Friday, December 08, 2006

Meet the new boss

The Who sang about the "new boss same as the old boss. Well, Erica Werner of AP gives us a good introduction to the new boss of the "Natural" Resources Committee, Nick Rahall. Every aware of the importance of symbolic acts, Rahall even intends to rename the committee to the Natural Resources Committee.

I really sounds as the environmental interests got what they wanted out of the election. With Pombo out and Rahall running the committee, it looks like things will be very different.
Rahall's goal will be "not to engage in the wholesale destruction of pristine federal lands, sacrificing them on the altar of energy development," he told a press conference, but instead to "protect those resources which Americans cherish as places to recreate, hunt and fish."
We all know that there good words mask a lot of mischief, as in Pombo's use of the term "sound science". But, the following are the main points of Rahall's plans for the next two years. A
mong his top goals, Rahall listed reform or repeal of Republican legislation and Bush administration policies giving oil and gas companies breaks on royalty payments. He wants to rewrite the Mining Law of 1872 to put environmental controls on gold, silver and other hard-rock mining, and extract royalty payments from mining companies.

Rahall said there would be no more attempts to rewrite the Endangered Species Act to give more rights to property owners _ a priority of Pombo's _ and said he supports maintaining existing bans on offshore drilling, and would lean toward making them permanent.

Rahall also promised a sharp focus on oversight of the Interior Department.

"There's a lot of questions that have not been asked of the Interior Department for the last six years, and we're going to ask them," he said.
Still, Rahall will have to work with Don Young as ranking Republican on the Natral Resources Committee and Young's record is almost as bad as Pombo's in some areas.

What is missing from Werner's reprot is any mention of Coal. Rahall is from West Virginia, a large coal producer. Barbara Cubin, a long time Republican on the Committee is from Wyoming, another Coal producer. I would forcast that the new committee will do all it can to foster the wonderfully misnamed "clean coal" technologies over the next two years, maybe even bringing out Pombo old analysis of Mercury non-pollution to support their efforts.

Maybe the Who had it right, but we will take what we get, give thanks during this holiday season, and pick up again where we need to.

Have a great holiday and get plenty of rest.

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