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September 27, 2011

What Do You Really Believe In?

By Hal Herring

I’ve flown this part of Colorado before, but the country here always boggles my mind. Bruce Gordon, the nomadic pilot of EcoFlight, banked the little single prop plane into a wide turn over the Roan Plateau, the breathtaking Roan Cliffs falling away to the muddy Colorado River and the old town of Rifle. The big plateau of the Roan itself, where I've been lucky enough to walk the giant aspen groves and fish the little shaded creeks for cutthroats, fell away below us, a public lands country of hidden waters, bugling bull elk and big muley bucks. And natural gas. Every year more roads are built along the ridges of the plateau, more big well pads appear, more pipelines, and more crew- and service-trucks are on the roads. There is an 80,000 acre “exclusion area” that can be seen from the plane, the only expanse left of the Roan that looks even remotely like it used to, and that is slated for development too. But this is not a blog about the Roan Plateau, or even energy development. It is a blog that asks a single question that I honestly hope that some reader will be bold and thoughtful enough to answer. What do you really believe in?

Let me explain. Several years ago, I reported for Field & Stream and other publications on energy leasing and the conflicts that the massive scale of energy extraction would have on big game herds across the West. Well, that conflict has been upon us for years now. Recent reports from the drilling area around Pinedale, Wyoming (Upper Green River) show the once grand mule deer herd is down, not just by the 46 percent reported last year, but by 60 percent. As former U.S. Bureau of Land Management biologist Steve Belinda, who now works on energy issues for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and others, said recently, “I try to imagine if we had presented the energy development plans for that area in, say, 2003, and just said, ‘here’s how we are going to do it, and we’ll be giving up at least 60 percent of the big game resource here to accomplish it.’ We’d have been run out of town on a rail. But it was perfectly clear, back then, that you could not develop the energy resource in the way it was planned and not lose the deer herd. Maybe some people did not want to admit it, or did not care, but it was perfectly clear.”

And those plans, as Belinda has said over and over for the past half a decade, to anybody who would listen, are the template for energy development on public lands across the West. Belinda is still deeply involved in trying to find a better way to develop the vast natural gas wealth that is found in some of our best big game country, but he’s added a new focus, too.

“It is time for all of us to have a frank discussion of what we value, and what we believe in,” he said. “Nobody wants to stop drilling for oil and gas. That is not an option, and it should not be. But we have made almost no effort to do it in a way that conserves the other resources. I have to wonder why that is, if we sportsman really care so deeply about hunting and big game and our heritage.”

I wonder, too. I look down at that incredible matrix of roads and gas wells, and I see the wealth, the jobs, the energy generated, and I know that is a big economic engine, roaring along in great health and providing good people with good jobs. We are in an airplane that runs on fossil fuels and we came to the airport in a car that runs on fossil fuels. But I know, too, that if all those roads are open this hunting season, there won’t be lots of bulls to kill next year. The herds that wintered on those lands down there on the flanks of the Roan are going to be sharing the range with hundreds of gas wells, truck traffic, fracking fluid and produced water ponds, and what looks to me like a tsunami of invasive weeds. There will have to be new regulations on hunting here, less opportunities, which means less revenue for an already budget-stressed Department of Wildlife. We are making a choice.

It’s the same choice I see made (and often make) every day: to not think about what is at stake, or to pretend that nothing is at stake. I read the Great Falls Tribune today and Ronna Alexander of the Montana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association writes that the controversial Keystone pipeline to bring oil sands down from Canada is the “right direction,” because we’ll need “21 percent more energy in 2035” than we use today. A lot of people are pinning their hopes on domestic oil shale, not pondering what land, water, and wildlife would have to be sacrificed for that to happen.

I read in the Wall Street Journal where the U.S. has set a new record for legal immigration--1.4 million new citizens in 2010, double the number from the year before. All those good folks will want to keep their kids warm in the winter, and they’ll want to drive, just like I do. By 2050, as I have written here, our population will be 450 million. When I was born, it was 180 million. As the late Jim Range, the chairman of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, firebrand conservative, fanatic hunter, used to say, “We got to save this thing we love, boys, ‘cause ain’t nobody gonna do it for us!”

While we have a wide range of hard-working wildlife and conservation groups, staffed with some of the best and brightest in the hunting and fishing world, fighting and bargaining daily to keep our heritage alive and vital, I just don’t see most hunters and fishermen rushing to join the battle to save this thing we say we love.

I read a review in the New York Times of Daniel Yergin’s new book The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, (a follow-up to his 1991 Pulitzer Prize winning THE PRIZE The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power), and find that this expert believes that due to new technologies, supplies of recoverable oil have increased a great deal. The “oil crash,” so beloved by doomsayers, is not around the corner. But Yergin explains that the “one energy source that has the potential to have the biggest impact of all” is efficiency. Using energy in a more efficient way. In my long-ago reporting on energy issues, I ran the figures: if you roaded and drilled the entire Rocky Mountain Front of Montana, the home of the biggest elk herds in the state, one of the most pristine landscapes in the nation, you’d have enough gas--$1 billion worth in that days’ dollars--to supply our country for 72 hours. 35%--more than one third of all of that gas, one third of all that disturbed land--would produce nothing, because the average U.S. gas-fired power plant achieves only 65% efficiency.

I've written about it here and elsewhere. I see no clamor from the public to address those inefficiencies with the most powerful brain trust on the planet, the American engineer.

We elected a Congress that wants to cut--for ideological reasons, not pragmatism--every fund for conservation that our forefathers and fathers and mothers fought for. The real hidebound ideologues will tell you that innovation has protected our environment more than government ever has, forgetting to mention that without regulations backed by the might of government, none of those innovations would have ever happened.

The current Clean Water Act is limited to the protection of navigable waterways, as if you and I can protect our hearts but inject lye or manure into the arteries in our arms and legs, and all will be well. We cannot get a new Clean Water Act passed because a few very powerful interests have spent millions to convince us that to do so will empower Big Brother to arrest us for dunking worms in grandpa’s farm pond, or filling a pothole in our driveway. I wrote, long ago, that exempting energy development from laws that protect clean water, air and wildlife would result in a firestorm of conflict and protest. It has not.

So it would seem to me, that for all our talk, we do not really value our lives spent outdoors, hunting and fishing and boating. We don’t really care if our children get the same opportunities to hunt and fish, to roam free in wild country, on wildlife-rich public lands, on rivers that are clean enough to swim in, to eat the fish that are caught there. Have we lost the stomach for conflict? Are we ready to surrender to the future shared by all crowded, polluted nations? It’s a global society now, maybe, where the outdated freedoms of hunting and fishing are tossed away because we don’t believe in them enough to shake clear of the rhetoric and the fear and fight for them. Certainly there is a vast legion of very liberal thinkers, anti-hunters, anti-gunners, who will celebrate this new shift.

What is it that YOU believe in?

Comments (52)

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from huntnow wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I believe that the gas and oil companies do not care about big game futures. I also believe that if they did, they have more than enough resources, read money, and manpower to develop plans and harvest these resources without harming wildlife. I believe that it scares the hell out of me. On the other hand, the reclaimed coal sites here in easter KY are home to the biggest elk herd this side of the Mississippi. It is an unpredictable relationship, the one between our demand for fuel and the land it is extracted from.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from CL3 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Natural Gas is impacting PA in a major way as well. And, the PA Game Commission receives royalties for access / rights to it's land, and those funds are often used to buy more land for state game lands. I wonder, does this help offset impact to the wild game?

I believe we better come to grips with the Perfect Storm here; Poor economic times, a young generation that is not interested, and major deregulation / lack of oversight on resource extraction / pollution.

The problem is, I don't have any confidence in anyone "in charge" because it seems to me to always be a self-serving political game.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nixstyx wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I’m amazed that the majority of sportsmen continue to support Republican politicians who cut funding for habitat preservation and push for environmental deregulation. As far as I’m concerned, I’d rather elect a Democrat who might take away my guns (which isn’t really a threat today) than a Republican who takes away the land I hunt and fish on. What good is a hunting rifle if there’s nothing left to shoot? By the way, where is the NRA on this? Answer: Still endorsing the same Republicans who have seriously damaged wildlife habitat.

+7 Good Comment? | | Report
from CL3 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Nixstyx: Well stated. I wonder the same thing. Keep voting for people who don't actually support what you want!

I keep saying, while we get distracted with 2nd Amendment issues (they will never, ever, ever be able to take our guns, by the way), the really bad things happen by politicians who have had their pockets lined by Big Business.

It's both political parties by the way. No one works for us; we're pawns.

By the way, I'm pro-NG drilling, but I don't necessarily like how it's being played out here in PA.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from ENO wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I work in the "energy" biz. It is a world of smoke and mirrors where things are not always what they appear. In the end it's real simple...our standard of living, economy, government requires mass quantities of "cheap" energy. There isn't an alternative to fossil fuels that can provide the same amount of energy at the same price. So what? There are really two viable solutions right now. 1. Raise the cost of energy (which has severe social economic consequences). 2. Have people voluntarily use less energy (which as the population increases means lowering the standard of living). Regardless of what you believe in, unless a new source of energy is discovered relatively quickly, the die may have already been set.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I live in the Midwest where vast expanses of wild land disappeared long ago. Slowly we are seeing the stocking of elk return in Michigan, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Much of the reclaimed land where you find the elk was once stripped mined for coal.

