Items by Laura Paskus

Waiting for Rain
The hurricanes in the Gulf and New Mexico’s endless drought lead the author to wonder why it is human beings refuse to take nature seriously
What price New Mexico’s sky?
The writer notes the increasingly dirty skies of her state and criticizes new plans for economic development
Lawmakers chop up renewable-energy fund
Congress slashes the Energy Department’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program in favor of directing money toward energy projects in lawmakers’ home districts
Public-lands freedom fighter
Stephen Maurer came to the West from Hungary, where he was a freedom fighter, and has devoted the past 50 years to fighting on behalf of Western public lands
A watery mystery in New Mexico
Albuquerque private investigator Sonny Baca unravels a series of nefarious plots in Rudolfo Anaya’s riveting mystery Jemez Spring
Renewable law leaves the gate
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission finally releases rules for implementing Amendment 37, the state’s renewable standards law
Forget idealism
With the demand for renewable energy growing and the costs falling, solar and wind power have moved out of the realm of idealism into that of the marketplace
Trouble on the Valles Caldera
The Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico was supposed to be a grand experiment in collaborative management, but the current board’s push to expand grazing and curtail public input has led to clashes with local environmentalists
The little wilderness that could
The long and carefully planned campaign to protect the Ojito Wilderness in New Mexico holds useful lessons for wilderness activists across the West
Glen Canyon Dam will stand
The Bureau of Reclamation refuses to dismantle Glen Canyon Dam or drain Lake Powell
Odes to an urban mountain range
Two recent guidebooks – Mike Coltrin’s Sandia Mountain Hiking Guide and The Field Guide to the Sandia Mountains by Robert Julyan and Mary Stuever – are excellent guides to the trails and histories of the mountains outside Albuquerque
A smart-growth bulldog
In the city of Albuquerque, underdog candidate Eric Griego, a critic of sprawl, challenges incumbent Mayor Marty Chavez, a pro-growth booster
The harder they spawn, the quicker they die
Silvery minnows had a good run this year on New Mexico’s Middle Rio Grande, but an increase in the number of dead fish has prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to raise the "incidental take" numbers allowed for the species
Bedrock environmental law takes a beating
Congressman Richard Pombo’s task force tears into the National Environmental Policy Act
Follow-up
Mexican wolf dies during checkup; another fish kill on the Klamath; Bush nominates H. Dale Hall to be new head of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Follow-up
Arizona’s San Pedro River dries up; Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility is having trouble disposing of rockets; Bush nominates industry lawyer Granta Nakayama to head EPA’s enforcement division
The more the West changes, the more it stays the same
In DeVoto’s West, Edward K. Muller has collected 22 of Bernard DeVoto’s entertaining and thought-provoking Harper’s magazine columns about the West
Frozen in time: Endangered species science
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it does not have to consider new scientific information about genetics when preparing recovery plans for rare species
Follow-up
Army Corps of Engineers will have to release water from Columbia and Snake river dams to help salmon; Montana mining ban is not a property "taking"; kinks in plan to drill for natural gas at Colorado nuclear site.
Crossings
If there’s a theme in this summer reading issue, it’s that of crossings, an idea that really hit home when a group of people from Kazakhstan recently spent time at High Country News
River tales: The Rio Grande from the headwaters to the sea
In Rio Grande, editor Jan Reid has assembled a marvelous collection of essays and photos about the Southwest’s Great River
Follow-up
Gale Norton blasts environmentalists; California farmworkers sprayed with pesticides; ranchers have to keep paying beef checkoffs
Navajos put more than 17 million acres off-limits
The Navajo Nation has banned uranium mining on the reservation, but that may not stop an already-approved mining project
Follow-up
Fish farms spread sea lice to wild salmon; Intermountain Rural Electric Association votes to exempt itself from Colorado’s renewable energy standard; New Mexico rancher Kit Laney is leaving the country
Follow-up
Ag Secretary Mike Johanns says his agency may relax ban on slaughtering "downer" cows for human consumption; California sets official, but nonbinding, goals for perchlorate in drinking water; San Juan Generating Station to cut mercury and other emissions
Congress touts 'green energy,' but bill is black and blue
The House of Representatives passes an energy bill with even more industrial pork than the Bush administration requested.
Getting smarter about energy use
In his latest book, Energy Resolution, Howard Geller offers his suggestions for a sustainable energy future
Renewable Energy Standards: How do states match up?
Six Western states now have renewable energy standards
Dear friends
"Animal Planet" at the HCN office; Leslie Glustrom vs. coal; correction; HCN Paonia potluck
The artist, her caretaker, and eight years of letters
Maria Chabot – Georgia O’Keeffe: Correspondence 1941-1949 tempts with its glimpse into the life of a famous painter but finally fascinates with its portrait of Chabot and her life in Abiquiu, N.M., during World War II
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