Congresswoman Bachmann Would Support Drilling For Oil In Everglades National Park

It's been nearly four years since Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson said he would support drilling for oil beneath Everglades National Park if there were substantial reserves there.

Well, Mr. Thompson soon left that race, but another GOP presidential hopeful says she'd do the same thing if it could be done "responsibly."

U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann was quoted the other day in an Associated Press story that she wouldn't automatically rule the park off-limits if oil were found beneath it.

"The United States needs to be less dependent on foreign sources of energy and more dependent upon American resourcefulness. Whether that is in the Everglades, or whether that is in the eastern Gulf region, or whether that's in North Dakota, we need to go where the energy is," she said. "Of course it needs to be done responsibly. If we can't responsibly access energy in the Everglades then we shouldn't do it."

Those comments immediately drew a reply from the Everglades Foundation.

"NRA card-carrying hunters, fishermen, waterfowlers, and other outdoors enthusiasts do not want to see oil drilling in their Everglades wildlife paradise. In addition, the Everglades is the source of fresh, clean drinking water for more than 7 million Floridians," the organization said. "Congresswoman Bachmann needs to understand that oil and drinking water do not mix.”


You have to love that term "responsibly," as in "Of course we will do this responsibly. We love the Everglades." Then, of course, we find out that the word meant nothing because, either it was not said sincerely or intelligently or, guess what, stuff does happen after all. Then we have a Gulf oil spill type disaster under the Everglades. People like Michelle Bachmann make themselves scarce at that time on the bare chance that folks remember what she said and decide to hold her accountable for it. I like the Everglades Foundation quote: "Congresswoman Bachmann needs to understand that oil and drinking water do not mix.”

"Congresswoman Bachmann needs to understand that oil and drinking water do not mix.”

There are a couple layers of subtle sarcasm in that comment, whether intentional or not.

Congresswoman Bachman and sanity don't mix, either.

You guys are a hoot. Bachmann makes a perfectly sensibile statement and you anti-oil "environmentalist" go nuts. Contrary to the title of the article, Bachmann didn't say she would support drilling she said she 'wouldn't automatically rule the park off-limits". In otherwords, she wants to see all the facts and not just kneejerk reach a conclusion without consideration of all the facts as you have. In otherwords - she is viewing the issue with an open mind not an uninformed bias.
And Bruce - I hope you are walking to work. When you get there, let us know all the longer term effects from the gulf "disaster".

Anon -- This wasn't the first time Michelle has gone off on something of this sort. It's part of a much larger pattern from her. Which coal or oil company do you work for?

Lee - I never have worked for any coal, oil, gas or related company. But not surprised that would be your counter argument - attack the person not the points. Perhaps you would like to identify some of the other things "of this sort" that Michelle has "gone off on".


There's nothing "sensible" about Bachmann's statement. The word "responsibly" has no semantic value (i.e. could mean anything here), as Bruce noted, so it's impossible to make any real sense of what she is saying.

And your comment that the responders above are "anti-oil 'environmentalists'" sounds itself pretty "kneejerk." (I oppose drilling in the Everglades, but I'm neither an environmentalist nor "against oil.")

Justin - I don't have any problem at all drawing a conclusion from her statement. She would consider it after looking at the facts. Unlike those (such as you) that dismiss it outright. If you aren't an "environmentalist" or "against oil". Why would you outright dismiss drilling in the Everglades without knowing anything about the proposal? Looks like clear uninformed bias to me.

Parks are supposed to be, and should be, off limits to any resource extraction, hence the reason they are parks. If we take away the parks protection, what's the point of having established the park in the first place? Why not open all parks to resource extraction?

Oil or water. Which one is more important for human survival? I know the answer.
I'm not sure that Michelle Bachman does.

In a lenthier article, Bachmann decried the use of "scientists" or "environmentalists" to decide what would or would not be a "responsible" use of the Everglades. In other words, she'd get the expert opinions of BP
Anon... there's no "open mind" when MB speaks.

Makes good sense. Might cut down on war due to oil, our sons might not have to get killed and mutilated as often just so we can have the oil to get our cars, trains, planes to take us to see (but not touch) the national parks.

