Magazine
The mine that turned the Red River blue

August 28, 2000

Though the economic future of the area is uncertain, activists welcome a possible Superfund listing for the huge Molycorp molybdenum mine in Questa, N.M., as a way to save the town and the Red River from yet more mine-waste pollution.

Feature

The mine that turned the Red River blue
Though the economic future of the area is uncertain, activists welcome a possible Superfund listing for the huge Molycorp molybdenum mine in Questa, N.M., as a way to save the town and the Red River from yet more mine-waste pollution.

Sidebar

The life and times of a mining town
A timeline traces the history of the Molycorp mine in Questa, N.M., and its environmental problems.
'Molycorp hasn't been a good neighbor to us'
Lifelong Questa resident Joe Cisneros says Molycorp has damaged his air, water and community.
'If you want the jobs, you're going to have to deal with it'
Questa resident Alice Martinez defends the Molycorp mine, where her husband worked for many years.
'A mine divides a community'
Lifelong Questa resident Berlinda Trujillo has spent years in labor and environmental struggles with the Molycorp mine.
'The mine is everything'
An anonymous Questeno says the Molycorp mine has given much to the community and been a good steward of the land.

Uncommon Westerners

Floyd Dominy: An encounter with the West's undaunted dam-builder
An interview with legendary BuRec director Floyd Dominy reveals a man proud of the dams and water supply projects he built throughout the West - especially Glen Canyon Dam and its "most wonderful lake in the world, Lake Powell."

Essays

Down the Rio Grande, one piece at a time
This issue's lead is part of a series of HCN stories intended to create an honest, insightful picture of the Rio Grande and the varied communities and landscapes it passes through on its long journey.

Perspective

The latest salmon plan heads toward a train wreck
The long-awaited federal plan for saving the Northwest's endangered salmon avoids the question of breaching dams and satisfies almost no one.

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
Cliffhanging tourist photographer; New West attack in Ketchum, ID; barfing in Harrison Ford's chopper; Albuquerque's water vigilantes; satellite-controlled watering in UT; off-road vehicles in Colo. Rockies; Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell's gun vs. dogs.

Dear Friends

Dear Friends
Hot summer brings bears into town; visitors; "Know Thine Enemy"; Oops and congrats.

News

Shaky truce on the Rio Grande
To avoid an environmental lawsuit and placate angry farmers, Albuquerque and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District will sell enough reservoir water to the drought-plagued river to keep endangered silvery minnow alive and ditches flowing until fall.
The Latest Bounce
Lyle McNeal wins lawsuit; S.D. wetlands won't get new definition; old-growth red cedar in Idaho's Clearwater Nat'l Forest saved from logging; Montana ballot will have initiative on banning new game farms; Environmentalists Against Gore.
Home is where the heat is
This summer's wildfires are raising questions about development in the "wildland-urban interface" - places like Montana's Bitterroot Valley, where Forest Service firefighters are using all their resources to protect homes and cabins.
Protect yourself from wildfires
Some practical suggestions for making your home more fire safe.
Fires burn through boundaries at Mesa Verde
During the huge fires, Colorado neighbors Mesa Verde Nat'l Park and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park worked together and improved their historically unfriendly relationship, while the town of Cortez realized anew its economic dependence on the parks.
Who'll clean up a mining mess?
Recent studies show that contamination from Idaho's Bunker Hill Superfund Site has spread throughout the entire Coeur d'Alene River Basin, and some say the Superfund cleanup effort now winding down has not helped at all.
Ranchers forgo their federal lease
Two ranchers give up their grazing privileges on Idaho's Boise National Forest, blaming rules to protect spawning habitat for endangered salmon.
Cement glues citizens together
Pueblo, Colo., citizens, who worked for years to restore air and water polluted by their city's one-time steel mills, now fear a planned cement manufacturing plant will make their newly livable community unlivable and polluted once again.
Republicans attack sovereignty
Native Americans throughout the West are angry at Washington state's Republicans for passing a resolution that attacks tribal sovereignty.

Opinion

Squishy-soft processes - hard results
Former Sierra Club chairman Mike McCloskey says consensus is a threat to democracy and the environment, but the writer believes the move toward collaboration is a sign of a healthy, maturing West and a vigorous grassroots environmental movement.

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
  • DIRECTOR OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
    This newly created position with The Nature Conservancy's Colorado River Program will play a key role in the development and implementation of strategies to achieve...
  • PROGRAM OFFICER, INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES, NOVO FOUNDATION
    The Foundation NoVo Foundation acts from the original meaning of philanthropy: the love of humanity. The Foundation is dedicated to catalyzing a global social transformation...
  • ARMY OF THE DOG
    A new generation of monkey wrenchers hits the Front Range?
  • ANNIE CLARK TANNER FELLOWSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES
    The Tanner Humanities Center and the Environmental Humanities Program of the University of Utah seek an environmental writer to offer classes in Utahs Environmental Humanities...
  • ALASKA STATE DIRECTOR
    The Wilderness Society works to protect Wildlands and inspire Americans to care for our public lands. We seek to hire a strategic, experienced leader who...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) seeks an individual to lead this 45-year-old organization as executive director, to carry on ICLs work as Idahos leading voice...
  • IDAHO RIVERFRONT:
    2+ acres, 400+ feet on Snake River, 2800 sf residence, NWF-certified wildlife habitat, excellent hunting, fishing, birdwatching, stargazing, sunsets & panoramic views. In the heart...
  • WILDEARTH GUARDIANS IS EXPANDING - THREE JOB OPENINGS
    Guardians is expanding and looking for a few great people to join us in protecting and restoring the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health...
  • SUNNYSIDE MARKET SEEKS NEW PROPRIETOR
    Organic grocery/cafe at Glacier Bay needs a vibrant leader. Love good food, community, and Alaska? Join us!
  • NO INDIVIDUAL HEROES: OURAY MOUNTAIN RESCUE TEAM
    Ouray County, Colorado, a popular tourist destination, has dramatic mountains and amazing winter ice climbing. Challenging terrain and high altitude can push visitors to their...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM ASSOCIATE - TAHOE AREA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Associate-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM COORDINATOR - TAHOE AREA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Coordinator-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM MANAGER - TAHOE AREA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Manager-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM ASSOCIATE, SOUTHERN CA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Associate-Southern CA. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • THE BOOK OF BARLEY -
    Collector's Item! The story of barley, the field crop. 50 years of non-fiction research. www.barleybook.com
  • TEMPORARY ASSISTANT EDITOR
    Are you a climber and a writer who is passionate about mountain literature? Do you love searching through old alpine journals for stories of esoteric...
  • OWN YOUR OWN CANYON - 1400 SF STRAW-BALE ECO-HOME ON 80 ACRES - 3 HOURS FROM L.A.
    1400 sf of habitable space in a custom-designed eco-home created and completed by a published L.A. architect in 1997-99. Nestled within its own 80-acre mountain...
  • GRASSROOTS LEADERSHIP DIRECTOR
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a full-time grassroots leadership director to oversee all aspects of the Grassroots Leadership Program. This includes ongoing development of...
  • RIVER TRIP LEADER & EDUCATOR
    Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a growing nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...
  • RIVER GUIDE AND EDUCATOR
    Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a growing nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...