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for people who care about the West

The Latest Bounce

  Pete McCloskey, the 78-year-old former Republican Congressman who helped write the 1974 Endangered Species Act, does not take kindly to having his handiwork messed with. So he’s rented a house in the district of Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., and is planning to run — as a Republican — against the anti-environmental crusader this November (HCN, 10/17/05: Pombo takes on the Endangered Species Act). McCloskey told the Contra Costa Times that "It’s time to take Pombo out."

Osama bin Laden may still roam free, but, by golly, the U.S. is winning the war on eco-terrorism. In Eugene, Ore., a federal grand jury indicted 11 alleged members of the Earth and Animal Liberation Fronts on terrorism charges. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said that the indictments were for a "trail of destruction left by these defendants across the Western United States," including arson that destroyed a ski lodge in Vail, Colo., in 1998 (HCN, 11/9/98: Vail fires outrage community) and another fire, which destroyed the headquarters of an Oregon timber company in 1999 (HCN, 2/1/99: ELF strikes again).

The federal Bureau of Land Management has given six companies the green light to investigate whether oil shale production is commercially feasible (HCN, 12/12/05: Congress bets on oil shale). Under the pilot program, each company will receive 160 acres of public land and options on an additional 4,960 acres. Oil Shale Exploration and Oil-Tech will receive land near Vernal, Utah; Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and EGL Resources will receive land in northwest Colorado’s Rio Blanco County. The BLM hopes to complete an environmental review of the projects by late spring.

Wanna buy some raw Arizona desert? It’ll cost you more than a million bucks an acre. The Arizona State Land Department, which oversees more than 9 million acres, helps keep the state’s school coffers full by auctioning off land for development (HCN, 7/30/01: Not in our backyard). On Jan. 19, luxury-apartment builder Gray Development paid $33.45 million for 32 acres of state land in north Phoenix.