Ramon - I am sure that Bachman does as well. But, she also knows they aren't mutually exclusive.

Whether it's the Constitution or a National Park, is there no national treasure the woman won't desecrate?

ecbuck wrote,

"She would consider it after looking at the facts."

Given so many of her statements in the past, I'm troubled by what she undertsands to be a "fact."

Why not try to get us off the oil fix instead of trying to wring every last drop of oil out of the ground?? If we really wanted to do it we could find an alternative to oil-- there's just not the will yet

Many years ago there was a bumper sticker that said “lost your job, eat your foreign car”. Now the Great Recession and high unemployment and I can’t help but remember that bumper sticker and the jobs that have left our country. We can’t just run off and start drilling tomorrow, but don’t be to quick to rule out anything that lessens our independence on foreign oil, somewhere down the road it may be very fool-hearty.

Personally I can't stand her - I think she is a mouthbreathing theocratic malignancy.

However - I'd really rather see Traveler be a forum for parks and discussions about parks and the impact of these outside issues on parks, and NOT a hurray for our side for and against various politicians. There is ample space in this interweb thing for that elsewhere. I prefer to think of Traveler the way I think of parks in general.

I'm certainly no expert at horizontal drilling, but don't we have the ability to put the oil rigs 40 - 60 miles away, and then drill horizontally under the park? Don't we already do this out west? I don't imaging she is advocating placing the actual oil rigs in the park.

I love the term "environmentalist". What does it mean? Some people use it like its a dirty word. Oh, you're an environmentalist.
Oh, you care about clean air and water for you and your children - Da!!! The people who do not care are the ones to worry about. Its well documented that terrorists would love to find a way to harm america by destroying their way of life.
So, I have to ask, are you an environmentalist or a terrorist?

Anon or ec, it's not at all hard to find examples of MB's misstatements.

And Rick B, the political side of protecting parks is at least as important as the practical side. If you want an excellent read about politics and park history, go find the book I reviewed a few months ago -- Horace M. Albright's remembrances of the founding years of the NPS. (You'll find the review elsewhere on Traveler -- but my memory is short-circuiting right now and I can't recall the exact title. I'm too lazy to go look it up and then have to re-type all this.)

This is exactly the kind of place where there should be vigorous discussion.

Lee - you say its not hard finding examples yet you haven't provided an example nor refuted one. And as to what "environmentalist" means - in my mind and usage - it is one that focuses on environmental issues without any other considerations. One doesn't need to be either an enivronmentalist or a terrorist though often the former are also the latter. Examples - Sierra Club members putting metal spikes in trees to be logged or arsonists buring down Two Elks Lodge in Vail to "save the Lynx".

Pretty broad strokes there, Mr. Ecbuck, and all through the prism of your personal opinions.

On the MB misstatements thing, The University of Google returns 146,000 returns to the search argument "Bachmann misstatements". Also, curiously enough, it returns over 3.6 million responses to the search argument "terrorism by big oil".

I'm an 'environmentalist'. I sort my recycle. I carry other people's trash out of wildernesses. I prefer trees to pavement. I compost and garden only organically. I am not, however, a terrorist, despite what your generalities of slur opine.

I would not label someone that does the things you claim (of which I do all the same) an environmentalist. Just because you care about the environment doesn't make you an environmentalists as I have used the phrase. Nor did i make any generalities about environmentalist being terrorist - unlike Lee that claimed anyone that wasn't an environmentalist was a terrorist. All I did what indicate that "often the former (environmentalist as I use the term) are the latter (terrorist) and provided specific examples.
Still waiting for you to identify specific instances where she has "has gone off on something of this sort." and been wrong.

Just for clarification: What type of specifics are you looking for? That she sticks her foot in her mouth in general, or in connection with energy development? If it's the latter, don't forget that she lamented that the president was taking something like 200 staff with him on his Asian trip and that the recent earthquake and hurricane in the east was God's way of showing his disapproval with Washington.....

And, for clarification, my POINT was that there are millions of people like myself who consider themselves environmentalists who do simple every day non-terrorist things to support the environment.

