Summit County Voice 5/16/2013
Excerpt: “FRISCO — An updated set of draft rules for fracking on public and Indian lands includes several common-sense safeguards that will help protect the human health and safety, as well as the environment. For starters, the rule requires disclosure of the chemicals used for fracking, a key measure that ensures transparency and gives the public some assurance.
The proposed rule beefs up standards meant to insure well bore-integrity, which will help verify that fluids used during fracturing operations are not contaminating groundwater. Operators must also have a plan in place for handling fluids that flow back to the surface. …”
Read entire article at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/05/16/energy-blm-eyes-new-rules-for-fracking-on-public-lands/#more-57338
Seattle Times 5/15/2013
Excerpt: “The Obama administration has never fined or prosecuted a wind farm for killing eagles and other protected bird species, shielding the industry from liability and helping keep the scope of the deaths secret, an Associated Press investigation found.
More than 573,000 birds are killed by the country’s wind farms each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles, according to an estimate published in March in the peer-reviewed Wildlife Society Bulletin. …”
Read entire article at http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020993836_windfarmsbirdsxml.html
Excerpt: “A coalition of environmental groups have sued to block a U.S. Forest Service timber sale in the Rexford Ranger District of northwest Montana, claiming the proposed clearcuts would hurt lynx and grizzly bears there.
“In spite of these falling grizzly bear numbers, the Forest Service plans to commercially log thousands of acres, open up roads, and use low-level helicopter flights in occupied grizzly habitat,” said Michael Garrity of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “It’s well-known science that low-level overflights by helicopters harm and harass grizzly bears in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Even though we cited the law, judicial opinions, and the agency’s own policies that ban such activities, the Forest Service refused to listen. So now we’re compelled to go to court.” …”
Read entire article at http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/environmental-groups-sue-to-block-kootenai-forest-timber-sale/article_ffcfd8e4-bcfe-11e2-95e4-001a4bcf887a.html
Rapid City Journal 5/15/2013
Excerpt: “Black Hills National Forest management policies on fighting wildfires and mountain pine beetles have won another court challenge by environmental groups who believe the policies hurt sensitive wildlife species.
A recent decision in Wyoming federal court released Tuesday by South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley upheld an amended management plan for the Black Hills National Forest. South Dakota joined in the lawsuit in support of the U.S. Forest Service, as did the state of Wyoming and the Black Hills Forest Resource Association, a timber industry association. …”
Read entire article at http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/black-hills-forest-management-survives-latest-environmental-challenge/article_ad436d4f-500b-5283-a0f3-9fa3c7e3cf2e.html
Aspen Times 5/15/2013
Excerpt: “The oil-and-gas industry is claiming that closures of land and increased regulations contemplated in the White River National Forest will make drilling “uncompetitive.”
Five organizations affiliated with the gas industry submitted comments last winter to the Forest Service as part of the agency’s effort to rewrite rules of where drilling will be allowed and under what circumstances. The federal agency is overhauling an outdated plan from 1993. …”
Read entire story at http://www.aspentimes.com/news/6522733-113/gas-forest-oil-service
Deseret news 5/13/2013
Excerpt: “SALT LAKE CITY — Another showdown has erupted between Utah and the federal government, this time over the state’s efforts to limit the police powers of federal agencies like the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management.
The U.S. government sought an emergency order to prevent the new measure from becoming law Tuesday, which was agreed to in a hasty teleconference Monday. In exchange for the state delay in putting the law on the books, there will be an expedited hearing schedule to argue the merits of the law. At issue is a bill signed by Gov. Gary Herbert that was due to take effect Tuesday restricting the police powers of employees with the Forest Service, National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. …”
Read entire article at http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865579953/Feds-fight-Utah-over-measure-to-curb-law-enforcement-authority.html
Summit County Voice 5/14/2013
Excerpt: “SUMMIT COUNTY — The federal budget crunch means firefighters will have to do more with less this summer, federal officials said this week. Because of the sequester, the Forest Service will not fill 500 firefighting positions and will make do with 50 less engines on the ground.
“We are facing another dangerous wildfire season. We are prepared; we’re not as funded as we might be about 5 years from now, so teamwork is really critical to what we have to do,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, speaking Monday at a briefing at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise Idaho. …”
Read entire article at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/05/14/wildfires-budget-woes-to-affect-fuels-treatments-post-fire-rehab/
Helena Independent Record 5/12/2013
Excerpt: “Grizzly bears lack a reputation as a rule-following animal, but they sure inspire a lot of rule-making.
The bears of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem have a draft 158-page rulebook up for public comment this summer as they move toward possible removal from federal Endangered Species Act protection. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan describes how roughly 1,000 grizzlies in that area would be managed, protected and restricted. It’s up for public comment through August. …”
Read entire article at http://helenair.com/news/state-and-regional/feds-work-to-remove-protections-from-northern-rockies-grizzlies/article_96f909a6-bb39-11e2-a81b-0019bb2963f4.html
Montgomery Advertiser 5/11/2013
Excerpt: “WASHINGTON — The federal government has sent Alabama a bill for $94,000, and Gov. Robert Bentley is refusing to pay it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, citing sequestration budget cuts, wants 41 states to return some of the money the U.S. Forest Service gives each year to rural counties that have national forest land. “We regret having to take this action, but we have no alternative under sequestration,” U.S. Forest Chief Thomas Tidwell wrote in a March letter to 41 governors.
But Bentley says sequestration applies to fiscal 2013 funds, not to money appropriated in fiscal 2012 that was sent to states in January and already has been spent by counties. …”
Read entire article at http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20130512/NEWS02/305120015
Summit County Voice 5/9/2013
Excerpt: “SUMMIT COUNTY — Conservation groups say U.S. Forest Service officials made an arbitrary and capricious decision when they replaced a widespread cave and mine closure with a weaker rule that could lead to the introduction of a deadly bat disease in the Rocky Mountain region.
In its appeal, the Center for Biological Diversity said that required decontamination procedures are questionable at best under field conditions, and that mandatory closures of caves when white-nose syndrome is detected within 250 miles doesn’t go far enough to protect bats. …”
Read entire article at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/05/09/new-forest-service-cave-policy-faces-a-challenge/