Billings Gazette; 11/30/2011
Excerpt: “HELENA — Settlement talks have failed on the use of snowmobiles and other motorized vehicles in a wilderness study area north of Yellowstone National Park.
That means the parties will look to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to resolve the long-running dispute.
The issue centers on the U.S. Forest Service’s 2006 Travel Management Plan within the Hyalite/Porcupine/Buffalo/Horn Wilderness Study Area….”
Read entire article at http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/talks-fail-on-motorized-use-on-gallatin-crest-north-of/article_72a6144e-1b54-11e1-a0ff-001cc4c002e0.html
Western News; 11/29/2011
Excerpt: “After more than eight years, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Revett Minerals Inc., Rock Creek Mine will have “no adverse modifications” to the bull trout and will cause “no jeopardy” to the grizzly bears.
“This really is a validation of the work done by the Forest Service and the Fish, Wildlife Services (FWS),” John Shanahan, President and CEO of Revett Minerals Inc., said. “They are the experts.”
The Rock Creek Alliance and various other environmental groups questioned the biological opinions of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the FWS during the Rock Creek Mine permitting process…..”
Read entire article at http://www.thewesternnews.com/news/article_6a5cdb90-1ad9-11e1-9aac-001cc4c03286.html
Seattle Post Intelligencer; 11/29/2011
Excerpt: “BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Nearly 600 square miles of land in northern Idaho and northeastern Washington will be designated critical habitat for a woodland caribou herd that has seen its numbers dwindle to less than 50, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday.
Environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife, first sued in 2002, contending the 1984 listing of the woodland caribou under the Endangered Species Act must also be accompanied by habitat protections. But it took a subsequent lawsuit in 2009 to force the agency into the action announced Tuesday….”
Read entire article at http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Feds-propose-caribou-habitat-safeguards-in-N-Idaho-2307172.php
Colorado Independent; 11/30/2011
Excerpt: “Clearly U.S. Forest Service (USFS) officials and opponents of coal mine expansion in western Colorado won’t be exchanging Christmas cards this holiday season. Instead, shovelfuls of coal and snark to spare will be dumped in their respective stockings.
“Do you people do anything but sit at your desk taking orders from industry?” asked one public commenter on an environmental assessment of a consent to lease approval (pdf)in Gunnison County. “How is it that you don’t seem to have any say, will power, direction about protecting our public lands from thieves, muggers and greed-heads that spell out ‘mega-corporations.’”
The Forest Service fired back: “We spend about 80% of our time implementing policy and maintaining the balancing act which is the Forest Service’s multiple use management goals and minerals management policy (this includes both desk time and field time). The other 20% is spent sitting at our desks responding to snarky rhetorical questions and comments from environmental and special interest groups.”….”
Read entire article at http://coloradoindependent.com/106803/federal-officials-caught-in-snarky-exchange-with-public-over-coal-mine-expansion
Idaho Press Tribune; 11/29/2011
Excerpt: “COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A revised plan for the Panhandle, Kootenai and Lolo national forests of Idaho, Montana and Washington state would restrict motorized vehicle travel in prime grizzly habitat.
The Spokesman-Review (http://bit.ly/vRPc3i ) reported Tuesday that the restrictions could eventually close up to 102 miles of backcountry roads to public travel across a 4,560-square-mile swath of the three national forests. No decisions on specific road closures have been made at this time.
The shutdowns are bound to disappoint some off-road vehicle enthusiasts. The Blue Ribbon Coalition, which advocates for motorized backcountry access, says it will review the plans.
But forest managers say grizzlies in two bear recovery zones in the Selkirk and Cabinet-Yaak mountains have been the losers in many encounters with humans. Since 1982 people have killed at least 97 grizzlies in these zones, making their recovery more difficult…..”
Read complete article at http://www.idahopress.com/news/state/forests-plan-to-restrict-access-to-help-grizzlies/article_55168ede-6435-5228-8abd-1246429b72c7.html
Helena Independent Record Editorial; 11/29/2011
Excerpt: “If there’s anything positive to be drawn from a recent report showing that the Helena National Forest has the worst watershed conditions of any forest or grassland in our region, it’s that perhaps the ignominy of the ranking will bring more attention — and funding — to the problems, and get them cleaned up sooner.
