Tuesday, April 13, 2004


A Decade of Compromise: Timber towns struggle under forest plan The town's sawmill, which once employed more than 200 people, shut down in 1998. The U.S. Forest Service consolidated its Packwood Ranger District around the time the Northwest Forest Plan was adopted in 1994, and has steadily reduced its work force in east Lewis County. Recently, the Bush administration adopted changes designed to boost logging. Packwood resident Squires is not pleased with either political party. "It seems to me that both parties like the fact that there's conflict, that they can energize their base," he said. "We're very frustrated to be in the middle. Bush and the Republicans promised that things were going to get better, and I think his record's clear that they haven't gotten better. "I'm kind of tired of being a ball being bounced back and forth, and in the meantime all these communities in the West are dying.".... Bison protester removed from perch, arrested A protester who spent the last week perched 45 feet over a bison trap north of West Yellowstone has been removed and arrested, according to Ted Fellman, spokesman for the protest group, Buffalo Field Campaign. Akiva Silver hoisted himself into the monopod seven days ago, using a mechanism that was tied to the outer walls and gates of the bison trap operated by the Montana Department of Livestock on national forest land. He also suspended a banner reading "Bison Trap Closed to Protect Wildlife." Fellman said a Gallatin County sheriff's deputy and a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement agent used a cherry picker to remove Silver, who turns 25 today. They did their work about 2 p.m. Tuesday.... Wildlife service reissues habitat plan for red-legged frog For the second time, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to designate 4.1 million acres as critical habitat for the threatened California red-legged frog, the frog believed to have inspired Mark Twain's fabled short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." If it sticks this time, it would be the largest such designation in California and one of the largest in the nation. The proposal encompasses parts of 28 of the state's 58 counties, from Tehama and Plumas counties in the north to the Mexican border. The service's first designation was overturned by a federal judge in November 2002, who rejected it for procedural flaws. He ordered a new analysis of the economic impact that opponents led by land developers said would be substantial.... Dunes closures could cost millions The public land wars that have dogged the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area have broken down along familiar lines again, prompted by a new federal study citing the economic impact of closing areas of the popular Valley recreation site. "I think they are off-base with this thing," said Phoenix resident Greg Gorman, president of the American Sand Association, an off-road advocacy organization. "The scope is limited and not taking into account the money spent from Phoenix to San Diego to Los Angeles on bikes, quads, buggies and equipment. There's a lot not in this.".... FWS director overrules his own scientific panel In deciding the first appeal brought under the Data Quality Act, the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reversed findings by a scientific panel he convened, leaving in place a ruling that allows hunters to shoot rare trumpeter swans. Enacted in 2000, the Data Quality Act requires federal agencies to use only information meeting the highest standards of "quality, objectivity, utility and integrity." In a letter dated March 26, 2004, FWS Director Steve Williams rejected a complaint filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) that the Service illegally relied on false information when it denied trumpeter swans legal protection last year.... Colorado governments oppose opening former N-site to public At least three local governments are opposing federal plans to open the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons site to widespread recreational use. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service favors public access once the 6,200-acre site is cleaned of most radioactive contaminants and transformed into a wildlife refuge. Boulder's City Council last week called for a cautious approach, an option that would make ecological restoration the top priority at Rocky Flats for 15 years while allowing limited public access.... Tribal elders recommend they be allowed to monitor bison Tribal elders on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation are recommending that an elders committee be formed to monitor the tribe's bison. Meanwhile, a special Tribal Council meeting has been scheduled later this month to discuss allegations that some of the tribe's 650 buffalo are malnourished or mistreated.... Groups Unite Behind Plan to Protect Idaho Wilderness Groups Unite Behind Plan to Protect Idaho Wilderness An unusual coalition of cattlemen, environmentalists and enthusiasts of off-road vehicles, who often clash bitterly over land issues, came together yesterday to announce an agreement that could result in the largest addition in a decade to the nation's wild and scenic river system. The proposed designation of 511,000 acres of wilderness, including 40,000 acres that would be off-limits to cattle -- marks the first time in nearly a quarter-century that Idaho residents have proposed a new wilderness designation.... Fishing Groups Take Part In Meeting With The President American Sportfishing Association President and CEO Mike Nussman took part in a gathering with President Bush at his Crawford ranch last week along with the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, Coastal Conservation Association, and more than a dozen other sportsmen’s organizations. "The President discussed several different topics with us, ranging from the upcoming Ocean Commission report and national forest initiatives to striped bass and redfish recovery and wetlands conservation," said Nussman. " Organizations attending included the Boone and Crockett Club, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, National Rifle Association of America, National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Quail Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ruffed Grouse Society, Safari Club International, and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.... Column, John McCain: Environmental Activist? Without