All posts by Jack Greene

Speak Out for Clean Air & Healthy Watersheds

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Next week we’ve got a great opportunity to speak out for clean air and healthy watersheds. You might remember a bill from last session called S.B. 80- Infrastructure Funding Amendments, which directed hundreds of millions of dollars in sales tax to build massive and unnecessary water diversion projects to drain an already over-taxed system. Well, this bill has made it’s way back to a legislative hearing and we need you to help HEAL and our friends at the Utah Rivers Council speak out against it.

Projects like the Lake Powell Pipeline and Bear River Development create diversions that will be catastrophic for our rivers and our efforts for a greener Utah. One of our biggest concerns is a diverted Bear River leads to the drying up of the Great Salt Lake. If this happens, not only will one of the largest migratory bird refuges be destroyed, but also the exposed lakebed will cause increased dust storms that further threaten our air quality along the Wasatch Front.

We sure don’t want that to happen, so please come and help us to make sure that these damaging projects don’t go unchallenged. There will be room for public comments so please come share your view, at the Utah State Capitol in House Room 30 on July 12 at 3:00 PM. Check out the agenda here!

If we stand together we can ensure a healthier Utah for many generations to come.

See you next week!

With Gratitude,

Laura Schmidt
Outreach Coordinator

P.S. Utah Moms for Clean Air recently started a petition demanding that Chevron commit to bringing Tier 3 gas. You can sign on here and share it with your networks!

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Take Action before 11 Aug: Bryce Canyon Coal Mine Expansion

Read and make your opinion known:
We can still have input until August 11th via mail to the BLM, attention Keith Rigtrup, Kanab Field Office, 669 S. Highway 89A, Kanab, Utah, 84741, or email at ut_kanab_atoncoal@BLM.gov

Details:
The Bureau of Land Management is once again reaching out to the public for comment on a proposal to expand Utah’s only surface coal mining operation — a controversial pitch because of potential impacts to sage grouse, nearby national parks and monuments and air quality.

At the same time Alton Coal wants to boost its operation by more than 3,500 acres, the federal agency acknowledges that difficult mining conditions and depleted reserves in Utah’s chief coal beds in Carbon and Emery counties are forcing mining operators to look elsewhere in the state to meet future coal demands.

At Alton, operators want to tap into nearly 45 million tons of recoverable coal and pull 2 million tons of coal out of the ground over 25 years. Alton’s current operation is about 700 acres. A separate application to expand the operation to 300 acres on private land is pending before the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, which is readying for its own public comment period to begin later this month.

The BLM’s comment period runs until Aug. 11 and also includes informational open houses planned for tonight[16 July] at the Red Lion Hotel in Salt Lake City, July 21 in Kanab at the BLM’s field offices on U.S. 89 and on July 22 at Alton Town Hall. Both events are from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The public can also comment via mail to the BLM, attention Keith Rigtrup, Kanab Field Office, 669 S. Highway 89A, Kanab, Utah, 84741, or email at ut_kanab_atoncoal@BLM.gov

This comment period is for the public weigh in on a supplemental draft environmental impact statement that was prompted by objections voiced when the proposal received its first environmental analysis. The federal agency noted the 177,000 comments raised concerns over sage grouse, air pollution and night sky impacts, all of which received a more robust analysis in this latest undertaking.

Kane County Commissioner Jim Matson said Alton Coal has been a good community neighbor and officials there are in support of the expansion.
“We are definitely in favor of that,” he said. “They have a very constrained type of footprint and have confined everything within the limits of their operating plant. … It is just a matter of them taking care of the dust control and road maintenance from the coal haul itself.”

Alton Coal employs 52 people and provides another 100 jobs via supporting industries such as trucking.
“Another big factor as this permit goes about and becomes a matter of reality is that it will generate revenues and royalties that will come to our county,” Matson added.

While surface or strip mining is an anomaly in Utah compared to its deep underground mines, the BLM said Alton Coal plans to reclaim the mine concurrent with its mining of coal, and has committed to a post-closure reclamation and revegetation monitoring period for at least a decade.
The coal that is part of the proposed federal lease is among several beds in the Kanab area that hold approximately 10 billion tons of in-ground coal resources. Many of those are unsuitable for development, however, snaking underneath towns, the Alton City Cemetery itself and the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, according to the BLM.

Some of the coal also exists in the Dixie National Forest, but federal authorities have determined that surface mining of coal in national forests is inappropriate.
Mark Clemens with the Utah chapter of the Sierra Club believes the extraction of coal at Alton is inappropriate as well.

“The expansion of the Arch Coal Mine represents a real threat to southern Utah, the southern Utah economy and the way of life to people who live in Garfield and Kane counties,” he said. “We are really concerned about the impacts to the quality of the experience of visitors to Bryce Canyon National Park, as well as other parks and public lands nearby.”
Matson said the Alton Coal operation is “fairly unobtrusive” and is no more, or less than that of some sand and gravel operations that are common throughout the state.

