Writers on the Range


Writers on the Range is opinion from the ground up. Got a beef with beef? An experience that changed your mind about the American West? Writers from the region tell their story in 750 words. Op eds are syndicated to 50-plus papers, and they also appear here, on the HCN website. For more information, contact Writers on the Range editor, Betsy Marston: betsym at hcn.org.


Oil shale: no tears, but lots of tangle
Oil shale is not dead, despite what the daily newspapers may say. The promise or threat of oil shale will always be with us.
Playing the game: public input in NEPA planning
From the outside, the National Environmental Policy Act process might as well be a foreign culture with its own, language and customs.
Watt's wilderness proposal sets agenda for energy industry
To an energy industry stretched thin, Interior Secretary James Watt's temporary ban on oil and gas drilling in wilderness areas is something of a favor.
Open pit and economic pendulum
As the West's uranium industry declines, it should reclaim mines, not wait for economics to swing back in the industry's favor.
Reagan's free market energy myth
Although the Reagan administration preaches free market ideals, it has increased funding for nuclear power, retained some subsidies for synthetic fuels, and backed away from its promise to deregulate the price of natural gas.
Removing the "heavy hand"
As long as we have the federal government in our front yard, we will attempt to work with them to arrive at decisions that are mutually beneficial to Montanans and to the nation as a whole.
Profiting from parks: None of Watt's business
Virtually every hotel, store, gas station and restaurant in the national parks is a private, profit-making enterprise. Regulation of these businesses is one of the most important and least understood issues in public land management.
Tuning in media causes environmental fade-out
Given the press of time and circumstances, the vocabulary of environmental organizations increasingly reflects a new technological style.
Conservatives and conservationists
The environmental perspective embraces not only the interests of the well-established environmental community, but many other interests as well, including the business sector.
Environmental sophistry imperils the West
Several years ago, environmental organizations in Wyoming chose to begin making compromises. Slowly, inexorably, they are losing whatever it is they love.
Reagan budget hits Indian self-sufficiency
President Reagan's proposed budget would allot more taxpayer dollars to Indian reservations but also impair the tribes' efforts to gain control over energy development on reservations, undermining Indian tribes' efforts to become more self-sufficient.
'Ecotage' seeks wild ends but won't make friends
No philosophical or psychological rationale speaks to the effectiveness of ecotage, Politically, what made sense for the Sixties activists is unlikely to work for wilderness advocates in the Eighties.
Earth First! says it's time to be tough
Editor Dan Whipple examines and critiques the roots and new tactics of the radical environmental group Earth First!
Conservation? Let's go for the real thing
A conservation director for the Sierra Club distinguishes between "real" and "pseudo-" conservation.
Who are the real 'extremists' in fight over wilderness?
Are they the Wilderness advocates who give freely from their lives to save the last remnants of American Wilderness? Or are they the protesters who flex every political muscle to prevent any more Wilderness and are now hoping to violate already-designated Wilderness.
Business-as-usual politics spurs new dam foes
Some conservative Western senators are unexpectedly calling for cuts to federal water project spending -- and environmentalists should cooperate by not fighting the few water projects that might have some redeeming value.
The Sagebrush Rebellion: Misdirected dynamite
The real danger of the Sagebrush Rebellion is not that the federal lands will be taken over but that the deep sentiments aroused by the effort will drive a wedge between agricultural and environmental interests.
Hail and farewell! 1979
A Holiday season ode to the West's environmental issues of 1979: "It's time for reviewing the year first to last: // A remembrance of two dozen deadlines past. // Water and wilderness, endangered species, // Oil, Alaska, railroads and coal leases;"
Fish and Wildlife Service: growth and contradiction
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, charged with protecting birds, beasts, and fish, has serious internal problems, such as applying tons of harmful pesticides to the lands it manages.
1973's fresh thinking has decayed
We have had more than five years since the Arab oil embargo to prepare for the next shortfall in gasoline supply. What have we accomplished as a result of our unhappy experience in 1973-74? Nothing.
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