Writers on the Range

Writers on the Range was a project of High Country News from 1998 to 2018. It is now an independent nonprofit organization.


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.
Forest Service secrecy serves only confusion
Now that the Forest Service has entered its "evaluation" phase of the Roadless Area Review and Evaluation (RARE II), it intends to keep its workings a secret until the final environmental impact statement is completed.
Western passenger train service should continue
We are glad to see that Congress is responding to its Western contingent by continuing Amtrak passenger train service until at least Oct. 1, 1979. This may allow enough time for the Department of Transportation to realize that cutting Amtrak routes is a bad idea.
American mania for self-sufficiency
Self-sufficiency is an idea that has done more harm than good. On close examination it is flawed at the root. More importantly, it works badly in practice.
Dealing with environmental backlash: a proposal
A new term has cropped up on the political scene recently -- "environmental backlash." The same people who are warning about environmental backlash are the same people who seem to be against effective environmental protection in the first place.
Cutler: wilderness areas don't have to be pristine, virgin
In the second of a two-part series, Dave Foreman responds to the argument that over-eager conservationists degrade the wilderness system by fighting to include inferior areas in it.
Clean Air Act: making it work for you
With the passage of the Clean Air Act Amendments, much of the burden -- and potential for protecting air -- is shifted to states and Indian tribes.
Are we degrading the Wilderness System?
In the first of a two-part series, Dave Foreman responds to the argument that over-eager conservationists degrade the wilderness system by fighting to include inferior areas in it.
Water won't stretch for Western cities' growth
Recent cases -- in which public agencies decided that cities would not get what they demand at the expense of other resources -- indicate that cities in the West are gradually being forced to accept the limits that lack of water will impose.
Flow reservations -- water under the bridge?
A flow reservation -- water which must be left in the river -- cannot override the water rights of a rancher, even if the stream is over-appropriated, but it can compete with future industrial water demands.
Water suit vital to coal and agriculture
Environmental Defense Fund staff member Kathy Fletcher doesn't hide the fact that her group is upset about the rush to develop the coal resources of the Northern Great Plains.
Confessions of a recycler
One person's view of experiences drawn from a recycling program, pointing out major problems and giving tips to others who are interested in recycling.
Population -- a perplexing problem
I submit that perhaps in our zeal to prevent the extinction of threatened species we have not sufficiently evaluated the seriousness of the threat to ourselves -- Homo sapiens.
In bondage to the moguls
Eastern power utilities have been telling the press that they are being forced to pay high prices for coal from nearby sources, and that they can buy Western coal and ship it across the country more cheaply. But then they file monthly reports with the Federal Power Commission that tell a different story.
Stripping bill filled with loopholes
Despite efforts by some legislators, a federal bill to regulate coal strip-mining is woefully weak and filled with the kind of loopholes that coal and utility lobbyists have written into state strip-mining regulations over the past 30 years.
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