“In reality when you look at its location, is in the Alton Valley. … It is not at all visible from Bryce Canyon,” he said, adding that the route where the operations exists is traveled, but not typically by park-visiting tourists.

Sierra Club critics, too, have raised questions over the number of violations that have been lodged against Alton Coal since it began operations in 2009 — a dozen — but the state mining division’s deputy director, Dana Dean, said that amount is not atypical for a mining operation.

Matson, who stressed officials value the region’s recreational attractions, said he believes the Alton Coal mine and its proposed expansion have been inaccurately depicted by its critics.

“I think there are mischaracterizations by the non-governmental organizations that are in the business of misinformation and controversy as they do fundraising and membership drives,” he said.

Jul 18, Birds, Butterflies, and Blooms at Tony Grove Lake

Bridgerland Audubon and Stokes Nature Center are sponsoring a fieldtrip to Tony Grove from 8:30-early afternoon Saturday, July 18th.

“Beautiful flowers with wings” is a phrase frequently used to express the exquisite beauty of butterflies. Join naturalist Jack Greene for a fieldtrip to learn about the secret lives of these amazing sparks of life along with birds and flowers we may encounter along the way.

Bring binoculars, lunch and water. We will carpool from the Forest Service parking lot located at 1600 East, Highway 89. For more information contact Jack at 435-764-4815 or email jackisgreene@yahoo.com

May 16, First Annual Randy Wirth Half Century Ride

Rain or Shine, the First Annual Randy Wirth Half Century Ride will take place on May 16th. The easy to moderate level ride will begin at Caffe Ibis located at 52 Federal Avenue in historic downtown Logan Utah before winding it’s way through scenic Cache County. The purpose of this ride is to promote safe cycling practices and to showcase some of Randy’s favorite cycling routes in the Cache County. All proceeds raise funds to donate toward planting trees and increasing bird habitat in Logan, Utah.

To register and to see a course map, please go to www.caffeibis.com. Registration is $50 per rider and includes support at four rest stops, on course support and gear (SAG) vehicles, and a post-ride luncheon (provided by the Italian Place) at the finish line. Sport-tec and/or organic cotton shirts can be purchased on the registration website for an extra $20 each. $5 off registration through May 5th.

Please feel free to share this information with anyone who may be interested.
Thanks!

May 11-16, Bike to Work and School Week

Celebrate Cycling During “Bike to Work & School” Week

For the 7th year in a row Bike to Work & School Week will encourage people in Logan to ride their bikes to work and school. During the week of May 11 – 16, 2015, cyclists will be offered snacks, prizes, and information about cycling from 7:30 – 9:30 AM at the CTVD Transit Center and on 700 E in front of Aggie Blue Bikes on the USU campus. Volunteers, in conjunction with Cache County Bike & Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), USU Sustainability, and Aggie Blue Bikes, will staff the prize tables and offer lightbicycle tune-ups at the two locations in Logan.

In addition to the tables at CTVD Transit Center and Aggie Blue Bikes each morning, other events will be celebrating and encouraging riding. On Tuesday, May 12 (10:00 a.m., Logan Transit Center), the bike riders are encouraged to come ride with Logan Mayor Craig Peterson and to take advantage of some of the new infrastructure improvements that make cycling in Logan more safe and fun. This event gives cyclists a chance to ask questions, raise issues, and discuss improvements and needs with Logan City officials.

The events and festivities of Bike to Work & School Week occur just following the May 1 kickoff of the “The National Bike Challenge,” an annual nationwide biking contest that promotes biking for fun and transport. The contest aims to unite over 75,000 bicyclists who are encouraged to ride collectively 35 million miles between May 1 and September 30. Bike to Work Week encourages riders to start riding their bikes to work and to join the National Bike Challenge to continue riding for the entire summer.

Bike to Work Week is a national event, organized by The League of American Bicyclists, a group of citizens who love to bike and think more people biking would be a benefit to the city by helping to increase fitness and fun.

Apr 22, Proposed Cache Valley Dam Discussion-Safeguarding Cache Valley’s Water – Bear River Development Project

Proposed Cache Valley Dam Discussion
Safeguarding Cache Valley’s Water:
Bear River Development Project

Seminar & Discussion

Date: Wednesday, April 22
Time: 12:00-12:45 p.m.
Place: BNR 102 USU Campus (Biology-Natural Resources Building)
Admission is free and the  public is welcome.

As a result of growing water concerns in the West, plans for a new reservoir in Cache Valley are underway. The Bear River Development Project will develop 220,000 acre-feet of Utah’s water rights on the Bear River. The Division of Water Resources is currently undergoing studies to investigate reservoir sites and right-of-way for a transmission pipeline.

Come join us to learn more about this future reservoir.

