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

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

Writers on the Range

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

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
  • LAND & CABIN ON CO/ UT LINE
    18 ac w/small solar ready cabin. Off grid, no well. Great RV location. Surrounded by state wildlife area and nat'l parks.
  • MANAGER PERMACULTURE LANDSCAPE CONTRACTOR
    Permaculture / Landscape Company Manager / Site Lead Red Ant Works, Inc. - 20+ year landscape construction and horticultural care company seeks manager and site...
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Field seminars for adults in natural and human history of the Colorado Plateau with lodge, river trip and base camp options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
    San Juan Citizens Alliance is looking for a passionate, dynamic, organized, and technology-savvy communications professional to help grow our membership and presence in the Four...
  • ENERGY AND CLIMATE PROGRAM ASSOCIATE
    San Juan Citizens Alliance seeks an Energy and Climate Program Associate to focus on public outreach, education and organizing to advance campaigns to mitigate climate...
  • REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST
    This position provides professional real estate services and is responsible for managing and completing real estate projects utilizing a project management database that is designed...
  • WILDFIRE MITIGATION SPECIALIST
    The Wildfire Mitigation Specialist is responsible for delivering wildfire risk mitigation information, recommendations and programmatic resources to wildland urban interface homeowners, community members and partners....
  • DEVELOPMENT POSITIONS
    Thorne Nature Experience is hiring for a Development Director and Senior Individual Giving Manager. Individuals will work collaboratively with Thorne's Executive Director to develop and...
  • SENIOR PROGRAM MANAGER, LANDSCAPE CONSERVATION & ENERGY
    The National Parks Conservation Association, a 100-year-old nonprofit advocacy organization and the nation's leading voice for national parks seeks a Senior Program Manager, Landscape Conservation...
  • BACKCOUNTRY AND FRONTCOUNTRY STEWARDSHIP CREW MEMBERS
    The San Juan Mountains Association (SJMA) is hiring a crew of ambassadors to work in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to educate visitors on...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATURAL HISTORY INSTITUTE
    The Executive Director is the chief executive officer of the Natural History Institute (NHI). The Executive Director has broad authority to lead and manage the...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT FRIENDS OF CEDAR MESA
    - The Land, History, and People of the Bears Ears Region - The Bears Ears and Cedar Mesa region is one of the most beautiful,...
  • SENIOR DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATE
    Greater Yellowstone Coalition seeks a Senior Development Associate to coordinate the organization's individual giving program. The position description is available at http://greateryellowstone.org/careers Please email a...
  • TRAIL CREW TECHNICAL ADVISORS
    SEEKING TALENTED TRAIL CREWLEADERS The Pacific Crest Trail Association, headquartered in Sacramento, California ,is dedicated to protecting, preserving and promoting the Pacific Crest National Scenic...
  • ENDANGERED SPECIES POLICY ADVOCATE
    Are you a Guardian for wildlife, great and small, across the West? WildEarth Guardians (Guardians) seeks a full-time Endangered Species Policy Advocate (Advocate) for the...
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Native plant seeds for the Western US. Trees, shrubs, grasses, wildflowers and regional mixes. Call or email for free price list. 719-942-3935. [email protected] or visit...
  • THE LAND DESK: A PUBLIC LANDS NEWSLETTER
    Western lands and communities--in context--delivered to your inbox 3x/week. From award-winning journalist and HCN contributor Jonathan P. Thompson. $6/month; $60/year.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • HISTORIC LODGE AND RESTAURANT - FULLY EQUIPPED
    Built in 1901, The Crazy Mountain Inn has 11 guest rooms in a town-center building on 7 city lots (.58 acres). The inn and restaurant...
  • ONE WILL: THREE WIVES
    by Edith Tarbescu. "One Will: Three Wives" is packed with a large array of interesting suspects, all of whom could be a murderer ... a...