Browsing All Posts filed under »Conservation«

The Plateau as Canary

December 16, 2011


I like this idea of Kirk Johnson's of the Green blog at the New York Times. The fragile Colorado Plateau acting as canary in the coal mine. It doesn't take a dust storm in Arizona to notice that the air is always hazier on the Plateau than it was even 10 years ago. So few people live on the Plateau that man made haze here is a sign of illness elsewhere. ...more>>

Our River Run Dry

November 18, 2011


The Colorado River does not make it to the sea. It's all used up 70 miles before it gets there, leaving the Colorado River Delta parched. Over 75 percent of the water extracted goes to agriculture. Whenever something about water use comes up in the press, watering lawns always comes up. That is the wrong grass. It's not lawns draining the river, it's hay. Buying up the virtual property right of water rights from farmers and ranchers is called "water ranching." I'll try to find more on that in the future. In the meanwhile, here's a piece from the New York Times on the river, and another interesting blog from a recent author on the subject, Jonathan Waterman (great name.)

Leonids Meteor Shower

November 12, 2011


One of the hidden delights of large, underpopulated, undeveloped places is the prospect for clear dark nights, free of light pollution.  The Colorado Plateau is one darkest places left in the 48 states.  The Leonid meteor showers are coming up. Steve Owen of  Dark Sky Diary can tell you more.  . . . more>>

Turn of tide?

November 11, 2011


There's been a mounting stream of good news for the environment. 18 new wilderness zones proposed for nine Western states including three in Utah.  Fabulous.  Perhaps with the election year on this will be a new turn of the tide for the Obama administration?  . . . more>>

Private Profit, Public Expense

November 9, 2011


The Salt Lake Tribune weighs in.  This kind of economic nonsense of allowing an open pit coal mine on the doorstep of a favorite national park in order to create a couple hundred jobs is just what ticks off  Tom Wharton in the previous post.  . . . more>>

Curmudgeon category?

November 9, 2011


I categorize each of my posts in one of the categories you see on the right. I don't have one for curmudgeon, but perhaps I should. It takes one to know one and it's a favorite of mine. Tom Wharton is turning 61 and as he takes personal inventory of the role of journalism and the state of politics and the environment he is none too happy. I know how he feels. . . . more>>

Don’t do it for the cows!

November 7, 2011


If these otherwise well intentioned folks are taking out the trees so that the cows can get back in, they will find themselves going in circles. Other than that, way to go! . . . more>>

Alton coal mine: more private profits at public expense.

November 5, 2011


Speaking of externalities, which I did implicitly in the previous blog, here's an update on the Alton Coal mine expansion next door to Bryce Canyon National Park. Public hearings coming up. . . . more>>

Good news comes in herds: Yellowstone bison given a little more room.

October 27, 2011


Good news comes in clumps. Mike Leahy reports in Writers on the Range that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is looking at moving some long-time quarantined Yellowstone bison to up to four different locations across Montana. "The state operates two of the sites as wildlife management areas; the other two are on American Indian reservations. This is great news for bison conservation, which has essentially stagnated in recent years without more places to put Yellowstone's recovering herd. Descendents of just a couple of dozen bison saved from poachers in Yellowstone in the early 1900s, about 3,500 bison now thrive within the confines of the park, and they are among the few that have never been crossbred with cattle. All these bison are long overdue for fresh stomping grounds." . . . more>>

More good news, this time for the Grand Canyon.

October 26, 2011


Today Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s issued a rule proposing to protect the Grand Canyon from new uranium claims. In 2009 Secretary Salazar placed a two-year moratorium on new uranium mining claims on a million acres of public lands surrounding the Grand Canyon, overturning a Bush administration policy that encouraged thousands of new claims when the price of uranium soared in 2006 and 2007. Many of those making claims are foreign interests, including Russia’s state atomic energy corporation. Does it weird anybody out but me that the anti-environment conservatives ,the heirs of the McCarthy era of communist hunters, thought that having Russia own an atomic energy mine in the Grand Canyon was a good idea? . . . more>>

Court upholds Clinton-era ban on forest road-building.

October 25, 2011


In one of the most important decisions for public lands in decades, a federal appeals court Friday upheld a Clinton administration rule that bans road-building and logging on roughly a quarter of the country's national forestland. The unanimous decision could settle one of the most contentious conservation issues of the last decade. The 2001 roadless rule, issued in the final days of the Clinton administration, generated lawsuits, conflicting court opinions and repeal efforts. This was the second ruling by a federal appeals court to uphold the Clinton action. The case could be appealed to the Supreme Court, but environmental attorneys said the ruling is so strong that it probably spells an end to the protracted legal battle over nearly 50 million acres of public forest . The folks at High Country News say that while it doesn't amount to full wilderness designation, it is at least "Wilderness Lite." Good news. . . . more>>

Rural jobs and public lands

October 21, 2011


I want to keep track of this report and blogging on it is a handy way. Here in Utah our own congressman Rob Bishop and senator, Orrin Hatch are busy in a misguided way trying to create jobs via short term direct extraction at the expense long term expense of recreation. Recreation sounds trivial compared to drilling, mining, logging or grazing. It's not. According to the Wilderness Society outdoor recreation, natural resource conservation, and historic preservation activities contribute a minimum of $1.06 trillion annually to the economy, support 9.4 million jobs and generate over $100 billion in federal, state and local taxes. Economics aren't the only argument for sustaining an attactive natural environment, but it is an argument that tends to get traction. . . . more>>