Recent comments

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    The World Resources Institute seems a bit more bullish of the agreement.

    But still show China output more than doubling while the US is in decline. And even those numbers are pure speculation since China has only given a peak year not peak output. Not to mention the likelihood of China sticking to the agreement is virtually zero.

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    I wouldn't necessarily stand with Beach's chart, especially without any attribution. The World Resources Institute seems a bit more bullish of the agreement.

    http://www.wri.org/blog/2014/11/numbers-china-us-climate-agreement

    So, too, is Slate.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/11/obama_s...

    There are more stories that say it's a good deal, but that's a good start.

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    I think the agreement with China is a step in the right direction but whether it accomplishes anything remains to be seen. Regarding the back and forth on this site and others it remindes me that besides death and taxes being universal problems affecting everyone there is a new one in the internet age. Everything you say will be used against you by someone.

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Now, what do you think of the CO2 agreement with China?

    I think beach's chart speaks for itself. Even if CO2 is an issue, this agreement doesn't do a thing. All it does it put the US at a competitive disadvantage which will stunt job creaton and hurt the middle class.

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    I'm sure other readers are intelligent enough to determine whether or not things have been substantiated or not. The opinion of one does not cast the final ballot.

    What some of us try to do here is point people in the direction of well balanced material that might help them actually learn something. But that will succeed only if some other readers will actually READ the entire article posted instead of stopping only at the headline or with a few points of summary. Becoming informed and being able to balance opposing opinions takes some real effort. If one makes that effort, they might be surprised to realize their biases can actually change -- usually to a more moderate stance.

    Now, what do you think of the CO2 agreement with China?

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    That's why the IGNORE button is such a blessing.

    Then you should use it instead of hiding behing its existence to shield you from having to substantiate your claims and accusations.

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    The real issue is not what someone may say in a post, or what words they may choose to try to say it. The real issue in this string is a serious environmental concern.

    When trolls try to derail the conversation by attacking the messengers rather than trying to rationally address the issue, nothing is gained and a lot is lost. Unfortunately, the same sort of thing happens in Congress and some of our popular media.

    It has been very refreshing to read posts by Ron Mackie, Rick, Dr. Runte and a few others. But trying to defend them and others from troll attacks is fruitless.

    That's why the IGNORE button is such a blessing.

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    or we can continue to try to stand still or slide backwards as conservatives.

    The strawmen are alive and well.

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    I agree, I wish I wouldn't let these conservatives determined to ruin America get under my skin. The President's agreement with China is a great step in the right direction.

    While the U.S. has been reducing its emissions and China's have historically increased, the agreement might help spur China in the right direction. IF the Chinese stick to the agreement, their emissions will begin coming down, too. Because of the agreement, their efforts may become more vigorous and their progress in environmental improvements may well be hastened.

    It's not a very big stretch to think that if the U.S. had not passed clean air and water standards when we did, then our millions of tons of CO2 per year might well be very similar to those produced by China.

    China is playing catch-up. The agreement is an important part of helping them move in that direction. Once upon a time, the U.S. had to start on the road to cleaner environment. How many years has it taken and how much farther do we still have to go? Now, hopefully, China is making their start toward a cleaner environment.

    We can either look forward toward a better future as progressives or we can continue to try to stand still or slide backwards as conservatives.

    I know what the better choice is.

  • Joy Riders At Cape Hatteras National Park Tear Up Cape Point Campground Grounds   2 weeks 2 days ago

    So once again, the NPS at Cape Hatteras National Seashore is trying to close an area to public enjoyment. Shame upon all those horrible bureaucrats!

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    ec, you provide a very important service on the site.

    I agree, I wish I wouldn't let these progressives determined to ruin America get under my skin. The President's agreement with China is so disgustingly laughable.

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    ec, you provide a very important service on the site. I'm sure your antagonizers would prefer a big lovefest but that would not get us out of this mess. Rock On, Sir!

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    the global corporate monopolies,

    Could you identify those "corporate monopolies"?

    Ron, I really would like to cross paths and discuss. At least then you couldn't run from the questions. But then your are more honest than Lee and Rick. You don't pretend to hide.

    Come to Breck and stay as my guest. Or, name a park and we can meet there.

  • Backcountry Fees Going Up At Rocky Mountain National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Well EC, third strike means I am out. Maybe our trails will cross sometime and we can discuss it further.

