Drilling needs to be in public interest | PostIndependent.com

Drilling needs to be in public interest

Dear Editor,

In a recent op-ed, “Gas production companies right to seek customers out of state,” published Oct. 26, a spokesman for the oil and gas association mischaracterizes local concern about rising natural gas prices (coinciding with a massive jump in both drilling and industry profits) as un-American, synonymous with keeping Coors inside Colorado and not sharing it with the rest of the nation.

This tired line of reasoning goes further, suggesting that citizen concern is itself responsible for rising prices and thus for the old, poor and infirm suffering through cold winters. A similar argument was popular in California during their recent rolling blackouts. Then it was revealed that it was purposeful industry manipulation of energy markets that caused the problems, and the story suddenly went away.

The drilling lobby gets it right, however, when they say that the public lands are owned by all our citizens and are for the benefit of our nation. That means, of course, that federal land agencies need to manage them in the public interest not solely for the convenience and enhancement of private industry.

Furthermore, in a public government such as ours, when public lands and publicly owned minerals are being developed, the public has a responsibility and fundamental right to be involved and consulted in that process. For industry to argue otherwise is truly un-American.

Pete Kolbenschlag


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