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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorials: Train TRAX and cow tracks ...

Above: New York MTA rail safety spot. Please, tell me that's a camera trick at the end.

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- TRAX safety: Personal vigilance is key - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Safety around TRAX trains is a two-way contract. The Utah Transit Authority has a responsibility to provide warnings for drivers, train passengers and pedestrians, and operators must maintain proper lookout. But the ultimate responsibility for personal safety rests with the individual. There’s no substitute for personal vigilance.

To see what people do around trains, a Tribune reporter watched monitors at the UTA operations center that are connected to cameras at TRAX stations and street crossings. What he saw could be labeled something like "Stupid Human Tricks." He witnessed 79 potentially fatal incidents in two hours during the afternoon commuter rush. ...

... Anyone who has spent any time on a TRAX platform knows that people don’t pay attention to their surroundings, often because they are listening to music through earbuds or are engrossed in their cellphones. It’s remarkable how many people stand beyond the yellow line at the edge of a platform, where they could fall into the path of a train or their clothing could catch on a passing car.

Under the circumstances, it’s remarkable that only five people have died in accidents with TRAX this year. Those deaths prompted UTA to launch a broader safety campaign. ...

And, as if to mock us, this this morning:

- Man seriously injured after turning in front of TRAX train - Tribune

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- Impact of grazing: BLM should consider the costs - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

The use of public land for cattle grazing is a political hot potato and one that can easily burn the federal Bureau of Land Management. But the BLM can’t rightfully avoid dealing with the practice, no matter how unpleasant, because grazing can ruin riparian areas, dirty public waters and damage wildlife habitat.

And the agency’s mission is to balance multiple uses of public lands so that one doesn’t preclude the others.

Grazing is one of the West’s traditional industries and one that conservative lawmakers in Utah staunchly defend. But science now provides better data on its impacts. The BLM should follow its own policy, which prohibits political interference with, or manipulation of, scientific work.

A court case and a misconduct complaint recently highlighted the BLM’s seeming affinity for ranchers at the expense of a healthy environment. If proven, that affinity should be replaced by a more objective assessment of all factors affecting public lands. ...

Related:

- Idaho’s Working Groups Need Our Help to Save Sage Grouse - Twin Falls (Idaho) Times-News Editorial

- Conservation easements are valuable - Lincoln (Neb.) Journal-Star Editorial

- Delay on Dunes Sagebrush Lizard buys some time, but legal attack is unreasonable - Lufkin (Texas) Daily News Editorial



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