Zion National Park does not require oil and gas wells to enhance its appeal

Of the many places I have been, Zion National Park ranks high on my list of most beautiful and it is certainly one of my favorites. The red sandstone canyons cut through with ribbons of green cottonwood stands in the valley floors are stunning. Zion has some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere and its slot canyons are unparalleled.

the narrows

The Narrows – “Wall Street”

Zion is one of the national parks where you have to leave the park to get to other parts of the park. On the northwest corner of the park is the Kolob Terrace area. The drive from the main valley to Kolob Canyon is spectacular. And it’s about to be ruined.

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This is Kolob Canyon

To get to Kolob Canyon, you drive along Kolob Terrace Road. This is what the drive looks like:

kolob terrace rd

Now picture this drive with endless oil and gas wells. Nauseating, isn’t it? Now picture it with an oil spill. It happens all the time. Here’s a lovely picture of the contamination from an oil well which blew in 2014 just outside the Arches National Park area:

ruby well

SW Energy Ruby Ranch Road blowout in 2014, Utah

There are some things that should be too precious for drilling. No one of my acquaintance goes to a national park hoping to see drilling rigs all the way to the gates.

So do something. The Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comments through March 9 on the environmental review documents for the June 2017 lease sale. Please ask them to choose Alternative B, the “no action” alternative. Bother them until they beg you to stop. Have your friends bother them as well. You can contact the BLM here to express your displeasure and ask them to take no action.  Spread the word.

subway

The Subway 

Who needs clean water?

So, as a giant screw you to all his loyal supporters in the Rust Belt states, the Orange One has proposed a 97% budget cut for Great Lakes pollution cleanup. This area is a heavily polluted disaster and it needs our collective attention.

The Great Lakes are the largest system of fresh water lakes in the world.They make up 95% of the surface freshwater in the United States. Their collective total coastline is more than the US coastlines of the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. That’s a lot of ground. Currently, there are 43 areas of concern within the Great Lakes of which 26 are in the United States and five are both Canadian and American.

So what is an area of concern? An “area of concern” must have at least “one beneficial use impairment which means that it has undergone a change in its chemical, physical, or biological integrity of a water body.” Here’s a fun list of what that means: 

  • restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption
  • tainting of fish and wildlife flavor
  • degradation of fish and wildlife populations
  • fish tumors or other deformities
  • bird or animal deformities or reproduction problems
  • degradation of benthos
  • restrictions on dredging activities
  • eutrophication or undesirable algae
  • drinking water restrictions, or taste and odor problems
  • beach closings
  • degradation of aesthetics
  • added costs to agriculture or industry
  • degradation of phytoplankton and zooplankton
  • loss of fish and wildlife habitat

So, in simple terms, these are slimy, algae-choked, smelly, nasty waterways you can’t swim in with fish too dangerous to eat and birds and mammals with birth defects caused by chemical contamination. Fun!

The EPA has a page you can read here to educate you on what they do for the Great Lakes. Read it. It’s important. It may also disappear soon, so pay attention to that heading that says “This page is no longer maintained….”  So when Cheeto man says he is cutting the budget 97%, he’s stopping all clean up cold and all this will just sit there for residents to live with. Of course, what he really means when he says he is doing away with “job killing” regulations is that he doesn’t care about the people who live there and whether they are slowly dying from exposure to contaminated water. Flint Michigan ring any bells? Step up and support your EPA. Call (don’t email – they ignore them) your government officials and tell them in clear terms that they must oppose the gutting of the EPA. You can find your representative here or your Senator here.

Need some visuals? Here you go:

beachdead-chickspaper-millpollution-1pollution-2tumor-ridden-fish

This is what your future looks like if we don’t act. Do something.

We Live in Interesting Times

I’m back, and to paraphrase that great sage Eminem, I’m on the rag and ovulating.

Today, the Press Secretary for the White House banned the New York Times and CNN from a press conference. What the actual fuck?

You can listen to what the Mouthpiece of Sauron said here:

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First, he acted like this was just a regular press pool, then he admitted he just doesn’t like what they have to say and called them “Fake News”. Mr. Spicer needs to dig down really deep, and find his balls and quit his job before he is permanently eviscerated by Melissa McCarthy who currently owns his ass. Mr. Spicer, we’ve all had shitty jobs before, but no one I know actually ever sold their soul to the devil.  Going down to the crossroads is dangerous.

All of us had better get on our game and scream and shout and raise a ruckus because shit’s about to get heavy. Let’s examine just a handful of problems, excluding that whole Russian thing where Cheeto Jesus apparently sold his soul to the Putin or the probable deportation of practically our entire construction workforce or the ban of Muslims entering the US from seven countries because he doesn’t like their religion*. That’s a topic for another day.  Instead, let’s talk about how our national lands are up for grabs because everyone apparently benefits when you can drill for oil on them. It’s now totally cool to dump coal mining sludge into creeks because it’s just easier for coal companies.

coalmining-waste

Pic stolen from web. Don’t you totally want to take a nice refreshing drink of that?

They took away all the online information about puppy mill law violations to protect puppy miller privacy. It’s now about to be OK to shoot wolf cubs in their dens or hibernating bears on federal lands in Alaska. You OK with that? In the immortal words of Samuel Jackson, I am not motherfucking OK with this and we most definitely are not cool.

Kids we have problems, and the biggest one is that apparently 40% of the population is OK with a President who wants to muzzle his critics, destroy the environment, slaughter and abuse domestic and wild animals, alienate our allies and sell us all out to the Russians. Where the fuck are the Republicans in all this? Ronald Reagan is spinning in his grave and I half expect him to return from the great beyond to slap some sense into some of these jackasses in Congress.

The phrase ‘do your job’ has been heard everywhere. So Congress, do your fucking job and man up, because this is your problem, too. And to those that refuse to see and want to claim it’s all fake news or want to argue with me, I suggest you learn the skill of critical thinking, because you are definitely drinking what they’re selling you and I haven’t got the time or inclination to save you. All my energy will go to save the world from the people you support and you put in office.

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*Spare me the bullshit about how it’s not about religion. I’ve been around the block enough to have worn grooves in the pavement and that lie will not fly.