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One nation, under fire February 19, 2007

One nation, under fire

The Sonoran Desert homeland of the Tohono O’odham Nation has become a nerve-wracking police state, caught in the crossfire between drug and immigrant smugglers and the U.S. Border Patrol. Also in this issue: The Forest Service has overhauled its cumbersome forest-planning process, but many experts say the agency may have gone too far.

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The Efficiency Paradox February 05, 2007

The Efficiency Paradox

Water efficiency has long been touted as a silver bullet for the West?s water problems, but too much efficiency can cause problems of its own, especially in the fragile Colorado River Delta. Also in this issue: In Idaho and Wyoming, old eminent domain laws allow private entities to condemn landowners? property ? as Peter and Judy Riede discovered when J.R. Simplot Co. announced plans to expand its phosphate mine and build a road across their ranch.

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Salmon Justice January 22, 2007

Salmon Justice

Judge Jim Redden has given the Bush administration an ultimatum: Submit a viable plan for salmon restoration, or face the possible removal of four dams on the lower Snake River. Also in this issue: Homeless families aren’t found only in urban areas. They’re also struggling to survive in the rural West, as shown by the story of Barbara Trivitt and her two children, who lived in a Jeep in Coos Bay, Oregon, this fall.

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Confessions of a Methane Floozy December 25, 2006

Confessions of a Methane Floozy

An environmentalist who owns royalty interest in New Mexico oil and gas wells heads down to the San Juan Basin to talk to rancher Tweeti Blancett, driller Tom Dugan and others about the moral complexities inherent in Americans’ energy use. Also in this issue: Kern County, Calif., is trying to prevent Los Angeles sludge from entering the county, where it is used to fertilize farmland, and the resulting stink is raising all kinds of questions about how we handle human waste.

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Old but Faithful December 11, 2006

Old but Faithful

Former Park Service supervisors Bill Wade and Ron Arnberger formed the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees to defend the national parks from what they see as the Bush administration’s ill-conceived changes. Also in this issue: Six decades after Friant Dam killed off the San Joaquin River’s spring-run chinook, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Friant Water Users Authority are working with the federal government to restore both the fish and the river.

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The West: A New Center of Power November 27, 2006

The West: A New Center of Power

Among the top 10 lessons gained from the 2006 midterm elections is that there can be no doubt now of the West’s rising importance as a center of political power. Also in this issue: A new plan to steer energy development away from cultural sites in New Mexico could streamline energy development, fund archaeological research and preserve ancient sites all at once.

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Bred for success November 13, 2006

Bred for success

The Peregrine Fund has mastered the art of breeding aplomado falcons and other endangered birds of prey, but critics say the organization is blind to the importance of wildlife habitat. Also in this issue: A recent court ruling on the ceremonial killing of eagles by American Indians collides with the Endangered Species Act, possibly sending the issue to the Supreme Court.

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Peace Breaks Out In New Mexico's Forests October 30, 2006

Peace Breaks Out In New Mexico's Forests

In northern New Mexico, the innovative Collaborative Forest Restoration Program is bringing Hispanic loggers and Anglo environmentalists together to work on creating healthy, sustainable forests and rural economies. Also in this issue: Boosters of a Western primary hope it could give the Interior West a greater voice in the politics of Washington, D.C.

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A River Once More October 16, 2006

A River Once More

In Oregon, a revolutionary community alliance is working to put water – and steelhead trout – back into the Deschutes River. Also in this issue: A federal judge has reinstated President Clinton’s roadless rule protecting forests in the Lower 48 states, but the decision seems to have only confused the issue of forest management and is likely to end up back in court.

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From the ground up October 02, 2006

From the ground up

The Crested Butte News, a successful independent newspaper in a small Rocky Mountain town, has come full circle and is once again owned by a chain. Also in this issue: The North Coast Journal has been published in Arcata, Calif., for almost 18 years by Judy Hodgson, a journalist who believes in stirring the pot.

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Going Big September 18, 2006

Going Big

Mountain bikers are finally winning respect, along with increased access to trails, but a growing breed of gonzo riders with heavy, fast, high-tech bikes — and a thirst for riding in wilderness — could threaten all that. Also in this issue: National pundits say the nation’s political parties are moving toward the extremes, but in the West, Republicans — unhappy with some far-right politicians — seem to be heading back to the middle.

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Blast from the Past September 04, 2006

Blast from the Past

As the global warming threat increases, nuclear energy enjoys a renaissance, but the industry’s own checkered past hints that nuke power will be neither easy nor cheap. Also in this issue: The BLM’s decision to lease land for energy exploration in the watersheds of Grand Junction and Palisade, Colo., reveals the way oil and gas leasing works.

