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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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The Killing Fields February 06, 2006

The Killing Fields

The first bison hunt in 15 years was supposed to offer hope for a reasonable solution to Yellowstone’s ‘buffalo problem,’ but a lifelong hunter who watched it says the senseless slaughter continues. Also in this issue: A group of scientists at Oregon State University’s College of Forestry publish a controversial study saying salvage logging may actually slow forest recovery.

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Timberlands up for grabs January 23, 2006

Timberlands up for grabs

As the West’s privately owned timberlands go up for sale, small towns like Glenwood, Wash., are working to buy local forests and manage them for the good of the community. Also in this issue: The closing down of the Mohave Generating Station and the Black Mesa Mine are both a victory for environmentalists and Indian water activists, and an economic catastrophe for the Hopi and Navajo nations.

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A New Green Revolution December 26, 2005

A New Green Revolution

In Montana’s dying farm country, "vanguard agriculture" is putting people back to work on the land. Also in this issue: Concerned citizens overflow a meeting in Delta, Colo., as a crucial deadline for protecting roadless areas in national forests nears.

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The Final Energy Frontier December 12, 2005

The Final Energy Frontier

The end of the oil and gas era may be in sight, but the current energy boom in the West means that a rough and wild ride is still ahead. Also in this issue: After Michele DeHart of the Fish Passage Center in Portland, Ore., publicly supported a plan to protect salmon, angry lawmakers led by Sen. Larry Craig yanked the center’s funding.

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Gold from the Gas Fields November 28, 2005

Gold from the Gas Fields

Energy companies are reaping billions in the West today, but few states are making sure that enough of that wealth stays at home and is invested wisely. Also in this issue: The long and carefully planned campaign to protect the Ojito Wilderness in New Mexico holds useful lessons for wilderness activists across the West.

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Back On Track November 14, 2005

Back On Track

Denver, Colo., one of the West’s most sprawling, traffic-choked cities, has become a champion of mass transit with FasTracks, its ambitious light-rail project. Also in this issue: A provision in the new energy bill promises funding to speed up the oil and gas permitting process in BLM offices – without costing the industry an extra penny.

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The Public Lands' Big Cash Crop October 31, 2005

The Public Lands' Big Cash Crop

Elaborate marijuana gardens created and managed by Mexican drug lords are turning California’s public lands into a dangerous, illegal, industrial-style landscape. Also in this issue: The Forest Service’s claim that a recent court order would suspend routine activities – such as cutting Christmas trees or picking mushrooms – has been dismissed by the judge as the agency’s attempt to blow the issue out of proportion.

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The Ghosts of Yosemite October 17, 2005

The Ghosts of Yosemite

Modern-day scientists, retracing the path of Joseph Grinnell in Yosemite National Park, document conspicuous changes in the natural world and find a culprit unimagined by biologists 100 years ago: global warming. Also in this issue: On his 12th attempt, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., succeeds in pushing a bill through the U.S. House designed to reform the Endangered Species Act and end critical habitat protection.

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Out of the Four Corners October 03, 2005

Out of the Four Corners

Susan Ryan, a young archaeologist, has some unusual ideas about why the Anasazi left their homes in the Southwest, 700 years ago. Also in this issue: In the city of Albuquerque, underdog candidate Eric Griego, a critic of sprawl, challenges incumbent Mayor Marty Chavez, a pro-growth booster.

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Squeezing Water from a Stone September 19, 2005

Squeezing Water from a Stone

With only a tiny share of the Colorado River available to it, Las Vegas decides to get the water it needs from elsewhere in the state – underneath the rural high-desert Basin and Range country. Also in this issue: The Park Service lands in hot water when Deputy Assistant Interior Secretary Paul Hoffman secretly rewrites the agency’s management manual, and the revision is leaked to the press.

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Rangeland Revival September 05, 2005

Rangeland Revival

The Quivira Coalition wants to bring peace and prosperity to the West’s public grazing lands, but some critics question whether the collaboration-based group can accomplish its goals. Also in this issue: The Navajo Nation is wrangling over the benefits – and dangers – of the proposed Desert Rock Power Plant in northwestern New Mexico.

