OMG: Congress, environmental movement and Obama working together for Alaska

CooperationYesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that will, among other things, authorize potential builders of a natural gas bullet line to meander through seven miles of Denali National Park. The bill passed the Senate, where it was first introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski in 2009 at the request of ENSTAR Natural Gas Company, reintroduced with Sen. Mark Begich in 2011, and is now in front of the president, who is expected to sign it.

Let me repeat this: Congress actually passed a bill that will allow a pipeline to go through seven miles of Denali National Park, one of the largest, most remote and protected national parks in the country.

This is not a small development. For one, because cutting through the park could save millions of dollars in construction costs and eliminate a whole heap of headaches, it brings the idea of the bullet line closer to reality. But secondly, and most importantly, the bill required cooperation between energy companies, environmentalists, Republicans and Democrats. The route through the park was arguably a more environmentally responsible route, and the environmentalists recognized this and ultimately supported it.

The media, by and large, missed the story. The country was Syria crazed, for one. Secondly, it’s not all that exciting to report a story where the plot line is that people acted rationally and that Congress, the environmental community, and business functioned like the nation wants them to function.

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