The Duwamish Indians have had their land confiscated by the United States government and then by the city of Seattle (which is named after a Duwamish chief), and their status as a federally-recognized tribe rescinded by the Bush administration, but the tribe is determined to keep fighting (HCN, 6/10/02: Duwamish? Duwamish who?). The 560-member tribe has just bought the first piece of land it has ever "owned" — a half acre near the Port of Seattle — and is raising money to build a traditional longhouse and cultural center there.

New Mexico will get its money, and Los Alamos National Lab will no longer be termed an "imminent and substantial endangerment" to the people who live at or visit the lab (HCN, 11/24/03: Little Man vs. Fat Boy). Two years ago, the state ordered the lab to clean itself up to state standards; since then, the lab has refused and the U.S. Department of Energy has withheld $43 million in cleanup funding. But at the end of March, the state of New Mexico and the Energy Department — thanks to the negotiating efforts of Sen. Pete Domenici, R, and former Energy Secretary, Gov. Bill Richardson, D, — announced they’ve agreed on a compromise cleanup at the nuclear weapons lab.

As part of his campaign to keep at least a little bit of the Land of Enchantment out of the hands of the energy industry, Gov. Richardson has also been cleaning house at the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division, which oversees oil and gas development in the state. In March, he asked OCD Director Lori Wrotenbery to step down, citing too-close ties to the oil-and-gas industry (HCN, 3/29/04: New Mexicans take a stand against oil and gas).

Nevada’s Walker Lake, where rising salt levels threaten to doom the fish, will get an emergency infusion of water this year (HCN, 8/19/02: Can the tide turn for Walker Lake?). Gov. Kenny Guinn, R, ordered that 13,588 acre-feet of water be diverted from a state wildlife refuge to the lake. Meanwhile, confidential negotiations continue between a passel of state, local and Indian agencies to formulate a long-term plan to address the lake’s problems.

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