America’s historic artifacts are supposed to be protected when government land is mined, drilled or pumped. But that sort of idealism quickly goes out the window when energy prices reach historic levels. Conservation groups are reminding the federal government of the preservation obligation in federal law by suing over permits granted for natural-gas wells accesses through Nine Mile Canyon. The canyon is home to the world’s largest collection of ancient American Indian rock art, which scientists predict will be eroded by dust kicked up by passing drilling rigs and the chemicals used to keep the dust down. There are likely ways to keep the petroglyphs and get the gas too. And while they may be costly, its hard to put a price on 1,000-year-old paintings.
Army researcher Bruce Ivins was found dead of apparent suicide just as the FBI readied to finger him as the man who, in September 2001, mailed anthrax-filled envelopes that killed five and bolstered the case for war with Iraq. The FBI’s investigation makes clear the anthrax came not from Saddam, but from the Dugway Proving Ground in Tooele County. A raid on Ivins’ lab proved his Dugway anthrax to have the same genetic markers as the anthrax sent in the letters. Ivins’ death leaves many questions unanswered. Among the most important for those of us living near Dugway are what is the Utah facility doing with this deadly stuff in the first place and what mechanisms are in place to ensure it doesn’t get into the wrong hands?
Those wanting to close the borders in order to maintain Utah as a bastion of lily whiteness can now officially give up. New population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau confirm that Utah is becoming increasingly Latino—the Latino population statewide has jumped more than 50 percent since 2000 and now makes up 12 percent of all Utah residents—but as important to Utah’s future is where those people are coming from. The numbers show the population surge isn’t from new immigrants. Rather, Latinos in Utah have taken up the Utah tradition of making babies with a birthrate that eclipses even Utah’s highest-in-the-nation birthrate. In Salt Lake County, one-third of babies are Latinos. In a few years those babies will be voters. Best stop picking on them now.