Archive for category Utah Pollution

Cost/Benefit ALEC style, or for the people?

Rocky Mountain Power continues to push the ALEC and Koch brothers agenda with a solar tax that has been talked about for several months now.

The fee, proposed by RMP, is aimed either at the 2000 or so customers who are trying to either shrink their power bill, or even add to the power grid, or it is aimed at killing Americas fastest growing method of generating power. Guess what the PR people say? “It’s not a tax on solar. It’s not a disincentive,” said Bramble, ALEC flack and Business As Usual defender, sorry, R-Provo.
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SUV’s, Pink Slime and the Conservative resistance

Back in 2008, there were very high gas prices. They skyrocketed during the Bush years and as gas prices went up, I saw fewer SUV’s and the sky was much less polluted. Utahns have responded to a problem and acted properly. Logically if gas prices go up, then you should use less. It only makes sense. Now in 2014, Gas prices are even higher. What do I see? There are even more trucks and they are larger. What happened in 5 years? Why is it that in 2014, when gas prices are higher while there is a greater inequality of wealth do we see more gas-guzzling vehicles? This scenario reminds me of a controversy back in 2012 where several republican governors went and defended Pink Slime. They defended this product which is the remaining scraps of beef ground into a fine paste and laced with ammonia. When the Obama Administration condemned that practice, several republicans ate the pink slime raw. In terms of gas prices and driving a big-ass truck, when the left keeps talking about the environment and how we have to lessen our impact, the right does the opposite. This is a backwards thinking and this is by far the scariest thing I have seen in this country. This goes beyond hurting others and goes straight into the realm of hurting themselves. All for political regression.

I get that the right does not like Obama or anyone from the [snickers] “left”, but just because you feel that they are the enemy does not mean that you do the exact opposite of what they do. Sure, there are people who are afraid of communism and socialism, but even then when Russia became the first nation to reach space, the US didn’t start digging holes to reach the mantle as a protest. Instead they got into space to better them. It’s not even a thing that the left does. I may think that Bush is the worst president we have ever had, but when he signed a bill to illegalize telemarketing, I didn’t all of a sudden support telemarketers and buy into their scams.

We are in a very interesting fork in the road. We have issues with war, issues with the environment, issues with our education, with our economy, with our GDP and we can go either two ways. The first one is that we do what Utahns back in 2008 did. We identify the problems and correct them. Or we could say that logic and reason is the devil/communism/unamerican/whatever and end up ruining our society permanently. This isn’t even a joke. Last year, the world was on the brink of total economic collapse all because they wanted to repeal Obamacare. Something that was a republican idea to begin with. We are in the 21st century. We need to act like it’s the 21’s century or we will end up in the 5th century.

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What Would Be The Downside To Trying Solar Roadways?

I get tired of moaning and groaning about our broken political system, so here’s something I found that gives me hope for America.

Germany is making us look bad, because some thirty years after we passed up the chance to lead the world in solar energy, that country is astounding the world with what it’s been able to do with solar in a very short time.

This looks like a chance for America to lead the way yet, with – job creating – American made technology that the world would love to have. I realize this is a promotional video which is most likely not pointing to many downsides of their product, but can’t we just try it? It seems much simpler then going to the moon, and we’re all tired of the oil spills; most of which we never even hear about, because the stories are mostly banned from the media.

Check it out. There are lots of other videos on the subject, including a “TED” talk by the inventor, which I haven’t had time to watch yet.

UPDATE: Here’s the TED talk from Scott Brusaw and one other video.

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Tim DeChristopher Released From Prison Today,Earth Day!

Thank You Tim DeChristopher

Thank You Tim DeChristopher

On December 19, 2008, in a courageous act of civil disobedience, Tim DeChristopher protested an oil and gas lease auction of 116 parcels of public land in Utah’s red rock country, conducted by the Bureau of Land Management. DeChristopher decided to participate in the auction, signing a bidder registration Form and placing bids to obtain 14 parcels of land (totaling 22,500 acres) for $1.8 million. DeChristopher was removed from the auction by federal agents, taken into custody, and questioned.

