U.S. Senate rejects move to bar new national monuments in Utah

It failed, as it should-

Story in the Salt Lake Tribune. Senate rejects move to bar new monuments. By Thomas Burr. The Salt Lake Tribune.

Interior staff’s top seats in limbo

Despite nominations by the President, only Ken Salazar has been approved by the U.S. Senate-

One reason we haven’t seen much change in the B.L.M., National Park Service, etc. is that Senate Republicans are holding up action on the nominations.

Interior staff’s top seats in limbo. Politics » Hatch and Bennett oppose nominee, adding to a slowdown in confirmations. By Thomas Burr. The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah’s two U.S. Senators — Hatch and Bennett are pissed that Salazar withdraw the oil and gas lease auction near the national parks in Utah.

– – – – –

A similar problem exists in most agencies and departments of the government. This seems unique — almost every nomination is held up under threat of filibuster and every close election, e.g., Minnesota and New York, is endlessly contested because of the threat of filibuster if the majority tries to seat the apparent election winner.

A dark horse choice to replace Ken Salazar in the U.S. Senate

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet gets the nod from Colorado Governor Ritter-

The good news is it looks like Bennet is of a greener disposition than Salazar.

From the blog Colorado pols . . . Michael Bennet, Everybody!

Key U.S. Senate Committee passes bill to protect the Wyoming Range mountains

Here is some good news.

The U. S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee yesterday passed a bill closing 1.2 million (!!) acres of the Wyoming Range mountains to natural gas exploration and production. This highly scenic, unstable, and wildlife rich mountain range is west of Big Piney and Daniel and south of Jackson, Wyoming. Little known outside the state of Wyoming, it is one of those rare places favored for protection from the oil industry by a state’s two Republican senators, a fact that moved it through the Senate Committee.

It still needs full Senate approval and action by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The area to the Range’s the east, the Green River Basin, has become a major natural gas production area of the United States. The Wyoming Range is also favorable to gas deposits, but its complex Overthrust Belt geology means the gas fields will be harder to find and broken up. The gas is likely to be sour (laced with deadly hydrogen sulfide gas), and exploration and production horribly corrupting of the landscape.

“Under the Wyoming Range Legacy Act of 2007, no additional oil and gas leasing, mining patents or geothermal leasing would be allowed in the 100-mile-long area of the range that is part of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming.” Read the rest in the Casper Star Tribune. By Noelle Straub. Star-Tribune Washington bureau

Some photos, I posted to Panaramio of parts of the Wyoming Range included in this legislation.

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/1901416
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/1902488
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/1995409
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/6194709
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/6210892
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/6224555
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/6225358