I think I have this event in the Cheyenne Bottoms/ Nature Conservancy figured out. It sorts out in 5th grade government studies, war, and the durability of mother nature and the birds. It involves emotional and life-long efforts by some people to protect our wildlife and the environment in a ever expanding population explosion on this earth that will eventually destroy us if not addressed at some point in time.
Here are the facts as I can determine them. A citizen of Kansas and the United States owned a property that is included in the defined area of the Cheyenne Bottoms (which was seriously impacted by the military use of the area as a target and still sheds shell casings, etc from that process which the Bottoms apparently has tolerated). Several wells have been drilled in the area and have never been a issue except for the possibility (as yet unproved) that a couple of herons may have gotten into a local pit and were covered with oil. This landowner sold his property to the Nature Conservancy and retained his mineral rights as all of us would do. The Conservancy manages that land and has lived up to their mission statement and creed to create and preserve natural space and terrain to the best of their abilities(which are considerable). The absolute right to use our property as we see fit in any legal manner is the bedrock of our nation. This process is legal, and I am sure these wells will be drilled and managed with great care and the full knowledge that one speck of oil on one bird will be very expensive, and the wells will be monitored by a lot of folks.
It appears to be a blow to the sanctity of the Bottoms. It is not on state land that I’m sure is off limits for drilling and is a legal process by a citizen exercising the rights we all respect and have fought wars to protect.
I was going to end this discussion with a lame and trite phrase--“who speaks for the birds?” I think the birds have said “we will speak for ourselves, thank you very much!” When the sky is filled with geese to the horizon, when the Whoopers and Sandhills are calling and elegantly standing in the Bottoms, when the little pips and squeaks are busy racing around in the process of their migration-- they speak eloquently for themselves.
Protecting our nation and our environment and our Bottoms takes the best efforts and thoughts of all of us no matter what our position in the process happens to be. The birds know that we have to be good stewards and citizens. They expect no less, and they are watching.