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for people who care about the West

The Wayward West

  The Quincy Library Group Bill is tangled in holiday traffic, after flying through the U.S. House of Representatives last July (HCN, 9/29/97). Sens. Dale Bumpers, D-Ark., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., put holds on the bill, stalling it in the Senate. But proponents like Sen Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., are confident it will move quickly when Congress convenes in January.


The country's largest Indian tribe, the Navajo Nation, has again said no to gambling on the reservation. Voters rejected a gambling referendum last month by an eight-point margin: 54 percent against and 46 percent in favor. That's two points less than the 1994 vote (HCN, 5/1/96).


The University of Arizona wants to put a controversial third telescope atop Mount Graham (HCN, 7/24/95) near Tucson, but it won't get federal money to help. On Nov. 2, President Clinton vetoed congressional funding for the telescope, part of a $10 million package for the university's astronomy department.


House Democrat Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., has introduced a bill to cancel the three-year federal Recreational Fee Demonstration Program (HCN, 10/13/97), which raises money for maintenance of visitor facilities on federal lands. "It's outrageous," he says, to charge "taxpaying citizens a fee to take a hike on a forest trail." He proposes to raise money by taking a 5 percent royalty on minerals mined on federal land.


New Mexico's Rio Arriba County and local landowners have temporily settled a dispute over logging private land on a local watershed (HCN, 10/27/97). The compromise allows moderate logging with environmental restrictions until a Santa Fe district judge decides whether the county can issue logging permits.


Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, a Democrat, has shed his neutrality on the southwest Colorado Animas-La Plata water project (HCN, 11/11/96). "Build it," he told Ute tribal leaders Nov. 18 in support of a scaled-down version of the project favored by the tribes. Hurdles remain. The Environmental Protection Agency has challenged the final environmental impact statement on the overall Animas-La Plata project, saying the study does not examine all alternatives. Romer's solution: that the agency accept Lt. Gov. Gail Schoettler's analysis of 65 alternatives and support "A-LP Lite."





*Peter Chilson