Magazine
Anarchy in the Gas Fields

March 7, 2005

In 1969, the Atomic Energy Commission exploded an underground nuclear bomb in western Colorado; today, the site of Project Rulison is attracting natural gas drillers. Also in this Issue: David Tenny of the Department of Agriculture has used his discretionary powers to alter the master plan for Colorado’s White River National Forest, lessening its protections for water and wildlife.

Feature

Drilling Could Wake a Sleeping Giant
In 1969, the Atomic Energy Commission exploded an underground nuclear bomb in western Colorado; today, the site of Project Rulison is attracting natural gas drillers

Editor's Note

Energy without hypocrisy
Natural gas is a wonderful thing, but our need for it does not outweigh our responsibility to the land

Essays

Easterners tilt at windmills while Westerners joust with a real foe
Cape Cod’s opposition to a proposed offshore wind farm sounds crazy to Westerners, who would gladly exchange nuclear waste dumps, coal mines and gas wells for some renewable energy

Dear Friends

Dear friends
Chuck Worley remembers Project Rulison; Christo’s "Valley Curtain" and a nuclear protest; corrections

News

Political appointee slashes forest protections
David Tenny of the Department of Agriculture has used his discretionary powers to alter the master plan for Colorado’s White River National Forest, lessening its protections for water and wildlife.
Follow-up
Union of Concerned Scientists talks to concerned Fish and Wildlife Service employees; Mexican wolf reintroduction upheld in Southwest; 2002 Klamath fish kill means fewer salmon to catch and eat in future
Forest Service employees and activist face racketeering charges
In Fawnskin, Calif., an activist and two Forest Service employees helped stop a condo development. Now they're getting sued under a federal racketeering act.
Small tribe in Idaho weighs big water deal
The Nez Perce tribe is close to a major water-rights settlement with Idaho and the federal government, but not everyone thinks it’s a good idea for the tribe or for endangered salmon.
Is Preble's just another meadow mouse?
The Fish and Wildlife Service wants to delist the threatened Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, on the grounds that the animal is genetically identical to a more common species
Bees don't grow on trees
Honeybees are in trouble, and so are the farmers who depend on them for pollination, especially in California’s almond orchards
Tribe close to sharing federal bison refuge
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will begin sharing management of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Bison Range Complex in Montana
Dogs could chase big cats again
The Oregon Legislature is considering a bill that would allow hunters to use dogs to chase down cougars

Book Reviews

Forty-four years of poetry from the Land of Enchantment
In Company: An Anthology of New Mexico Poets After 1960 gathers a tremendous variety of poems that run the gamut of history and culture
On the dark side of the park: a ranger's memoir
Jordan Fisher Smith’s Nature Noir: A Park Ranger’s Patrol in the Sierra explores a part of California that is not easy to love
Western Voices: 125 years of Colorado Writing
Western Voices: 125 Years of Colorado Writing is a diverse collection of fascinating essays, chosen by editors from the Colorado Historical Society
The Last Refuge: Patriotism, Politics, and the Environment in an Age of Terror
In The Last Refuge: Patriotism, Politics, and the Environment in an Age of Terror, David Orr takes a hard look at our extract-and-consume lifestye, and examines the ways in which it makes us vulnerable
As if We Were Grownups: A Collection of 'Suicidal' Political Speeches That Aren't
In As If We Were Grownups, Jeff Golden argues for a new approach to political decision-making based on more than immediate gratification

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
Calendar girls get the brush-off in Carmel, Calif.; sniffing out endangered species; looking for a blonde bombshell; "The Bitchin’ Post" meets airport security; "stealth towers" in Colorado Springs

Letters

Related Stories

Ready... fire... aim!
Ten years into the energy rush, the West is beginning to think about its impacts on the region’s land, air, water and wildlife
State laws — and small staff — muzzle would-be watchdog
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has a complicated mission: It’s supposed to help the energy industry, while protecting the public from the industry’s impacts
Whose rules rule on Otero Mesa?
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is fighting to keep the oil and gas industry away from Otero Mesa, but the federal government is equally determined to let the drilling begin
Wastewater goes unwatched
Wyoming’s runaway energy boom is taking on toll on the state’s land, especially when the industry’s salty wastewater spills or leaches into the ground