Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rocky Castoff a Welcome Addition at The Post

When the Rocky Mountain News went under several weeks back, only a handful of its talented staff could be taken in by an erstwhile rival, The Denver Post. I was glad to learn that former Rocky Editorial Page Editor Vincent Carroll was one of them.

Not only would an important voice in Denver media not be silenced, I thought, but this would bring more balance to the Post's opinion page, which still leans too far left for my tastes, despite the hiring a few years back of the very talented David Harsanyi. It's just unfortunate Carroll will only be a columnist, and not sit on the editorial board, because that's where the Post -- which isn't The New York Times, to be sure -- could use his common-sense conservatism (I apologize if he prefers the libertarian label).

Carroll's editorial pages were better than the Post's, in my humble opinion, and not just because they leaned more to my side of the ideological spectrum, or because they featured the work of the great Pete Blake. Vince's personal columns were for me a must-read: They could always be counted on to make clear, substantive, well-argued and well-aimed observations about the Colorado scene. And his interests mirror my own, making it feel at times like he was reading my mind (and beating me to the punch on picking up on something).

He hasn't missed a step since moving to The Post, as today's column shows.

The first half of Carroll's piece highlights one of many oddities about Obamanomics -- that the president and his top aides seem to think any and every American job is worth "saving," except jobs in the one sector of the American economy that actually generates real value and real jobs, and is indispensable to our economic strength -- the energy sector. There the president seems to be making war on American jobs.

“Two weeks ago, President Barack Obama grandly told the nation that during "every moment of economic upheaval" in the past, the government "created the conditions for thousands of entrepreneurs and new businesses to adapt and to thrive."

But what about old businesses, you might wonder. Isn't their health of equal importance?
Apparently not. Take the energy industry, which the president identified as one of the three keys to our economic future. The recovery plan actually "begins with energy," he declared.

In fact, his administration's job destruction plan begins with energy. At the very moment Obama is poised to direct waves of subsidies into forms of renewable energy that account for a minuscule slice of the nation's electricity, he would strip oil and natural gas producers of incentives to drill.

New jobs in green energy could easily be engulfed by jobs lost in domestic oil and gas production.”

Carroll then takes up a topic near and dear to my heart: the madness of the Endangered Species Act. And here he echoes things I've written about Colorado’s regrettable experiment with the Canada lynx:

“Will a 3-foot-long cat become for this state the guest who takes over the family room — forever?

"A new lynx conservation plan could be a factor in whether Breckenridge Ski Resort will be allowed to expand onto Peak 6," the Summit Daily News reports. The lynx is a "threatened" species, you see, so any use of its habitat is a minefield.

At the moment, the Forest Service is merely studying the area around Peak 6 before it decides how to rule. That would be routine, except for one thing: The lynx in question are newcomers. They're guests we invited here between 1999 and 2006, importing them from Alaska and Canada in an attempt to restore the creatures to the southernmost reach of their original range.

Biologists doubt that lynx were ever plentiful in Colorado, as sightings were rare even in the state's early days. But since the release of the lynx a decade ago, they seem to have flourished.

Some of us predicted what is happening now. Putting lynx in the wild is fine, we warned, but the state should proceed only if the federal government pledges that the species will not be used to restrict land uses. Listing the lynx as "experimental" would have done the trick, but the state didn't even seek that status until after the cats were here. Naturally, the feds said no.

The lesson is clear for the next "re-introduction" of a species (wolves? wolverines?). Before we transport them here, first ensure that their rights won't trump ours.”

The lesson seems clear -- but is apparently lost on those who recently launched a lynx-like recolonization effort at Fort Carson with the black-footed ferret, which I’ve commented on here and here. If the Carson colony flourishes, it's only a matter of time before the presence of the animals is used by gang green to argue for training restrictions at the facility. Where will Fort Carson and Colorado Springs be then?

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