Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Biggest Water Grab In Our Nation's History

The Owens Valley water grab (by Los Angeles) may be the most infamous so far. But if you consider the land effected, the Rural Nevada water grab by Las Vegas is much bigger. The land area where water will be taken approaches the size of Vermont. Over 100 aquifers will be effected.

Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) has given the water grab the Orwellian name of the Groundwater “Development” Project (GWD). The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) states that SNWA has applied to “convey” approximately 200,000 acre feet per year of groundwater from Clark, Lincoln, and White Pine Counties. And the coal fired power plant SNWA wants, to power the many GWD pipeline pumps, will take another 8,000 acre feet from valleys even further north. If you're familiar with river flow capacities, this may not sound like a lot. For example, the Colorado River flow is about 7 million acre feet per year. But remember, there are no rivers here. This is the desert.

So, why would Las Vegas want to take water from the desert? The answer is long and complex, but it comes down to; because they can. However, there may actually be a hidden motive; that's where the biggest profits are – even though there is a better option.

We have a motive:

SNWA has already agreed to transport water from Rural Nevada to a new housing development, Coyote Springs, for 5000 dollars an acre foot. SNWA may not charge that to all of their customers, but we can utilize this established price for rough calculations of potential revenue. SNWA intends to pump water from Rural Nevada for at least 70 years. OK. Here are the numbers:

200,000 acre feet/year X 5000 dollars/acre foot X 70 years = 70 Billion Dollars

And SNWA estimates that the pipeline network will cost 2 billion dollars. Damn! A billion dollars a year of potential profit. This makes hitting the lottery look like chump change! Talk about a temptation. Maybe it's enough of a temptation to lie about this being the best option – for the customers. Maybe it's even enough of a temptation to lie about the real cost of the pipeline.

Will the GWD project really cost 2 billion dollars? An independent evaluation, conducted by Mifflin and Associates, estimated the project at from 12.4 billion dollars to as much as 20 billion dollars! That's up to ten times what SNWA is telling us. If the million or so tax paying residents of Las Vegas heard that number, they might choke at the thought of having to pay 20,000 dollars per person (for water may not be there).

Worth noting is that SNWA is a quasi-municipality. Windfall profits shouldn't be an issue for a municipality like it would be for a corporation. Yet, we don't know what might happen sometime in the next 70 years. Just because nobody is talking about privatization, doesn't mean nobody's thinking about it. Even if right now; nobody intends to get filthy rich off of Nevada's water, somebody will eventually try – and the stage is being set.

Not only is Las Vegas growing, but so is Pahrump, Jean, and Primm. SNWA may not legally be able to charge for Rural Nevada's water, but as mentioned with Coyote Springs, they can charge for delivery. And if a private company can be a part of that, there is potential here for an immoral amount of profit – at Rural Nevada's expense.

We have a far less environmentally disastrous alternative:

One thing that hasn't been talked about much is the fact that deep water aquifers tend to have a lot of dissolved salts in them. There could be substantial additional costs for water treatment. The Nevada groundwater from deep aquifers may have to be desalinated.

Desalinated? Hey wait a minute. If we're going to have to desalinate the water anyway, why not just desalinate sea water. Las Vegas could build desalination plants off the coast of California and trade that water for a bigger allotment of Colorado River water. This has got to be cheaper than drilling, pumping, piping, and desalinating Nevada water.

So, why wouldn't SNWA want to desalinate sea water? The answer is simple. Why pay to desalinate sea water, when you can get paid for taking water from Rural Nevada? Why increase the supply of fresh water, when you can claim that water is scarce? Why go begging to California, when you can push Rural Nevada around?

Considering the legal morass we call water law, SNWA's options may be limited, however. California is presently taking three times its allotment of water from the Colorado River, and is fighting tooth and nail to keep it. I've heard rumors that Californians are even watering their dry lake beds (to keep dust down – and air quality standards up – to get highway funds). California farmers are taking as much water as they want with impunity – and they somehow have control over Hoover Dam's floodgates. Lakes Mead and Powell are being emptied because of this water greed. But suspiciously, all of the lakes downstream of Lake Mead are near capacity. Because of this, it's very likely that SNWA believes that California will do whatever it takes, right or wrong, to get as much water as they can take. There is a possibility that if SNWA were to desalinate water for California; the communities on the coast would just take the desalinated water, while the farms near the Colorado River would just keep taking more than their allotment. Apparently, when it comes to water, it's a jungle out there.

But wait a minute. This is America. We pay taxes to our Federal Government to enforce the rule of law, not the law of the jungle. Our Department of Interior is supposed to see that reasonable rulings apply. And this one is a no-brainer. The whole world is short of water, and there's plenty of water in the oceans. Simple common sense would lead America to the desalination of sea water. So, why is the Department of Interior (DOI) promoting the draining of our groundwater reserves? This is not just an environmental issue. This is not just a long term economic issue. This is a National Security issue.

We have a possible illicit scenario:

Maybe the Department's own inspector general, Earl Devaney can explain. He recently testified that “Short of a crime, anything goes at the highest levels of the Department of the Interior.” That could explain why common sense doesn't seem to matter.

Corruption may help to explain why the DOI ordered the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to drop their protests to the GWD water grab. The BIA didn't even get to consult with us Indians before they did what they knew every one of us would be against. Many very dedicated and ethical front line Government employees put in a lot of work into these protests to show that the water grab was a bad idea, and they were ordered to stand down. There is no reasonable explanation. Could it be that officials of the Department of Interior just give in to the biggest bully, or are some of them on the take? Either way, it would mean that the right decisions are not being made. If so, maybe Rural Nevada should be more angry with the Department of Interior than Southern Nevada.

Whatever the circumstances, SNWA has decided to emulate Los Angeles with their water grab of Owens Valley. SNWA is buying up as many ranches in Spring Valley as they can. Southern Nevada has far more political influence in the State of Nevada than these Rural areas, and they are using it. Their head, Pat Mulroy, has even implied that SNWA will use their political influence to fire the State Engineer if his water ruling doesn't suit SNWA's desires. And what do they want? Tens of billions of dollars worth of water, under other people's feet, for free.

With the latest technology, there is a better way; offshore desalination powered by wave energy. I roughly estimate the cost to be about $3 billion to $6 billion (and you wouldn't ever have to pay for power or fuel) – far less than the $25 billion the GWD pipeline and coal fired power plant might end up costing (and this estimate excludes the price of coal, which over the course of decades, would raise the price of the GWD by billions). Of course, this is a bigger issue than just convincing SNWA to do the right thing. This won't work if we can't fix the Department of Interior. People of influence have already fixed politics in their favor – and will resist real reforms, to keep their profits coming in. It will take millions of us, actively participating in the day to day operations of our Government, to fix things.

