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Owning a Piece of Paradise June 13, 2005

Owning a Piece of Paradise

The development boom in the West’s exurbs is draining public coffers and destroying the region’s last wide-open spaces. Also in this issue: A judge has thrown out the Bush administration’s salmon protection plan, setting the stage for dramatic changes to the federal hydropower system.

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Write-off on the Range May 30, 2005

Write-off on the Range

In Montana’s Madison County, Reid Rosenthal uses conservation easements to help the land — and make his investors rich. Also in this issue: Facing severe budget cuts, the Forest Service is selling off property, and considering closing some recreation sites it considers too expensive to maintain.

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Unsalvageable May 16, 2005

Unsalvageable

Despite angry environmentalists, rotting timber, and unenthusiastic logging companies, the Bush administration is determined to push logging on roadless land burned by the Biscuit Fire in southwestern Oregon. Also in this issue: The House of Representatives has just passed an energy bill that is even more outrageously friendly to industry than the Bush administration had requested.

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The Great Energy Divide May 02, 2005

The Great Energy Divide

Colorado citizens voted last November to increase their state’s reliance on power from the wind and sun, but King Coal still rules the state, and the White House seems determined to keep it on the throne. Also in this issue: Utah has finally convinced the Department of Energy to move the Atlas uranium mine tailings pile from its site just north of Moab, where the tailings are leaking into the Colorado River.

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What Happened to Winter? April 18, 2005

What Happened to Winter?

Scientists are struggling to understand winter in the West: the effects of the unusual weather on water and wildlife, and whether the changes are linked to global warming Also in this issue: Recently released e-mails show that federal employees falsified information about the safety of the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev.

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Calling It Quits April 04, 2005

Calling It Quits

Tough economics, drought, and increasing clashes with other public-lands users are leading some ranchers to consider taking the "golden saddle" – a check from conservationists in exchange for their grazing permits. Also in this issue: Two researchers say that the "Sustainable Slopes" program, touted by the National Ski Areas Association as a sign of the industry’s environmental responsibility, is little more than "greenwashing."

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An Empire Built on Sand March 21, 2005

An Empire Built on Sand

Rampant growth in the Phoenix area and a severe drought on the Colorado River challenge the sustainability of the Central Arizona Project. Also in this issue: A groundbreaking settlement between New Mexico environmentalists and the city of Albuquerque may keep water in the Middle Rio Grande and help both farmers and endangered silvery minnows.

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Anarchy in the Gas Fields March 07, 2005

Anarchy in the Gas Fields

In 1969, the Atomic Energy Commission exploded an underground nuclear bomb in western Colorado; today, the site of Project Rulison is attracting natural gas drillers. Also in this Issue: David Tenny of the Department of Agriculture has used his discretionary powers to alter the master plan for Colorado’s White River National Forest, lessening its protections for water and wildlife.

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Have Environmentalists Failed the West? February 21, 2005

Have Environmentalists Failed the West?

Soul Searching environmentalists fear they've become isolated and ineffective, bu tthe story of Libby, Montana, and its dying residents, shows that the movements missteps are only part of the story.

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The Asphalt Graveyard February 07, 2005

The Asphalt Graveyard

A personal obsession leads the author into a world of scientists, wildlife rehabilitators and eccentric artists who are fascinated by the West’s road-killed wildlife. Also in this issue: Some of the less-publicized political appointments of George W. Bush’s second term will have a huge effect on the West – particularly the people who will direct the EPA, and the departments of Energy, Agriculture and the Interior.

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Written in the Rings January 24, 2005

Written in the Rings

The study of tree rings opens a window into the West’s distant past, and warns us that the region’s future may be dangerously hot and dry. Also in this issue: As the Colorado River Basin enters its sixth year of drought, the seven states that rely on the river for water are forced to work together on a new plan for water use.

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Stand Your Ground December 20, 2004

Stand Your Ground

Under increasing political pressure from the Bush administration and its appointees, some agency scientists are finding it difficult to keep both their jobs and their integrity. Also in this issue: The omnibus appropriations bill just passed by Congress contained more than a few anti-environmental riders, but not all of them survived for the president’s pen to sign.

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Where Do We Go From Here? December 06, 2004

Where Do We Go From Here?

HCN lays out the West's 10 most critical issues and the paths toward positive results on everything from energy development and drought to federal agency practices and endangered species. Also in this issue: A judge rules against a plan to salvage-log old-growth forest from the Timbered Rock Fire in Oregon, and some say the ruling could affect other proposed fire sales in old-growth forests.