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Alfred Runte, a very informative post, thanks. I am not sure all the blame falls on the President as it should include the global corporate monopolies, the Koch brothers among them. Namoi Kline makes some excellent points on this issue. Growth and the concentration of wealth drives much of politics at all levels, but yes I agree, population, growth, and the waste it generates is the key issue. Thank you Zeb, you are right, over population doctrine has been around for a long time, but I do think the scientific community and environmental historians feel we are reaching some unsustainable limits.

  • Backcountry Fees Going Up At Rocky Mountain National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    I think it is of grave concern that federal reported income shows that at least 50% of citizens do not make enough money to pay federal income tax.

    And why is that? It certainly isn't because of lack of opportunity.

    Third try Ron. Why should Joe Smoe pay more in taxes than Joe Blow. You progressives just don't want to answer that question.

  • Backcountry Fees Going Up At Rocky Mountain National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    EC, you raise a good point, it is a contentious debate. This is not the forum to get into the issues of tax reform, but from my viewpoint, I think it is of grave concern that federal reported income shows that at least 50% of citizens do not make enough money to pay federal income tax. This is only my opinion, but yes, I do think it is an issue of the distribution of the nations wealth. Many reasons for this, and it does relate to the increasing fees being charged, it is an interesting discussion.

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Zeb - worry not. You and I alone could put together a list just of the religious movements, who mandate making as many more little believers as possible, to say nothing of the Duggars of the world. Population growth is an out of control avalanche, and all the ZPG folks in the world can only mitigate it in the slightest increment. Short of a world-wide sterilizing virus - yeah, we've all seen movies like that - eventually drilling in ANWR will finally be eliminated by covering the pumpjacks with high rise apartments. I'm afraid the fear of wishing for stopping population growth will not be realized.

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    In other words, Zebulon, you agree there are limits, of which, yes, population is only one. Just this morning, on page A10 of The Wall Street Journal, this headline caught my eye: "Asia Leads World in Dumping Plastic in Seas." China is first and the United States ranks 20th--nothing to be proud about, but a pittance in comparsion to those countries whose population growth exeeds our own. The WSJ's article, by the way, was originally reported in Science, so no one came blame the Koch brothers for downplaying our complicity in the destruction of the seven seas.

    China is far in front. "Ma Jun, an environmental activist based in Bejing, said the government has greatly expanded waste collection and treatment in cities in recent years. Big supermarkets have reduced the use of plastic bags or have begun issuing biodegradable sacks. BUT THE RAPID EXPANSION OF CITIES (my italics) has outpaced such efforts, Mr. Ma said. The Chinese government 'had made great effort to treat household refuse, but with the rapid development of urbanization, the ability to dispose of garbage is insufficient,' said Mr. Ma of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs."

    So, what are we to make of this? In the first place, is not urbanization "code" for population growth? In the second place, are these not the people we are "waiting for" until 2030 to address the pressing issue of climate change? Certainly, in the memorandum of understanding President Obama just struck with China, he said they will be on board by 2030. Only 15 more years to wait, during which, in the meantime, by 2025, "the amount of plastic waste fouling the seas [may] equal 10 bags full of plastic per foot of coastline."

    Gee. I wonder what kind of impact that will have on our national parks? We only have all of those national seashores allegedly about to disappear under rising seas. The point here is that long before that ever happens, they will likely be encased in plastic from end to end.

    How is it that we can reasonably expect so-called green energy to save us from examples like this? I agree. Malthus was a couple of centuries early, but who is to say he was wrong? Call it what you will--urbanization, deforestation, erosion, pollution, etc., etc., etc. All are code for things "out of hand." If we don't get them back in hand, what good does it do to grow technology in a different form?

    Once upon a time, the environmental movement taught the facts of growth. Now it teaches wizardry. China says no? Then we'll wait. Well, if the problem is so pressing, how is it we can afford to wait?

    Is that good public policy? is it worth losing your public lands over? In that case, enjoy your walk on the beach, but please don't complain about the plastic. It happened to come all the way from China. You can fish it out and call it "exotic." But don't blame the Koch brothers for putting it there. Your president did that by agreeing to wait.

  • NPCA: Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Evidence Of Why California Desert Protection And Recreation Act Is Needed   2 weeks 2 days ago

    According to Mr Runte Malthusian view of the world, population control is the silver bullet. As usual, one needs to be careful what one wishes for. Without population growth, we get less economic activity and therefore less means to pay for our pension/social security or National parks. While it's pretty clear that this planet cannot support an unlimited population, limiting growth wouldn't be without its own problems.

  • Backcountry Fees Going Up At Rocky Mountain National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago
    It will not be long before someone proposes a fee to use the restroom.

    RMackie the Forest Service and BLM are already way ahead of NPS on that one. Lots of places where all anyone wants to do is get out the car and head off up a trail. They parachute in a porta-potty and make it a pay-for-parking site. One of my colleagues has quipped that the toilet is the Number One (and Number Two) point of contact between the federal lands agencies and the public. Why wouldn't they want to monetize that?

  • Backcountry Fees Going Up At Rocky Mountain National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago
    Well, we're back to the simple fact that IF the Congress were to adequately FUND the NPS for expected operations and backlogs and such, THEN the arguments about no additional fees might hold water.

    Rick B I certainly agree in principle, but it's been my observation that there is not enough money in the world to get any federal agency to admit that it is "adequately" funded and stop asking for more. The fact that the NPS (or any agency) does not get all the funding to which they think they are entitled does not give them the right to tax the public directly to make up the perceived shortfall.

  • Backcountry Fees Going Up At Rocky Mountain National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Based on the daily articles here at NPT, there is a new or increased backcountry fee almost weekly within the NPS. As an E.TN native, I also appreciate our state park system. When folks can go to the state parks for free, use of the Smokies backcountry decreased. And the NPS is very successful in driving down use of certain areas. Charging to see fireflies is a slippery slope. They say it is for parking but that is more about crowd control. And control seems to be the underlying theme of these backcountry fees as well. I believe the NPS sees humans as "the problem". They need to start seeing horses as "the problem" in the Smokies anyway. There is no comparison between the damage done by one horse on a fragile environment and 200 backpackers. Yet horses get a free pass. Horse folks rarely backpack. What is happening, I'm afraid, is folks are desiring more local control of the NPS so arbitrary fee implementation will be nixed. I can assure you that if someone here in TN proposed paying to sleep in a state park, several heads would roll.

    I have learned first hand that the lack of NPS oversight and bs law known as the Federal Lands Recreation Act have given Jarvis and his cabal free range to administer fees for hiking trails. And it is just the same principal as paying to check out a library book, I don't care what anyone says because in the Smokies, we sleep on UNIMPROVED ground. The NPS didn't create it, maintain it or administer it. They don't provide water, flat tent spaces or even bear cables. (friends groups provide that). The tide is turning on manipulative NPS bureaucrats and fee managers and they are getting it in now while they can.

  • Backcountry Fees Going Up At Rocky Mountain National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    While the bottom fifth of earners pay more than 10 percent of their income in state and local taxes, the top 1 percent pays closer to 5 percent,

    So what? Of course someone with low income is going to pay a larger share of their income for anything they buy. They pay more of their income for food, gas, clothing ..... Are you proposing the wealthy pay more for gas than the non-wealthy?

    And I will ask the question again. Why should person A pay more than person B no matter their income?

  • Backcountry Fees Going Up At Rocky Mountain National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    A different take on taxes than that presented by EC.

    While the bottom fifth of earners pay more than 10 percent of their income in state and local taxes, the top 1 percent pays closer to 5 percent, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates. Percentage of income is, of course, only one way to measure the tax burden — in sheer dollar terms, the wealthy pay far more than the poor. Still, the Keystone report’s authors, Greg LeRoy and Stephen Herzenberg, argue that a less regressive tax structure is the answer to state budget woes, in what is basically a sophisticated pitch for a millionaire’s tax. “It’s time to have a clear debate about the impact of inequality on public finance,” Mr. LeRoy said.

    Taxing the top fifth of earners at the same rate as the middle class would bring in $200.5 billion to state and local coffers, the report says. Taxing just the top 1 percent at the same rate as the middle class would bring in $88.5 billion, 10 times the amount needed to restore five years’ worth of cuts to higher education. The report also breaks it down state by state, saying that Texas and Florida, at the top of the list, would raise about $40 billion each if they taxed the top 20 percent at the middle-class rate, while Kansas and North Carolina would raise about $2 billion each.