As much as I want to remain selfish with my desire to protect the outdoors I also am aware there are more important things such as jobs, energy and growth. I also understand that whatever we do to this earth she will eventually reclaim her old form. This has been proven in the Midwest with the reuse of the old strip mined land.

I guess what I am saying is that any gas exploration will be temporary. Even the best wells do not produce forever and maybe some day we can look back and see the our days in the Roan as a temporary setback.

A perfect example would be a forest fire. Everything is destroyed yet with time all things regenerate.

I know, not a very popular view for an outdoorsman especially when it goes against the beliefs of Jim Range but I would support a 25 year lease for the gas and oil explorers to get in then out. Run their operations to EPA standards, kick back a share of their profits to fund other wildlife or land projects around the country then my grandkids will have a place to hunt in the future.

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from smccardell wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I believe in hope...

-3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Most hunters I know do write to their congressmen objecting to development of ecologically diverse natural places were game abound.

Such letters fall, routinely, on deaf ears. Most Congressmen, even democrats, talk a good game about protecting our hunting heritage and defending terrestrial natural resources. But like mine, Raul Grijalva, it's all talk; action, in the form of curbing the excesses of the General Mining Act of 1872, *never* follows.

The problems are twofold. First, under the GMA, Americans no longer have control over their own natural resources; mines and petro extraction in the USA are as often as not ultimately owned and managed by corporations located overseas -- China, in the case of Rosemont Copper (a proposal to destroy a massive excellent upland game habitat in the Santa Rita Mountains so that raw copper ore can be exported to, refined in, and controlled by the communist People's Republic of China) -- Grupo Mexico in many other cases. Fidelity to Americans' interests -- either at the jobs level or at the natural resources level -- is not even on the table.

That is because both the Dems and the GOP have embraced "Globalism." Both the GOP and the Dems have embraced the faith-based assumption that expanding global consumption of EVERYTHING is the only reasonable policy. In point of fact, what we need is not growth, but instead sustainability coupled with a more even distribution of the wealth taken from publically owned lands.

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from jakenbake wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

The problem, though, is that these projects are not run up to EPA standards because the EPA cannot regulate them the same way the EPA can regulate every other industry. Furthermore, and I may be wrong in a few instances, but believe I'm right on the whole, but these companies aren't "kicking back" any of their profits to benefit wildlife or ecosystem renewal. Were those two constraints put in place, we would still have issues, but at least there would be people pretending to do the right thing, rather than the blatant greed we currently see.

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from Bernie wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Some good points made here, but Buckhunter's is the best.

I know several people, by the way (two of them retired biologists) who oppose almost any energy development. Yet they both jet around the country hunting and fishing. One owns a place in Mexico, Maine and Alaska. He and his family happily cash their dividend checks from the State of Alaska each year, but he is still grumbling about the Alaska pipeline which was built almost 40 years ago. Another guy drives 20,000 miles a year to hunt and fish. I get tired of their hypocrisy.

We are all part of the problem.

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from Steward wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

What do I believe in?

I believe in balance. That we have the right to use the land and its resources as we see fit, and also the responsibility to take care of it and manage it and sustain it.

We need the energy, but we cannot lose the natural wonder and the wildlife. I want to enjoy the beauty of this land and have the opportunity to hunt elk, and I also want to drive my truck across country to do it and keep my family warm at home while I'm freezing in the woods.

I don't know all of the "how" to that balance, but at the very least, I believe that some public land needs to be established as permanent wildlife habitat, where no development is allowed. How much needs to be open to development? Couldn't guess.

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from Steward wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Following up on Buckhunter's post, take a look at the Adirondack park in New York. Much that had been developed long ago has returned to woods. Last month's National Geographic had a good article about it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from CL3 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I feel like some of the commentors feel "It is what is, so let it roll."

The problem then becomes, we further lower the standards to hold companies to that harvest natural resources. Yes, there are examples from the coal industry and logging where Mother Earth has regenerated itself, but I think it couldn't happen at a worse time when so many "outdoors lifestyles & people" are just going away.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A follow-up to my original post. Many do not realize that nonprofit conservation groups are funded by the Federal Gov't. Much of the money they receive to sue the gas exploration companies comes right out of the funds earmarked to protect wildlife and it's habitat. It is a vicious cycle of abuse and misspent funds. Many of these conservation groups already have millions in assets. If this practice was stopped...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Muleynut30.06 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I believe its a catch 22 gas and oil are at or near the top of every economical/environmental discussion while I am in favor of drilling I think it does need to be done responsibly. I have worked in the mining industry in Wyoming and I have seen the famed Jona field on the way to Pindale and it is a problem you can't argue with decreasing numbers like that however everyone is quick to point the finger at soley the gas and oil industry while im sure it did play a big role the area around Pinedale is also infested with wolves so I think there are other things that need to be blamed also. As for deregulation I'm not sure where this is coming from I'm going to school to be an environmental engineer and during my internship in Wyoming I learned that you cant sneeze without informing the state of the emissions. Im not sure how it is regulated in the gas and oil industry but I would venture to guess that the regulations are just as stringent if not more. Where it falls is on the company and the crews if they want to follow them. I think what needs to be done is harsher punishment for companies that violate the current laws. In wyoming they have periods of time where there can be no activity due to big game wintering ranges and sage grouse mating season. Colorado should look into something like this if they havent already and work something to make everyone happy even though I know this will never because you cant please every one so once again you are at square one.

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from hal herring wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Muleynut- thanks for your post. As you study in your field this fall and winter, please look closely at the exemptions granted to industry from the most of the stipulations on development that were in place to protect big game winter range and sage grouse leks. Look in particular at the Piinedale Anticline development, and the exemptions granted there. Not to tell you what to do at all, but this might be an interesting topic for a paper or a study as you pursue your major. And good luck and Godspeed to you in your chosen field. We need you.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

This subject troubles me everyday I'm doing the best i can to earn a degree and join the fight. Great article maybe it will get those of us who chose to be blinded by greed to take a look around.

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from illinoisburt wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

The issue is more complicated than just habitat destruction or interference. Many people tend to overlook the fact that a major cause of big game decline when these types of projects go into place is the increased access and higher annual harvest. Its not uncommon to see success rates and harvest numbers triple or quadruple in areas where animals which previously required long hikes or horseback trips become roadhunt quarry. Then again, its kind of hard to talk people into accepting lowered quotas and preference draw tags in areas right when a road finally opens it up to the weekend warriors (who by the way are the majority of the hunting public).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Roderick K. Purcell wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I believe that our world class hunting and fishing does not exist by accident. It exists because people like Theodore Roosevelt had the vision and guts to fight for it.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from krwheeler wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

What about wolf predation? You make no mention of that aspect. The wolf population is way over the projected recovery rates. I do believe that the energy industry is part of the problem, but it is at least those two factors combined (along with other factors).

I lived in Wyoming for 14 years, and I followed both the energy and wolf issued quite closely.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from nuclear_fisher wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I have two degrees in Nuclear Engineering and went down this path in part because I thought I would be able to work in a field helping to push the energy resources of this country towards the most realistic environmentally compatible solution. But from my experience in this and other energy generation fields I've developed quite a pessimistic view. Nearly everyone says the same thing, at our current energy consumption and current population growth solar and other renewable resources are not even remotely realistic options. But instead of trying to fix the problem, us, the solution will be to burn coal until we are out of coal, then we will burn uranium until we are out of uranium and so on and so on until we are either out of reasonable energy options or we figure out fusion. We should be developing methods of trimming back nearly every aspect of our lives, until we can equilibrate on a way of life that's infinitely sustainable not going to be in jeopardy when we run out of whatever energy resource we are dependent on. Instead we are heading in the opposite direction, we might be saving a bit of gas right now but we are developing more and more superfluous technologies sucking down more and more power and we are instead worrying about where are next energy resource will come from. I believe we have become a plague upon this world we inhabit and a genuine change of heart will not come about by governmental policy. So I believe you are going to see more wild places destroyed for the sake of development because, as you said, we just don't care enough.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I believe in letting your elected officials know how I feel about environment damaging legislation, and I do so frequently.

I believe you have to VOTE for what really influences your life. Not what some groups SCARE you into believing.

I believe that only the government can regulate these massive energy corporations and force them to spend some of their obscene profits on the very environment they destroy to make them. Who the hell else is going to make them?

I believe as sportsmen we have to RESEARCH candidates OURSELVES, and not take everything Newscorp, Fox, AM radio, "conservative" web sites or the NRA says as "gospel".

We must organize our efforts, and VOTE for our sport and the lands we love, and let candidates know that we WILL vote that way, whether they be Republican or Democrat.

