Items by Ed Marston

Agency locks horns with Montana Power
The Public Service Commission's denial of Montana Power Company's $92 million rate increase may be the least of the utility's problems. Buried in the back of the commission's harsh, accusing 120-page decision is a clear sign that the PSC may never let MPC sell Colstrip's power to its customers.
Acid rain: The damage it does can be deadly
Like the shape and size of an iceberg, most of the acid rain problem is thus far unknown or out of sight. But what can be seen suggests that it could become an historic issue.
Colorado's civil war pits East against West
Fruit growers, cattle ranchers and energy and tourist industries have sued about transmountain diversion for a half century.
Cattle are also at home in the National Parks
Livestock grazing has been grandfathered in at twenty National Park units in the West, including Grand Teton in Wyoming.
Can Edward Abbey learn to love Glen Canyon Dam?
Tom Gambler, a career Bureau of Reclamation man, wants to show writer Edward Abbey through Glen Canyon Dam.
Stagecoach Dam is almost driven out
In Steamboat Springs, Colo., a proposed small reservoir was almost defeated by a coalition of ranchers, businessmen and consumer activists.
The Big Dam Era on the Colorado River enters a new stage
A potential legal and physical reworking of the Colorado River could reshape it as much as did the 1956 Colorado River Storage Project Act, which authorized Glen Canyon Dam and others.
Kootenai Falls decision is different
A Federal Energy Regulatory Commission judge makes a startling decision to reject Montana's Kootenai Falls Project in favor of preserving the falls in their natural state.
Yoo-hooing our way to decline
Especially in the West -- where independence and conservatism are an authentic part of the regional consciousness -- we all understand the hypocritical and ultimately destructive nature of the cargo cult and pork barrel approaches. But we have been able to pretend we do not really understand what is happening.
Are National Park employees fighting for their parks or against efficiency?
Department of Interior program A-76, which would trim inefficiencies from the National Park Service, is drawing opposition.
Industry and government charge environmentalists with bad faith negotiating
An ambitious attempt to create once-and-for-all comprehensive national oil shale legislation has collapsed amidst bitterness and mistrust.
Union Oil's Fred Hartley fights Wall Street vultures and conservationists
Fred Hartley is a proud, hard-driving oil company chief executive officer who doesn't understand why he or Union Oil should have to explain a damn thing to the media or the public.
Can the Forest Service be reformed?
We have followed the agency for a decade. The sum total of the positive, constructive things we can say is that there are good people out in the field. And some of them have the courage and ingenuity to do good work despite their superiors.
Linowes Commission raps coal leasing
The Linowes Commission has found James Watt's Department of Interior guilty of man-handling coal leasing.
This year, the Colorado River will bury us in electricity
Last year's precipitation came late in the season and flooded the Colorado River with water. This year the snows came early, and will flood the region with electricity.
How Hugh Kaufman moves the ball
EPA Superfund whistleblower Hugh Kaufman travels the country telling one horror story after another about the Carter and Reagan administrations.
Does a rising Great Salt Lake portend a wet Western future?
For the seventh year in a row, the Great Salt Lake is rising, threatening Interstate highways, wildlife sanctuaries, thousands of homes and businesses, and possibly downtown Salt Lake City itself.
Watt's coal commission pushes for leasing
The Linowes Commission, born of Congressional dissatisfaction with Secretary James Watt's approach to coal leasing, is pushing for changes in laws and procedures that will allow the federal government to make leasing more attractive.
A fable for our time
The existing technological culture won't be pushed aside without a hard fight. The resilience of the Bureau of Reclamation at Glen Canyon Dam this summer showed that.
1984 may be a Wilderness Year
1984 is ripe for a flood of state wilderness bills to pass Congress, meaning that President Ronald Reagan could end up signing more wilderness legislation into law than any other chief executive.
The busted West competes for a TV-dinner factory
Three Western communities recently went all out to attract a $75 million Stouffer Corporation factory and its 1200 jobs.
A lawsuit drills oil and gas leases
The battle over oil and gas drilling in the Palisades area straddling the Idaho-Wyoming border illustrates the chaotic way in which natural resource development and wilderness preservation decisions are made.
Watt calls out the 'True America'
James Watt must be seen as a man with a mission. Unlike a Richard Nixon or a Ronald Reagan, Watt's mission is more important to him than politics.
Acid rain won't boom the West's coal
Although the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970 created higher demand for low-sulfur coal, quadrupling Western coal production in a decade, the 1980s acid rain legislation won't have the same effect.
Acid rain: a corrosive issue across the nation
Despite a few rearguard skirmishes over the "scientific" question, the real issue has become: how much reduction in acidic emissions will there be, and how will those reduction be achieved?
Nuking the media
Trickery and half-truths are what the nuclear industry and its appendages fed to America's journalists for several decades. It used journalists to tell America that nuclear power was perfectly safe, run by well-trained technicians, and would provide the nation with endless amounts of very cheap energy.
Dollars no longer flow uphill
Everyone from dam builders to dam blockers agrees that no new, large and federally funded dams are likely to be built.
Life after oil shale
On Colorado's western slope, the collapse of the rising oil shale boom has been both deep and wide.
Dear friends
Visitors, odds and ends, mistaken identity.