PSA Position Regarding Potential Coal Bed Methane Drilling in the Valle Vidal
The Valle Vidal Unit of the Carson National Forest is an important natural resource and wilderness environment that should continue to be administered primarily for the purposes of wildlife management, grazing and recreation without commercial development.
The Valle Vidal is uniquely situated to enable Philmont Scout Ranch to expand its ability to provide the “Philmont experience” to many thousands of young men and women of America. The Association believes that the Philmont experience is one of the finest programs available for youth anywhere in the world.
The partnership of Carson National Forest and Philmont Scout Ranch, through which Scouts attending Philmont have hiked and camped in the Valle Vidal, and have performed thousands of hours of conservation projects to benefit the Valle Vidal, will be adversely affected if coal bed methane drilling is approved.
The Philmont Staff Association endorses the position of Philmont Scout Ranch that the Valle Vidal should remain as a pristine wilderness environment free from the impact of coal bed methane development.
The Philmont Staff Association endorses the position of Philmont Scout Ranch that if coal bed methane development is approved, the appropriate government agencies should establish “sacred zones” where drilling and development will not occur to protect particularly sensitive or aesthetically desirable areas.
The Philmont Staff Association endorses the position of Philmont Scout Ranch that if coal bed methane development is approved, a methane extraction agreement should be made and enforced to assure that coal bed methane is harvested in the most responsible and environmentally friendly fashion that current technology permits.
The Philmont Staff Association supports a requirement, if coal bed methane development is approved, that any lessee be required to post a sufficient and adequately secured bond, prior to commencement of exploration or operations, to pay the costs of restoring the land to its original condition at the conclusion of such operations.
The Philmont Staff Association will make its position known to appropriate government officials and will take an active role in communicating its position during the course of the decision-making process for coal bed methane development.
The President of the Association will appoint a “PSA Coal Bed Methane Committee” to coordinate and carry out the communications and participation in the decision-making process called for in this position statement, subject to approval of the Association’s Board of Directors.
The Association should act independently on this issue and will not join or formally endorse any other organization opposing coal bed methane development, but should maintain communication and liaison with such organizations as the committee deems appropriate.
The Association will maintain communication with its members on these issues, and will encourage positive public comment to the Forest Service and other appropriate government agencies and officials from its members and other friends of Philmont on the value of the Valle Vidal to the Philmont program and its importance as a pristine natural resource.
The Association will maintain communication with Philmont management and the Philmont Ranch Committee to assure that the Association does not act at any time in a manner contrary to Philmont’s best interests.
The Association recognizes and respects the legitimate concerns that many of its own members and many in the public have over development of new energy resources and the debate that exists on these issues. By adoption of this position statement, the Association in no way takes the position that energy development, or coal bed methane extraction itself, is inherently wrong or should never be allowed, nor does the Association take any position opposing the energy industry in general or particular companies involved in this process.
The Association will communicate its position on these issues with respect for opposing views and in accordance with the principles of the Scout Oath and Law.