Republican Pete McCloskey made a valiant attempt to unseat Rep. Richard Pombo (HCN, 4/17/06: Pete McCloskey rides again). But California’s 11th Congressional District stood behind its native son. Despite questions about his ethics and attempts to weaken key environmental laws, Pombo received 62 percent of the votes in the June 6th primary. Moderate challenger McCloskey, who came out of retirement and relocated to Lodi specifically to take on Pombo, got 32 percent. "I think that I failed in this mission to get across the degree of corruption of the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives," says McCloskey. This fall, Pombo will face Democrat Jerry McNerney. McNerney’s dream for the 11th: to turn this district into the Silicon Valley of renewable energy technology."

Washington’s timber industry just got a "get-out-of-jail-free card" for Endangered Species Act protections — and it’s good for 50 years (HCN, 5/16/05: Cows versus condos -- Northwest style). Under the terms of the "Forest and Fish Report," developed in 1999 and signed into law in early June, the government won’t prosecute logging companies if they inadvertently harm salmon or nearly 50 other species of aquatic wildlife. In return, the companies have agreed to conservation steps like leaving forested buffers along streams and repairing roads that wash sediment into streams. The deal is supposed to cover 9.3 million acres, but up to 35 percent of that land might be exempt because it belongs to small-time timber operators.

From now on, visitors will find fewer religious overtones in a Bureau of Land Management historic site. The Mormon Church considers southern Wyoming’s Martin’s Cove sacred because more than 200 Mormon emigrants died there during an 1856 blizzard. But an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenged the church’s influence over the cove (HCN, 4/18/05: Follow-up). Now, under the terms of the settlement, the church will continue leasing the 933-acre site from the BLM, but it will remove religious signs and allow visitors to hike into the cove without passing through a church-owned visitor center.