The Sierra Club finally has decided to take a stand on the touchy issue of immigration. The club currently has a neutral policy, but in March, members will be asked to vote on endorsing a drastic reduction in immigration. Pushing for this switch are "restrictionists' who say that all environmental issues hinge on population size, and that immigration increases pollution, traffic and demands on open space. But many Sierra Club members balk at being linked to groups that want to deny public benefits to immigrants, and warn that by endorsing such a stance the club could be seen as elitist and racist. ...


The Forest Service has a new employees' association for Christians. In its charter application, ACROSS, Association of Christians Reaching Out in Service and Support, says it is following the examples of the Hispanic Employees Association, and the Association of People with Disabilities in Government. The group's purpose includes "praying for our local and national leaders' and "interacting with management to ensure that the Christian perspective is considered in the development and implementation of policy." ...


President Clinton has picked Kevin Gover, a member of the Pawnee tribe, to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs. If the New Mexico lawyer and lobbyist for Indian gambling is confirmed, he will replace Ada Deer, who resigned in January. ...


Never mind that dinosaurs died 65 million years ago; since Tyrannosaurus Sue was unearthed from Sioux Indian land in 1990, she has had a full life. The commercial paleontologists of the Black Hills Institute, who dug up Sue, were charged with failing to obtain permission from federal agencies to remove a fossil from an Indian reservation, although they had the permission of landowner Maurice Williams. The National Guard seized Sue and locked her in a furnace room. After countless lawsuits, the fossil bones were finally returned to Williams, who put them up for auction. Now Sue has a final resting place at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. It bought the bones at Sotheby's auction house for $8.36 million. ...


In an elaborate game of musical chairs, Colorado's politicians are beginning to sort out who will try to unseat former-Democrat-now-Republican Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell. Democrat Rep. David Skaggs announced that he won't run for Campbell's seat and also won't run for re-election to the House after six terms. Democrat Dottie Lamm, a writer and the wife of former governor and presidential candidate Dick Lamm, announced that she'll run for Campbell's seat. Republican Rep. Scott McInnis has not decided whether to challenge Campbell in a primary, although House Speaker Newt Gingrich has asked him to let Campbell stay put. "I love each of them in their current positions," says Gingrich. ...


About a year ago, Charles "Chip" Cartwright, the Southwest Regional Forester for the Forest Service, was threatened with contempt of court. The nation's first black regional forester had let loggers cut trees in northern Arizona despite an injunction to protect spotted owls. Cartwright is under public scrutiny again - this time for charges of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. ...


Albuquerque's new mayor is no stranger to politics. Democrat Jim Baca has already served as New Mexico state land commissioner and Bureau of Land Management director. Baca was the only one of six candidates who promised not to cut a road through Petroglyph National Monument in order to ameliorate the city's traffic congestion. ...


Idaho Gov. Phil Batt's recent announcement that he will not run for re-election has left politicians - and a podiatrist - scrambling. Republican Sen. Dirk Kempthorne says he will vie for the seat, and Republican Rep. Mike Crapo is expected to seek the vacated Senate spot. The only other person to announce a bid for governor is Peter Rickards. After spending years criticizing Batt for the way he handles Idaho's National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, the Twin Falls foot doctor has decided to see if he can do it better. Rickards will run as an independent.


*Heather Abel