Saturday, July 12, 2008

Clinton Appointed Judge Blocks Drilling In Michigan Forest

Saturday , July 12, 2008

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A federal judge has overturned a decision by the U.S. Forest Service to allow oil and gas drilling near a forest and a river in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson of Detroit ruled Thursday the agency had acted "arbitrarily and capriciously" in 2005 by giving Savoy Energy LP of Traverse City a permit to drill an exploratory well near the Au Sable River's south branch.

The proposed wellhead would be located in the Huron-Manistee National Forest about three-tenths of a mile from the Mason Tract, a 4,679-acre wilderness area prized by anglers and other outdoor recreationists.

Forest supervisor Leanne Marten said when approving Savoy's application that the project wouldn't significantly harm the environment and the company would be required to keep noise to a minimum.

But the judge ruled the Forest Service didn't consider how degrading the area could harm tourism, and said the agency did a "woefully inadequate" job of evaluating how the drilling might affect the Kirtland's warbler, an endangered songbird that nests in the area.

Two environmental groups, the Sierra Club and Anglers of the Au Sable, sued the government to halt the drilling. Joining the suit was Tim Mason, whose grandfather, auto executive George Mason, donated the original 1,200 acres to the state upon his death in 1954 and asked that it be maintained as wilderness.

"The ruling supports what my grandfather's vision was. It's a victory," said Mason, a Woodstock, Ill., businessman.

Huron-Manistee spokesman Ken Arbogast referred a request for comment to the U.S. Department of Justice, which represented the Forest Service in court. Andrew Ames, a spokesman for the department, said its attorneys were studying Lawson's ruling and had not decided whether to appeal.
A message seeking comment was left with Savoy.

Leaders of the environmental groups urged the company and the government to look for other places to explore for oil and gas. "We've said from the beginning we didn't want to stop them from drilling," said Marvin Roberson, a forest policy specialist with the Sierra Club. "We want them to drill from a place that won't be harmful to the old-growth forest or the recreational experience."

Although the Mason Tract is state property, the federal government owns rights to minerals beneath it and leased production rights to Savoy. In 2003, the company filed for a permit to drill into one of its lease holdings.
The plan was to clear about 3.5 acres of forest for a well site on federal land, then drill beneath the Mason Tract at an angle. If enough gas or oil was found, the company intended to install a pipeline and build a production facility about a mile east of the well.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved the project shortly after the Forest Service granted the permit. But it has been on hold since Lawson issued an order in December 2005 blocking the company from clearing land to get started.i

David Lawson is a United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. He was nominated by President Bill Clinton on August 5, 1999.

Ok let me see, the BLM approved it. The area in contention is 3.5 acres of 4,679 (maybe 20 acres for the plant) and the Clinton appointed judge is concerned that it MIGHT affect the Kirkland Warbler??
I guess with $4.00 a gallon gas and the highest unemployment in the nation, the welfare of the citizens of Michigan come second to the Kirkland Warbler for Judge Lawson the the enivro's

But then, that's not much of a surprise...however I say DRILL HERE, DRILL NOW, PAY LESS

I usually don't add a postscript however the comment left reminded me of information about the habitat requirements of a Kirkland Warbler that I was thinking of including when I posted this article and did not so...

"Adequate" is up for the judge's interpretation

Nevertheless, since you brought it up
Do you know a "whit" about the Kirkland Warbler?

The Kirkland Warbler will ONLY nest in jack Pines of that are young and of a certain height. Therefore, unless they are continuing to burn down older Jack Pines and planting new ones, there are not any Kirkland Warblers in the Mason Tract

What's more there is a disease passed from the Cowbird to the Kirkland Warbler so the Cowbird is "eradicated" from areas that the Kirkland Warbler may be living

With the very, very specific requirements of the Kirkland Warbler, natural selection would find such a species that was unable to adapt becoming extinct. But the enviro's, in their ultimate wisdom would rather "eradicate" another bird and put million of acres off limits for useful purposes

My girlfriend, who lives by the Mason tract, wants a bumper sticker that said, "Save a forest kill a Kirkland Warbler"

I want one that said, "Save a Cowbird, kill a Kirkland"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good for the judge. Who actually said that the Forest Service failed to follow the law and do an adequate environmental assessment. And if you think drilling in the national forest is going to affect your utility bills one whit, you need a TV that gets more channels than Bozo Murdoch's.