Recent comments

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 19 hours ago

    As a followup, why do companies want to lease public vs. private land—even if they don't expect to actually drill soon? Lease values vary widely based on current and estimated activity, but costs for leases on public land can be a bargain. In the past three years, the average price for a BLM lease in Montana and the Dakotas was $210 per acre.

    State-owned land can also be a bargain. In one area in Michigan in 2012, a "signing bonus of $35 to $200 per acre was common for private land, but the average paid to lease state-owned land in that area at that time ranged from $17 to $54 per acre. One article cites private land lease payments in a "hot" area of PA of $7,000 per acre; they've been known to get into six-figures for a 100-acre tract.

    BLM leases on federal land "are valid for 10 years or as long as there is at least one producing well," so a single well can extend a lease on thousands of acres of public land for many years. It's a great hedge for producers, who can reasonably expect to see higher prices for oil in the future...and in the meantime, they can deduct the lease payments as expenses. By contrast, quick research indicates leases on private land, which are almost always much smaller parcels, often run for 3 to 5 years.

    An even bigger incentive for production from public lands is the royalty paid on production. On federal land, the royalty is 12.5 percent—and it's shared with the state where the well is located. Most private landowners are understandably reluctant to discuss what they earn from leases and from royalties, but a study cited here estimates the average royalty paid in PA for natural gas is 18.75%, and runs as high as 20%.

    No wonder the industry loves the long-term leases on public land. If they can cut their royalty expenses by 6 to 8% as compared to private land, we're talking about some serious money. And, it get's even better for the companies. Congress even cut royalties for some offshore wells (on public land) to zero for wells drilled between 1996 and 2000. One estimate is a loss to the taxpayers of $26 billion in royalties on those wells, and that's just through the next 10 years. Another estimate places the total cost to taxpayers at up to $53 billion in the next 25 years. Do we "subsidize" big oil? There's one answer, and try to get that kind of deal from a private landowner.

    The feds need to have more flexibility on negotiations for royalty income from public land, but of course that's a decision subject to congressional control... and we know they always base their decisions strictly on the public interest.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 21 hours ago

    Nope, I didn't say there was "no demand for additional energy sources." The demand by producers for cheap new energy sources, such as public land, is insatiable, especially if they gain approval for increasing exports to overseas markets. I said there was no demonstrated need in terms on national interests, for the reasons I cited above.

    re: "The Senator was looking forward to future needs."

    The subject of the discussion was Representative Pete Olson, but heck, with all the potential new campaign contributions from the oil lobby, maybe he got his "promotion" even faster than he hoped :-)

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 1 day ago

    Lee -

    Since the percentage of body mass that has cancer at any moment is irrelevant to the severity of the disease your comment makes no sense. With cancer the entire body will die. With oil, reducing some fraction of a percent of consumption would be meaningless and have no impact on the other 99+ percent.

    For Jim, I did respond. I suggested that the Senator was looking forward to future needs. Your response is, we don't need it now, which totally ignores the Senators' more prudent vision. Further, if in fact there are no rigs and no demand for additional energy sources, then the producers won't lease the NPS lands so your concerns would be moot if your assumptions are correct.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 1 day ago

    As far as I can tell,"gullible" is an equal opportunity condition. As long as the arguments are directed at the gullible and they decide the outcome, not good.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 1 day ago

    Jim, it's doubtful that the Congresscritter and his henchmen really want to drill in national parks and monuments. This is an election year and for a nauseatingly long few months we're going to witness a lot more of this kind of nonsense.

    It's called blatant pandering to their most rabid supporters in hopes the rest of the voters in their districts will have typically short American voter memories and will punch whatever button accompanies an incumbent's name on the voting machine.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 1 day ago

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57765696-78/citation-forest-harris-leak.html.csp

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57728795-78/oil-spill-wash-valley.html.csp

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57749747-78/oil-wash-spill-valley.html.csp

    These links take readers to articles about two recent Utah oil spills. One was recently discovered on Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument which, although not administered by NPS, is one of the jewels in our southwestern collection of special places. Be sure to look through the photos in the second one.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 1 day ago

    It's no surprise that ec applies the term "meaningless" to the value of even small reductions in the use of oil resulting from any conservation efforts. After all, if you don't pump it, you can't sell it.

    In that context, I'd welcome his response to my comment above on April 2, (12:22) that's there's no demonstrated need to drill in NPS areas at this time. A more appropriate use of "meaningless" would be reasons, other than increased industry profits, for such drilling.

    Anyone who suggests oil and gas drilling and production can be accomplised without significant, negative impacts on a park experience sure hasn't spend any time around the oil fields. For just one small example, see the story on today's Traveler about Dinosaur NM.

  • NPS Director Jarvis: National Parks Are Losing Relevancy With Americans   2 weeks 1 day ago

    I forgot to mention in previous post. Many years ago, my brother and his wife took me on a wonderful trip, from Virginia through about 7 states, we saw the Grand Canyon and two other parks, at the Grand Canyon, I walked up, looked down in that beautiful place and I cried, it moved me that much. Our parks must be saved.....

