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Matt Jenkins wins Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism

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August 10, 2006

PAONIA, COLORADO — High Country News correspondent Matt Jenkins (former associate editor) has won the 2006 James V. Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism. Awarded by Stanford University, Jenkins is being recognized for his story "Squeezing Water from a Stone," front-paged in High Country News on September 19, 2005.

In the piece, Jenkins investigates the potential environmental impacts of a massive groundwater pumping project in the Great Basin of Nevada and Utah, and the project's political implications in a much larger fight over the Colorado River. Judges had high praise for the story:  A "beautiful, well-written piece about one of the last frontiers of the West. ... It  took a complex subject and made it readable."

Matt Jenkins has worked for High Country News since January of 2001. Since that time, he has distinguished himself as one of the foremost observers of the power politics that surround the West's scarce water. His reporting has taken him to Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California, where he has written about everything from the entry of private companies into the Western water market, to the loopholes that allow Arizona developers to mine that state's drought reserves, and the labyrinthine policies that govern who gets what out of the Colorado River. Jenkins, former associate editor for High Country News, recently moved to Oregon were he is working as HCN’s West Coast corespondent.

The winning story, posted in High Country News’ online archives, may be read at:

- About High Country News
High Country News is a nonprofit news magazine that covers the West’s communities and nature resource issues. The publication was founded in Lander, Wyoming in 1970 by a rancher and environmentalist, Tom Bell and in 1983, Ed ad Betsy Marston brought the paper to Paonia, Colorado where it became known as "the conscience of the American West."

All of High Country News’ journalism can be found on its web site, The mission of High Country News is to inform and inspire people to act on behalf of the West’s land, air, water and inhabitants. It works to create what Wallace Stegner called a society to match the scenery.


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