Recent comments

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 6 days ago

    To retrieve Lee's stat from another thread--"It takes more than 1.5 million barrels of oil to produce a year's supply of water bottles. That's enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars for a year"--it would seem that conserving oil by banning platic bottles in the parks would help mitigate the (albeit contrived, as Jim notes) pressure to drill in our national parks.

  • Grand Canyon National Park, Along With Yellowstone, Has Bison Problems   3 weeks 1 hour ago

    At first I had to check the date on this article to make sure it wasn't put out on April 1 -had no idea you could cross bison and cattle. But then I remembered this interesting documentary on Buffalo Jones on Youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJ4T9CQA0UM&feature=share&list=PLB05DF39F7A54275F

  • Proposal Calls For Renaming Colorado National Monument As Rim Rock Canyons National Park   3 weeks 1 hour ago

    I'm pretty neutral on this, personally. It's a fairly small park, and national monument status fits it perfectly. If they were increasing its acreage, say by incorporating the nearby BLM-administered McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, it would make a lot more sense.

    However, throughout the history of NPS there has been this movement, to eventually convert the natural national monuments to parks, so it does make sense in that context. Makes one wonder what monument will transition next? My pick would be Dinosaur NM.

    I agree with zrfphoto on the name. His suggestion, "Colorado Canyons NP," would at least preserve part of the name of Colorado NM. If the politicians want to honor John Otto's legacy, this is a way they could accomplish that.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   3 weeks 1 hour ago

    And hopefully, Jim, long before we need to start scratching for the last remaining oil on earth, we will have been smart enough to develop sustainable renewable alternatives to oil and coal.

    But that's another political battle that is being fought even as we speak.

    Unfortunately, money too often trumps intelligence. Especially in the halls of Congress.

  • Senators Ask GAO To Investigate National Park Service's Spending Habits   3 weeks 2 hours ago

    One way the NPS could raise more funds for their budget is to charge concessionaires a higher percentage to operate within the parks. The percentage on many of the contracts is far too low. Private business is raking in the money that the NPS could utilize to repair infrastructure.

  • Proposal Calls For Renaming Colorado National Monument As Rim Rock Canyons National Park   3 weeks 7 hours ago

    Sounds great to me. I would have preferred Colorado Canyons National Park, but this is fine. The more NP's the better!

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   3 weeks 12 hours ago

    Dwight David Eisenhower, farewell address:

    " This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together."

    Of course, Ike was well known for his left wing liberal attitude. Obviously a RINO.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   3 weeks 14 hours ago

    Jim, it really is pretty scary, and now with the latest supreme court ruling on campaign finance/ money is free speech/ corporations are persons mentality, we truly will be in a corporate oligarchy. It is interesting to note that the progressive republican party movement under Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Howard Taft actually tried to get a handle on corporations donating to political campaigns resulting in the Tillman Act. Well, here we are, a little over 100 years later right back to robber barons era. History does repeat itself. You are right, the Congressman knows where the money is going to be coming from.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   3 weeks 16 hours ago

    Given his audience, it's more likely he was "looking foward" to some additional campaign contributions :-)

    On a more serious note, looking forward is a good reason not to consider drilling in places that are currently "off limits." As described in my previous post, there's absolutely no demonstrated need to do go after every last drop of oil under every acre in the country right now. That day may eventually come, in which case places now off-limits could prove a lot more valuable as last chance reserves than they are now. Until then, what's the rush?

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   3 weeks 17 hours ago

    Hmm Jim, Maybe he is looking a little more forward than you.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   3 weeks 20 hours ago

    Dittos Jim.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   3 weeks 20 hours ago

    Absolutely agreed, Jim.

  • Photography In The National Parks: Make It A Macro Kind Of Day   3 weeks 21 hours ago

    I do love a good Macro picture. Good shots of tide pools with a Macro get some interesting textures as well.

  • Quote For The Day: Terry Tempest Williams On Our Kinship With Earth   3 weeks 22 hours ago

    I couldn't agree more with Terry Tempest Williams. Now, I wonder if she believes in trains?

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   3 weeks 23 hours ago

    Perhaps a good national policy question should be whether there's a compelling need to consider more drilling in NPS areas at this time? A DOI report from 2012 says 70% of offshore acres and 56% of onshore acres of public lands already under lease are "idle." Industry sources blame part of that on the length of time required for permits, seismic testing, etc., so a real-world number is probably somewhat less than the DOI report says. Even so, there's a lot of public land (over 20 million onshore acres) already under lease, waiting for development.

