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Kempthorne 2012 Campaign Gets Energized

Apparently Bush’s Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has been up to something bigger than we thought – already running for President in 2012 Gag! .
So now it makes sense. That’s what all the 600 Interior Super-Secretary slides taken on the taxpayer dime are about. For inserting in campaign brochures down the road. Some history:

In spring before the 2006 election, Bush changed the Wallpaper at Interior. Gale Norton went away. In came Kempthorne. He began jetting about, posing in rolled up shirt sleeves at National Parks destined to have their starvation rations cut further. His other public face was continued swipes at species heading to extinction.

Along with Kempthorne to DC went many middle-aged men from the Idaho Republican mafia. These were the fellows behind the Secretary’s smiling face who kept themselves busy gutting the environmental regulations Norton had not yet gotten to. Kempthorne has never been a Deep Thinker. He seems to have been groomed from his University of Idaho days to be a smiling politician – while Larry Craig, Jim Risch, the Farm Bureau, Simplot ag and ranching – pulled the strings in the background.

In the Lame Duck Days of the Bush administration, just when we in Idaho thought Kempthorne and crew would have had the good sense to creep away unnoticed, the local paper kept spewing out fauning articles about Kempthorne. Nothing bad or illegal had been his fault – he just inherited an untidy ship, and cleaned it up really swell.

As 2009 dawned, Kempthorne was everywhere. Jabbering about his Interior ethics reform at during a Boise City Club speech while protestors stood outside in the snow.He aired on the local Dialogue TV show, and popped up in more “he was dealt a bad hand but did a great job in spite of it” news articles. Even the quarter million dollar Interior bathroom remodel scandal didn’t quell this. The Idaho media blitz culminated in last Sunday’s front page Idaho Statesman’s cover story and mug shot of Dirk – nearly as large as the cover photo on the Obama inauguration commemorative edition two days later.

So it seems a major and orchestrated effort has been afoot for quite a while to re-write history, and cleanse the Kempthorne image of the George Bush taint.

The Kempthorne Candidate rumor balloon was launched
on the Armbinder Blog.

The Blog Post was surrounded by Shell Logos alternating with blue and green “protecting our environment” messaging. I sure wouldn’t be surprised if Shell wasn’t throwing some $$$ to the marketing of Dirk. Or floating him as a candidate to reward him for a last minute Order on Renewable energy.

From my perspective as a public lands activist: There’s a big downside to Industrial Wind and Solar Energy and giant utility corridors put in the wrong place. Shell and others are rushing to get as much of a hold on remote public land areas as they can – before the public understands the calamity that will occur to wildlife in the Interior West if full-throttle Industrial Green energy development happens. Besides Oil and Gas drilling, Shell has been an aggressive proponent of giant wind farms placed in the worst possible sites for wildlife. Shell and several other Industrial Wind outfits are not satisfied with building wind farms on windy enough sites on marginal private land that is running out of irrigation water as aquifers dry up, or on already hacked to pieces public lands. The same greedy energy companies that tore apart Wyoming for Oil and Gas are now seeking out remote wild areas of public land for "renewables" production. If development proceeds as planned, large blocks of habitat for sage grouse and other wildlife will be lost in short order.

Three or four years ago, while Kempthorne was still Idaho Governor, Shell was promoting an industrial wind farm on BLM land in the Cotterell Mountain Range of Idaho. A Shell banner taking up several stories was plastered across a building right across from the State Capitol. Blue sky, billowy clouds, and a special yellow shell. Kempthorne are well acquainted.

In what may be the most last-minute action in the Bush administration, Kempthorne signed a last minute directive.

The Statesman reports on Kempthorne’s order to speed up permitting for wind and solar development.

"Former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and the Bush administration got a lot of publicity for the last minute effort to open up sensitive lands to oil and gas leasing but that wasn’t all they were doing.

Just before Kempthorne and fellow Idahoan Jim Caswell, the former Bureau of Land Management director left town they issued an order that will allow the agency to accelerate permitting for wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy projects on what used to be called BLM lands but now are known as public lands".

This suits Shell, Idaho Power (Corridors ‘R Us), and energy speculators and hedge funds just fine. It helps to quickly cement the same old corporate control of the path this country takes on renewable energy. The Order will mean more hurried environmental reviews. We’ll be leaping before we look. So we won’t know the scale or scope of the damage to be done. Renewable energy production will remain centralized, and locked in the hands of Shell and its kind – rather than de-centralized on rooftops in our towns, or providing income to marginal private lands.

Now too as I think back on Kempthorne’s actions to legalize Guns in the National Parks, it seems this was a rite of passage of sorts, designed to make the National Rifle Association absolutely certain Kempthorne would be their boy. No matter how hard he tries, Dirk just does not come across blood thirsty enough in demeanor to fully appease the hard-core gun nuts. They needed him to prove himself again.

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