The Wayward West

  New York-based copper producer Asarco Inc. said Oct. 25 that it has signed an agreement to merge with Mexico's largest copper company, Grupo Mexico (HCN, 4/13/98). Total value of the deal is $1.18 billion. The copper industry has been consolidating in reaction to a global oversupply of the metal and record low prices earlier this year. Phelps Dodge Corp. of Phoenix had a short-lived deal to acquire rival Asarco; now it will turn its attention to completing acquisition of Cyprus Amax Mine Co.


Vail Associates must close a road it built illegally through a wetland, the EPA said Oct. 22 (HCN, 8/2/99). The closure means trucks hauling logs from the resort's controversial Category III expansion will be rerouted through the village of Vail. Residents and Mayor Rob Ford are protesting the EPA's decision. They claim the increased traffic will tarnish Vail's image.


Thanks to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, friends of the Loomis Forest now have the extra $3.4 million they need to protect 25,000 acres of state forest in north-central Washington (HCN, 10/25/99). The billionaire provided the funds through a gift from the Paul G. Allen Forest Protection Foundation.


Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt say the long gridlock over some potential wilderness areas in Utah may be over (HCN, 7/6/98). Both have agreed to the basic outline of a wilderness bill introduced by Utah Rep. Jim Hansen, R. The bill designates about 1.1 million acres of BLM land in the West Desert as wilderness. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance says it's not enough. It wants to see 2.6 million acres of the West Desert protected as wilderness.


About 30 endangered black-footed ferrets were released Oct. 21 near Vernal, Utah, where they can feed on prairie dogs (HCN, 3/15/99). Once feared extinct, these ferrets remain one of the rarest mammals in North America.


* Ali Macalady and


Karen Mockler