By Bob Marshall
Editor's Note: Welcome to The Conservationist, a new blog on FieldandStream.com, where at least three times per week we'll be posting conservation news, analysis, and commentary from Conservation Columnist Bob Marshall, Contributing Editor Hal Herring, and Deputy Editor Jay Cassell.
So what does President Obama's decision to open once-protected areas of our coasts to energy drilling mean for fish, wildlife and sportsmen?
It could be terrible. It could be bad. Or it might not matter much at all.
The Terrible: If this derails the push for meaningful carbon reduction legislation, it will be a black mark on his presidency, and a disaster for fish and wildlife and sportsmen.
There is no greater threat to our outdoor pursuits than global warming, and the major cause of that problem is the accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere, primarily from fossil fuels. There are alternative fuels, but the only way to encourage development and use of those fuels is to place a penalty on the production of carbon. That's what cap and trade is all about.