News Stories

Wildfire-fighting Costs Under Fire

We spend billions attacking almost every wildfire, but scientists say that's bad for the forest, can put firefighters in unnecessary danger and doesn't protect communities as well- or as cheaply - as we now know how to do.

Oil, Gas Drilling Moratorium Extended in New Mexico

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has extended a state moratorium on new oil and gas drilling in the Galisteo Basin and Santa Fe County for another six months. Richardson's order bans new hydrocarbon extraction in the basin through January. It also directs state agencies to develop baseline air and water quality data for the "fragile and ecologically sensitive" basin and write new rules specifically tailored to protecting the area.

Bush-appointed Sportsmen Weigh In on Conservation

An advisory group appointed by the Bush administration says hunters and fishermen -- touted as the nation's first conservationists -- ought to continue to play an important role as advocates for conserving wildlife and habitat. But the Sporting Conservation Council says conflicting government policies, dwindling interest in hunting, and growing threats to big game, fish and fowl populations have made that role a more challenging one.

Coalition Sues BLM Over Proposed Roan Plateau Drilling

A coalition of 10 environmental groups has filed a lawsuit seeking to block a sale next month of oil and gas leases on the Roan Plateau, an area with pristine backcountry that nearby residents, Gov. Bill Ritter and others hope to protect. The lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Denver asks a judge to issue an injunction to stop the Bureau of Land Management from offering the leases in an Aug. 14 auction.

Montana’s Crow Reservation Pushes Big Coal Development

They tried casinos on the Crow Indian reservation. The one designed to bring in the biggest crowds, Res-a-Vegas, went bust within a year and is now a fireworks stand. But now the Crow are convinced that a really big jackpot lies below the surface: coal.

Farm Worker Visas Get Boost from States, Organizations

Two years ago, Bruce Talbott could barely scrape together enough workers to harvest the peaches, apples, pears and grapes on his 400-acre farm in Palisade, Colo. Competition for unskilled labor was fierce, he says, and the state was cracking down on the illegal immigrants who often filled those jobs.
One option was the federal visa program for seasonal farm workers, but Talbott, 49, had avoided it because of its reputation for being bureaucratic and expensive. He gave in, he says, because he couldn't risk letting fruit rot.

Businesses Fight Tough Immigration Measures

Under pressure from the toughest crackdown on illegal immigration in two decades, employers across the country are fighting back in state legislatures, the federal courts and city halls. Business groups have resisted measures that would revoke the licenses of employers of illegal immigrants. They are proposing alternatives that would revise federal rules for verifying the identity documents of new hires and would expand programs to bring legal immigrant laborers.

BLM Lifts Moratorium on New Solar Projects

Under increasing public pressure over its decision to temporarily halt all new solar development on public land, the Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday that it was lifting the freeze, barely a month after it was put into effect.

GE Chairmen Says Cutting Emissions Will Boost Economy

Regulating greenhouse gas emissions will not kill business and will not be devastating to the economy, as some people argue, the head of the world's third largest company said Tuesday. Rather, it will spur innovation and ring in a new era of growth for America, said Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric, during his closing remarks at the Western Governors Association meeting in Jackson, Wyoming.

Utah Gov Calls for Climate Change Plan at Governor’s Conference

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is challenging the Western Governors Association to put together a comprehensive energy and climate change blueprint that the group can present to the next U.S. president, in hopes of driving the nation's energy future. Comparing it to President Kennedy's challenge in 1961 to send a man to the moon, Huntsman said the country needs a goal, and as many specifics as possible how to reach it. Western governors, he said, are uniquely situated to provide the vision.

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