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Billionaires for energy conservation


"If Montana residents can scrape it up, they can eat it," said The Associated Press, about a roadkill-salvage bill signed by the governor April 4. "It really is a sin to waste good meat," is how Democratic state Sen. Larry Jent of Bozeman put it. Elk, deer, antelope and moose are all fair game for retrieval under the bill, though an earlier version would have also included furbearers and some gamebirds. Opponents, however, worried about the safety of the meat: "Despite its good intention, it doesn't pass the smell test for me," explained Sen. Kendall Van Dyk, D-Billings. Still, everyone seemed to agree that, law or no law, few drivers are likely to crash into an edible animal just to avoid a trip to the supermarket. "We don't have very many suicidal drivers," Jent said.


When Pitkin County, home to Aspen, adopted a Renewable Energy Mitigation Program designed to make owners of mega-mansions pay for their electricity load, few people predicted that just one 15,000-square-foot house would generate almost a half-million dollars for the program. Usually, homeowners offset a building's energy use by installing solar panels or geothermal heat pumps, but in this case, reports the Aspen Times, the electrical demands to melt snow from driveways and heat an outdoor pool and spa were just too much: The home's amenities drove the residence over its energy budget. Owners must now pay the county $468,947, which will be used to fund energy conservation projects throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.


True or false, asks Colby Poulson, who lives in Farmington, Utah: Earth Day was created in 1970 to celebrate all the wonderful ways that our society benefits from mining and burning fossil fuels. If you answered "true," you just might be an elementary school student in that state, thanks to a poster contest sponsored by the Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining and a group of petroleum engineers. Their information for the contest tells children that without oil, gas and mining, there would be "no electricity, no diamonds and no Disneyland." As for alternative energy and the need to stop air pollution and contain global climate change, there's not a word about that from the contest sponsors. Poulson, the father of a kindergartner, was incensed: "I'm disgusted that the state is backing propaganda like this in our schools, especially after a winter filled with some of the worst air quality we've ever seen," he said in a letter to The Salt Lake Tribune. "It makes me sick."

From our friends

HCN in the outhouses of the West

From my Alaska trip: I flew into a small town that is not reachable by road, then hopped on a motorboat and drove across lakes and rivers for 2.5 hours to reach the scientists' camp way out in the boondocks -- out there they have a few rough cabins and a generator that makes electricity only in the evening and two outhouses -- and lo and behold, for reading material in the outhouses they have issues of the Economist magazines and HCN -- amazing to discover HCN readers way out there!

Ray Ring, HCN Senior Editor

A constant commitment to the environment

Needless to say, we love and appreciate the fine work all of you do to illustrate the importance of our constant commitment to the environment.

Thanks to all of you for illuminating the critical issues of our world, country and the West. Keep up the great work!

Jeff and Lisa,
Atlanta, Georgia