Agriculture Climate Change Coastlines Conservation Debate Economics Energy Health Infrastructure Language Native Nations Pollution Public Lands Water Wildfire You & Us ...
& the West

Published since 2016,  ‘& the West’ offers reporting, research, interviews, and analysis on the environmental future of California and western North America. It is produced by the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University.  More about us »

Latest Stories

Energy & the West

Infographics & the West

& the Best

What we’re reading elsewhere.

What we’re reading: September 12, 2023

By Felicity Barringer and Maya Green

A halt on oil drilling on 10 million acres in Alaska; surprise support for draining Lake Powell, the second-biggest reservoir on the Colorado River; a new startup wants to siphon lithium from the Great Salt Lake; a baby beaver caught on camera in Palo Alto, where the species had disappeared decades ago; and more recent environmental news from the West.

The Biden Administration blocks much, but not all, Alaska oil drilling. About 10 million acres would be protected by a ban and leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge issued under President Donald Trump would be canceled. It would not block ConocoPhillips’ Willow project, which Biden approved there earlier this year and is poised to produce 576 million barrels of oil over the next three decades. WASHINGTON POST Conservationists say the move is a boon to wildlife in one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth. YALE E360

As Colorado River dwindles, California farmers push to drain Lake Powell. A cause long pushed by environmental groups is receiving support from influential farms in California’s Imperial Valley, who have some of the strongest water rights to the river’s flow. In a letter to the federal Bureau of Reclamation, two major growers promoted the idea of eliminating the river’s second-largest reservoir and sending its water on to Lake Mead. “Past proposals by environmental groups to decommission Glen Canyon Dam or to operate the reservoir without power production as a primary goal can no longer be ignored and must be seriously considered,” they wrote. LOS ANGELES TIMES

Wyoming’s Flaming Gorge Reservoir can’t serve as a safety valve for Lake Powell and Lake Mead much longer. It only has enough Colorado River water left for two releases to help fill the reservoirs downstream. WATER EDUCATION COLORADO

How do Solano County, California residents feel about a huge new development proposed by billionaires? SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

The Great Salt Lake of Utah has been shrinking for years and environmental groups are now suing the state for letting it happen. A dry Salt Lake would expose a lakebed full of noxious chemicals like arsenic and lead, potentially leading to “‘one of the worst environmental disasters in history,” according to Ben Abbott, a Brigham Young University ecologist. THE GUARDIAN

A startup wants to siphon lithium from 225,000 acre-feet of water from the Great Salt Lake, but unlike other mineral extractors, it claims it will put all the water back afterwards and harvest the coveted element without waste or emissions. THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE


See more Stories»

Stories by Topic

What we’re reading, Dec. 6, 2021

Disappearing snowpack in the West. Is the end of western mountain snowpacks in sight? San Francisco Chronicle Washington Post

Disappearing water in the West. Does groundwater have a future in California, or is its depletion inevitable? Stanford Earth Matters

Disappearing water, Part II. Water agencies serving 27 million Californians are on their own next year, getting nothing from state water projects. Los Angeles Times

Disappearing water, Part III. Small farmers in the Central Valley wonder: where is Kings County water going? SJV Water

Oregon’s proposed Jordan Cove liquified natural gas project abandoned. It was designed to include a liquified natural gas terminal and a 229-mile natural gas pipeline and send liquified natural gas to Asian markets. Oregon Public Broadcasting

Interior Secretary Haaland works to eliminate racist place names, like those using the word “squaw.” How names like “Chinaman Gulch” affected one Asian American. Grist KSUT

See more Stories»


Sign up to keep up with our latest articles, sent no more than once per week (see an example).

Your information will not be shared.

Staff and Contributors

Felicity Barringer

Lead writer

A national environmental correspondent during the last decade of her 28 years at The New York Times, Felicity provided an in-depth look at the adoption of AB 32, California’s landmark climate-change bill after covering state’s carbon reduction policies. MORE »

Geoff McGhee

Associate editor

Geoff McGhee specializes in interactive data visualization and multimedia storytelling. He is a veteran of the multimedia and infographics staffs at The New York Times, Le Monde and MORE »

Syler Peralta-Ramos

Editorial Assistant

Syler Peralta-Ramos is a member of the Stanford class of 2020. He has lived in Wilson, Wyoming his whole life and developed a keen interest in nature photography and conservation from a young age, inspired by the multitude of photographers that congregate in the Teton region as well as his parents who also share a love for photography.

‘& the West’ is published by the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University, which is dedicated to research, teaching, and journalism about the past, present, and future of the North American West.

Bruce E. Cain

Faculty Director

Kate Gibson

Program Manager

Past Contributors

Anna McNulty
Editorial Assistant, Fall 2021
Melina Walling
Editorial Assistant, Spring 2021
Benek Robertson
Editorial Assistant, Winter 2021
Maya Burke
Editorial Assistant, Fall 2020
Kate Selig
Editorial Assistant, Fall 2020

Francisco L. Nodarse
Editorial Assistant, Summer 2020
Devon R. Burger
Editorial Assistant, Winter 2020
Madison Pobis
Editorial Assistant, Fall 2019
Sierra Garcia
Editorial Assistant, Summer 2019

Danielle Nguyen
Editorial Assistant, Spring 2019
Carolyn P. Rice
Editorial Assistant, Winter 2019
Rebecca Nelson
Editorial Assistant, Fall 2018
Emily Wilder
Editorial Assistant, Summer 2018
Alessandro Hall
Editorial Assistant, Winter 2018 
Josh Lappen
Editorial Assistant, Fall 2017
Natasha Mmonatau
Editorial Assistant, Spring 2017
Alan Propp
Editorial Assistant, Winter 2017