RELEASE: Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan Want to Drill, Slash and Sell our Nation’s Public Lands
Washington, D.C. – The Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Public Lands Project today released “Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan Want to Drill, Slash and Sell our Nation’s Public Lands,” which examines the plans of the two candidates alongside their previous votes and policy positions. This brief finds that their public lands policies would prioritize drilling over developing cleaner energy sources on public lands, selling public lands over conserving them, and reducing public access to them, rather than harnessing their potential to create jobs from recreation and tourism.
The energy plan released by the Romney campaign in late August proposes transferring decisions regarding energy development on public lands from the federal government to the states, which could result in much more drilling and mining on public lands while bypassing federal environmental and health protections. Turning over federal land management decisions to the states—which would also sidestep public comment procedures as required by the federal review process—proved too extreme even for conservative Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who vetoed a bill that would similarly transfer ownership of all the public lands in Arizona from the federal government to the state earlier this year.
You do not have to look beyond the corporate interests of the Romney campaign’s top energy advisors and donors to find the motivation for this reckless proposal. Continental Resources, Inc., owned by Gov. Romney’s top energy advisor Harold Hamm, already drills on public lands in Montana and North Dakota. Oxbow Corporation owner Bill Koch, who has given at least $2 million to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future, as well as millions to other conservative groups, operates the Elk Creek coal mine on public lands in Colorado. They both could directly benefit from more public lands being opened to development.
Based on their recently released energy plan, previous policy positions, and past congressional votes, it is clear that Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan have not prioritized protecting our natural resources and public lands for future generations. When it comes to energy, access, conservation funding, and selling off public lands, the two Republican nominees embrace a devastating view of the traditional American land ethic. We can have both—a balanced energy policy and land conservation—but history shows that the Republican ticket not only will ignore such ideals but will also actively work to undermine our protected public lands.
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