Summit County Voice 5/22/2013
Excerpt: “SUMMIT COUNTY — A group of prominent scientists with expertise in wolf biology is taking issue with a draft plan to take wolves off the Endangered Species List. The document was leaked a few weeks ago, eliciting widespread criticism from wildlife advocates.
Federal wildlife agencies are under intense pressure from states to turn over wolf management. Congress has already set the stage for political interference in the wolf recovery process, and that step has put the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service at the edge of a very slippery slope. Any proposal to de-list wolves is likely to face significant opposition and legal challenges from conservation advocates. ….”
Read entire story and letter to FWS at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/05/22/biodiversity-scientists-slam-feds-on-possible-wolf-de-listing/
Aspen Times 5/22/2013
Excerpt: “The U.S. Forest Service is making a simple, seemingly insignificant change to its fee-collection system at the Maroon Bells this summer, but the move is tied to a national fight that will end up in the lap of Congress next year.
The Aspen-Sopris Ranger District announced Tuesday that it won’t charge a fee for vehicles that drive to an inconspicuous spot called the Stein Meadow Overlook on Maroon Creek Road. Drivers who say that is their sole destination won’t be charged a fee. Vehicles bound for the three campgrounds in Maroon Valley, the East or West Maroon Trailheads or Maroon Lake will continue to be charged $10. ….”
Read entire article at http://www.aspentimes.com/news/6612397-113/fee-maroon-forest-service
Flathead Beacon 5/21/2013
Excerpt: “Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit to halt a U.S. Forest Service timber sale in Kootenai National Forest, arguing that it would harm critical habitat for grizzly bears and Canada lynx, both of which are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
On May 14, the Western Environmental Law Center filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in Missoula on behalf of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. The complaint alleges that the proposed Young Dodge logging project violates the Endangered Species Act, National Forest Management Act and National Environmental Policy Act. …”
Read entire article at http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/environmental_groups_sue_to_halt_timber_sale_near_lake_koocanusa/33542/
Seattle Post 5/20/2013
Excerpt: “The Green Mountain Lookout should be let stand in its present perch, atop a popular Snohomish County hiking trail, and not be moved or removed, according to a tough-worded letter sent to the U.S. Forest Service by Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and U.S. Reps. Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene, D-Wash.
“We strongly oppose the removal of the Green Mountain Lookout from its historic home,” lawmakers told the federal agency. “Smokey Bear” is struggling with what to do after a federal judge’s ruling that the federal agency acted improperly in rebuilding the 1933-vintage fire lookout. The lookout, located within the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area, has become a battleground that pits an extreme green group from out-of-state against local recreation activists, historic preservationists, county officials and lawmakers. …”
Read entire article at http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2013/05/20/smokey-spare-that-lookout-washington-lawmakers-to-forest-service/
Summit County Voice 5/21/2013
Excerpt: “FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service has once again been called out for failing to live up to its legal obligations to protect endangered species, this time by a federal judge in Montana, who ruled last week that the agency violated the Endangered Species Act when it failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a regional forest plan amendment.
Dana L. Christensen, chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the State of Montana, ordered the Forest Service to re-initiate consultation, but did not block any specific projects on the affected forests, saying that plaintiffs couldn’t show any “irreparable harm.”
Read entire article at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/05/21/federal-judge-says-forest-service-must-consider-critical-habitat-designations-in-regional-forest-plan-guidance-for-lynx/
Excerpt: “HAMILTON – A former Ravalli County attorney is challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s user fee requirement at the popular Lake Como Recreation Area.
George Corn said the agency isn’t following the law when it requires people not using developed amenities in the recreation area to pay a fee to park their car to go hiking, fishing or berry picking. Forest Service officials disagree with Corn’s interpretation and say they have made adjustments to meet changes handed down by a recent court ruling….”
Read entire article at http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/former-ravalli-county-attorney-challenging-lake-como-user-fees/article_49b6a098-c0cc-11e2-bae3-0019bb2963f4.html
Knoxville News Sentinel 5/20/2013
Excerpt: “COSBY, Tenn. — At the eastern end of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, not far from Cosby, Tenn., are three 25-foot-tall hemlock trees enveloped in nylon that appear out of nowhere like circus tents in the middle of the forest.
They’re called canopy cages. Six years ago the University of Tennessee and the U.S. Forest Service tested them at Blackberry Farm in Blount County, and now they’re being employed in the Smokies to help control the hemlock woolly adelgid, a tiny, nonnative insect pest that has been killing the park’s hemlocks for more than a decade. ….”
Read entire article at http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/may/20/smokies-add-2-new-beetles-canopy-cages-in-fight/?partner=RSS
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