Your logical fallacy is that you chose to narrowly define 'environmentalist' only in your extremist terms. We don't meet that biased criteria, but then few do.

I feel that taking a pro-environment stance is the most patriotic position possible. I am proud to call myself an environmentalist, because it means I am looking at what is best for future generations of this country.

I can see it now............the upcoming Republican National Convention with Bachman supporters holding their Drill Baby Drill signs!

Kurt - I'm looking for examples of where "Michelle has gone off on something of this sort."
What was wrong with her "200 staff" lament? How does her obviously metphorical statement about the hurricane and earthquake relate to energy developement or reflect something she has "gone off on"?
To Rick: I defined "environmentalist" as I meant it to apply in my first use of the term. If that doesn't describe you fine. You might also note that I used the term " anti-oil "environmentalist"" together with the latter in quotes. So again - if you aren't "anti-oil" the comments did not refer to you.
There are many people that are concerned for environmental issues (including me) that don't do so while totally dismissing all other considerations. Many of those that have objected to (and misrepresented) Bachman's statements don't fit that mold.

Then, Anonymous D, you wouldn't fit ecbuck's defintion of an environmentalist, because you have "other considerations." Then again, I'm not sure many people would fit it.

Justin - Unfortunately - as exhibited on this board - too many fit. Of all the post so far, not one has made a legitimate argument to refute Bachman's statement or suggest why it is wrong. No one has made an argument (other than demagoguery) why it should be automatically ruled out.

EC, actually, I misspoke on the "200 staffer" mention. Here's what she really said to Anderson Cooper:
"The president of the United States will be taking a trip over to India
that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day," Bachmann
said. "He's taking 2,000 people with him.
"He will be renting out over 870 rooms in India. And these are five-star
hotel rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. This is the kind of
over-the-top spending. It's a very small example, Anderson.

"And I think this is an example of the massive overspending that we
have seen, not only just in the last two years, really in the last four.
That's what we saw at the ballot box last evening."
Now, the subject is not oil, but she certainly went off.
As for the other remark I cited, the accounts I saw didn't attribute it to metamorphical useage.

Yes Kurt - you made a "misstatement" - like the ones you claim Michelle made. Unfortunately in your correction you forgot to mention that the numbers she cited had been published in the media and she appropriately cited them as her source in the interview with Cooper.
If you don't believe her earthquake and hurricane comment was metaphorical and believe she actually believes it was a willing act of God - prove her wrong.

Boy, you're hanging in there, EC. If you read the entire post I linked to re the 2000 staffers, you would have seen at the bottom that politicians, like everyone else, including the media, should factcheck before they start spewing figures. At least I was on the low end.
I won't go further into the act of god statement, as I've already violated two of the three principles of what not to discuss.

I wish that all of you would just think about each of your children's futures. If this country does not let companies explore for oil in areas that people deem as parks or off limit (North Slope of Alaska) then we are doomed to buying oil at OPECs price. Wake up! If MB wants to think about drilling in the Glades then let least she is thinking about finding a way for us to get our own oil. As for other methods of energy then lets hear them...make a car that runs on air...or a car that runs on water...oh wait...we cannot use the water....

Obviously, those of you that have posted negatively about drilling in parks or even looking for the life blood of this country off shore must ride the subway or city buses and not own a car. Get a job where you have to commute by your own bus, not subway, not train....shut up and drive to get to work and fill your tank when it is low....

I wonder if she'd park a drilling rig in front of the Lincoln Memorial if there were 20 million barrels of oil beneath it?

EC, my definition of "environmentalist" is a synonym for "wise steward." I am not -- and most of my acquaintances are not -- simply opposed to all drilling and mining. We just believe it should be done wisely and with all due precaution. It should not place profit margins first. That should be secondary to implementing adequate safeguards to prevent water, air and other forms of pollution. It would never include sabotage or terrorism of any kind.

There are, unfortuately, extremists in all things. You point out environmental extremists, I could point out others. While it may be true that some of the "spikers" had Sierra Club cards in their pockets, they no more represented the Sierra Club than Timothy McVeigh represented any sane group of Americans.

