Category Archives: National Parks, Forests and Monuments

More good news, this time for the Grand Canyon.

Today Interior Secretary Ken  Salazar’s issued a rule proposing to protect the Grand Canyon from new uranium claims.  In 2009  Secretary Salazar placed a two-year moratorium on new uranium mining claims on a million acres of public lands surrounding the Grand Canyon, overturning a Bush administration policy that encouraged thousands of new claims when the price of uranium soared in 2006 and 2007. Many of those making claims are foreign interests, including Russia’s state atomic energy corporation. Does it weird anybody out but me that the anti-environment conservatives ,the heirs of the McCarthy era of communist hunters, thought that having Russia own an atomic energy mine in the Grand Canyon was a good idea?  . . . more>>

Court upholds Clinton-era ban on forest road-building.

In one of the most important decisions for public lands in decades, a federal appeals court Friday upheld a Clinton administration rule that bans road-building and logging on roughly a quarter of the country’s national forestland.  The unanimous decision could settle one of the most contentious conservation issues of the last decade. The 2001 roadless rule, issued in the final days of the Clinton administration, generated lawsuits, conflicting court opinions and repeal efforts.   This was the second ruling by a federal appeals court to uphold the Clinton action.   The case could be appealed to the Supreme Court, but environmental attorneys said the ruling is so strong that it probably spells an end to the protracted legal battle over nearly 50 million acres of public forest .  The folks at High Country News say that while it doesn’t amount to full wilderness designation, it is at least “Wilderness Lite.”   Good news.  . . . 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>>

It is not Disneyland out there, but how about a warning?

This one seems like a tricky call to me.  The natural outdoors is not Disneyland and we all need to look out for ourselves.  But in this case would it have been so hard for the Division of Wildlife Resources or the Forest Service to put up signs that warned campers of the threat?  Some judges say yes, some say no.  Who is right?  . . . 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