While Idaho taxpayers are facing budget cuts to public education and health care, ranchers are busy writing self-serving bills to provide money for “studies” that will paper over destructive impacts of livestock grazing on sage grouse.

Last year saw thousands of people marching on the grounds of the Idaho Capital in Boise. People were marching in protest of laws that cut spending on education, gutted collective bargaining rights for unions, cut spending on important health care programs that save lives, and forced women to undergo invasive, and unnecessary medical procedures before seeking abortions. Meanwhile, lawmakers also sought to line their own pockets by trying to pass bills that would give themselves and other big landowners special hunting licenses that they could sell for exorbitant prices while giving the Idaho Department of Fish and Game the shaft.

This year ranchers have teamed up with the University of Idaho to “study” the impacts of grazing on sage grouse and have created a “Rangeland Center”. Researchers from the Rangeland Center are now asking taxpayers to subsidize these “studies” with $500,000 while everything else that helps real people gets cut to the bone.

Land grant colleges, such as the U of I have a long history of pumping out dubious studies that tout the benefits of ranching. I doubt this one will be an exception. Despite the fact that there are numerous studies that confirm the that ranching is bad for grouse, ranchers have the money, political clout and a legislature full of ranchers willing to line their own pockets by taking taxpayer money to fund these types of projects.

Will the Rangeland Center investigate the benefits of leaving grass cover for sage grouse nesting? Will it study the benefits of maintaining micro biotic soil crusts to prevent invasive annual grasses? Will it look at places like Hart Mountain Wildlife Refuge in Oregon where livestock have been absent from the landscape for 20 years and sage grouse populations have dramatically flourished while they have declined throughout the rest of the state? Doubtful, because I think the whole point of the Rangeland Center is to tout industry rather than sage grouse.

Range center to tackle fire, grazing, sage grouse issues.
capitalpress.com

Tagged with:
 
avatar
About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole, Western Watershed Project’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Coordinator, is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is also serves as a member of the board of directors for Buffalo Field Campaign and as a member of the Sierra Club Grazing Core Team.

41 Responses to Idaho ranchers want more taxpayer money for grazing “studies”

  1. avatar Gail says:

    People really need to wake up. While we value our farmers and (most) ranchers, we can’t allow the country to edify them to the degree it has. Talk about ENTITLEMENT!! Ranchers are blocking everything that is good for biodiversity, including non-lethal predator control and they don’t seem to want to make personal investments in doing what is overall best in enhancing coexistence between livestock and wildlife. They’ve gotten too big for their britches. Taxpayers take heed.

  2. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    It’s mind-boggling.

  3. avatar Joseph Allen says:

    Does anyone have figures on how much agricultural output (that which uses public lands) comes from Idaho, Montana and Wyoming (or from any of the large western states with large amounts of public land)? My guess is that output from these states is not justifiable compared to the fiscal and environmental damages inflicted on public lands. Looks like the tail is wagging the dog. Public land utilization for private commercial use, regardless of the justification, is unwarranted. I also wonder about the perverted logic of “self-made, rugged individuals” (the God, guts and guns mentality) who profess distaste for governmental programs, but seem to have their paws out for handouts in the form of subsidies.

    • avatar Ken Cole says:

      Public lands ranching, according to a General Accounting Office Report costs the American taxpayer $121,000,000 per year.

      http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05869.pdf

      Another report that calculates more than just the direct monetary costs estimates that the program costs taxpayers much more, like $500,000,000 per year.

      http://www.publiclandsranching.org/htmlres/pdf/assessing_the_full_cost.pdf

      Protecting federal lands, according to a study released last month actually increases per capita income of those living in the counties with protected lands.

      http://headwaterseconomics.org/land/protected-public-lands-increase-per-capita-income/

    • avatar Lyn McCormick says:

      The last I read, Public lands grazing by cattle producers yields less than 3% of the total beef produced in the US.

      • avatar CodyCoyote says:

        The figure I heard quoted in recent years was couched a little differently . It stated that less than 6 percent of American cattle ever set foot on public lands to graze at some point in their life.