The auction was later declared illegal by incoming Obama Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar.

Nonetheless, DeChristopher was aggressively persecuted by George W. Bush-appointed federal prosecutors a judge who’s tenure included Chief of Staff for Senator Orrin Hatch. DeChristopher courageously refused all plea offers to avoid jail time. On July 26, 2011, Judge Dee Benson sentenced DeChristopher to two years in prison;

Peaceful Uprising is organizing a screening of Bidder70 in Salt Lake City: the first that Tim will be able to attend since the movie premiered last year! In conjunction with this event, the filmmakers (Beth & George Gage) have partnered with a film distributor, Gathr Films, to organize countrywide simultaneous theatrical screenings.

All are invitedto BE THERE for Tim’s first PUBLIC APPEARANCE since his incarceration on July 26, 2011.  Check out the Map of Bidder 70 Screenings to find one near you.

An hour-long post-screening discussion and Q&A with Tim will be streamed so that everyone, no matter where they are watching, will be able to participate: by watching and/or sending questions via Twitter. It wouldn’t be a true PeaceUp celebration without song, which is why we’ve invited our dear friend Bryan Cahall (whose song Arise you will recognize in the movie) to join in a jam session as well.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Sign up to host your own local screening of Bidder 70: http://www.bidder70film.com/#!screenings/cjg9

2. Join PeaceUp in helping Gathr spread the word, by inviting your friends to their Facebook event, sharing it via the Twitter webs and updating your Facebook status:https://www.facebook.com/events/332873686833860

3. Contribute to Bidder70?s IndieGoGo Distribution campaign (http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/324476/) , and then encourage others to do the same — to make this celebratory wave a reality!

4. Come to Salt Lake City. Details about our SLC Screening can be found by clicking HERE.

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Watch this important video featuring Tim DeChristopher!

Do something. Peaceful Uprising

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My Small Time Encounter With Big Oil

Air is cleaner and food tastes better

The year was 1981 and Reagan had just taken office and appointed James G. Watt as Secretary of the Interior. The Reagan presidential campaign was successful at making Jimmy Carter look like a weak president who was not capable of running the country. Ted Koppel had been on television every night for months reinforcing the myth that Carter’s weakness was responsible for American hostages being taken from the embassy in Iran.

At the same time Reagan was inaugurated, there were split screens – high-tech television at the time – showing his swearing in, and the hostages being released. The media has still not told us, with any voracity, that the hostages were released because we made a secret weapons deal with that country.

The Republicans immediately started to flex their muscles and picked James G. Watt to tour the country, advocating oil production at the expense of irreplaceable public treasures. He even said it himself; “I will err on the side of public use vs. preservation”. I started getting mail from the Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society asking for donations, which I gave for the first time in my life. I had just spent the best times of my life, backpacking into places like Arches, Zions, Capital Reef, and the Uintas with a good friend.

The local ABC affiliate reported that Watt would be visiting Utah and even gave the room number where a press meeting would take place in the Federal Building. Having maintained a nearly perfect working record at my job, I hated to ask for a day off with such short notice, but I badly wanted to go to the event and record what was said.

My boss said no.

For the first time in my life, I didn’t show up for work without calling. I went to the Federal Building that day and there were hundreds of people there. I asked them when the meeting was going to start. They all told me we would not be allowed into the meeting.

I was not a happy guy.

I had just jeopardized my job to be there and decided to go upstairs. The meeting was being held in a very small room with a capacity of about 50 people. There were reporters and a woman dressed in jeans hanging around murmuring against Watt. I asked if it would be OK if I went inside. They looked at me like I was crazy and said “sure”. So I, incredulously walked in, holding my little recorder and stood there waiting to see this man whom I imagined would look like an evil Marlboro Man. A couple of secret service guys came in and were looking behind curtians to assess any threat which gave me some pause about what I was doing.

