I’m writing to applaud former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt for challenging the Obama Administration to put land conservation on equal ground with oil and gas drilling. There are many treasured places, such as the North Fork Valley, that do not have the permanent protection that would guarantee that our children and grandchildren would be able to experience Colorado’s unique outdoor and agricultural heritage.
What Sec. Babbitt proposed is that for every acre of our public land leased to the oil and gas industry during President Obama’s tenure, at least one acre should be permanently protected. This common-sense principle would ensure that hunting and fishing and the protection of important historic and cultural areas are on equal ground with the interests of oil and gas companies.
This common-sense principle will ensure that the conservation of public lands is on equal ground with oil and gas drilling. Hunting, fishing, tourism and the $646 billion outdoor recreation economy are on equal ground with the interests of oil and gas companies; and
Our commitment to future generations is on equal ground with the pressures and needs of today.
Throughout our history, presidents and the Congress have traditionally cooperated in setting aside public lands for future generations to enjoy and presidents of both parties have regularly exercised their authority to establish national monuments and wildlife refuges. Both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton protected as much of our public land as they gave to the oil and gas industry. Unfortunately the pendulum has swung too far out of balance in favor of the oil and gas industry. This problem must be corrected.
It’s time for President Obama to right the balance between energy development and conservation on our public lands, strengthen our economic vitality, and build a legacy of which our children and grandchildren can be proud.
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