Items by Allen Best

The Sunflower State says a historic no to coal
Allen Best applauds Kansas for denying permits to two proposed coal-fired power plants because of concerns about greenhouse gases.
Hot time in the city
In the dog days of a hot summer, Allen Best wonders if air conditioning is altogether a good thing.
Who gets to produce electricity is galvanizing the West
In the rural West, some electricity co-ops are taking a surprising stand against over-reliance on coal-fired power.
Knee-jerking in western Colorado
Allen Best debunks rumors of a behind-the-scenes deal between Vail Resorts and the Forest Service over lynx reintroduction.
The hidden costs of our coal habit
In Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future, Jeff Goodell reveals how the sausage is made when it comes to the primary source of America’s electricity.
The new pariahs
Allen Best thinks the moral pendulum has swung a little too far against the country’s remaining smokers.
The underbelly of prosperity in the resort West is illegal labor
Allen Best suggests we follow the money to find the impetus behind illegal immigration.
Lake Powell gets an A for boating and a D for water storage
The writer visits half-full Lake Powell and finds a message for the West
Death in the backcountry
The writer advises backcountry skiers and snowmobilers to carry a survival tool that’s low-tech but mandatory: a shovel.
Arson on Vail Mountain returns to the news
The writer reacts to the recent arrests of two people labeled "eco-terrorists."
Westerners slowly adapt to high prices
Westerners are making a few small efforts to conserve energy in the face of higher prices, but environmentalists wonder what it will take to inspire a real change in behavior
Light rail moves inland from the 'Left Coast'
Light rail has become unexpectedly popular in deeply conservative Salt Lake City, Utah
A city center in the suburbs
Charlie Lybrand enjoys living in his transit-oriented complex in metro Denver, because he rarely has to drive to get to college or go out to party
Reading, riding and relaxing
Architect Kevin Koernig, who commutes from suburban Littleton to downtown Denver, loves light rail because it saves him money, keeps him healthy, and gives him extra time to read
Commuter trains could connect the West's far-flung cities
Longer commuter rails could connect the West’s far-flung cities in ways they haven’t been connected since the glory days of the railroad
Back On Track
Denver, Colo., one of the West’s most sprawling, traffic-choked cities, has become a champion of mass transit with FasTracks, its ambitious light-rail project
Be a patriot — get your hands dirty
The writer advises: Be a patriot; get your hands dirty
The end of exurbia: An interview with James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler talks about the end of oil, and how the West’s exurbs will expire when the automobile does
The best of both worlds
George Abramajtis, like most other exurbanites, loves his life in a Colorado mountain subdivision, despite the long daily commute
How dense can we be?
Living the good life in the ’exurbs’ is draining our tax coffers and devouring the West’s open spaces, but large-lot development continues to explode.
On the basketball court, a confusion and profusion of races
The writer looks on the basketball court and sees a confusion and profusion of races
Ski areas must move to end white on white
The writer says ski areas have the need and the obligation to expand their patronage beyond whites
Glaciers offer a glimpse of the distant past
Like tree rings, ice cores create a record of the climate of the past, and the National Ice Core Laboratory in Denver houses the largest collection of polar ice cores in the world
Nostalgia for Colorado’s past isn’t what it used to be
The writer says our rosy picture of Colorado and the West "as it used to be" is hogwash
How a resort town loses its soul
The writer analyzes resort towns in the West as they morph into a realtor’s dream
Here come the wolves
The writer totes up the pluses and minuses of wolves returning to Colorado and Utah
Reflections on small towns after a bulldozer rampage
The writer explains what drives some people berserk in small towns like Granby, Colorado
Stopping by a truck on a snowy road
The writer says some people drive while others self-propel, and the two are very different
The de-icer that tames Western roads
Using magnesium chloride on winter highways in Colorado and the West makes mountain driving safer, but critics worry about its impacts on vehicles – and on wildlife, trees, water and people
Ski areas get greener
The Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition grades Western ski areas in its Environmental Scorecard, and the average grade is pretty average