In my opinion, we are witnessing systematic corruption at the highest levels. And if we continue to allow illicit profits to be more important than doing the right things, collapse of our system is inevitable. Moreover, the collapse of our environment will go hand in hand with it – leaving us with no alternatives in the future.

Friday, December 01, 2006

How to Stop the Construction of Coal Power Plants

Everyone write this letter:

To my electric power company,

I draw the line here. This is my commitment. My future power will be generated by sustainable and safe technology. I am considering no longer purchasing power from your company. I am considering installing my own power generation equipment. I am considering helping others build and install their own windmills and solar panels. And I am even considering supporting, or even helping start local alternative energy companies all over the country.

It doesn't have to be this way. You can do the right thing – and build alternative power generators instead of coal fired power plants. Personally, I'd rather not be bothered with having to generate my own power. But I will not continue to support a system that perpetuates the production of tons of deadly pollution, strip mining ecocide, and Global warming devastation.

You haven't fooled me, with your “clean” coal stories. I know that 90% of the coal fired power plants in America's immediate plans for construction are not even close to clean – and that nobody has yet to build even one truly “clean” coal power plant.

You haven't fooled me with your “cheap” coal stories. Once we build all of these coal fired power plants, and commit to decades of coal dependency, it's obvious the price of coal will go up – and in fact, there's a substantial risk of Enron style price gouging.

You also haven't fooled me with your “cheaper than alternative energy” stories. We taxpayers are stuck with the bills for all of the subsidies and tax breaks that make coal fired power plants appear cheaper. If our government had any common sense, coal would be heavily taxed and alternative energy would be subsidized. Someday soon, this will happen, and coal won't be so cheap anymore. But most importantly, no matter how cheap coal may appear on your ledgers, we all know that coal is far more expensive to everyone and every thing on Earth in the long run.

Much more than your bottom line is at stake – but your bottom line is at stake. Your decision to build coal fired or alternative power generators will determine my, and many others' decision to purchase power from you. Please, make the right decision. And don't try to fool me with nuclear power until you've figured how not to generate nuclear waste.

Thank you,

Address __________________________________


City, State, Zip _____________________________

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Accurate Pen

What we have here is the greatest opportunity ever in history – and it only involves you writing a couple of letters.

We have an opportunity to avert the worst disaster humanity has ever witnessed – Global warming and mass ecocide. That's right, we can make a difference. We must at least try. This is critically important. Our efforts might even avert what could end up being the last straw for our civilization. Let's face it, every civilization before us has collapsed. Are we next? It's starting to look like it. Will it happen soon? I don't believe that it has too.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it won't be the worst disaster in human history. But, all indicators are that global warming is really bad – and if it gets as bad as some scientists predict, it could lead to mass extinctions (an article in National Geographic suggests as many as a million species). Let me remind you that humanity is not above being one of those species slated for extinction.

So, we've barely recorded a rise in the Earth's temperature, and we get hurricane Katrina – and all the others, including a big typhoon in China just a few of months ago (that wreaked far more havoc than Katrina).

In the Oceans, increased hurricane severity isn't the only sign. Seventy percent of the Oceans' coral is sick, dying, or dead. Red tides and dead zones have popped up from out of no where.

Allow me to speculate for a moment; but if we can heat the atmosphere, and we can heat the oceans, maybe we can heat our Earth's crust too. If so, maybe even the Tsunami of 2004 was avoidable. If so... expect more.

Just how bad does it have to get before we notice and take action?

I think most of us already know that burning coal for power has been very bad for the environment. We also know that it is an avoidable process. Neither wind, solar, geothermal, wave, or tidal generators produce any greenhouse gases. And, alternative power generators have no equivalent of the smoking trains or barges that deliver coal – and the smoking bulldozers, loaders, and trucks that mine coal. In spite of what the coal companies try to tell us, the technology for alternative energy is available here and now. There are existing examples of all of these alternative power generation methods, making a profit, somewhere on the planet. I have listed some of them on other entries of my blog. And no, I haven't listed supposedly "clean" coal.

Even if the coal power industry built only “clean” coal plants – and they have yet to build even one, there is still this matter of strip mining ecocide. Or, as Discover magazine quotes a local from the Appalachian coal mining area; “Even if you could get marshmallows to come out of a power plant's smokestacks, you can't wash the blood off coal.”

But what can we do?... We can assert ourselves. The most important thing Americans can do now is let our power companies know how unhappy we are that they intend to build more coal fired power plants. We are the customers. We make the decisions. And we've decided that this is a bad idea.

The time is now. The opportunity may be passing us by. Because; after they've started construction – once they've spent real money, it will be ten times harder to stop them.

Actually, I've been a little lazy so far, myself. I would rather pay a reasonable bill and turn on a switch to get my power. But, this is losing its appeal to me. I don't want to be responsible for Global warming, pollution, and destructive mining practices. If they build a coal fired power plant near me, I won't buy any of their power. I'll put up my own windmills and solar panels. And I'll store the energy, either in flywheels or generate hydrogen... I really don't want to bother, but I will. And there are probably millions of others, maybe even you, who feel the same way.

The problem for the power companies is that they don't know what our tipping point is. They don't know when we'll decide that we've had enough. They don't know how close they are to driving us away as customers. We need to let them know – before they spend billions of dollars on out-dated, polluting, water wasting power plants – that we won't buy power from.

Write you local power company, and let them know where you stand. Many of the people within that company want to build alternative energy generators. Give them a stronger voice.

Imagine, just writing a letter could change history. This is your opportunity to change the power companies' minds, and maybe even save our civilization. Together, we have far more influence than you ever thought possible. Tell others. E-mail your friends. Notify organizations that you think might care. Post it on your blog, website, MySpace, or YouTube. But, do it now. This opportunity won't last long.

Just think, if enough people write their power companies, we could force them to stop the construction of all the coal fired power plants in the US – and significantly slow Global warming.

Here is a sample letter. Cut and paste it into your letters if you like.


To whom it may concern;

I am considering no longer purchasing power from your company. I am considering installing my own power generation equipment. I am considering helping others build and install their own windmills and solar panels, once I have mine up and running. I am even considering supporting local alternative energy companies.

