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Environment Has Reason For Hope In Columbia Gorge

The results of a new study prove that the United State’s decision to remove lead from gasoline has improved environmental conditions in the Columbia Gorge, one of the West’s most polluted regions.

During the 1990s scientists found extremely large amounts of lead in the Gorge, but a recent analysis found it has all but disappeared from Gorge lichens, the Oregonian reported today.

The Gorge still faces serious problems, most specifically its air quality. Nitrogen levels are rising as ammonia and other emissions funnel into the gorge from the east, according to air-quality scientists. In other words, the Gorge has too much damn smog.

But at the very least, lead, a once serious threat to the region, appears to be a battle won by the humans

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Book Festivals of the West 2011

Each year readers and writers gather to celebrate the written word at book festivals, fairs, and writing conferences throughout the West. Although there are a few spring festivals, everything really begins to pick up in June, and the schedule remains busy through November. The offerings vary from those that concentrate on helping writers improve their craft, such as the Lighthouse Writers Workshop's retreat in Grand Lake, Colo. (July 10th-15th), to those that introduce writers to readers through panels, readings, and book signings, such as the Montana Festival of the Book in Missoula (October 5th-7th). Some, such as the Aspen Summer Words Festival (June 19th-24th), combine workshops and readings. The workshops charge fees, but plenty of the festivals are free to attend, including the Montana Festival of the Book in Missoula and the Equality State Book Fair in Casper. Most workshops are already accepting applications for this year. I've updated the Book Festivals of the West map with this year's information when it was available. Please let me know if there are any more events to add or update—I'll even throw this open for events in California and Texas. New West will run reports from the festivals again this year—we already have correspondents lined up for the Jackson Hole Writers Conference, Aspen Summer Words, and the Montana Festival of the Book, and are looking for more contributors.

One comment

  1. Awesome for humans! A true success story that has taken two decades to unfold. My only question to the Oregonian story is: What will happen to the environment now that lead is removed? Will other pollutants proliferate as a result? What will happen to the lead-loving lichen that welcomed the excess of lead pollution in the Gorge? I only fear that this is another success story that is saddled with a thousand defeats waiting to happen. For instance: Is Nitrogen waiting to take over the problem niche that lead once filled?
    Despite all concerns still at large, this story is an amazing example of how humans can truly affect their impact on the world around them. Congratulations. . .