        Wish I could remember where I got that … seems like the majority of beef ranchers in my northwest Wyoming county do use public summer range. 120 days of good mountain grass so they can grow two crops of hay in their private or leased irrigated fields. Yet a very small percentage of those cattle are ever topped off and slaughtered locally. They are feeders trucked to the Midwest or South for finishing. Nearest big packer is in South Dakota. One of the largest meat packer corporations in the nation , Cargill, just closed a plant in Plainview Texeas and laid off 2,000 workers due to the ongoing drought depleting the available cattle numbers. Two thousand workers in a city with a total population of ~ 20,000.

        Every beef cow that sets foot on public lands could be abducted by UFO’s tomorrow, and the beef market would adjust relatively quickly , since it would only be a very percent of the cattle depleted. Of course that argument won’t fly around the Northern Rockies where cattle ranching involves the sanctimony of Sacred Cows.

        Retired Senator Al Simpson from my hometown has a favorite saying: ” We have a lot of Sacred Cows in Wyoming. Some of them are even cattle….”

        • avatar WM says:

          Cody,

          ++Nearest big packer is in South Dakota. One of the largest meat packer corporations in the nation , Cargill…++

          Actually, I thought I thought most of those cows wen to Swift (formerly Monfort) in Greeley, CO, about 400+ miles to the South, with its associated finishing feedlots. The SD plant is more like 600 miles from cattle country in NW WY (forested grazing country with allotments), but certainly new and looking for cows and people to slaughter them.

          I don’t know whether it still is, but the former Monfort facility was at one time the largest single continuous operation meat processing operation in the world. Thought they relied on WY and CO cattle for inventory. Maybe things are changing. The closings in TX have alot to do with drought. Beef prices will eventually rise, and the economics of public lands grazing might get better for producers, unless drought gets worse in the NRM. A cow grown and slaughtered in an NRM state may be a nit on the landscape of total cow raising in the entire US, but it still means jobs and has importance in the WY and CO economies. So, TX loses 2,000 jobs and further north, including SD gains some, as long as folks eat beef.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            “A cow grown and slaughtered in an NRM state may be a nit on the landscape of total cow raising in the entire US, but it still means jobs”

            But for whom WM? Most jobs these days ranching related, are also family related, can you say deductions? and at what cost to what’s left of wildenerness areas and wildlife?

            BECAUSE:

            “Every beef cow that sets foot on public lands could be abducted by UFO’s tomorrow, and the beef market would adjust relatively quickly , since it would only be a very percent of the cattle depleted. Of course that argument won’t fly around the Northern Rockies where cattle ranching involves the sanctimony of Sacred Cows.

            Well stated CC :)

            • avatar Rancher Bob says:

              Nancy
              The problem is when someone says jobs you just look at those on the ranch, you need to look at the fuel deliver guys, parts store, veterinary, insurance, truckers, cattle buyers, feed and mineral salesmen, shall I go on.

              • avatar JB says:

                Bob: And you need to remember that every dollar that doesn’t get spent on beef is going to be spent on some other type of food; meaning the jobs don’t disappear, the dollars just go to different jobs.

              • avatar Louise Kane says:

                does that apply to the non consumptive sector also RB? outfitters, clothing, gear, fuel delivery, cars and the gear to hold tents, shall i go on….
                how many of these people will be affected as there are no more wolves to watch

              • avatar Nancy says:

                Okay I’m game RB, how much of that do you get to write off, as a business, each year?

                I only ask because I have a ranching friend that thinks when she wastes, in the $100’s every month in electricity, she can look forward to getting that nice check back at the end of the year, as a contributing “member” of the local electrical co-op every year.

                Shall I go on?

              • avatar Rancher Bob says:

                JB
                Your right but those jobs won’t be here. The one point no one brings up is that cows that live here eat grass and convert that grass to food. People can’t live on grass, so sure you can raise wildlife and beef.
                Louise
                No more wolves to watch? There will always be wolves to watch in the RMA. Montana news had a clip about the wolf hunt and it’s effect. One of the people interviewed was a wolf watching guide he said the hunt would not hurt his business as much as the people like you who think all the wolves are dead. So get over the hunt there will always be wolves to watch but, if only you get out there.

              • avatar Rancher Bob says:

                Nancy
                You must also belong to a co-op. And if you friend thinks she’ll get that 100 dollars back then she’s in for a shock.

              • avatar JB says:

                “Your right but those jobs won’t be here. The one point no one brings up is that cows that live here eat grass and convert that grass to food. People can’t live on grass, so sure you can raise wildlife and beef.”

