Monday, May 24, 2010

My Weekend of Eco-Activism

In case you haven't heard, a giant gravel pit may be started dangerously close to Henderson. Folks here, especially in areas like Anthem and Seven Hills that are only three to five miles from the proposed gravel pit, are enraged. Air, water, and noise pollution would become catastrophic. Home values would plummet (even more than what we've already endured in The Great Recession). The quality of life that we currently enjoy here would vanish. Basically, Henderson would no longer be that "Place to Call Home".

However, someone is thankfully coming to the rescue.

Sen. Harry Reid on Wednesday moved to block development of a major gravel quarry that has drawn complaints from residents at the southern end of the Las Vegas Valley.

Reid, D-Nev., introduced a bill he said would put a stop to the proposed Sloan Hills quarry on federal land outside Henderson. It would withdraw the 640-acre site off Las Vegas Boulevard South from being made available for mining purposes.

"The potential negative impacts of the proposed operation far outweigh any benefit the mine may provide," Reid said. "This legislation makes sure that the proposed gravel operations at Sloan Hills will not go forward." [...]

The proposed quarry is about three miles from the Anthem development, and slightly farther from other Henderson neighborhoods where residents have concerns about dirt and dust pollution, noise, truck traffic and the effect on their home values.

Two companies, Mexico-based Cemex and Service Rock Products of California, want to lease the BLM property, which contains high-quality construction aggregates that are used to make concrete.

Plans call for an open pit mining operation that would cart off millions of tons of sand and rock over 20 years.

"Citizens from all over Clark County have rallied against this project because of its potential effect on the health of residents and the toll that the blasting operations would have on an otherwise peaceful community," Reid said in a statement that accompanied his bill.

"The dust kicked up by the proposed gravel operation would undoubtedly complicate the current air quality challenges in the Las Vegas Valley and would be particularly troublesome for members of nearby, age-restricted communities that have seniors already suffering from respiratory problems," Reid said.

And this is why I joined some of my fellow Hendersonians on Saturday to walk the neighborhoods in Anthem and let them know about what Senator Reid is doing to stop the Sloan Hills gravel pit. And while a few Republicans just didn't want to hear anything positive about Reid, everyone else I spoke with in Sun City Anthem (an area in the far south end of the development, very close to the proposed mine) appreciated what Reid is doing in DC to stop Henderson from getting screwed.

So on Saturday, I was out helping to raise awareness of what's happening in Henderson. On Sunday, I joined some activists from Sierra Club and Progress Now Nevada to protest Sarah Palin's continued love for "Drill Baby Drill, Spill Baby Spill" as she was delivering her train wreck of a stump speech for the ReCon retail real estate convention. While Palin still extols the "virtues" of offshore oil drilling, the Gulf of Mexico has been devastated by the catastrophe caused by the BP oil spill.

"Drill Baby Drill" is NOT a realistic energy solution. We're running out of oil. And as companies like BP drill deeper and deeper to try to find more oil, the chance of more disasters like the BP spill in The Gulf rises exponentially.

Oh, and what about that thing called climate change? Do we really want to remain addicted to fossil fuels causing this escalating crisis? Or do we want real, sustainable energy solutions?

We're poised here in Nevada to take full advantage of the developing green economy and demand for smart renewable energy solutions. So why should we listen to Sarah Palin and her "Drill Baby Drill" cohorts in the fossil fuel industry as they ruin our country? Perhaps we should do what's in our own best interest, as well as what's in the best interest of our nation and our planet.

So as you can tell, I was busy doing what little I could to help save our planet. I can't help it. I like me some clean air, clean water, and a healthy Mother Earth. Don't you, too? :-)

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