Don't sacrifice Book Cliffs to drilling folly

Published October 5, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In his letter ("Lease the Book Cliffs to help rural Utah," Forum, Oct. 1), Tom Matthews proves that the "Drill, baby, drill" crowd just doesn't get it.

The Clinton administration proved that conservation and a thriving economy were not incompatible ideals, yet the very concept of conservation seems abhorrent to the tea party mentality. How can anyone consider themselves to be "conservative" while condemning the concept of conservation? Is it because if we conserve something we can no longer exploit it for profit?

Big Oil is the evil empire and SITLA isn't much better. Neither one can be entrusted with our public lands because their only motive is money. The carnage caused by fracking, tar sands and oil shale extraction is irreparable, and taxpayers are too often left holding the bag for cleanup and restoration costs. Land and water resources can remain contaminated indefinitely, and surface features can never be restored to their pre-extraction state. We should fund education with a head tax.

Gov. Herbert was right not to permanently sacrifice the Book Cliffs to the folly of unsustainable energy or a temporary economic boon. Tourists will not flock to rural Utah to see drilling rigs and ruined landscapes.

David E. Jensen