Browsing All Posts filed under »Environment«

What does it cost to feed a gerbil for a month?

February 6, 2012

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Probably more than $1.35. This is all that is charged to feed a cow AND its calf: Grazing fees on federal public lands to remain the same.

Ed Firmage lets the good old boys have it.

January 22, 2012

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Welfare Rancher?

In response to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune announcing that Utah State Engineer Kent Jones OK’d the use of Green River water to cool a proposed nuclear reactor, Ed Firmage Jr. posted a polished reply. Click title to see more.

News Roundup

January 22, 2012

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High Country News has an excellent weekly news wrap-up. It's part of The Goat Blog and they call it "The Friday News Wrap Roundup." I was trying to create a western/environmental roundup in broadsheet form, but theirs is better. I will still post when I have something original, when I see something I particularly like, maybe make some commentary now and then and continue to record some comments on related books I read. You can see The Goat Blog here.

Failure of Land Use Socialism

January 4, 2012

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There is nothing more harmful to the arid lands of the American West today than public land grazing. It is ironic that the Cato Institute, the leading libertarian, conservative think tank calls the results of over a century of grazing on public lands, " . . . a testimony to the failure of land-use socialism." Ouch. 70% of the over 300 million acres of public land in the West is grazed, producing less than 3% of the nation's beef. Agriculture is less than 1% of the western economies but uses nearly 80% of the water, much of that used to grow hay for to feed livestock. Ranching is a tiny little special interest. A rancher pays $1.35 per month to graze a cow and its calf. How much do you suppose it costs to feed a gerbil for a month? Yet the BLM, with $40 million of taxpayer stimulus money, wants to ignore the impact of grazing in their Rapid Ecoregional Assessments project to map ecological trends throughout the West. See more here . . . >>

Where deepest dreams await.

December 29, 2011

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In Desert Solitaire Abbey offers us a benediction: May your rivers flow . . . where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you -- beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. In this video excerpt from Adventure Journal, surfer/adventurer Kepa Acero lives Abbey's blessing like a master. Infectious, intoxicating . . . >>more

What happened to conservatives conserving?

December 23, 2011

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It seems to me the rabid right in American politics today have lost track of some of their guiding principles, some of the great virtues.  Ted Williams writes in a recent blog, " we need to grow our web of friends among those who are politically middle-of-the-road or even slightly to the right, and among those in small towns and the hinterlands. Too often we think the only field where we can gather new backers is the progressive/liberal one, but clubs such as Republicans for Environmental Protection, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and Trout Unlimited strongly show that there are more than a few folks caring about wild things who are not progressives, who may even be conservatives."  Ted thinks that Piety, Prudence, Posterity are principals that conservatives naturally honor, and if they applied them to how they live in place, they would find they should be, in fact and act, conservationists.  . . . >>more

The Plateau as Canary

December 16, 2011

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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>>

American Drinking Water Gets a D-. Republicans want it to get an F.

December 9, 2011

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"Bipartisan analyses have repeatedly shown that the cost of environmental regulation is exponentially cheaper than the costs of toxic cleanup and medical care." And yet the fearful shriek that environmental regulation "kills jobs" while the hamstrung EPA can't even adequately test or develop standards for two-thirds of the pollutants detected in water. Enough already. . . . more>>

Regulators Taken Hostage by Cows

November 30, 2011

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Mary O'Brien of the Grand Canyon Trust says it is like doing a study on obesity and not considering what people eat. The BLM is spending $40 million of taxpayer stimulus funds to do a "ecoregional assessment study" but ruling out ahead of time the impact of grazing. The regulators are afraid of upsetting the regulated. Regulatory capture at it's worst. Are we Alice at the Mad Hatter's table? Here's Rocky Barker of the Idaho Statesman with more.

Our River Run Dry

November 18, 2011

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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.)

Private Profit, Public Expense

November 9, 2011

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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

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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>>