Jon Huntsman Jr., U.S. ambassador to China. It may be a hit for the country, but it’s difficult to imagine Utah won’t miss him. With the moderate Huntsman’s sky-high popularity rating out of the way, it’s worrisome to think what the Legislature might get up to. Hopefully, Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert, global-warming-skeptic and Huntsman’s replacement, will be up to the task. But climate-change fighters can probably kiss Utah’s help goodbye.
Not satisfied with 600 miles of trails set aside for their use, a gaggle of sagebrush-rebellion types recently drove 300 ATVs up a protected riverbed in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument closed to traffic by court order. On hand to cheer on the classic act of civil disobedience was state Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab. That’s the same Mike Noel who called for felony charges against monkeywrencher Tim DeChristopher, the environmental activist who submitted bogus oil- and gas-lease bids in an act of protest.
Trainloads of radioactive muck are coming to Tooele County, thanks to the federal government’s stimulus package. EnergySolutions’ campaign for inclusion in the national job-creation plan paid off with half of federal Energy Department stimulus projects naming the operator of Utah’s low-level nuclear waste dump as a contractor. Utah may be the dumping ground for cleanups of the nation’s old nuclear-bomb factories in Washington, Tennessee and South Carolina. But at least we’re creating jobs.
Whatever you think of his politics, Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, takes his job seriously. At least, he used to. Bennett consistently engaged in important national issues of the day, even stepping out occasionally to confront demagogues in his own party and speak against a federal flag-burning amendment. Now, faced with a reelection challenge from the right wing, Bennett is pretending to be a moron, blocking an Obama appointee as a way to get oil drilling near Utah national parks. It’s silly. The Obama administration isn’t going to buy it. And the yahoos waving “don’t tread on me” flags aren’t going to buy it, either.