More on the Western Governors Conference being held in Jackson, WY. . .

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Western govs to mull ways to cut pollution, slow warming, boost energy. By Robert Gehrke. The Salt Lake Tribune.

Govs hear water warning. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star Tribune.

As Brian Ertz and others have remarked, politicians dealing with resource issues seem to have stopped debated whether climate change is real, and they are planning for the future (for better or worse).

For example, if the Western governors are truly concerned about diminishing water supplies, they should try to stomp out oil shale development fast, because it will be like pouring huge amounts of water down a black hole in an arid region .

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

3 Responses to Western govs to mull ways to cut pollution, slow warming, boost energy

  1. avatar SmokyMtMan says:

    I am not automatically against exploring new areas for oil or gas if it’s done in the right place and in the right way with the public’s approval. However, I must add that I am entirely opposed to oil shale extraction.

    It requires far too much water and energy, consumes huge amounts of land, and produces incredible amounts of dangerous wastes. I certainly don’t want the American West to resemble China’s environment, and oil shale exploitation would move us far in that direction.

    I personally see no way to justify this endeavor, and I truly hope we are not so foolish as to embark down that path.

  2. avatar natehobbs says:

    The more expensive gas gets the more greedy we are going to become as a public, The sad part is that devoloping new oil projects will do little to bring down prices, we will still be in the same position with high prices and it will take years for any new facilities to come online.

    Sadly though our nation is like a crack addict and will go to any length for what appears to be a ‘cheap fix’ Drug addicts will do irrational things to buy there next hit with little concern or regard for the future. I fear our nation will make the same choices.

    A troubling article from the associated press shows a shifting public opinion on oil exploration projects versus conservation its a intresting read found here —>

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jSCEEDVYe3IJgBIJaZlDuRAu4oiQD91L9J800

    I think the key to solving this is immediate conservation and a focus on development of new technology. Washington needs to learn a new philosophy and that is that conservation makes economic sense. We need to start counting watts and getting more out of every drop of energy we consume. Hopefully our next president can issue a campaign challenge to have our nation put its scientific might into this issue, much like JFK challenged us to go to the moon. The Energy Race, rather than the space race.

    Big decisions are going to be made in the next few months. the wrong choices could be disastrous to our wild lands and our economic stability.

  3. avatar JB says:

    This is timely! I just watched a documentary called “The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream (http://www.endofsuburbia.com/), that suggested (in 2004) that we were only a few years a way from “peak oil”–the point at which we reach peak world production. It’s looking more and more like this prediction was dead on. The film was very well done and I would recommend it for anyone considering buying a home in the suburbs. However, it was a bit alarmist in nature and they did a piss poor job of discussing how conservation could help and essentially “poo-pooed” alternatives to fossil fuels without any substantive discussion.

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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