Cloud-seeding alarms environmental group |

Cloud-seeding alarms environmental group

STOCKTON, Calif. An environmental group is questioning plans to expand cloud-seeding in the Sierra Nevada. Some 12 different cloud-seeding operations are currently under way, and a new proposal calls for a portion of the Stanislaus River watershed to be seeded in an effort to induce more snow. Increased snow in turn provides more water for generation of electricity in hydroelectric plants.The most commonly used seeding agent is silver iodide, which is spewed into the wind of oncoming storms. Snowflakes form around the tiny particles. John Buckley, executive director of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center, says the silver iodide could be harming amphibians and fish.”It may not be that a single year’s worth of silver iodide application immediately causes frogs to float belly up,” Buckley told the Stockton Record. “But it’s just an additional harmful effect.”Other environmentalists are less alarmed. “On a list of a hundred environmental problems in my community, this would probably be somewhere around 98,” said Michael Jackson, an environmental attorney based in the California town of Quincy.”It’s a potential problem when you add any sort of metal to the ground,” he added. “But I would worry a whole hell of a lot more about agricultural chemicals in Stockton than silver iodide in the Sierra.”Ski areas owners on list of billionairesKETCHUM, Idaho – At least in Idaho, all billionaires are ski area owners. Earl Holding, who owns Sun Valley Resort with his wife, Carole, ranks No. 606 on the list of world billionaires with assets estimated at $1.3 billion. Holding, 79, is a part-time resident of Sun Valley. He also owns Utah’s Snowbasin ski area.The only other Idahoan on the Forbes list of billionaires is 97-year-old J.R. Simplot, the Boise-based potato tycoon who supplies the french fries used at McDonald’s restaurants and who also provided the startup capital for Micron Technology. Simplot, who owns the Brundage ski area near McCall, has an estimated net worth of $2.6 billion. Topping the list is Bill Gates, 50, who is worth an estimated $50 billion. He’s an annual visitor to Sun Valley.Vail, Colorado

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