Bush Admin. Facilitates Drilling Next to Boy Scout Camp

It sounds like a modern adaptation of Dickens, but it’s all too true: A White House energy task force is clearing the way for El Paso Corp., a Houston-based energy company, to drill for natural gas near the nation’s largest Boy Scout camp. The Valle Vidal — “Valley of Life” — in New Mexico’s Carson National Forest is the long-time home of the Boy Scouts’ wilderness training program, not to mention hundreds of birds and mammals and one of the state’s largest elk herds. The drilling plan — opposed by many Boy Scouts, New Mexico state officials, conservationists, hunters, farmers, and ranchers — was rebuffed by the Forest Service three times. Then an official from the company, which has given $2.3 million to Republican candidates and political action committees in the last five years, appealed to the head of the White House Task Force on Energy Project Streamlining, and voila, the project was streamlined.