Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
A Soft Spot for Public Lands
John D. Leshy, a former Interior Department solicitor, likes to say, “There’s no square yard of public land that somebody doesn’t love.” Indeed, the era when the word “swamp” was accompanied by the adjective “pestilential,” or the word “desert” by the word “barren,” is long past. Biologists and lovers of the land have ensured that wetlands (no longer “swamps) are productive cradles of both aquatic and terrestrial life and that deserts are far from barren, nurturing everything from Dr. Seussian Joshua trees to big-horned sheep and flat-tailed horned lizards. Mr. Leshy’s observation has particular relevance this week as this environmental sensibility collides with an environmental imperative: remaking the world’s energy portfolio by quickly expanding renewable energy projects to rein in the carbon-dioxide emissions that cause climate change. As coal’s supporters are fond of pointing out, electric generation powered by fossil fuels takes up comparatively little space on the ground, whatever it may do to raise levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. By contrast, solar and wind projects require a very large footprint to even begin to generate the power that an average coal-fired plant does...more