question, environmental issues -- some say environmental "extremism" -- is definitely the domain of liberals and Democrats. But now, a noted Republican, known as a maverick at heart, says he's throwing his weight behind the so-called "global warming" movement. His name is John McCain, and he says he'll attack the issue as strenuously as he fought money in politics.... Colorado River tops 2004 list of endangered rivers Rocket fuel, human waste and uranium tailings make the Colorado River the nation's most threatened river, the conservation group American Rivers said Tuesday. The river wanders 1,500 miles from the peaks of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, snaking across Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California before flowing into the Gulf of Baja in Mexico, although in most years it is little more than a trickle when it reaches its delta. It provides drinking water for 25 million Americans.... Plan to pipe water to Vegas spurs White Pine County recall drive Opponents of a plan to pipe groundwater from rural White Pine County to Las Vegas have launched a recall drive against two county commissioners and the district attorney. Jo Anne Garrett, who heads the recall effort with two other county residents, said Commissioners David Provost and Jack Norcross and District Attorney Richard Sears are too eager to negotiate with the Southern Nevada Water Authority to end a 15-year fight over groundwater rights.... Dead wolverine stirs curiosity in Kemmerer A midnight call led to the discovery of a rare but dead wolverine last month on Highway 30 near Kemmerer, Game and Fish Department officials say. Game and Fish Green River Public Information Specialist Lucy Wold said wolverines are rare in Wyoming and the discovery of the animal caused quite a stir in Kemmerer and surrounding towns.... Legal action against USDA threatened A livestock group says it will sue the U.S. Department of Agriculture if the country's borders are opened to Canadian cattle and beef. The Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, or R-CALF, announced its lawsuit plans Tuesday afternoon. Right now, the United States does not allow live Canadian cattle or most beef across the border. USDA is deciding whether to lax those standards. They were put in place last May after a Canadian cow was found to have mad cow disease. Leo McDonnell is president of R-CALF. "We are disappointed the USDA may abandon the science-based animal health regulations that serve as the primary firewall to protecting the United States from (mad cow disease). We're prepared to go to court to protect the safety of American consumers and our industry," he said in a press release.... Peterson bill would tweak ban on downer cattle U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson has joined with the beef industry in Minnesota and across the nation to push back the federal ban on lame cattle that was put into effect in December to protect humans from mad-cow disease. The main platform for easing the government's new restrictions is a bill co-sponsored by Peterson, D-Minn., that would exclude from the ban animals, called "downers" that suffered broken legs and other ailments unrelated to the disease. Peterson and his supporters say the current ban is costing farmers untold millions of dollars while doing nothing to protect consumers.... Feed regulations not yet enforced As fears of mad cow disease rippled across the country three months ago, the nation's top health official announced stringent rules that would prohibit farmers from giving cows potentially high-risk feed, saying Americans must "never be satisfied with the status quo." But, in fact, the status quo remains. Despite the urgent tone of that January announcement, the proposed rules have yet to go into effect, and farmers can use the risky feed with impunity. Instead, a series of bureaucratic complications and scientific questions -- prompted by complaints from industry groups and outside safety specialists -- arose within the US Food and Drug Administration. Review committees were formed and continue work to this day on issues such as how to dispose of the prohibited feed.... Convicted cattle broker asks bankruptcy court to treat creditors equally A cattle broker who admitted bilking people in four states of $166 million has asked a federal bankruptcy court to treat those investors the same way it treats banks that lent him money when it distributes the money he and his businesses still have. In bankruptcy cases, investors normally rank behind creditors that make collateralized loans, such as large banks. But in some recent bankruptcies that followed alleged wrongdoing by company officials, such as the Enron Corp. bankruptcy, courts have classified financial institutions as unsecured creditors - the same rank given to investors.... Bucking Horse film to air Ranching life in Eastern Montana, contemporary cowboy culture and the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale will be explored on Thursday in a film on MontanaPBS. "The Last Stronghold - The Miles City Bucking Horse Sale," was produced by Montana filmmakers Jon Dodson and Ian Kellett. The film offers a glimpse into the world of rodeo and bronc busting in the context of Montana's frontier history and a lifestyle that continues to define the American West.... PBR brass, cowboys stay on same page in growth plan Cowboys rarely agree on anything. Rodeo is a sport that breeds individualism. There are no teammates to fall back on, nobody to rescue the cowboy after a bad day. Those who compete for a living are solely dependent on themselves for producing the paycheck. This year, the Professional Bull Riders enters it second decade of operation, now a multimillion-dollar industry. That statement, by itself, is amazing.... U.S. cowboys to take talents to China Bucking bulls and rodeos has not only taken America by storm, it is now invading China. Bull breeders Glen McIlvain from Canton and Norm Caja from Stephenville will be taking the Chinese exactly what they asked for -- "a flavor of rodeo." "We will kill about an hour a day. We'll have trick roping and riding, bull riding and bucking horses," McIlvain said. Twenty-five cowboys from the United States will make the journey to China. The first show will be April 28, with a show every day for six months. There will two shows on the weekends and McIlvain said another show will be scheduled during the week if need be....

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