REPUBS … We are a liberal island of blue in a broad sea of red on the Western Slope. We all know that. And several Republican elected officials are voicing positions at odds with some of the things we hold dearest in our area … It was at a Colorado Counties meeting in Denver recently that Commissioner Ron Henderson announced in a Public Lands Committee meeting that the Forest Service had been doing a reprehensible job on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison Forests, and that he wanted to see the public lands in his jurisdiction given to Montrose County, whom he promised would do a better job managing public lands than the Fed. That’s not a new concept. Reagan’s Secretary of Interior James Watt rolled into office with that same rhetoric of devolving the federal government lands back into private hands … Curiously, as Colorado columnist Ed Quillen of Salida pointed out in a recent Writers on the Range op-ed piece, Reagan presided over the biggest shutdown of mining in the nation’s history. His high interest rates and high unemployment policies kicked the mining industry in the teeth, and pushed the West into the nation’s worst economic performances in the early 80s. Yet, in 1984 Westerners put him back into office by wide margins, in spite of the damage to their own economies … Hopefully, more moderate Republicans and Independents will not be strayed by such anti-federal rhetoric and try to dismantle our public land agencies and privatize the West (much as the East Coast is mostly private) … I actually get along with Ron. We disagree on many issues. His habit of taking cellphone calls during meetings is annoying. But he has a good sense of humor, and can be counted on to enliven a meeting he actually participates in … Still, turning all public lands in Montrose County over the private sector is a terrible idea. And it’s unsettling hearing it argued again.
MIKE FEDEL … That’s the name of the new Repub commissioner in Ouray County, who narrowly defeated Dem Keith Meinert in the last election. Enviros got a rude wake-up from Fedel recently when he voted against endorsing the San Juan Wilderness bill that Salazar ran but was unable to get through the Congressional quagmire last session …. Activists want to resurrect it. But last time it had unanimous support from commissioners in the affected counties. This time Fedel broke ranks with Lynn Padgett (Dem) and Heidi Albritton (Repub) and said no – it shouldn’t be wilderness because it may contain rare minerals that we’ll need to mine … He coupled his negative vote with rhetoric, similar to Henderson’s, citing the interference of the Feds in local economic development.
SCOTT TIPTON … Maybe most disturbing, particularly since enviros have been trying to court our new U.S. Rep for the Third District to take up Salazar’s mantle on the San Juan Wilderness Bill, since it had had unanimous support last time around, was a statement made in a public meeting recently that Tipton did not support the wilderness bill. “He’s against it,” a conservative individual declared (who will remain unnamed).… One would hope it’s not true. But given the Repub rhetoric of two county commissioners and the anti-government leanings of Tipton, there’s a good chance our backyard wilderness proposal may be dead in the water for the next two years. At least. And maybe for a lot longer than that.
THE TALKING GOURD
Tweedledum or Tweedledee
A friend sends me this headline "China Takes Lead in Race
for Clean Nuclear Energy" with a hotkey in blue that reads:
We invented this and have sat on our hands for 35 years
even as I sit on my butt trying to juggle boards &
commissions, issues & scheduling, strategies & poetry.
Aroused, I swing the cursor & pop a reply, "Fact is,
"we're still getting radioactive poisoning reports in Europe
from eating boars & mushrooms today
thousands of miles away from Chernobyl 25 years later.
"So what some might see as 'sitting on our hands'
others might sigh as ‘exercising the precautionary principle’
i.e., to do no harm in the face of uncertain but possible threats.
"And when you say ‘clean nuclear energy’, I guess
you mean the back end of the nuclear cycle is
relatively free of carbon emissions per kilowatt hour.
"And I'm sure you don't mean the front end of the industry,
unless you've never been to the many abandoned mine & mill
properties in the West Ends of Montose & San Miguel counties.
"And actually when the hotkey suggests 'we invented this'
that's not exactly right, since we chose to go the uranium route
to nuclear instead of developing our successful thorium reactor
"at Oak Ridge, because the byproduct of uranium reactors
is plutonium and we needed that most toxic of substances
for our atomic warheads post-World War II's Hiroshima."
But I could be wrong.