Items by Michael Moss

Solar center's bright future now clouded
The Solar Energy Research Institute's connections with the federal Department of Defense have the private-sector solar industry doubting the impact the institute will have on spreading solar technology.
Making the most of the public lands
Bureau of Land Management head Bob Burford scares conservationists and tips the scales of management toward greater development of BLM land.
Briney Colorado still defies salty solutions
One thousand miles upriver from Mexico's farmers, in Colorado's Grand Valley, the federal effort to control salinity is floundering.
Revenue bonds put some firms in black, but feds see only red
Large, national retail companies take advantage of industrial revenue bonds intended to provide cheap capital to financially undernourished communities.
Ag loans face dollar drought
Low-interest loan programs will likely benefit large, already successful farmers and investors, while doing little to aid small or beginning farmers.
Promoter turns planner to shape Western Slope growth
Trying to lure economic growth to Colorado's Western Slope, Club 20 has promised everyone from winemakers to oil shale developers that they can have room to grow with minimal governmental interference.
Power rules inhibit people power
Thousands of plans to create new hydroelectric, solar, geothermal or industry-cogenerated power under the 1978 Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act are being fought by electric utilities.
Looking for juice in backyard dams
A proposal to retrofit a high-mountain dam near Aspen, Colorado is one of dozens of potential hydropower projects in the Rocky Mountain Region.
Yampa's floodwaters carry boaters and dreams of a dam
A renewed proposal to dam Colorado's Yampa River pits the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission against the Department of Interior.
No room in this field for the young
A farm near Boulder, Colorado illustrates the challenges of passing family farms on to future generations, and of the hurdles to young farmers in general.
Shifting credit fans agricultural fears
Rural monies are being drained out to urban industries by a banking system that is becoming more concentrated and less locally-owned as commercial banks abandon their agricultural customers in favor of new, more profitable lending enterprises.
Tax forecloses inheritance dream
Inheritance taxes negate the rise in farmland value and consume some farms that would otherwise pass on to the farmers' heirs, prompting efforts to reform tax laws.
Idaho's new energy source stumbles in regulatory darkness
Despite efforts by Idaho's Public Utilities Commission, the innovative energy source known as cogeneration remains stalled by a complex of financing and regulatory stumbling blocks.
Utah water planners turn on the pressure
As Salt Lake City sprawls toward the Kennecott's Bingham copper mine, issues of air and water pollution are pressed on state regulators.
Water watchdogs neglect the Navajo
A congressional investigation has found that there may be serious undiscovered drinking water problems on the Navajo Indian Reservation.
PCB: Toxic material escaped transformers, now regulation
Two years after its manufacture was banned, and some 18 months since an accidental spill in Montana contaminated foodstuffs in Western states, the carcinogenic insulation fluid known as PCB remains in widespread use, largely unregulated and undisposable.
Channeling the stream of toxic wastes
Environmental regulators are perplexed as they grapple with what they're calling the most pressing environmental problem of the 1980s -- hazardous waste.
Mining mishap could spell future trouble
Public officials' response to a spill of toxic water at the Alumet phosphate mine is stoking criticism of the expanding phosphate industry in southeastern Idaho.
Pressure builds on farmers to sell out
As profits from farming plummet and urban areas encroach on rural surroundings, farmers are increasingly selling their land to subdivision developers.
Park Service director ousted in continuing policy strife
In a move enveloped by political controversy, Secretary of Interior Cecil Andrus has fired the director of the National Park Service, William Whalen.
Debate roils over Utah's troubled waters
Proponents and critics jostle over the Central Utah Project, which would bring water from Utah's Bonneville Basin to the bustling Wasatch Front.
Foley II: Second try at wilderness 'release'
The congressional debate over preserving the last remaining forest wild lands took a perplexing turn earlier this month, as Rep. Thomas Foley (D- Wash.) introduced his second omnibus national wilderness bill.
Business-as-usual politics spurs new dam foes
Some conservative Western senators are unexpectedly calling for cuts to federal water project spending -- and environmentalists should cooperate by not fighting the few water projects that might have some redeeming value.
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