Environmental Politics, Think
Environews: August 2009
Environmental news from around the state and the west.
by Amy Brunvand
LA mayor’s announcement helps Utah’s air
With the July 8 announcement that Intermountain Power Project has scrapped plans to build a massive power plant near Delta, Utah, the Sierra Club celebrated its 100th victory in efforts to stop construction of new coal-fired power plants in the U.S. So far, out of six new coal-fired power plant projects that recently received permits to be built in Utah, three have been successfully stopped -and three remain active (Green River, NEVCO and Bonanza). The Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign and many tireless citizen activists deserve credit for speaking out about the health hazards, environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning coal for power, but the city of Los Angeles also played a role in stopping construction of the IPP power plant when the city declared an intention to wean itself from buying dirty power.
About half of the electrical power supply in LA comes from coal-burning power plants in Utah and Arizona, and LA was expected to be the main customer of the new plant. However, in 2007 LA adopted a “Green LA” action plan that proposes to move the city toward a clean energy future by letting contracts expire for power imports from coal-fired plants. In July, LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced a goal of completely eliminating use of coal-fired electricity by 2020.
Stopping the Coal Rush: www.sierraclub.org/ environmentallaw/coal/plantlist.asp
Free tours at Jordan Conservation Garden Park through Sept. 30
The Conservation Garden Park at Jordan Valley showcases beautiful, waterwise landscapes ideal for northern Utah. Get landscaping and plant ideas for your own home or business property by seeing examples of different garden landscapes.The garden offers summer tours Wednesdays at 6:30pm and Saturdays at 9am until September 30. The garden also offers free classes on waterwise, sustainable landscaping.
Conservation Garden Park www.conservationgardenpark.org 8215 S 1300 W, West Jordan. Summer Hours thru Sep 30: Monday-Saturday: 8a-8p, Sunday: 12-8p.
Mayor Becker testifies on climate change
On July 14, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker testified before the Senate Com_mit_tee on Environment & Public Works about opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in urban areas. Becker began with an anecdote about backcountry skiing in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, anticipating a future with re_duced snowpack caused by global climate change. He concluded that a comprehensive effort to reduce global warming pollution must include a commitment to mass transit options, balanced funding approaches to transportation infrastructure investments and a commitment to develop alternative forms of transportation.
Senate EPW Committee www.epw.senate.gov/ public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Home.Home
In an act of faith-based environmental activism, delegates to the 2009 General Assembly of the Uni_tarian Universalist Association (UUA) who met in Salt Lake City this June affirmed the spiritual and environmen_tal importance of Utah’s wild lands by passing a resolution calling for support of America’s Redrock Wilder_ness Act. The resolution, called an “Action of Immediate Wit_ness,” urges more than 1,000 Unitarian congregations nationwide to support Utah Wilderness Coalition efforts to protect Utah’s wildlands from off-road vehicle abuse, road construction and energy and mineral development. The action is based on a Unitarian principle of “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”
Joan Gregory, coordinator of Environ_mental Ministry at First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, organized the effort together with a team of volunteers from Unitarian communities from Utah and around the country.
Living with bears
When you are camping or hiking you don’t need to be scared of bears, but you do need to respect them, says the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. In the summertime there are more encounters between people and bears, because more people are in the backcountry and this is the time of year when yearling bears leave their mothers. The Utah DWR offers these tips for visiting bear country that will help keep both humans and bears safe:
- Don’t leave food and scented items, such as deodorants and tooth paste, where a bear can get them.
- Keep your campsite and cabin area free of food scraps and other trash.
- Don’t keep any food in the same area where you’re sleeping.
- Leave strong-smelling items at home.
- Never feed a bear.
Bear Safety Tips: wildlife.utah.gov/news/09-07/bear_safety.php
Register by August 14
Want to learn more about local water issues? The general public is invited to the 3rd annual Countywide Watershed symposium along with local water quality/watershed experts, environmental advocates, teachers, students and those working in watershed professions. Presentations address water-related topics such as Jordan River restoration, sustainable water solutions, water quality and public education. Field trips are offered to the wetland reconstruction at the Midvale Slag superfund site and the Jordan Valley Water Conser_vancy District Demonstration Garden.
www.waterresources.slco.org/html/events/ August 26 & 27, 9a-3p. Utah Cultural Celebration Center: 1355 W 3100 S West Valley City. Preregistration required; deadline: August 14. Lynn Berni, 801-468-2796; firstname.lastname@example.org