As for your charge that I have called anyone who is not an environmentalist a terrorist, I'm scratching my head on that one. Will you show us the quote?

Now, it's probably time to give this a rest. We're quibbling over semantics and seem to have lost sight of the important issue --- what is wise use of resources and what is not?

ecbuck wrote,

" Unfortunately - as exhibited on this board - too many fit."
And since environmentalists are, as you say, "often" terrorists, I imagine we may very well have a few terrorists posting here, too.

"Of all the post so far, not one has made a legitimate argument to refute Bachmann's statement or suggest why it is wrong. No one has made an argument (other than demagoguery) why it should be automatically ruled out."

Take another look at the arguments, which address Bachman's language, her relationship to science, as well as competing values about what a national park is. To say none of the arguments on this thread is "legitimate" is to recognize only one criteria (set of values) to judge the legitimacy of the arguments--yours; it's a mark of ideology.

First - Kurt: You think everyone should personally fact check everything they see in the media? Good luck on that one. Have you personally fact checked every report you have cited on this blog? I think not. She repeated information reported in the media and identified it as such. She didn't "go off" on anything.

For Lee: doing drilling "wisely and with due cautions" is what everyone wants and there was nothing in Bachmann's statement to suggest otherwise. As to the terrorist charge - I apologize, that was not you but an Anon who said "So, I have to ask, are you an environmentalist or a terrorist?"

For Justin - I still haven't seen a legitimate argument. Heck I haven't seen any argument other than demagoguery. Please tell me why drilling should be "automatically ruled out".

The solution to this problem is simple: make it illegal to explore for oil or other mineral resources in national parks. If we don't know what's underground in the parks there won't be presure to drill. In this case, ignorance is bliss.

The more we redefine parks in terms of global commodities--the Everglades as an oil field, the Grand Canyon as a uranium deposit--the harder it becomes to preserve and protect these places. In other words, the more they are revalued as commodities, the less these places appear as parks, and they come to resemble transparent containers for commodities. In that scenario, how could one ever defend not mining and drilling in them? And once they're defined as global commodities, there is nothing distinctly American about them. It's like discovering a pile of expensive stones and colored glass that people once saw as a cathedral.That's my argument, ecbuck.

Ecbuck - Here are some arguments I'll offer as "legitimate."

While I agree that decreasing our reliance on oil imported from areas such as the Middle East is desirable for many reasons, there are also valid reasons for continuing to keep areas such as national parks off-limits for oil and gas activity.

1. The "drill baby drill" crowd would have us believe that increasing domestic production will result in lower prices. Not true; as the oil companies frequently remind us, oil prices are set on an international market level (and driven as much by speculators as they are by supply and demand.) A report by the U. S. Senate Joint Economic Committee found that increasing domestic production has little effect on prices paid by consumers in the U.S.

2. Increased domestic production does not necessarily mean that oil stays in the U.S. According to the U. S. Energy Information Agency, the U. S. exported 2.3 million barrels per day of crude oil and petroleum products during 2010. In short, what's drilled in Vegas doesn't all stay in Vegas - a significant percentage of oil drilled in the U. S. is sold overseas. Big oil sells wherever they can make the highest profit, so any oil extracted from places like the Everglades might increase Exxon's profits, but there's no guarantee it would even stay in the US.

3. Increased drilling on public lands may benefit big oil companies, but not necessarily American taxpayers. Due to legislation passed in the 1990s at the behest of oil-state congressmen and a contracting error made years ago by the Minerals Management Service, oil companies haven't paid a penny in royalties for some off-shore oil extracted from public lands. In short, big oil gets to remove and sell oil that belongs to the U.S. taxpayers without paying any of the usual royalties.

One estimate of the lost revenue to the U. S. Treasury from just the leases issued between 1996 and 2000 is over $50 billion dollars. Think we could use that money right now to help with the deficit? Anybody like to suggest that the oil companies have given American consumers any breaks on the price we pay for gas in exchange for all that free oil we've given the companies?

4. Less than half of our oil was imported in 2010, and only 18% came from the Middle East; most imported oil came from the Western Hemisphere; Canada is our leading foreign source. (Source). U.S. production is already increasing, and industry sources see big potential for existing fields in the U.S. (Source).

