Issues

John Wesley Powell tests El Dorado
John Wesley Powell tests El Dorado
John Wesley Powell told the hard truth about the West, but his advice for a more considerate approach to westward expansion was widely scorned and largely rejected.
Shell says, 'We'll plan -- our way'
Shell says, 'We'll plan -- our way'
Residents of the tiny mountain community of Shell, Wyoming, emerged from an unlikely planning meeting with smiles on their faces, having created a land-use plan that apparently satisfied even those who were most opposed.
Northern Cheyenne want Class I air
Northern Cheyenne want Class I air
The Northern Cheyenne Indian tribe in southern Montana has become the first land manager to ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to allow it to keep its air clean with a Class I designation, which would affect the planned expansion of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant.
San Luis Valley shows rural ingenuity
San Luis Valley shows rural ingenuity
Residents of southern Colorado's San Luis Valley aren't waiting for federal or state lawmakers to solve their energy problems. They have taken the matter into their own hands, and have several dozen working solar systems as proof of their success.
An invitation to a very strange place
An invitation to a very strange place
Wyoming's Red Desert, full of grotesque geologic structures and thousands of greasewood-studded lake beds that dry to great expanses of red crust, is a strange place in need of defenders.
Designating wilderness -- asking for destruction?
Designating wilderness -- asking for destruction?
Land that is scenic, well-watered, and with recreation opportunities will be heavily used regardless of whether or not it is designated as wilderness. Many wilderness areas receive little use at all.
Navajo Nation faces development
Navajo Nation faces development
The Bureau of Reclamation's Navajo Indian Irrigation Project brings modern, irrigated agriculture to a parched landscape -- and the possibility of large-scale industry that could compete for the water.
House bill prompts public lands alert
House bill prompts public lands alert
A coalition of 19 conservation organizations warns that the proposed Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976 would severely limit the federal government's ability to protect long-term natural resource values, putting the nation's public lands at risk.
Kaiparowits coal power plans scuttled
Kaiparowits coal power plans scuttled
Southern California Edison has backed down from its plan to construct the controversial 3,000 megawatt Kaiparowits coal-fired power plant in central Utah, citing increasing costs, environmental constraints, and pending regulatory legislation.
'Either we share it or we lose it'
'Either we share it or we lose it'
The proposal to designate a big chunk of wild land in Idaho as the River of No Return Wilderness has created new conflicts that jeopardize the land's longstanding wild character.
Jackson Hole wrestles with growth
Jackson Hole wrestles with growth
Jackson Hole officials have tried to shape and slow the rapid growth sparked by the opening of the Teton Village Ski Area in 1966, but their efforts haven't been enough.
Saving swamps for ducks and men
Saving swamps for ducks and men
Although swamps have historically been viewed as unattractive and worthless, a building movement -- buoyed by federal laws -- recognizes wetlands as havens for wildlife that also hold and purify water used by humans.
Salesmen with sun power woo West
Salesmen with sun power woo West
The solar energy industry is a booming business, containing all of the perils of rapid growth -- fast-buck men, scant history, few standards and regulations, and consumer confusion.
BLM farm plans hold promise, problems
BLM farm plans hold promise, problems
Lack of clear goals for Idaho agriculture becomes more evident as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management wrestles with plans to convert thousands of acres of desert lands managed by that agency into individual private farms sanctioned by the Desert Land Act and the Carey Act.
Donkey dilemma damages public land
Donkey dilemma damages public land
Damage to sensitive desert ecosystems is causing some to take a hard look at the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, which was the first time Congress gave full protection to a non-native species animal.
Court lifts Powder River injunction
Court lifts Powder River injunction
The U.S. Supreme Court has lifted an injunction barring four coal companies and a railroad from proceeding with coal development in Wyoming's eastern Powder River Basin, opening the way to full-scale development of the region's coal.
Toilets: a revolution from the bottom up
Toilets: a revolution from the bottom up
A look at alternative toilets -- such as composting toilets that eliminate water consumption -- and a brief explanation of how they work and their chief advantages and disadvantages.
NEPA at stake?
NEPA at stake?
After losing a lawsuit involving grazing allotments, the Bureau of Land Management has expressed concern that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) -- considered to be the country's most important environmental law -- is making the agency vulnerable to lawsuits that drain time and resources, raising questions about that law's future.
People want power over transmission
People want power over transmission
More and more rural residents are starting to resent transmission lines as the lines proliferate across the open spaces of the West, marring the scenery, hindering farm operations, and producing ozone, which may be harmful to crops.
Phosphate-hungry world after Idaho
Phosphate-hungry world after Idaho
A rush for phosphate in Idaho could mean 22,000 new residents, a substantial loss of wildlife habitat, increased air pollution, and an uncertain future for two resident endangered species.
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