Recent comments

  • Federal Judge Okays Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   4 days 10 hours ago

    The grid already exists. If Power Company X is charging me 14 cents per kilowatt hour, why not buy back my "excess" power if I put solar on my roof? Other readers doing this probably know some actual rates. The common complaint I hear is that the power companies want to lowball the buyback rates. Again, I don't know this personally, since I am not an investor in solar myself.

    However, you do have a point. Why should I get a "free ride" on the grid if I am not buying off the grid in the first place? Why should Power Company X reimburse me the full 14 cents, since they have to maintain the grid?

    In the case of major wind and solar installations, some truly crazy things seem to be happening, but again, I don't any of this personally. I do know that some people in California are calling for 100 plus desalination plants, which require enormous amounts of energy. So, how will rooftop solar be supporting that? These "visionaries" point again to developing wind farms and solar installations in the Mojave Desert--and Oregon--and Arizona--and now even in Washington State. We used to send them our "spare" hydroelectric power, but now they are gobbling everything in sight.

    "We can never do merely one thing." But there it is--betting the farm on one thing. Push a little here, push a little there, and we can still have all of the growth we want. And, oh, yes, save the planet from global warming, because all of the growth will be green! It wasn't what I taught my students, but yes, it's far easier than teaching limits.

    On second thought, perhaps I had better call that solar contractor before I also start losing out.

  • Federal Judge Okays Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   4 days 12 hours ago

    One way is to oppose selling power back to the grid--or to pay minimally for it.

    Alfred, you seem to be financially aware. That makes absolutely no sense unless the cost of the solar power is more than their cost to generate with fossil fuels (which it is). Of course they would fight it then because it would be uneconomic. It also is uneconomic to build infrastructure to transport power and not get paid for it. If you want to put solar on your roof, go ahead, the power companies are doing absolutely nothing to stop you. The fact they don't want to subsidize you too doesn't make them a villian

  • Federal Judge Okays Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   4 days 14 hours ago

    One way is to oppose selling power back to the grid--or to pay minimally for it. Another way is to attempt saddling NATIONAL taxpayers for "improvements" distributed locally. It's all been reported in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. The big boys fear that rooftop solar will be the death knell of large-scale utilities. However, I am not holding my breath. When I priced it two years ago, it would have taken me 20 years to amortize--assuming no maintenance issues. Hah! Is that not always the fly in the ointment? What do things cost to maintain? Only when we separate out the maintenance do most of these projects "work." And that goes especially for wind farms and solar-thermal projects, as one Midwestern utility president just put it, easy victims of tornado alley.

  • Wild Things With A View   4 days 17 hours ago

    Nice article Deby, thanks for sharing. It makes me miss the Tetons, though.

  • Wild Things With A View   4 days 22 hours ago

    Thank you again, Deby.

  • Federal Judge Okays Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 days 8 hours ago

    As you know, it is a heavy lift, fossil feul and other energy companies, both private and public, carry much clout.

    Ron - how are fossil fuel and other energy companies hampering the efforts of people to install rooftop solar?

  • Federal Judge Okays Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 days 9 hours ago

    Alfred Runte, at the grass roots level, the Club activists have been very much against these massive solar and wind farms. Here in California, the effort has been to go to rooftop solar. As you know, it is a heavy lift, fossil feul and other energy companies, both private and public, carry much clout. It is an uphill fight right now. I think you would enjoy the Desert Committee article, and you are right, just like the fight by John Muir to save Hetch Hetchy Valley, the leadership of the Club is divided. Generally speaking, the Sierra Club local chapters still have clout nationally, but it requires local activists with no pay, for the most part, all volunteer. Here in the Tehipite Chapter, we have brought a suit all the way to the California Supreme, 60,000 dollars so far, much of the legal work donated, you know all this. It is an urban sprawl, public transportation issue with the county of Fresno and the developers involved as the defendants. Its tough to raise the money, will be interesting to see how the State Supreme Court rules.

