Black and Blue Canyon
In a move that environmentalists and others fear could set a dangerous precedent, the U.S. Department of the Interior has ceded control over the waters in Colorado’s Gunnison National Park, allowing the state to sell it to cities. Interior Secretary Gale Norton said the decision to hand over control of the river (which was awarded to the federal government when the Black Canyon was made a national monument in 1933) reflects the Bush administration’s desire to let states control natural-resource policies, even on federal land. State officials joined the feds in welcoming the agreement, which they claim will help restore the natural flow of the river while encouraging economic development. Enviros say the plan sets a precedent that could spell disaster not just for the Gunnison River but for protected waterways and their ecosystems everywhere, and they have promised to challenge it in court.