                Bob:

                Many of those jobs aren’t there now! You’re right about the conversion of grass to protein; the relevant question is: what would the grass be converted into were cows not present? The answer, generally speaking, is wildlife. That wildlife, of course, can be hunted. When these animals are harvested, the money stays within the state, whereas money from “harvested” cattle goes to a variety of places, including the large corporations that process, transport, package, and sell meat products.

              • avatar Rancher Bob says:

                JB
                So it comes down to whats more valuable, right, but Montana already has a sizable wildlife watching industry and has had for years. Are these businesses getting so rich that the rest of us are waiting to jump into watching, NO. Watchers are not driving our economy, the demand is not there, no matter what the surveys say.

              • avatar JB says:

                Who said anything about watching? I was speaking to your observation that grass = cows = food for people, and money for the local economy. Well, sans cows, grass = wildlife = food for people, and money for the local economy. So it seems to me it boils down to where you want to place your priorities. Do you run federal grazing programs at a loss so that a few individuals benefit off of public lands that belong to everyone, or do you let federal grass become wildlife, which (unlike cows) are available to all?

            • avatar WM says:

              JB,

              ++And you need to remember that every dollar that doesn’t get spent on beef is going to be spent on some other type of food; meaning the jobs don’t disappear, the dollars just go to different jobs.++

              Though I don’t like public lands grazing so much, I have to disagree with your statement. But for the presence of “welfare” cows that asset would increase in value by virtue of the weight gain on the near free public grass they feed. This increases the value of the asset, and provides jobs along the way. If those grazing allotments on which those welfare cows feed, go away, it also DECREASES the value of often accompanying private ranch lands which abutt or adjacent to them. Two things happen when the welfare cow programs go away. Lost jobs, and decreased value of the ranch land. Then there are the multiplier effects of those local dollars which do not go into the economy, whenever those lost job employees/landwoners go to town to spend on goods and services for themselves or the ranch businesses. Will those be offset by other jobs in different sectors? Maybe, but I seriously doubt it. And these are reasons those states and their political machines defend the economy and the lifestyle that so many here find offensive.

              • avatar JB says:

                WM:

                I wrote: “you need to remember that every dollar that doesn’t get spent on beef is going to be spent on some other type of food…” If people don’t buy beef, they still need to feed themselves, which means their dollar WILL go somewhere else (question is, where?). Certainly it is true that it might go to someone who isn’t local; then again, how much of every dollar of beef produced in [insert western state] actually goes to people residing in that state (where were those slaughter-houses you mentioned again…South Dakota? Colorado?). And how much of this production is only possible because of large federal subsidies (i.e., outside dollars)?

                Bottom line: It’s a bullsh|t argument to say that we can’t do without ranching because of all of the ancillary economic effects. Sans public lands ranching, people still need to eat, and something will still be done with the land. Whether that something has a greater or lesser economic impact will depend upon a whole host of factors that neither you nor I can foresee.

              • avatar WM says:

                JB,

                Maybe I didn’t state my position very well. Apparently, we are focusing on different issues. Let’s try this.

                Public lands grazing of cattle or sheep CREATES economic wealth – it is essential free food for the cows. The cows eat the subsidized grass. The cows get sold, and the rancher makes money on the net gain from grazing on public lands. AND, importantly the value of the rancher’s private land is enhanced if there is available public grazing (or it’s value is decreased should public grazing be eliminated, and by the way some academics have studied and commented on this relationship, I believe).

                Some of that wealth creation from public lands likely stays in state, in the course of employing those who work for the rancher, and others benefit indirectly from purchases of goods and purchases of the ranch operation – think the local car or equipment dealer; the veteranarian, etc.

                The beef processing, at another locale is yet another component, and, yes, it may be in another state. Of course that state’s workforce benefits, as does the state’s tax coffers. OK, so some CO or SD processing operation gets more cows from some public grazing in WY or MT. It makes the beef they buy cheaper, and in regional markets may make the cost of beef slightly cheaper to the consumer. Isn’t that the idea behind crop subsidies like corn and wheat in the Midwest, making bread or Doritos cheaper?

                Again, the Western states that have these public grazing lands aren’t about to give them up without a fight, and I bet if they go, so will crop subsidies for grain farmers in the Midwest.

              • avatar JB says:

                WM:

                Indeed, that’s a slightly different issue. But one that’s also worthy of discussion. You wrote:

                “Public lands grazing of cattle or sheep CREATES economic wealth – it is essential free food for the cows.”

