Writers on the Range


Writers on the Range is opinion from the ground up. Got a beef with beef? An experience that changed your mind about the American West? Writers from the region tell their story in 750 words. Op eds are syndicated to 50-plus papers, and they also appear here, on the HCN website. For more information, contact Writers on the Range editor, Betsy Marston: betsym at hcn.org.


Idealists need not apply
Montana environmentalists waited to see how Governor Schwinden's administration might deal with the state's Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. They have now waited and seen, and their patience is growing thin.
Reagan's assault on the strip mine law
By reorganizing the Office of Surface Mining and by attacking the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, the Reagan administration has rolled back national standards for controlling coal strip mining.
Kemmis' call for leadership
A speech by Dan Kemmis, who has risen quickly to leadership of the state's House after serving as House Minority Leader in 1981, and was the author of Montana's 1979 coal slurry ban.
Whose land is it anyway?
The latest effort by the federal government to rid itself of part of the public domain is but the latest chapter in an enduring saga.
They built it with silver and gold
The water brought from the Colorado River by the $3.4 billion Central Arizona Project will be expensive.
Of profit and risk
The Wyoming Industrial Siting Council is being prudent in considering requiring the Hampshire Energy Company, which is planning a coal-to-gasoline conversion plant in Gillette, Wyo., to post a performance bond to protect local governments.
Regulatory reform goes awry
The Office of Surface Mining's proposed changes to coal mining regulations will weaken necessary rules without economic justification.
A bias toward the public land
We aren't wholly controlled by economic and scientific laws. There are spiritual values that people have and share and that they sometimes act to preserve.
Colorado's bottle battle
Colorado considers a "bottle bill" like those that have deceased littering in other states.
'Privatizing' the commonweal
After weeks of secrecy, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management revealed a list of more than 4.3 million acres of public land that may be sold to reduce the national debt.
It's a woman's world
Along with a gradual shift to appropriate technologies there must be a broad commitment to task-sharing and equity in employment so that women do not get shuffled once again to the bottom of the social deck.
Where is the anger?
The Reagan administration is systematically tearing apart the contributions of nearly a century of environmental work in this country.
Paving the way for boom and bust
The mitigation of socioeconomic impacts in western rural communities is a relatively new science, and we are on the upslope of the learning curve.
Oil shale: no tears, but lots of tangle
Oil shale is not dead, despite what the daily newspapers may say. The promise or threat of oil shale will always be with us.
Playing the game: public input in NEPA planning
From the outside, the National Environmental Policy Act process might as well be a foreign culture with its own, language and customs.
Watt's wilderness proposal sets agenda for energy industry
To an energy industry stretched thin, Interior Secretary James Watt's temporary ban on oil and gas drilling in wilderness areas is something of a favor.
Open pit and economic pendulum
As the West's uranium industry declines, it should reclaim mines, not wait for economics to swing back in the industry's favor.
Reagan's free market energy myth
Although the Reagan administration preaches free market ideals, it has increased funding for nuclear power, retained some subsidies for synthetic fuels, and backed away from its promise to deregulate the price of natural gas.
Removing the "heavy hand"
As long as we have the federal government in our front yard, we will attempt to work with them to arrive at decisions that are mutually beneficial to Montanans and to the nation as a whole.
Profiting from parks: None of Watt's business
Virtually every hotel, store, gas station and restaurant in the national parks is a private, profit-making enterprise. Regulation of these businesses is one of the most important and least understood issues in public land management.