Victory! Fracking Defeats Dumb Stupid Useless Colorado National Park Nobody Wanted Anyway
This story supported by a grant from the Patty Dumpling Endowed Chair for Oil Spills, Fracking, and Astroturfing.
In another stirring victory over the forces of Big Government, a proposal to upgrade the Colorado National Monument into a full-fledged National Park has been stymied by a brave group of private citizens who signed petitions from a group calling itself "Friends of Colorado National Monument." The top two congressional supporters of the proposed Rim Rock Canyons Nation Park, Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton (R) and Sen. Mark Udall (D) both say they received the petition, with over 2,500 signatures. You will never ever ever guess who's actually behind "Friends of Colorado National Monument," unless you read our headline or have any awareness of how politics has worked since the Reagan era.
Tipton, who had until recently led support for the new park in the House, now says that he's totally opposed to the idea, because Barack Obama has just gone completely wild with "Executive-branch rule making," and so NO WAY will he do any actual legislating. Love the logic there.
"In a region that has experienced firsthand the adverse impacts that federal agency decisions can have on the economy and access to public lands, the community's concerns that a national park could attract additional scrutiny from federal regulators is well-founded."
And since the monument is in his district, congressional protocol dictates that any change in the monument's status would have to be approved by Tipton.
Udall still likes the idea, but is temporarily withdrawing his support for the new park while seeking a new deal between locals and the federal government.
And now the big reveal: Opponents of the change in status feared that it "could have tightened environmental regulations and federal oversight in the area surrounding the park." And the Friends of the Colorado National Monument, whose website describes the group as a coalition of "conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts, bikers, hikers, farmers, ranchers, professionals, teachers, business owners, and families," tends not to devote much web space to the hiking and the outdoorsy stuff, but instead
the group's website devotes by far the greatest amount of bandwidth to complaints about federal clean air and water regulations, and the inability of the energy industry to exploit national parks and the regions around them for oil and natural gas production.
FCNM decries what they call "frackophobia," calling fracking "over-regulated" and churning up fears of endless protests and legal proceedings, among other largely anti-regulatory concerns. In fact, the group calls the state "protest central when it comes to opposition to energy development."
And just for good measure, they also warn that if the Rim Rock Canyons National Park becomes a reality, the United Nations will take over, just like it's planning to do with other national landmarks, probably.
Also, too, the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees -- a legitimate group of retired park rangers and other NPS workers -- initially supported the park, but opposed some parts of the proposed legislation when it became clear that they were gifts to the extraction industries, like including a representative from the oil and gas industry on a local board that would advise the Department of Interior on managing the park. That seems awfully selfish of those retired park workers, not wanting the drill-baby-drill contingent to have a privileged place at the table.
The "Friends" of the monument complain loud and long that the oil and gas industry just isn't getting a fair chance to drill all over other parks in the state, like Mesa Verde (just a bunch of dumb cliff dwellings) and Dinosaur National Park, where you'd at least think someone would appreciate the poetry of unlocking ancient underground carbon.
For now, the proposal appears as dead and lifeless as a petroleum-covered bald eagle. Hooray for the power of We the Corporate People! Ah well. We still can hold out hope for whale poop.
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