Trading one resource for another: Western land

Oil and gas drilling in Colorado and Western states won’t disappear anytime soon, but if a smarter energy policy isn’t developed, the western landscape will continue to suffer, along with the American families that have to pay increasing fuel costs, according to ranchers, politicians and conservationists that spoke Wednesday at the Big Tent.

Walt Gasson, a Wyoming native and a member of the Wyoming Wildlife Foundation, called the current U.S. energy policy an “insane headlong rush to drill anything that’s horizontal.”

“We have to get real about energy in a way we never have before,” said Randy Udall , former Director of Community Office for Resource Efficiency

The average American family spent $6,000 on energy last year — twice what they did when George W. Bush was first elected, while a record number of drills go up every day (150 in the next 24 hours), Udall said.

The current energy policy is “cannibalizing, not only prosperity, but the global climate,” he added.
Tweeti Blancett said that after centuries, her family had ceased farming on their New Mexico land because of oil and gas drilling’s encroachment on their property.

“Our ranch is completely fragmented by the oil and gas development,” Blancett said.

This admittedly strange group of bedfellows said they understand drilling will continue, but the country needs to develop a comprehensive energy policy that emphasizes the preservation of Western lands.


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