Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Oil & Gas Eyesoar

Pryor Wilds
Originally uploaded by mdt1960.
An open letter to Mr. Robert Bennett, Wyoming State Director Bureau of Land Management

I recently became aware of the BLM’s plans regarding the auctioning of oil and gas drilling leases in the McCullough Peaks area near Powell and Cody. I’m sorry to hear that these plans will likely materialize if any protests brought before you have “no merit” in your opinion. Not to doubt your credentials or judgment Mr. Bennett, but I find it disturbing that such “planning” and decision-making falls on the head of one individual—especially when the stakes are this high.

Not only am I in protest of this decision-making process, but I’m also opposed to the entire idea of leasing off land in the McCullough Peaks for yet another short-sighted energy plan. Are the state coffers not excessive enough from all the other energy development around the state? Is such activity in the area truly beneficial... say, fifty years down the road given the delicate terrain of the high desert?

Further, I dread the visuals of this scenario as I consider nearby Polecat Bench to the north of Powell. So, before you make your decision, I invite you to have a look around up there to see how the oil and gas industries have “enhanced” this adjacent area. Even to the most casual observer, it’s obvious that the oil and gas industries have no regard for what becomes of the land as they suck the oil and gas from the subsurface—while their continued presence is that of a dirty, infected eye soar. Yes, while you’re there, make sure you take in the majestic, obtuse and awkward shapes of the equipment and machinery littering the region—talk about bad taste. Make sure you get close enough to see and smell the gallons of residual, black spooge that spills out and around any given well. Think about coming upon that on your next mountain bike ride in the McCullough Peaks.

I’ve heard some complain of a wind farm’s visual “unsightliness,” but the oil and gas landscape is the undisputed champion when it comes to downright “butt-ugliness.”

Here in Powell, it is said that when the winds blow just right out of the north, Powell takes on the fragrance of hydrogen sulfide from the Elk Basin region; the same is true regarding the feed lot west of town. And in the spring, there’s the ever-present burning of fields and ditches followed by a good dose of dust as farmers embark on a new growing season. Personally I believe the air quality of Powell is way overrated considering it’s located in a state that has the best air quality in the country. And now you’re telling us that we get to inhale more gasses coming from the McCullough Peaks area—might as well develop a new cologne based on the aroma of hydrogen sulfide while you’re at it.