WE hunters and fishermen are the ORIGIONAL "TREE HUGGERS" and we must get LOUD, literally and at the ballot box.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from hal herring wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Thanks, buckhunter. You have a good point- but please remember that the basics that support hunting and fishing- clean water, clean air, healthy river systems, are also the basic that support human life on this planet. I've said over and over that our great hunting and fishing are really just the part of the interest on the principal of a healthy environment.
And those reclaimed lands where the elk roam now are a real success story. The American people stood up, in the early 70's and demanded that laws be passed to force mining companies to reclaim those lands. It was a terrific battle, with a lot of big setbacks, but the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 finally passed.

Check it out if you are interested, from wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface_Mining_Control_and_Reclamation_Act_...

In 1974 and 1975 Congress sent mining regulation bills to President Gerald Ford, but he vetoed them out of concern that they would harm the coal industry, increase inflation, and restrict the energy supply. As Jimmy Carter campaigned in Appalachia in 1976, he promised to sign those bills. Congress sent him a bill that was even more stringent than those vetoed by Ford, and President Carter signed it into law on August 3, 1977....

Those elk, and those reclaimed lands are no accident. Americans fought for them, and won them for all of us.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from baconboy206 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

if we didnt have massive immigration to this country we wouldnt have our rapidly increasing population, which, as anybody who know what they are talking about will tell you, is the NUMBER 1 CAUSE of environmental degradation on this planet. Help the developing nations control their population growth and shut off the flood of unnecesary immigration to this country and most of the environmental problems we face today will be solved

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from coachsjike wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

first of all why as a nation do we export our own oil yet we have to import? that makes absolutely no sense!!!the politicians both republican or democrat don't care since their hands are in the cookie jar anyway. i live in nj where we have the cheapest gas prices in the country but have multiple refineries within a 60 mile radius not to mention gas stations every 5 to 10 miles. yet hunting in this state gets worse every year because of limited public property. everyone i know tries to hunt on private but that costs money and its getting more expensive each year. the politicians don't care about the illegal immigration in this country either...and that is sad because these people are indeed breaking the law. they don't pay taxes, get free medical health care, their kids who are born here are EDUCATED FOR FREE, drive without licenses, do break other laws that involve drugs or gangs, live in one house with multiple families (up to 25 in one house) they are eating up every monetary donation possible like WICK, medicare, medicaid, and are costing blue collar tax paying americans like me a FORTUNE. The only way the government would have our attention if a revolt was imminent. Think about it, this crap occurred several hundreds of years ago because we were unhappy with great britain. it is bound to happen again, just not sure when.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I believe our masters who hold the sovereign wealth funds (think China, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia- yes Russia) and the hedge fund robber barons who manipulate the markets to steal our retirement funds couldn't care less about sustainable environments. I believe that very likely we may be the last generation to experience anything that resembles the wild. Already there is less land, less opportunities to fish and hunt. And you think Ansel Adams was depressed seeing the last of the truly wild, vanish.

200 years of freedom in the most beautiful land on this planet and it may be over in a couple of generations. Our politicians, and union, government and company decision makers don't care about us, because we aren't the massive campaign contributors that keep them in power. Want proof? We are still tearing up farmland and spoiling water to create housing developments when there is a glut of houses on the market. We provide tax incentives to get a mortgage when once vibrant inner city neighborhood lie vacant and rot, and we have massive suburb and urban sprawl that consumes more roads and more traffic and more gas and more pollution. And don't get me started on who is going to live in all those McMansions when the baby boomer generation starts to die off. We have created massive economic disincentives in this country for a manipulating few who can hire the occasional lobbyist to get and stay unbelievably rich. Ever read a US "global" companies annual report? Raises and bonus for the CEO while he runs the company right into the ground and the stockholders can't even fire him. Every hear of anyone suing their heath insurance company for mall practice or insurance fraud? The game is rigged folks. No matter what your politics, the tea party is the canary in the mine. They may not be right, but they know something is drastically wrong.

Want more proof? 20% of the current US population is immigrant. One in 5. I even have close friends who legally immigrated here. But if we had 20% less people our consumption of fuel would be around 20% less (give or take). With a possible 20% less pollution. I am not against immigration, but you have to control it. We only pay lip service to that control.

Energy is the most fungible commodity, Don't even think all that energy from all those wells stays in the US. It will be exported. In far less than 75 years the extract from Montana front range, will be long gone. You just won't hear about it. And once West Virginia mountain tops are gone, and the under ground water in the rockies is contaminated ( the great underground water basin in the US is gone. Ask people in the Colorado foothills about their well water) and Fracking destroys the trout streams in New York and Pennsylvania. The US will resemble Haiti. Corrupt and incredibly poor.

I know for a 100% fact that other countries sovereign funds are massively buying US food sources and technology companies and US water rights.

Unless things turn around fast, the environment is the least of our worries. I really fear for the country I love and our way of life. I have traveled overseas a lot in the last 20 years and outside of a few small key areas the US isn't much of a leader anymore in much of anything.

I apologize for this rant. I am truly sorry to anyone who read this far. The intention of this site is to pass along hunting and fishing tips and for that I am grateful, but don't ask a question if you really don't want to know the answer, And I am now depressed.

A mister Lincoln once called America the "Last best hope of mankind" and he was right. If the US is in decline, what does that say for the future of mankind and our children's children. Lord; what have we done?

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from Muleynut30.06 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

@ hal thank you for the luck and I will look into it, it will definately be an interesting topic.

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from coachsjike wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

the worst part of this whole !@##$$%% scenario is that i have two boys (10 and 7) who love the outdoors. forget that there will be nothing left for them in terms of land to hunt and fish on, but they will be too financially strapped to even think about it because of where their money will be going to. right now gas prices yes are going down to possibly $3 a gallon...bfd it will over $4 a gallon come spring. and next year the process will repeat itself and go up again. the only people getting rich are the politicians and everyone over in the middle east.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Big Country wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A few things
1)The politians are a problem be they Republican or Democrat, They care only for being reelected and gaining more money and power. A side note on the political aspect, THE 2nd AMENDMENT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU DEER RIFLE, BIRD GUN, PELLET GUN IT IS FOR THE ABILITY OF THE PEOPLE TO MAINTAINE THE WEAPONS CABABLE OF RESISTING AND FIGHTING AN OPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT! THE NRA IS TO PROTECT THE SECOND AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION NOT THE LAND YOU HUNT AND FISH ON. And it IS VERY POSSIBLE for the government to take you guns away as the Democrat leaders that some of you people seem to keep worshiping try everyday. Look at Chicago, DC, and New York (in particular NYC) for the most blatent examples. Don't believe every thing Obumer tells you.
2) If the immigration would be brought to a slower rate we would be useing less energy and money. As stated before We have an untold number of illegal immegrants from all over the world flood to this country everyday. and most of them get everything for free because we don't want to hurt anyones feelings by turning them around and sending them back to wherever they came from. And if you like the illegal population make an argument with me please, my step sister was killed by a drunk illegal (he just happened to be from Mexico but like I said they come from all over) in a work truck with no insurance, who after running the red light and t boneing the little sadan then proceded to flee the scene for self preservation. He was found 3 days latter packing his bags to go back to Mexico. I am happy to report that at his last parole hearing he was denied.
3) We all neeed to do more. Start by not leaving lights on in rooms that you arn't in go from there. I try to do my part as I know most every one on here trys to something, and alot of you do way more than the rest and for that I thank you.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from aferraro wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Outdoorsman who think their $20 hunting license somehow pays for millions of square miles that serve as their personal playground are delusional. So are leftist writers who bash energy companies and pretend their policies won’t harm our standard of living, access to hunting and national security.
You say natural gas drilling caused a 60% decline in one area of one state when “CONSERVATIONISTS” put wolves in the same area (and brought coyotes back to PA). Democrat Ed Rendell opened up drilling in PA and was 100% right to do it. Natural gas is the cleanest energy source we have and by far the best alternative to foreign oil.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Hey Garfi --

1. Did you get hacked? What is with that link?

2. We're not "all part of the problem." I break barriers trying to find ways to curb electrical and fuel consumption. So if the rule is "Let he who is without conservation sin cast the first stone" then hand me a rock I'm ready to throw.

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from dasmith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I had to just counter one person-if you vote for a Democrat you are voted to end this country as we knew it. Republicans may not be the answer either, its time to take back America from the regulations that are killing us. I vote for the pro-firearms rights, period ! Democrats (Clinton to name one) are voting to have the UN take over our rights in the USA, so I basically vote against them and for other person.

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from tom warner wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A great bunch of comments by some very thoughtful people here, which it would be hard to improve upon. Nuclear Fisher and RangerDansDrink above all have it exactly right. I find it sad that the average sportsman has not got a clue as to what has been going on all their lives, and apparently do not care. At least that has been my observation over almost 80 years. The writers here are the exception. I fear that the sheer momentum of bad decisions, no decisions, greed, corruption and stupidity, etc. over these many years has made it much too late to halt our slide into eventual collapse. We seem to be a fatally flawed species that simply just continues to repeat all our mistakes over and over. The other living beings that share this planet with us have paid and are paying the worst price of all.