                I don’t think this statement is quite right. Public lands cattle grazing ALLOWS some individuals to GAIN wealth by taking advantage of a public resource. When you say it “creates” wealth by providing “free food” for cows, you are not accounting for the fact that the same land might be put to another purpose. For example, the same grasses that feed the cows could be used to feed elk, deer and bison, which also could be harvested commercially (note: though we generally frown upon such commercialization of terrestrial wildlife, we have no problem using public waterbodies to grow fish for commercial production). Some of the lands being grazed might also be used to grow trees, or provide recreational opportunities were it not for cattle.

                So yeah, public lands grazing allows some segment of the public to obtain wealth by utilizing public lands at a subsidized price. The unanswered question is: could these lands produce more wealth, or wealth that is more equitably distributed if they were put to some other purpose.

                —-

                Some here will scream at the suggestion, but I’ll bet you a beer that many (most) of the BLM land in Nevada and Arizona could generate far more economic wealth if used to produce energy via solar and/or wind.

              • avatar WM says:

                JB,

                ++The unanswered question is: could these lands produce more wealth, or wealth that is more equitably distributed if they were put to some other purpose.++

                The range of answers to this question will be highly variable, wherever there is public grazing of livestock. There may indeed be grasses in the high country which are now used by private cows that could increase elk populations. Doubtful it would affect deer since they mostly don’t eat what cows do. Bison are limited, for the most part to east of the Continental Divide. Then there is the pink elephant in the room – lack of winter range.

                While a host of wildlife might take advantage of seasonal grasses, they still mostly need to get to the low country, or valley bottoms for the critical winter months. The problem is these lands are privately owned in many instances – the very same lands that I was speaking of, a couple of posts earlier, that make the public lands grazing scenario economically viable, when looked at as a whole. Until those lands become available year round ungulate wildlife populations cannot increase substantially (we have talked before here of the need for elk feeding operations, elk fencing to keep them out of certain areas and off hiways, or landowners putting up with elk in their pastures and orchards). Who is going to pay for purchasing all this land? In the meantime, the ranchers are going to say, we need this high country grass for our cows. If our cows and sheep don’t eat it, it will go to waste, or if not that means more fine fuels that will make wildfires worse (their argument, not mine).

                Then there is the very real question of whether commercialization of terrestrial wildlife could ever pass muster with a critical public. Recall the public goes ballistic and has for the last sixty years or more when elk have migrated out of Yellowstone and get slaughtered by government or private hunters after they cross out of the Park.

                I honestly don’t know what kind of increased recreational use could occur without public grazing, or what increase in economic value might follow if it was stopped. My gut impression is very little, though from a personal preference standpoint I would support it, especially if it meant not having to dodge cow pies on some trails. ;)

              • avatar JB says:

                “The range of answers to this question will be highly variable…”

                Agreed.

                “Bison are limited, for the most part to east of the Continental Divide. Then there is the pink elephant in the room – lack of winter range…The problem is these lands are privately owned in many instances – the very same lands ..that make the public lands grazing scenario economically viable…”

                Great points, WM. So if I have you right, we’re subsidizing a very few people so they can keep wildlife off our public lands, artificially inflate the price of adjacent private lands (which the same few individuals generally own), so we collectively can produce more of a food that epidemiologists tell us we eat too much of, and these few, wealthy individuals can continue to turn a profit?

                The fundamental question to confront is: could the resource be put to a more profitable use? And I would add: could the benefits provided by these lands be more equitably distributed? If you think that public lands ranching is the best (i.e., most wealth producing) use of this land, well, you and I will have to disagree; or you will have to present me with more compelling evidence that this is the case.

              • avatar Rancher Bob says:

                JB
                One problem I see with your view is it’s cattle or wildlife a view expressed here often. In my experience you can have both cattle and wildlife, I see it every day. Wildlife does benefit from having cattle on the land, it’s about management, and it’s about large tracts of land.

  4. avatar jdubya says:

    Meanwhile in Zion we have the request to the Utah legislature, which will surely be funded, from Don Peay of SFW for $300,000 for Washington DC lobbying efforts to block wolf introductions, science studies, ESA, etc. etc. Zion has the worst funding of schools in the nation, yet we can afford this stupidity?!?

