Land Trusts, Energy Independence and Fracking Contamination: West Reads for Dec. 5 – Dec. 12

(Photo: wallyg)

By Elizabeth Titus

In this second edition of West Reads, we round up what our community was reading about the rural American west during the past week. As we near the end of 2011, we also seek your “best of the West” reading recommendations. Please share your favorite pieces from the year by using the Twitter hashtag #westreads.


“Land trusts thrive despite, and because of, the Great Recession” by By Jon Christensen, Jenny Rempel and Judee Burr, High Country News, Dec. 12: “From the tiny Orient Land Trust in Colorado's San Luis Valley, which has nearly doubled its holdings to 2,260 acres, to the 138,041 acres of ranchland protected by the California Rangeland Trust over the last five years, statewide and local land trusts in the West have done better than ever recently, even as many environmental advocacy groups continue to trim budgets and federal funding for conservation falters.”

“Drilling to Energy Independence: Can the West Save Us from Foreign Oil Imports?” by Dustin Bleizeffer, Wyofile and Rural West Initiative, Dec. 6: “[T]he main thrust of the blueprint campaign is the message that a deliberately burdensome set of environmental regulations are being deployed against the industry, costing the nation tens of thousands of new jobs and a short road to ‘energy independence.’ But even industry analysts who don’t necessarily align themselves with environmental groups say the connection between environmental regulations and energy independence is usually overstated.”

“Feds Link Water Contamination to Fracking for the First Time” by Abrahm Lustgarten and Nicholas Kusnetz, ProPublica, Dec. 8: “In a first, federal environment officials today scientifically linked underground water pollution with hydraulic fracturing, concluding that contaminants found in central Wyoming were likely caused by the gas drilling process.”

“Water Woes” by John Fleck, Albuquerque Journal, Dec. 11: “Demand exceeded supply a decade ago in the Colorado River Basin, source of drinking water for Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and a federal study now under way suggests the problem is only going to get worse.”

“Quality of Air? That’s as Murky as Western Sky” by Kirk Johnson, New York Times, Dec. 10: “Oh say, can you see across the Grand Canyon? Not as well as you used to on some days.”

“Will cry of the wolf return to California?” by Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee, Dec. 11: “If the wolf, known to Oregon officials as OR7, resumes its southbound trek it will make history as the first wild wolf confirmed in California in nearly 90 years.”

“Can 'Carbon Ranching' Offset Emissions In Calif.?” by Christopher Joyce, NPR, Dec. 7: “Climate experts are exploring the concept of growing dense fields of weeds to help soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”

“Napa River restoration project serves as model” by Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle,” Dec. 10: “The EPA contributed $1.5 million Friday to the project, which would never have gotten off the ground without the cooperation of 43 landowners who agreed to take vineyard property out of production so that the river could be widened to create floodplains and riverside habitat.”

“Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front” by Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 10: “Unmanned aircraft from an Air Force base in North Dakota help local police with surveillance, raising questions that trouble privacy advocates.”

Last modified Mon, 12 Dec, 2011 at 15:12