Opinions

Chimney Rock deserves to be a national monument

For several years now, there has been a push to designate Chimney Rock, an archaeological site sacred to ancient Pueblo Indians, as a national monument. While those who live near the site in Southwest Colorado have long appreciated its significance, such a designation would bring broader...
May 21, 2012

Federal fracking regs have some important measures

If you want evidence that it’s an election year, look no further than this press release from the Department of the Interior. It announces the department's first-ever regulations (pdf) for certain federal lands covering several aspects of that ever controversial practice, hydraulic fracturing,...
May 9, 2012

New federal fracking rules will reduce air pollution

Neither side in the debate was celebrating the new Environmental Protection Agency rules announced last week to reduce air pollution from thousands of natural gas wells that undergo hydraulic fracturing every year. Industry representatives said the new rules could hurt business growth, curtail...
April 26, 2012

Why trees matter

Trees are on the front lines of our changing climate. And when the oldest trees in the world suddenly start dying, it’s time to pay attention. North America’s ancient alpine bristlecone forests are falling victim to a voracious beetle and an Asian fungus. In Texas, a prolonged drought killed more...
April 17, 2012

All noisy on the Western front

In recent years, scientists have started paying more attention to how the mix of sounds made by critters, people and the earth itself in a given area -- the "soundscape" -- changes over time and space. An ongoing study in New Mexico on how noise from oil and gas development impacts the environment...
April 10, 2012

Why start a fire in a tinder box?

The apology issued Wednesday by the state's forest service for the Jefferson County wildfire that has taken two lives and burned thousands of acres is an appreciated, if belated, gesture, but it's far from the last word on this disaster. Though investigations are under way, it is not too early to...
March 30, 2012

USFS has rules in place to guide oil, gas exploration in Wyoming forest

About a year ago, the very rare happened. The Forest Service came to an agreement with several different outdoors groups on a compromise plan for the Bridger-Teton National Forest that would seem to satisfy the service, outdoors folks and Plains Exploration and Production, a natural gas drilling...
March 19, 2012

USFS, BLM could turn some federal lands over to states

Like much else in government, U.S. public land policy is a vestige of the past, established in 1910 when America's population was just 92.2 million and a Western state such as Nevada had only 81,000 residents. Today our needs are much different and much greater. The United States can no longer...
March 7, 2012

Media oversimplify debate on critical habitat for caribou in Idaho, Washington

Indian Country Today Media Network covered the draft critical habitat designation proposed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) without contacting the Kootenai Tribe, whose territory is affected by the designation. Unfortunately, this coverage exacerbates an already polarizing...
February 26, 2012

Colorado doesn't need more bills on regulating oil, gas operations

We've been fairly insistent that regulation of hydraulic fracturing is and should remain a state responsibility, but we also understand why so many Front Range jurisdictions have enacted or are considering moratoriums on such drilling. Lots of people have concerns over fracking's possible impact on...
February 7, 2012
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