Even after Jim Hansen walked past me escorting Watt, It didn’t dawn on me that he was the man who was intent on destroying Utahs wilderness for profit until he took the podium. Yep, that tall 28 year old standing there with man boobs during the procession is me:

The recording I made was of such poor quality that nothing could be heard. I remember that Watt’s presentation was unremarkable except for my observation that he kept repeating the phrase, “we’re here to restore Americas greatness”.

You really have to admire the profiteers for their tenacity. They are back again trying to gain access to the very coal they meant to exploit in 1981, ignoring the fact that they will pollute the beauty of Utahs beloved Bryce Canyon. Try to show up at the hearing – not listening – hearing.

What: Alton Coal Mine Environmental Impacts Hearing
When: Wednesday, December 7, 6:00 PM
Where: Salt Lake City Library, 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City

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Have You Been To Jail for Justice? Peter Yarrow Spoke and Sang for Tim DeChristopher in Downtown Salt Lake City on Wednesday

Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul and Mary came to Salt Lake City for Tim DeChristopher’s sentencing. We thank him for his support and wisdom.

Enjoy

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Tim DeChristopher’s Invitation to Judge Dee Bensen

Tim DeChristopher is Cool!

Cross posted from “I Do Not Want Mercy, I Want You To Join Me” at CommonDreams.org

Thank you for the opportunity to speak before the court. When I first met Mr. Manross, the sentencing officer who prepared the presentence report, he explained that it was essentially his job to “get to know me.” He said he had to get to know who I really was and why I did what I did in order to decide what kind of sentence was appropriate. I was struck by the fact that he was the first person in this courthouse to call me by my first name, or even really look me in the eye. I appreciate this opportunity to speak openly to you for the first time. I’m not here asking for your mercy, but I am here asking that you know me.

Mr. Huber has leveled a lot of character attacks at me, many of which are contrary to Mr. Manross’s report. While reading Mr Huber’s critiques of my character and my integrity, as well as his assumptions about my motivations, I was reminded that Mr Huber and I have never had a conversation. Over the two and half years of this prosecution, he has never asked my any of the questions that he makes assumptions about in the government’s report. Apparently, Mr. Huber has never considered it his job to get to know me, and yet he is quite willing to disregard the opinions of the one person who does see that as his job.
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Saving The Planet Should Matter If You Are in High School

Personally, I think we are past the tipping point i.e. screwed.  I am not a scientist so given the opportunity, I asked James Hansen if he thought we were past the tipping point. I got him alone one day as we walked the several blocks to one of Tim DeChristopher’s hearing’s.

“Dr.  Hansen, do you think we past the tipping point?” I looked him right in the eye. They welled up. I pretended not to see the tear slide down his cheek as he stared at the sidewalk.  I think he said something like “…a lot of scientists…”  I don’t remember exactly, but I got the point.

While the fat-headed, gas bags lurk in the weird shadows of climate denial, sniffing for any specter of scientific uncertainty, like dogs among the carcasses of dead scientists, the mother load of scientific errors, the narcotic of righteousness awaits them in the most recent IPCC report.

From the first prediction to the last, scientific consensus has underestimated pretty much everything from ice melt and sea-level rise to temperature.

Why should I care? I’ll be dead before the real ugliness happens.  Who should care are the kids. Last chance, maybe. We certainly couldn’t do it.

And today for the first time, I saw a real kid-driven protest march and rally for the environment in progressive Salt Lake City, Utah.

I pray that someday, some good kids from Santaquin will join these smart young activists and make their parents listen.

 

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Public Trial for Tim DeChristopher. Tomorrow Noon. Come One Come All!

