When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a press release with favorable industry response to changes in a rule protecting migratory birds — before actually proposing the new rule — a group of former agency officials cried foul. Plus, why encrypted police scanners are a problem and an ag-gag ruling, all in the latest WatchDog opinion column.
Mountain West (CO ID MT NV UT WY)
"State regulators are taking over maintenance of a decades-long environmental cleanup in two northwestern Montana towns where lung-damaging asbestos contamination has been blamed in hundreds of deaths."
"Red flag fire warnings are in effect for large portions of the West on Sunday and Monday, the National Weather Service said."
"A lethal disease that strikes rabbits has been detected in a jackrabbit in Palm Springs, leading veterinarians and animal rescue organizations to prepare for its potential spread to San Diego County and throughout the state."
It’s a site of stunning natural beauty. It’s also the place with America’s worst income inequality. A new book details how Wyoming’s Teton County elite have, perhaps unwittingly, used their extreme wealth to remake the region through conservation easements and donations to environmental causes, but remain blind to the needs of the area’s poorer residents. The latest BookShelf review explains.
"The landscape where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah meet is withering again as the pandemic persists."
"Conservation groups want a Montana court to cancel the approval of a long-disputed copper mine that they say would pollute a tributary of one of the state’s most popular recreational rivers."
To cover the wide range of challenges affecting his Mountain State, a small market beat reporter won plaudits first by becoming a close student of the issues and then boiling them down to the basics for his audience. Inside Story’s Q&A explores the resulting award-winning journalism on topics like water law and public lands, groundwater pollution and protected species.
"Oil and gas companies have proposed more than 150,000 acres of federal land for potential development in the canyons of eastern Utah, some as close as a mile and a half from the famous Arches National Park."
With drought can come fire, and with megadrought, routine reporting becomes disaster headlines. Reporter’s Toolbox gets you to the bottom of the drought data sources that help determine what’s ahead for your region, sorting through the complicated set of federal drought monitoring agencies and resources.