Sunday, December 19, 2010

It pays to get a rich, handsome, and connected celebrity on your side when trying to save the environment.

There is a controversy brewing up in Utah as the governor approves a massive coal strip
mining operation adjacent to Bryce Canyon National Park, one of the most beautiful parks
in our country as this blogger can personally attest, having visited both Bryce and Zion in
the early 1980’s.

This coal mine will be about 10 miles from the park and it will not be pretty. Think massive hole in the ground, mountain leveling, toxic water runoff, mudflows, coal dust everywhere-
think about the many hues of Bryce’s geological features covered with a gorgeous flat black
dusting. Sure would make you want to rush right up and get into your place in line with all
the other park visitors slowed up by the giant coal hauling trucks on the mountain roads-
ahhh, morning in Amerika!

A famous actor and environmentalist, Robert Redford has a great article up at the Huffington Post today entitled “Utah approves a mine next to Bryce Canyon for coal America does not need.” This is a very interest article which I suggest you check out. What I found
fascinating was the statement that his friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council filed
a court brief with the Utah State Supreme Court to try to stop this mine from happening.

Imagine that, the NRDC, an organization that helped design the system in place in
California which has directly led to bulldozing at Ivanpah, filing a lawsuit to stop a
coal mine.

Unfortunately for the residents of Ivanpah- the thousand year old creosote growth rings, the many desert tortoises including my friend, SenĂ³r Tortuga, the badgers, the wild burros, the gila monsters, the big horn sheep, the list goes on and on-----
alas, there are no coal seams at Ivanpah.

I seem to recall posting here some time ago about the need to have activists search their
contact lists, etc to try to beat the bushes to find if the desert had an important friend. This post was met with silence, as most are. Nothing new with that, after all what the hell does
a bus driver know about the environment!

Probably not too much. However what does it hurt to look at other alternatives?

What this action by Mr. Redford shows is the powerful spotlight that a celebrity of his stature
can bring to an issue. He can help mold public opinion and my understanding is he is tight with
some in the NRDC leadership, more power to him, good luck to him and the NRDC as they
fight the good fight to try to save Bryce Canyon.

If only such a fight had occurred here with Ivanpah. This blogger and others repeatedly
pointed out the uniqueness of the ecosystem there, the beauty and solitude, and the strategic importance of a fight at that place and at that time, a fight that need to

happen right then and there, to slow down and stop the desert energy land rush
while there was a chance, and to point out better siting alternatives and other means to reach the AB 32 goals.

Unfortunately for the Mojave and other deserts, minds were made up, important minds, decision makers long plied with corporate donations and largess, and assured by the
carbonmentalist organizations, that these sites such as Ivanpah were a necessary and
needed sacrifice required to slow down and stop global warming.Sad smile

So again, I know for a fact that I have some important readers, my web logs show that.
If any of my readers know of someone important that supports the cause of saving the desert,
talk to them. There is still time to get in and try to salvage what is left. Time is truly of the essence.

This is a turbulent, uncertain time with many things happening right now, one of which is the
latest tax scheme approved by Congress and the administration. Are you aware that the treasury energy grant program has been given a one year extension? So these big energy
developers will have continued access to the taxpayer’s hind teat for another year. So vigilance has to be maintained, rest assured more of these boondoggles will be coming down the pike.

Some of you folks may be first time visitors, maybe you read a comment I made at one of
the other news sites or blogs- this picture is for you, to show you what I am talking about, as
you look at this photograph, remember the governator said he looked out at the empty desert
landscape and saw a gold mine, I fear the rest of us along with the desert, will get the shaft.
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I thank you for stopping by for a spell today, and hope to see you again out on
the backporch.


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