Climate Trial - Salt Lake City, Utah November 5, 2010

Climate Trial - Salt Lake City, Utah November 5, 2010

“The public square is the proper place for the defendants message, not criminal proceedings in federal court.” -US government

The Justice Department is putting Tim  DeChristopher on trial for blocking an illegal federal oil and gas auction. This absurdity is heightened by the judge’s subsequent ruling, legally prohibiting Tim from telling the jury his reasons for doing what he did. Even though the judge is severely restricting what Tim can say, the government continues to delay the trial, denying Tim justice.

The oil industry might not want us to have this trial, but we do.

“The Climate Trial” will take place November 5th, 2010, with or without the court. This trial is not just about Tim; it’s about holding the real criminals accountable. Join us—you’ll be the jury—deciding where the responsibility lies for passing on a healthy world to our children.

Begin: high noon. Length: about 30 minutes  Where: 350 S. Main St. (across from the federal courthouse. (map)

Questions? Suggestions? email: climatetrial@peacefuluprising.org.  To volunteer to help with promotion or logistics, include your contact info in the message. Thanks!

Note: there will also be mobilizations and actions in Salt Lake City during the “real” trial. After 5 delays (and counting?) from the government, we are unable to post the exact date until it is imminent. If you would like to receive the most up-to-date information, you can sign up for our Climate Trial Email Updates.

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Mike Lee: Taxpayers Ought to Bail Out BP

Via Think Progress:

A week ago, U.S. Senate candidate Mike Lee sat down with the Salt Lake Tribune’s Robert Gehrke for a wide-ranging interview. When asked if taxpayers ought to pay the economic costs of the BP oil spill, Lee answered candidly.

SL TRIBUNE: Currently there’s a cap on liabilities that BP is expected to pay $75 million dollars. There’s legislation that Bill Nelson sponsored to increase that liability to $10 billion dollars. The oil companies say that will put them out of business. Is that something you would be supportive of, increasing that cap on liability for environmental damage?

MIKE LEE: No.

SL TRIBUNE: Why is that?

LEE: This company is reliant, the entire industry, is reliant on the insurance its provided by law. Now had that cap not been in place, we would be facing a completely different question. But you have a set of settled expectations that you give to a business when it decides to make an investment in this. Our country benefits from this type of activity and allows us to produce more oil and allows more of our petro dollars to remain in the United States. We’ve relied on that, and to take that away I think would be a mistake.

SL TRIBUNE: Does that leave taxpayers on the hook for part of the damage?

LEE: Well yea probably does. And the government can look at that and say look, we put this damages cap in place, so we understood what that meant.

SL TRIBUNE: Isn’t that equivalent to a bailout?

LEE: I don’t think, well, I don’t think that’s equivalent to a bailout. I think that’s the government saying there’s some things its going to — if you look at the Outer Continental Shelf, something over which the United States has jurisdiction, and the United State wants to clean that up, then it’s free to do so. There’s nothing in that liability cap that requires the Federal government to do it. Well I’m not sure that necessarily means the taxpayers will end up paying the bill. It maybe the industry generally will just contribute to it. In fact I would expect other people involved in offshore drilling will have a part of the clean up because they would want to to show this can be done safely and when disasters do happen it can be cleaned up.

Mike Lee’s philosophy is what I call “Wall Street Socialism.” Corporations want to privatize their profits and socialize their losses (or simply dump negative externalities like oil spills on the public). Bumper-sticker version: “Taxpayer Bailouts for Billionaires.”

Vote for Sam Granato, or else this guy will be our new senator.

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Rachel Nails BP For Lame Excuses

Last night on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show, she highlighted the absurdity of the excuses offered by BP’s COO concerning the company’s Gulf of Mexico slapdash oil spill response plan, and the fact that spill cleanup technology hasn’t improved in the last 40 years.

h/t Firedoglake for excerpting this segment. Rachel’s list of oil spills includes the recent Salt Lake City Chevron fiasco that put an estimated 33,000 gallons of oil in Red Butte Creek and the Liberty Park pond. Forcing zoo workers to clean oil off hundreds of ducks and geese.

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