U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has given the Bill Barrett Corp. a green light to begin seismic testing near Utah’s Nine Mile Canyon (HCN, 7/19/04: Supreme Court reins in citizens' right to sue). Environmental and archaeological groups had sued to stop the project, saying that by approving the project, the Bureau of Land Management had violated federal laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. But in July, Judge Sullivan denied the plaintiffs’ request and ordered the court’s clerk to remove the case from the active calendar.
The "most dangerous building in America" is now on its way to becoming part of a national wildlife refuge. In July, Kaiser-Hill contractors finished demolishing Building 771 at Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site outside of Denver, a former plutonium processing plant, and the site of a 1957 fire that sent an unknown amount of plutonium shooting out the smokestack (HCN, 4/12/04: Follow-up). Accelerated cleanup of the former nuclear weapons plant is expected to wrap up in December 2006.
Kennewick Man will not be resting in peace any time soon. After the 9,000-year-old remains were found in Washington in 1996, a fight ensued between scientists who want to study the remains and Northwest Indian tribes who want to rebury the body. In 2000, the Clinton administration invoked the Native American Graves Repatriation Act, and said the body should be returned to the tribes; scientists sued, and in February, a federal court sided with scientists (HCN, 3/1/04: Follow-up). In July, the U.S. Department of Justice missed its chance to appeal the case, thereby ending the dispute.
- Ed Morrow on After years of drought and overuse, the San Luis Valley aquifer refills
- Jake Sigg on Mapping the large-scale loss of natural areas in the West
- L Strader on Trial by fire
- ivonne cassaigne on The tenuous fate of the Southwest’s last jaguars
- william glasgow on Deaths renew calls for national parks to rescind BASE jumping bans