Items by Theo Whitcomb

Who’s after rare metals in the Klamath Mountains?
Who’s after rare metals in the Klamath Mountains?
While the region has a small cache of tellurium, politics and economics are in the way.
Yes, the drought really is that bad
Yes, the drought really is that bad
The Western U.S. is experiencing its worst drought since 800 A.D.
See the Western conservation projects getting Infrastructure Act money this year
See the Western conservation projects getting Infrastructure Act money this year
Approximately $68 million will be delivered to more than 100 projects across the country — many of which are based in the West.
Why is this California sheriff suddenly interested in ‘environmental crimes?’
Why is this California sheriff suddenly interested in ‘environmental crimes?’
Law enforcement takes center stage in Siskiyou County’s fight over who can, and can’t, use land and water.
Park Service’s midnight-hour rule change benefits Telecom
Park Service’s midnight-hour rule change benefits Telecom
The eliminated policy was designed to keep the public in the loop about new cell towers.
Why rural communities struggle to bring in much-needed federal grants
Why rural communities struggle to bring in much-needed federal grants
A new analysis suggests that over half of communities in the West lack the capacity to take advantage of infrastructure bill funding. Now what?
How marijuana, legal and not, is reshaping the West
How marijuana, legal and not, is reshaping the West
A 4/20 roundup of the industry’s trials, triumphs and political conundrums.
Dixie Valley toad gets rare emergency protection
Dixie Valley toad gets rare emergency protection
5 years after its discovery, the amphibian is now protected from a geothermal development.
For cannabis farms, ecosystem science is scarce
For cannabis farms, ecosystem science is scarce
An interview with an ecologist studying the West’s emerging, and rarely researched, industry.
Report: Over half of U.S. waters are too polluted to swim or fish
Report: Over half of U.S. waters are too polluted to swim or fish
At 50 years, the Clean water Act has had success. But there are key sources of water pollution yet to be addressed.
A living archive of Oregon’s hops and beer
A living archive of Oregon’s hops and beer
More than a beverage, beer helps tell the history of the Northwest.
When lockdown happened, historians took to the internet
When lockdown happened, historians took to the internet
The COVID-19 Digital Archive documents life during a global pandemic.
A bump in the road for southern Oregon’s illegal private casino
A bump in the road for southern Oregon’s illegal private casino
Oregon’s horse racing authority acknowledged the Oregon Department of Justice’s opinion, but the Flying Lark isn’t folding just yet.
What is California’s ‘War on Breakfast’ really about?
What is California’s ‘War on Breakfast’ really about?
Years after animal cruelty legislation passes, the pork industry tries one last time to stop it.
A vision for more sustainable farmlands
A vision for more sustainable farmlands
Central California can’t continue to farm at its current industrial scale. As land is fallowed, what could take its place?
See the Channel Islands’ stunning ecological recovery
See the Channel Islands’ stunning ecological recovery
The conservation success story is an example of what decades of work can accomplish.
Tribes call out Oregon’s reckless gaming regulation
Tribes call out Oregon’s reckless gaming regulation
Using horse-racing laws, a shadowy state agency and a billionaire push for a private casino that threatens tribes’ self-sufficiency.
At the Colorado River conference, ‘It’s really no longer a drill’
At the Colorado River conference, ‘It’s really no longer a drill’
Water managers announce new measures to deal with dwindling water supply.
Who should pay to fix California’s sunken canals?
Who should pay to fix California’s sunken canals?
Agribusiness and its proponents say repairs will benefit disadvantaged towns. Those residents disagree.
Interior’s new oil-and gas-leasing roadmap sidesteps climate action
Interior’s new oil-and gas-leasing roadmap sidesteps climate action
The report leaves the door open for new leases on public land. What does that mean for the West?
Biden eyes protections for sage grouse
Biden eyes protections for sage grouse
Here are 11 stats on why that matters.
Judge rejects a Trump-era water contract in a win for tribes in California
Judge rejects a Trump-era water contract in a win for tribes in California
A bid to benefit agribusiness has stalled again, leaving the Hoopa Valley Tribe hopeful that the next contract follows the law.
What’s going on with redistricting in the West?
What’s going on with redistricting in the West?
Yurij Rudensky of the Brennan Center breaks down the politics — and potential issues — Western states face in this year’s redistricting process.
Hmong Americans in Northern California fight wildfire — and distrust
Hmong Americans in Northern California fight wildfire — and distrust
Wary of local authorities, a community forms an ad-hoc firefighting force to defend its property.
California Farmworkers Union fights to vote by mail in union elections
California Farmworkers Union fights to vote by mail in union elections
For a largely unorganized sector, expanded voting access would be a huge win.
‘Deadbeat dams’ and their impact on cold-water ecosystems
‘Deadbeat dams’ and their impact on cold-water ecosystems
As California mulls water storage, a new study adds nuance to cold-water conservation.
A California county spars over water, marijuana law and race
A California county spars over water, marijuana law and race
Tasked to map an enigmatic aquifer for future water management, scientists confront political and scientific uncertainty.
Anxiety and hope in wildfire-prone Oregon
Anxiety and hope in wildfire-prone Oregon
How might we live in the reality of our climate?
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