Items by Michelle Nijhuis

Are the West's governors turning over a new (green)leaf?
The Western Governors' Assn. recently agreed unanimously on a "shared environmental doctrine," giving the federal and state governments shared responsibility for environmental protection - but some critics say it's just another push for states' rights.
A tale of two - or three - Oregons
There are vast differences between the two faces of Oregon, its rural and urban, coastal and inland cultures and economics.
A tangled web of watersheds
The upper Rio Grande's 15 major tributaries all face distinct problems with a complex history behind them.
No consensus on consensus
HCN begins a series on the successes and failures of collaborative conservation efforts in the West.
A river becomes a raw nerve
The grassroots environmental group Amigos Bravos seeks consensus in the mostly Hispanic communities along the Rio Costilla in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, where there is never enough water to go around.
Mining: There's a reform-blocking rider
A rule buried in the BLM's mining regulations directs the secretary of the Interior to avoid "undue degradation" of public lands by mining, and the Mineral Policy Center wants to see it revised and made tougher.
Hunt sparks whale of a controversy
In Washington, the prospect of the first hunt of gray whales by the Makah Indians in 70 years has environmentalists worried and tribe enthusiastic.
Headwaters deal gets tougher
Working on the bill that would protect the old-growth redwood Headwaters grove, the California Legislature adds tougher environmental standards for the land surrounding the trees, also owned by Pacific Lumber.
Forget the theories, and instead look at people's faces
An excerpt from Charles Bowden's book, "Juarez: The Laboratory of Our Future," argues that the terrible poverty, crime and injustice in the border city of Juarez is a vision we cannot ignore.
A county in Nevada assaults a river
Elko County, Nev., commissioners take on the Forest Service over repairing and re-opening a road by the Jarbidge River, which the agency closed to protect the Jarbidge bull trout.
From croaks to chirps
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings has re-released "Sounds of North American Frogs: The Biological Significance of Voice in Frogs," a 1958 recording that showcases the amphibian, including many species that are in decline.
There goes the neighborhood
Residents of a Steamboat Springs, Colo., neighborhood that is powered by solar and propane energy, are upset with CEO Jim Mann's plans to power the 21,000 sq.-ft. house he wants to build there with electricity from the grid.
More than pretty parks
"Beyond the National Parks," edited by Mary Tisdale and Bibi Booth, is a guide to BLM public lands in the West.
Salmon plan can't stand alone
Gov. John Kitzhaber's "Oregon Plan" isn't enough to save the dwindling coho salmon, but some hope the spirit of the planned recovery effort will remain strong enough to keep the timber industry cooperative.
The trailer evolves
A timeline tracks the evolution of the not-always-mobile mobile home.
Western Slope wins water wrestle
A judge shoots down a water project that would have diverted water from the Gunnison River Basin on Colorado's Western Slope over to Denver's thirsty suburbs.
Defining a scientific movement
"Biomimicry" by Janine M. Benyus, is an entertaining and enlightening tour of modern scientific research.
Forest blowdown causes storm
The Forest Service wants to log about 3,000 acres of a spruce and fir blowdown in Colorado's Routt National Forest, but some environmental groups are opposing the regional forester's decision.
More internal fire at the Forest Service
Career agency biologist Renee Galeano-Popp resigns from Lincoln National Forest, becoming another in a series of disillusioned Forest Service employees.
Activists join forces against mining law
At a conference for mining activists 60 people share stories and strategies for battling hardrock mining and the 1872 Mining Law.
Locals stand behind an aging dam
The Savage Rapids Dam on Oregon's Rogue River remains standing despite the threatened coho salmon, because local irrigators are determined to save it.
All's not Swell
Environmentalists say Utah Rep. Chris Cannon's bill designating San Rafael Swell wilderness is really an "anti-wilderness bill'' that needs to be opposed.
Biologists get the ax
N.M. Gov. Gary Johnson vetoes funds earmarked for staff biologist positions in endangered species protection and environmental education.
'Odd couple' sues over grazing permits
Western Gamebird Association joins Forest Guardians in lawsuit tackling overgrazing in Arizona.
Locals battle military planes
In Colorado's Wet Mountain Valley, activists fight a Colorado Airspace Initiative that would allow more frequent overflights for military training.
Five Navajos say Utah cheated their tribe
Some Utah Navajos say the state of Utah has cheated the tribe of at least $52 million in oil and gas money.
Monumental deal over Utah's trust lands
A surprising agreement between Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt trades state-owned school trust lands in Grand Staircase-Escalante for federal lands elsewhere in Utah - and everyone seems to be happy about it.
'Meltdown' continues at state agency
The Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality is in turmoil as employees complain and quit the agency, citing "lousy management" and manipulation that favors industry.
Outfitter bill may be missing the boat
Some environmentalists say a bill making it easier for outfitters to get permits on federal lands would give commercial interests too much power over public lands.
Hanford's full of holes
The General Accounting Office reports that the Dept. of Energy has not found out enough about the soil between the water table and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation's leaking tanks to make environmentally sound cleanup decisions.
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