    Acquaintances of mine in the oil business tell me a major reason there's not more drilling is the shortage of drilling rigs. I'm aware of one tract of less than 500 acres in Texas that has netted over $600k in lease payments to the owners over the past 4 years, so that oil company obviously believes there must be some oil or gas there.... but no drilling has occurred. The landowner was told no rigs are available.

    Ongoing oil booms in places like the Dakotas already have existing rigs at work, and existing leases sitting idle due to lack of rigs...or on some cases, while producers sit by, hoping for higher prices. Due to the repeating boom and bust cycles that have occurred in the industry for decades, there just doesn't seem to be a lot of interest in big investment in a lot of new rigs.

    Meanwhile, there's numerous reports such as this one: "A glut of shale oil in fields from Texas to North Dakota is forcing producers to find ways around the U.S.’s three-decade-old ban on crude exports in order to seek higher prices in foreign markets." Or this one, from the Wall Street Journal: "The U.S. Gulf Coast—home to the world's largest concentration of petroleum refineries—is suddenly awash in crude oil."

    So....according to DOI, over 50 million acres of public land both on and offshore already under lease, but not yet utilized; not enough drilling rigs available to handle existing leases on both public and private land; and a "glut" of domestic crude production from existing sources.

    That being the case, perhaps someone can explain any reason to consider opening any NPS areas to additional leasing and potential development. At least for that Texas congressman, the answer probably lies in the above quote: the industry is looking for "higher prices in foreign markets."

    Sorry, but higher profits for the industry aren't justification to apply the "drill, baby, drill" mentality to our national parks.

  • Senators Ask GAO To Investigate National Park Service's Spending Habits   3 weeks 23 hours ago

    So even if you completely cut all spending on goods and services, which includes things such as brochures, IT, gas for vehicles etc., you would still be $12B short.

    You can't expect an organization that has only about a $1B annual budget to come up with a way to pay for $12B in repairs. Congress has completely neglected the NPS for years and that bill is now coming due.

    BTW: ONE F-35 cost almost $100M and that doesn't include the billions spent developing the plane. You don't hear congress bitching about that. They just keep sending money an average of $4B per year for a plane that doesn't even work right yet.

    Also, and having worked for Government contractors, I can't even begin to tell you how much requests like this cost. I sat in so many meetings with our customers (dept. heads of Govt agencies) going over requirements for systems to collect the information that some congressman might ask for, or has asked for.

    This request alone will cost in the Millions.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   3 weeks 23 hours ago

    "Cease being intimidated by the argument that a right action is impossible because it does not yield maximum profits, or that a wrong action is to be condoned because it pays" ~ Aldo Leopold

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Chad, could you provide some recent examples?

  • Reader Participation Day: Should Congress Restrict The President's Ability To Use The Antiquities Act To Create National Monuments?   3 weeks 1 day ago
    NO!

    NO!

  • House Of Representatives Votes To Gut Antiquities Act   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Well stated Jim Burnett. Think about it - what other nation in the WORLD has taken such steps for so many years to protect public spaces from commercial development, exploitation, and degradation? The Antiquities Act has not been used to penalize individual landowners, but rather in a fair manner to preserve and conserve large, unique, special, and critical land and water areas for future generations. I see no models in our historical or contemporary free-enterprise system (i.e. unfettered capitalism) that provides such a forward thinking service to future generations of citizens and others.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Don't be fooled folks: I was born and live in Texas and Rep. Olson's statement that "We've proven that we can do that here in Texas" is true - proven pollution; proven road, land and waterway destruction; proven toothless enforcement of any environmental standards; proven disregard for local community standards; proven abuse of soil, air and water throughout Texas. The Texas Railroad Commission (which oversees petroleum exploration) has one job - protect the interests of the petroleum industry. Be fore-warned!

  • Quote For The Day: Rachel Carson On The Value Of Nature   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Me, too. (Lee always beats me to the punch.)

  • Quote For The Day: Rachel Carson On The Value Of Nature   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Thank you for these quotes. I hope they continue.

  • Senators Ask GAO To Investigate National Park Service's Spending Habits   3 weeks 1 day ago

    "I want to see them preserved, but I also want people to be able to access and enjoy them."

    For a request intended to find ways to reduce the backlog of maintenance, that's an odd conjunction between the clauses. Hmmm . . .

  • Senators Ask GAO To Investigate National Park Service's Spending Habits   3 weeks 1 day ago

    According to the FY15 Greenbook, NPS spent $528M dollars on contracts for for goods and services and another $230M on grants and cooperative agreements in FY13. You can use USASpending.gov to find out how NPS spent that $750M+ in FY13.