Browsing All Posts filed under »Special Interests, Cronyism, Big Oil«

The Elephant in the Room is a Cow — Grazing Impacts on So. Utah Forests

September 23, 2014

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My wife and I are both sixth generation Utahns. We own homes in both Salt Lake and Wayne counties. We were married in the Capitol Reef National Park outdoor amphitheater in 2010. Together we cherish the natural landscape of Utah, our pretty, great state. Except for one thing. We have become sensitized to the damage […]

The (unequal justice) Code of the West

May 25, 2014

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c stewartCowboy anarchist Cliven Bundy and Utah San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman remain free. I have been writing to Utah 2nd District Congressman Chris Stewart expressing my alarm at the situation. [read more . . .]

Don’t photograph that cow!

March 3, 2012

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I've been reading quite a bit about the history and current practice of grazing on public lands. My question has always been how so few people could have such huge political clout. The answer is complex and fascinating. Much of the answer revolves around the power of the cowboy myth in the mind of the American and particularly in the mind of the American congressperson. I think I will blog a bit about some current examples of both regulatory and political capture and about the harm that public land grazing does. Here's a current example of where the reactionary Utah congress is working on a law to make it illegal to take a picture of a cow. >>>more

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.

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 . . . >>

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.

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>>

Alton coal mine: more private profits at public expense.

November 5, 2011

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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>>

More good news, this time for the Grand Canyon.

October 26, 2011

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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>>

The Third Industrial Revolution

October 14, 2011

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The ever increasing extent of industrial/political cronyism in the U.S. economy is a serious concern. Seeking Alpha is a website from my old investment world which looks for trends and places to earn increased returns. Hazel Henderson reviews Jeremy Rifkin's new book there, The Third Industrial Revolution. In an alarming statement Henderson says, "My colleague Dr. James Fletcher on the Technology Assessment Advisory Board to the US Congress told us at a meeting in the 1970s that if the US had subsidized solar-based energies to the same extent it subsidized oil, coal, gas and nuclear energy, that our country would already be run on solar and renewables. Fletcher went on to become Administrator of NASA, the US space program. . . . However, as I found in the 1980s, the barriers were the incumbent fossil and nuclear industries whose influence over Congress kept their huge subsidies and forced renewables to climb a steeply-tilted playing field." Rifkin has solutions. Let me know if you read the book. . . . more>>

Naomi Klein on standing up to cronyism.

October 12, 2011

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Yesterday on AlterNet, Naomi Klein was interviewed by Rebecca Tarbotton about taking on powerful, connected special-interests. She recommends to environmentalists:

Expanding the movement beyond traditional environmentalists, and tapping into the broader public outrage at corporate greed and economic recklessness. If you are targeting Bank of America because it's lending money to coal companies, you need to be in coalition with all the other groups out there that are pissed at Bank of America for other reasons, first and foremost home foreclosures. The same logic that has trashed the economy is trashing the planet and we need to make those connections incessantly . . .
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More Republican assault on our wild land heritage.

October 12, 2011

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The right-wing notion that the environment is the enemy has come around blindingly fast. The notion doesn't make enough sense to stand on its own. Rather, it is being PR packaged by big industry special interest in a form of pernicious cronyism. Here, the Grand Canyon Trust reports that a group of Republican lawmakers, including Senator McCain, is introducing legislation to stop the Obama administration from blocking new mining claims around the Grand Canyon. There won't be many Americans who think that the Grand Canyon is a good place to mine. What are these cowboys thinking? . . . more>>