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Conservationist in a Conservative Land November 22, 2004

Conservationist in a Conservative Land

Rick Johnson of the Idaho Conservation League is working with Republican Congressman Mike Simpson on a wilderness bill for the Boulder and White Cloud mountains, but not everybody in "Planet Idaho" is happy with the bill. Also in this issue: Many of the people who supported George Bush, a president with an anti-environmental record, also voted for environmental ballot measures and green-leaning candidates.

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Keepers of the Flame November 08, 2004

Keepers of the Flame

A new generation of fire managers works with fire, rather than just fighting it. Also in this issue: Ski bums try to survive in Ketchum, Idaho; the Sierras get a conservancy, and a river gnaws away at a tribal reservation

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Window Shopping: Part-Time Paradise October 25, 2004

Window Shopping: Part-Time Paradise

Aspen, Colo., and other mountain resort towns burst with wealthy baby boomers' second, third and even fourth homes. But for much of the year those houses sit empty, and the towns are turning hollow Also in this issue: The Bush administration halts three gas wells on Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, and tosses a few more election-year bones to environmentalists and hunters.

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The First Family of Western Conservation October 11, 2004

The First Family of Western Conservation

Stewart Udall and his brother, Mo, were conservation icons in the 1950s and ‘60s, but their sons – Rep. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Rep. Mark Udall of Colorado – face a harder fight in today’s Congress, where Democrats are the minority and conservation has become controversial. Also in this issue: The Bush administration’s new salmon plan treats dams as a natural part of the landscape, and sees a recovery plan as more important than actual species recovery.

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Life After Old Growth September 27, 2004

Life After Old Growth

The battle over Northwestern old-growth forests is raging again, but behind the scenes, some locals are trying to make peace. Also in this issue: In Wyoming, Gov. Dave Freudenthal tries to put the brakes on the oil and gas leasing rush, but the drilling frenzy continues across the West.

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When a Boom is a Bust September 13, 2004

When a Boom is a Bust

Wamsutter, Wyo., is a boomtown these days, but the town is struggling to be a real community, instead of just a barracks for the natural gas industry. Also in this issue: In Colorado and elsewhere in the West, the fear of West Nile Virus brings the controversy about spraying pesticides to a boil.

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How Long Will it Flow? August 30, 2004

How Long Will it Flow?

In Sierra Vista, Ariz., a partnership of developers, environmentalists and government agencies is trying to keep the San Pedro River alive, while at the same time allowing for continued growth in this burgeoning Sunbelt city.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Assistant Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett wants Congress to give the Bureau of Land Management increased incentive to sell off more public lands.

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Journey of Rediscovery August 16, 2004

Journey of Rediscovery

For all the heroism of their achievement, Lewis and Clark would not have survived long without the help of the many Indian peoples they encountered in the West.

The Bush administration says governors have 18 months to ask the Forest Service to protect roadless areas in their states, but the states will have to pay for the costly and complex petition process.

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The Greening of the Plains August 02, 2004

The Greening of the Plains

A conservation movement is stirring on the Great Plains, but local farmers are stuck with a harsh reality: It still pays to plow up virgin prairie.

The Forest Service plans to rein in cross-country travel by off-road vehicles, but enforcing new rules may prove next to impossible.

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They're Here: Global Warming's Unlikely Harbingers July 19, 2004

They're Here: Global Warming's Unlikely Harbingers

Mountain pine beetles are attacking more forests and more varieties of trees — and thriving at higher elevations than ever before — and some scientists believe global climate change is at the root of the problem. Also in this issue: A recent Supreme Court ruling in a Utah wilderness lawsuit will limit the ability of citizens to sue the government over how its agencies manage natural resources.

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A Walk Between Worlds June 21, 2004

A Walk Between Worlds

On a 10-day walk through the northwestern New Mexico desert, the author follows an ancient road that leads him from silent Indian ruins into noisy, modern gas fields. Also in this issue: Land managers have been talking about letting more wildfires burn, but the recent blowup of the Peppin Fire near Capitan, N.M. – home of Smokey Bear – leads to renewed talk of aggressive fire suppression.

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Wal-Mart's Manifest Destiny June 07, 2004

Wal-Mart's Manifest Destiny

Wal-Mart wants to build more giant Supercenter stores in the West, but communities like Inglewood, Calif., are starting to take a stand against the world’s largest company. Also in this issue: Even the National Rifle Association came out in support of a Tucson, Ariz., open-space saving bond, which passed in a landslide despite complaints from critics that it was just pork.

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