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from coachsjike wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

another great way of curbing fuel consumption is to install a wood burning stove into your homes. i did this 7 years ago and my fuel consumption now is no more than 50 gallons of oil per winter!!! and no i don't buy the wood either. everytime i see a pile of wood on the road because landscapers are getting rid of it i grab it and put it into my truck. my neighbors like the idea of saving that much money but are TOO LAZY TO DO THE WORK!!!they rather use their furnace and turn up the heat instead of putting the time in. i already have a second wood pile for next year's winter, but its because i will not wait...just some food for thought.

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from rock rat wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

There's nought to be done, enjoy it while it lasts, don't bother with photos.

The Republicans aren't alone in this tango of environmental dysfunction. Certainly the nutty left with all their "Justice for this and that's" have helped. Get a load of the Center For Biologic Diversity who still doesn't get it even when species are being slipped into legislation with regularity now that the barn door is open, yet still they crow about forcing the USFWS to do their bidding.

There must be 30 money gathering "environmental" groups with web pages of gorgeous color photos of doe eyed wolves, polar bear cubs, tiny seals, etc. raking it in and employing legions of advertising types and lawyers, heck aren't they based in Bozeman? Riparian zones under attack!!! Fracking is never mind!! Yet they are fighting the very government agencies we hire to control all this stuff. Obama is a sellout to big corporations they claim, every Dem right of Abbie Hoffman is a blue dog and should be fought tooth and nail.

Name one broad based Environmental Group friendly to hunters other than NWF and I'll join.

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from shane wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

"if you roaded and drilled the entire Rocky Mountain Front of Montana, the home of the biggest elk herds in the state, one of the most pristine landscapes in the nation, you’d have enough gas--$1 billion worth in that days’ dollars--to supply our country for 72 hours"

More proof that the argument that it's for the bettering of the country through energy independence is BS. Not to mention we would just sell it to China...

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from tom warner wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Rock Rat: My experience has been that The Nature Conservancy is not hunter-unfriendly and has done more to actually acquire protect wild places than all the others put together. As a hunter, I can't think of any complaints against them.

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Shane: You are dead on. China is just waiting on that oil and gas. What we need is realistic import taxes/duties. Claiming that it will start a trade war is just BS used by the robber barons. Free trade is a bad myth. It doesn't exist. We need to get the hell out of the World Trade Organization. The people we should give trade preference to are the people who have our back, Aussies and the Brits have fought in every war we have been in. I have seen Aussies, Brits, Canadians and Kiwi's in Afghanistan, I have seen the French doing combat patrols. We need to remember our friends. We need to take care of the friends you have.

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Rock Rat: How about NWTF and RMEF. They buy land that is eco-balanced for all species,

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Ladies and Gentlemen; The other shoe falls. Want to know why you have high gas prices. Read this post. I don;t always agree with this guy, but at least he calls 'em as he sees them. That is more then that bunch of cowards we elected do.

http://www.creators.com/liberal/alexander-cockburn/-peak-oil-takes-a-dea...

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from RealGoodMan wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Rock Rat- Nature Conservancy, American Rivers, NWF are all sportsman-friendly. Waterkeeper Alliance is also a good organization, they do water restoration projects, invasive species monitoring, water monitoring etc. I like Land Trust Alliance and other land trust organizations too. I personally like to have my membership dues going directly toward saving lands from development and conserving crucial habitat, so I give some money to Land Trust Alliance & Nature Conservancy and some of my state's land trusts..

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from hal herring wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Thanks much for that link, Ranger. An eye opener for sure.

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

It seems that when we drill in the states someone is complaining that we are ruining the environment, when we don't someone is complaining that we are paying to much for gas and eletricity. So my question is if you don't want drilling on the Roan and places like it, where do you want to get the gas and oil? Maybe some place like the middle east?
I live in Hotchkiss Co., about an hour from Rifle, and the Roan. ALL of my friends work for the drilling rigs, and they all buy hunting license. Oh and another point, almost immedately after the 2008 election half of them lost their jobs and didn't go hunting because they couldn't buy the license. But I digress.
Right now everyone is complaining about not having jobs. These guys make a good livable wage. Now we are going to take that away from them to save the environment?
I know serval of the upper leave supervisors on the drill rigs and they have extreamly stringent enviornmental standers and operating procedures. It is still a busness that has to make a profit or why would they do it. But they do follow the rules.
As far as the Deer in Wyoming, I can't say if there are less because of the drilling. I can tell you Colorado has an extreamly healthy deer and elk population that has increased 67% percent in Colorado according to the Rocky Mountian Elk Foundation. April 27. 2009 http://www.rmef.org/NewsandMedia/NewsReleases/2009/ElkPopulations.htm
LOOK IT UP
.

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

I just want to re illistrait the point that right after the Dems were electied in 2008 HALF of my friends lost their jobs.

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

No reasonable person actually believes we have to stop drilling. No reasonable person believes we want to go back to horse and buggy or walk everywhere. We all like warm homes in the winter, and electric lights. The robber barron types who carefully market their message on TV want guys like us to believe it is a zero sum game. They have us focused a on a "drill -no drill conflict" while they pick our pockets. Responsible to the environment drilling can be done. It just probably won't be. They are assuming you won't look hard at what they are doing, playing both sides for a win/win for them. Exploit the environment (BIG $$), don't exploit the environment (HIGH FUEL PRICES + BIG $$).

Rather than rant (and get my butt tossed off this site), may i humbly suggest we all: WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN (www.house.gov) and let him/her know how you feel about the environment. Let him know you will be watching (his vote is recorded on the same site, you may have to look a bit) and you and that you vote your conscience. Remember, he may not believe it, but he works for you. Contribute something (A couple bucks is not too much) to the candidate of your choice, There are web sites that record how much PAC money goes to which candidate and from who (www.maplight.org). If he/she takes money from big business/special interest you don't agree with, vote of the other guy, Turn off your TV and ignore sound bit politics (and the NY times). They are an insult and assume you can't think things through for yourself. And for God sakes register and VOTE on election day. Or someday; the UN/WTO may not let you.

Sorry again. I promise to shut up now.

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from Winkmeister wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Lost at the end in the summary closing, "Have we lost the stomach for conflict?," is worthy of a lengthy article itself.
Many conservation groups have flourished precisely because they are not political-- and that's great, it makes sense for them, but there should be a conservation powerhouse equivalent to the NRA's effectiveness in defending the Second Amendment.
And why are so many outdoorsmen of whatever stripe not willing to be NRA members? there's no valid justification.
In this land of laws, effective political influence in creating policy must be established to represent the true desires of so many.
Business can flourish while safeguarding the environment. One industrial output can be repurposed elsewhere. As stated, put those engineers to work developing new and better processes.
People are much too complacent (many drive mini-vans and Subaru wagons); perhaps they don't know how to act, what to do, where to give that gets something done; some might fear their own abilities or effectiveness-- or their ability to manage themselves once they take up a cause, others don't want to be thrown in with the actual kooks who are anywhere from annoying to outright dangerous.
Grow a spine, America! You don't have to (always, how about sometime?) be on the offense, but you shouldn't be sitting back when you are under attack either.
... oh yeah, and re-elect no one-- return this to a land of people-representatives not career politicians and influence-peddlers.
Finally, a recent addition to my e-mail signature:
The Speech: America's political system USED to be about the pursuit of happiness. Now more and more Americans want to stop chasing happiness and simply have it delivered. I am not one such person.

Protect that fountain of happiness that is only found afield; it cannot be replicated elsewhere or recreated once lost.

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from Todd Tanner wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Great post, Hal. You raise the questions that we need to ask ourselves every day.

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from coydogger wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

The country is in a terrible state. The population, legal or not, is exploding. The economy and jobs trumps everything. It is not realistic to think we can preserve our vast open lands forever. No one likes change, but it is inevitable. Enjoy what is left, the good ole days ended when we siezed the land from the native Americans.
"We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive." Aldo Leopold

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from wolverine78 wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

alot of emotion in thus article, but an apparent lack of reasoning....the author seems to tout the regulatory ability of the government, but the very development he laments was all permited by the government.Also, some research into the amount of money that the gov't spends on conservation programs, both on Federal, State, and Private lands(through numerous, often redundant programs has done little to slow development or mitigate effects of deveopment...

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from David Gowdey wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Buckhorn couldn't be more wrong.

First off, nature never comes back the way it was before we trashed it. Remember the passenger pigeon - heard about their populations before we cut down the great eastern forests? The elk we are talking about in Kentucky is Rocky Mountain elk that has been artificially reintroduced after being wiped out more than 100 years ago - the native eastern species is long gone. The notion that we can do anything because nature will heal itself is ludicrous. As is the notion that conservation non-profits are funded by the federal government - pure nonsense.

It is posts like these that make me believe that hunters are no longer conservationists. They have become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. We could easily do oil and gas development in a much more sustainable manner that would do less harm to wildlife and wild lands. Simply doing phased development - insisting that industry fully develop one section of an area and return it to close to natural state before moving on to the second and third sections would go far toward helping wildlife. The same with directional drilling, where multiple wells are drilled diagonally off of the same pad. These are minor requests that would have a major impact, but because the oil and gas industry doesn't want ANY regulations, and they don't want to spend an extra penny, Uncle Sam has not even made these minimal requirements. We can have responsible drilling, but we can't have it unless we force the oil and gas companies to do it right with strong regulations and enforcement.

