New Reports Show Why Fish and Wildlife Protections Should Not be Compromised

The facts keep coming in on the debate between energy development vs. fish and wildlife protections--and the argument for protections keeps scoring points.

By now, sportsmen, like most Americans, have heard the argument that we must drill-now-and-drill-everywhere because we need to help the struggling economy by lowering the price of gas, and to protect America's national security by making her energy independent.

Well, last month you read about the non-partisan economic studies clearly showing (once again) that more oil production in the U.S. would have little impact on the price of gas at the pump. That's because oil is sold on the world market, which the U.S. has little control over.

Now come two more reports supporting the argument to protect fish and wildlife.

First, we don't need to open more land and issue more drilling permits to make us "energy independent" (if that's even possible). The U.S. is already a net exporter of gas, and the latest report shows "U.S. to Be World's Top Oil Producer in 5 Years."

That's even more reason why the nation should continue to adhere to the reforms for energy development on public lands implemented at the beginning of the Obama Administration--and which closely follow recommendations by the Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development. And that same group released a report last week showing that shale oil development in the mountain west will lead to a water disaster for fish, wildlife and humans.

"An economically viable technology to turn kerogen - a precursor to oil - into a usable fuel is unproven, and the scope of the potential environmental impacts is unclear. But the Government Accountability Office estimates that industrial-scale oil shale production could require as much as 123 billion gallons of water - enough water for a city of more than 750,000 homes. Roads, new power plants and transmission lines would have to be built, causing significant land disturbances and further carving up wildlife habitat already pressured by oil and gas drilling.

"The risk of water quality degradation from this intensive development is high and will require significant oversight…other potential risks include competition between current and new water users. The diversion of water from agriculture to industrial use could harm fisheries because between 10 and 40 percent of the water diverted for farms and ranches eventually flows back to the streams."

So when friends and neighbors tell you we need to "drill-everywhere-drill-now," give 'em the facts.