April 20, 2008 |
"Most of what follows is true. " That's the opening of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," the 1969 movie about two bandits born as the sun was setting over the mesas and buttes of the old Wild West. Morally ambiguous, the movie struck a chord with Vietnam War-era audiences who stood and cheered when Paul Newman as Butch and Robert Redford as Sundance met a hail of bullets in a dusty Bolivian town, etching the final freeze frame onto my 15-year-old heart. I didn't know it then, but the movie wrote something else there: a love of the sumptuous Western scenery, which I rediscovered on a trip last month to southern Utah.
March 4, 2011 |
A federal jury in Salt Lake City on Thursday convicted a 29-year-old environmental activist of two felonies for bidding for public lands being auctioned off to energy companies by the George W. Bush administration. Tim DeChristopher won bids in December 2008 totaling $1.79 million for more than 22,000 acres near Arches and Canyonlands national parks that the administration was offering to lease for oil and gas exploration. DeChristopher did not have the money, and he has said he bid in an attempt to delay or block the energy leases ?
March 15, 2005 |
A pair of veteran outdoorsmen have founded a new, long-distance hiking trail across the Southwest canyonlands and released a guidebook this month to help people navigate it. Named after a character in Edward Abbey's "The Monkey Wrench Gang," the 810-mile Hayduke Trail traverses Zion, Grand Canyon and Arches national parks in Utah and northern Arizona. The undesignated path follows trails, unpaved roads, cattle and game routes, ridges and washes.
August 30, 2004
It's a bit hard to fathom why the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has been planning to invest as much as $400 million in the expansion of a giant air-polluting, coal-fired power plant in Utah just as pollution-free renewable sources of electricity are coming into common use and becoming more affordable. Fortunately, Mayor James K. Hahn last week ordered the DWP to pull the plug on this dinosaur of a power plant, telling the department to spend the money on renewables instead.
August 17, 2010
Perhaps a name change is in order for some agencies under the U.S. Interior Department umbrella. These days at least two of them would more accurately be referred to as the Minerals Mismanagement Service and the Bureau of Land Mismanagement. The Minerals Management Service is charged with overseeing offshore oil and gas leases; it's the agency that failed to require a realistic emergency response plan from BP before giving its Deepwater Horizon rig permission to drill. It has also been at the center of assorted scandals involving employees who accepted gifts or solicited jobs from the oil companies they were supposed to regulate.
April 14, 2011 |
Mining claims threaten to mar the borders of 10 iconic national parks and wilderness areas, particularly the Grand Canyon, where uranium claims have increased 2,000% since 2004, according to a new report by the Pew Environment Group. Mining companies have filed claims to the rights to copper, gold and other metals in addition to uranium in areas around Mt. Rushmore, Joshua Tree National Park and other famous refuges at an increased rate in the last five to seven years because of rising global prices, the Pew report said.