Google's Reicher key player for Obama on energy issues

When Dan Reicher joined the Department of Energy in 1993 as a special assistant to then Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary he came as one of the young lions who had stormed the gates and were ready to shake up the nuclear establishment they had spent their career fighting.

Terry Tempest Williams finds beauty in a broken world

Utah Author Terry Tempest Williams has walked through her life in the footsteps of ecologist Aldo Leopold.

On the wings of her lyrical prose, in books like the classic “Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place,” Williams has carried us through the “world of wounds” Leopold said in his essay “Round River,” was the unfortunate penalty of an ecological education.

Grijalva, Thompson among possible Interior picks

Two new names are emerging as possible nominees for Interior Secretary.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that Democratic Rep. Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona is being vetted by President-elect Brack Obama’s transition team. The son of a migrant worker and chair of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, has been a harsh critic of Bush Administration public land policies and a leading voice for mining reform.

Oregon's efforts to improve transportation infrastructure already pay off

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski has an ambitious plan to improve its transportation infrastructure. He announced earlier this month a $1 billion investment in roads, rails, bridges, mass transit and port funding. It includes charging stations and other infrastructure necessary for electric cars.

Ethanol exemption has a target on its pump

In the last session of the Idaho Legislature, a bill to repeal the ethanol exemption died in committee.

Look for the issue to come back up this year either from Gov. Butch Otter, who is looking everywhere to find revenue for road maintenance, or from lawmakers worried about the dairy and cattle industry.

Redford urges Bush to call off Utah gas leases by parks

Utah Resort owner and Movie Superstar Robert Redford has added his voice to the National Park Service’s in opposing the leasing of land for oil and gas exploration adjacent to southern Utah National parks.

Liberals urge Obama to defend 10th Amendment

Think tanks and environmental groups are offering President-elect Barack Obama all kinds of executive orders they say he can sign and with the stroke of the pen strengthen environmental laws. Some are specially designed to reverse actions by the Bush Administration, which is still writing new regulations, many with a deadline of tomorrow to become official before Obama takes over.

One of the most interesting is an executive order proposed by the Center for Progressive Reform. This liberal think tank you would think would generally support more federal power over state powers.

Alternative energy presents economic development opportunities

If President Barack Obama is to be believed there will soon be alternative energy funding streaming out of Washington D.C. like a fire hose.

He promised in his campaign to push Congress to offer $15 billion annually in incentives for alternative energy projects. And now, facing a critically ill economy, he has made passing a stimulus package his top priority when he takes office Jan. 20. Some of that money also may be directed to alternative energy projects.

Fred Grant carries the Owyhee Initiative on his back

Supporters of Sen. Mike Crapo’s Owyhee Initiative Bill are going to have to wait at least another few months before the brainchild of Fred Grant finally comes to fruition.

Grant, an adviser to Owyhee County, had worked along side the late Rep. Helen Chenoweth fighting federal control over public land ranchers. He worked with her husband the late Wayne Hage in pushing federal courts to recognize private property rights on public lands like water, fences and other improvements.

Gas leasing park dispute presents quandary for Kempthorne

Dirk Kempthorne sought to build for President Bush a legacy on national park protection with a big increase in the budget in 2008 and a partnership program to bring private dollars to increase park capital expenditures rolling up to the 100th anniversary of the parks in 1916.

All of these efforts may be for naught if the Bureau of Land Management goes through with plans to sell oil and gas leases on the boundaries of Dinosaur, Canyonlands and Arches national parks in Utah.

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