  • NPS Director Jarvis: National Parks Are Losing Relevancy With Americans   2 weeks 1 day ago

    I agree with you totally. My husband and I have been to the George Washington National Park and The Jefferson National Park, both very beautiful. My husband has been to many more, before we were married, he use to be an avid camper and hiker. We have also been to many state parks in N. C. and Va. I just can't imagine closing any of them. What we need to do is get new people in government offices, from the bottom up, replaced with people that LOVE this country and its people. Only then will things get better. As for now, I just hope that people will take their families and visit as many parks as they can, while they can. We never know what the present government will take away from us next.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 1 day ago

    Justin, the problem is that there are many sources for stats regarding plastic bottles and their numbers vary widely. I tried to pick one that was in the middle of the range.

    As for ec's "meaningless" comment -- okay, maybe according to some statistic or other that may be true. Yet consider this, a brain tumor may be only about 0.04% of the mass of the entire body, but if your doctor tells you that you have one, will you call it "meaningless?"

    Is it possible that we are surrounded by environmental cancers that could, and should, be treated? Taken together, their sum total is certainly much more than 0.04% of what we need to survive on this battered old world. If we could eliminate -- or even mitigate -- just some of them, might we actually improve our economic well being and quality of life?

    I'm not trying to tell others what they must do or not do, just asking the questions: "Is this REALLY necessary?" and "Can we find a better way?" Unfortunately, many gullible Americans, like some who post frequently here, have allowed themselves to be duped by industry advertising and propaganda or by their own selfish agendas.

    I'm not trying to dictate, just asking people to actually do some THINKING.

  • Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story Of The Woman Who Saved The Appalachian Trail   2 weeks 1 day ago

    Nice review.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 1 day ago

    Lee @ 8:48,

    Agreed. A combination of conservation, improved efficiency, development of alternatives--every bit positively contributes to alleviating pressures to drill in protected areas.

    (Your stat might be a bit off, Lee. According to Nat Geo, "it takes 17 million barrels of crude oil. That’s enough oil to keep a million cars going for twelve months." Not to mention the energy it takes to recycle plastic water bottles. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/stories/spacescience/water-bottle-pollution/)

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 1 day ago

    That's enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars for a year[

    Which is .04% of all cars on the road. Meaningless. Made even smaller by the fact that the number of water bottles bought in the parks is a small fraction of a year's supply of water bottles. Made even smaller (in the context of oil demand) by the fact that automobile use is only about a quarter of our use of energy.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 1 day ago

    To retrieve Lee's stat from another thread--"It takes more than 1.5 million barrels of oil to produce a year's supply of water bottles. That's enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars for a year"--it would seem that conserving oil by banning platic bottles in the parks would help mitigate the (albeit contrived, as Jim notes) pressure to drill in our national parks.

  • Grand Canyon National Park, Along With Yellowstone, Has Bison Problems   2 weeks 2 days ago

    At first I had to check the date on this article to make sure it wasn't put out on April 1 -had no idea you could cross bison and cattle. But then I remembered this interesting documentary on Buffalo Jones on Youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJ4T9CQA0UM&feature=share&list=PLB05DF39F7A54275F

  • Proposal Calls For Renaming Colorado National Monument As Rim Rock Canyons National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    I'm pretty neutral on this, personally. It's a fairly small park, and national monument status fits it perfectly. If they were increasing its acreage, say by incorporating the nearby BLM-administered McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, it would make a lot more sense.

    However, throughout the history of NPS there has been this movement, to eventually convert the natural national monuments to parks, so it does make sense in that context. Makes one wonder what monument will transition next? My pick would be Dinosaur NM.

    I agree with zrfphoto on the name. His suggestion, "Colorado Canyons NP," would at least preserve part of the name of Colorado NM. If the politicians want to honor John Otto's legacy, this is a way they could accomplish that.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 2 days ago

    And hopefully, Jim, long before we need to start scratching for the last remaining oil on earth, we will have been smart enough to develop sustainable renewable alternatives to oil and coal.

    But that's another political battle that is being fought even as we speak.

    Unfortunately, money too often trumps intelligence. Especially in the halls of Congress.

  • Senators Ask GAO To Investigate National Park Service's Spending Habits   2 weeks 2 days ago

    One way the NPS could raise more funds for their budget is to charge concessionaires a higher percentage to operate within the parks. The percentage on many of the contracts is far too low. Private business is raking in the money that the NPS could utilize to repair infrastructure.

  • Proposal Calls For Renaming Colorado National Monument As Rim Rock Canyons National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Sounds great to me. I would have preferred Colorado Canyons National Park, but this is fine. The more NP's the better!

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Dwight David Eisenhower, farewell address:

    " This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together."

    Of course, Ike was well known for his left wing liberal attitude. Obviously a RINO.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Jim, it really is pretty scary, and now with the latest supreme court ruling on campaign finance/ money is free speech/ corporations are persons mentality, we truly will be in a corporate oligarchy. It is interesting to note that the progressive republican party movement under Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Howard Taft actually tried to get a handle on corporations donating to political campaigns resulting in the Tillman Act. Well, here we are, a little over 100 years later right back to robber barons era. History does repeat itself. You are right, the Congressman knows where the money is going to be coming from.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Given his audience, it's more likely he was "looking foward" to some additional campaign contributions :-)

    On a more serious note, looking forward is a good reason not to consider drilling in places that are currently "off limits." As described in my previous post, there's absolutely no demonstrated need to do go after every last drop of oil under every acre in the country right now. That day may eventually come, in which case places now off-limits could prove a lot more valuable as last chance reserves than they are now. Until then, what's the rush?

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Hmm Jim, Maybe he is looking a little more forward than you.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Dittos Jim.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 3 days ago

    Absolutely agreed, Jim.