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Lay of the Land

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THE OTHER SALT LAKE  A 20-year battle ended in August with a victory for the Zuni Pueblo and its partners in the Zuni Salt Lake Coalition, which includes the Sierra Club. The Salt River Project, an Arizona-based utility, abruptly canceled its plans to stripmine coal near the western New Mexico lake, the traditional home of the Zuni deity Salt Woman. The proposed 18,000-acre mine and 44 miles of accompanying rail lines would have cut across burial grounds and pilgrimage trails used by many local tribes, and potentially pumped enough groundwater to dry up the sacred lake. (See "The Salt Woman and the Coal Mine," November/December 2002.)

HEAR NO EVIL  Yellowstone National Park is officially no longer imperiled. But that’s not a good thing. At the request of the White House, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee agreed in July to remove Yellowstone’s designation as a site "in danger," although it will require the United States to submit a status report next year. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, an administration representative apologized to the committee for the "inconvenience" caused by e-mails from environmentalists asking that the park receive continued scrutiny. (See "Lay of the Land," July/August.)

IN BRIEF  Fast-food giant McDonald’s has agreed to stop buying chickens from suppliers that use growth-promoting antibiotics similar to those prescribed for humans. (See "Lay of the Land," March/ April 2002.) After 795,750 freestyle strokes and 13 months, intrepid athlete/ activist Christopher Swain finished his 1,243-mile Columbia River swim in July. (See "Lay of the Land," July/August, page 12.) Despite support from the Bush administration, automakers General Motors and DaimlerChrysler dropped their lawsuits against California after the state gave them more flexibility in meeting requirements to sell low- and zero-emission vehicles. (See "Lay of the Land," March/ April.)

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