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The Wild

Photos tell story of the energy boom's threat to wild Wyoming.

The natural gas industry has boomed nowhere like it has in southwest Wyoming, in the Upper Green River Valley at the south end of the Yellowstone ecosystem.  Hundreds of well pads have been scraped and an industrial web of facilities and roads have gone in to the Jonah Field and the Pinedale Anticline area.

Hundreds of angry people, urged on by a right-wing talk show host, called Earthjustice recently to ask why we are challenging plans to drill in Alaska's Arctic Ocean.

Like many Americans, the callers are suffering from gasoline price increases and other costs, like food, that have gone up with the price of oil. They had been led to believe that drilling in Alaska would bring gas prices back down and restore America's place in the world.

Aah, summer!  Time to hit the road and visit some our crown jewel national parks here in the West.  It's time to enjoy the trees, the canyons, the birds, bees, and bears, the ranger talks, the smog. 

The smog?  Yep, get ready for it.  Because if the EPA has its way, the tremendous views from Mesa Verde, Zion, and other national parks will become more obscured with haze.

As the Washington Post succinctly put it on May 16:

As everyone knows by now, the administration has moved to give Endangered Species Act protection to the polar bear—sort of. The bear goes on the list, but there a big footnote that says that energy development can proceed unhindered. Interior Secretary Kempthorne proclaimed that the Endangered Species Act must not be used to combat global warming.

Various forces, including the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, pledged to contest the listing in court. To have any hope of success, they'll need some tame scientists on their side. Read on.

In the late 1980s, the country celebrated the 200th anniversary of our most important legal text: the U.S. Constitution.

To do so, a commission was established, headed by respected former Chief Justice Warren Burger. And to lead a celebration in Washington, D.C., an equally distinguished American was chosen: Wayne Newton.

Wayne Newton!!?? The original Las Vegas lounge lizard? What were they thinking?

Us young, hip kids (at least we thought then we were then) imagined the following conversation leading to this decision.

What's the best expression to describe the Bush administration these days? Pig-headed? Stubborn? Incorrigible? Mulish? Headstrong? Dogged? Intractable, Recalcitrant, Rigid? Willful? Indeed, all those adjectives apply to the outgoing (not soon enough) Bush administration, particularly with respect to its environmental activities. A handful of illustrations.

I have a simple rule of thumb to decide how to vote on the ever-more-complicated, ever-more numerous propositions that infest the ballot here in California come election time. It is this: Anything that is supported by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is something that I will enthusiastically vote against. The late Mr. Jarvis and a co-conspirator named Paul Gann managed to get a property tax measure passed in 1978 that ruined the public schools in our fair state and caused much other mischief that we still suffer from.

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