Issues

Energy boom -- plans and payments
Energy boom -- plans and payments
A look at how Montana and Wyoming towns booming from energy development -- Rock Springs, Gillette, Hanna, Colstrip, Lame Deer -- are responding to pressures on their infrastructure, schools, police, health services, and social fabric.
Return of the windmill
Return of the windmill
There is nothing new about tapping the wind to produce energy, but a growing number of scientists are turning their attention to wind power as an alternative to burning fossil fuels.
Water dictates Western future
Water dictates Western future
Water -- the lack of it and the need for it -- looms ever larger in the West's developing energy situation. Water is used in huge amounts to generate electricity in coal-fired plants, to gasify coal, to liquify coal, and to develop oil shale.
To dam a river
To dam a river
Few environmental challenges seem as stark as the threat to dam a stretch of wild river like Montana's Upper Missouri. But the heyday of big dam building may be nearing an end.
Judge calls showdown in Montana
Judge calls showdown in Montana
Montana Gov. Thomas Judge has notified Interior Secretary Rogers Morton that the state will take the lead in regulating coal-fired power plants, rather than waiting for federal environmental impact statements for plants like Colstrip.
Harnessing limitless energy
Harnessing limitless energy
As independent, idealistic inventors forge ahead with plans to heat buildings with the sun, traditional institutions and businesses are taking cautious steps in the same direction.
On the verge of extinction
On the verge of extinction
The blunt-nosed leopard lizard, the Hawaiian hoary bat and the light-footed clapper -- all endangered species -- don't receive the attention they deserve.
North Dakota's riskiest harvest
North Dakota's riskiest harvest
North Dakota landowners and policy makers are weighing the "one-time harvest" of strippable lignite coal against the productivity of agricultural land that would be sacrificed.
The hidden costs of coal
The hidden costs of coal
Arnold Miller, the leader of the United Mine Workers of America, discusses the energy crisis and the coal industry.
Everything you aren't supposed to know about nuclear power
Everything you aren't supposed to know about nuclear power
Even as 146 nuclear power plants are under construction or on order -- on top of 36 nuclear power plants already operating -- public understanding of peaceful use of atomic energy has been inhibited by the Atomic Energy Commission.
Oil shale fever rises in West
Oil shale fever rises in West
With the present shortage of crude oil, industry is bidding hundreds of millions of dollars on leases to tap shale oil on public lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
Not so exotic: Solar power for the Seventies
Not so exotic: Solar power for the Seventies
Even though President Richard Nixon didn't mention solar energy once in his outline of "Project Independence," there's a lot of solar energy around, and working solar equipment exists today. If the U.S. were really determined to introduce solar energy in the 1970s, it could be done.
Hooked on energy
Hooked on energy
We have been enjoying an energy "high" for as long as most Americans can remember. And the most remarkable thing about the energy crisis is not that it came so fast or that is may have been contrived, but that we lack specific information about the energy we depend on.
Reusing and recycling wastes: Kicking the garbage habit
Reusing and recycling wastes: Kicking the garbage habit
Faced with growing volumes of trash, states like Connecticut and Oregon are leading the way with programs to reuse and recycle solid waste.
The crisis in energy: Water comes up short
The crisis in energy: Water comes up short
In Wyoming and eastern Montana, plans for harnessing the Powder River Basin's coal to ease the energy crisis are running into the realities of limited water supply.
The making of an energy skinflint
The making of an energy skinflint
Can citizens reduce demand by managing their energy more wisely? Experts believe they can, without greatly changing their lifestyles, if they wish.
Black clouds gather
Black clouds gather
As the energy crisis deepens, the clear skies of Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains are threatened by the extraction of vast deposits of coal.
Oil shale cost immense
Oil shale cost immense
The Department of Interior is on the eve of releasing the shackles on oil shale development in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming -- but conservation organizations are worried that the cost to the environment will be too high.
Disaster waits in the wings, but our wastefulness continues
Disaster waits in the wings, but our wastefulness continues
Little known or understood by the average American is his prodigious use -- and waste -- of all forms of energy. So wasteful have Americans been that we now find ourselves on the brink of energy disaster.
Our land is finite ...
Our land is finite ...
Viewed in historical perspective, the disruption of our western landscape by second home developments may be of far greater importance than any other factor -- more even than strip mining for coal, oil shale and uranium.
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