Thursday, December 20, 2007

Udall Submarined Again

Mark Udall has staked his reputation and his run for the Senate on his ability to keep drilling rigs off the Roan Plateau scrub land. He has had some help from Ken Salazar and the environmentalists.

Salazar managed to get a four month delay, supposedly so that Bill Ritter could review the BLM plan, but really in the hope that Ritter would call the plan completely unacceptable.

That didn't happen, and even the environmentalists seem to be on board with Ritter, not Udall:

Ritter and [ state Department of Natural Resources executive director Harris ] Sherman said they would push for state-of-the-art drilling technology to minimize the environmental impact.

Also, they want to lease the land in phases, which they said would maximize the economic benefits and sustain the local economy over the long haul. Incremental leasing also will allow for new advancements in drilling technology, they said.

Environmental groups praised the plan for "striking a balance" between economic benefits and environmental preservation.

"We want the appropriate balance between responsible drilling and protection of important wildlife habitats and populations," said Suzanne O'Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation.

Mark Udall seems to have a knack for taking positions that his "allies" in Congress, in the state government and even in the environmental community find too extreme to support.

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