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

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.

Aug 13th - 13:55pm | ecbuck

Is there one of those monstrosities off US 6 in Nevada?

Aug 13th - 13:34pm | Alfred Runte

From the opinion pages of the LOS ANGELES TIMES, here is the latest word on Soda Mountain.

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

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.

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.  

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

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.

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.

Aug 13th - 12:04pm | Alfred Runte

Now you know the origins of the 19th Century expression "Don't go off half-cocked." Then, "safety" was the half-cocked position on the hammer, which could become full cocked when pushed down someone's pants. Ooh, let's not go there!

Aug 13th - 11:43am | ecbuck

Lets see Lee, which of the following has caused the least injuries/fatalities in a National Park.  Trees, rivers, lakes, geysers, bears, cliffs, lightening, exposure, automobiles, landslides, airplanes, firearms.  Thats right, firearms. Perhaps we should outlaw all the rest.

Aug 13th - 11:11am | Lee Dalton

No big deal.  Just a good American Patriot exercising Second Amendment rights. Meanwhile, in Utah, at least two toilets were killed by guns dropped in restrooms.  One was in an elementary school when a teacher dropped her bang banger.  The other was in a fast food restaurant.

Centennial Series | Reform, Don't Replace, The National Park Service

Aug 13th - 11:36am | wild places

It's rather amusing and sad at the same time reading the discussions here which always seem to turn political. IIs it any wonder nothing gets done in politics when people who share a love of our parks can't seem to agree on anything even without the influence of money? And for those with their head in the sand that money influences equally on both sides of the political isle.

Aug 13th - 10:18am | Peggy B

The NP belong to the PEOPLE of the USA, not Democrats and Republicans, the PEOPLE.  And, as such, must be protected and managed by the federal government.  Chamges need to be made, but the very idea of privatizing our NPs is simply awful.  The only reason they are still around is federal management.  Yes, there many be problems with the management, but when you divide t

Aug 12th - 23:12pm | Gary Wilson

If a National Park gets decomissioned to the state level, then it ceases in my opinion to be a National Park.  At that point it's a State Park, and loses all international prestige and titles that goes with being within a National Park system.

Aug 12th - 20:57pm | John Freemuth

Tahoma   Good points. A comprehenaive look at NPS organimational culture has never been done. There are pieces, there is policy work there is the Berkowitz stuff but you are right. It would take some time and it's fought with problems but it needs to be done sometime. Thanks for the comment.      John Freemuth

Aug 12th - 14:07pm | John Freemuth

Hi bill   Thanks for the comment, we should claifry our point. What we all seemed to agree with at the PERC meeting was that the Senior Pass was something that we would be glad to pay more for., it was way undepriced.    Best,     John

Aug 12th - 10:39am | Bill Borrie

Those running the NPS could be much more financially responsible. Specifically, the fee system for the National Park System is currently generous to a fault. ... At last year's PERC-sponsored seminar on national parks all attendees, of various policy and intellectual backgrounds, claimed to be more than willing to pay more for such a privilege.

Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?

Aug 12th - 16:34pm | Mike Warren Sr.

If I could hope to go to My Grand Canyon, Like all other Americans, Ill want to be able to go to the bottom on the trail, like everyone else.  Trouble is, I have a disability that I know prevents that dream.  Ill never see the bottom or feel the power of the river by being close to it.  A segway could make  that possible.

What Should The National Park Service Do With The Enchanted Valley Chalet At Olympic National Park?

Aug 12th - 15:00pm | John Clevenger, Jr.

Vote for Option #4.....move to another location....Enchanted Valley Chalet is something that should not be destroyed.....Move it to a more suitable area..............safer area. Rehabilitate the structure, if ncessary.....It should remain a part of the Park.

A Life Of Conservation: Michael Frome And The National Parks

Aug 12th - 11:37am | Alfred Runte

Dear Ethical Retired, Thank you! I will be sure to pass your comment on to Michael. He remains my inspiration, too. And yes, he is again working to finish another book. Sincerely, Al

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide