Saturday, March 20, 2004


GOP leaders want rule changed, more thinning Oregon Republican Party leaders in two dozen counties on Friday called for the head of the Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest to change an 11-year-old logging rule that they claim has had untold negative ecological and economic impacts on rural communities. A resolution approved by the Republican delegates from every corner of Oregon demands that Regional Forester Linda Goodman, “simultaneously amend the national Forest plans to remove the 21-inch DBH rule for each national Forest on the east side of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington.”.... Airlift of mountain lions draws skeptics The plan by Arizona Game & Fish to airlift unwanted mountain lions out of Sabino Canyon rather than kill them hasn't gotten the agency out of hot water with the Governor's Office or conservationists. After learning of the new plan from a news release, Gov. Janet Napolitano fired off a letter to Game & Fish Commission chairman Susan Chilton, saying she is still upset with the way the situation is being handled.... Wolves on the horizon While they are deeply appreciated by environmentalists, tourists and others, wolves are despised by some ranchers, hunters and other rural residents. As the wolf populations have expanded in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana since their Yellowstone reintroduction in 1995 and 1996, the debate has remained sharply polarized. And while those three states have struggled to come up with acceptable plans to take over wolf management from the federal government - Wyoming hasn't yet succeeded - experts have two words of advice for states such as Colorado that are adjacent to the wolf's present range: Get ready.... Wolves knock on state's door Wyoming's failure to offer an acceptable wolf-management plan greatly increases the chances Colorado will be dealing with wolves sooner rather than later. Without a buffer between the wolf packs of northwestern Wyoming and the Colorado border, wildlife managers in both states agree migrations of lone, or even pairs, of wolves is a certainty.... Legal concerns led to plan's rejection U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials rejected Wyoming's wolf-management plan because they didn't think it would be defensible in a lawsuit brought under the Endangered Species Act, Wyoming officials say. "They said if they were sued" because wolves had been delisted under the act, "they didn't think they could defend the plan in front of an Eastern judge," said Ryan Lance, Endangered Species Act policy coordinator for Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal. "They cited a legal-risk analysis for rejecting our plan....Coast is not clear, say environmentalists "Disappointed but not surprised" was the general sentiment voiced by the several speakers in a press conference last Friday at Haskell’s beach. The speakers had gathered to express their dissatisfaction with the Department of the Interior’s decision not to grant the Gaviota Coast federal protection.... Coastal residents pack plover hearings Hundreds of people packing coastal meetings this week told state parks officials to keep their hands off public beaches and condemned a proposal to restrict recreation on behalf of the western snowy plover, a tiny shorebird numbering about 100 on the Oregon coast. "Let's not close off our local areas for a bird that I do not believe I've ever even seen," said Chuck Ellerbroek of Tillamook, who hunts and fishes on a nearby point that would be set aside for the protected bird. "Where will we go for recreation after our beaches are closed?".... NOAA FISHERIES SEEKS MORE TIME IN SALMONID ESA LISTING REVIEW NOAA Fisheries last week asked a Spokane, Wash., federal court to push back by 90 days the deadline for completion of eight salmon and steelhead Endangered Species Act listing proposals, citing the "unexpected complexity" of the biology and policy related to the task.... The ESA Choice: Flies or our Families? There have been numerous examples of how the ESA has had adverse impacts throughout the country. From Oklahoma where a thirteen mile highway project was delayed for four years because American burying beetles were found along two proposed routes, to Kentucky where loggers lost their jobs when the Forest Service shut down logging in the Daniel Boone National Forest for eight months in order to protect the red-cockaded woodpecker; people all over the country have felt the sting of the ESA's rigid enforcement.... Government seeks eagle killer Someone is poisoning bald eagles, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants your help to get it stopped. Chris Brong, an agent with the department's Wilsonville office, said Thursday that two bald eagles had been found dead last month, both about four miles northwest of Harrisburg. The birds were found Feb. 2 and Feb. 11. The deaths raised to 17 the number of bald eagles to die of poisoning in the mid-valley in 13 years. All died of Fenthion poisoning, Brong said. Fenthion is a registered pesticide approved for use in just two counties, both of them in Florida. In Oregon, he said, there is "no legal use for it, period.".... Critics Decry Interior Internet Shutdown The court-ordered shutdown of many of the Interior Department's Internet connections is depriving American Indian children of educational opportunities and preventing public input on land management decisions, a leading senator and environmentalists say.... State wildlife officials considering relocating some grizzlies State and federal wildlife authorities are considering a plan to transplant grizzly bears from the western border of Glacier National Park to the Cabinet Mountain Range, where the population is not as strong. If the plan is approved, the transplants could begin as early as next summer, said Wayne Kasworm, a wildlife biologist working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.... Drilling council called off The much-touted proposal to create a Rocky Mountain Energy Council based in Denver to boost oil and gas drilling in the Rockies has been shelved. The council's demise was heralded by both industry and environmental groups, but for different reasons.... Column: Energy Bill Still Misses Point It would be nice if we could simply order up a round of applause for the Senate