The Wayward West
A Colorado gold-mining company is suing Montana to challenge a voter-passed ban on open-pit cyanide mining (HCN, 7/5/99: Mining on the run). Dick DeVoto, head of Canyon Resources Corp., says the ban wrongly deprived his company of its mining property near Lincoln, Mont., and, if the law can't be overturned, he wants $600 million in compensation.
Bill Yellowtail (HCN, 10/14/96: Rustling up votes in Indian country), an Environmental Protection Agency administrator, faces an indefinite suspension while investigators determine whether he illegally helped raise money for Montana Democrat Robert "Dusty" Deschamps' 1998 campaign for the U.S. House. "We feel this is serious enough that he needs to step aside," W. Michael McCabe, acting director of EPA, told AP.
The man who ordered employee Scott Dominguez to clean a tank containing cyanide had his day in federal court. He lost (HCN, 4/10/00: Boss must pay for poisoning employee). Allan Elias was ordered to spend 17 years in prison and to pay a $5.9 million fine, the harshest sentence ever imposed for an environmental crime. Elias plans to appeal.
No matter how many westerns have been filmed there, Nevada isn't a hotbed of cowboys and cows. The arid state has 510,000 cattle, far fewer than New York, according to a state agricultural survey. Minimal rainfall yields minimal forage for livestock. "This isn't Kansas," Doug Busselman of the Nevada Farm Bureau told the Nevada Appeal. "It takes a lot of land to feed an animal."