Magazine
Courting Disaster

February 16, 2004

A right-wing coup is under way in the nation’s courts, which George W. Bush is stacking with anti-environmental judges, and the impacts on Western conservation issues are not going to be pretty. Also in this issue: National Park Service wilderness coordinator Jim Walters resigns in frustration over the agency’s neglect of wilderness, after the superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks allows helicopters in wilderness areas.

Feature

Tipping the scales
A right-wing coup is under way in the nation’s courts, which George W. Bush is stacking with anti-environmental judges, and the impacts on Western conservation issues are not going to be pretty

Sidebar

Jurisdiction shopping made simple
The environmental records of federal judges are briefly examined, including Dee Benson, Don Molloy, Alan Angus McDonald, B. Lynn Winmill, Michael Hogan, Edward Lodge, Clarence Brimmer, James Parker and Sam Haddon
Congress overrules the courts
Even when environmentalists win in the courtroom, Congress can overturn the court’s interpretation of an existing law by passing a new one

Editor's Note

In conservation contests, there are no slam dunks
The increasing politicization of the courts is creating a hazardous landscape for conservationists, who need to diligently oppose anti-environmental judges

Uncommon Westerners

Solving the puzzle of chronic wasting disease: Veterinarian Beth Williams
Dr. Beth Williams of the University of Wyoming’s State Veterinary Lab is a leading expert in chronic wasting disease who has provided some of the only clear answers to a disease that is ravaging wild deer and elk herds

Book Reviews

Tongue-tied in the Southwest
Ruben Cobos’ new book, A Dictionary of New Mexico and Southern Colorado Spanish, is an entertaining introduction to the unique Spanish dialect spoken in the Southwest
Calendar
Big cats on the block
In The Beast in the Garden, David Baron looks at our changing relationships with predators, focusing on the death of a young Colorado man who was killed by a mountain lion

Writers on the Range

Nation's premier environmental group is target of a takeover
The Sierra Club is being targeted by an organized effort to take over its board of directors in the name of animal rightists and anti-immigration activists
Why I'm running: Immigration is the environmental issue
The author explains that he is running for the Sierra Club’s board of directors in order to get the club to tackle the problem of immigration

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
Utahns vs. moose; mad cow jokes; missile-site home for sale; Rancho Costa Nada; famous trials of lurid cases, like Scott Peterson and Kobe Bryant, don’t always bring money to the towns that host them

Dear Friends

Dear friends
HCN’s new book, Give and Take, pulls together our national monument coverage; Brian Erwin is HCN marketing director; corrections and comments

News

Park Service wilderness in disarray
National Park Service wilderness coordinator Jim Walters resigns in frustration over the agency’s neglect of wilderness, after the superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks allows helicopters in wilderness areas
Follow-up
President Bush’s budget will cut money for EPA and NOAA, give money for logging; Bush’s budget counts on drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and pushes coalbed methane; Modern Pit Facility decision delayed by nuclear agency; and Department of Hea
Mining may no longer be king of the mountain
Environmentalists are delighted by a new court ruling that says Gale Norton’s Interior Department abdicated its duty when it refused to regulate hard-rock mining
Ethanol takes off in the West
Critics say a new push for producing ethanol from corn is actually a waste of both energy and money
Owens River will finally get its water back
The Lower Owens River in Inyo County, Calif., may finally get its water back from Los Angeles, thanks to a last-minute lawsuit by the state’s attorney general
Salmon get a break from pesticides
U.S. District Judge John Coughenour bans the use of 38 pesticides near streams that host endangered runs of salmon and steelhead in Washington, Oregon and California
No place for pesky nuclear waste
The European-owned company LES wants to produce nuclear fuel near Eunice, N.M., but has yet to come up with a plan for storing the highly toxic, radioactive byproduct
Rollbacks on the range
The Bureau of Land Management plans to revise its Clinton-era grazing regulations, and critics say the changes will let ranchers ride roughshod over the public lands

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
  • SENIOR ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNER
    The City of Fort Collins is seeking a Senior Environmental Planner to lead the Nature in the City team. This interdisciplinary position is housed in...
  • COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ASSISTANT
    The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) is seeking a dynamic community engagement assistant. The individual will work to identify and empower members, supporters, volunteers, and others...
  • VOICES OF WISDOM 2019 SOUTHWEST
    May 25 & 26 At the bank of the Colorado River, at Riverbend Park in Palisade, Colorado, the Sacred Fire Community in the Grand Valley...
  • PHILANTHROPY COORDINATOR
    Wyoming Wildlife Federation - collaborates with the Executive Director and staff to ensure the effective implementation of all philanthropic activities. https://wyomingwildlife.org/hiring-philanthropy-coordinator/.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    HawkWatch International is hiring an Executive Director to lead the organization. The next leader of this growing organization must have: 1. Enthusiasm for conservation, birds...
  • EVERLAND MOUNTAIN RETREAT
    Everland Mountain Retreat includes 318 mountaintop acres with a 3,200 square foot lodge and two smaller homes. Endless vistas of the Appalachian mountains, open skies,...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Home Resource is a non-profit community sustainability center. We work with, in, and for the community to reduce waste and build a more vibrant and...
  • COUNTRY ESTATE NEAR KINGS CANYON AND SEQUOIA PARKS
    Spectacular views of snowcapped Sierras. 15 miles from Kings Canyon/Sequoia Parks. 47 acres with 2 homes/75' pool/gym/patios/gardens. 1670 sq.ft. main home has 3 bdrm/1 bath....
  • BRN DEVELOPMENT & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
    Borderlands Restoration Network 501c3 is hiring a full-time Development Director. Description and job details can be found at https://www.borderlandsrestoration.org/job-opportunities.html
  • GILA NATIONAL FOREST NEW MEXICO
    Beautiful off-the-grid passive solar near the CDT. 9.4 acres, north of Silver City. Sam, 575.388.1921
  • WEB DESIGN AND CONTENT MANAGER
    We are seeking an experienced designer to be the team lead for web development and digital media. Part creator and part planner, this person should...
  • CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
    at RCAC. See the full description at https://bit.ly/2WJ3HvY Apply at [email protected]
  • GRASSROOTS ORGANIZER
    The Utah Rivers Council is looking for an energetic individual with strong communication and organizing skills. The Grassroots Organizer works to ensure our campaigns are...
  • JOHN DEERE SNOW BLOWER 24"
    Newly refurbished and tuned. Older model, great condition. Gasoline engine. Chains on tires. Heavy duty for mountain snow. Call cellphone and leave message or email.
  • STRAW BALE, ADOBE, TIMBER FRAME, HEALTHY HOME, NEAR LA VETA PASS, CO
    unique custom home in Sangre de Cristo Mountains of CO near La Veta Pass, 3 bed, 2 1/2 bath, private gated park, two hours from...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KANIKSU LAND TRUST
    Kaniksu Land Trust, a community-supported non-profit land trust serving north Idaho and northwest Montana, is in search of a new executive director. The ideal candidate...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Flathead Lakers are seeking a dynamic, self-motivated and proven leader to be our next Executive Director (ED).
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Blackfoot Challenge, a renowned collaborative conservation org in MT, seeks our next ED.
  • COPPER CANYON MEXICO CAMPING & BACKPACKING
    10-day tour from Los Mochis airport, 2/nyts El Fuerte, train, 2/nyts canyon rim hotel, 5/nyts camping. 520-324-0209, www.coppercanyontrails.org.
  • STAFF ATTORNEY, ALASKA
    Earthjustice is hiring for a Staff Attorney