“If you’ve seen one redwood tree, you’ve seen them all,” then-Governor Ronald Reagan famously said.
It would appear that Mitt Romney embraces a similar philosophy. Romney recently released his energy plan, and the first point on the “Romney agenda” is: Empower states to control onshore energy development.
The plan reads: “We have an unprecedented opportunity to make our natural resources a long-term source of competitive advantage for our nation. If we develop these resources to the fullest, we will not only guarantee ourselves an affordable and reliable supply of energy, but also enjoy benefits throughout our economy.”
The premise of the plan is that energy independence is an achievable goal for America by 2020. However, as The New York Times points out, the simple truth is that a country that holds less than 3 percent of the world’s reserves but consumes more than 20 percent of the world’s supply cannot drill its way to energy independence. The only way to gain that independence is to develop alternative fuels and more efficient vehicles.
But surprise, surprise! Romney’s plan ignores the evidence, and passes control over to the states for energy development. And if states are determined to aggressively push fossil energy development, giving oversight of mining and drilling to them could put some of our National Parks at risk.
As The New York Times puts it:
The purposes [of federal public lands], under established law, are various: recreation, preservation, resource development. States, as a rule, tend to be interested mainly in resource development. In the energy future envisioned by Mr. Romney, that is precisely what would prevail.
As a fervent supporter and frequent visitor to our National Parks, I find this scary and depressing. Here, for example, are five parks that could be at risk under a Romney energy plan:
Arches National Park: Under George W. Bush, 77 oil and gas leases very close to National Parks were issued, including Arches. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar canceled these leases in January 2009, but that decision is not permanent. If the state of Utah was approached again by the oil and gas industry, they could well approve their requests, since Utah’s governor and legislature this year called for title to all 30 million acres of public lands to “ help foster economic development .”
Read more: arches national park, bryce canyon national park, drilling, grand canyon national park, grand teton national park, mitt romney, national parks, natural resources, oil and gas, paul ryan, romney energy plan, theodore roosevelt national park
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