A few weeks back, I wrote a New York Times magazine article about the populist uprising against unbridled oil and gas drilling in the Mountain West. The article highlighted a major theme in my new book, THE UPRISING. In the article, I discussed how the Bush Bureau of Land Management has thrown the principle of environmental caution overboard by opening up a huge amount of federal land to drilling. So it is with more than a little bit absurd to read this New York Times story today:
"Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years. The Bureau of Land Management says an extensive environmental study is needed to determine how large solar plants might affect millions of acres it oversees in six Western states."
Do you love it? We're facing gas prices that necessitate drilling in environmentally sensitive and heretofore protected land right now, despite absolutely no evidence that it would ease current prices. Yet the Bush administration sees no dichotomy in insisting that we need to take a slow, measured approach to building solar plants, lest we don't take into account the long term environmental impact.