Drilling Near Dinosaur National Monument Draws Criticism ~ NYT


Changes loom near remote Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. It’s a rough region of 1,000-foot cliffs and canyons, two wild rivers — the Green and the Yampa — ancient rock art and archaeological evidence of 10,000 years of human history.

The park, which straddles the Utah-Colorado border, affords visitors backcountry camping, white-water rafting and, most famously, spectacular dinosaur fossils. The Bureau of Land Management has announced that in December it will auction gas and oil drilling rights on 94,000 acres, or 146 square miles, of land, some of it near the park’s entrance road.

Pumpjacks, drill rigs and other equipment would be visible from the park’s visitor center, which is 2.5 miles from one lease parcel, according to critics. The B.L.M. has said that equipment would not intrude on the average visitor’s field of view. The agency said it would take steps to minimize visibility, including light shields, noise mufflers and “placement of exhaust systems to direct noise away from noise sensitive areas” and “avoiding unnecessary flaring of gas.”

Ozone pollution from such energy development already exceeds federal Clean Air Act limits in the monument area.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican who supports fossil fuel development on public lands, initially said he worried that the new leases would bring eyesores too close to the park. “The state wishes to ensure leasing of these parcels does not impact visual resources or cause light or sound disturbances,” he said in comments submitted to the B.L.M. in July.

The monument’s National Park Service administrators have also expressed concern about dust, night lights, air and water pollution and threats to endangered species. The 330-square-mile, high-desert park is visited by about 300,000 people a year. It was designated a national monument by President Woodrow Wilson in 1915, using powers granted him under the Antiquities Act of 1906.

The new drilling leases pivot away from a policy begun during the administration of Barack Obama, in which the Park Service and the B.L.M. collaborated to avoid visual and environmental impacts from industrial development on public lands near parks. The national monument, administered by the park service, is surrounded by federal public lands administered by the B.L.M. Both agencies are within the Department of the Interior.

More gas and oil drilling is part of the Trump administration’s announced goals of what the president has referred to as “energy dominance. The Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, has said that “oil and gas production on federal lands is an important source of revenue and job growth in rural America.”

In response to the concerns expressed by Mr. Herbert and others, the B.L.M. has deferred action indefinitely on about 1,600 acres near the park that had been proposed for leases, and said that it will try to mitigate impacts at the monument from drilling activity on the remaining areas near the park.

The governor’s office declared that it was satisfied by the changes.

“Thank you @BLMNational for listening to our concerns about protecting the visitor experience at @DinosaurNPS,” Mr. Herbert said on Twitter.

Others are unhappy. Critics say the shift is emblematic of changes that will affect a wide range of other parks and monuments, as well as those who visit them.

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Hayden Kennedy Family Statement


Inge Perkins & Hayden Kennedy
Having lived for 27 years with the great joy and spirit that was Hayden Kennedy, we share the loss of our son and his partner Inge Perkins as the result of an avalanche in the southern Madison Mountains near Bozeman, Montana, on October 7th.
Inge Perkin’s body was recovered by the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center at the base of Mt. Imp on October 9th.  Hayden survived the avalanche but not the unbearable loss of his partner in life. He chose to end his life. Myself and his mother Julie sorrowfully respect his decision.
Hayden truly was an uncensored soul whose accomplishments as a mountaineer were always secondary to his deep friendships and mindfulness.
He recently moved to Bozeman to work on his EMT certification while Inge completed her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and education at Montana State University.
Julie and I are on our way to Bozeman from Europe, as are Inge’s mother and stepfather. Memorial arrangements are still pending.
“Over the last few years, however, as I’ve watched too many friends go to the mountains only to never return, I’ve realized something painful,” wrote Hayden in Evening Sends just last month. “It’s not just the memorable summits and crux moves that are fleeting. Friends and climbing partners are fleeting, too. This is the painful reality of our sport, and I’m unsure what to make of it. Climbing is either a beautiful gift or a curse.”
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Execution Still Haunts Village, 50 Years After Che Guevara’s Death ~ NYT

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A statue of Che Guevara in La Higueira, the Bolivian town where he was killed in 1967. CreditNadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times

LA HIGUERA, Bolivia — Irma Rosales, tired after decades of tending her tiny store, sat back one morning with a box full of photos and remembered the stranger who was shot in the local schoolhouse 50 years ago.

His hair was long and greasy, she said; his clothes so dirty that they might have belonged to a mechanic. And he said nothing, she recalled, when she brought him a bowl of soup not long before the bullets rang out. Che Guevara was dead.

Monday marks a half-century since the execution of Guevara, the peripatetic Argentine doctor, named Ernesto at birth, who led guerrilla fighters from Cuba to Congo. He stymied the United States during the Bay of Pigs invasion, lectured at a United Nations lectern and preached a new world order dominated by those once marginalized by superpowers.

His towering life was overshadowed only by the myth that emerged with his death. The image of his scruffy beard and starred beret became the calling card of romantic revolutionaries around the world and across generations, seen everywhere from the jungle camps of militants to college dorm rooms.

Yet the villagers of La Higuera, Bolivia, who lived through that time, tell a story that is far less mythic, describing a short, bloody episode where a forgotten corner of this mountainous countryside briefly became a battleground of the Cold War.

It was not long after Guevara and the other strangers with him first appeared in the area, promising equality, that the guerrillas were dragged away in pools of their own blood, recalled Ms. Rosales.

“It was torture for us,” she said. “For us, this was a time of suffering.”

As Latin America remembers Guevara’s death, the region also faces a larger reckoning with the same leftist movements that drew on him for inspiration.

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Dorworth has a new book just published, ‘The Only Path’


Dorworth has written elsewhere, “We were young ski racers in 1953, boys in love with an activity that took me out of myself and into a world of mountains, snow, crystal clean air and focused vision, out of the anger, confusion, and encompassing fury of my particular set of circumstances within a rage-filled generation. Skiing and, more specifically, ski racing probably saved my life, allowing me to grow into a social critic instead of the sociopath I might have become in response to society’s violent and small-minded hypocrisies, pretensions, and shallow smugness. Skiing kept anger, adolescent hormones, and confusion in check enough to focus on a path that was to take me skiing all over the world. It formed and informed my life at least as much as the dynamics of family, the structure of schools, the warmth and generosity of true friends, the betrayals of false friends, and the other (and normal) vicissitudes of life.”

Amazon purchase