Category Archives: Local Legislators, Rob Bishop

American Drinking Water Gets a D-. Republicans want it to get an F.

“Bipartisan analyses have repeatedly shown that the cost of environmental regulation is exponentially cheaper than the costs of toxic cleanup and medical care.” And yet the fearful shriek that environmental regulation “kills jobs” while the hamstrung EPA can’t even adequately test or develop standards for two-thirds of the pollutants detected in water. Enough already.    . . . more>>

Curmudgeon category?

I categorize each of my posts in one of the categories you see on the right.  I don’t have one for curmudgeon, but perhaps I should.  It takes one to know one and it’s a favorite of mine.  Tom Wharton is turning 61 and as he takes personal inventory of the role of journalism and the state of politics and the environment he is none too happy.  I know how he feels.  . . . more>>

Alton coal mine: more private profits at public expense.

Speaking of externalities, which I did implicitly in the previous blog, here’s an update on the Alton Coal mine expansion next door to Bryce Canyon National Park. Public hearings coming up. . . . more>>

Rural jobs and public lands

I want to keep track of this report and blogging on it is a handy way.  Here in Utah our own congressman Rob Bishop and senator, Orrin Hatch are busy in a misguided way trying to create jobs via short term direct extraction at the expense long term expense of recreation.  Recreation sounds trivial compared to drilling, mining, logging or grazing.  It’s not.  According to the Wilderness Society outdoor recreation, natural resource conservation, and historic preservation activities contribute a minimum of $1.06 trillion annually to the economy, support 9.4 million jobs and generate over $100 billion in federal, state and local taxes.  Economics aren’t the only argument for sustaining an attactive natural environment, but it is an argument that tends to get traction.  . . . more>>

Rob Bishop is flunking economics.

Utah Representative Rob Bishop has brought out Southern Utah University professor Ryan Yonk, to give testimony to the Public Lands Subcommittee about his recently issued paper, a paper without peer review, asserting wilderness and protective designations for federal lands have a negative economic impact on local communities.  No wonder right wing climate change deniers like Bishop feel like academia can be bought.  Just as when Bishop towed Escalante Mayor Jerry Taylor before Congress to testify against national monuments and Taylor received serious backlash from his own chamber of commerce when he got back to Escalante, Yonk is getting backlash.  Headwater Economics and  Republican Jim DiPeso of thedailygreen.com and the policy director for Republicans for Environmental Protection reply.  . . . more>>

Mike Noel embarasses himself all the way to the U.K.

Speaking of cronyism, I can’t resist posting this one. Rick Perry’s campaign is caught censoring scientific climate in this report from The Guardian in Britain. And, as they note,

In Utah, meanwhile, Mike Noel, a Republican member of the Utah state legislature called on the state university to sack a physicist who had criticised climate science doubters.  The university rejected Noel’s demand, but the physicist, Robert Davies said such actions had had a chilling effect on the state of climate science. “We do have very accomplished scientists in this state who are quite fearful of retribution from lawmakers, and who consequently refuse to speak up on this very important topic. And the loser is the public,” Davies said in an email.  “By employing these intimidation tactics, these policymakers are, in fact, successful in censoring the message coming from the very institutions whose expertise we need.”. . . more>>

More Republican assault on our wild land heritage.

The right-wing notion that the environment is the enemy has come around blindingly fast.  The notion doesn’t make enough sense to stand on its own.  Rather, it is being PR packaged by big industry special interest in a form of pernicious cronyism.  Here, the Grand Canyon Trust reports that a group of  Republican lawmakers, including Senator McCain, is introducing legislation to stop the Obama administration from blocking new mining claims around the Grand Canyon.  There won’t be many Americans who think that the Grand Canyon is a good place to mine.  What are these cowboys thinking? . . . more>>

It’s out there when both the right and left are alarmed.

From the  Adventure Journal today, The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, sponsored by Utah’s Congressman Rob Bishop and approved by the House Committee on Natural Resources 26 to 17, waives the power of 36 environmental and other laws within 100 miles of U.S. borders nationwide (angering environmentalists, since that territory includes Olympic National Park, Big Bend National Park, Allegheny National Forest, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and Glacier National Park), and cuts the knees out from under the Department of Agriculture as well, which means all rights to timber claims, grazing, and farming would go by the wayside.  Continue reading

Preaching conservation without a choir

Western politicians and special interest local factions have always been against the idea of protecting and conserving tracts of public land.  It’s no different today.  Kirsten and I were just in Moab this week — it’s now late in September– and the town is still packed with tourists.   We had breakfast with a couple from upstate New York who were blown away by the vast beauty of the open West.  Folks from around the U.S. and the world flock in for a taste of America’s wild heritage, to the point that we risk loving the land to death.  Yet our local politicians speak as if conservation is a D.C. based political conspiracy that hurts the West.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is in Utah promoting conservation this week.  Is it representative that he gets the cold shoulder?  . . . more>>

Voting for Oil Field Vistas?

You don’t have to be an environmental activist to believe that it would be criminal to see oil, gas, or coal mining corporations destroy our beautiful canyons and our wild lands. Not all agree, including members of the Legislature’s Redistricting Committee, several of whom are also members of the Patrick Henry Caucus. And Gov. Gary Herbert.  . . . more>>