Climate Change is Real
Local climate-change advocates were heartened when Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest public oil company, came over to their side of the global warming and climate-change debate—sort of. Exxon Mobil has refocused its lobbying to support a revenue-neutral carbon tax it previously had opposed. This is contrary to others in the energy biz and in opposition to recent House votes against the tax. Pundits claim that Exxon Mobil saw the handwriting on the wall before its competitors and moved heavily into natural gas production to become America's largest producer of natural gas—a much lower carbon emitter than coal and oil.
Bears Ears Showdown
It was announced that U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is coming to Utah to discuss a plan backed by a tribal coalition and many environmentalist to make Bears Ears a new national monument. Secretary Jewell is expected to discuss with the local community members and its leaders ways to ensure public lands will be of benefit to all Americans. The Utah Diné Bikéyah tribal coalition expects the meeting will be on July 16 in Bluff, Utah. Those in favor of making the 1.9-million acres into a national monument in southeastern Utah point to ancient artifacts and sacred lands they claim need protection from looting and development. Utah's all-Republican congressional delegation, led by Rep. Rob Bishop, is relying on his expected bill to keep some of the land open for gas and oil development. But 25 Native American tribes are lobbying Jewell and President Obama to make the designation.
Heroism Under Fire
We all watched live TV coverage with horror, but also with awe, when heroic Dallas police ran toward the life-threatening automatic weapons fire during a Black Lives Matter march last week, as thousands of peaceful demonstrators were fleeing around them. Five police officers died and seven were injured. Speaking at a press conference on July 8, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown described the shooting as tragic, horrific and senseless. At the same conference, Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder said, "I am disgusted, I am disheartened and I am extremely, extremely sad." Yet, in the midst of the attack, we all saw police officers at their finest. While it's hard to put a happy face on an incident like this, two hits stand out. The demonstrators themselves peacefully exercised their constitutional rights, and the police who were there to protect those marchers stood their ground and did their jobs.