It doesn't have to be this way. You can do the right thing and build alternative power generators instead of coal fired power plants. Personally, I don't want to be bothered with having to generate my own power. But I will not continue to support a system that perpetuates the production of tons of pollution, Global warming, and strip mining ecocide.

You haven't fooled me, with your “clean” coal stories. I know that 90% of the coal fired power plants that are in America's immediate plans for construction are not even close to clean.

You haven't fooled me with your “cheap” coal stories. Once we build all of these coal fired power plants, and commit to decades of coal dependency, it's obvious the price of coal will go up.

And you also haven't fooled me with your “cheaper than alternative energy” stories. We taxpayers have to pay for all of the subsidies and tax breaks that make coal fired power plants appear cheaper. If our government had any common sense, coal would be taxed and alternative energy would be subsidized. Someday, this will happen. And who will pay? The ratepayers.

I draw the line here. This is my commitment. My future power will be generated by sustainable and safe technology.

Much more than your bottom line is at stake – but your bottom line is at stake. Your decision to build coal fired or alternative power generators will determine my, and many others' decision to buy power from you. Please, make the right decision.

Thank you,

Rick Spilsbury

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What They Actually Think About "Clean" Coal

This is a picture of the Mojave Generating Station, near Laughlin, Nevada. As you can see, there is absolutely no pollution coming out the the smokestack... The reason you don't see anything, however, is because this coal fired power plant has been shut down.

The owners of this plant would rather shut it down than upgrade the pollution control equipment. Here's an indicator of what they really think about “clean” coal.

Of course, the power companies didn't actually shut it down on their own. They were forced to – after they lied in 1999 that they would put on the equipment... and after 6 years, still hadn't.

What? The coal industry lied!!! Need I be more sarcastic?

(Side note: This plant was one of the dirtiest emitters of mercury in the country. But the pollution control equipment wouldn't really have helped that.)

Ironically, in a way, I somewhat agree with the coal fired power industry. I feel that the pollution control equipment would been more or less a waste of money. All it would have done is transfer the pollution problem to the ground. Since it's physically impossible to make these poisons disappear with scrubber technology, all they would have accomplished would have been to keep them out of the air and concentrate them in a sludge pond.

Will sludge ponds leak? Absolutely. There is no such thing as a perfect container – and sludge ponds are far from perfect. 75% of US coal fired power plants use unlined, unmonitored landfills and surface impoundments.

The Mojave Generating Station may be shut down (for now), but the poisons it released will be here for us to deal with for a very long time... You can see this plant's sludge ponds in the picture (but you can see they're actual size much better on Google Earth). And, just in case you hadn't noticed, those “surface impoundments” (sludge ponds) are less than a mile from the Colorado River.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Much Much More Expesive Coal Plants

Hey! Is anybody out there paying attention? The CEO of Duke Energy just announced that the cost to build one of their coal fired power plants just increased by 50% - up one billion dollars! And the cost to build one of their ““clean”” coal plants almost doubled.

I'm no economist, but I would think that's bad for business. Yet, somehow, Duke Energy's stock is up... Oh... yeah... They don't have to pay the extra billion dollars... taxpayers and ratepayers do.

Guess what? When you try to rush through the construction of over a hundred coal fired power plants, you end up with a sellers' market. The CEO of Duke Energy put it well: “Part of the cost increases is just because (these firms) can do it right now.”

Did he mean “do it”... or do us?

Think about it. For an extra billion dollars, you could build a lot of windmills and solar panels.

My guess is that, if Congress doesn't pass another Energy Bill pork barrel giveaway (with billions in subsidies for coal) – the coal industry won't be competitive. You know, you can call me a dreamer, but my dream is that someday we pass an Energy Bill that gives subsidies to wind and solar instead.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Windmills - When There Is No Wind

Inevitably, and reasonably so, the point is made; “So, with windmills, what do you do when the wind doesn't blow?” There are a number of possible options:

  1. The first answer, the answer the coal industry wants you to think is the only answer; is to buy power from coal fired power plants. Even if this were the only answer, we could greatly reduce our pollutants and the use of our precious water most of the time.

  2. The second answer is that we could buy power from windmill farms from far away where the wind is blowing. This is a huge country. Somewhere, the wind is always blowing.

  3. We could also rely on solar power. Don't let them BS you about the price of solar power. The cost of solar power has dropped significantly due to new technology. Solar power is competitive now.

  4. We could store the energy. That's right, there are a number of ways we could generate excess energy, and store it for the days with no wind. Now; the first thing you will hear from the naysayers is that batteries won't work. I agree. Let's move on. What I recommend are flywheels. They store energy in a rotating mass – which can be easily recovered on quiet days without reliance on power generators from anywhere else. They are essentially available off the shelf. They're non-polluting. And their producers claim that they are 90% efficient!

So, as you see now, days without wind would not mean days without power. Some combination of all of these options (and maybe some others) will ensure that we always have enough electrical power on hand.

Picture this:

If Nevada were to generate our power using a combination of wind and solar – with flywheels storing energy for times when it is calm and dark; we would use no water, we would not pollute, and the cost of our energy would never go through the roof (because wind and sunlight will always be free).

We can wait for this day to someday happen, or we can do it now. The technology already exists. All we have to do is buy it and install it. Don't let them BS you about the cost. Sure, they'll profit more if we use dirty, low tech coal. But, their creative accounting is all lies. They leave out the costs to us; the health costs, the environmental costs, the loss of our community's water, the loss of our attraction to new residents, and the temporary nature of this type of power generation. The coal fired power people intend to use us, abuse us, and leave us with the mess to clean up. It doesn't have to be this way.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Even the Power Company admits wind is cheaper

High Country News published an article in it's May 2005 issue titled The Great Energy Divide about the challenges consumers face in getting their OWN power companies to build windmills instead of coal fired power plants.

Although an initiative had been voted for by Coloradans, the power companies hadn't made any plans to build any windmills, and kept right on planning to build a number of new coal fired power plants. Apparently, they don't believe that the customer is always right – or in the power of democracy.

One of the biggest opponents of the Colorado publics' desire for windmills has been Xcel Energy. They really want to build another coal fired power plant. But, why?

High Country News states that: “coal has its obvious appeal: It's a known technology, it's reliable and traditionally it's been cheap.

