After reading the Oregonian's Saturday (Dec. 20) front page article about Steens Mountain, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Enviroscientists, two regional mining associations, and four U.S. representatives, I found myself wanting more of the story.
I began to wonder who the fifth U.S. representative from Oregon is, and why had that person not joined his colleagues in signing the letter to the Interior Department asking for investigations into "conflicts of interest?" To me, the connection between Enviroscientists, California Mining Association, and the Northwest Mining Association are screaming so loudly for attention that it would be politically incorrect not to write and sign that request.
Greg Waldon is the U.S. Representative from Oregon's 2nd district (which covers about half the state geographically.) He is also the only U.S. Representative from Oregon who is a Republican. At work, he serves on the House Committee on Resources, he is the deputy whip of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and works on the sub-committee on Evironment and Hazardous Materials.
On March 14, 2001 (incidentally, the day AFTER President Bush declared that Carbon Dioxide would NOT be regulated as a pollutant) Walden was present at a hearing before the sub-committee on Energy and Air Quality. The topic was coal.
In the hearing, Walden says he wants to, "applaud President Bush for his action on CO2, which is a natural component of our atmosphere." This is the decriminalization of CO2 as a pollutant. He goes on to praise coal and cites our ever-increasing energy demands and the necessity to develop more coal production and use.
So, some questions. First, is there coal in the Steens area? Do the two mining associations want to exploit it? Is Representative Walden in on it somehow? (He IS praising coal; he chose NOT to sign the letter asking for an investigation into conflicts of interest with the Steens thing.)
I don't know.