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Letter: Sagebrush rebels will hasten Western drought
First Published Jul 22 2014 08:21 am • Last Updated Jul 22 2014 08:21 am

Those who support Utah’s latest "Sagebrush Rebellion" might want to examine their thinking more closely. Recent studies indicate human activity in Utah’s Colorado Plateau is causing the snowpack in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains to melt more rapidly, further depriving the watershed of its most precious resource.

ORV and ATV use, grazing, mining, and drilling coupled with prolonged drought is denuding the desert of vegetation and cryptobiotic soils, which bind the soil sands together. Intense spring winds blow across the Colorado Plateau, sometimes creating vast dust storms whose particulate matter settles upon the San Juan snowpack, causing it to absorb heat rather than reflect it. Ultimately, this leads to snowmelt three to six weeks early.

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Utah’s obsession with acquiring public lands driven by more short-term economic growth, if actually brought to fruition, would only add to more climate change, a dwindling water supply, and devastated red rock desert.

Allen Livingston


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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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