A resolution to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling has been derailed in the Senate (HCN, 11/5/01: The Arctic: A slave to luck). Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, attempted to force the issue through by hitching an amendment to a railroad retirement bill, but failure to build the needed 60 votes of support led to a 94-1 abandonment of the measure. The amendment's defeat is likely to delay the ANWR drilling debate until next year.
Army Corps of Engineers won't breach four dams on the
lower Snake River in eastern Washington (HCN, 12/20/99:
Unleashing the Snake). A number of environmental groups have pushed
to dismantle the dams to restore salmon and steelhead runs in the
river, but the Army Corps says it will retrofit the dams with fish
ladders instead. A spokesman for Save Our Wild Salmon says
congressional approval of funding for any salmon-friendly measures
is still uncertain.
Now that Montanans have voted
to outlaw "canned" hunts on game farms, Big Velvet Ranch operator
Len Wallace says he's forced to shoot his elk
herd and give the animals away (HCN, 7/2/01: Rancher goes
down kicking). A state judge blocked his attempt to give 675
animals to the Crow Indians, so Wallace ran a radio ad inviting 10
people per day to shoot an elk and take it home. Game-farm owners
in four other states have offered to purchase Wallace's animals.
Plans to clean up radioactive material from 40
years of nuclear weapons production at Colorado's Rocky
Flats may hit a roadblock in the form of South Carolina
Gov. Jim Hodges (HCN, 1/15/01: Hot Property: A former nuclear bomb
factory gets caught in suburban turf wars). The governor has called
on the state highway patrol to block shipments of plutonium from
Colorado to the energy department's Savannah River site, and vowed
to stand in front of the trucks himself. Hodges fears that
plutonium storage in South Carolina will be a permanent, rather
than temporary, arrangement.
California's Imperial Sand Dunes saw a
lawless Thanksgiving weekend (HCN, 12/18/00: Feds fight
chaos in a desert playground). One man was injured in a gun battle
and another was arrested for attempted murder after he ran over a
BLM ranger. Fifty other people were arrested on lesser charges. The
BLM says that a decreased law enforcement presence was due to
security reassignments after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks (HCN,
11/19/01: Homeland security drafts rangers) .