The administration resumes oil and gas leasing — and fixes a dysfunctional system in the process. Analysis by Jonathan Thompson, High Country News
Jonathan Thompson, High Country News
Jonathan Thompson is a contributing editor at High Country News. He is the author of River of Lost Souls: The Science, Politics and Greed Behind the Gold King Mine Disaster. Email him at [email protected]
In late June, a blistering heatwave settled over the Pacific Northwest, shattering high-temperature records from California to Canada. Hundreds of outdoor laborers or those who lacked air conditioning were hospitalized for heat-related ailments, and dozens died. Portland’s transit operator suspended rail service because of heat-damaged cables, while highways in Washington were closed due to buckling asphalt.
Last spring, as the first wave of measures to halt the spread of coronavirus kicked in, travel screeched nearly to a halt, and the hospitality and tourism industry slowed considerably. Locals in public-land gateway towns predicted doom — and also breathed a big sigh of relief. Their one-trick-pony economies would surely suffer, but at least all the newly laid-off residents would have the surrounding land to themselves for a change.