But the price of coal has been rising since 2003. Even the Powder River Basin coal ... the Nation's cheapest – is becoming more expensive. The current breakdown of price per kilowatt hour, according to Xcel's own numbers are: 3 to 4 cents for wind, (and) 4 to 5 cents for coal”

That's right, the company that will more than double its pollution emissions at its Comanche Station when it adds another coal fired power plant, could have done it for cheaper with windmills. These are there own numbers! So, what did they know back in May of 2005 that we didn't know?... They probably knew that the Energy Bill of 2005 would be passed later that year. They knew that sweetheart deals would soon be made in the back rooms of Congress, and that taxpayers would soon be footing the bill in subsidies to make coal cheaper for them again. But definitely not cheaper for us. (Taxpayers are paying the difference.) And most definitely not cheaper when you consider all of the health problems caused by coal pollution that never seem to be included in the power companies' cost accounting.

The lone windmill farm in Lamar, Colorado is owned by a Scottish company – that's right, Scottish. It's now so obvious that the US energy companies have been extraordinarily complacent when it comes to alternative energy. US energy companies don't even know how to build windmills. So, instead of trying to catch up, they've stacked the deck, they've corrupted our government, so that they can keep making profits – no matter how many people get sick, no matter how much our weather is changed, and no matter how much life on our planet dies.

And now they want even more money from us to get us dependent on coal. That's right, they think they can get away with taxpayers paying billions more to them - so that they can continue to CLAIM that coal is cheaper. Check my Nov 10 entry; "Lame Duck Legislation"

Friday, November 10, 2006

Lame Duck Legislation

The good news is; a whole bunch of corrupt politicians just lost their jobs. The bad news is; they still have their jobs till January.

That's right, a whole bunch of lame duck politicians will be looking for work come January... and they really want to impress their future employers – their present lobbyists. Be on yellow alert for some really bad spending bills in the next month.

I'll warn you about one: another Energy Bill.

In case you don't realize how bad the give away of our tax dollars to the big oil, coal, and nuclear companies the Energy Bill of 2005 was, click here. Guess what? Thanks to the Energy Bill of 2005; we got to pay them even more, right when the oil companies were making record profits.

This kind of Energy policy makes no sense whatsoever. Billions of our tax dollars subsidize fossil fuel corporations, they don't have to pay nearly their fair share of taxes and royalties, and they leave an ecological nightmare everywhere they go – for us to live with or clean up ourselves... and Bush just asked for even more for them!

In his recent address, “President” Bush has asked our lame duck congress to rush through another Energy Bill before the end of 2006. See if you can find his request buried in this fluff filled press release from Fox.

This is what information I have on the Energy Bill. It looks like they want to charge us $20 billion to make the big energy companies even richer.

... I'll let you in on a little secret. If they were competing on a level playing field, wind power would be cheaper than coal. (for more info, check my next entry)

In an ideal world, Congress' Energy Bills would support wind, solar, wave, and geothermal energy. In our world, we tax these technologies and subsidize their dirty, low-tech competition.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Department of the Inferiors?

How could those bureaucrats in Washington ignore their own people in the field, and order the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to all drop their protests against the Las Vegas Water Grab? It was just wrong. It ought to have been illegal. But, it was also just the tip of the iceberg... That's right, there's much more.

Check out the news releases on the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility website. The list goes on and on. If it weren't for people like the ones who ultimately work for the Department of the Interior, and still have the nerve to stand for what they feel is right – we wouldn't even know about most of these subjects.

Most recently, there have been two scandals at the Department of the Interior (DoI). I'll tell you the smokescreen scandal first. It's about nothing important. And its implementation was designed to aggravate conservatives, so they wouldn't notice the second scandal. The scandal I'm speaking of is, of course, the DoI internet porn scandal. Apparently, DoI employees watch too much internet porn at work. So, the DoI computers now block out all that internet porn – and a few conservative blogs... a few conservative blogs? What? Do you understand “wag the dog?” Sure, this story got a lot of press. But the real story was that honest employees of DoI are in open rebellion against the corruption they've witnessed.

Auditors for the DoI claim that, since 1998, 1.3 Billion dollars was not collected in royalties, and have taken it upon themselves to personally sue more than 20 oil companies, on behalf of taxpayers. Even the DoI's inspector General has testified that “short of a crime, anything goes” at the Department of the Interior.

Members of Congress have called for a hearing on the DoI's “pattern of corruption.” To hear their press release (which I highly recommend), Follow this link, scroll down to the player, and then scroll down ¼ of the way down the player to “House Democrats call for hearings on alleged DoI misconduct.” Yes... They are Democrats. But, somebody was going to have to do something. And the Republican “Congress has failed to oversee the corrupt activities of this administration.”

There could be as much as 80 Billion dollars at stake – money that taxpayers will have to make up for. As you might have expected, Republican Chairman Richard Pombo didn't want a hearing. But, we got one.

DoI “bungling” as Time magazine calls it, has been going on for quite some time. Some of these people go back to the Reagan years. And historically, corruption and the DoI go way, way back. Do you remember your history lessons about the Teapot Dome scandal?

Native Americans have known about the DoI for a long time. We've been trying to warn you. But since, for the past hundred years, the royalties haven't been paid to Indians – nobody paid much attention.

The Black Mesa Indigenous Support website states: “all across the nation billions of dollars in American Indian royalty funds remain unaccounted for, and many tribes are accusing the Interior Department of mismanaging the funds. The Bush administration has actually intervened in a Navajo Nation lawsuit against Peabody that produced evidence that company engaged in backdoor deals with the Interior Department and diminished Navajo royalties since 1985. A U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Interior Department violated its trust responsibility when it engaged in these deals. The Bush administration says a ruling ordering the government to make payments to the Navajo Nation to replace lost royalties would be too costly and could lead to similarly expensive rulings favoring other tribes that share royalties with other energy companies.”

Yeah... But, wouldn't that be the right thing to do? They want us to pay our taxes, don't they? I know that it “would be too costly” wouldn't work on the bottom line of my IRS form.

Hey, I have an idea. Let's replace the IRS with the DoI, tell them to keep up the good work, and we won't have to pay our taxes.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Will you vote FOR pollution?

Congressman Gibbons recently decided that mercury was no longer a poison. His report to congress stated, more or less, that one hundred years of scientific studies and health damage observed were actually wrong – and that mercury is relatively safe. His buddies in the oil, coal power and gold mining industry, of course, had nothing to do with his report... of course.

