News from the Great Basin

“Protecting Sage Grouse in the Great Basin”

“…Restoring native plants and biodiversity in the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem of the Great Basin, where a massive invasion of non-native grasses, particularly cheatgrass, has turned millions of acres into a fire-prone monoculture. As Climate Progress has reported, finding innovative ways to beat back the cheatgrass invasion and restore sagebrush and other native plants has a huge potential for sequestering carbon and aiding in the fight against global climate change.”

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/01/07/3608942/sally-jewell-launches-fire-and-grouse-initiative/

 

“Midwife Attacked for Asking Why Babies Are Dying in Oil Boomtown”

Great Basin - Utah drill pads

Drill pads in NE Utah

“A heartbreaking story in the Los Angeles Times tells about 20-year midwife Donna Young, who noticed what she thought was an exceptional number of gravestones for infants at the local cemetery in Vernal, Utah.  She wondered if there could be a connection to the oil industry, which underpins the area’s economy and provides about half the town’s annual budget.

A state investigation is underway, but in the meantime, area residents — even mothers of some of the deceased infants — are already angrily denying the connection and demonizing Young for asking questions, reports the LA Times. She’s gotten threatening calls, been attacked on local talk radio and online, and even found rat poison in the animal feed on her ranch, exposing the fear, anger and denial some people feel when fossil fuel industries are the linchpin of an economy. As Vernal’s Mayor Sonya Norton aptly told the paper, “People get very protective of what we have here. If you challenge our livelihood, it’s considered personal. Without oil, this town would be a couple of storefronts and a gas station.”’

Utah Oil Boomtown Hostile to Midwife’s Concern Over Skyrocketing Infant Deaths

 

“EcoFlight flyover of the Utah Tar Sands project area”