U.S. Senate rejects move to bar new national monuments in Utah

It failed, as it should-

Story in the Salt Lake Tribune. Senate rejects move to bar new monuments. By Thomas Burr. The Salt Lake Tribune.

Senator Feinstein to introduce bills for 2 new national monuments in Mojave Desert

Mojave Trails National Monument would protect 941,000 acres of public land. 314,000 acres of existing ORV areas would also be protected-

The article says environmentalists, hunters, and off-roaders support the legislation. Part of these areas had been targeted for big solar power developments.

The total list is: Mojave Trails NM, 941,000 acres; Sand to Snow National Monument, 134,000 acres; 250,000 acres near Ft Irwin as Wilderness; 41,000 acres to the southern boundary of Death Valley National Park; 2,900 acres to northern portions of Joshua Tree National Park.

Story on Feinstein’s bill. By Louis Sahagun. LA Times.

Update 12-22-09

A more detailed article on the politics and economics of the bills. Desert Vistas vs. Solar Power. By Tom Woody.  New York Times.

I think Feinstein’s bill is very good in directing solar farms into appropriate locations. Without her kind of “NIMBYism,” developers of big projects will just naturally gravitate toward pristine public lands because it makes their land-intensive projects cheaper by means of an indirect subsidy. Now they are more likely to seek out sunny derelict lands already destroyed by cattle or some other passing harmful use.

Cattle denude the Sonoran National Monument

ORVs were kicked out of monument; the real damage is grazing-

This is apparently, though a good place to find the bleached bones of cattle, a common visual theme of cartoons of people lost in the desert.

Inane official, public actions scar Sonoran monument. By Linda Valdez. The Arizona Republic

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Update. Link to WWP Arizona Office. Great photo of cattle in Sonoran Desert National Monument 😦

A Monumental Decision George W. Bush becomes the conservation president, at least at sea

“The Conservation President?” That’s a joke, but he did do one good last-minute thing-

A Monumental Decision. George W. Bush becomes the conservation president, at least at sea. Washington Post editorial.

Bush has declared about 333,000 square miles of ocean, including scattered rocks and islets to be national monuments. This is an important innovation, especially because the world’s oceans are in rapid decline. It’s not clear how these will be managed to protect them.

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The story: Bush to create huge ocean sanctuary in Pacific. Grist Magazine.