It turns out that this "new economy" of ours may be just as subject to boom and bust as was the economy based on cattle, oil, and lumber. Last month's terrorist attacks emptied Las Vegas, caused hunters to cancel trips to Idaho and Montana and silenced the phones for ski-resort reservations in Colorado. The West's environmental movement was also thrown off balance. You can't easily push to protect an endangered species or attack an oil-seeking administration when lower Manhattan and the Pentagon are in ruins. From the other side of the public-land barricades, demand for oil and gas and aluminum …
Get Grist in Your Inbox
Ed Marston is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News in Paonia, Colo. He has been publisher of High Country News since 1983.