This Congress finally died (adjourned sine die) after passing a massive bill full of good, bad, and mixed, but almost entirely unrelated matters–“Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006”.
Among the good items was a legislative ban on new oil and gas leasing along the 100 mile long Rocky Mountain Front to the south of Montana’s Glacier National Park. The bill also includes a financial incentive to retire the 60 or so outstanding leases. Many folks believe the Front is the jewel of Montana, where the plains and the mountains dramatically meet and grizzly bears still wander well out into the plains.
Although the vote on the final catchall bill is hard to interpret, it is telling the Montana’s lone U.S. Representative thought the area should drilled because “drilling is needed at a time when the United States is struggling to meet its energy needs.”
This might sound plausible to folks who don’t know the potential of the Front as a percentage of U.S. energy demand, don’t know the lowest cost source of new energy (efficiency), don’t all the other areas in the Rockies that have been sacrificed to oil and gas, and don’t realize that no country has an objectively identifiable quantity of energy demand called “its needs.”
Rocky Mountain Front near the Sun River. Google Earth