Grist staff

Mining Gets the Shaft

The pay dirt has run out for gold miners in California. Last week the state mining board okayed the nation’s toughest regulations on open-pit metallic mining, requiring companies to refill mining pits and flatten waste piles in order to restore the landscape to at least some semblance of its pre-mining state. The industry complains that the new rules will be so costly that mining companies simply won’t do business in the state, and some are threatening to sue. “This ends it,” said Adam Harper of the California Mining Association. “The cost of backfilling is such that it will simply make …

Scott Hoffman Black, Xerces Society

Scott Hoffman Black is executive director of the Xerces Society, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the diversity of life through the conservation of invertebrates. Monday, 7 Apr 2003 PORTLAND, Ore. Email and a large cup of coffee — pretty much how all my Mondays start. My daughter River is off to school, my foster baby Emmet is off to his grandparents’ house, and my wife Catriona is off to work. Time for email. There are the usual emails from listservs. Many get sent to the trash but some catch my interest. National forest issues, endangered species issues, general …

And other words from readers

  Re: Little Bundle of Consumption Dear Editor: Thanks go to Umbra for outlining her perspectives on the environmental consequences of childrearing. I agree wholeheartedly and have found myself in both a personal struggle and heated arguments about the topic with friends. I now have one child and plan, though guiltily, to keep it this way. I am under a huge amount of pressure from people around me to have more children, yet I feel I’ve contributed enough to extending my line of consumption with one! People have tried to argue to me that we need more children from people …

Giving the Devil His DU

As many people wonder about the long-term environmental effects of the war in Iraq, the U.N. has issued a report documenting the ongoing pollution problems posed by depleted uranium (DU) ammunition used by NATO forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the mid-1990s. The report, published by the U.N. Environment Programme, found DU contamination in groundwater and drinking water; in some locations, the air was also contaminated, suggesting that wind or human activity can disturb DU dust long after weapons are fired. DU is a heavy metal used primarily for penetrating tanks and other armored targets. It is suspected of causing cancer and …

And other words from readers

  Re: Oakless Creek Canyon Dear Editor: The Flagstaff, Ariz., project to protect expensive homes by removing possible (natural) fire hazards sounds to me like building on a floodplain. The folks who bought the homes can sell them if they don’t want the expense of insuring the risk. The nation should not sacrifice its natural resources to the whims of the wealthy. Richard Romoser Cleveland, Ohio   Re: The Hunger! The Hunger! Dear Editor: I got fired up over Grist’s statement that, “The ‘next green revolution’ can’t rely wholly on organic farming, which won’t produce enough to feed the world …

And other words from readers

  Re: Oakless Creek Canyon Dear Editor: You missed the point. The project the U.S. Forest Service is contemplating is in the final stages of two years’ worth of environmental analysis and planning. How could it “shape up to be a test case” for efforts to ease environmental review? I have an exhaustive, 300-page document on my desk that discloses in detail the environmental effects of thinning predominantly small trees out of a choked forest and conducting associated prescribed fires to reintroduce fire into this ecosystem. Absolutely no old-growth pine trees are going to be thinned in this project. As …

And other words from readers

  Re: Hydra-gen Dear Editor: If you truly would like to see a hydrogen-based economy in your lifetime, then you should embrace President Bush’s plan like your favorite teddy bear. Do not deride the plan because it focuses on using fossil fuels to produce the hydrogen, thereby creating pollution and greenhouse gases and negating the emission-free aspect of hydrogen; be a little open-minded and far-sighted. Reality check: The use of fossil fuels for energy will continue for at least the next 100 years. Like it or not (which I do not), this is the case — so let us work …

When Nature Emails

Ah, wilderness — the chirping of birds, the burbling of creeks, the melodic chime announcing that new mail has just arrived in your inbox. Yep, that’s right — or it will be if the Colorado Department of Natural Resources has its way. In an effort to boost revenue in the middle of a massive budget shortfall, the DNR plans to make electrical outlets and Internet access available at parks around the state. (The state would make money by charging more for wired campgrounds or cabins.) The plan met with reactions ranging from amusement to disbelief when it was unveiled by …

Pain in the Tongass

Moderate Republicans, as well as Democrats and environmentalists, are up in arms over eleventh-hour language added by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to a huge $395 billion spending bill that would boost logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. The provision would exempt nearly 2 million acres in the Tongass from a rule approved by former President Clinton that bans road-building on 58.5 million acres of remote national forestland across the country. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (N.Y.) and seven other GOPers in the House have protested the plan (which contains additional anti-enviro elements), arguing in a letter to their colleagues that it was …