Magazine
Forever Mines
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November 25, 2019

In this issue we take a dive into pollution, first with an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, produced in collaboration with High Country News and the Ohio Valley ReSource, as mining companies have taken advantage of loopholes to get out of environmental remediation by idling their operations. We also look at aerial spraying in Oregon and how locals are working to upend the practice. Another HCN investigation finds the EPA awarded a contract to do clean up on the Navajo Reservation to an outfit with a troubled past. We look into why California’s program to help low-income residents during PG&E blackouts has nearly zero applications. We travel to Idaho, where many refugees have found success in resettlement. We also provide a perspective on the BLM chief’s fixation with wild horses as a threat to public lands, and more.

Feature

While ‘zombie’ mines idle, cleanup and workers suffer in limbo
While ‘zombie’ mines idle, cleanup and workers suffer in limbo
Instead of paying to clean up the mess left by mining, companies are warehousing their operations indefinitely.

Sidebar

The feds tried to make an example of a small Washington coal mine. It didn’t work.
The feds tried to make an example of a small Washington coal mine. It didn’t work.
The John Henry Mine last produced coal in 1999 and has yet to be fully reclaimed.

Editor's Note

Poor oversight comes back to haunt us
Poor oversight comes back to haunt us
Two investigations reveal federal agencies are too lax on bad actors.

Current

Can a campaign for nature and community rights stop aerial spraying in Oregon?
Can a campaign for nature and community rights stop aerial spraying in Oregon?
The push for more local control upends the typical pattern of Westerners fighting against regulation.
Refugees look for belonging in Idaho
Refugees look for belonging in Idaho
The Twin Falls resettlement program continues to thrive in the face of recent serious challenges.
Feds give Navajo uranium contract to firm with sketchy past
Feds give Navajo uranium contract to firm with sketchy past
A High Country News investigation finds the EPA awarded Tetra Tech a contract despite knowing its subsidiary had likely engaged in data manipulation, false reporting and profiteering.
How Big Rec chooses its public-lands battles
How Big Rec chooses its public-lands battles
Outdoor industry giants stood up for Bears Ears. Why won’t they stand up for the Borderlands?
California could have helped low-income residents weather PG&E blackouts
California could have helped low-income residents weather PG&E blackouts
The state had a program — and $72 million — but hardly anyone applied.
Arizona volleyball team faces harassment
Arizona volleyball team faces harassment
Native American athletes continue to experience racism.

Book Reviews

Grizzlies and the limits of coexistence
Grizzlies and the limits of coexistence
A rancher weighs the fate of wildlife and human encroachment in his new book.
Photos explore the eerie and erotic of public lands
Photos explore the eerie and erotic of public lands
David Benjamin Sherry, Terry Tempest Williams and Bill McKibben celebrate what could be lost to Trump’s monument rollbacks.

Perspective

BLM chief’s wild horse fixation distracts from the real threats to public land
BLM chief’s wild horse fixation distracts from the real threats to public land
Species extinction, near-constant wildfire and widespread drought are a few dangers William Perry Pendley might consider instead.

Heard Around the West

Slow-speed chase; intrepid coyotes; bear boxing
Slow-speed chase; intrepid coyotes; bear boxing
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

Many reasons to celebrate November
Many reasons to celebrate November
New employees join our staff and heritage months make the days extra special.

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
  • DEAN, W. A. FRANKE COLLEGE OF FORESTRY AND CONSERVATION, UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA
    Dean, W. A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, apply http://bit.ly/2548umjobs. AA/EEO/ADA/Veterans Preference Employer
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    Western Resource Advocates (WRA) seeks a creative and driven graphic design professional to design high quality print and digital collateral. The Graphic Designer will bring...
  • STEWARDSHIP SPECIALIST
    San Isabel Land Protection Trust seeks experienced person to manage its 133 conservation easements in south-central Colorado.
  • CAMPAIGN REPRESENTATIV
    Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign is hiring an experienced campaigner to lead our work challenging the oil and fracked gas industry on the Gulf...
  • AG LANDS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Oregon Agricultural Trust (OAT) seeks passionate relationship builder experienced in coordinating agricultural conservation easement transactions.
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    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
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    Mountain Studies Inst (MSI) is hiring 4+ positions: Finance Director; Coms/Engagmnt Mngr; Dev/Engagmnt Dir; Americorps vol
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
    Mountain Studies Inst (MSI) is hiring 4+ positions: Finance Director; Dev/Engagement Dir; Coms/Engagement Mngr; & Americorps volunteer
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    Lead the nation's premier volunteer-based trail crew programs on the spectacular Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. This is a great career-building opportunity for rising professionals....
  • ORGANIZING AND TRAINING COORDINATOR
    Is this your dream job? Are you looking to join a nationally recognized organizing network, live in a spectacular part of the West, and work...
  • DEVELOPMENT AND ADVOCACY DIRECTOR
    Provide stewardship and protection for the Great Burn wildlands along the Montana-Idaho stateline. This position is based in Missoula, MT, where a river runs through...
  • DEVELOMENT DIRECTOR
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness is seeking a qualified Development Director to manage the fundraising success of our growing organization, including the team-driven implementation of...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Central Oregon LandWatch is seeking an Executive Director to advance our mission and oversee the development of the organization. Job Description: The Executive Director oversees...
  • LISA MACKEY PHOTOGRAPHY
    Fine Art Gicle Printing. Photo papers, fine art papers, canvas. Widths up to 44". Art printing by an artist.
  • SAN JUAN BASIN ENERGY CAMPAIGN ORGANIZER
    San Juan Citizens Alliance is seeking a full-time San Juan Energy Campaign Organizer located in Farmington, New Mexico. The San Juan Energy Campaign Organizer focuses...
  • WILDLIFE PROGRAM MANAGER
    San Juan Citizens Alliance (SJCA) is looking for a passionate, experienced, and motivated Wildlife Program Manager to lead campaigns to protect and enhance wildlife and...
  • GRANT WRITER
    "This thriving citizens organization exemplifies the ideal of public involvement in public processes."- Billings Gazette Help protect Montana's water quality, family farms and ranches, &...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER AND MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR
    Western Colorado Alliance is hiring for 4 positions, 2 Full Time Community Organizers, 1 Part Time Community Organizer and a Part Time Membership Coordinator. For...
  • BUSINESS OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    Thorne Nature Experience is looking for a Business Operations Director who will work in partnership with the Executive Director and Thorne's Directors and Managers to...
  • WILDERNESS CONSERVATION CORPS - OREGON
    The Siskiyou Mountain Club is hiring interns for the 2020 Field Season. Interns utilize non-mechanized tools to complete trail restoration and maintenance while gaining job...