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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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Lauretta Anzalone, 80, looks at what is left of her home Sunday, July 1, 2012, in the Mountain Shadows subdivision of Colorado Springs, Colo., after the Waldo Canyon fire ravaged the neighborhood. So far, the blaze, now 45 percent contained, has damaged or destroyed nearly 350 homes. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Heather Rousseau) MAGS OUT; TV OUT; INTERNET OUT
Don't abuse your freedoms on the 4th ...

Pounding out one last pre-Independence Day editorial about the need to be careful with fireworks, and other stuff, in a state that's one ember away from going up in flames.

In the meantime, related commentary:

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- City governments should sear fire restrictions into the public conscience - Deseret News Editorial

... this nerve-jangling summer of combustibility is far from over, and the sad reality is, barring any miraculous change of course, there will be more fires accidentally triggered by people who should know better. ...

- Be aware of fire dangers - Ogden Standard-Examiner Editorial

... Be aware of fire dangers; be smart enough to not take actions that can start a fire; use common sense. To law enforcement — please stop those who are blatantly breaking the laws regarding fireworks.

- Looking beyond Colorado's raging wildfires - Denver Post Editorial

... A raging forest fire may grab headlines and dominate the news, but the quiet work of repairing the damage and strengthening forests is vitally important as well.

- Empty straw: Lake Powell Pipeline isn’t prudent - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Disappointment is pushing a drinking straw to the bottom of a cup, sucking, and producing nothing but a hissing, empty sound. Imagine how disappointing it would be if Utahns spent $1 billion on the Lake Powell Pipeline only to get the same result.

Unfortunately, that’s a real possibility. Yet another report, this one by the Environmental Defense Fund, is warning Utahns about just that. It says that if projections about global climate change pan out, Utah could end up running a new pipeline to a depleted Colorado River that might not be able to supply the water. ...

- Another health case: Appeals court rightly stands by EPA - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

While most of the country was waiting for a court ruling that would affect how many Americans insure their health care, another court was handing down an order that will go a long way to ensure the health of the entire planet.

A panel of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Tuesday unanimously upheld a series of Environmental Protection Agency rules that are, so far, the most any U.S. government agency has done to deal with the havoc that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide threaten to play with the world’s climate. ...

- Global warming in our backyard: The reality of climate change is hitting home - Los Angeles Times Editorial

It's not just about the polar bears anymore. ...

- Federal court, western fires, send unambiguous messages - Tony Messenger [newly named editorial page editor of] The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Back when I lived in Colorado, I knew a guy named Bob Schneider. He was the most unpopular fire chief in the state.

Every year around this time, Mr. Schneider, chief of the InterCanyon Fire Department in the foothills southwest of Denver, would offer an ominous warning that went something like this:

"It's not if but when the 'big one' hits the metro area. Homes will be destroyed. People will die."

Realtors in the mountain suburbs, which were booming in the 1980s and 1990s, didn't like to hear that kind of thing. But every time they proposed carving another development into the side of a mountain, Bob would warn about the big one.

They're still carving out developments, but in March, a Lower North Fork fire proved Mr. Schneider's point as it roared up and down valleys near Conifer, killing one couple who couldn't escape and destroying scores of homes.

It was, much like Mr. Schneider's words decades ago, but a warning shot.

As this is written, two of the worst fires in Colorado history are burning out of control ...



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