Saturday, December 29, 2007

End of the year non-review, #1

A non-review, since I didn't post about things I saved in "starred items" in Google Reader. So, some quick posts about them.

Grist complains Senator Harry Reid is defending the 1872 Mining Law, which is still on the books. Parts of it are stupid; we should hold profitable companies to clean up their messes and begin to increase the tiny rates charged for minerals on public lands. But in parts of Nevada mining is all that keeps the area inhabited. Reid comes from a down and out mining town to the south of Las Vegas that I've spent plenty of time in; and no one would argue it was having a too-hot economy. Reid also gets re-elected by the will of the people of Nevada every six years, and to be honest, it can be a close vote every time. Reid is not perfect; a true politician as I found when I talked with him years ago; but he's fantastic for Nevada--holding off the results of the "Screw Nevada" bill and deflecting the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump as long as possible, despite the efforts of many in both parties. He works well with Senator Ensign on nonpartisan issues for the state like smart planning on wilderness and auctioning federal lands in southern Nevada. All these things would be much worse off if he were defeated--there would be no Mining Law reform, no wilderness declarations, no effective attempt at ending the bureaucratic environmental disaster that Yucca Mountain will be.

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