The New York Times has an interesting piece today about the economic slump in energy-rich Meeker, Colorado. The reporter says that ”accidents of geology and swings of the market lie at the root” of Meeker’s woes, though the possible role played by government regulators does at least get a mention:
“Many residents and local officials blame the government for driving them off. They say overlapping layers of regulation and fees have thrown up excessive and profit-killing roadblocks to drilling on public lands, which make up as much as three-quarters of all terrain in some counties here.”
But completely missing from the story is any mention of the so-far successful efforts by zero drilling zealots to derail gas activity on the nearby Roan Plateau — which would seem worthy of a prominent play in a story focused on the shortage of energy jobs in Meeker. Just a few days back, in fact, while the reporter was researching and writing this story, Gang Green scored another “victory” in its efforts to halt drilling on the Roan.
DENVER (AP) — The Bureau of Land Management didn’t follow protocol when it approved a plan for allowing oil and natural gas development on the biologically rich Roan Plateau in western Colorado, a judge ruled Friday.
U.S District Judge Marcia Krieger set aside the plan and ordered the agency to take another look. In the meantime, federal leases that were issued for oil and gas drilling on the soaring plateau will remain in place.
Environmental groups had asked Krieger to cancel the leases, but Krieger said it’s possible the BLM might stick with the same drilling plan, even after it reconsiders.
“The Roan is one of Colorado’s gems. It’s going to get a second look, and we hope it will be protected,” said Earthjustice attorney Mike Freeman, who represented environmental groups that filed a lawsuit challenging the BLM’s plan.
The BLM said it was reviewing the decision.
Environmental groups sued in 2008 after the BLM approved drilling in phases on the Roan, including the largely undeveloped top of the plateau. The agency has said the decision came after years of study, public input, and consideration of alternatives on where, how and how much drilling would occur.
The Roan drilling plan, as the AP story indicates, was exhaustively studied, debated, vetted and public-processed before the BLM produced the drastically scaled-back version it did. All this ”protocol” took many years and thousands of man-hours to follow. Every “stakeholder” group aside from the jackalopes was heard from. Yet all it takes is a few disgruntled green groups — and is there any other kind? — and one sympathetic judge and all that came before it gets summarily tossed out the window. Is it any wonder, then, that some energy rich parts of the West are struggling economically?
But somehow, in all the in-depth researching and reporting, The New York Times reporter missed that part of the story — meaning that professional green extremists once again get a free pass on their job killing crusade in the American West. It seems that environmentalists can do no wrong in the eyes of some journalists, though they are a major factor in the economic woes being experienced in many parts of the West, as we daily document on this website. I guess their supposedly-noble intentions — “saving the planet” — give them a free pass on the human and economic harm they do.
I dropped the Times reporter a note, chiding him for missing that element of the story and inviting him to check out this website, or give us a call sometime, if he wants to bring a little more balance and context to reports like the one he published today. Somehow, though, I don’t think he’ll be taking me up on my offer. The fact that he wouldn’t even mention the Roan Plateau conflict indicates that he’s either unaware of it, which is hard to believe, or just conveniently skipped that part of the story, because it didn’t fit with the narrative he was pushing.
Then they wonder why the Times has a reputation for bias.