Gibbons was also involved with the Mojave Generating Station – one of the dirtiest coal fired power plants in the US. (scroll down the Jan 11, 2006 blog entry "Reveiw Journal wants to poison Ely kids with mercury" Although the companies involved (including Sierra Pacific) promised to clean up the plant in 1999, the plant was eventually shut down – because they wouldn't install the equipment that would have reduced “air” pollution.

Oh yeah, Gibbons supported the give away to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries by supporting the 2005 Energy Bill

Gibbon's opponnent, however, claims to be against pollution. Dina Titus' website states that “Dina Titus will appoint a Public Utilities Commission that enforces Nevada’s law requiring electric utilities to provide 20 percent of their power from the clean, renewable energy sources of geothermal, solar and wind power by the year 2015”

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I believe that:

Religious texts should be appreciated more for their beauty than their authority.

Historical reviews should be appreciated more for their present relevency than their patriotic expediency.

Corporate publications should be appreciated more for their hidden motivations than their dubious "facts."

And political speeches should be ignored... Don't watch the lips, watch the hands.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A Vote For Real Democracy

This is not a Democrat or a Republican thing. This is not a conservative or a liberal thing. That's the spin. That's how they keep us arguing amongst ourselves.

No, this time it's literally about the integrity of our democracy. This time it's about fairness. This time it's about true freedom and justice. This time it's about what America really stands for.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote an article, titled Was The 2004 Election Stolen?, published in the June 15, 2006 issue of Rolling Stone. In the article, he wrote of Nevada; “Sproul & Associates, a GOP-paid consultancy, shredded Democratic voter registrations... Electronic voting machines in the state's two most populous, Democratic-leaning counties recorded no presidential vote on 10,000 ballots.” Exit polls in Nevada showed Kerry leading by 7.5%, yet Bush won Nevada by 2.6%. This is statistically unheard of – and it happened in a number of States.

Your side may have won the election in 2004. But, if they had to cheat to win; no one really wins. Would you be willing to lose your Democracy for your side to win? If you are; remember, someday the tables will turn on you. Majority rule (with strong minority rights) is a flawed and imperfect way to govern – but, minority rule (with few majority rights) is much worse.

The Secretary of State Project states: “Katherine Harris. Ken Blackwell... these two Secretaries of State,” (of Florida and Ohio) “each chair of Mr. Bush's presidential campaigns in their respective States, made damaging partisan decisions about purging voter rolls, registration of new voters, voting machine security, the location of the precincts, the allocation of the voting machines, and dozens of other critical matters”

In recent pivotal elections, Republicans have relied upon their control of the Secretary of State position to dramatically influence voting and to block implementation of voter-verified paper trails. The results have been catastrophic for the nation.”

The Secretary of State Project recommends Ross Miller for Secretary of State in Nevada. Click here to read why.

Shall We Let Desperation or Hope Be Our Motivation?

In the past two days, I have been to two upscale restaurant openings, and a meeting with the candidates for the local elections. The food was great, and the restaurants' atmosphere was better than I had ever enjoyed in the town of Ely. However, at the meeting with the candidates, I felt that some of the incumbent candidates still felt that they were living in the old Ely.

Like many old Western mining towns, Ely has had to live with the desperation of the local mine closing. When times were bad, it wouldn't have been difficult to wonder if Ely would end up another Nevada ghost town. But it didn't happen. Although the local economy is still heavily dependent upon the mine, money is coming in from tourism and growth of the retirement community.

I have been predicting for the past five years that Ely was on the verge of an economic renaissance. It didn't take a crystal ball. The town is about as far away from the big city as you can get in the United States. There are no freeways. There is no Wal Mart. There is no smog. People recognize you when you walk down the street – and you're not afraid to walk down the street. Millions of city people would love to live like this. It was just a matter of time before people started moving here.

As a relatively new resident myself, I recognize some things that the locals may not see. This place is beautiful. And unlike most of the rest of the country, so much of this vast area is so pristine.

The town is growing, ever faster – because it is such a nice place to be. The infrastructure to support a tourism industry is developing too. Just stop by Maggie's for a meal, and you'll see what I mean. So, why cripple what we have, and what we can create; for dangerous, antiquated coal fired power plants – that we don't even need?

Think about it. In just a few years, we will stop building coal fired power plants. Face it, they're dirty. Their effluents are poisonous. Clean coal is an oxymoron. This attempt to shove through over a hundred coal fired power plants onto America, is a last ditch, desperate attempt to force consumers into a dependency on coal. America will eventually catch on. Hopefully, White Pine County will catch on before our homeland is despoiled.

Yes, coal fired power plants will bring in a few hundred jobs (most of them temporary). But a beautiful and healthy homeland will eventually attract thousands of new residents and hundreds of thousands of tourists.

Ely is on the verge of becoming a major stop on a tour of the West. Think of it; San Francisco to Lake Tahoe, to Ely, to Moab, and on to either Crested Butte, Durango, Santa Fe, or the Grand Circle, and maybe Vegas. I'm not speculating. This is already happening.

So, how do we want to perceive our situation? Do we want to see our community through the eyes of the desperation of our past... or hope for our future?

White Pine County doesn't need coal fired power plants to be prosperous. But, if we have the sludge ponds and the smog, and no water, what will make us unique from the rest of the country? If we lose what makes this place special, people will stop coming here. Nevada is not a wasteland... unless we permit it to become one.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Owens Valley Water Grab

You've probably heard of the Owens Valley water grab. Where, for the last century, Los Angeles has been taking water from what was once a beautiful, fertile valley. It looks like Las Vegas read their playbook - and intends to do the same with Rural Nevada.

Here is the attorney for Owens Valley, Greg James, to explain breifly the history of the Owens Valley water grab, and what we may be able to do to keep the worst from happening.

Click here to the see the video.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Big Coals' Dollars at Work

On my google search of “coal” today I came across two news stories. In my opinion:

This is the story.

This is the spin.

Neither news story lies. But the first story is breaking, and tells of likely corruption of the system that we trust to oversee our energy, economic, and environmental future – while the other story is a general overview that lacks critical inquiry to the statements of those interviewed.

As an example in the second story: A coal industry rep. was quoted saying; “The coal plant of today is so much cleaner... it can be a good viable resource without really harming the environment.” There was no challenge to this statement – when even basic chemistry (the conservation of matter) states that they can't make those bad chemicals and elements disappear. Most of what doesn't go into the air will just end up concentrated in sludge ponds. And of course, nothing in the second story mentions the $132,000 in campaign donations to the Texas candidate for governor.

