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Op-Ed | The True Meaning Of Soda Mountain: The White House Is Giving Away Our Public Lands

Aug 15th - 18:55pm | Alfred Runte

Interesting quote, Ron. Thanks for sharing it. And the article from EC. In what now seems like "ancient times" (1971-1978), I was on the faculty of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, first as a teaching assistant and then a lecturer. I got to meet (and work with) so many exciting people. It was like going to college all over again.

Aug 15th - 18:07pm | rmackie

Lee, difficult issues, but I agree with Dr. Runte on the issue of Soda Mountain. On politics and the art of the possible, just finished reading an interesting book, "The Politicians and The Egalitarians" by Sean Wilentz. The preface to the book starts with a quote from Reinhold Niebubr, I thought it was good. Mr.

Aug 15th - 16:39pm | Lee Dalton

You and I certainly agree on at least one thing, Alfred.  We Americans (humans, for that matter) are terribly awful when it comes to planning and working toward the future.  Future?  Nah, the only thing important is RIGHT NOW ---- and how much money can I make out of this?

Aug 15th - 15:43pm | ecbuck

And its not only our federal lands that are being put at risk.  Its our security as well.    http://www.newsmax.com/LarryBell/affordable-energy-national-u-n-/2016/08...  

Aug 15th - 13:01pm | Alfred Runte

Lee, it's called technology assessment. I am not opposed to technology assessment, but yes, I am opposed to losing our public lands over any assessment suggesting that two wrongs make a right.

Aug 15th - 11:03am | ecbuck

I'll bet that future generations will look back on those who now oppose these efforts and ask, Noone opposes "these efforts".  What they oppose is the government picking winners and losers and taking our money to do so.  

Aug 15th - 10:59am | Lee Dalton

Go back in history and you'll find countless examples of people who fought hard against progress in their times.  There were those who feared development of steam engines, electricity, elevators, and many other of the things we now take for granted -- and helped improve the quality of life for all of us.  But just as was the case when reciprocating engines driving propellers on passen

Aug 15th - 08:47am | wild places

I recall my first trip to Lawrence Livermore Labs outside San Francisco some 20 plus years ago and my discovery of the Altamont wind farm. There were 1,000's of Inoperative and rusting wind turbines as far as the eye could see. Yes, occasionally there was one actually rotating (and I assume generating a small amount of electricity). They scarred what was an otherwise beautiful landscape.

Aug 15th - 08:46am | ecbuck

Anon - It appears you have drunk the AGW kool aid.  Perhpas you can answer the question that the rest of the cult have run from.  If AGW is proven, if it is science, if it is undeniable, if it is "quantified data" why have all the predictions been so wrong.  

Aug 14th - 20:53pm | Anonymous

I'm left to draw the conclusion, that you have no solutions, other than we shouldn't use public lands, or any land for energy development.  That's basically the extent of all this back and forth.

Aug 14th - 15:46pm | Alfred Runte

Talk about getting carried away. . . Quote: "The only use of fossil fuels is in the development [of these plants]." No. At Ivanpah, natural gas backs up the entire operation, generally for four hours every day. Every wind farm here in the Northwest is also backed by natural gas or hydroelectric. The grid is getting slammed trying to accommodate all of the fluctuations.

Aug 14th - 13:12pm | Anonymous

Your news flash is nothing new.  What you fail to comprehend is the climate of the Earth has not had an organism dig up billions of tons of coal, burn it, and in the process add billions of tons of C02 to the atmosphere.  That is a process that has accelerated substantially over the last hundred and fifty years since the dawn of the industrial revolution.

Aug 14th - 10:47am | Alfred Runte

Anonymous, I think you mean 2.65 million acres of national monuments. 265 million acres would be the size of Washington State, Oregon, and California--and would triple the entire national park system in both the continental US and Alaska.

Aug 13th - 20:28pm | Anonymous

I don't disagree that solar, wind, and tidal energy come with cost, and risk.  I dont consider any energy source, "green" and think that term is overused.  

Aug 13th - 18:41pm | ecbuck

You can start by reviewing this link. And there is nothing in that article that says cancer rates are higher in the west.  At best, the article speculates that a small number of people 50+ years ago may have had a higher risk.  Nothing "quantified" about it.

Aug 13th - 18:38pm | Alfred Runte

Rick, in the newspaper world of old--and still when you write the editor--you have to give your name, address, and phone number for verification. They will not publish your letter if you don't. They will also usually call you and ask if you sent the letter, and again, will not publish you without direct confirmation.