As for jobs - well study after study tells us that the areas that experience the most significant environmental degradation will always lag behind economically those areas that protected their environment. Parts of the upper midwest still struggle with a legacy of environmental degradation that happened decades ago. Short term jobs that destroy the environment are stealing economic opportunity from our children and grandchildren. For growth to be long term, it has to be sustainable.

Finally, all of this is predicated on a false assumption put out by big energy. The future of energy is not in large scale power plants, pipelines, and more grids. It is decentralized -where each building will generate it's own electricity from solar and hydrogen fuel cells run with hydrogen from water. The technology for this is already here. However, big energy companies don't make money on this model -and government is bought and paid for by the big companies - so they are sweeping it under the table.

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from David Gowdey wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Buckhorn couldn't be more wrong.

First off, nature never comes back the way it was before we trashed it. Remember the passenger pigeon - heard about their populations before we cut down the great eastern forests? The elk we are talking about in Kentucky is Rocky Mountain elk that has been artificially reintroduced after being wiped out more than 100 years ago - the native eastern species is long gone. The notion that we can do anything because nature will heal itself is ludicrous. As is the notion that conservation non-profits are funded by the federal government - pure nonsense.

It is posts like these that make me believe that hunters are no longer conservationists. They have become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. We could easily do oil and gas development in a much more sustainable manner that would do less harm to wildlife and wild lands. Simply doing phased development - insisting that industry fully develop one section of an area and return it to close to natural state before moving on to the second and third sections would go far toward helping wildlife. The same with directional drilling, where multiple wells are drilled diagonally off of the same pad. These are minor requests that would have a major impact, but because the oil and gas industry doesn't want ANY regulations, and they don't want to spend an extra penny, Uncle Sam has not even made these minimal requirements. We can have responsible drilling, but we can't have it unless we force the oil and gas companies to do it right with strong regulations and enforcement.

As for jobs - well study after study tells us that the areas that experience the most significant environmental degradation will always lag behind economically those areas that protected their environment. Parts of the upper midwest still struggle with a legacy of environmental degradation that happened decades ago. Short term jobs that destroy the environment are stealing economic opportunity from our children and grandchildren. For growth to be long term, it has to be sustainable.

Finally, all of this is predicated on a false assumption put out by big energy. The future of energy is not in large scale power plants, pipelines, and more grids. It is decentralized -where each building will generate it's own electricity from solar and hydrogen fuel cells run with hydrogen from water. The technology for this is already here. However, big energy companies don't make money on this model -and government is bought and paid for by the big companies - so they are sweeping it under the table.

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

David;
Did you know that to make a solar panel you need 17 rear minerals that have to be mined? So really is that helping the environment? But no one ever talks about that. I agree we need to try. But in the end I like my car, I like my lights working, and I like my job.

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from Nixstyx wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I’m amazed that the majority of sportsmen continue to support Republican politicians who cut funding for habitat preservation and push for environmental deregulation. As far as I’m concerned, I’d rather elect a Democrat who might take away my guns (which isn’t really a threat today) than a Republican who takes away the land I hunt and fish on. What good is a hunting rifle if there’s nothing left to shoot? By the way, where is the NRA on this? Answer: Still endorsing the same Republicans who have seriously damaged wildlife habitat.

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from ENO wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I work in the "energy" biz. It is a world of smoke and mirrors where things are not always what they appear. In the end it's real simple...our standard of living, economy, government requires mass quantities of "cheap" energy. There isn't an alternative to fossil fuels that can provide the same amount of energy at the same price. So what? There are really two viable solutions right now. 1. Raise the cost of energy (which has severe social economic consequences). 2. Have people voluntarily use less energy (which as the population increases means lowering the standard of living). Regardless of what you believe in, unless a new source of energy is discovered relatively quickly, the die may have already been set.

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from jbird wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I believe in letting your elected officials know how I feel about environment damaging legislation, and I do so frequently.

I believe you have to VOTE for what really influences your life. Not what some groups SCARE you into believing.

I believe that only the government can regulate these massive energy corporations and force them to spend some of their obscene profits on the very environment they destroy to make them. Who the hell else is going to make them?

I believe as sportsmen we have to RESEARCH candidates OURSELVES, and not take everything Newscorp, Fox, AM radio, "conservative" web sites or the NRA says as "gospel".

We must organize our efforts, and VOTE for our sport and the lands we love, and let candidates know that we WILL vote that way, whether they be Republican or Democrat.

WE hunters and fishermen are the ORIGIONAL "TREE HUGGERS" and we must get LOUD, literally and at the ballot box.

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from hal herring wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Thanks, buckhunter. You have a good point- but please remember that the basics that support hunting and fishing- clean water, clean air, healthy river systems, are also the basic that support human life on this planet. I've said over and over that our great hunting and fishing are really just the part of the interest on the principal of a healthy environment.
And those reclaimed lands where the elk roam now are a real success story. The American people stood up, in the early 70's and demanded that laws be passed to force mining companies to reclaim those lands. It was a terrific battle, with a lot of big setbacks, but the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 finally passed.

Check it out if you are interested, from wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface_Mining_Control_and_Reclamation_Act_...

In 1974 and 1975 Congress sent mining regulation bills to President Gerald Ford, but he vetoed them out of concern that they would harm the coal industry, increase inflation, and restrict the energy supply. As Jimmy Carter campaigned in Appalachia in 1976, he promised to sign those bills. Congress sent him a bill that was even more stringent than those vetoed by Ford, and President Carter signed it into law on August 3, 1977....

Those elk, and those reclaimed lands are no accident. Americans fought for them, and won them for all of us.

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from tom warner wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A great bunch of comments by some very thoughtful people here, which it would be hard to improve upon. Nuclear Fisher and RangerDansDrink above all have it exactly right. I find it sad that the average sportsman has not got a clue as to what has been going on all their lives, and apparently do not care. At least that has been my observation over almost 80 years. The writers here are the exception. I fear that the sheer momentum of bad decisions, no decisions, greed, corruption and stupidity, etc. over these many years has made it much too late to halt our slide into eventual collapse. We seem to be a fatally flawed species that simply just continues to repeat all our mistakes over and over. The other living beings that share this planet with us have paid and are paying the worst price of all.

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from CL3 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I feel like some of the commentors feel "It is what is, so let it roll."

The problem then becomes, we further lower the standards to hold companies to that harvest natural resources. Yes, there are examples from the coal industry and logging where Mother Earth has regenerated itself, but I think it couldn't happen at a worse time when so many "outdoors lifestyles & people" are just going away.

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from hal herring wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Muleynut- thanks for your post. As you study in your field this fall and winter, please look closely at the exemptions granted to industry from the most of the stipulations on development that were in place to protect big game winter range and sage grouse leks. Look in particular at the Piinedale Anticline development, and the exemptions granted there. Not to tell you what to do at all, but this might be an interesting topic for a paper or a study as you pursue your major. And good luck and Godspeed to you in your chosen field. We need you.

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from Roderick K. Purcell wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I believe that our world class hunting and fishing does not exist by accident. It exists because people like Theodore Roosevelt had the vision and guts to fight for it.

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from nuclear_fisher wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I have two degrees in Nuclear Engineering and went down this path in part because I thought I would be able to work in a field helping to push the energy resources of this country towards the most realistic environmentally compatible solution. But from my experience in this and other energy generation fields I've developed quite a pessimistic view. Nearly everyone says the same thing, at our current energy consumption and current population growth solar and other renewable resources are not even remotely realistic options. But instead of trying to fix the problem, us, the solution will be to burn coal until we are out of coal, then we will burn uranium until we are out of uranium and so on and so on until we are either out of reasonable energy options or we figure out fusion. We should be developing methods of trimming back nearly every aspect of our lives, until we can equilibrate on a way of life that's infinitely sustainable not going to be in jeopardy when we run out of whatever energy resource we are dependent on. Instead we are heading in the opposite direction, we might be saving a bit of gas right now but we are developing more and more superfluous technologies sucking down more and more power and we are instead worrying about where are next energy resource will come from. I believe we have become a plague upon this world we inhabit and a genuine change of heart will not come about by governmental policy. So I believe you are going to see more wild places destroyed for the sake of development because, as you said, we just don't care enough.

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from baconboy206 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

if we didnt have massive immigration to this country we wouldnt have our rapidly increasing population, which, as anybody who know what they are talking about will tell you, is the NUMBER 1 CAUSE of environmental degradation on this planet. Help the developing nations control their population growth and shut off the flood of unnecesary immigration to this country and most of the environmental problems we face today will be solved

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from baconboy206 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

if we didnt have massive immigration to this country we wouldnt have our rapidly increasing population, which, as anybody who know what they are talking about will tell you, is the NUMBER 1 CAUSE of environmental degradation on this planet. Help the developing nations control their population growth and shut off the flood of unnecesary immigration to this country and most of the environmental problems we face today will be solved

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from CL3 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Natural Gas is impacting PA in a major way as well. And, the PA Game Commission receives royalties for access / rights to it's land, and those funds are often used to buy more land for state game lands. I wonder, does this help offset impact to the wild game?

