The latest bounce


Many Western cities and states spent last year's election season fighting about growth (HCN, 10/23/00: Colorado's growth amendment rouses voters). Now, a recent study has assessed the damage. The Brookings Institution report says that citizens in 38 states and hundreds of cities, towns and counties voted on 553 growth-related measures, and close to three-quarters of the measures passed. Institute staffers say local measures to purchase open space fared far better than statewide growth-control initiatives.

Interior Secretary Gale Norton told the Washington Post that she won't try to overturn any of the West's new national monuments (HCN, 2/12/01: Mr. Babbitt's wild ride). But Norton said she "disapproves" of President Clinton's use of the Antiquities Act to create the new monuments without congressional consent. She added that she may work with local officials and property owners to shrink the monuments and loosen land-use rules.

A U.S. district court has ordered federal agencies active in southern Arizona to study their combined impact on the Sonoran pronghorn antelope (HCN, 9/27/99: Battered borderlands: The Border Patrol trolls for a conservation ethic). Only about 120 of the animals remain in the United States; military exercises often scatter the animals, and Border Patrol activities are thought to isolate them from a larger Mexican population. The national environmental group Defenders of Wildlife filed the successful lawsuit.

The long-running fight over a Forest Service road near Elko, Nev., may finally reach a resolution (HCN, 7/31/00: Kicking and screaming in Nevada). When the agency closed a road along the Jarbidge River to protect a threatened population of bull trout, outraged anti-federal activists organized several protests and tried to reopen the road with a bulldozer. Now, government negotiators and county officials have reached a tentative agreement. If the deal gets final approval from all parties, the Forest Service will permit the road to be rebuilt - by hand.

Activists in Pueblo, Colo., are still fighting a proposed coal-burning cement plant (HCN, 8/28/00: Cement glues citizens together). The plant and its associated limestone quarry would be built on state land, and would be the first major industrial site to open in Pueblo in 50 years. A local nonprofit group, Citizens for Clean Air and Water, is worried about the plant's effects on air quality and archaeological resources. The group recently filed suit against the county commission and the Colorado Division of Public Health.

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