Aug 13th - 18:18pm | Anonymous

ecbuck,  I don't need to go any further on this subject, since it remains mostly unrelated to this topic.  Plenty of studies on this subject from a variety of reports based on quantified data are out there for you to discover. You can start by reviewing this link.

Aug 13th - 18:17pm | Alfred Runte

Now, Anonymous, please reread your posts. Where is YOUR scientific data? Nor are your assumptions scientific data. You say you were left to assume that I favor coal-fired power plants. Here is what I said: "It's up to us to use common sense. We set aside our public lands for a very specific purpose, at once both biological and aesthetic. They were never meant to be industrialized.

Aug 13th - 18:07pm | Rick B.

Al, it would seem that the questions were reasonable whether they come from Anastasia Anonumous, Freddie Mickelschnortz, or anyone else.   To an outside observer, it would also seem that the only reason to deflect with a demand for a name of your questioner would be to lay a ground for an adhominem.    

Aug 13th - 17:48pm | ecbuck

There are plenty of reasons high cancer rates exist throughout portions of the west where that concentrated dust settled.  Really, that's not what the quantified data says:

Aug 13th - 17:18pm | Siglin1

I think someone mentioned distributed energy. Almost all of us are connected to the grid and solar on our houses and businesses could displace man of those mega solar projects and transmission lines industry wants. But then the electric industry would lose control.

Aug 13th - 17:08pm | Anonymous

And let's not be foolish.  The nuclear testing that was performed in Nevada has had a lasting impact on life throughout the west.  That atomic dust released into the atmosphere had to settle somewhere!  There are plenty of reasons high cancer rates exist throughout portions of the west where that concentrated dust settled.

Aug 13th - 17:02pm | Anonymous

Is it safe to assume that a professor of environmental history would be able to quantify data in order to present a worthwhile assessment on the negatives of a project?  The misuse of hyperbole to establish an argument is not enough to create informed dialogue.  I simply asked for quantified data so that I could draw an informed decision.

Aug 13th - 16:55pm | ecbuck

Alfred - the joke was, there are no neighborhoods.   

Aug 13th - 16:45pm | Alfred Runte

Northing to hurt in Nevada, eh, EC? In that case, I can't wait until some electric company puts up a 64-story, thermal solar power plant tower in your neighborhood, and surrounds it with 10,000 heliostats. At least, you know that the darn things don't work as advertised, unless again, in the instance of Tonopah, they come with a $750 million government loan guarantee.  

Aug 13th - 16:19pm | ecbuck

Anon- that project is being massively subsidized.  If it is going to be as effecient and effective as you seem to believe, that would need to be the case.  

Aug 13th - 16:18pm | ecbuck

Tonopah - yes, that is where I saw it on my way back from Yosemite last week.  After making that drive (once again) I understand why they used Nevada for nuclear bomb testing - nothing to hurt.  

Aug 13th - 16:07pm | Alfred Runte

Anonymous, sign and verify your name. That would be some "data" worth sharing with the rest of us. You don't want "data"; you want an argument. For now, here is some "data" that proves you wrong. The courts have started throwing out these projects for lack of scientific credibility. At Searchlight, Nevada, for example, the environmental impact statement was declared a sham.

Aug 13th - 15:25pm | Alfred Runte

Actually, there is, just west by north of Tonopah. Last year, I was blinded driving east from Reno to Zion for the better part of 50 miles. Even sunglasses hardly help.

Aug 13th - 15:24pm | Anonymous

This fluffy propaganda piece would serve more purpose if the author could provide some substantiated data to sway my opinion in a positive or negative manner about these projects.  Instead there is nothing.

With Record Crowds At Iconic National Parks, Some Calling For Entry Quotas

Aug 15th - 17:11pm | Anonymous

I love the National Parks and preservation is a must.  Just got back from Yellowstone, Tetons and Glacier and what stuck out to me was the large numbers of foreign visitors.  These are America's national parks. Begore limiting us they should limit foreign visitors. I stood in one restroom line with about 50 Asian women. And inside the park they had no respect for the rules.

Aug 15th - 17:03pm | Pepitica

What you are suggesting would be great for the able bodied, but I am so grateful that the NPS has committed to making the parks more accessible to my handicapped children.  I love hiking and go backpacking or primitive camping whenever I can get away, but traveling my my wheelchair bound son, we need a hotel, running hot water, and paved trails where he too can enjoy the beauty of nature.

Aug 15th - 15:56pm | Bill

We visited 7 parks over 2 weeks this year.  Some were quite crowded (Zion) and other quiet and empty (Great Basin).  We enjoyed Great Basin probably the most due to the low crowds and friendly accessable staff.  One thing that we did find however, even at Great Basin, is that some rangers were quite in experienced.