I believe we better come to grips with the Perfect Storm here; Poor economic times, a young generation that is not interested, and major deregulation / lack of oversight on resource extraction / pollution.

The problem is, I don't have any confidence in anyone "in charge" because it seems to me to always be a self-serving political game.

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from CL3 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Nixstyx: Well stated. I wonder the same thing. Keep voting for people who don't actually support what you want!

I keep saying, while we get distracted with 2nd Amendment issues (they will never, ever, ever be able to take our guns, by the way), the really bad things happen by politicians who have had their pockets lined by Big Business.

It's both political parties by the way. No one works for us; we're pawns.

By the way, I'm pro-NG drilling, but I don't necessarily like how it's being played out here in PA.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Most hunters I know do write to their congressmen objecting to development of ecologically diverse natural places were game abound.

Such letters fall, routinely, on deaf ears. Most Congressmen, even democrats, talk a good game about protecting our hunting heritage and defending terrestrial natural resources. But like mine, Raul Grijalva, it's all talk; action, in the form of curbing the excesses of the General Mining Act of 1872, *never* follows.

The problems are twofold. First, under the GMA, Americans no longer have control over their own natural resources; mines and petro extraction in the USA are as often as not ultimately owned and managed by corporations located overseas -- China, in the case of Rosemont Copper (a proposal to destroy a massive excellent upland game habitat in the Santa Rita Mountains so that raw copper ore can be exported to, refined in, and controlled by the communist People's Republic of China) -- Grupo Mexico in many other cases. Fidelity to Americans' interests -- either at the jobs level or at the natural resources level -- is not even on the table.

That is because both the Dems and the GOP have embraced "Globalism." Both the GOP and the Dems have embraced the faith-based assumption that expanding global consumption of EVERYTHING is the only reasonable policy. In point of fact, what we need is not growth, but instead sustainability coupled with a more even distribution of the wealth taken from publically owned lands.

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from jakenbake wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

The problem, though, is that these projects are not run up to EPA standards because the EPA cannot regulate them the same way the EPA can regulate every other industry. Furthermore, and I may be wrong in a few instances, but believe I'm right on the whole, but these companies aren't "kicking back" any of their profits to benefit wildlife or ecosystem renewal. Were those two constraints put in place, we would still have issues, but at least there would be people pretending to do the right thing, rather than the blatant greed we currently see.

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from Steward wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

What do I believe in?

I believe in balance. That we have the right to use the land and its resources as we see fit, and also the responsibility to take care of it and manage it and sustain it.

We need the energy, but we cannot lose the natural wonder and the wildlife. I want to enjoy the beauty of this land and have the opportunity to hunt elk, and I also want to drive my truck across country to do it and keep my family warm at home while I'm freezing in the woods.

I don't know all of the "how" to that balance, but at the very least, I believe that some public land needs to be established as permanent wildlife habitat, where no development is allowed. How much needs to be open to development? Couldn't guess.

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I believe our masters who hold the sovereign wealth funds (think China, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia- yes Russia) and the hedge fund robber barons who manipulate the markets to steal our retirement funds couldn't care less about sustainable environments. I believe that very likely we may be the last generation to experience anything that resembles the wild. Already there is less land, less opportunities to fish and hunt. And you think Ansel Adams was depressed seeing the last of the truly wild, vanish.

200 years of freedom in the most beautiful land on this planet and it may be over in a couple of generations. Our politicians, and union, government and company decision makers don't care about us, because we aren't the massive campaign contributors that keep them in power. Want proof? We are still tearing up farmland and spoiling water to create housing developments when there is a glut of houses on the market. We provide tax incentives to get a mortgage when once vibrant inner city neighborhood lie vacant and rot, and we have massive suburb and urban sprawl that consumes more roads and more traffic and more gas and more pollution. And don't get me started on who is going to live in all those McMansions when the baby boomer generation starts to die off. We have created massive economic disincentives in this country for a manipulating few who can hire the occasional lobbyist to get and stay unbelievably rich. Ever read a US "global" companies annual report? Raises and bonus for the CEO while he runs the company right into the ground and the stockholders can't even fire him. Every hear of anyone suing their heath insurance company for mall practice or insurance fraud? The game is rigged folks. No matter what your politics, the tea party is the canary in the mine. They may not be right, but they know something is drastically wrong.

Want more proof? 20% of the current US population is immigrant. One in 5. I even have close friends who legally immigrated here. But if we had 20% less people our consumption of fuel would be around 20% less (give or take). With a possible 20% less pollution. I am not against immigration, but you have to control it. We only pay lip service to that control.

Energy is the most fungible commodity, Don't even think all that energy from all those wells stays in the US. It will be exported. In far less than 75 years the extract from Montana front range, will be long gone. You just won't hear about it. And once West Virginia mountain tops are gone, and the under ground water in the rockies is contaminated ( the great underground water basin in the US is gone. Ask people in the Colorado foothills about their well water) and Fracking destroys the trout streams in New York and Pennsylvania. The US will resemble Haiti. Corrupt and incredibly poor.

I know for a 100% fact that other countries sovereign funds are massively buying US food sources and technology companies and US water rights.

Unless things turn around fast, the environment is the least of our worries. I really fear for the country I love and our way of life. I have traveled overseas a lot in the last 20 years and outside of a few small key areas the US isn't much of a leader anymore in much of anything.

I apologize for this rant. I am truly sorry to anyone who read this far. The intention of this site is to pass along hunting and fishing tips and for that I am grateful, but don't ask a question if you really don't want to know the answer, And I am now depressed.

A mister Lincoln once called America the "Last best hope of mankind" and he was right. If the US is in decline, what does that say for the future of mankind and our children's children. Lord; what have we done?

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from coachsjike wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

the worst part of this whole !@##$$%% scenario is that i have two boys (10 and 7) who love the outdoors. forget that there will be nothing left for them in terms of land to hunt and fish on, but they will be too financially strapped to even think about it because of where their money will be going to. right now gas prices yes are going down to possibly $3 a gallon...bfd it will over $4 a gallon come spring. and next year the process will repeat itself and go up again. the only people getting rich are the politicians and everyone over in the middle east.

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from coachsjike wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

the worst part of this whole !@##$$%% scenario is that i have two boys (10 and 7) who love the outdoors. forget that there will be nothing left for them in terms of land to hunt and fish on, but they will be too financially strapped to even think about it because of where their money will be going to. right now gas prices yes are going down to possibly $3 a gallon...bfd it will over $4 a gallon come spring. and next year the process will repeat itself and go up again. the only people getting rich are the politicians and everyone over in the middle east.

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from rock rat wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

There's nought to be done, enjoy it while it lasts, don't bother with photos.

The Republicans aren't alone in this tango of environmental dysfunction. Certainly the nutty left with all their "Justice for this and that's" have helped. Get a load of the Center For Biologic Diversity who still doesn't get it even when species are being slipped into legislation with regularity now that the barn door is open, yet still they crow about forcing the USFWS to do their bidding.

There must be 30 money gathering "environmental" groups with web pages of gorgeous color photos of doe eyed wolves, polar bear cubs, tiny seals, etc. raking it in and employing legions of advertising types and lawyers, heck aren't they based in Bozeman? Riparian zones under attack!!! Fracking is never mind!! Yet they are fighting the very government agencies we hire to control all this stuff. Obama is a sellout to big corporations they claim, every Dem right of Abbie Hoffman is a blue dog and should be fought tooth and nail.

Name one broad based Environmental Group friendly to hunters other than NWF and I'll join.

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Shane: You are dead on. China is just waiting on that oil and gas. What we need is realistic import taxes/duties. Claiming that it will start a trade war is just BS used by the robber barons. Free trade is a bad myth. It doesn't exist. We need to get the hell out of the World Trade Organization. The people we should give trade preference to are the people who have our back, Aussies and the Brits have fought in every war we have been in. I have seen Aussies, Brits, Canadians and Kiwi's in Afghanistan, I have seen the French doing combat patrols. We need to remember our friends. We need to take care of the friends you have.

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from huntnow wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I believe that the gas and oil companies do not care about big game futures. I also believe that if they did, they have more than enough resources, read money, and manpower to develop plans and harvest these resources without harming wildlife. I believe that it scares the hell out of me. On the other hand, the reclaimed coal sites here in easter KY are home to the biggest elk herd this side of the Mississippi. It is an unpredictable relationship, the one between our demand for fuel and the land it is extracted from.

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from Bernie wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Some good points made here, but Buckhunter's is the best.

I know several people, by the way (two of them retired biologists) who oppose almost any energy development. Yet they both jet around the country hunting and fishing. One owns a place in Mexico, Maine and Alaska. He and his family happily cash their dividend checks from the State of Alaska each year, but he is still grumbling about the Alaska pipeline which was built almost 40 years ago. Another guy drives 20,000 miles a year to hunt and fish. I get tired of their hypocrisy.

