Magazine
Backyard boom

September 25, 2000

Clean, 'green' gas burns its neighbors as methane wells dominate the land.

Feature

Colliding forces
In Colorado, homeowners and developers are battling the oil and gas industry as the boom in methane gas production brings increased numbers of wells to the rural landscape.
Open for business
Under Gov. Jim Geringer's "open for business' philosophy, the methane gas industry faces little regulation in Wyoming.

Essays

The hope of a freshly planted field
The author remembers her childhood in Bozeman, Mont., where no one thought her mother would ever succeed in growing sweet corn.
Of bison, the French and our faux wild
As the Park Service struggles to radio-collar and control Yellowstone's wandering bison, the wildness of the animal is forgotten.
Truth-telling needs a home in the West
Historic markers on a Western road trip raise questions about the way Westerners have often romanticized, concealed and lied about their history.

Dear Friends

Dear Friends
Boise board meeting; WOTR discussion; fall interns Tim Sullivan and Oakley Brooks

News

Fires bring on a flood of federal funds
President Clinton announces a $1.5 billion plan for fire recovery and forest restoration in the nation's neglected, fire-prone national forests.
The latest bounce
Justice Dept. sues Jarbidge Shovel Brigade; BIA apologizes to Indians; wise-users sue over Clinton's new monuments; judge quashes roadless-area lawsuit; Will Stelle leaves National Marine Fisheries Service.
Looters beware: Tribes are fighting back
In the Pacific Northwest, tribes are working with archaeologists and agencies to protect the area's frequently vandalized and looted Native American historical sites.
A park rediscovers a surprising asset
In Utah, Zion National Park launches its long-awaited new public transport system, and most visitors seem to enjoy the convenience - and the lack of noise and traffic in seeing the park by bus.
Does the "death tax' protect open space?
Some say the Republican push to repeal estate taxes could impact land-preservation measures such as easements, since some of the wealth affected by the tax is land, not money.
On the trail
In Montana: Brian Schweitzer vs. Conrad Burns, and race for Rick Hill's seat; Idaho's boring election; in Washington, Deborah Senn and Maria Cantwell fight for Slade Gorton's seat; Oregon's Measure 7 is about "takings."
Ranchers test an agency's image
The refusal of three ranchers to remove cattle from Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has put the BLM's ability to manage the monument under the spotlight.
Bush camp backpedals on toppling monuments
Republican vice-presidential candidate Dick Cheney backs away from his earlier statement that George W. Bush might rescind the national monuments Clinton created.
Something is polluting the water
The Washington state health department bans shellfish harvesting in Dungeness Bay, where the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe has fished for years, because the water is polluted with fecal coliform bacteria from an unknown source.
Red-legged frog habitat slated for protection
In California, critical habitat is finally designated for the threatened red-legged frog.
A highway hits a speed bump
Utah's plans for a new freeway, the Legacy Highway, are put on hold by the EPA due to the agency's concern that the freeway could damage wetlands.
'Snooty' garages banned
Portland, Ore., bans oversized, street-facing garages on new houses.

Book Reviews

A call to heed the wild
"Balancing Water: Restoring the Klamath Basin" uses text by William Kittredge and photos by Tupper Ansel Blake and Madeleine Graham to recount the history, ecology and current problems of the Klamath Basin on the Oregon-California border.
Yellowstone's bison get a time limit
Conservationists say Yellowstone National Park's long-awaited plan for managing its wandering bison herds accommodates cows at the expense of the bison.
From cumbersome to collaborative
"Reclaiming NEPA's Potential," a compilation of proceedings from a workshop on assessing the federal government's environmental actions to make the process more collaborative, is now available.
Society for Ecological Restoration
The Northwest chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration is calling for paper abstracts before Sept. 29 for its spring conference.
Taos Art Association
Forty acres of piûon-juniper meadow is being raffled off to raise money to reopen the association's community auditorium.
Indian Land Consolidation Symposium
The 10th annual Indian Land Consolidation Symposium, Oct. 16-20, focuses on reclaiming tribal lands.
Earth First!
A commemorative issue celebrates 20 years of Earth First! Journal.

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
Las Vegas lizard-smuggling; fire-inspired Montana wisdom; critic eviscerates film "Whipped"; black bear visits Nevada cook shack; gawking at bears in Aspen; motorcycle rally casualties in Colo.; motorcycle vs. hawk; town celebrates toilet.

Letters

Opinion

Clean fuel, dirty neighbors
Methane gas is a clean-burning fuel, but its production creates unnecessary havoc for the people who live in the gas fields.

Sidebar

How well do you know your wells?
A primer describes the technology and potential problems of methane-gas drilling.
'We need that gas'
Ken Wonstolen of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, in his own words, says that Colorado is an energy-dependent state, and the methane gas it produces is greatly needed.
'It's corporate greed'
Arnold Mackley, whose western Colorado ranch is dotted with gas wells in his own words says the industry ought to able to make a living without destroying the land.
Status quo reigns in New Mexico
In New Mexico, some say complaints about oil and gas development are dwarfed by the industry's clout.
'It's hard to keep fighting'
Janey Hines, in her own words, talks about battling the gas industry with the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, the group she heads in Parachute, Colo.
'The playing field has to be leveled'
Rancher and developer Charles Micale says the gas industry should respect the property rights of surface owners.
'We became Michiwest's sewer'
Ranchers Earl and Sue Boardman have a hard time working with Michiwest, the Michigan-based company that owns the gas wells on their land. Earl, in his own words.
'The industry's philosophy has been to fragment the community'
Wyoming Rancher Mike Foate has developed a Web site to spread information about the gas industry to his often isolated, intimidated neighbors.
'There is a light at the end of the tunnel'
Byron Oedekoven, who ranches near Gillette, Wyo., in his own words, offers advice for landowners who have to work with gas companies.
Under pressure, Montana opts for a slower approach
Near Miles City, Montana, landowners are fighting to slow down methane gas development.