Timber Payments, Cattle and the Safety Net: West Reads for Feb. 7-14

"Over the past decade, a federal program that’s based on historic timber revenue has cushioned the loss of logging in forest communities," California Watch reports. (Photo: D H Wright/Flickr)

By Elizabeth Titus

In this fifth edition of West Reads, we round up what our community is reading about the rural American west. Please share your favorite pieces by using the Twitter hashtag #westreads or stopping by the center’s Facebook page.

From Stanford and the Bill Lane Center for the American West

"The Challenge for Journalists: Engage Readers on Complex Water Issues," Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism, January 2012: "The Knight-Risser Symposium in January 2012 brought together a distinguished group of journalists and scholars to consider how to broaden the reach of environmental journalism in a time of growing threats to western communities." 

Call for participants in "The Rural West: Toward a Regional Approach to Common Issues," Utah, Oct. 12-14, Rural West Initiative: "In October 2012, the Rural West Initiative of the Bill Lane Center for the American West will bring together in Ogden, Utah, approximately fifty scholars, journalists, representatives of NGOs, and state officials to discuss issues affecting the rural West." 

Online

"Rural schools struggle as timber payments end," California Watch, Feb. 10: "In California, the end of Secure Rural Schools leaves a $33.4 million hole in county roads and schools budgets." 

More on the act: "End of federal payments to counties with national forest land having huge impact on local budgets," The Rural Blog, Feb. 6. 

"SoHum School Buses Seem Saved; Gov. Signs SB 81," Lost Coast Outpost, Feb. 10: "Dennis O’Sullivan, Southern Humboldt Community School’s Board President is delighted at the news that Governor Brown has signed but he reminds everyone, 'It is just a skirmish in the war. Small remote rural districts are going to have to be vigilant.'" 

"For Texas Cattle Ranchers, a Long Road to Recovery," The Texas Tribune and KUT News, Feb. 13: "2011 — the driest year in Texas history — delivered a huge blow to cattle ranchers. And as Nathan Bernier of KUT News reports, the prospect of a continuing drought spells trouble for both ranchers and consumers."  

More on agricultural commodities: "Experts say beef prices will likely rise for 2 years due to smallest cattle herd in 60 years," Associated Press, Feb. 9; "Texas Drought Expected to Hit Cotton Production," Wall Street Journal, Feb. 13.  

"Crisis in Japan Transforms Global Natural-Gas Market," Wall Street Journal, Feb. 13: "Just as the U.S. is preparing to crank up sales of its vast natural-gas supplies abroad, the global market is being reshaped by Japan—which is suddenly retreating from nuclear power after last year's earthquake."

More on oil and natural gas: "Private Equity Drills Into Oil Patch," Wall Street Journal, Feb. 13. 

"Wyoming: The New Old West," State of the Re:Union, fall 2011: "People are few and far between in Wyoming. Those that do live here prize tradition, self-reliance, and their connection to the land. So when change comes to the high plains—an oil boom, a minister with new ideas—communities here are tested." 

"Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It," New York Times, Feb. 11: "The government safety net was created to keep Americans from abject poverty, but the poorest households no longer receive a majority of government benefits." 

"America's Largest Dam Removal Underway In the Pacific Northwest," Audubon Magazine, January-February 2012: "For the first time in a century, salmon will once again swim up Washington’s Elwha River to spawn in its headwaters and tributaries." 

"Behind Nevada's victory over Washington at nuclear tug-of-war," Crosscut, Feb. 10: "Whatever it says, the audit hardly represents the only recent bit of bad news about construction of the vit plant, or progress toward the larger goal of getting highly radioactive wastes out of leaky tanks and ultimately out of Washington." 

Acknowledgments

Thanks to this week's West Reads contributor, Jason Heppler (@jaheppler). 

Last modified Tue, 14 Feb, 2012 at 11:04