Friday, March 23, 2012

Jim Mason and Landscape:
Jim Mason: at his hogan January 10, 2006
The landscape in Burnham, NM on the Navajo Nation has changed in the past 6 years since I first met Jim Mason in 2006.  On that cold January day he talked about how his hogan shook like an earthquake when the dynamite blasts at the mine were set off.  How he was concerned about the blasting causing Mother Earth to come apart under his home.  How his sheep could no longer drink the water.  Jim asked "who is doing this without telling us"?
Jim Mason: his hogan broken apart by mine blasting June 5, 2008
For 2 1/2 years I watched as the mine encroached on Jim's home.  In June of 2008 I stopped to talk with him.  I knew the blasting had greatly damaged his hogan. "Everything inside our home is falling down.  No one, the mine, or the Federal Government has contacted us.  No offer has been made to help rebuild our hogan.  The blasting continues 7 days a week, 24 hours a day". 
Jim Mason: remains of hogan destroyed by mine blasting August 22, 2011
That June day in 2008 was the last time I saw and spoke with Jim.  In August of 2011 I drove by his home.  The sheep were gone and a small pile of wood lay where his hogan and home had once stood.

The Oxford Dictionary of Geography defines landscape as: "An area, the appearance of an area, or the gathering of objects which produce that appearance.  The concept of the landscape as the expression of interaction between humans and their environment".

Jim was part of the interaction between humans and their environment. He had little choice on the outcome. 

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Friday, March 9, 2012

Coal Economics 101:

Sale Special! Limited Quantities Available! Deal of the Century! All of these slogans are normally associated with going-out-of-business sales, but they apply to the way our publicly owned coal is sold in the United States today.

The Gunvor Group recently purchased publicly owned coal in Montana for 15 cents per ton. One of the world’s largest trading companies, Gunvor is registered in Switzerland, though its principal owner is a Russian oil baron and one of the 185 richest people in the world, according to Forbes magazine.  When Gunvor purchased mining rights for the coal, it did so with a public announcement that most of the coal that was produced would be sent to Asian markets, which will pay more than $95 per ton. (Do the math: buy from US taxpayers at 15 cents per ton, sell in Asia for $95 a ton).
Proposed mining permits in Four Corners provide for shipping coal to China.
This is not an isolated incident. The U.S. Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing and evaluation arm in charge of safeguarding taxpayer dollars, prepared reports as early as 1983 highlighting the massive handouts given to large coal companies as public resources were consistently undersold.

be strong, be safe,  Carlan