The Latest Bounce


A resolution to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling has been derailed in the Senate (HCN, 11/5/01: The Arctic: A slave to luck). Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, attempted to force the issue through by hitching an amendment to a railroad retirement bill, but failure to build the needed 60 votes of support led to a 94-1 abandonment of the measure. The amendment's defeat is likely to delay the ANWR drilling debate until next year.

The Army Corps of Engineers won't breach four dams on the lower Snake River in eastern Washington (HCN, 12/20/99: Unleashing the Snake). A number of environmental groups have pushed to dismantle the dams to restore salmon and steelhead runs in the river, but the Army Corps says it will retrofit the dams with fish ladders instead. A spokesman for Save Our Wild Salmon says congressional approval of funding for any salmon-friendly measures is still uncertain.

Now that Montanans have voted to outlaw "canned" hunts on game farms, Big Velvet Ranch operator Len Wallace says he's forced to shoot his elk herd and give the animals away (HCN, 7/2/01: Rancher goes down kicking). A state judge blocked his attempt to give 675 animals to the Crow Indians, so Wallace ran a radio ad inviting 10 people per day to shoot an elk and take it home. Game-farm owners in four other states have offered to purchase Wallace's animals.

Plans to clean up radioactive material from 40 years of nuclear weapons production at Colorado's Rocky Flats may hit a roadblock in the form of South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges (HCN, 1/15/01: Hot Property: A former nuclear bomb factory gets caught in suburban turf wars). The governor has called on the state highway patrol to block shipments of plutonium from Colorado to the energy department's Savannah River site, and vowed to stand in front of the trucks himself. Hodges fears that plutonium storage in South Carolina will be a permanent, rather than temporary, arrangement.

California's Imperial Sand Dunes saw a lawless Thanksgiving weekend (HCN, 12/18/00: Feds fight chaos in a desert playground). One man was injured in a gun battle and another was arrested for attempted murder after he ran over a BLM ranger. Fifty other people were arrested on lesser charges. The BLM says that a decreased law enforcement presence was due to security reassignments after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks (HCN, 11/19/01: Homeland security drafts rangers) .

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