We are all part of the problem.

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from coachsjike wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

first of all why as a nation do we export our own oil yet we have to import? that makes absolutely no sense!!!the politicians both republican or democrat don't care since their hands are in the cookie jar anyway. i live in nj where we have the cheapest gas prices in the country but have multiple refineries within a 60 mile radius not to mention gas stations every 5 to 10 miles. yet hunting in this state gets worse every year because of limited public property. everyone i know tries to hunt on private but that costs money and its getting more expensive each year. the politicians don't care about the illegal immigration in this country either...and that is sad because these people are indeed breaking the law. they don't pay taxes, get free medical health care, their kids who are born here are EDUCATED FOR FREE, drive without licenses, do break other laws that involve drugs or gangs, live in one house with multiple families (up to 25 in one house) they are eating up every monetary donation possible like WICK, medicare, medicaid, and are costing blue collar tax paying americans like me a FORTUNE. The only way the government would have our attention if a revolt was imminent. Think about it, this crap occurred several hundreds of years ago because we were unhappy with great britain. it is bound to happen again, just not sure when.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Hey Garfi --

1. Did you get hacked? What is with that link?

2. We're not "all part of the problem." I break barriers trying to find ways to curb electrical and fuel consumption. So if the rule is "Let he who is without conservation sin cast the first stone" then hand me a rock I'm ready to throw.

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from Muleynut30.06 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I believe its a catch 22 gas and oil are at or near the top of every economical/environmental discussion while I am in favor of drilling I think it does need to be done responsibly. I have worked in the mining industry in Wyoming and I have seen the famed Jona field on the way to Pindale and it is a problem you can't argue with decreasing numbers like that however everyone is quick to point the finger at soley the gas and oil industry while im sure it did play a big role the area around Pinedale is also infested with wolves so I think there are other things that need to be blamed also. As for deregulation I'm not sure where this is coming from I'm going to school to be an environmental engineer and during my internship in Wyoming I learned that you cant sneeze without informing the state of the emissions. Im not sure how it is regulated in the gas and oil industry but I would venture to guess that the regulations are just as stringent if not more. Where it falls is on the company and the crews if they want to follow them. I think what needs to be done is harsher punishment for companies that violate the current laws. In wyoming they have periods of time where there can be no activity due to big game wintering ranges and sage grouse mating season. Colorado should look into something like this if they havent already and work something to make everyone happy even though I know this will never because you cant please every one so once again you are at square one.

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from fliphuntr14 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

This subject troubles me everyday I'm doing the best i can to earn a degree and join the fight. Great article maybe it will get those of us who chose to be blinded by greed to take a look around.

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from shane wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

"if you roaded and drilled the entire Rocky Mountain Front of Montana, the home of the biggest elk herds in the state, one of the most pristine landscapes in the nation, you’d have enough gas--$1 billion worth in that days’ dollars--to supply our country for 72 hours"

More proof that the argument that it's for the bettering of the country through energy independence is BS. Not to mention we would just sell it to China...

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from Winkmeister wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Lost at the end in the summary closing, "Have we lost the stomach for conflict?," is worthy of a lengthy article itself.
Many conservation groups have flourished precisely because they are not political-- and that's great, it makes sense for them, but there should be a conservation powerhouse equivalent to the NRA's effectiveness in defending the Second Amendment.
And why are so many outdoorsmen of whatever stripe not willing to be NRA members? there's no valid justification.
In this land of laws, effective political influence in creating policy must be established to represent the true desires of so many.
Business can flourish while safeguarding the environment. One industrial output can be repurposed elsewhere. As stated, put those engineers to work developing new and better processes.
People are much too complacent (many drive mini-vans and Subaru wagons); perhaps they don't know how to act, what to do, where to give that gets something done; some might fear their own abilities or effectiveness-- or their ability to manage themselves once they take up a cause, others don't want to be thrown in with the actual kooks who are anywhere from annoying to outright dangerous.
Grow a spine, America! You don't have to (always, how about sometime?) be on the offense, but you shouldn't be sitting back when you are under attack either.
... oh yeah, and re-elect no one-- return this to a land of people-representatives not career politicians and influence-peddlers.
Finally, a recent addition to my e-mail signature:
The Speech: America's political system USED to be about the pursuit of happiness. Now more and more Americans want to stop chasing happiness and simply have it delivered. I am not one such person.

Protect that fountain of happiness that is only found afield; it cannot be replicated elsewhere or recreated once lost.

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from Todd Tanner wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Great post, Hal. You raise the questions that we need to ask ourselves every day.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I live in the Midwest where vast expanses of wild land disappeared long ago. Slowly we are seeing the stocking of elk return in Michigan, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Much of the reclaimed land where you find the elk was once stripped mined for coal.

As much as I want to remain selfish with my desire to protect the outdoors I also am aware there are more important things such as jobs, energy and growth. I also understand that whatever we do to this earth she will eventually reclaim her old form. This has been proven in the Midwest with the reuse of the old strip mined land.

I guess what I am saying is that any gas exploration will be temporary. Even the best wells do not produce forever and maybe some day we can look back and see the our days in the Roan as a temporary setback.

A perfect example would be a forest fire. Everything is destroyed yet with time all things regenerate.

I know, not a very popular view for an outdoorsman especially when it goes against the beliefs of Jim Range but I would support a 25 year lease for the gas and oil explorers to get in then out. Run their operations to EPA standards, kick back a share of their profits to fund other wildlife or land projects around the country then my grandkids will have a place to hunt in the future.

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from illinoisburt wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

The issue is more complicated than just habitat destruction or interference. Many people tend to overlook the fact that a major cause of big game decline when these types of projects go into place is the increased access and higher annual harvest. Its not uncommon to see success rates and harvest numbers triple or quadruple in areas where animals which previously required long hikes or horseback trips become roadhunt quarry. Then again, its kind of hard to talk people into accepting lowered quotas and preference draw tags in areas right when a road finally opens it up to the weekend warriors (who by the way are the majority of the hunting public).

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from krwheeler wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

What about wolf predation? You make no mention of that aspect. The wolf population is way over the projected recovery rates. I do believe that the energy industry is part of the problem, but it is at least those two factors combined (along with other factors).

I lived in Wyoming for 14 years, and I followed both the energy and wolf issued quite closely.

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from Muleynut30.06 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

@ hal thank you for the luck and I will look into it, it will definately be an interesting topic.

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A few things
1)The politians are a problem be they Republican or Democrat, They care only for being reelected and gaining more money and power. A side note on the political aspect, THE 2nd AMENDMENT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU DEER RIFLE, BIRD GUN, PELLET GUN IT IS FOR THE ABILITY OF THE PEOPLE TO MAINTAINE THE WEAPONS CABABLE OF RESISTING AND FIGHTING AN OPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT! THE NRA IS TO PROTECT THE SECOND AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION NOT THE LAND YOU HUNT AND FISH ON. And it IS VERY POSSIBLE for the government to take you guns away as the Democrat leaders that some of you people seem to keep worshiping try everyday. Look at Chicago, DC, and New York (in particular NYC) for the most blatent examples. Don't believe every thing Obumer tells you.
2) If the immigration would be brought to a slower rate we would be useing less energy and money. As stated before We have an untold number of illegal immegrants from all over the world flood to this country everyday. and most of them get everything for free because we don't want to hurt anyones feelings by turning them around and sending them back to wherever they came from. And if you like the illegal population make an argument with me please, my step sister was killed by a drunk illegal (he just happened to be from Mexico but like I said they come from all over) in a work truck with no insurance, who after running the red light and t boneing the little sadan then proceded to flee the scene for self preservation. He was found 3 days latter packing his bags to go back to Mexico. I am happy to report that at his last parole hearing he was denied.
3) We all neeed to do more. Start by not leaving lights on in rooms that you arn't in go from there. I try to do my part as I know most every one on here trys to something, and alot of you do way more than the rest and for that I thank you.

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from coachsjike wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

another great way of curbing fuel consumption is to install a wood burning stove into your homes. i did this 7 years ago and my fuel consumption now is no more than 50 gallons of oil per winter!!! and no i don't buy the wood either. everytime i see a pile of wood on the road because landscapers are getting rid of it i grab it and put it into my truck. my neighbors like the idea of saving that much money but are TOO LAZY TO DO THE WORK!!!they rather use their furnace and turn up the heat instead of putting the time in. i already have a second wood pile for next year's winter, but its because i will not wait...just some food for thought.

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Rock Rat: How about NWTF and RMEF. They buy land that is eco-balanced for all species,

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Ladies and Gentlemen; The other shoe falls. Want to know why you have high gas prices. Read this post. I don;t always agree with this guy, but at least he calls 'em as he sees them. That is more then that bunch of cowards we elected do.

http://www.creators.com/liberal/alexander-cockburn/-peak-oil-takes-a-dea...

