Water Cooperation,: Wilderness-Style


To the uninitiated, the plan might have seemed like innocence itself: the Environmental Protection Agency, pressing ahead its nationwide survey of the effects of acid rain, wanted to dispatch helicopters to fetch water samples from some 400 lakes in wilderness areas of nine Western states. Yet when the proposal reached the U.S. Forest Service, it was as though someone had advocated lakeside shopping centers. No way, EPA, growled the official guardian of the wilderness.

The Forest Service stood sternly on the Wilderness Act of 1964, which prohibits mechanized vehicles in protected lands except in emergencies. Never mind that the helicopter sampling...

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