The Wayward West

  Meridian, Idaho, will host a high-visibility merger Oct. 2, when Rep. Helen Chenoweth, 61, weds Wayne Hage, 62. Chenoweth is famous for fighting federal protection of endangered species and wilderness (HCN, 9/28/98). Her betrothed, a rancher from Tonopah, Nev., has battled the Forest Service in court for almost a decade over grazing (HCN, 10/30/95). Invitations went out to 11,000 people, but since the church can only accommodate 1,200, a wide-screen television will let overflow guests follow the nuptials.


A proposal to fill in an old uranium mine using low-level radioactive waste has proved too hot to handle. The Dawn Mining Co. in eastern Washington wanted to use mildly radioactive dirt from around the country in the cleanup of its mine site on the Spokane Indian Reservation (HCN, 1/19/98). Local opposition has convinced the company to use clean dirt from the surrounding area instead. "This is a big deal. We're very pleased," John Erickson of the Washington Department of Health told the Spokane Spokesman-Review.


Another big deal in northern New Mexico has environmental groups applauding. After two years of negotiations, the owners of the Baca Ranch have agreed to sell their 95,000-acre property to the federal government for $101 million (HCN, 8/3/98). Congress has already approved a $40 million down payment for the cattle ranch, which is about 60 miles northwest of Santa Fe in the Jemez Mountains.


Environmentalists are also throwing a party in Crested Butte, Colo., where Cyprus Amax's molybdenum mine proposal has hit a roadblock. In early September, a judge told the company it couldn't have the water it needs to mine 29 million tons of molybdenum near the ski town. Crested Butte is surrounded by one of the world's largest deposits of molybdenum, and local environmental groups have been fighting off Amax since the 1970s (HCN, 11/23/98).


Not so pleased are Jody and Brian Bea, the Washington couple who will soon be dismantling their dream home. Two years ago, they started to build a 4,000 square-foot house on the northern side of the Columbia River Gorge, just across the river from a national scenic area (HCN, 2/15/99). The federal Columbia River Gorge Commission said the cliffside house was an eyesore. In late August, a judge agreed. The Beas will now have to move their home.


* Michelle Nijhuis and Karen Mockler
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