Living in checkmate

This is an archived article that was published on in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Watching the second presidential debate, I realized again the checkmate we are living in. Gov. Mitt Romney valiantly declared that "we can now, by virtue of new technology, actually get all the energy we need in North America."

In Utah this means oil-shale and tar-sands extraction.

This unconventional oil extraction is being explored through leases from the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, which funds public schools.

This unconventional oil extraction would add to the emissions from fossil fuel combustion more than five times what scientists say is allowable to avoid catastrophic changes in climate.

Checkmate: As a teacher, I rely on that SITLA money, and it also sacrifices my future.

A few rule changes might help create a new game:

1. Create a federal fee and dividend on carbon-based fuels, with 100 percent of revenue returned to Americans.

2. Eliminate incentives for tar-sands and oil-shale production by increasing SITLA royalties from 5 percent to 16 percent, making them equivalent to what it charges for conventional oil, coal and gas.

3: Campaigns and civil disobedience targeted at getting organizations to divest ownership in the fossil-fuel industry.

I live in a checkmate, and I've already moved for the first two rule changes.

Ryan Pleune

Salt Lake City