The inventory gives public land officials a baseline for comparing the health of forests and grasslands across Montana, Idaho and a portion of the Dakotas. To a certain extent, the result wasn’t big news around here — we’ve long known of the scores of abandoned mines and tailings in the Helena National Forest and their effect on the watersheds. But this recent last-place ranking, certainly a dubious distinction, can’t help but lend an added air of urgency to making the Helena National Forest healthier….”
Read entire article at http://helenair.com/news/opinion/editorial/infamy-might-bring-needed-funds/article_5b2788ec-1a56-11e1-993d-001cc4c03286.html
Associated Press; 11/29/2011
Excerpt: “WASHINGTON (AP) — Nonmilitary government agencies operate more aircraft than the world’s largest airline but are subject to little federal safety oversight — a situation accident investigators say has contributed to air crashes and deaths.
Federal, state and local agencies own or lease more than 2,400 nonmilitary planes and helicopters for fighting forest fires, chasing crooks, conducting scientific research and other tasks. By comparison, the world’s largest airline — created by the merger of United and Continental — and its regional carriers operate fewer than 1,300 planes.
But unlike United, Continental and other commercial airlines, government agencies are mostly left to police the safety of their flight operations themselves. The Federal Aviation Administration has long said it doesn’t have the authority to apply regulations to other government agencies.
From 2000 through the first eight months of this year, the National Transportation Safety Board investigated at least 349 accidents, resulting in 135 deaths, involving aircraft owned by or operated under contract for government agencies….”
Read entire article at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hC0u80eSItc3gxFG_dtHJ5SY2oAQ?docId=0e5d23dd90cf43d2b976d35e27927d4a
Charleston Gazette; 11/28/2011
Excerpt: “CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Next month, the National Park Service will begin conducting a survey to determine if some areas within the Monongahela National Forest should be made into a national park – something West Virginia doesn’t currently have.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., requested the survey, which is scheduled to be completed by September 2012.
On Monday, Manchin said he “is pleased that the National Park Service is undertaking this survey to evaluate whether this beautiful part of our state should be designated as a national park.”….”
Read entire article at http://sundaygazettemail.com/News/201111280116
Nature Conservancy Blog; 11/7/2011
Excerpt: ““A people without children would face a hopeless future;
a country without trees is almost as helpless.”
The stock market has plunged to half its value. Unemployment has doubled. And the President struggles to rebuild the economy of a politically divided country.
The scene may feel familiar to us today, but this was the world of President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt in 1907.
Yet by the end of his presidency President Roosevelt could reflect back on a recovered economy, an assertive global presence, markets freed from monopolies and more lands and waters conserved than any President before or since.
Of those herculean accomplishments won during tough economic times, none has forwarded greater benefits to us today than Roosevelt’s attention to the nation’s outdoors. Through the creation of the U.S. Forest Service and other conservation initiatives, Roosevelt established a natural framework that continues to provide life-giving benefits to America…..”
Read entire article at http://blog.nature.org/2011/11/speaking-up-for-north-americas-forests/
Aspen Times; 11/28/2011
Excerpt: “Editor’s note: The Aspen Times, starting today, is launching a five-part weekly series taking a close look at the major issues facing the White River National Forest. Today’s first installment offers a broad overview of those issues, which range from the impacts of tourism on ranchers, to the oil and gas industry’s interest in drilling prospects in Pitkin County, to the U.S. Forest Service’s handling of the federal budget crisis.
ASPEN — On a warm morning in August, two backpackers started the trudge up the Thomas Lakes Trailhead on the lower slopes of Mount Sopris. Environmental issues were the farthest things from their minds, but within an hour they stumbled across signs of some of the biggest issues facing the national forest surrounding Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley….”
Read complete article at http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20111128/NEWS/111129883/1077&ParentProfile=1058