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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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(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Weston Clark, a Woods Cross High School graduate and former teacher at Viewmont High School, said he submitted a request to be placed on the board’s June 12 agenda. Clark said that after he submitted the request, Davis County School District superintendent Bryan Bowles called to say Clark would not be placed on the agenda.
Bad decisions: Davis Schools and Utah senators ...

Easy to be an editorial writer when public officials, in Utah and from Utah, keep making such obviously bad decisions.

- Error compounded: Davis should hear dissenters - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

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The Davis County School District only compounded its original mistake in limiting access to a book about a family with two lesbian mothers when it refused to allow opponents of the decision to speak at a school board meeting. ...

... The fear that exposing children to the reality of families with gay parents will somehow cause them to become gay is irrational. But such irrational fear leads to intolerance and bigotry, and bigotry too often leads to cruelty, of a kind that has led many gay teenagers in Utah to end their own lives. Books that foster understanding of many lifestyles and help prevent such cruelty should be made more available, not hidden away.

Editorials on semi-related issues:

- Government must continue to control decency standards on public airwaves - Deseret News Editorial

- Scrubbing the airwaves: The FCC, dirty words and your TV - Chicago Tribune Editorial

- Legislate not that which is too private to mention - St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial

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- Coal justification: Hatch, Lee cling to a dirty past - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

There’s a time when being "conservative" means sticking by tried and true values. And there’s a time when it means irrationally clinging to outmoded, even deadly, ways of doing things.

Sadly, the two U.S. senators from Utah the other day chose the wrong meaning.

That’s when they voted in favor of a measure based on the idea that just because we have continually allowed the mercury, arsenic, hydrochloric acid and other poisons that rise from the smokestacks of coal-burning power plants to enter our atmosphere, our wildlife and our children’s nervous systems, to do otherwise would betray American values.

Thankfully, not everybody thinks emitting tons of neurotoxins into our atmosphere is a tradition worth preserving.

On a vote of 53 to 46, the Senate Wednesday preserved a new rule, laid down by the Environmental Protection Agency and due to take effect in 2015. It is a rule called MATS, Mercury and Air Toxics, and it requires that coal-burning power plants in the United States use "maximum available control technology" to clean up emissions.

Among those voting to kill the rule were Utah’s Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee. Both issued statements — Lee gave an impassioned floor speech — denouncing the MATS rule as a (you guessed it) "job killer" that would hike electricity costs. ...

... Rather than make excuses for the coal and power industries, Lee and Hatch would have been better off following the lead of their colleague from West Virginia, a state that’s practically made out of coal, Jay Rockefeller.

Yes, he’s a Democrat. But he told the truth when he said the coal industry was doing itself and its employees no favor when it insisted on clinging to a dirty, polluted and technologically backward past.

"It’s a terrible disservice to coal miners and their families to tell them that everything can be as it was," Rockfeller said. "That can’t be. It’s over."

And not a moment too soon.

- Closed rebellion: Counties hide oil shale meeting - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

If various officials in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming don’t like the Obama administration’s decision to slow the rush toward potentially disastrous attempts to turn rocks and sand into fuel — and many of them don’t — they have as much right as anyone else to just say so.

It must have been a lot more fun, though, for commissioners from Uintah, Carbon and Duchesne counties to organize a clandestine gathering for themselves, some counterparts from Colorado and Wyoming, a couple of state officials and lobbyists from a so-far imaginary industry that claims to know how to turn the region’s oil shale into gasoline at a competitive price. All the better to style themselves as the oppressed as they hammered out their resolutions of objection. ...

- Oil shale meeting illegal - Ogden Standard Examiner Editorial

A closed-door meeting where three Utah counties formulated a plan to fight potential federal efforts to limit leases for oil shale exploration was illegal.

The general public was closed out from the March 27 meeting, which also involved counties from Wyoming and Colorado.

However, pro-oil shale development lobbyists were allowed a prominent seat at the table for the meeting. Lobbyists included a representative from Red Leaf Resources, a Utah firm that has a lease designed to develop oil shale.

Simply stated, you can’t have a meeting on this issue that is only open for lobbyists. The meeting should be open to all people, regardless of their viewpoints on the issue under discussion. ...

... We urge the Utah Attorney General’s office to take a look into the illegal meeting that occurred in Uintah County, Our state leaders need to always be on the side of open meetings.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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