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The Lure of the Lawn August 21, 2006

The Lure of the Lawn

It’s not easy to wean Westerners away from their lush, traditional, turfgrass lawns, but with drought an increasing fact of life, Xeriscape gardening is finally catching on. Also in this issue: Three compromise wilderness bills have passed the House and now await Senate approval.

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Is It or Isn't It (Just Another Mouse)? August 07, 2006

Is It or Isn't It (Just Another Mouse)?

The science behind endangered species is extremely complicated, as seen in the clash between biologist Rob Roy Ramey II and geneticist Tim King over whether Preble’s meadow jumping mouse in Colorado is truly a legitimate subspecies deserving protection. Also in this issue: New Mexico and other Western states are eagerly vying to get into the movie business, offering film companies an assortment of tax breaks and financial incentives.

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Taking Liberties July 24, 2006

Taking Liberties

The Western states are home to a stealth campaign by libertarians who – under the guise of reforming eminent domain – are out to destroy all land-use planning through "takings" ballot initiatives. Also in this issue: Even as Western states debate the best way to look after their roadless areas, logging, drilling and mining are already happening on some formerly protected lands.

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The Tamarisk Hunter June 26, 2006

The Tamarisk Hunter

In the desert Southwest in 2030, with "Big Daddy Drought" in full swing and California claiming all the water, a "water tick" named Lolo ekes out a rugged living removing tamarisk. Also in this issue: With the Interior West’s national parks facing an increase in haze and air pollution, Rocky Mountain National Park is working with government agencies to improve air quality.

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The Perpetual Growth Machine June 12, 2006

The Perpetual Growth Machine

Phoenix, Ariz., is determined to disprove the idea that the West will someday run out of water and that every boom has to come to an end. Also in this issue: Newly appointed Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has a chance to use his deal-making abilities to bring change to the way Western public lands are managed.

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'Clinging Hopelessly to the Past' May 29, 2006

'Clinging Hopelessly to the Past'

In his determination to cling, however hopelessly, to Utah’s past, Canyon Country Zephyr founder Jim Stiles has taken on miners, ranchers, developers, mountain bikers and – most recently – some of his fellow environmentalists. Also in this issue: "Divine Strake" — a proposed weapons detonation at the Nevada Test Site — has stirred up fears of radioactive contamination and the possibility of a new nuclear arms race.

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The Immigrant's Trail May 15, 2006

The Immigrant's Trail

This special issue of High Country News takes an on-the-ground look at the human landscape of illegal immigration in the West.

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Magic Valley Uprising May 01, 2006

Magic Valley Uprising

An unusual grassroots coalition of citizen activists stops a coal-fired merchant power plant from being built in Idaho’s Magic Valley. Also in this issue: Despite the promises of the Healthy Forests Act, the Bush administration has proposed sweeping cuts to community fire programs in the West.

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The War on Wildfire April 17, 2006

The War on Wildfire

Four years after President Bush launched his Healthy Forests Initiative, the Western woods are abuzz. Also in this issue: "Nevada style" wilderness bill comes to Utah and Citizens unite against gas field chaos.

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Land of Disenchantment April 03, 2006

Land of Disenchantment

A native New Mexican tries to understand the heroin epidemic that is destroying the Hispano community of the Espanola Valley, Also in this issue: Interior Secretary Gale Norton’s decision to resign prompts a look at Interior’s conservative counterrevolution during her tenure, along with its unintended consequences.

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Town Shopping March 20, 2006

Town Shopping

With all the formerly cool, "undiscovered" small towns now caught up in the New West’s booming real estate frenzy, it’s getting hard to find an affordable place to call home. Also in this issue: A working group of 23 experts convened by the nonprofit Keystone Center could not reach consensus over how to reform the Endangered Species Act’s critical habitat provisions.

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Save Our Snow March 06, 2006

Save Our Snow

Faced with rising temperatures and a passive federal government, Western towns such as Aspen, Colo., are beginning to work out a local approach to combating global warming. Also in this issue: President Bush revives a proposal to sell off public lands managed by the BLM and the Forest Service as part of his 2007 budget.

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High Noon for Habitat February 20, 2006

High Noon for Habitat

In Riverside County, Calif., the conflict between the Endangered Species Act’s critical habitat rule and the West’s booming, sprawling, growth-driven economy comes to a head. Also in this issue: The seven states of the Colorado River Basin have come to a groundbreaking agreement that, among other things, will allow cities such as Las Vegas to lease water from out-of-state farms during times of drought.

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