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      the 300,000 is intended to be Peays personal contract for lobbying efforts to delist wolves across the us among the other items you mention. what the f%^&# screwed up….

  5. avatar Rich says:

    Studies continue to show that the Mediterranean diet with little or no red meat is the ticket to a long and healthy life. Hopefully more people will eventually realize that and the cows can go back home. If that happens (fat chance) the health of the environment would be greatly improved as well.

    https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mediterranean-diet/CL00011/NSECTIONGROUP=2.

    http://www.womensheart.org/content/Nutrition/mediterranean.asp

  6. avatar Richie G says:

    Wait this is shocking I’m from the east,if 72 million was lost in 2001 by the famous BLM, and 52 million by the forest servive in 2000 how much to the present has been lost by our famous forest agencies alltogether until the present. I mean our house representatives talk about health care,social security,killing the post office,right now a french company viola,which got kicked out of the water supply in France and other countries is trying to privatize D.E.P./NYC and other city agencies.What happens to our poor wildlifeand the existance of this country in a natural state . Many of our representatives are liars,this is a great article Ken a great read.I did not realize how important western watersheds is to our entire nation,you help in the west,but you provide a path for other organizations to see what is really going on under our feet,to the natural state of this country.

  7. avatar Lyn McCormick says:

    Article from High Country News: cows and climate. I guess BLM received $40 million to do a comprehensive range study but when the scientists showed up they were told that the livestock stakeholder group was to be excluded from the study. I guess PEER filed a lawsuit alleging lack of scientific integrity. Here is the link:http://www.hcn.org/blogs/goat/of-cows-and-climate

    • avatar JB says:

      Lyn: Your post makes it sound like PEER was acting on behalf of livestock stakeholders who were “excluded from the study”. I’m not sure if this is a purposeful distortion, or if you just were in a hurry? What the article actually says is that scientists were told that they were NOT to look at livestock grazing as a change agent because it was opposed by the livestock industry:

      “In November 2012, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) reported that the agency had directed scientists to exclude livestock as a possible factor in changing landscapes. According to the PEER report (which filed a scientific integrity complaint against the agency):

      “Launched in 2010 with more than $40 million in stimulus funds, BLM sought to analyze ecological conditions across six “eco-regions” covering the Sagebrush West. There was only one catch: when scientists were assembled BLM managers informed them that there was one “change agent” that would not be studied – the impacts of commercial livestock grazing. BLM managers told stunned scientists the reason for this puzzling exclusion was due to “stakeholders” opposition and fear of litigation, according to documents appended to the PEER complaint.”

  8. avatar Lyn McCormick says:

    I’m not sure if this is the study referenced in the link, above, but it is obvious that there are plenty of studies, paid by the Taxpayer, that address the issue of PL grazing. http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=4142428290656&id=1582175064

    Link to the completed study in the Great Basin & Snake River region: Here

  9. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Even as damaging as they can be, I would shudder to think of housing developments and the like taking the place of ranches – it would be much more detrimental. If you think wildlife and native plants are in danger now….just wait if that were to happen. I just wish some ranchers would be more open to living with wildlife. I know that there are some who are. Plus they are part of our heritage. Oil and gas development pose much bigger threats, IMO.

    • avatar louise wagenknecht says:

      Housing developments occur when the value of the land for that purpose eclipses that of ranchland, and when the demand warrants it, which means land on the outskirts of growing metropolitan areas, or resort communities. Much of this demand evaporated in the past few years. Maybe it will come back, maybe not. And large ranches outside urban influence zones are not being developed for housing because there is no demand for it. But because ranchers see their land as their retirement fund, they are as likely as anyone else to sell out when the price gets high enough. Yes, ranchers are part of our heritage, but so are many other undesirable things. A high-end residential development that preserved wildlife corridors, plants, streams, and soil would actually be much better for wildlife than most ranches. Half of all ranchers in Lemhi County, f’rinstance, make most of their income from non-ranching occupations or investments. Ranching is a tax dodge for them, and it is voluntary. Any or all of these people may wake up one morning and decide to sell their cattle, and more and more of them are deciding to do just that: cattle numbers here are dropping. Anecdotal evidence says that it’s the older operators with less than 50 cows that are leaving the business, and this is having an effect on the cattle market, along with drought. Oil and gas development is damaging, sure, but it’s limited to places where there is actually oil and gas, or corridors to move it around in, whereas cows are freaking everywhere.