for drafting a new energy bill that trimmed $17 billion out of the $31.1 billion legislation the two houses of Congress agreed to last year. But one look at the new bill makes it clear: The Senate will have to wait for its standing ovation. The new bill may cost a lot less, but it still includes a subsidy for ethanol, almost all of which will go to huge agribusinesses. A $2 billion subsidy for the coal industry remains. And the bill still includes an array of studies, programs and grants that could and should be jettisoned, such as $6.2 million to study ways to convert auto trips to bike trips and $50 million for a five-year transit bus demonstration program....United States wants international ruling kept secret The United States is attempting to keep secret an international ruling that affects American Indians and property rights. The ruling, in the case of the Western Shoshone, calls for a review of all U.S. law and policy regarding indigenous peoples and in particular the right to property. On Indigenous Peoples Day, Western Shoshone Carrie Dann said, "The U.S. was found to be in violation of international law - found to be violating our rights to property, to due process and to equality under the law.... Governor vetos wildlife bill Gov. Dave Freudenthal on Friday vetoed a bill that would have authorized a series of pilot projects to explore ways to bolster compensation for landowners for grass damage caused by big game animals. The governor said House Bill 18 could cost the state a significant amount of money and marks a departure from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's existing payment program for 'extraordinary damage' to grass by big game animals and big game birds.... Column: Save snowmobiling from 'planet savers' Beware of those who would save us from ourselves, in the name of "saving the planet." Ask the good people of West Yellowstone - until recently, a bustling, smiling little western community. Their environmental saviors have just taken away their jobs, their businesses, their culture and their lives. Like classic dictators, they are blinded by the piety of their "high ideals" and driven by a spirit of self-righteousness that knows no bounds. It began with a lawsuit and a shocking display of executive power when federal bureaucrats decreed, in the final hours of the Clinton administration, that all snowmobiling in the national parks would end in three years. The election of George W. Bush brought a partial reprieve in the form of a regulated use plan, limiting the number of snowmobiles per day, requiring more guided trips and banning two-stroke machines. Local businesses invested millions in the new four-stroke technology, only to have a distant federal judge declare it all for naught.... Water prices could rise as contract renewals loom A half-century ago, the federal government moved mountains and harnessed rivers to convert California's Central Valley into some of the nation's most productive farmland, fed by subsidized water at rock-bottom rates. Now, many of those cheap-water contracts are up for renewal, rousing critics who argue that the government should increase its rates, both to generate more revenue and encourage farmers to conserve.... Panel votes to end fee on water Faced with a revolt from water providers, lawmakers on Friday admitted they made a mistake and voted to repeal a water administration fee approved last year to help the state out of its budget crisis. The House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved a plan to refund about $467,000 paid by 23 percent of the owners who received bills. It was sent to the House Appropriations Committee. Lawmakers said they expect quick passage to halt further collection of the fees.... House, Senate approve water deal pieces A legislative package heading off the shutdown of more than 1,300 wells in south-central Idaho won overwhelming initial legislative backing Friday as the House and Senate worked toward adjournment this weekend. The House unanimously approved the multimillion-dollar budget for the deal, while creation of a special commission to promote the aquaculture industry drew no opposition in the Senate.... Editorial: Oil And Trouble A new report on oil development in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was met with the usual howls. But that doesn't change the fact that there are no good reasons not to open oil fields in that region. Last week, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration issued a study that said oil pumped from ANWR could cut U.S. dependence on foreign oil by nearly 900,000 barrels a day by 2025 — about two-thirds of what we import from Saudi Arabia each day.... U.N. urges Russia to save climate plan The United Nations renewed calls on Friday for Russia to salvage a landmark plan to curb global warming, 10 years after governments agreed to fight a rise in temperatures threatening life on the planet. Kyoto will collapse without Russian backing because it must be ratified by countries accounting for 55 percent of carbon dioxide emissions by industrialised countries.... Consistency takes Childress roper to Houston finals Almost a year ago, it appeared that former National Finals Rodeo calf roping qualifier Stran Smith was all but finished. Last April, Smith suffered a stroke as the result of having a hole in his heart. Doctors advised the Childress cowboy to find another career. But Smith underwent a successful experimental surgery at a Boston hospital and was competing again in July. This season, Smith has fully regained his composure and has finished in the money at eight out of 10 rodeos. He has advanced to today's final round of RodeoHouston after turning in a time of 9.4 seconds Friday night at Reliant Stadium.... On The Edge Of Common Sense: Vermonter still remembers Clyde's '58 mishap It is easy to think of farming as an outdoor sport: blue skies, green pastures, grazing cattle, range chickens and galloping your horse across the plain. But there are parts of the world where the weather forces ingenious farmers to rethink their modus operandi (Latin for: method of losing money). The result is a vast array of ventilated turkey barns, air-conditioned milking parlors, covered roping arenas, slatted floors, misted stalls and non-smoking areas in the farrowing house....

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