Items by Heather Abel

The wayward West
Ted Turner's "tainted" money; Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund changes name; Patrick Shea to head BLM; Kathy Karpan to head reclamation/enforcement; "mysterious" letter from Ag Dept. against "unlogging"; Max Vezzani quits CO State Land Board; and more.
Some fear the Colorado is getting nuked
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's decision to let Atlas Minerals buy 10 million tons of uranium tailings near Moab, Utah, has environmentalists worried about possible contamination of the nearby Colorado River.
Heard around the West
EPA joke network; debunking of "net myth"; comments at Wyo.'s Bridger Wilderness; retorts from Jack Gilluly; Disney's Wild West Show in France needs Indians; polygamist Alma Aldebert Timpson dies; Great Old Broads; Westerners swap jobs; "Spam" haiku.
Yellowstone mine swap is in a very deep pit
The New World Mine swap, intended to protect Yellowstone National Park from a gold mine, remains in limbo - partly because almost half of the mineral rights belong to 80-year-old Margaret Reeb, who wants to mine the gold and refuses to negotiate.
ESA ruling: More sound than fury
The Supreme Court rules that people can use the Endangered Species Act to sue the feds for protecting species too much, as enviros use it to sue for protecting species too little - and those on both sides seem pleased by the changes.
Babbitt moves on mining reform
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, frustrated in his attempts to reform the 1872 Mining Law, creates a task force to find ways to prevent environmental damage from mining without changing the law.
The Republicans now own the West
A state-by-state review of the national elections reveals a West given over to Republicans.
How citizens make laws
Initiatives, referenda and constitutional amendments are explained.
Has big money doomed direct democracy?
The use of initiatives and referenda - direct democracy - to change the law for environmental reasons faces a challenge when big money enters the picture.
Rustling up votes in Indian Country
Indian activist Russell LaFountaine drives across the West in a motorhome called "Vote-Catcher "96," trying to encourage Native Americans to vote.
Greens prune their message to win the West's voters
Environmentalists join with political consultants to try to find a way to woo fickle Western voters.
Tribal group tries again to save mountain
The President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation says the Forest Service erred by letting construction of a telescope on Arizona's Mount Graham begin before the cultural significance of the site had been considered.
Craig: Betting on Idaho's enduring conservatism
Incumbent Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig has a strong conservative and industrial backing.
Grazing bill returns for another round
A bill sponsored by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., would reinstate rancher-dominated grazing advisory boards, phase out Resource Advisory Committees, and keep grazing fees low.
Politics in cyberspace
Brad Udall creates an on-line political action committee, the New West Network, to help elect environmentalists to Congress.
A green Republican makes a run
Environmentalist Robin Silver of Phoenix makes a bid for the Republican slot for Arizona's 4th Congressional District.
Animas-La Plata hits a wall in the House
The House of Representatives votes to halt funding for Colorado's controversial Animas-La Plata water project.
Santa Fe mayor's friends now foes
Santa Fe Mayor Debbie Jaramillo elected in 1994 on a tide of populist optimism, loses support amid charges of nepotism and betrayal.
Twenty-something takes Sierra Club's helm
The Sierra Club elects 23-year-old Adam Werbach as its new president.
State lands: money isn't everything
Colorado Gov. Roy Romer drafts a ballot initiative to force the state land board to consider long-term stewardship and protection of state-owned lands.
GOP moves to rein in its rebels
A GOP memo to this year's Republican candidates urges them to start looking green.
Colorado Democrats ponder electability vs. purity
Despite his support of the controversial Animas-La Plata water project, Colorado environmentalists seem to prefer Tom Strickland to his arguably greener opponent Gene Nichol for the Democratic candidate for Senate.
Farm bill helps the land - sort of
The 1996 farm bill offers farmers the best-funded package of conservation incentives yet - but both farmers and environmentalists have misgivings.
The Northwest gets theatrical
Recent scandals and bizarre antics by a few Northwestern Republicans may open a loophole for Democratic challengers in the coming election.
Mt. Graham telescope rides through Congress
President Clinton signs a bill approving the University of Arizona's construction of a third telescope on Mount Graham.
A cautionary tale in Washington state
The Washington state Republicans swept into office in the 1994 election begin to feel an environmental backlash from their state as the next election nears.
Attempt at compromise leads to bloodbath
Strategic differences over saving the Endangered Species Act - including attempts to work with industry - lead to schism and rancor in the environmental movement.
Utah wilderness proposal rises and dies
The Utah delegation's controversial wilderness proposal for southern Utah is defeated in Congress after a struggle.
Greens want to draft Nader
The Green Party will run a candidate against Republican Sen. Pete Domenici in New Mexico, and also wants to draft Ralph Nader as a presidential candidate.
The nuts and bolts of Western gambling
A survey of the West shows a variety of ways to gamble in every state but Utah.