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        A high-end residential development that preserved wildlife corridors, plants, streams, and soil would actually be much better for wildlife than most ranches.

        I disagree. They are huge drains on resources and give nothing back, not even taxes nowadays. I can’t imagine one that would preserve wildlife corridors, plants, streams and soil what with waste management, trash, lawns and landscaping, pesticides and herbicides, paved roads and runoff, the ubiquitous golf courses, pets, and worst of all – demand for water. Some people are landscaping with native plants in naturally dry or desert areas tho. This is an ideal scenario that is very unlikely in reality. They bring their own unique set of challenges.

        Oil and gas development is damaging, sure, but it’s limited to places where there is actually oil and gas, or corridors to move it around in, whereas cows are freaking everywhere.

        Which happens to be in our beautiful, geologically active West. I think cattle do damage, but it can be fixed relatively quickly. Oil and gas drilling and mining would never be returned to its natural state, and companies are not required to do a thing when they are done.

        We’ll have to agree to disagree! :)

      • Louise-
        In 1970 I was hired as a IDFG biologist to
        find suitable sites to re-establish Bighorn sheep in Idaho. When I looked for transplant sites in the Leadore,Idaho area, I found several old Bighorn ram skulls that indicated that Bighorns had at one time been common.
        However, when I looked at the range conditions in the surounding mountains, they were so damaged by overgrazing, that I could not find any areas near Leadore that I thought would support a Bighorn transplant. As a result, I could not suggest putting Bighorns anywhere in the Lemhi Valley. I suspect that things haven’t changed much in the 43 years since.
        Bighorns were released further south near Reno Point on the Birch Creek drainage upon my recomendation. The Bighorns released in that area have struggled due to poaching, overgrazing and especially due to grazing on potential Bighorn winter range by subsidized domestic sheep owned by the University of Idaho from the Dubois Sheep Experiment Station.

  10. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Farming and ranching do give back by the growing of our food, at least traditional farming and ranching methods and not the industrial mess we have today. I wish it would also become more of a steward of our wild lands. I think or maybe wish that part of the original bargain for modest grazing fees would be to be entrusted with taking care of our lands. I think it is highly optimistic to think anything else humans could create could do this or have the potential to do this so well. Any kind of development, including recreational, which would include roads development would immediately put forests and wildlife at risk. I think over the years some ranchers maybe have become a bit spoiled and complacent, and it may be time to remember this.

  11. avatar Nancy says:

    “Some here will scream at the suggestion, but I’ll bet you a beer that many (most) of the BLM land in Nevada and Arizona could generate far more economic wealth if used to produce energy via solar and/or wind”

    Not screaming JB but, not enough thought by government (or funds) have been dedicated to finding ways to allow/design for individual usage of solar & wind power even though there are entire communities (in other countries) and here in the US that have taken advantage. Its all about big utilitiy companies, hanging in there and getting their share of the profits.

    Mentioned to Robert R (in a recent comment) how a friend wasted energy (as part of a co-op) and she did so happily, because she got a check back for her usage/waste, at the end of the year.

    I’m part of the same co-op and when I questioned being dropped from their “capital credit plan” after a couple of years, I was told I was not using/wasting enough to qualify for their plan.

    Yet at the same time, I pay twice as much each month JUST to be “hooked up’ to this company, than what I actually use in electricity.

    “Waste not” certainly doesn’t apply here and obviously, isn’t encouraged :) as long as these companies are profiting from the “waste”

    • avatar JB says:

      Nancy:

      I understand your objections, but you’re conflating two, separate questions:

      (1) What is the best use of public land?
      (2) How should we produce energy.

      I am very much in favor of individual-level production of energy wherever possible. However, that doesn’t preclude the use of some public lands for energy production. And I would add, there is nothing preventing the government from undertaking such an effort; we needn’t sell off or lease out public lands to big energy.

  12. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    I think we have to stop looking at the value of something as ‘wealth producing’ or what produces the most wealth. It’s why we’re in the trouble we’re in, and it’s a narrow view. Some things have non-monetary value, and those who had the foresight to protect our wild lands into national parks (some who were very wealthy, imagine that!) knew it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Calendar

February 2013
S M T W T F S
« Jan   Mar »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
2425262728  

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

%d bloggers like this: