Items by Jonathan Thompson

An energy oasis in the political desert
The Interior West’s growing political voice – and its status as the nation’s energy supplier – mean presidential candidates need to see the region as more than campaign flyover country.
Two weeks in the West
Greater sage grouse gets another shot at protection; Colorado River water users ratify new plan; news from around the West; a high-tech “virtual fence” on the U.S.-Mexico border runs into problems.
Canis fiasco
A chaotic effort to restore Mexican wolves in New Mexico and a problem with too many elk in Colorado are two facets of the same problem: Our propensity to manage nature in very unnatural ways.
Two weeks in the West
Two weeks in the very arid West means dry ski slopes, destructive wildfires, unending drought and unhappy bears; timber mills are victims of housing collapse; costs of carbon dioxide and its removal.
Coal’s other mess
Even as the air over power plants clears, the coal combustion waste on the ground gets worse – and the EPA seems disinclined to deal with the problem.
Ashes to houses
One of coal's big messes is transformed into building blocks
Coming to a farm near you: Los Angeles
In this issue of High Country News, Matt Jenkins dives into the murky world of L.A.’s water system
Exploring the shrinking marvel of Lake Powell
Jonathan Thompson kayaks Lake Powell and finds it drastically changed – and shrunken – from the “Lake Foul” he first visited 20 years ago.
Two weeks in the West
California’s continuing water troubles; saving water for the Delta smelt; New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici to retire; Idaho grizzly shot; polygamous community in the spotlight; Vegas goes a glitzy shade of green.
Two weeks in the West
Wilderness bills are coming back to life, especially one that would protect Arizona’s Tumacacori Highlands; a lot of things besides windmills are killing birds.
Two weeks in the West
Health insurance – and the lack of it – in the West; Larry Craig, Burning Man, and parts of Montana go up in flames; Wyoming booms and house prices are up, but the kids are still leaving in droves; new Border Patrol duds debut.
Red Mountain miracle
In southern Colorado, conservation groups find a way to save 9,000 high-altitude acres from second-home development.
Two weeks in the West
Coal-mining is always a dangerous business; wild horse problems in Nevada; biofuel boondoggle?; and biofuel bio the numbers.
Heard Around the West
Santa Fe coyotes replaced by mountain lions; cat problems in Colorado; bunny restraining order in Oregon; dead snakes bite back; mysterious things in a dead bird’s tummy.
Gunning with the in-laws
Jonathan Thompson learns to love guns – and to fear them even more than he did before.
The new land rush
In the Rocky Mountain West, old mining claims are suddenly the newest real estate hot spots.
Two weeks in the West
Coal-fired power plants don’t get no respect; nuclear is nudging its way in; resort real estate is hot as plutonium
Pony up
When it comes to fund raising, Mitt Romney is the West’s favorite presidential candidate, as is demonstrated by a series of charts
Two weeks in the West
The continuing saga of the white-tailed prairie dog vs. Julie MacDonald; sage grouse in trouble; Westerners are still burning – and drowning; statistics about air conditioning and a long hot summer
Oh, those summer nights at the drive-in!
Jonathan Thompson takes his family to one of the West’s last drive-in movies, and fondly remembers his own misspent youth.
Two weeks in the West
The West is on fire; Dick Cheney exposed; toning down RS-2477; and firefighting statistics
Two weeks in the West
On the messy bureaucratic soap opera As Interior Turns, the cast keeps changing, and getting indicted; Good Samaritans need to able to clean up old mines without getting burned; foreign countries drive Western mining boom; and data about mining
Two weeks in the West
Western states get serious about global warming; Colorado stands up to energy industry; environmental “terrorists” sentenced; “Kids in the Woods”; McMansions & mobile homes; eco-chic ain’t cheap
Two weeks in the West
Chefs fight for salmon, and uranium gets hotter; electricity usage and generation in the West; data on park fees and visitors
Of feral dogs, and feral Westerners
Westerners like to romanticize our wide-open spaces and wild wolves, but in rural areas, our real mascot is the ubiquitous feral dog
Two weeks in the West
James M. Doohan heads to final frontier (briefly) from New Mexico’s spaceport; northern spotted owls in trouble again; Veterans Conservation Corps; drugged up and rehabbing in the West
Two weeks in the West
Western real estate slump hits suburbs, but developers keep on developing; Marijuana McMansions; copper booming; Logan, Utah, rejects dirty power; Tri-State puts off two coal power plants; animals killed by Wildlife Services
Two weeks in the West
Death (and life) in the Sonoran Desert; fire and drought in the Southwest; courts rule against Bush on environmental issues.
Two weeks in the West
No yellow snow for Snowbowl; gonorrhea and meth: a match made in hell; split-estate bills in New Mexico and Colorado; Montana’s green energy bills languish; “Rocky Mountain High” second Colorado state song, bolo tie is official New Mexico neckwear.
Two weeks in the West
Western governors go green; King Coal gets hammered; Divine Strake strikes out; Colorado cons on the North Forty; Mother Nature’s bodyguards; Western wagering data; and energy use and Bush approval: a case of eerie symmetry.
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