Aug 15th - 14:43pm | Toni

I agree mostly with your last two sentences.  My husband and I have enjoyed Yosemite for a lifetime, particularly playing cards at all the little tables in the lobby of the Ahwanee Lodge.  On our last visits we were shocked to find all the card tables gone and every last place to sit was filled with teens & twenty-somethings all on their phones & I-pads!

Aug 15th - 11:23am | David McNeel

The answer is simple at Rainier...once the number of cars entering the park equals available parking spaces all further entry is ONLY allowed in shuttle busses.  

Aug 15th - 11:08am | ecbuck

I was in Yosemite last week.  No traffic jams, easily found parking in the valley and saw empty campgrounds.  Even the cables weren't that crowded. 

Aug 15th - 10:47am | Lee Dalton

There simply are no GOOD answers.  I'm glad I won't have to face this much longer, but my grandkids will.  Good luck, children.

Aug 15th - 10:46am | George Sanders

Fortunately for me the park I visited was not that crowded, but then it wasn't Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, or the Great Smoky Mountains. Two of the four ranger-led hikes had only seven hikers including the ranger. I think the largest group was only 14. If you pick your park and the time of visit carefully, you can still have a great wilderness experience without the crowds.

Aug 15th - 08:46am | dahkota

The above would be all well and good, except for the fact that if people can't stay in the park, they would crowd the towns immediately around them, making more people drive to get into the parks. Which would make congestion getting into a park worse.  

Aug 15th - 08:00am | wild places

Seems a little late but at least they finally recognize it. Instead of quotas (which may needed short term). How about reverting the parks to what they once were. Places to get close to nature. We don't need elaborate nature centers. overpriced hotels, gourmet restaurants and 40 foot motorhomes. Make more of the campground / sites tent only. Stop paving "hiking" trails and adding roads.

PEER Says National Park Service Whitewashed Problems At Effigy Mounds National Monument

Aug 15th - 15:15pm | Ethical Retired...

I once worked at a NPS unit in which hundreds of thousands of dollars from its maintenance budget went into "Restoration" (Construction) of a questionabe historical site within the Park.  Several members of the Interpretive staff were of the opinion that the "History" of this site was largely fake.

Aug 15th - 11:30am | Anonymous

This at a park whose annual operating budget is probably less than one million.    

Aug 14th - 14:49pm | SmokiesBackpacker

Well, Tahoma, you have definitely given me some insight as to how these backlogs get developed.  Wow.  That makes perfect sense.  

Aug 14th - 10:47am | tahoma

Aside from the cultural resource desecration and uselessness of the Regional Office, note that the Chief of (so-called) Maintenance spent $3.4 million on development over eleven years.  This at a park whose annual operating budget is probably less than one million.  During my career (70's through 90's) at western parks, actual maintenance of existi

Aug 14th - 08:27am | SmokiesBackpacker

Is anyone surprised?  What the NPS gets away with is murder on a daily basis.  Then they scream about an ever growing maintenance backlog after receiving appropriation after appropriation.  Jarvis tenure will be forever noted on the 100th anniversary of the park as the desecration of two other graves.  Muir and Mather.

Fire Destroys Historic Monroe Station Within Big Cypress National Preserve

Aug 15th - 07:19am | L. Humphrey

Has there been any charges brought against the individuals responsible yet?  We read about the fire and how it happened and it just to seem "fall" off the radar. Thanks

Yellowstone's Canyon Re-Do Nearly Done

Aug 14th - 23:54pm | mtgnppics

HOW can the usual "middle class" folks afford this kind of housing??  I sure can't.  Maybe if you take 3 other paying friends with you.   A few yeaars ago I stayed in one of those cabins. It was "rustic", but clean and adequate. This is totally SAD. 

Aug 13th - 14:45pm | Anonymous

I think it's yucky. Yellowstone should stay as rustic an minimalist as possible. The old cabins should have just been restored as much as possible and updated where necessary. This will keep me away from that area.  

Dropped Gun Goes Off In Yellowstone National Park Restroom

Aug 14th - 08:21am | edmond macgregor

If the 45 was a colt 1911 type semi-automatic and the hammer was resting on the firing pin it could go off if dropped on the hammer.  The fact that the spent casting went into the next stall means it wasn't a revolver because the casing would be in the cyclinder and a semi-automatic would eject it.  A 1911 type would be safer if half cocked and dropped.  

Aug 13th - 21:27pm | Dan Holloway

Irresponisble.  Nuff said.

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