5. The amount of oil that could be extracted from areas such as national parks is unknown, but even at optimistic estimates it would likely replace a only tiny fraction of oil currently imported. The trade-off? Irreplaceable natural and scenic resources would be lost in exchange for a literal drop in the bucket for our oil needs. I've lived and worked in and around parts of Texas that have seen drilling activity for over a century, including some which have been out of production for that long. The damage from oil and gas activity isn't reversible.

6. Perhaps most important is this question: why even consider drilling on every possible acre now? Do we have any responsibility for future generations? Even the most wildly optimistic supporters of alternative energy sources have to admit that our current economy will need oil for decades to come. For better or worse, oil is used for countless products other than gasoline. Where will the next generation or two get that oil if we're so determined to find and extract every possible gallon today?

For the Bachmann's of the world who can't accept the non-economic values of places such as national parks and the Arctic, there should be some thought given to leaving any oil under those areas as reserves for the needs of the next generation. The only possible reason to do otherwise is simply greed and blatant self-interest.

Rather than getting all excited about a hypothetical that will never happen, we national park lovers need to get mad at the 'wind farms' being proposed or developed near pristine areas. A wind farm is going in near the Grand Canyon South Rim. A wind farm is being proposed near the California poppy preserve.
Wind farms are ugly blights on the landscape and environmentalists cannot be hypocrites about opposing them. They kill raptors and bats in startling numbers. When I see those huge propellers marching across formerly beautiful landscapes it makes me angry that because their political allies support wind farms, environmental groups don't get as active in opposing them as they do when it comes to mining or oil drilling.
The least offensive extraction of energy is a gas well. Have you ever seen one? You probably haven't. They are so small that they can be hidden with a small chain link fence and a few bushes.

Jim - An interesting list. But for the exception of item 5 those seem like arguments against drilling at all (many of which have equally compelling counter arguments) and have nothing to do with national parks.
As to item 5 you have made a number of assumptions including 1) the resources are small and 2) natural and scenic resources will be irrevocably lost. If those assumptions are true then we probably shouldn't drill - and MB may reach the same conclusion given those facts. But if your assumptions are wrong - i.e there are huge resources that can be tapped with minimal environmental disruption then it would be foolish not to develop those resources. Rather than just say NO without knowing the facts - lets find out.


I've yet to see a situation where 'MB' changed her mind when given facts.

Well Rick - can you show us where she hasn't? But then its kind of moot, since she hasn't made up her mind in the first place on this issue - unless you know something the rest of us don't.

I am no Bachman fan but
The Quote was, she wouldn't automatically rule the park off-limits if oil were found beneath it. This is a reasonable statement. Oil dependency is a political hot potato right, now so I would be curious to see what the current President would say, if asked.
So now lets talk about religion... Just kidding

One thing that I have not seen brought up -- surprisingly since it relates to and was covered by this site – to exemplify how Bachmann "goes off", is her single-minded drive to put a bridge through the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The first anonymous poster said that she operates by wanting to see all the facts and not just knee-jerk to a conclusion without considering all the facts, and I point to her handling of this bridge debate to be exactly the opposite. If my recollection is correct, the NPS stated that the proposed bridge would have direct adverse effects on the "wild" nature of the river, which I believe has some "wild/scenic designation" and thus the protections afforded it by its enabling legislation, as well as a whole litany of other legalese that I cannot recall. But these "facts" held no sway with her, who still wanted to push forward with this piece of "pork" for her constituents. Oh and by the way, isn't she one of the faces of the Tea Party--you know the ones that are supposed to be against "pork spending" and everything that goes along with it in Washington. Rebutt or refute that if you can.

Toothdoc, if you want a full, unbiased report on Michelle Bachmann and the bridge, try Googling up Thunderbear and check out the latest issue.

Thunderbear is the official spokesbear for all of us who treasure our parks. His words cannot be disupted because his factual research is far more thorough than that of any of our Congresscritters.

I keep it bookmarked and just read the most recent yesterday.

I'd say he is more "unofficially the official spokesman for all of us".