for you! We even want you to drill in ambiguously defined regions of public lands :
the Secretary shall hold the first oil shale and tar sands lease sales under the regulation, offering for lease a minimum of 35 percent of the Federal lands that are geologically prospective for oil shale and tar sands within Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.
Isn't there some sort of protection that any of these lands have preventing this? Well, Alaska does, but don't worry, Pombo has it covered:
REPEAL.—Section 1003 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (U.S.C. 3143) is repealed
That's just what I found by skimming. Feel free to browse yourself. Also, you can feel pretty confident that I am correctly blaming Pombo directly for this. In the top corner of the document, it has this filestamp :
So, I'm again going to post some time my wife and I have spent backpacking in or otherwise visting federal land in Utah and Wyoming, before someone finds oil shale there.
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