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High Country News December 09, 2002

Life in the wasteland

Feature

Life in the wasteland

Eureka, Utah, a struggling former mining town, was named a Superfund priority site in September, but the Environmental Protection Agency is running out of funds for cleanup, and the Bush administration shows no interest in replacing them.

Dear Friends

Dear friends

Kiss a super idea (Superfund) goodbye; more election reflection; visitors; correction and apology; and hello to Utah, radio station KUER.

Writers on the Range

What Dick Cheney might have learned in Rock Springs, Wyoming

Dick Cheney once lived in the boom-and-bust community of Rock Springs, Wyo., but didn’t learn there the lessons that he might have learned to help him deal with unintended consequences in a war against Iraq.

News

Administration, industry stamp out clean air regs

The auto industry, backed by the Bush administration, is trying to halt California’s progressive auto-emissions regulations.

The push is on to privatize federal jobs

The Bush administration has ordered federal land-management agencies to identify jobs that might be performed more cheaply by the private sector.

Outside the agency, it’s a cold, cruel world

Displaced federal employees may find it difficult to adapt to work in the private sector.

Election Bounce

Beef checkoff rule upheld by courts; California red-legged frog loses critical habitat; Hanford’s Fast Flux Test Facility will not be shut down; Neal McCaleb announces resignation as director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and EPA eases rules on coal-fir

Farmers band together to stave off sprawl

In California’s Central Valley, farmers are working together to create "farmland security perimeters" to protect their land from development.

Cowboys fight oil and gas drillers

Fed up with energy companies and the BLM, several ranchers in northwestern New Mexico have locked their gates, blocking private roads to natural gas wells.

Condit Dam removal hits snags

Plans to take down Condit Dam on the White Salmon River in Washington are stalled over the problem of what to do about the sediment that has backed up behind the dam.

Klamath water worth more in river

A U.S. Geological Survey study, suppressed by the Interior Department in October, says that recreation adds more than agriculture to the economy of the Klamath River Basin.

Fish and wildlife have rights, too

Montana’s Supreme Court rules that citizens and government agencies can maintain water rights without "using" the water, while the Wyoming Legislature stalls over a bill that would allow irrigators to leave water instream temporarily.

Book Reviews

Cow-free crowd ignores science, sprawl

Welfare Ranching’s authors, George Wuerthner and Mollie Matteson, are romantics who ignore the threat of sprawl and the studies of scientists in their quest to ban all cattle grazing on the West’s public lands.

Ranching advocates lack a rural vision

Ranching West of the 100th Meridian is a book of essays that promotes the false idea that Westerners must choose between condos and cows in a landscape never meant for cattle grazing.

Essays

Like Butte, a lonely dog hangs on

A mysterious, mangy, half-wild dog known locally as "The Auditor" has made the moonscape of the Butte’s Berkeley Pit his home for 16 years, hanging on to life as stubbornly as the town of Butte itself.

Heard Around the West

Heard Around the West

Camouflage for consumers; SWAT team busts dog; saving Smokey’s job; New Mexico "most stupid" state; turning a mine into a tourist attraction; and hermit "Dugout Dick" lives in a cave in Idaho.

Related Stories

Superfund: On the Hill… on the ground

Timelines trace the birth, life and decline of the Superfund law, both on Capitol Hill and on the ground in the West.

Brownfields program makes cleanup profitable

The "Brownfields" program, an offshoot of Superfund, is designed to redevelop contaminated sites into real estate, but critics say it is not always up to the challenge.

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