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Know 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