A Policy Approach to Political Representation: Lessons from the Four Corners States

By Helen M. Ingram; Nancy K. Laney et al. | Go to book overview
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Representation and policy: a framework for analysis

On U.S. route 160, some fifteen miles from Teec Nos Trading Post, a metal plaque etched with a cross marks the only point at which four of the United States touch. In the expanse of semiarid rangeland, the isolated monument stands as a stark visual symbol of the common history, geography, and exploding future of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. Remote though it is, one need not stray far from the plaque at "Four Corners" to encounter in microcosm the common problems of these states. Fifty miles southeast lies the energy boom town of Farmington, New Mexico. Its bustling streets are lined with offices of mining and electrical utility companies, crowded stores, and the new homes of those who work at the two-thousand-megawatt Four Corners power complex. Rapid population growth has placed stress on Farmington's schools, public utilities, and family and racial harmony. The coal for the Four Corners Power Plant and for the five other large coal-fired generating stations in the region comes from strip mines like Black Mesa Mine on the nearby Navajo Reservation. Almost a quarter of a million tons of pollutants enter the air each year from the stacks of the Four Corners Power Plant alone. Effects are felt over the entire Four Corners area--on the nearby Ute and Apache Indian reservations, at Mesa Verde National Park, and at Ship Rock, the legendary landmark of the Navajo.

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