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
  • 10 ACRES OF NEW MEXICO HIGH DESERT
    10 Acres of undeveloped high desert land in central NM, about 45 minutes from downtown Albuquerque. Mixed cedar and piñon pine cover. Some dirt roadways...
  • WATERSHED RESTORATION DIRECTOR
    $58k-$70k + benefits to oversee watershed restoration projects that fulfill our strategic goals across urban and rural areas within the bi-national Santa Cruz and San...
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT - (PART-TIME)
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a part-time Customer Service Assistant, based at...
  • OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    We are a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education, innovation, and collaboration....
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Come work alongside everyday Montanans to project our clean air, water, and build thriving communities! Competitive salary, health insurance, pension, generous vacation time and sabbatical....
  • CAMPAIGN MANAGER
    Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting, defending and restoring Oregon's high desert, seeks a Campaign Manager to works as...
  • HECHO DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE, COLUMBIA CASCADES
    The Regional Representative serves as PCTA's primary staff on the ground along the trail working closely with staff, volunteers, and nonprofit and agency partners. This...
  • FINANCE AND OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    The Montana Land Reliance (MLR) seeks a full-time Finance and Operations Director to manage the internal functions of MLR and its nonprofit affiliates. Key areas...
  • DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION
    The Nature Conservancy is recruiting for a Director of Conservation. Provides strategic leadership and support for all of the Conservancy's conservation work in Arizona. The...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Amargosa Conservancy (AC), a conservation nonprofit dedicated to standing up for water and biodiversity in the Death Valley region, seeks an executive director to...
  • BIG BASIN SENIOR PROJECT PLANNER - CLIMATE ADAPTATION & RESILIENCE
    Parks California Big Basin Senior Project Planner - Climate Adaptation & Resilience ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND Parks California is a new organization working to ensure that our...
  • SCIENCE PROJECT MANAGER
    About Long Live the Kings (LLTK) Our mission is to restore wild salmon and steelhead and support sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1986,...
  • NEW BOOK BY AWARD-WINNING WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST, BRUCE SMITH
    In a perilous place at the roof of the world, an orphaned mountain goat is rescued from certain death by a mysterious raven.This middle-grade novel,...
  • MOUNTAIN LOTS FOR SALE
    Multiple lots in gated community only 5 miles from Great Sand Dunes National Park. Seasonal flowing streams. Year round road maintenance.
  • RURAL ACREAGE OUTSIDE SILVER CITY, NM
    Country living just minutes from town! 20 acres with great views makes a perfect spot for your custom home. Nice oaks and juniper. Cassie Carver,...
  • A FIVE STAR FOREST SETTING WITH SECLUSION AND SEPARATENESS
    This home is for a discerning buyer in search of a forest setting of premier seclusion & separateness. Surrounded on all sides by USFS land...
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, HIke the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • CAUCASIAN OVCHARKA PUPPIES
    Strong loyal companions. Ready to protect your family and property. Proven against wolves and grizzlies. Imported bloodlines. Well socialized.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!