Items by Judith Lewis

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.
Desert Water for Coastal Lawns?
A plan to mine water from a Mojave Desert aquifer has infuriated environmental groups
Obama praises natural gas, but is there enough to satisfy U.S. demand?
Obama praises natural gas, but is there enough to satisfy U.S. demand?
In his State of the Union speech, President Obama tried to please everyone, but even his renewable energy proposals rely on finding more natural gas than may exist.
The clean blue line
The EPA approves California's landmark -- if slender -- coastal no-discharge zone
Pity the Sacketts? Not much
Pity the Sacketts? Not much
An Idaho couple are getting a lot of sympathy because the EPA has halted construction of their planned home on a wetland, but if the agency would be more open with the facts, it would come out looking better.
The Sackett Saga
How an Idaho couple's quashed dream-home plans became a public relations nightmare for the EPA.
Water-quality standards unfairly burden rural communities
Water-quality standards unfairly burden rural communities
The plight of a small water and sewer association in rural Mora, N.M -- caught in a tangle of federal and state clean water rules it can’t afford to meet -- echoes experienced by other rural communities around the West.
Solar energy on public lands: The 80,000 have spoken
The Bureau of Land Management updates its solar energy study -- and enviros seem kind of happy
Obama message control blocks journalists covering the environment
Obama message control blocks journalists covering the environment
The Obama administration makes it harder for its environmental message to be heard when it sets up roadblocks to information and blocks media access.
Pity the Green Pioneer
Can renewable technology thrive without a national energy policy?
Speculating on solar
BLM rejects a Goldman Sachs subsidiary in Nevada
California firefighting agency gives up its Very Large Air Tanker
State chooses engines and manpower over expensive retardant-dropping DC-10
Fire fight: Forest Service explores chemical retardant hazards
Fire fight: Forest Service explores chemical retardant hazards
The Forest Service finally assesses the impacts of fire retardant chemicals, but never answers the question of how useful they really are.
Why Babbitt's advice to Obama doesn't quite hit the mark
Clinton didn't really go "green" until term two.
A nuclear watchdog pushes feds on safety
A nuclear watchdog pushes feds on safety
California Republican state Sen. Sam Blakeslee questions the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the safety of the state’s nuclear plants.