Roundup Thursday, June 25, 2009

Act Now!

Tomorrow, Friday June 26th, the House of Representatives is slated to vote on The American Clean Energy and Security Act (HR 2454).  This bill has been touted as the most important environmental legislation of its time. There is still time to urge your representative to support, strengthen and vote yes for this very important climate change legislation.  Find out more and use the links below to send an e-mail or fax to your representative.

NRDC Action Center


Keep in Mind

How to Create a Backyard Ecosystem—June 27th and 28th Salt Lake City

Day-Riverside Library in Salt Lake City is hosting a two day workshop covering ecological design principles, soil fertility and structure, water conservation; insect, bird and animal loving habitat, and food “forest” design and site analysis.  The workshop will be led by permaculture designer Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia’s Garden. Sponsored by TreeUtah.  $100/person, $50/student.

TreeUtah: 801-364-2122

House Climate Bill Set for Vote—AP/NPR June 23, 2009

The bill is touted as one of the biggest environmental bills in decades.  EPA regulations on ethanol production and greenhouse gas (GHG) assessment would be delayed in exchange for farm-state Democrat votes.  The bill would potentially impose nationwide GHG limits.  President Obama has referred to it as a clean energy, energy independence and carbon pollution reduction bill.  A recent EPA analysis contradicted Republican contention that the bill will cost Americans thousands in additional energy expenses, finding household energy costs would increase on average only $80 to $111 per year.  Environmentalists as well as farmers and industry have shown support for the bill.  An 80% reduction in GHG emission by mid-century is the bill’s target.  Cap and trade practices are also key to the bill.


Putting a Financial Spin on Global Warming

—Richard Harris, NPR June 24, 2009

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus of The Breakthrough Institute on their Apollo Space Program-like idea to innovate our way out of the global warming problem, and why innovation must lead the way.


BLM Quarterly Oil and Gas Lease Sale Nets $1.3 Million

—Patty Henetz, Salt Lake Tribune, Wed. June 24, 2009

All parcels had protests lodged by wildlife conservation groups.  Protests must be resolved by the BLM before leases can be issued.  31 of 42 parcels—40,345 acres of public land—sold in the Fillmore, Price and Vernal regions.  The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a hunters and anglers group, seeks consideration for mule deer trigger deferral of leasing.

Salt Lake Tribune

High Mercury Levels in Utah Fish

—Salt Lake Tribune, Wed. June 24, 2009

261 advisories affect 192 streams and rivers and 69 lakes and reservoirs.  Women, pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable, and Utah public health officials advise no more than one or two 8 ounce portions per month for healthy adults of a number of fish across the state.


Feature Article on Hell’s Backbone Grill, Owners, Farm

Building Bridges in Boulder—Lisa Carricaburu

Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah is home to organic, locally grown dining.  Owners/chefs Jen Castle and Blake Spalding weave Buddhist roots, community trade, seasonal and locally grown food from the grill’s own farm.  Bioregionalism is a key consideration for nutritional health as well as a healthier carbon footprint.  Blake Spalding says; “We create food we believe deeply reflects the experience people have of this place”.  The multi-acre farm is operated in part by volunteers from Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF), and hosts heirloom vegetables and fruits.  Spalding keeps older hen breeds for eggs, the restaurant’s compost feeds the farm, and farm pollinating bees produce the restaurant’s honey.  Salt Lake City based Lotus Community Development helped provide affordable housing to restaurant and farm workers.  The grill’s owners exemplify sustainable community, agricultural and business practices and a holistic, integrated, local bioregional food lifestyle.

Salt Lake Tribune

Senators form New Western Caucus

—Thomas Burr, Salt Lake Tribune, Thursday, June 25, 2009

Among Western Republican senators in the conservative caucus, Orrin Hatch R-UT compares the caucus and its intent with the Sagebrush Rebellion of the late 1970’s.  Robert Bennett R-UT, John Barasso R-WY, and Jim Risch R-ID also comprise the caucus, calling for open Federal lands, oil shale and nuclear development.  Reporter Thomas Burr says the first Sagebrush Rebellion, led by Hatch, was largely ineffective.

Salt Lake Tribune

Mediator Appointed to Settle Navajo Trust Case

—AP/Salt Lake Tribune June 25, 2009

A federal judge appointed a senior judge for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to mediate the lawsuit, which was filed in 1992, alleging Utah failed to properly manage a Navajo trust fund overseeing royalties on reservation oil wells.

Salt Lake Tribune

Nuclear Regulators Announce Utah Roundtable on Depleted Uranium

—Judy Fahys, Salt Lake Tribune, Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The roundtable, scheduled for Sept. 23-24, is part of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s initiative to answer the question of whether depleted uranium belongs in shallow disposal sites like the EnergySolutions landfill in Tooele County.  Utah’s own Radiation Control Board is currently considering a temporary moratorium on depleted uranium, which grows more hazardous over time.  While the NRC study is expected to take years, 49,000 tons of depleted uranium already lie in EnergySolutions’ Tooele site.  1.4 million tons of stockpiled federal enrichment program waste and commercial facilities already has been approved by the NRC for EnergySolutions’ disposal site.  Depleted uranium is a class A low level waste already permitted at EnergySolutions.

Salt Lake Tribune

Federal Register Announcement and Questions

Bennett:  U.S. Needs 100 More Nuclear Power Plants

—Thomas Burr, Salt Lake Tribune, Monday, June 22, 2009

Utah Senator Bob Bennett is leading the push to construct new plants as an answer to clean energy.  Economic growth and cheap energy are key drivers.  Meanwhile tens of thousands of tons of nuclear waste currently sit at nuclear plants already in existence around the country.  Pro-development experts scoff at the idea that high volumes of radioactive nuclear waste could be dangerous or harmful.  Opponents have called neglecting and downplaying the waste issue “the height of irresponsibility”.  While recycling waste as France does has been proposed by Bennett, the process is costly and leaves behind more potent waste.

Salt Lake Tribune

Note:  Former Utah State Representative Aaron Tilton formed and co-runs Transition Power Development, a private equity group developing a plan for nuclear power development near Green River, Utah.  Water from Kane County already has been sold for the water-greedy development, which is fully realized will divert water from the Green above the town of Green River.  The author of this blog questions the ethics of a public servant who leaves government to profit from connections and power alliances to the neglect of the environment or the health and welfare of the locale’s citizens.


Air Toxics Raise Cancer Risk in US Neighborhoods

—AP/NPR June 24, 2009

New EPA data rates the levels of 80 cancer-causing substances that inhabit dirty air around industrial and high population sites around the country.  The interactive map shows the number of expected deaths per million people for a given county.  Salt Lake County has the highest cancer risk from these airborne pollutants in Utah, at 36 per million, while the lowest counties in Utah average less than a third of that, at about 10 per million.  Average cancer risk across the country is 36 in 1 million, while in places such as parts of Los Angeles, one of the highest risk areas in the nation, statistics run to 1200 in 1 million.


County Chickens Out on Backyard Hens

—Jeremiah Stettler, Salt Lake Tribune, Wed. June 24, 2009

Salt Lake County Council has held up legalization of backyard hens until proposed rules are written to allow flexibility in coop building.  The proposal has been referred to the council’s public works committee for revision.  Currently the proposal allows up to 15 hens, but building a coop within regulations could prove impossible.

Salt Lake Tribune

High Country News June 22 and July 6, 2009 issue features a number of articles on alternative energy.

Yes! Magazine:  13 Best Energy Ideas—Sarah van Gelder, Spring 2008

Yes! Magazine:  How to Get Carbon-Free in 10 Years;  Spring 2008

—Brooke Jarvis and Doug Pibel


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