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The Political Landscape: Rep. grateful for asteroid help

Jan 13, 2010

Washington, Jan 13, 2010 - Rep. Dana Rohrabacher recently penned a letter of praise to Russian scientists working to protect Earth from gigantic asteroids hurtling through space.

In a letter to Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian Space Agency, Rohrabacher extolled Russia for taking steps to prevent the giant Asteroid Apophis from colliding with Earth. The congressman also vowed to try and forge a partnership between Russian and U.S. scientists.

“Asteroids nearly destroyed life on Earth more than once and it would be foolish and irresponsible for America to cede our responsibility on this critical threat to all of humanity,” Rohrabacher wrote. “You can count on me to try to make this a joint project with the United States.”

NASA scientists have estimated that Apophis measures as much as 1,500 feet across. The massive space rock is expected to make a close pass by Earth on April 13, 2036, with a 1 in 250,000 chance of colliding with the planet. If Apophis were to crash into Earth, NASA scientists estimate that the force of the blast would be the equivalent of 880 megatons of TNT.

The Russian Space Agency is trying to figure out ways to alter Apophis’ path.

Rohrabacher has been a longtime supporter of taking preemptive measures to guard against asteroid strikes.

In 2007, Rohrabacher wrote the Near Earth Object Preparedness Act, which would have created the Office of Potentially Hazardous Near-Earth Object Preparedness.

The bill has apparently languished in committee, according to congressional records.

Assembly man says fair bill was educational

While Assemblyman Jose Solorio acknowledges that Assembly Bill 1590 might not stop Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger from selling the Orange County Fairgrounds, he said it has helped educate the legislature, the governor and the public about the seriousness and the timeline of selling such valued state-owned property.

Solorio added that the recent developments surrounding the fairgrounds and his bill to stop the sale have also started a larger discussion about the future of state-owned properties.

Solorio still hopes that Schwarzenegger calls off the sale, but even if he doesn’t, Solorio said his bill can help with a transition of ownership from the state to a new owner, if that owner is willing to keep the fairgrounds as is.

Meanwhile, the Orange County Fair and Exhibit Center Foundation, which was formed by members from the fair board who wanted to buy the fairgrounds and run it as a nonprofit organization, decided, after all, not to place a bid on the fairgrounds, according to fair board and nonprofit Chairwoman Kristina Dodge. She didn’t give any reasons.

An auction to sell the fairgrounds is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. today at 88 Fair Drive. The event will be web cast at Schwarzenegger has the option to not accept any of the seven bids that were presented to the state for the fairgrounds.
Original article: Daily Pilot