Perspective

  • The politics of Western water have changed forever

    Given their dubious benefits, few dams are likely to stand up well in contests played on level fields. Both the environment and the economy will be better for the struggle.

  • Edward Abbey got the FBI interested in literature

    According to documents made available through Freedom of Information Act, the FBI kept track of Abbey's writing and activities for 20 years, trying to determine whether the controversial author was a security threat to the United States.

  • Federal agents killed about 250,000 predators in 1987

    For more than 60 years, very little has changed inside the federal Animal Damage Control division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  • Grazing permits are valuable: You can bank on it

    With all the fuss made about livestock grazing on public lands in the West, it is surprising to learn that they account for only 2 percent of U.S. livestock grazing. But to the rancher who depends on Western rangelands for pasture, it's a make or break situation.

  • Ecotage isn't a solution, it's part of the problem

    The time for an ambiguous attitude toward ecotage passed with the announcement of the arrests in Arizona and the allegations of a plan to attack the Rocky Flats nuclear arsenal.

  • Biff! Pow! Bang! Three initiatives lose to big money

    Last November, environmental activists waging underfinanced ballon initiative campaigns in South Dakota, Montana and Nebraska took beatings from well-funded experts.

  • Logging our way to economic poverty

    Coos Bay, Ore., is awash in logs, but for the first time since 1936 there's not a single plywood or lumber mill operating in the area. Instead, there are foreign-flagged ships.

  • How dam opponents developed and refined a strategy

    The battle against Two Forks Dam was fought with two strategies, one within and one outside of the EIS process.

  • Why Denver's concrete proposal got beat

    Two Forks Dam is on the verge of veto because the economic currents are flowing against it, and the political currents are following.

  • What did not happen on the Great Plains

    The Bureau of Reclamation's grandiose plans -- laid out in the 1971 North Central Power Study -- to turn parts of Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas into an energy sacrifice area haven't come to pass.

  • The West is crippled by its resources

    Writer Wallace Stegner has a rule of thumb: The more arid a state, the worse its congressional delegation. I have a corollary to that rule: The more a state is "blessed" with natural resources, tile worse off it will be economically, socially and politically.

  • INEL puts Idaho's political hypocrisy to a rough test

    The Idaho National Energy Lab is the biggest blind spot in Idaho politics. Politicians who rail against the evils of big government while pulling every string for INEL projects are faithfully reflecting those who elect them.

  • Save the forests: Let them burn

    There is no getting around this ecological fact of life: Within nearly all forest communities of the Rocky Mountains, fires are essential form maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

  • O'Toole is the Adam Smith of forest economics

    O'Toole has done all of us, including the Forest Service, a great favor. His genius and hard work have shown us that the national forests are governed by a welter of laws whose purpose and workings are exactly the same as those of the 1872 Mining Law.

  • Ranchers may be losing the war of the myths

    The traditional view of the West and its wild rangeland is changing. No longer are conservationists and environmentalists a fringe interest group.