Speakers:

  • Marisa Egbert, P.E. Project Manager, Utah Division of Water Resources
  • Mike Collins, P.E. Principal, Bowen Collins & Associates

Sponsors: Quinney College of Natural Resources, USGS Utah Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit and Bridgerland Audubon Society

Project Description The planned reservoir is part of the Bear River Development Project, an effort to address growing water supply concerns in Utah. The project will develop 220,000 acre feet of Utah’s water rights on the Bear River. The UDWR is currently conducting studies to investigate reservoir sites and right­of­way for a transmission pipeline.

Parking for the event is available in the university parking terraces at 850 E. 800 North and 700 E. 600 North in Logan. Or Free Bus Ride Attendees may also use Cache Valley Transit District buses to travel to the event. Travelers should take Route 1 or 4 buses to the Veterinary Science Building stop on 700 North and walk about a block south to the Biology ­Natural Resources Building.

For more information, call 435­-797-­7565.

News: HJ News Public invited to learn more about planned reservoir at USU discussion April 22

Jan 31, Utah Clean Air, No Excuses Rally 2015

We, the people of Utah, deserve clean air. We are willing to do our part, now the Legislature and big industry need to do theirs. No excuses!
Last year, nearly 5,000 people gathered on the step of the Utah State Capitol and made history with Utah’s largest clean air rally and maybe the nation’s. Can we do it again? Yes, we can!
WHEN: Saturday, January 31, 12 Noon to 1 PM
WHERE: Utah Capitol Steps
HOW: To join a car pool from Cache Valley, email jackisgreene@yahoo.com or call 435-764-4815.
WHY: Because breathing clean air is a birthright

Jan 28, LEGISLATIVE ALERT – ACTION NEEDED

RED ALERT! Please act by 1:30 pm Wed Jan 28
Friends and Fellow Activists:
Today, (Wed. January 28th, at 1:30pm, in Room 445 State Capitol) the Legislative Management Committee will meet to vote on whether or not to approve a Request For Proposal to hire a team of lawyers to futilely sue the federal government over ownership of America’s public lands in Utah. This is a waste of money ($3 milllion to $5 million) that could be spent much more wisely (education, Medicaid expansion, etc.) and it’s a continuation of an industry-driven, ideological policy that would most likely produce an economic and environmental disaster for our state.
Please read the attached brief fact sheet and then contact Republican leadership and ask them to STOP THE PURSUIT OF THE LAND TRANSFER NOW. It’s not in Utah’s best interest to pursue this legal goose chase and that’s why all our neighboring states have backed away from the concept. It’s making Utah look bad.
Senator (President) Wayne Niederhauser (R- Sandy)      wniederhauser@le.utah.gov        801-742-1606 c
Sen. Stuart Adams (R-Layton)     jsadams@le.utah.gov
Sen. Pete Knudson (R-Brigham City)      pknudson@le.utah.gov        435-730-4569 c
Sen. Ralph Okerlund (R-Monroe-represents 10 rural counties)      rokerlund@le.utah.gov      435-979-7077
Representative (Speaker) Greg Hughes (R-Draper)    greghughes@le.utah.gov      801-432-0362
Rep. Jim Dunnigan  (R-Taylorsville)     jdunnigan@le.utah.gov
Rep. Francis Gibson (R-Mapleton)       fgibson@le.utah.gov        801-361-0082
Rep. Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville)     bradwilson@le.utah.gov        801-425-1028
You can email, call or just text to politely but firmly express your opposition to the continued pursuit of this losing proposition.  And attend the meeting if you can (sorry for the short notice).
Thank you for acting,
Steve Erickson, Policy Advocate, Utah Audubon Council

Nov 5, Deep, The History of Skiing and the Future of Snow

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Presentation, Q&A, Book Signing: Deep, The History of Skiing and the Future of Snow, Porter Fox

Two events:

  • 11:30am-12:45 pm
    Location: USU TSC Auditorium
  • 7:30 – 8:30 pm
    Location: First Presbyterian Church Brunner Hall (200 West Center Street)
  • • Refreshments
    • No cost, donations are accepted
    • Sponsors:: Intermountain Bioneers, Bear River Watershed Council, Bridgerland Audubon Society.

    Background:
    The book tells a riveting story of an avalanche which took the lives of 3 world class powder skiers interwoven with climate science and projections for the future of the ski industry and those who depend on the glaciers and snowpack as their source of water.
    In the last 45 years, 1 million square miles of spring snow cover has disappeared from the Northern Hemisphere. Rocky Mountain spring snowpack is down by 20%, and Europe has lost half of its glacial ice. Winter warming in the U.S. has tripled since 1970, and warming in the European Alps is now three times the global average.
    “This is the most important book on snow ever written. This is a wake up call. We need to accept our reality and get busy fixing climate change.” —Jeremy Jones, pro snowboarder and founder of Protect Our Winters

    “The first in-depth report on how climate change is affecting the present and future of the ski industry and mountain communities, DEEP is a must-read for every passionate skier.” — John Stifter, Editor, Powder Magazine