  • Federal Judge Okays Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 days 9 hours ago

    Consider the irony here. Three years ago, a 65-turbine wind farm went in north of Williams with hardly a peep from environmentalists. Rmackie, I am glad to hear that the Sierra Club may be coming to its senses, although the local members don't control the Washington office. Now comes this uranium mine and everyone is aghast. Why? You can't pick your fights and expect credibility. You have to give all development equal weight if it somehow threatens the national parks.

    I support limited green energy, that is, in the right places. And within sight of Grand Canyon is not that place. But no, we have to save the earth from global warming, so even Grand Canyon has to "take one for the team."

    Don't get mad at the Forest Service if that is the logic here. Procedurally they got it right, all the way back to the Mining Act of 1872.

    It's just that the procedure stinks, but then, it stinks for every development. The Sierra Club, et al., need to remember that the next time they pick their winners and losers--what is "appropriate" development and what is not. The Devil hopes we will bargain the parks away on the presumption of a greater good. Forget the uranium mine. The lesson here is that development is about to encircle all of our national parks if we accept that the greater good IS development.

  • National Park Service Director Sees Value In Adding Waco Mammoth Site To Park System   5 days 13 hours ago

    I want to thank everyone for your thoughtful comments.The issues facing the National Park Service in today's political and fiscal climate are hard and I do not envy anyone who holds the position of Director. We all support the parks and while we may disagree on some specific issues it is important that we all pull together in the end. The parks are too important a legacy to loose. They must be preserved and cared for so that future generations of Americans can enjoy their rich diversity of natural and cultural resources.

    Back in 1990 I completed the Geology National Historic Landmark Theme Study which represented the second phase of the National Park Service's thematic study of the history of American science.

    This study was only completed in draft because I was pulled off to work on the Labor History Theme Study. Since geology is becoming more and more important in the addition of National Parks I would like to see the NPS assign a qualified geologist to update and complete this study. In addition to the Waco site I recommend two more important Texas sites contained in the study.

    Dinosaur Valley State Park, Somervell County, Texas (NNL): Dinosaur Valley State Park, four miles east of Glen Rose, contains fossil footprint trackways exposed in the bed of the Paluxey River and tributary creeks that give important information on the habits and locomotion of the large dinosaurs.

    Greenwood Canyon, Montague County, Texas (NNL): Greenwood Canyon is one of the three or four most important fossil localities of the Cretaceous age known in the world, and is the most important site of Early Cretaceous mammalian remains in the Western Hemisphere. It is the sole surviving locality to produce more that a single mammalian tooth representing the first half of the Cretaceous, a very important period in mammalian evolution.

    The study can be downloaded from IRMA at the following link. https://irma.nps.gov/App/Reference/Profile/2193373

    I am sure no one remembers this study or understands the important work I put into this effort. This is even more reason for having complete and easy to use search engines on the NPS web site.

  • Federal Judge Okays Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 days 15 hours ago

    I am with ec on this.It is too bad that there is no expiration on the 1986 approval. If there had been a sunset clause of some sort it would not be going forward. What someone should be pushing for is a reason for a new review.

  • National Park Service Director Sees Value In Adding Waco Mammoth Site To Park System   5 days 16 hours ago

    I've taken the time to read several local news stories on the Waco proposal, and it's obvious the local community has really made an effort to try to win support for this idea. A local delegation went to Washington last fall to try to drum up support for a presidential proclamation, and also to try to get Jarvis to come for a visit.

    Given that situation, if the administration is giving this idea any serious thought at all, it seems one logical step would be to send the NPS Director for a first-hand report. I'd much rather have decisions made about a possible future NPS site made after the Director's on-site look than simply on the basis of lobbying by locals. Such an evaluation seems to be a logical part of the Director's job description.

    I've never met Mr. Jarvis, and retired long before he took his position, so I have no personal basis for evaluating his overall performance. I agree with rmackie, I'd much rather have a Director who gets out of the office to see things for himself, rather than staying isolated in Washington.

  • National Park Service Director Sees Value In Adding Waco Mammoth Site To Park System   5 days 17 hours ago

    Harry, I agree, you raise some good points, I particularly think it is important to set up a communications system that allows field employees to have a feedback system to the the Washington Office. I do think it is important for the NPS Director to get out of office and into the field. There are many opportunities to talk to locals, employees, visitors, I support Mr. Jarvis in his efforts here. I remember one occasion where a congressional sub-committee held a hearing on campsites in Yosemite. Mr. Jarvis was in attendance, stayed the entire meeting and talked to many citizens and employees. It was quite impressive.

  • Federal Judge Okays Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 days 18 hours ago

    EC, I am not a lawyer, perhaps others can comment. In my own limited experience, I agree that process is important. In NEPA lawsuits, the plaintiffs can only sue on process, the decision by the agency is final if the process is followed correctly. Unfortunately, process often times becomes an end unto itself. The larger issues are lost in the process. It has been my experience in other litigation efforts that courts will sometimes see through the process, often it is because the range of alternatives or the environmental effects need further study and mitigation. I think, with my limited knowledge of the case, that is what happened.

  • No More Reservation Requests Being Taken For Wonderland Trail At Mount Rainier National Park   5 days 18 hours ago

    "Another option for experiencing the Wonderland Trail is to hike it in smaller segments..."

    Because of the numerous places the Wonderland Trail touches or comes close to a park road, it is possible to day-hike much of it, especially with pre-arranged shuttles or pre-positioned vehicles. Check out the suggestions at: http://www.wonderlandtrailguide.com/hiking-wonderland-trail-cant-get-wil...

    Ultra-marathoners have even made the entire loop in less than 24 hours.

    If your heart is set on backbacking and you can't score a Wonderland permit, consider the Pacific Crest Trail between Goat Rocks Wilderness and Crystal Mountain ski resort along the park's eastern boundary. The views and fishing are outstanding, horses and dogs are allowed, and one can finish with a restaurant meal and hot tub.

  • Federal Judge Okays Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 days 21 hours ago

    a terrible decision.

    Why? Because it followed the law? The judge ruled on whether the NFS followed the right procedures. The decision they (the NFS) made was irrelevant to the case.

  • National Park Service Director Sees Value In Adding Waco Mammoth Site To Park System   5 days 21 hours ago

    I love it when NPS folks show up to say that NPS folks supported Jarvis. Just as much as I like hearing that NPS folks like fee schemes so the public gets fee schemes. The NPS bureacracy exists for the NPS bureaucrats. How mistaken of me to to think that the purpose of the NPS was to provide services to TAXPAYERS instead of deciding what is best for the NPS. That is why Jarvis needs to go. He and his ilk have forgotten whom they are entrusted to serve and send out folks to attack anyone who questions them and then start with the "maintenance backlog" poor mouthing. Leaky ship.

  • Federal Judge Okays Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   6 days 8 hours ago

    Thank you Afred Runte and Rick B, a terrible decision. I hope it is appealed. By the way Alfred Runte, the Sierra Club California/ Nevada Desert Committee March issue has a very interesting discussion on "Desert Solar Sacrifice Zones, Who decides"? Author, Patrick Donnelly, Executive Director of the Amargosa Conservancy.

  • National Park Service Director Sees Value In Adding Waco Mammoth Site To Park System   6 days 11 hours ago

    Thanks, Harry, some very good points.

  • Federal Judge Okays Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   6 days 11 hours ago

    A conservative LDS appointee of George W. Bush.

    Yes, he is so radical he was confirmed by a vote of 92-0. Or is it his religion you aren't tolerant of?

    What is interesting is that while Jim's discussion - and probably the plaintiffs' publicity- focuses on the environmental and cultural issues the actual court case made no rulings on those. The court case focuses on procedural issues.

  • National Park Service Director Sees Value In Adding Waco Mammoth Site To Park System   6 days 11 hours ago

    Harry, I would generally agree with your regarding the addition of units to the system but I think we do need to make some distinctions. Some sites have artifacts that if detroyed/removed will never be displaced. Mammoth fossils would certainly fit that bill. Delaying protection of those fossils could lead to irreversible harm. Can the same be said for that $11 billion backlog you lament? I would suggest much of that "infrastructure" investment could be made at a future date - or maybe better yet in some cases, not at all.

    That said, I think there are plenty of units that could be discarded or turned over to local authorities which could free up much of the budget. I can't quable with your call for more access to information and broader channels to provide input to the directors office.

  • Federal Judge Okays Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   6 days 14 hours ago

    A conservative LDS appointee of George W. Bush.

  • National Park Service Director Sees Value In Adding Waco Mammoth Site To Park System   6 days 16 hours ago

    I admit this was an error on my part. The local newspaper article did not mention any prior study. I did take time to look up the Waco Mammoth Site Special Resource study on the NPS planning web site and noticed it was completed in 2008 with no recommendation for any of the four suggested alternatives (http://www.nps.gov/search/?affiliate=nps&query=Waco+Special+Resource+Stu...). It was not easy to find using the usual NPS search engines. I had to go to google to locate a copy.

    Having found this study I am relieved that the site has been looked at. If the NPS has made a final determination to support and recommend the addition to this site to the NPS I do not know, but since Director Jarvis has visited the site and spoken favorably about it I can only assume this decision has been made. If there is a paper or document supporting this decision I cannot find it.

    The entire issue of Waco raises additional questions.

    1. Why is it so difficult to find information/reports on the NPS web site? We have numerous search engines but they are all incomplete and need to be integrated and worked on to make them user friendly.

    2. We still have a backlog of $11.5 billion in unmet maintenance needs. I believe the most important function of the National Park Service is to address this issue. Lack of maintenance can only go on for so long and then our collection of existing parks will begin to fail and visitors to these parks will not experience their full potential and may be in actual danger of physical harm. '

    3. I understand that Mr. Jarvis is an employee of the Obama Administration but the Director of the National Park Service has a greater responsibility. The Director's primary job is to see to the protection of the natural and cultural resources of our parks and to provide for a safe and rewarding visitor experience for all Americans. This is the purpose of the Director. He represents us. He needs to do more than travel the country giving good feeling speeches about potential new national parks.

    I would like to see Director Jarvis speak up about the true state of the NPS is in 2015 and what we need to do to ensure the survival of the parks in 2016 and beyond. Where is his plan to repair the broken infrastructure of the parks, encourage the hiring and education of the next generation of NPS employees, and serve as the spokesman for the parks.

    Finally, let me say I would like the Director and his staff answer email questions from the public. I know many people do this already but most I suspect do not. I would also like the Director to set up a special email account for the use of his employees who can write him directly with their ideas and concerns. .He does not have to answer every email but he should at least read them.

  • Federal Judge Okays Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   6 days 17 hours ago

    "Nothing dollarable is safe, however guarded."

    John Muir, 1910

  • Research Shows Steady Decline In Snowfall At Yellowstone National Park   6 days 20 hours ago

    ec claiming I was deliberately misrepresenting a book he had not read.

    Really, when did that happen?

    Until then all you're providing is nothing more than ideological flatulance.

    Asking a question is "ideological flatulance"? I would say that making a declaration and then not be willing to back it up would more appropriately fit in that catagory.

  • Research Shows Steady Decline In Snowfall At Yellowstone National Park   6 days 20 hours ago

    I seem to recall that not long ago I did try to point out some of the things I'd learned from Ackerman's book only to have ec claiming I was deliberately misrepresenting a book he had not read. I think I even identified some of the countries. But that was declared invalid. Now it's invalid if I don't because it was invalid when I did but before that it was invalid because he said it was. Wow.

    As I've said before, even if God Herself spoke to him from a burning bush in his front yard and presented him with information carved on stone tablets, he'd still reject it if it didn't conform to his rigid ideolgical dogma.

    Perhaps it's that attitude that has left him wandering in the wilderness for the last forty years or so.

    In the meantime, it's easy to see why Rafael Cruz can so easily fool so many similar people. Obviously the photo accompanying this article was photoshopped and all the data collected in Yellowstone (and around the rest of the world) has been altered by environmental wackos.

    Read the book. Then comment. Until then all you're providing is nothing more than ideological flatulance.

    Happily, other readers are certainly intelligent enough to decide for themselves.