Tuesday, May 31, 2005

'Give Them an Inch' Alert II

I noted a CSM article on May 16 which discussed how oil and gas companies are clamoring to get access to two protected areas in Alaska (beyond ANWR); today the LA Times reports that an obscure amendment in the recently-passed "emergency" military spending bill allows exploration and drilling for natural gas and oil in five Mississippi sites under the Gulf Islands National Seashore, "a thin necklace of barrier islands that drapes the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico."

The amendment, sponsored by Mississippi senator Thad Cochran, allows for seismic testing prior to drilling for oil or natural gas; this type of testing involves "detonating sound-wave explosions to locate oil and gas deposits in the park." The Times notes that "[t]wo of the five Mississippi islands are wilderness areas, and the environs are home to federally protected fish and birds, a large array of sea turtles and the gulf's largest concentration of bottlenose dolphins."

According to the Times, "[t]he legislation marks the first time the federal government has sanctioned seismic exploration on national park property designated as wilderness - which carries with it the highest level of protection." The article adds that "Mississippi officials and the Department of the Interior have not agreed on the extent of energy exploration in the park. And there are still unresolved conflicts, the most pressing of which is how setting seismic charges on wilderness islands is compatible with the constraints of the federal Wilderness Act, which prohibits ground disturbance and almost any type of development or construction."

Much more background information and many quotes in the full article.


At 12:23 PM, Blogger Hammer said...

The Republicans prefer supplemental appropriations for a number of reasons, not the list of which is this: it allows them to clandestinely advance unpopular policies. More.


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