Sarah Woodmansee: A penny earned, a dollar gone
These statements from a pnews release of the Bureau of Land Management, published on Sept. 6, exemplify current policy aimed at monetizing the United States’ natural resources.
“The BLM’s policy is to promote oil and gas development if it meets the guidelines and regulations set forth by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and other subsequent laws and policies passed by the U.S. Congress. The sales are also in keeping with the administration’s America First Energy First Plan, which includes development of fossil fuels and coal, as well as renewable energy.
“In Fiscal Year 2016, oil and gas development on public lands directly contributed $796 million to Colorado’s economy. BLM Colorado received more than $144 million in federal revenues, including royalties, rents and bonus bids, from oil and gas development on public lands. Statewide, more than 22,900 jobs are tied to mineral and energy development on public lands.”
What is missed here is that monetizing requires sales, and the reality that something sold is something gone. Employment of today will decrease as wells are established, and a warming climate will lead to fewer jobs.
Climate change has consequences for us that $796 million in Colorado won’t replenish. The current drought, coupled with a warming climate, is bringing home a bitter reality — sending oil and gas out of the state will end with lost money that won’t be recouped when the Yampa River can’t be tubed and the skies warm, bringing shorter ski seasons, more fires and a slower tourist economy.
We have choices here. These lands are ours, and a dollar today won’t cover the money lost in the future. Act to let the BLM, our Congressmen and Senators know that we don’t want more oil and gas leasing on public lands.
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