Poster Child 

Also: Dirty Business, Finding Balance

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Poster Child
If kids are the future, then it makes sense to start targeting them now with political propaganda. The Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining recently held an Earth Day poster contest for elementary school children with the theme, “Where would we be without oil, gas and mining?” The contest was sponsored by the Society of Petroleum Engineers. And, gee, this is the second year running for the contest, which the division spokesman says is meant to “improve awareness” of the important role that oil, gas and mining play. And he noted that alternative energy won’t be able to meet the demand for energy in the future. Well, with that attitude, it certainly won’t. Meanwhile, Utah Moms for Clean Air is sponsoring an alternative poster contest: “Explore the economic, environmental and health costs of fossil fuels on Utah.” Color them mad.

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Dirty Business
While the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining is shining its spotlight on the wonders of fossil fuels, it might just want to turn its attention to safety and maintenance. Chevron Pipe Line Company is at it again, trying to clean up yet another oil spill from an aging pipeline. This time, it was Willard Bay taking on 27,000 gallons of diesel. The Salt Lake Tribune writes that The National Response Center has reported 293 Utah pipeline incidents over 23 years, and 44 of those were Chevron’s. The company has had to pay millions in fines and cleanup costs, and has been trying to sell off its 760-mile pipeline. It’s no doubt difficult to monitor the old pipeline, but Chevron might consider putting its money upfront for maintenance instead of waiting for disaster.

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Finding Some Balance
Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright wants to explore changing the state’s caucus system or risk a statewide initiative to make primaries more inclusive. Indeed, the GOP caucuses have fallen into the hands of the right wing and ousted popular incumbents like Bob Bennett and Olene Walker. Delegate elections are stacked by the far right, maybe because no normal conservative wants to deal with the vitriol. But the funniest part of this effort is the charge that initiative-backer LaVarr Webb is wealthy enough to make it happen. Hey, initiatives in Utah are almost impossible, and the Legislature is always up for making them more difficult. Not even former U.S. Rep. Merrill Cook, R-Utah, and his former millions could push some of them forward. But, oddly, Cook is lobbying against the initiative now, saying it’s up for the highest bid. Is someone paying for signatures?

Twitter: @KathyBiele

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