Items by Ray Ring

Oklahoma vs. the West
Oklahoma vs. the West
Oklahoma Republican Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe have a way of riding roughshod over the West's environmental politics.
How outsiders shape the West
How outsiders shape the West
Oklahoma isn't part of the West, but its two Republican senators have an enormous influence on the region.
Wyoming: A popular governor gets mysterious
Wyoming: A popular governor gets mysterious
Wyoming's popular Democratic Gov. Dave Freudenthal is carefully staying out of the race between his wannabe successors, Leslie Petersen and Matt Mead.
Utah: A Sagebrush Rebel headed for D.C.
Utah: A Sagebrush Rebel headed for D.C.
Right-wingers ousted wilderness-dealmaker Sen. Bob Bennett in the Republican primary, and now anti-wilderness Mike Lee will probably take his place in the Senate.
Montana: Utility regs and clean energy up for grabs
A Montana populist, Ken Toole, tries to keep his seat on the Public Service Commission, while other key races involve wealthy hunters and the state Supreme Court.
Stringing up the Western sheriff
Stringing up the Western sheriff
The West has known extremist politics before, but we usually seem to end up tacking pretty close to the center.
Idaho: How a Democrat wins in the Northern Rockies
Pro-business, semi-green Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick has a good chance of keeping his seat, while Idaho's Republican Party fractures over a loyalty oath.
Doomster chorus
A number of recent books warn of the deadly consequences of climate change.
A Hell of an Anniversary
A Hell of an Anniversary
High Country News' founder, Tom Bell, marks our 40th anniversary with a grim prediction: The West -- and the world -- are doomed.
Idaho's Republican dairy farmers embrace socialism
They're in a national movement to guarantee profits on milk.
How green is Judge Molloy?
How green is Judge Molloy?
A pro-wolf ruling by Montana Judge Don Molloy provokes accusations that he's a "nutzoid" greenie, but he doesn't always side with environmentalists.
Recognizing unfairness
Recognizing unfairness
Young people dressed in graduation caps and gowns protest for immigration reform.
Some notable arson wildfire cases in the West
Some notable arson wildfire cases in the West
Brief descriptions of some notable arson wildfire cases in the West in the last 50 years.
The worst manmade wildfires
Most Western wildfires today are caused by humans, either accidentally or deliberately.
The HCN mix
The HCN mix
High Country News will continue to cover important Western issues, and yet make room for lighter pieces about the region's culture and communities.
The fight for the Flathead
The fight for the Flathead
During the Western Governors' Association meeting in Whitefish, Mont., journalists and dignitaries flew over the threatened landscape around Glacier National Park.
Libby's lethal numbers
Libby's lethal numbers
The toll of the asbestos disaster in Libby, Mont., keeps growing.
Eccentricity and wildness
Eccentricity and wildness
Western eccentrics are found underwater as well as in the high country.
The oil spill's upshot
The oil spill's upshot
The tragic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could help the environmental movement, if greens act wisely.
California voters OK reform of primary system
'Top two' ballot measure may reduce power of hardliners in each party.
Yellowstone bison: Hazed and confused
Yellowstone bison: Hazed and confused
A decade-old Yellowstone management plan isn't doing much for wandering bison, or for the ranchers it's meant to protect.
Going to extremes
Going to extremes
Determined ideologues are hijacking Western politics, but some reformers are trying to change that.
Small wonders, big world
Small wonders, big world
A couple of hitherto-unknown bees are discovered in Nevada -- just two of the many new species found every year.
Death of an era
Death of an era
High Country News remembers Stewart Udall, the legendary Interior secretary.
Reefer politics
Reefer politics
The West leads the way on medical marijuana.
Turnover at the top
Many environmental groups are seeing a changing of the guard, epitomized by 38-year-old activist Mike Brune's new job as head of the Sierra Club.
Understanding an oil group
The Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States isn't as reasonable as it appears.
Supreme beings
Supreme beings
The Supreme Court's precedent-overturning ruling allowing more corporate money in politics raises the possibility that it plans to tackle the Commerce Clause next.
'The environment ... is where we live'
'The environment ... is where we live'
A group of determined activists in Mountain View, N.M., fights for environmental justice in a poor and polluted neighborhood.
The federal energy two-step
The federal energy two-step
Oil and gas companies are furious with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, but environmentalists wonder if he’ll go far enough in restraining the industry.