Things like this make you wonder.
In partnership with green activists, the Department of Interior may attempt one of the largest federal land grabs in modern times, using a familiar vehicle—the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A record 757 new species could be added to the protected list by 2018. The two species with the greatest impact on private development are range birds—the greater sage grouse and the lesser prairie chicken, both about the size of a barnyard chicken.
Huge swaths of land that would go off limits to development are some of the nation's most productive oil and gas fields. The prairie chicken sits atop Texas's Permian Basin oil bonanza, and the sage grouse is near the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. An Interior Department report describes the impact on the sage grouse of oil and gas operations as "universally negative and typically severe," even though modern horizontal drilling leaves a much smaller footprint than in the past.
As to drilling, according to my spies in the trade, "much smaller footprint" for a horizontal drilling rig amounts to an acre or so, most of which is where the pipes sit and the trucks drive around. Call it four or five suburban lots. Not blocks, lots. A drill rig can sit there and drill all summer long while Farmer John grows a crop on the same field.
Which brings up an interesting thing. Nobody gave a shit about the lesser prairie chicken and the greater sage grouse when a zillion acres got put under the plow to grow corn for ethanol.
Not that I mind, really. Since I'm a Canadian, and our Conservatives in Ottawa are not busy trying to tank oil extraction by any and all possible means. Anything the USA doesn't dig up for themselves they can buy from us, and pay handsomely for it as well.
If I were an American though, I'd be -pissed-.