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Hunters and Bush Energy Policy

I've read a couple times here and elsewhere that the "Bush administration energy policy" has taken away land from hunters. This statement, like most one liners, masks most of the complexity of the problem.

During the last eight years there has been an increase in drilling in the western U.S. on federal and state lands, pushed by the Bush administration. The goal is simple: increase domestic natural gas production. Oil is a smaller component.

Increasing domestic natural gas production is critical, because 90% of power plants built in the U.S. since the late 90's are natural gas fired. Why? Because of the active promotion of the Clinton administration of natural gas as a "cleaner" alternative to coal. Yup, pushing natural gas, despite coal being the U.S.'s most abundant natural hydrocarbon based resource. Fortunately Bush energy policy did see the crunch in natural gas prices coming and opened the domestic flow a few years before the crazy energy markets of the last three years. Think of the natural gas price spikes if we had not started increasing domestic natural gas production under the Bush administration.

Now with the increased drilling this has caused areas of western BLM and state land that were formerly dormant, to become dotted with rigs and pipelines. Folks that had hunted these regions for years say its Bush's fault the rigs are there.

I say not so fast. Bush energy policy merely is trying to relieve a problem that started with rapid ramp up in natural gas consumption by the Clinton administration. If you don't like the increase in rigs in the western U.S., blame Clinton and blame yourself, because we are all responsible for our energy needs. Blaming Bush is just a scapegoat and Obama isn't going to save the federal land either. His hands are as tied as Bush's were, you cut the western U.S. natural gas flow and you can see our collective electricity costs go through the roof.

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