Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Opposition to Roan Drilling Falling Apart?

We get the impression that the Sierra Club is becoming concerned that Mark Udall may have expended a lot of political capital on its behalf to no avail.

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reports:

Salazar's silence has left those involved in the Roan debate to speculate about what a key player on the issue might be thinking.

"He's sort of on the fence on this because he's being hammered daily by industry and industry groups and people," said Glenwood Springs resident Bob Millette, chair of the Roaring Fork Group of the Sierra Club. "He's not hearing enough from the other side."

Club 20, the Western Slope non partisan political powerhouse favors drilling, as does Wayne Allard.

Reeves Brown, executive director of Club 20, a lobbying group for the Western Slope, hopes Salazar may be giving due consideration to proper process. Both Club 20 and U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., have said the years of planning and public input that led to the BLM's decision to allow drilling on the top of the plateau should be honored rather than trumped by a political process.

Brown said it can be harder for senators than House members to be parochial in their political views and focus only on what's best for their backyards. They are not elected to represent a congressional district, but the state as a whole. As a result, Salazar may be more inclined to consider the Roan's natural gas reserves as well as its environmental and other values.

And, it turns out that even the Governor hasn't really come out in opposition to drilling in a way that the environmentalists would like.

[ Bill ] Ritter never has come out in opposition to drilling on the Roan but has said it is one of the last places that drilling should be allowed to occur.

That leaves Mark Udall hopeful, but not confident:

Asked about Salazar's silence on the Roan amendment, Udall said in a prepared statement, "I have no doubt that Senator Salazar shares his brother John's and my concern about the Roan Plateau. What is important right now is not making speeches, but working inside the halls of Congress - talking to the leadership and to the senators and representatives who will be helping shape the final version of the energy legislation."

Perhaps we are reading more into the report than is there. Check it out and decide for yourself.

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