Category Archives: Special Interests, Cronyism, Big Oil

The Third Industrial Revolution

The ever increasing extent of industrial/political cronyism in the U.S. economy is a serious concern.  Seeking Alpha is a website from my old investment world which looks for trends and places to earn increased returns.  Hazel Henderson reviews Jeremy Rifkin’s new book there, The Third Industrial Revolution.  In an alarming statement Henderson says, “My colleague Dr. James Fletcher on the Technology Assessment Advisory Board to the US Congress told us at a meeting in the 1970s that if the US had subsidized solar-based energies to the same extent it subsidized oil, coal, gas and nuclear energy, that our country would already be run on solar and renewables. Fletcher went on to become Administrator of NASA, the US space program. . . . However, as I found in the 1980s, the barriers were the incumbent fossil and nuclear industries whose influence over Congress kept their huge subsidies and forced renewables to climb a steeply-tilted playing field.”  Rifkin has solutions.  Let me know if you read the book.  . . . more>>


Naomi Klein on standing up to cronyism.

Yesterday on AlterNet, Naomi Klein was interviewed by Rebecca Tarbotton about taking on powerful, connected special-interests.  She recommends to environmentalists:

Expanding the movement beyond traditional environmentalists, and tapping into the broader public outrage at corporate greed and economic recklessness. If you are targeting Bank of America because it’s lending money to coal companies, you need to be in coalition with all the other groups out there that are pissed at Bank of America for other reasons, first and foremost home foreclosures. The same logic that has trashed the economy is trashing the planet and we need to make those connections incessantly . . .

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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

They are dry in the mouth too.

Just like the Colorado River does not make it to the Colorado River Delta and on to the sea, Australia’s largest river, the Murray-Darling is dry in the mouth.  A 10 year drought there has made for necessary changes.  Brad Udall, director of the Western Water Assessment in Colorado, spent four months in Australia working with its Department of Water.  Cally Carswell of High Country News explores with Udall what happens when the door is opened and more than special interests and lawyers are allowed in the room to talk about solutions.   Udall says, “For 150 years, we’ve had three kinds of people in the room talking about water: we’ve had water users, we’ve had attorneys and we’ve had engineers. And for the most part, the public, economists and scientists have not been a part of this dialogue. In Australia, they don’t even let attorneys in the room — at least according to one gentlemen down there — when it comes to water. And they talk in these very holistic (terms): what’s good for our economy, what’s good for our social systems, what’s good for the environment — they have those three perspectives. It’s not just driven by the legal system, which is usually almost always the case here in Colorado.”    . . . more>>

Fracking Good Read

At Torrey House Press we hope to create wider appreciation for the conservation issues in the American West through philosophy and literature.  People’s Press came out with a novel this year that is a good prototype of the kind of thing we would like to publish down the road.  Buried by the Roan is a murder mystery set in the Flat Tops Wilderness in western Colorado.   The mountain wild and the oil and gas industry’s hydraulic fracking both play major roles in the drama.  Congratulations to author Mark Stevens.  . . . . more>> Reviewed in the Colorado Springs Independent here and in High Country News here.

Cows and Pristine Mountain Lakes

The first time I thought I ought to get involved in conservation was on a hike up to Meeks Lake on Boulder Mountain in southern Utah years ago.  Meeks is a should-be shining jewel of a pristine mountain lake, but in the summer it is treated like a stock yard.  There was cow shit everywhere, cows in the water, the grass was hammered and the place stank.   Ed Abbey called it “cow burnt.”  In fact, fire might be better for the land than over grazing.  I noticed that the livestock gates were open all the way up the mountain,  the grass was gone everywhere, and when I got home I wrote the Forest Service.  They said, “Oops, sorry about that, thanks for writing.”  It is still like that years later and I have learned to my dismay that, indeed, livestock rules – and ranchers break the rules with impunity.  What’s up with that?  Here’s a lively conversation amongst the residents around Sun Valley, Idaho who have a similar experience.    . . . .more>>