Items by Ed Marston

The West lacks social glue
Despite its posturing as the helpless colonial victim of powerful corporations and the federal government, the West isn't so much weak as it is passive.
The rural West: An artifact of the 19th century
This essay examines the blend of economic and social defenses that has kept the West on its own track for the past century.
The reopening of the Western Frontier
Thanks to a mixture of geography, climate and natural resources, the rural West became the domain of a particular way of life that has lasted for 100 years. But today its economies are in retreat, and the Western frontier is reopening.
O'Toole is the Adam Smith of forest economics
O'Toole has done all of us, including the Forest Service, a great favor. His genius and hard work have shown us that the national forests are governed by a welter of laws whose purpose and workings are exactly the same as those of the 1872 Mining Law.
Two Forks will unite Colorado
From the outside, to a casual observer, Two Forks is inexplicable. From the inside, Two Forks is the only solution to the Denver metro area's -- and the West's -- dilemma that existing leadership can conceive of. Understand Two Forks, and understand the West.
Exxon tangles with Wyoming over taxes
Wyoming, already hard-hit by the long decline in oil and gas prices and exploration, is further strapped without the taxes it expected from Exxon's LaBarge project.
The Imperial Valley sits down with the upper basin
It may not have been historic, but it was certainly startling to find several directors and staff members of California's Imperial Irrigation District at a recent meeting with the most knowledgeable water experts, attorneys and even politicians from the upper basin states of the Colorado River.
Yet another unneeded power plant starts generating
The Intermountain Power Project, the latest in a series of large power plants in the Southwest that keep California cities lighted, fired up this summer.
In search of a few long levers
Environmentalists should look beyond the regulate-litigate approach and consider things like superconductivity, which could have substantial long-term environmental benefits.
Hoover Dam, 1990s version: The Superconducting Collider
To the Rocky Mountain West, the $4.4 billion atom smasher represents economic development of the most desirable kind.
The Forest Service kowtows while forests burn
Our belief is that America will recover itself by the end of this decade, and stop the destruction of the forests. To do that, it will have to destroy the once-proud U.S. Forest Service. That will be easy, for the agency has deeply wounded itself.
Wyoming's vast, scarred Red Desert
The Red Desert is quiet now, but the marks remain from a period of oil, gas and uranium exploration and extraction.
EPA rips the Two Forks EIS
The Environmental Protection Agency has given a flunking grade to the draft version of a $30 million environmental impact statement on the Denver metropolitan area's future water supply system.
How the Ute Tribe lost its water
The way in which the Northern Utes of northeast Utah have lost their water to the Central Utah Project is both difficult to believe and all too believable.
Marriage of convenience
Even as we make our alliances, there is no doubt that the environmental movement's next great effort will be to contain and civilize the "recreation" industry, the "retirement" industry, and whatever else moves into the economic vacuum in the rural Rockies.
The West cleans up its act
An acid rain-causing copper smelter in Douglas, Ariz., closes.
The West's top stories: land, land, land, land
The 1986 High Country News index beginning on page 8 lists hundreds of individual stories, but all are about the same question: the use and control of the land.
Treaty ends Colorado water wars
The City of Denver, the West Slope's Colorado River Water Conservation District and the Northern Colorado Water Conservation District have decided to end decades of courtroom and political bloodletting by signing a tripartite agreement.
They built better than they knew
The upper Colorado River was plumbed to put water on arid lands and to generate electricity. Today those uses are in decline while recreation, urbanization and aesthetics come on strong. Through luck or forethought, the river's plumbing is proving adaptable to the new demands.
How could anyone oppose, or favor, the Garrison Project?
North Dakota's Garrison Project would irrigate hundreds of thousands of acres, cost about $1 million per farm, devastate wildlife habitat, and add only a tiny fraction to the state's farmland. But the project would also reassure a remote, hurting and suspicious part of America.
The Missouri River: Developed, but for what?
America can't keep its hands off its rivers. In the Columbia and Colorado basins, the damming and diverting has produced new economic bases, enormous amounts of irrigated desert lands and green cities in what was desert. But the transformation of the long, wide, muddy Missouri has had little effect on the region.
The stuff of moral tales
Will just enough be done -- by increasing the number of fish hatcheries, by limiting logging, and by rationing the fishtake -- to keep the salmon runs marginally alive? Or will more far-reaching steps be taken to bring back the spirit, as well as the fish, of the good old days?
When water kingdoms clash
A water deal between California's Imperial Irrigation District and the Metropolitan Water District was to bring water marketing of age. Instead, it has revealed the pitfalls that lie in the path of water marketing.
Western water made simple
Western water once existed in a protected world unto itself, made up of complex laws and regulations, tight political alliances, bureaucracies and massive federal subsidies. But now it is subject to real world forces, making it understandable.
Real reclamation
The choice by Kennecott and Asarco to clean up their smelters early on rather than be pushed out because of pollution shows that reduced livestock and logging industries can also survive -- but only if they adapt.
The West's lakes are safer
Environmental Protection Agency's decision to close the Phelps Dodge copper smelter in Douglas, Ariz., will reduce acid rain in mountain lakes like those in Wyoming's Wind River Range.
Gudy Gaskill and some friends build a 480-mile trail
The Colorado Trail -- a Denver to Durango mountain path for hikers, horses and mountain bikes -- is being built for a pittance by volunteers after a well-funded professional effort collapsed several years ago.
Taking on the farm banks
A sheep-ranching family struggles against the Production Credit Association, a bank meant to help farmers but that sometimes appears to turn on them.
Anger, blame, depression
A hearing in March 1986 at the Colorado State Legislature almost ended in a fist fight when an attorney for the Farmers Home Administration supposedly called a farmer "boy."
Reserve your condo now at the Stapleton Airport
An enterprising reporter has uncovered the secret of low air fares out of Stapleton Airport. Airlines are indeed losing money on each ticket sold. But they are simultaneously raking in enormous commissions from parking lots, news stands, food dispensers and bars.
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