West to Bachmann: Everglades are off limits

That prompted a quick rebuttal from West, who said at a town-hall meeting the next day that Bachmanns remark was off-base, and that he would soon set her straight.

That opportunity came Tuesday, with a letter from one member of Congress to another.

I understand you may not fully understand the importance of the Everglades, West wrote, before going on to detail the history and environmental characteristics of the subtropical wetlands.

Oil drilling in the everglades has taken place since the 1940s, but has remained relatively limited. As pressure has increased to locate new and cheap sources of energy, environmental activists have pushed back against attempts to increase the extent of the exploration.

The Everglades represents one of the most cherished treasured of the United States, and should be off limits for exploration of any kind of natural energy resource, West wrote.

But Wests letter didn't mention an important caveat Bachmann included in her remarks.

Of course, it needs to be done responsibly, Bachmann had said. If we cant responsibly access energy in the Everglades, then we shouldnt do it.

As two conservative Republican representatives with national profiles and close ties to the Tea Party movement, Bachmann and West have much in common. But natural resources play differently with constituents who live near them than they do nationally.

West announced in August that he would not run for Senate against incumbent Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) in 2012, but would run to keep his House seat.