Magazine
The Final Energy Frontier

December 12, 2005

The end of the oil and gas era may be in sight, but the current energy boom in the West means that a rough and wild ride is still ahead. Also in this issue: After Michele DeHart of the Fish Passage Center in Portland, Ore., publicly supported a plan to protect salmon, angry lawmakers led by Sen. Larry Craig yanked the center’s funding.

Feature

The Final Energy Frontier
The end of the oil and gas era may be in sight, but the current energy boom in the West means that a rough and wild ride is still ahead
Congress bets on oil shale
Northeastern Utah, southern Wyoming and western Colorado are humming with new talk of oil shale, but industry insiders say that the technology has years to go before oil shale development is financially and environmentally viable
Tapping into energy's fringe
As energy companies go after "unconventional" natural gas – such as tight-sands gas and coalbed methane –the environmental impacts are becoming increasingly apparent
Westerners slowly adapt to high prices
Westerners are making a few small efforts to conserve energy in the face of higher prices, but environmentalists wonder what it will take to inspire a real change in behavior
Forget idealism
With the demand for renewable energy growing and the costs falling, solar and wind power have moved out of the realm of idealism into that of the marketplace

Editor's Note

The view from above
High Country News prides itself on keeping close to the ground, but for this special issue, we look at the energy boom in the West from a global perspective

Uncommon Westerners

Healing the border with words
Award-winning author Denise Chavez created the Border Book Festival, and founded a Cultural Center in Mesilla, N.M., to help heal the cultural wounds of the U.S.-Mexico border

Essays

Alvin Josephy: A gentle, graceful advocate for sovereignty
Writer and historian Alvin Josephy is remembered as a good friend to Indian people, especially the Nez Perce Tribe
Vine Deloria Jr.: Writer, scholar and inspired trickster
Vine Deloria Jr., author of Custer Died for Your Sins, is remembered as a witty, impassioned and iconoclastic writer, historian, and teacher, who fought for Indian peoples and their right to self-determination

Writers on the Range

Wheelchairs and wilderness can coexist
Accessible trails for wheelchair users should be a part of new wilderness legislation

Book Reviews

Not just any book about the grasslands
In his serious and poetic first book, Not Just Any Land, John Price takes a literary journey into the heart of America’s grasslands
Coming home to a Montana town
Karen Brichoux’s pensive new novel, The Girl She Left Behind, recounts the challenges faced by a young woman on her return to a small Montana town
Bear
In Bear, Robert E. Bieder traces the history of this fascinating animal across centuries of time and a variety of different cultures
Earth Notes
Earth Notes, edited by Peter Friederici, is a tasty selection of tidbits about the Southwest’s canyon country
Living Within Our Means: Beyond the Fossil Fuel Credit Card
Engineer and city councilman Kamyar Enshayan considers the inevitable end of the fossil fuel joyride

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
The Lost People of Mountain Village; big-game tax-deduction scam; pigs and developers; coping with the medfly; grizzlies vs. highways in Canada

Dear Friends

Dear friends
Visitors; notes from readers; corrections

News

A bullet for the bearer of bad news
After Michele DeHart of the Fish Passage Center in Portland, Ore., publicly supported a plan to protect salmon, angry lawmakers led by Sen. Larry Craig yanked the center’s funding
The Latest Bounce
"Speed dating" brings Utah legislators and lobbyists together; EPA cleaning up fewer sites; Fallon, Nev., residents breathing dangerous tungsten and cobalt; poaching at Wyoming drill rigs
Flood insurance crimps Western waterways
Critics say that FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program is encouraging development in flood-prone areas alongside Western rivers, such as the Rio Grande
Sheepherders flock to better-paying jobs
Wyoming lawmakers are trying to pass a law to prevent sheepherders from quitting their jobs without notice in search of better-paying employment
BLM boosts winter drilling
The BLM wants to allow oil and gas companies to drill near Pinedale, Wyo., in wintertime, and some conservationists think the change may actually help declining mule deer populations
'Green' seal of approval considered for national forests
The Forest Service is considering "green" certification for timber produced on the national forests, but environmentalists fear it's a form of greenwashing that will wrongly legitimize public-land logging

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
  • 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...
  • POLICY AND RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
    The Center for Western Priorities (CWP) is a nonpartisan communications and policy center that serves as a source of accurate information, promotes responsible policies and...