Thursday, February 07, 2013

Obama must save the nation's public lands from excessive energy demands, former Interior Secretary Babbitt says

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt called for an end to the oil and gas industry's pursuit of public lands at a Feb. 5 Newsmaker press conference at the National Press Club. President Obama should "embrace a simple, powerful, and practical principle that will, once again, place the conservation of America's lands on equal ground with energy development," Babbitt said. While Babbitt praised some of Obama's energy and environmental policies on vehicle fuel efficiency standards, renewable energy and carbon emissions, he lashed out at oil and gas industry lobbyists and unnamed members of Congress for failing to support the nation's need to balance the protection of public lands with the need for oil and gas development. Babbitt said 30 bills aimed at protecting public lands await Congressional action. Many states have landmarks they want to honor and protect, he said. "What about conservation?" he asked. "Where is the balance?" He harked back to Theodore Roosevelt as one of history's greatest presidents for ensuring that balance. "Theodore Roosevelt used the Antiquities Act to save the Grand Canyon. Herbert Hoover used it to save Death Valley ... Franklin Roosevelt to preserve the Grand Tetons," he said. He said Obama could use it to protect the Grande del Norte, the Oregon Mountain-Desert Peaks in New Mexico and other national treasurers in the state of Washington, California...more

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