Tuesday, March 30, 2010

White House outdoors conference to urge conservation, quell rumors

Championing President Barack Obama's conservation vision for the 21st century, the White House Conference on America's Outdoors will be held in Washington next month. Hundreds of environmentalists, sportsmen and outdoors professionals will be on hand Friday April 16 to help leaders re-instill America's need to stay connected with nature. To some, Obama has made strides, pulling the plug on several oil-drilling leases issued under President George W. Bush. According to documents, the Interior Department may be securing land for future sites of national parks and monuments. The measure has come with heavy criticism from Republicans and U.S. oil and gas companies. Democrats claim new parks and monuments would not be declared without careful planning and public input. The April 16 conference also is said to include information to dispel rumors that the federal government is planning to freeze land, preventing it from being developed and impose significant restrictions on recreational fishing and hunting. The White House has denied that such plans have been in the works...more

The following is an excerpt from the March 29 issue of Public Lands News (sub.req.).

Instead of immediately laying out a set of concrete proposals the administration said it would first listen to interest groups and the American people. Said Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, “The conference is a great chance to learn about these efforts, start a new dialogue about conservation in America, and find ways to further the work that is already going on in cities and towns, counties and states throughout the country.”

If and when the initiative is fleshed out, insiders believe it could include:

* the designation of a number of national monuments on BLM land,
* full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund,
* revitalization of the National Park System in time for its 100th Anniversary in 2016,
* an omnibus public lands and parks bill (as is in the works now in Congress), or
* all of the above.

The source of the billions of dollars to accomplish such ambitious goals will be most controversial and has not been identified publicly. However, Salazar has said in a dozen Congressional hearings that he has his eye on offshore oil and gas royalties. And, perhaps, on a sharp increase in onshore oil and gas royalties...

The Obama administration chose Friday afternoon – the burial ground for unpopular announcements – to reveal its plans for an America’s Great Outdoors initiative.

Hosting the White House conference will be Salazar, Secretary of
Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Nancy Sutley.

Perhaps the administration wanted to downplay the announcement because of the furor caused by an internal Interior Department review of possible BLM monument designations. The monuments controversy was touched off February 18 by the release by House Republicans of an Interior Department document that suggested the administration was evaluating 14 BLM-managed areas as possible national monuments...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We need more National Monuments like we need another hole in the head. Canyons of the Ancients has
expanded in size by several thousand acres since its proclamation.

Grazing permits, water, oil & gas drilling and production have diminished---as predicted. The monuument manager, Lou Ann Jacobson,is currently trying to confiscate "water from springs."