I warned you... in the last entry.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Now, Thank the nice Saudis for the temporary price cuts

Aren't you glad that gas prices are down? Good.
Aren't you suspicious that they're down just before the U.S. Elections? Maybe you should be.

The New York Times reports that “OPEC did away with its quotas last year when its members pumped at maximum capacity”... this was “the highest level in more than 25 years.”

Thanks OPEC... I think.
Everybody in the oil businesses made a killing last year. I guess I can't blame you for selling as much oil as could at that price. Yet, by producing as much oil as you did, oil prices eventually did come down. Which means that we should only expect that you cut production now.

OPEC has agreed to cut production by 1million barrels a day. But, the details still need to be worked out. The actual production cuts will likely take effect some time after the U.S. midterm elections.

How convenient...

Now, some of you might see this as some kind of conspiracy to keep Bush's friends in office. Well, it is true that the Bush family and the House of Saud go way back, and that Saudi investment in Bush businesses have been very helpful. Also, the Saudis do pretty much control the direction of OPEC. But that does not mean that the Saudis want to influence American politics.

So, just relax. Have a beer. Check to see what's on cable.... It was all a coincidence that our oil inventories are up just before our elections. It was just a coincidence that gas prices will be at their lowest just before our elections. If you turn on a channel and see Bob Woodward (you know, that boring guy who broke the Watergate story way back in prehistoric times), change the channel. He's just going to irritate you with some lame story about the Saudi ambassador promising George Bush Jr. (way, way back in 2004) that Saudi Arabia would cut oil prices before the November elections.

I usually don't write about foreign affairs on this blog. But I feel it is important that we realize that the domestic coal companies will try to influence our government too... if they can get away with it. Sure, the price of coal is cheap now. But don't expect it to be cheap once we have committed our power generation facilities to decades of buying coal. Suppliers will charge as much as they can. That's just capitalism. And, like in some convoluted game of (create your own rules) Monopoly; they will play us for all they can get. To them, that's just effective business tactics.

And Remember: If we now had the alternative energy infrastructure that President Jimmy Carter had tried to build; by now, thirty years later, it's likely we wouldn't care about the price of oil. Someone didn't want that to happen. Someone wanted us to be dependent upon oil. Someone now wants us to be dependent upon coal.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Four Recommendations for Southern Nevada

Sometimes you don't get a second chance to do the right thing.

Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) is faced with a difficult predicament. They have been charged with the task of getting more water... in the desert. They may as well have been assigned to pull a rabbit out of a hat. But, they can do it, at least for a while, by sucking every drop they can take from their neighbors. Of course, it's quite obvious that this would be very, very wrong.

Southern Nevada doesn't have to repeat the destruction of Owens Valley. We have learned so much in the century since the Los Angeles water grab. We have other options. We have the technology. All we need is the will.

What I recommend is a multi-faceted approach that addresses as many issues as possible related to water in the Southwest deserts. We will have to do more than just go get more water. We will have to figure out a coordinated plan that will help everyone, without ruining the environment of our homeland. I have four suggestions:

1. This is a complex issue, in part because Nevada and US water law is too complex for it's own good. Apparently, back when water laws were written; all that mattered were that those writing the laws got their cut. Those who take the water have all the rights. Therefore, the big users of water have too much to lose to want to reform the system. Good. The big water users shouldn't be the ones to reform the system anyway. That's what got us into this mess.
For instance; right now, California is taking three times it's allotment from the Colorado River – while Las Vegas has been limited to a tiny fraction of what California is alloted. And apparently, California's lawbreaking water wasters can't be stopped... at least not until Lakes Powell and Mead are empty. And then, when there isn't any more water to take, it won't be our pathetic laws that stop them. (This scenario might be far more likely than most of us think. I've heard rumors that Lake Powell could be empty within five years.)
We need to reform the Department of the Interior – now! And not the kind of reforms we've been seeing recently in Washington, where things actually get worse. We need to be able to enforce the present water agreements, or change them.
Our water laws are out of touch with the present day reality of millions of people living in the desert. Simply put; the first to waste the water should not be the ones to have the water.

2. Since Southern Nevada can't... or at least won't... go without water – we need to find another source. The Ocean seems like a good place to look – and I understand that , due to Global warming, the sea level is going up. For that very reason, I would think twice about constructing a big desalination plant too close to the coast. It might end up underwater. However, there is another option that has barely been considered.
SNWA could mass produce a fleet of barges with cruise ship desalination units, available off the shelf, powered by wave energy – that could be built as needed. The fresh water generated could be made available to California as a trade for a bigger allotment of the Colorado River.
The primary argument against this is that desalination is too expensive. Let me remind you that the price of desalination is dropping. It is far cheaper than just a few years ago, and the technology keeps improving. A report from SNWA showed desalination as just slightly more expensive than the proposed pipeline network. What the report didn't show is that the pipeline network relies on coal fired power plants. It is inevitable that the price of coal will rise – but the price of waves will always be free. Eventually, wave powered desalination will be cheaper. It may already be. Of course, if you consider all of the costs to the effected communities and environment, there would be no question. When you consider all of the real world costs, desalination is already cheaper than the pipeline.

3. Conservation. Conservation. Conservation. A fifth of the world's population survives on less water in a day than you use to flush your toilet – once. To these people, we waste a huge amount of water. But, it would be silly for me to ask anyone to live like they do. You won't, and I don't blame you. My point is that when we talk about conservation in Las Vegas, anyone who has ever been there knows that water conservation is not at the top of their priority list. So much could be accomplished.
The good news is that Southern Nevada essentially recycles almost all of the water that goes down their drains. So, conservation of water used indoors is not that big an issue.
What is a big issue is what goes on outside. Most of the irrecoverable water losses are due to evaporation. Since almost no farming exists in Las Vegas, almost all of these water losses are from luxury uses of water – lawns, pools, lakes, fountains, etc. If Southern Nevada could get genuinely serious about desert landscaping and conservation of water used outdoors, they wouldn't need more water.

4. We need to invent less thirsty crops. That's right. Southern Nevada needs to get into the farming business. Don't expect Southern California's farmers to finance crop development when they can just get Colorado River water for next to nothing.
The technology to perform high tech selective breeding (called super-organics by Wired magazine) could be funded at UNLV by taxes levied on new construction in the Southwest Desert. Since UNLV is not significantly funded by the big agricultural companies, the school's researchers would be more independent than established agricultural programs at other universities. This is important because the big agricultural companies are all focused on Genetically Modified Organism research – because they can patent GMOs. Since selective breeding has been around for thousands of years, you can't patent a super-organic organism. This may not be a directly profitable effort, but if we focus on the water we'll all save, it sure is. The technology for the new crops could be given away for free. The big agricultural companies may not like the competition, but I'll bet they'll be glad to utilize the technology. And the Californians who been taking more than their share? They just might not want as much water.

