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America's Debate > Archive > Assorted Issues Archive > [A] Science and Technology > [A] Environmental Debate
It would be funny if it weren’t so damned sad. Bush has appointed former Idaho governor and biking buddy, Dirk Kempthorne for Secretary of the Interior. As a senator, Kempthorne was rated by the League of Conservation Voters a consistent zero (except for the first year, when he rated a 6) on a scale of 0 to 100. As governor, he once threatened to evict the EPA from the state over Superfund cleanup, and managed to raise Idaho’s toxic emission level by 2% while the rest of the country’s level declined. Source

In my opinion, he is the worst choice since James Watt brought his “dominion theology” mindset to the job. Mr. Fox, welcome to the henhouse. Help yourself. sad.gif

Is Kempthorne a wise choice to be steward of America’s public lands?

Why or why not?
Is Kempthorne a wise choice to be steward of America’s public lands?

Not only no, but hell no. This "ranks" (rank has two meanings that fit this nomination: "hierarchy" and "offensive smell") right up there with his appointments of John Bollton, Margaret Spellings and Harriet Miers.

Why or why not?

Given the potential inolved in global warming and other issues, I think the job should go to someone with a scientific background. The concept of the "best and brightest" has been replaced with "the blindly loyal and dumb."

Kemperthorne has a degree in political science from the University of Idaho. I have nothing against political science degrees, but they don't qualify someone to run this particular agency.

There's a song playing in my head. It's called "Filabuster's in the Air."
Is Kempthorne a wise choice to be steward of America’s public lands?

Why or why not?

Depends on what the priorities are. For those interested in opening up public lands for private enterprise exploitation, great choice. For those interested in preserving public lands, horrible choice.

Oil/gas exploration permit authorizations are at an all time high in Colorado. The Grand Mesa is peppered with sites, but you can't see them from the road. Oil shale is back in vogue on the Western Slope, and that's really good for the local economy.

Who cares about the Grand Mesa? It's just a big flat rock with sage brush and rabbits, mule deer and coyotes. Nobody ever goes up there. Drill the thing until it's Swiss cheese.

That seems to be the attitude these days. If you can't see it, let it go.

I've been by the old oil shale digs that started up during the 1970s oil embargo. Oil shale became too expensive to mine after oil prices dropped, but now it makes sense again. The town, back when I went through it, 1994 I think, had turned into a retirement community. Nice little place, quiet. But now the boom mentality has taken over. So let's mine the place, bring in the big noisy rigs, get those property taxes out the roof, get rid of the old timers.

This is also an attitude these days. We're tired of the bust and want another boom. Actually, the real estate folks want this more than others. Thar's gold in them thar hills.

I wish we could have a more environmentally friendly mindset, but that seems beyond us right now. For example, why drill for oil/gas on the Grand Mesa when we could put up wind turbines? Why dig for oil shale when we could drill for geothermal? One hopeful thing is that alternative energy is at least getting some lip service as Republicans discover what the rest of us have known for thirty years.

Gosh, the USAF has even discovered that you can use solar heat for hangers, thus saving a ton of money on the gas bill. Who would have thought that you could do that in Colorado? What won't they think of next.

Anyway, this appointment is probably moot. We aren't quite ready yet to embrace alternative energy, but flirting with it seems to be gaining momentum.
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