The Wayward West

  Politicians in Idaho are talking about doing away with four Snake River dams (HCN, 9/1/97). Robert Huntley, Democratic candidate for governor, called the lower dams "impediments to prosperity," reports the Idaho Statesman, while a Republican running against Rep. Helen Chenoweth in the primary said his party had to protect endangered species. "Letting species go extinct, especially a nice one like the salmon, is wrong," said Jim Pratt. He lost to Chenoweth.

If El Niûo had delivered, the Colorado River might have roared through the Grand Canyon this spring - a repeat of an experiment at the Glen Canyon Dam two years ago (HCN, 4/15/96). "The plan is to try again," Dave Haskell told the Salt Lake Tribune. Haskell, who directs the Grand Canyon National Park's Science Center, added, "For now we are restricted to releases only during high-water years, and this did not turn out to be one of those years."

Even jet-skiers get cold feet. Some warned Canyonlands National Park rangers last month that they planned to jet-ski down the Green River and into the park to protest a new rule prohibiting personal watercraft. But 24 jet-skiers turned back at the border, telling rangers they'd decided not to make a big deal of their disagreement.

Four logging protesters arrested last fall at Idaho's Cove-Mallard roadless area (HCN, 9/2/96) were each sentenced to 60 days in jail and fined $500 last month. Another protester who pled guilty got a 14-day sentence. In the last seven years, more than 200 activists have been arrested in the Nez Perce National Forest.

Last month the EPA granted the $1.8 billion Waste Isolation Pilot Plant a license to store nuclear waste in vaults a half-mile underground near Carlsbad, N.M. (HCN, 3/2/98). Protests and red tape have stalled the site's opening since 1979, when Congress authorized the underground waste dump - the world's first. The Southwest Research and Information Center said it will sue the EPA and Department of Energy to stop it again. A spokesperson for New Mexico Rep. Joe Skeen, a Republican, told the Albuquerque Tribune, "It's a done deal. Roll the trucks."

The Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association is suing Montana's Lewis and Clark National Forest to overturn its ban on new oil and gas leasing along Montana's Rocky Mountain Front (HCN, 10/13/97). The industry group claims the public had too much influence on forest supervisor Gloria Flora's decision last fall.

* Dustin Solberg and Taffeta Elliot

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