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A Military Town Fights for its Life August 22, 2005

A Military Town Fights for its Life

The Air Force wants to close Cannon Air Force Base, but the nearby town of Clovis, N.M., is not ready to let go of its main economic engine. Also in this issue: California Republican Rep. Richard Pombo holds a hearing in New Mexico on the National Environmental Policy Act, and it’s up to Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat, to defend the law against its conservative attackers.

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The Gangs of Zion August 08, 2005

The Gangs of Zion

In Mormon Country, young Polynesians search for identity -- and for an escape from a seemingly unstoppable cycle of violence. Also in this Issue: The BLM lets the gas industry sit behind the desk and The Great Salt Lake is loaded with mercury.

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The Many Faces of Richard Pombo July 25, 2005

The Many Faces of Richard Pombo

California Republican Rep. Richard Pombo made his mark blasting the Endangered Species Act, but now, he says, he’s learning to compromise on environmental issues. Also in this issue: The Bureau of Land Management rewrote a scientific report critical of its new grazing rules, and two veteran scientists have quit the agency in protest.

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Reflections on a Divided Land June 27, 2005

Reflections on a Divided Land

A writer takes a 1,600-mile Greyhound bus ride from Salt Lake City into Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, and listens to the stories of the Westerners he meets. Also in this issue: The Bureau of Land Management is tightening its standards on what it considers worthwhile, "substantive" public comments from citizen activists.

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Owning a Piece of Paradise June 13, 2005

Owning a Piece of Paradise

The development boom in the West’s exurbs is draining public coffers and destroying the region’s last wide-open spaces. Also in this issue: A judge has thrown out the Bush administration’s salmon protection plan, setting the stage for dramatic changes to the federal hydropower system.

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Write-off on the Range May 30, 2005

Write-off on the Range

In Montana’s Madison County, Reid Rosenthal uses conservation easements to help the land — and make his investors rich. Also in this issue: Facing severe budget cuts, the Forest Service is selling off property, and considering closing some recreation sites it considers too expensive to maintain.

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Unsalvageable May 16, 2005


Despite angry environmentalists, rotting timber, and unenthusiastic logging companies, the Bush administration is determined to push logging on roadless land burned by the Biscuit Fire in southwestern Oregon. Also in this issue: The House of Representatives has just passed an energy bill that is even more outrageously friendly to industry than the Bush administration had requested.

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The Great Energy Divide May 02, 2005

The Great Energy Divide

Colorado citizens voted last November to increase their state’s reliance on power from the wind and sun, but King Coal still rules the state, and the White House seems determined to keep it on the throne. Also in this issue: Utah has finally convinced the Department of Energy to move the Atlas uranium mine tailings pile from its site just north of Moab, where the tailings are leaking into the Colorado River.

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What Happened to Winter? April 18, 2005

What Happened to Winter?

Scientists are struggling to understand winter in the West: the effects of the unusual weather on water and wildlife, and whether the changes are linked to global warming Also in this issue: Recently released e-mails show that federal employees falsified information about the safety of the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev.

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Calling It Quits April 04, 2005

Calling It Quits

Tough economics, drought, and increasing clashes with other public-lands users are leading some ranchers to consider taking the "golden saddle" – a check from conservationists in exchange for their grazing permits. Also in this issue: Two researchers say that the "Sustainable Slopes" program, touted by the National Ski Areas Association as a sign of the industry’s environmental responsibility, is little more than "greenwashing."

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An Empire Built on Sand March 21, 2005

An Empire Built on Sand

Rampant growth in the Phoenix area and a severe drought on the Colorado River challenge the sustainability of the Central Arizona Project. Also in this issue: A groundbreaking settlement between New Mexico environmentalists and the city of Albuquerque may keep water in the Middle Rio Grande and help both farmers and endangered silvery minnows.

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Anarchy in the Gas Fields March 07, 2005

Anarchy in the Gas Fields

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.

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Have Environmentalists Failed the West? February 21, 2005

Have Environmentalists Failed the West?

Soul Searching environmentalists fear they've become isolated and ineffective, but the story of Libby, Montana, and its dying residents, shows that the movements missteps are only part of the story.

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