Items by Marjane Ambler

Wheatland strives for boom town perfection
Although residents of Wheatland, Wyo., may disagree about the positives and negatives of the boom created by construction of a nearby coal-fired power plant, they take pride in the way they have worked together with the consortium of power utilities building the plant.
Western governors aren't wild about more wilderness
A summary of the stance toward wilderness taken by Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, Utah Gov. Scott Matheson, Idaho Gov. John Evans, Montana Gov. Thomas Judge, Wyoming Gov. Ed Herschler, and South Dakota Gov. William Janklow.
States ponder: who should pay to keep air clean?
When Congress passed the Clean Air Act amendments in 1977, it didn't approve federal funds for the studies necessary for air quality classification, meaning that most states have trouble accessing the law's protections.
Nation now molding its first Indian water policy
President Jimmy Carter has taken the first step toward establishing a national Indian water policy, which has been defined de facto by large water projects that flood Indian lands while not providing a proportional share of the water.
Merson flaunts environmental bias
Despite criticism, Alan Merson, recently appointed the regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency in Denver, doesn't back down from claims that he's an environmentalist.
Power emissions may reduce ag productivity
Preliminary results from studies of vegetation near the Colstrip, Montana, coal-fired power plant indicate that plants are absorbing sulfur dioxide, and that crops and grazing land could be dramatically affected in the long term.
Activists torn over what's best for wild horses
The federal government is desperately searching for ways to manage the horse and burro populations in ways that will be economically feasible and publicly acceptable, but environmental groups acknowledge there's little chance of pleasing everyone.
Dirty air a health hazard in 30 areas of West
While air pollution is generally not considered to be a problem in the West (with the obvious exceptions like Los Angeles and Denver), all Western states have areas that do not meet minimum federal clean air standards.
Two more reservations want Class I air quality
The Flathead and Fort Peck Indian Reservation councils have decided to seek Class I protection for their air under the Clean Air Act.
Idaho elects wilderness champ and foe to Congress
Idaho voters continue to elect both Sen. Frank Church, who has gained a national reputation as an environmental leader, as well as Rep. Steve Symms, who is known for wanting to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.
North Dakota's delegation listens to agriculture
All three of North Dakota's congressmen were first elected before the environment was a major political issue, and because the state has a strong tradition of returning incumbents to office, all three continue to be re-elected despite their generally poor environmental records.
BPA bill shapes destiny of states in Rockies
Conservationists are alarmed by a bill that would makes it easier for the Bonneville Power Administration to build power plants in Western coal-producing states.
Indians wresting for control over their minerals
Indian tribes, given land that a hundred years ago was often considered wasteland, realize that the vast wealth of their coal, oil, gas, and uranium can represent both a threat as well as a blessing, and are taking steps to increase tribal influence over Indian-owned energy resources.
Clean Air Act: making it work for you
With the passage of the Clean Air Act Amendments, much of the burden -- and potential for protecting air -- is shifted to states and Indian tribes.
Former foes try combining forces
In the West, environmentalists and farmers and ranchers have worked together for several years opposing some common threats, including coal mines, loss of agricultural water, the social impact of industrialization, and transmission lines.
Tribes probe possibilities of their coal, uranium
Recent headlines saying that 22 Indian tribes are meeting with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have brought national attention to the Council of Energy Resource Tribes, an organization that had virtually been ignored since its formation in 1975.
Canadian project may pollute U.S.
A massive Canadian energy complex along the U.S.-Canadian border in Saskatchewan is becoming one of the most complicated legal controversies the West has ever faced.
Bighorn water battle goes to court
For the Shoshone and Arapahoe Indian tribes, everything is at stake in a suit filed by the state of Wyoming requiring more than 20,000 water users in the Bighorn River basin to defend their water rights.
Andrus gives reprieve to Grand Canyon burros
Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus has announced that before any action is taken to exterminate 2,000 feral burros in Grand Canyon National Park, a full environmental impact statement will be prepared and public review will be sought.
Wheatland: the model boom town?
The Missouri Basin Power Project, a consortium of utilities, hopes to use construction of a 1,500 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Wheatland, Wyoming, as an example of industry turning a rural community into a lively place to live.
Ranchers challenge Montana reclamation study
Montana ranchers whose land is likely to be stripped mined for coal are doubtful of a study that found that stripped-mined land can be effectively reclaimed.
The boom town -- after the statisticians fo home
Rock Springs -- Wyoming's best known boom town -- has become a symbol of what happens to a town when development hits suddenly, leaving local officials unprepared. HCN chatted informally with Rock Springs oldtimers about the continuing effects of the boom.
Politics prevent fair nuclear initiative contest
Events in the months preceding Montana's election have convinced nuclear initiative proponents that Montana is a state where large corporate interests still have an unusually strong hold on state government.
Shell says, 'We'll plan -- our way'
Residents of the tiny mountain community of Shell, Wyoming, emerged from an unlikely planning meeting with smiles on their faces, having created a land-use plan that apparently satisfied even those who were most opposed.
Northern Cheyenne want Class I air
The Northern Cheyenne Indian tribe in southern Montana has become the first land manager to ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to allow it to keep its air clean with a Class I designation, which would affect the planned expansion of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant.
Citizens challenge Wheatland ruling
The Laramie River Conservation Council is challenging the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council's decision to allow construction of the 1,500 megawatt Missouri Basin Power Project coal-fired power plant near Wheatland, Wyoming.
Water policies to start at local basins
Many residents in the Missouri River Basin of Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota are now being asked to wrestle with a problem that has harassed bureaucrats for years -- determining water use priorities.
Dialog opens for protecting common 'water hole'
Indians, environmentalists, and agriculturalists sat down together at a meeting called by the Northern Rockies Action Group in Billings, Montana to discuss their concerns about energy development in the Northern Plains region.
People want power over transmission
More and more rural residents are starting to resent transmission lines as the lines proliferate across the open spaces of the West, marring the scenery, hindering farm operations, and producing ozone, which may be harmful to crops.
BN proposes fertilizer from coal
Near the remote ranching community of Circle, Montana, the Burlington Northern railroad company plans to construct a coal gasification plant that would produce not only natural gas but also fertilizer.
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