Ravalli Republic; 1/31/2012
Excerpt: “Flathead National Forest officials will let a statue of Jesus remain on a small square of federal land atop the Whitefish Mountain Resort ski area.
Forest Supervisor Chip Weber decided on Tuesday to reauthorize a special use permit for the Knights of Columbus Council No. 1328, which maintains the statue and leases the site. The permit lasts 10 years……”
Read entire story at http://www.ravallirepublic.com/news/state-and-regional/49abd3d1-d7b1-5421-918e-0b91a916a54b.html
Excerpt: “Scrutiny of the Equal Access to Justice Act went bipartisan on Monday when Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., submitted a bill calling for a complete accounting of how much the fund pays people and groups that successfully sue the federal government.
Last summer, House Republicans proposed their own EAJA overhaul, which would limit who can request reimbursements and also tracks the money paid out. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., supported that measure.
In an interview on Monday, Tester said EAJA has been blamed for funding environmentalist lawsuits without looking at the full picture of the fund’s uses…..”
Read entire article at http://missoulian.com/news/local/tester-wants-accounting-of-groups-reimbursed-for-suing-government/article_ce40742a-4bba-11e1-baec-0019bb2963f4.html
Idaho Statesman; 1/31/2012
Excerpt: “The easy work for former adversaries in the Idaho timber wars was to start talking and develop trust.
Now those environmentalists, foresters and loggers are testing the strong relationships they’ve forged in collaborative efforts state-wide. The Idaho Forest Restoration Partnership is tackling the hard issues about how much timber can be cut and thinned to restore healthy forests, and how that will be paid for.
“So much of it comes down to what we are leaving behind,” said Jonathan Oppenheimer, senior associate for the Idaho Conservation League. “More and more, we’re having these discussions.” The collaborators are in Boise this week for two days of conferences aimed at finding common ground on thinning or cutting the forests of North Idaho…….”
Read entire article at http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/01/31/1974737/ex-foes-aim-for-common-groundon.html
Payson Roundup; 1/27/2012
Excerpt: “After a decade of threats, the Tonto National Forest is moving to shut down a 167-resident mobile home park overlooking Roosevelt Lake.
The Forest Service has decided that the decades-long lease of the land for the park filled mostly with trailers owned by vacation homeowners violates its policy barring exclusive private use of public lands.
However, the operators of the trailer park say the action will shut down the only sewage treatment operation in the area and could dry up business at the marina that represents one of the few economic enclaves on the southern shore of the lake……”
Read entire story at http://www.paysonroundup.com/news/2012/jan/27/trailer-park-residents-face-forest-service-closure/
Idaho Statesman; 1/30/2012
Excerpt: “A year ago, President Barack Obama used Northwest salmon management as the opening joke for his State of the Union address.
“The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in freshwater, but the Commerce Department handles them when they’re in saltwater,” Obama said. “I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.”
Now Obama is proposing to rearrange the structure of key environmental agencies. He says the change would improve species management and save taxpayers money. But skeptics worry that it could undercut the scientific independence and integrity of federal biologists.
As a part of his government reform plan, Obama is proposing to move the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the agency in charge of salmon in saltwater, to Interior. …..”
Read entire article at http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/01/30/1973628/a-new-approach-to-managing-endangered.html
Asheville Citizen Times; 1/27/2012
Excerpt: ASHEVILLE— Conservation groups welcomed “with cautious optimism” news of a new national forest planning rule unveiled Thursday by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
In a media conference call, Vilsack announced the release of the environmental impact statement for the new National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule, saying there would be a greater emphasis on science and watershed protection while promoting multiple uses such as logging and recreation when developing new forest management plans.
“The general impression is that we’re cautiously optimistic about the new rule. It puts importance on maintaining and restoring the ecological integrity of national forests, and we like that,” said Josh Kelly, public lands field biologist with the WNC Alliance, an Asheville-based conservation nonprofit……”
Read entire article at http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20120127/OUTDOORS/301270033/Forest-Service-unveils-new-regulations?
Arizona Republic Editorial; 1/29/2012
Excerpt: “Monster wildfires are threatening to burn up Arizona. Last year alone, they blackened more than 1,100 square miles — an area two and half times the size of Phoenix.
Our tree-choked forests have become explosively flammable, and the massive destruction won’t stop until we thin them out. The problem has been obvious for years, but progress has been maddeningly slow. The thinning projects so far have been too small and too expensive.
Now a historic collaboration, the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, has a plan to scale up the work through commercial timber operations that use small-diameter trees. Environmentalists and the industry have reached unusual agreement on the deal. It’s all ready to go.
Except for one last step. The U.S. Forest Service needs to award a contract……”
Read entire editorial at http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2012/01/28/20120128us-forest-project-editorial.html
Excerpt: “It’s no easy task figuring out how to balance forest and wildlife protection with logging, drilling and offroading on the nation’s 155 national forests, but the Obama administration on Thursday unveiled a rule it says will do just that. An era of collaboration and less litigation was promised with the rule managing forests, but some initial reaction by interested parties — which range from environmentalists to loggers to offroaders — was not promising…..”
Read entire article at http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/26/10243280-forests-for-all-new-federal-rule-aims-to-please
Excerpt: “What’s the difference between an appeal and an objection?
When dealing with the U.S. Forest Service, it determines whether your complaint gets dealt with on paper or face-to-face. A recent change in Forest Service decisionmaking requires project opponents to argue their points much earlier in the process.
Proponents of the change expect better, faster decisions on logging sales, special use permits and other activities on national forests. Agency sparring partners fear it limits people’s ability to block bad decisions…..”
Read entire article at http://missoulian.com/news/local/u-s-forest-service-streamlines-appeal-process/article_e9bec5f4-4a38-11e1-9bad-001871e3ce6c.html
Asheville Citizen Times; 1/26/2012
Excerpt: “Pollution, coal mining and natural gas exploration have put the Chesapeake Bay, North Carolina’s Piedmont and the mountains of Tennessee and Virginia on an environmentalgroup’s list of most endangered places in the Southeast.
The Southern Environmental Law Center released its fourth annual “Top 10 Endangered Places” on Thursday. Among the other entries and the threats are the Alabama coast, jeopardized by oil exploration; South Carolina’s Savannah River, by a shipping channel; and Tennessee’s Chilhowee Mountain, by a four-lane highway……”
Read entire article at http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20120127/NEWS01/301270023/NC-regions-land-list-most-endangered-places