(AP) 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.
When I was a kid I fell in love with the idea of Kirtland's Warbler. It was the "underdog" and I had never seen one. My family (grandparents) owned property in Grayling and I remember the time spent there very fondly. I believe at that time the "specialists" were pretty sure the bird would be extinct soon and it would have been if they had not worked hard to protect it.
One of the rarest birds in the world, Kirtland's Warbler is a small songbird. They spend winters in the Bahamas and during the summer all of these birds come to the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
They are in danger for two reasons: 1) habitat and 2) cowbirds.
In the article I linked to above, a judge has ruled that the drilling company cannot drill in the area for which they paid for a permit to drill (and said permit was granted).
Here are the two quotes that (for those who care to pay attention) make the Sierra Club and the judge (a collaborative effort) look like idiots.
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.
"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."
This is where a person has to have a little bit of knowledge to know that these two things are mutally exclusive.
- Old-growth forest
- Kirtland's Warbler...
Folks...Kirtland's Warblers...DON'T NEST IN OLD GROWTH FORESTS!!!There are not many areas of old-growth forest in Grayling - the only significant acrage that is listed anywhere I could find is inside the boundries of Hartwick Pines State Park (we camped there a couple of weeks ago). This is not where the drilling would be taking place. Sierra Clubs appeal to "old growth" is a misleading at best.
Kirtland's Warblers nest in Jack Pine Forests - one of the first tree to grow after a forest fire. A Jack Pine Forest is NEW GROWTH FOREST.
Not only does this darling little bird not nest in "old growth forests", they don't even next in older Jack Pine forests! Kirtland's Warblers nest under (not in) Jack Pine trees that are young - between 8 and 20 years old.
The DNR in Michigan is giving Kirtland's Warblers new and safe habitat in which to live.
How do they do this?
BY CUTTING DOWN TREES AND BURNING AREAS FORESTED WITH MATURE TREES!
Local anglers can make a good case for prohibiting drilling withing a reasonable distance of the AuSable River. The Mason Tract (where the drilling would be angling under) was given to the state with the intent that it be maintained as wilderness. I think that it should be maintained as wilderness.
So I am NOT saying that drilling should happen (there are good reasons that it should not), but that the people who want it stopped should at least get their act together and not let the Sierra Club undermine their credibility by appealing to the Kirtland's Warblers nesting area in the Old Growth Forest.