Items by Judith Lewis Mernit

Is basic solar technology the key to an energy revolution?
Is basic solar technology the key to an energy revolution?
Plain old photovoltaic panels and innovations in energy storage and distributed generation could remake our electricity system.
The national park popularity contest
The national park popularity contest
An Oklahoma senator’s financial fix for our national treasures.
What do you know?
Author Percival Everett defies categories and generalizations.
The environmental lawsuit sue-and-settle spin cycle
The environmental lawsuit sue-and-settle spin cycle
Are settlements between environmentalists and the federal agencies they sue sweetheart deals?
Obama's love letter to natural gas
Obama's love letter to natural gas
The political and practical potential of gas in the climate fight
The Latest: A gold tax in the Silver State?
The Latest: A gold tax in the Silver State?
Voters will decide if Nevada should finally increase the taxes mining companies pay
So long, San Onofre (in like 700 million years)
The closing of a Southern California nuclear plant signals the end of an era — and the start of another
Will Nevada force mining companies to pay their fair share?
A biennial legislative session ends with no new revenue for the Silver State — at least not yet.
Alaska’s populist, Sarah Palin-era oil tax gets the ax
Alaska’s populist, Sarah Palin-era oil tax gets the ax
The Alaska Legislature cut the industry’s taxes to boost declining production in the North Slope. But the rollbacks don’t seem likely to have the desired effect.
Sacrificial Land: Will renewable energy devour the Mojave Desert?
Sacrificial Land: Will renewable energy devour the Mojave Desert?
An unlikely group of activists is championing a new bill to protect the Mojave Desert. But even if it passes, large swaths of once empty land will be developed.
Will Los Angeles bring its cougars back from the brink?
Will Los Angeles bring its cougars back from the brink?
With just a handful of mountain lions left in the Santa Monica Mountains, Californians must decide whether they care enough about wildness to fund key habitat connections.
Sierra Club fights Keystone XL with civil disobedience
Sierra Club fights Keystone XL with civil disobedience
The act will be the first of its kind sanctioned by the group’s board of directors in its 120 year history, and may push the conversation over the controversial tar-sands oil pipeline to a new level.
Miguel Luna gives young Los Angelenos a beaker and a job
Miguel Luna gives young Los Angelenos a beaker and a job
Agua University trains young people in Los Angeles County to work as water samplers, employing them and also teaching about the importance of clean water.
Producing more power means using more water
Producing more power means using more water
Federal agencies often overlook the tight relationship between energy production and water use.
A river of rain
Scientists try to predict how much water makes a landslide
The Nevada surprise
The Democrats' formidable ground game delivered Obama to the White House and a surprise seat in Congress
Nevada, face down and flailing
Nevada, face down and flailing
Nevada is so broke that ideology has to bend: Taxes have become inevitable.
As goes Nevada, so goes the nation?
As goes Nevada, so goes the nation?
As Nevada sinks deeper into decline, party politics give way to pragmatism.
Existential nomad: A profile of author Ruben Martinez
Existential nomad: A profile of author Ruben Martinez
The author asks questions about life in the desert West -- who belongs there, and what belongs to whom.
The politics of public health
The politics of public health
Environmental regulations are a favorite target in the runup to this year's election.
Gregory Jaczko's resignation weakens federal nuclear regulation
Gregory Jaczko's resignation weakens federal nuclear regulation
The San Onofre nuclear power plant has problems that are perhaps endemic to the industry, and chairman Gregory Jaczko's May 2012 resignation from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission means there's one less strong regulator keeping a sharp eye on industry.
The fading Arizona town of Gila Bend bets big on solar
The fading Arizona town of Gila Bend bets big on solar
At last -- a place to put utility scale plants that won't ruin the desert. But will politics and the economy get in the way?
Can solar produce long-lasting jobs?
Can solar produce long-lasting jobs?
Constructing solar energy plants provides well-paying jobs, but most of the work is only temporary.
Redefining "renewable" to get a clean energy bill through Congress
Redefining "renewable" to get a clean energy bill through Congress
As his retirement looms, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., pushes a "clean energy" bill, one that broadens the energy mix beyond traditional "renewable" sources.