Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wonketteer Ken Layne...

On the rapidly vanishing desert tortoise that is such an inconvenience for the home builders and their enablers in Clark County government and the federal Interior Department. This story, like real life, does not have a happy ending. At least not yet. And especially not if Clark County actually builds the unnecessary, expensive and environmentally disastrous Ivanpah Airport 40 miles south of the city and ground zero for land set-aside for tortoise preservation.

"What I need to see is a desert tortoise, in the wild. I started coming out here in the 1980s and I’ve never come across one of the Living Fossils. I must see tortoises, while we still have some. They used to be so common in springtime that campers would fill their pockets with the babies and imprison the gentle critters as backyard pets."

Layne's regular column in LA CityBeat can be found here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mulroy Has Seen the Future of Las Vegas...And It Looks Like This:

Oh, look at what Pat Mulroy sees as our future!

The Southern Nevada Water Authority, the Bush administration's horribly disemboweled Environmental Protection Agency (you know, the guys that want to get rid of that pesky Endangered Species Act) and the National Association of Home Builders (always on the front lines of conservation) are looking for folks to attend yet another conference trumpeting "water smart" technology, this one a three-day affair in October.
The guest of honor will be His Royal Highness Prince Feisal Ibn Al-Hussein of Jordan brother of King Abdullah II. The cost to hear the Prince's keynote speech and learn how to conserve water is a mere $390 - an amount that should serve to keep the riff-raff out of the SouthPoint casino for the duration.
Bringing in yet another royal to lord over the commoners is of course fully in line with Las Vegas tradition, being that the Southern Nevada Water Authority and, by executive fiat, all of Nevada, is ruled by Czarina Patricia Mulroy. But does Prince Feisal know that he will have to bow before Her Royal Highness? Czarina totally outranks "prince."
The funny thing, of course, in turning to the Jordanians for advice about water conservation is perhaps a bit misplaced. (Although turning to SNWA for such advice is even more misplaced, in that the average Las Vegas uses about 3-5 times the amount of water as the average Jordanian and more than any other desert city in the Southwest.)
But an interesting factoid: Groundwater basins in Jordan are being over-pumped by as much as 319 percent of the recharge. A 2005 report from the Jordanian government found that groundwater is over-appropriated by more than 33 percent. Farmers, conservationists and residents of rural Nevada and Utah will recognize that these are exactly the policies favored by SNWA's demands on the regional groundwater resources: Use it up and turn the areas into economically destroyed deserts, all the better to concentrate political and economic power in Las Vegas.

So this "water smart" conference is yet another reminder what Mrs. Mulroy (sorry, Czarina Mulroy) has planned for us: Defoliated, dessicated desert in what was once a fertile crescent.
Another fun fact: Along with the homebuilders, a major sponsor of the conference to be held Oct. 8 - 10 is Black and Veatch, a huge multinational industrial contractor that knows both Southern Nevada and the Middle East because the company is a) building the SNWA pipeline and b) a major partner in the Bush administration's endless occupation of Iraq. Isn't it good when there is such ... synergy ...between the bullies of the world?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nuke Waste OK for Nevada, Not for Arizona

Or so sez the Senior Senator from Arizona and presumptive Republican candidate for President, John McCain. In fact, he's an enthusiastic backer of nukes and nuke waste everywhere - but not for his home state of Arizona.
Doesn't that qualify him for NIMBY of the Year? Decade? Century?
McCain, as the Sierra Club is pointing out today, wants to truck high-level radioactive waste through 44 states on the way to dumping in Nevada. Somehow, though, he's not going to allow that waste anywhere near his home state, no way, no sir, no how.
Just for the record, the nuclear industry is not an alternative to oil. It is an incredibly expensive, dangerous and inefficient energy source that relies, as a matter of policy, on turning Nevada into a radioactive graveyard, poisoning our land and water essentially for eternity.
Check out McCain's disgraceful NIMBYism here:

MGM Mirage Cancels Dumb Project

Our friends over at MGM Mirage, who are hell-bent on cannibalizing the existing customer base to support their eleventy-jillion-dollar CityCenter, also had ambitions to be the next Harvey Whittemore by building thousands of home 40 miles from Las Vegas to choke I-15 with commuting workers and air pollution every day.
But the Captains of Industry did not apparently count on gasoline being $4 a gallon. Which, like Whittemore's project 60 miles north of Las Vegas, has doomed this sterling example of idiotic sprawl.
Cancelling the project is one more indication that we must rethink the design fundamentals of dumb, energy-wasteful ex-urbs.
Satellite communities miles from urban centers waste land, energy and air quality. No amount of offshore drilling or tax breaks for the petrochemical industry can overcome the fact that oil and its products will become ever more expensive; long commutes didn't make sense three years ago, and they really, really don't make sense today. Such misguided development efforts are particularly silly when you look around Las Vegas' urban center and see huge tracts of land begging for infill development.