So, those are my recommendations – enforce our water agreements, find less environmentally disastrous sources of fresh water, and reduce our waste.

SNWA has tried to convince us that the pipeline network is the only viable option for decades into the future. And politically, it is the most expedient. Conservation, in Las Vegas, has been an uphill battle for SNWA. Desalination doesn't directly get SNWA more water. And the courts are failing Nevada at Hoover Dam.

SNWA must feel like they're between a rock and a hard place. But that's no reason to go out and make things worse. And, in the long run, drying up Nevada is not going to be good for us.

None of the options I have suggested are decades away, if we start now. All of these suggestions will have to be implemented eventually. And the price of not doing them now will be overwhelming.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Las Vegas Growth is a Sell Out

I recently read, in the local publication – the Las Vegas Tribune, that:

traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard, which is already maxed-out at 50,000 vehicles per day, could more than triple.

And tourists are already complaining... those kind of surprises will have a major impact on whether or not leisure and business travelers pick Las Vegas over other destinations.”

The article pointed out that:

seven Strip hotel-casino projects already started or planned to be built in the next four years – the Cosmopolitan, Echelon Place, Encore, Palazzo, Project City Center, Signature, and the first Trump Tower” and “another 74,000 condo units have been proposed or are under construction along the Strip”

If you ask any tourist – just go ahead and ask any of them; if they come to Las Vegas to enjoy the traffic, and would come more often if there were even more traffic? I can guess what their answer will be.

If you ask any local – nine out of ten of them will say that growth related problems are Las Vegas' biggest negatives – and are approaching unbearable.

So, why is growth such a sacred cow? Who benefits? Well, unemployed casino workers who haven't yet moved to Las Vegas would benefit. But I doubt the city fathers really give a damn about them.

Donald Trump would benefit. So, let's consider “The Donald” for a moment. “The Donald” doesn't live in Las Vegas. The big corporation behind “the Donald” isn't based in Las Vegas. The investors in the corporation behind “the Donald” most likely don't live in Las Vegas. So, it might be safe to assume that “the Donald” and his backers don't really care what happens to Las Vegas, so long as they make a killing.

Construction companies would benefit. But again, many of these construction companies are now based elsewhere. Should we build, just because building makes some people rich? I hate to quote Edward Abby. I don't agree with most of his politics. But he once said; “Growth is good, just ask any cancer.”

Is growth really good for the community? Growth was so good for Las Vegas that it chased me out of town.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

While you were being entertained by Paris Hilton and football, unscrupulous people have decided to convert Nevada into the dump site for the nation.

Norcal Waste Services, of San Fransisco, intends to send up to 4000 tons of garbage a day to Lincoln County, by rail.

The Federal Government has surreptitiously approved the transfer 4,408 metric tons of Mercury into Hawthorne.

North from Las Vegas, there is a not-so-scenic dump site right along the side of the road at the old Coyote Springs area south of Alamo.

Northwest from Las Vegas, there is a not-so-scenic low level nuclear dump site just south of Beatty.

And, of course, there is the high level Nuclear Waste Site that the rest of the nation has been trying to force upon Nevada.

At this rate, Nevada will someday be just a big dump site. I don't believe that the citizens of Nevada want this. I don't believe that this is what's best for Nevada. I don't believe that this is the way things have to be. We need to act now – or else – the wave of garbage coming into our state will become a tsunami.

But there is good news, however. Kudos to the Nevada State Supreme Court for leaving out the regulatory takings section of the measure to modify eminent domain laws. (You can see the original ballot question here.) If they had left section 8 in the measure, it would have economically prohibited our communities from being able to stop a private land owner from doing whatever they wanted with their property. On the surface, this might seem like a good idea. But, how would you like it if your neighbor decided to put in a waste dump, and there was nothing you could do about it.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Farmers Tell NV and UT Legislators Our Future

Farmers and Ranchers from Snake Valley meet with Nevada and Utah Legislators to discuss the future of the area if the Las Vegas water grab sucks away the water from under their feet.Click here to see video

Friday, September 29, 2006

Now It's Your Turn

You can still make a difference. The State Engineer with the Nevada Division of Water Resources has not yet made his ruling. You can still submit comments about the water grab in the US mail. You have until the end of October, 2006.

Let them know how you feel. Let them know what you think needs to be done. Hey, if you like something I've printed on my blog, go ahead and copy it and send that to them.

Let your voice be heard. This is essentially your last chance to see that the State makes the right decision.

Please... write to Tracy Taylor.

You can use this format:

Tracy Taylor, P.E.

State Engineer

Nevada Division of Water Resources

901 South Stewart St., Suite 2002

Carson City, NV 89701

Dear Mr. Taylor:

Here are my comments regarding the Southern Nevada Water Authority water applications in Spring Valley, White Pine County, Nevada. Please make my comments part of the official record, and consider them when making your decision.

Thank you.




Your Name





Phone/email (optional)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Las Vegas has a number of man made lakes that contribute significantly to the evaporative losses that Southern Nevada Water Authority has to deal with.

As I have mentioned; if Southern Nevada could reduce its evaporative losses from luxury water use, they wouldn't need to take water from the rest of the state.

Offshore Desal Is Better

In my video commentary to the Nevada State Engineer concerning the Southern Nevada Water Authority water grab applications, I stated that I would be sending them more information about desalination and new developments. This is what I sent:

Science magazine has just reported that:

A water desalination system using carbon nanotube-based membranes could significantly reduce the cost of purifying water from the ocean... The new membranes, developed by researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), could reduce the cost of desalination by 75 percent, compared to reverse osmosis methods used today”

The researchers estimate that these membranes could be brought to market within the next five to ten years. They claim:

"The challenge is to scale up so we can produce usable amounts of these membrane materials” ... and the fabrication process is "inherently scalable."

Actually, desalination is already much cheaper than just a couple of years ago. A company called Aqualyng is claiming energy consumption rates of 2.0 kWh/M3 – half that of some others.

So far, to my knowledge, SNWA has not even considered a fleet of offshore, wave powered, desalination barges.