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from RealGoodMan wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Rock Rat- Nature Conservancy, American Rivers, NWF are all sportsman-friendly. Waterkeeper Alliance is also a good organization, they do water restoration projects, invasive species monitoring, water monitoring etc. I like Land Trust Alliance and other land trust organizations too. I personally like to have my membership dues going directly toward saving lands from development and conserving crucial habitat, so I give some money to Land Trust Alliance & Nature Conservancy and some of my state's land trusts..

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from hal herring wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Thanks much for that link, Ranger. An eye opener for sure.

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

No reasonable person actually believes we have to stop drilling. No reasonable person believes we want to go back to horse and buggy or walk everywhere. We all like warm homes in the winter, and electric lights. The robber barron types who carefully market their message on TV want guys like us to believe it is a zero sum game. They have us focused a on a "drill -no drill conflict" while they pick our pockets. Responsible to the environment drilling can be done. It just probably won't be. They are assuming you won't look hard at what they are doing, playing both sides for a win/win for them. Exploit the environment (BIG $$), don't exploit the environment (HIGH FUEL PRICES + BIG $$).

Rather than rant (and get my butt tossed off this site), may i humbly suggest we all: WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN (www.house.gov) and let him/her know how you feel about the environment. Let him know you will be watching (his vote is recorded on the same site, you may have to look a bit) and you and that you vote your conscience. Remember, he may not believe it, but he works for you. Contribute something (A couple bucks is not too much) to the candidate of your choice, There are web sites that record how much PAC money goes to which candidate and from who (www.maplight.org). If he/she takes money from big business/special interest you don't agree with, vote of the other guy, Turn off your TV and ignore sound bit politics (and the NY times). They are an insult and assume you can't think things through for yourself. And for God sakes register and VOTE on election day. Or someday; the UN/WTO may not let you.

Sorry again. I promise to shut up now.

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from coydogger wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

The country is in a terrible state. The population, legal or not, is exploding. The economy and jobs trumps everything. It is not realistic to think we can preserve our vast open lands forever. No one likes change, but it is inevitable. Enjoy what is left, the good ole days ended when we siezed the land from the native Americans.
"We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive." Aldo Leopold

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from Steward wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Following up on Buckhunter's post, take a look at the Adirondack park in New York. Much that had been developed long ago has returned to woods. Last month's National Geographic had a good article about it.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A follow-up to my original post. Many do not realize that nonprofit conservation groups are funded by the Federal Gov't. Much of the money they receive to sue the gas exploration companies comes right out of the funds earmarked to protect wildlife and it's habitat. It is a vicious cycle of abuse and misspent funds. Many of these conservation groups already have millions in assets. If this practice was stopped...

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

It seems that when we drill in the states someone is complaining that we are ruining the environment, when we don't someone is complaining that we are paying to much for gas and eletricity. So my question is if you don't want drilling on the Roan and places like it, where do you want to get the gas and oil? Maybe some place like the middle east?
I live in Hotchkiss Co., about an hour from Rifle, and the Roan. ALL of my friends work for the drilling rigs, and they all buy hunting license. Oh and another point, almost immedately after the 2008 election half of them lost their jobs and didn't go hunting because they couldn't buy the license. But I digress.
Right now everyone is complaining about not having jobs. These guys make a good livable wage. Now we are going to take that away from them to save the environment?
I know serval of the upper leave supervisors on the drill rigs and they have extreamly stringent enviornmental standers and operating procedures. It is still a busness that has to make a profit or why would they do it. But they do follow the rules.
As far as the Deer in Wyoming, I can't say if there are less because of the drilling. I can tell you Colorado has an extreamly healthy deer and elk population that has increased 67% percent in Colorado according to the Rocky Mountian Elk Foundation. April 27. 2009 http://www.rmef.org/NewsandMedia/NewsReleases/2009/ElkPopulations.htm
LOOK IT UP
.

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from wolverine78 wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

alot of emotion in thus article, but an apparent lack of reasoning....the author seems to tout the regulatory ability of the government, but the very development he laments was all permited by the government.Also, some research into the amount of money that the gov't spends on conservation programs, both on Federal, State, and Private lands(through numerous, often redundant programs has done little to slow development or mitigate effects of deveopment...

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from David Gowdey wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Buckhorn couldn't be more wrong.

First off, nature never comes back the way it was before we trashed it. Remember the passenger pigeon - heard about their populations before we cut down the great eastern forests? The elk we are talking about in Kentucky is Rocky Mountain elk that has been artificially reintroduced after being wiped out more than 100 years ago - the native eastern species is long gone. The notion that we can do anything because nature will heal itself is ludicrous. As is the notion that conservation non-profits are funded by the federal government - pure nonsense.

It is posts like these that make me believe that hunters are no longer conservationists. They have become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. We could easily do oil and gas development in a much more sustainable manner that would do less harm to wildlife and wild lands. Simply doing phased development - insisting that industry fully develop one section of an area and return it to close to natural state before moving on to the second and third sections would go far toward helping wildlife. The same with directional drilling, where multiple wells are drilled diagonally off of the same pad. These are minor requests that would have a major impact, but because the oil and gas industry doesn't want ANY regulations, and they don't want to spend an extra penny, Uncle Sam has not even made these minimal requirements. We can have responsible drilling, but we can't have it unless we force the oil and gas companies to do it right with strong regulations and enforcement.

As for jobs - well study after study tells us that the areas that experience the most significant environmental degradation will always lag behind economically those areas that protected their environment. Parts of the upper midwest still struggle with a legacy of environmental degradation that happened decades ago. Short term jobs that destroy the environment are stealing economic opportunity from our children and grandchildren. For growth to be long term, it has to be sustainable.

Finally, all of this is predicated on a false assumption put out by big energy. The future of energy is not in large scale power plants, pipelines, and more grids. It is decentralized -where each building will generate it's own electricity from solar and hydrogen fuel cells run with hydrogen from water. The technology for this is already here. However, big energy companies don't make money on this model -and government is bought and paid for by the big companies - so they are sweeping it under the table.

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from David Gowdey wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Buckhorn couldn't be more wrong.

First off, nature never comes back the way it was before we trashed it. Remember the passenger pigeon - heard about their populations before we cut down the great eastern forests? The elk we are talking about in Kentucky is Rocky Mountain elk that has been artificially reintroduced after being wiped out more than 100 years ago - the native eastern species is long gone. The notion that we can do anything because nature will heal itself is ludicrous. As is the notion that conservation non-profits are funded by the federal government - pure nonsense.

It is posts like these that make me believe that hunters are no longer conservationists. They have become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. We could easily do oil and gas development in a much more sustainable manner that would do less harm to wildlife and wild lands. Simply doing phased development - insisting that industry fully develop one section of an area and return it to close to natural state before moving on to the second and third sections would go far toward helping wildlife. The same with directional drilling, where multiple wells are drilled diagonally off of the same pad. These are minor requests that would have a major impact, but because the oil and gas industry doesn't want ANY regulations, and they don't want to spend an extra penny, Uncle Sam has not even made these minimal requirements. We can have responsible drilling, but we can't have it unless we force the oil and gas companies to do it right with strong regulations and enforcement.

As for jobs - well study after study tells us that the areas that experience the most significant environmental degradation will always lag behind economically those areas that protected their environment. Parts of the upper midwest still struggle with a legacy of environmental degradation that happened decades ago. Short term jobs that destroy the environment are stealing economic opportunity from our children and grandchildren. For growth to be long term, it has to be sustainable.

Finally, all of this is predicated on a false assumption put out by big energy. The future of energy is not in large scale power plants, pipelines, and more grids. It is decentralized -where each building will generate it's own electricity from solar and hydrogen fuel cells run with hydrogen from water. The technology for this is already here. However, big energy companies don't make money on this model -and government is bought and paid for by the big companies - so they are sweeping it under the table.

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

David;
Did you know that to make a solar panel you need 17 rear minerals that have to be mined? So really is that helping the environment? But no one ever talks about that. I agree we need to try. But in the end I like my car, I like my lights working, and I like my job.

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from tom warner wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Rock Rat: My experience has been that The Nature Conservancy is not hunter-unfriendly and has done more to actually acquire protect wild places than all the others put together. As a hunter, I can't think of any complaints against them.

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

I just want to re illistrait the point that right after the Dems were electied in 2008 HALF of my friends lost their jobs.

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from aferraro wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Outdoorsman who think their $20 hunting license somehow pays for millions of square miles that serve as their personal playground are delusional. So are leftist writers who bash energy companies and pretend their policies won’t harm our standard of living, access to hunting and national security.
You say natural gas drilling caused a 60% decline in one area of one state when “CONSERVATIONISTS” put wolves in the same area (and brought coyotes back to PA). Democrat Ed Rendell opened up drilling in PA and was 100% right to do it. Natural gas is the cleanest energy source we have and by far the best alternative to foreign oil.

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from dasmith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I had to just counter one person-if you vote for a Democrat you are voted to end this country as we knew it. Republicans may not be the answer either, its time to take back America from the regulations that are killing us. I vote for the pro-firearms rights, period ! Democrats (Clinton to name one) are voting to have the UN take over our rights in the USA, so I basically vote against them and for other person.

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from smccardell wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I believe in hope...

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