Back when Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) compared a pipeline to desalination, they assumed that a Big Factory type of desalination plant would be the best option. Typically, due to economies of scale, bigger plants generally make cheaper fresh water. But, SNWA made their comparisons before new membrane designs, new wave power generators, and lower energy use desalination units (for ships) were available. In other words, things have changed significantly – quite recently. Nowadays, a Big Factory type of plant isn't nearly as good an option as designers once thought. And mass produced smaller plants, operating offshore, might be a much better option.

A Big Factory desalination plant has a number of costs, impacts, and risks that can be avoided by utilizing a Barge Armada of desalination units with wave generated power. For instance:

  1. A big plant is a big commitment, with the risk that you overbuilt – or better technology will leave your plant obsolete. Whereas, a fleet of small, offshore barge desalination plants can be built as needed, utilizing the latest technology.

  2. A big onshore plant would need acres and acres of beach front property to build a massive facility, canals, and pipelines – and typically, a massive onshore coal fired power plant (which has been the only option considered). A barge armada would only need dock front property to house the facility to assemble and repair the desalination units and wave power generators – just big enough to hold a few barges.

  3. Construction and maintenance costs for an intake canal for a big onshore desalination plant would likely range from $5 million to $40 million. But, barges would need no intake canal – since the barges would be about 3 miles out to sea.

  4. An onshore plant would require more pre-filtering than offshore barges.

  5. The costs for a pipeline to distribute tons of brine offshore would be about 10% of construction costs for a big onshore plant. However, since the barges would be already offshore, and the plants on each barge are small enough not to effect local sea salinity, no pipeline would be necessary.

  6. Industry experts estimate that power expenses will amount to about 30% of total costs for a big, onshore desalination plant. But, the risk in projecting these estimates is high. The price of coal will likely go up. The price of electricity will likely go up. And, just in case you don't remember Enron, these expenses could go way up, fast. If, however, you generated your own power, from waves; you're set. The price of waves will always be free.

  7. As mentioned earlier; new, lower pressure Reverse Osmosis membrane technology has been developed that could lower the energy costs of desalination by 75%. But the membranes, so far, are small. As they are scaled up, Big Factory desalination plants would have to wait the longest for the technology. Conversely, small desalination plants would be the first to benefit. The spare electric power generated by the wave generators could then be sold, turning power costs into power profits.

There's more. A Barge Armada is far less vulnerable to earthquake, tsunami, and terrorist damage. They also have far less negative impacts on beach communities. Giant sea snakes and boats far off in the distance would be far more welcome than a big factory plant and a big power plant.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Water Grab on Eyewitness News

Las Vegas' CBS Eyewitness News aired two very informative reports on the water grab - and some of the alternatives Las Vegas has.

Here are the links to the reports:

Rural Residents Battle Southern Nevada Water Grab

Water Proposal Has Many Skeptics

Monday, September 18, 2006

Desalination is Better than Desertification

This video is of my input to the Nevada State Engineer concerning the Southern Nevada Water Authority applications for Rural Nevada water - the water grab.

Click here to see the video.

Is the Department of the Interior corrupt?

So, why did the Department of the Interior order the BLM and National Park Service to drop their protests (based upon science) of the Southern Nevada Water Authority's applications for Rural Nevada water rights? And why did they order the Bureau of Indian Affairs to drop their protests without even consulting us Indians?

Did they think that they somehow understood the big picture better than those of us who deal with these issues every day? Did they assume that all of these protests should be dropped, even though the Nevada State Engineer allowed them?

I don't think so. In fact, the truth may just show us how corrupt our government has become.

The New York Times has reported that “the Interior Department's chief official responsible for investigating abuses and overseeing operations accused the top officials at the agency on Wednesday of tolerating widespread ethical failures, from cronyism to cover-ups of incompetence.”

Check out this article

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Freedom Should Not Mean Corporate Anarchy 3

Part 3 of 9

There's a reason these companies want to put their power plants as far away from their own communities as possible.

This is burning coal. Where there's fire, there's smoke. Face the obvious fact, burning coal can never really be clean. Air pollution from dirty power plants cause nearly 30,000 early deaths in the U.S. each year. And, guess what? They'll be burning cheap, dirty coal – in the biggest power plant in the state's history. Rural Nevada can expect filthy skies from methane, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, ammonia, sulfur dioxide (which leads to acid rain), and of course, carbon dioxide (which leads to global warming). We're not talking just a little carbon dioxide here. Coal fired power plants accounted for one third of the U.S. total carbon dioxide emissions. Coal emits 29% more carbon per unit of energy than oil, and 80% more than natural gas. Just a typical, average sized coal fired power plant emits, in a year, as much carbon dioxide as burning 160 million trees.

That's right, we're not just talking about ruining the environment of Rural Nevada (which we might already be beginning to see with the infestation of the pine beetle, no longer kept in check by our cold winters of the past). No, we're now talking about our American Government ignoring the Kyoto Treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions, which the rest of the world has agreed to. We've submissively allowed our big businesses to go full speed ahead at cranking up the world's thermostat. We've already seen:

more destructive hurricanes

polar ice caps and permafrost that are the smallest on record

simultaneous forest fires and wild fires worldwide

numerous species being driven closer to extinction,

including extensive damage to the world's coral reefs (of which only 30% are still considered healthy)

an increase in the size of ocean "dead zones"

and oceans that are becoming more acidic and rising 50% faster than in previous decades.

This all sounds worse than the scenario from any disaster movie. But there's more. Of the 928 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles about global warming published between 1993 and 2003, none ... none of them cast doubt on human caused global warming. Yet, of the 3,543 “hard news” stories between approximately the same time period, 53% of them cast doubt. We've been systematically lied to about how bad things really are.

And yes, disaster fans, there's even more. After NASA released data that 2005 was essentially the hottest year on the planet, ever on human record; “The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.” Think about this. You should be enraged! Money and power should never be more important than the future of life on this planet! We have to let the neo-conservatives know that winning a scorched Earth isn't really winning.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

What Plan?

Tom Myers – PhD, a Hydrologic Consultant, has been observing the proceedings on the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) applications for Great Basin water.

He states:

SNWA proposes to use surface water rights on their purchases to mitigate the impacts of groundwater withdrawal. Ie, they would irrigate the dried wetlands. Don't ask how they would irrigate 100,000 acres with 14,000 acre-feet, they didn't present a plan.”

Hey wait a minute. They didn't present a plan? Do they even have a plan? If SNWA has spent tens of millions of dollars on these properties, and don't have a well documented plan to mitigate impacts; that isn't really their plan.