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
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/
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
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/
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
Colorado Springs Gazette 5/7/2013
Excerpt: “The U.S. Forest Service on Monday announced a much-anticipated plan to field the ‘next generation ‘ of large air tankers – a move that could modernize and nearly double the nation’s dwindling fleet of large slurry-dropping planes.
Serious questions remain, however, on when those planes would take to the sky. Hours after the agency announced plans to award $158 million in contracts for seven tankers over five years, at least one business threatened to appeal the move. ….”
Read entire article at http://gazette.com/forest-service-announces-plans-for-new-fleet-of-firefighting-air-tankers/article/1500371
Knoxville News Sentinel 5/3/2013
Excerpt: “TALLASSEE — The overlook on U.S. Highway 129 was filled to capacity with motorcyclists from Texas, Florida and Louisiana. They had pulled off the Tail of the Dragon, an 11-mile stretch of highway in Blount County famous for its scenery and curves, and now they were taking photos. Below the overlook was Calderwood Lake, a deep-blue finger lake along the Little Tennessee River.
With the Cherokee National Forest on one side of the road and Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the other, the mountain scenery stretched out in every direction as far as the eye could see. The forested lands along Calderwood Lake seen from that overlook are part of 4,000 acres that The Nature Conservancy soon will purchase from Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners, a Canada-based company that in 2012 purchased Alcoa Inc.’s four hydroelectric dams — Chilhowee, Calderwood, Cheoah and Santeetlah — along the Little Tennessee River. …”
Read entire article at http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/may/03/4000-acre-land-deal-links-the-smokies-and-forest/
Washington Post 5/3/2013
Excerpt: “WASHINGTON — The U.S. Forest Service is in the business of preventing fires, not starting them. Yet the agency set off alarms in Congress and state capitols across the West by citing the automatic spending cuts as the basis for demanding that dozens of states return $17.9 million in federal subsidies. And it’s all come down to a bureaucratic squabble over whether the money is subject to so-called sequestration because of the year it was paid — 2013 — as the Obama administration contends, or exempt from the cuts because of the year it was generated — 2012 — as the states insist.
Right now, it’s a standoff heightened by history and hard fiscal realities. …”
Read entire article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/forest-service-push-for-return-of-subsidy-money-stokes-concern-about-breadth-of-spending-cuts/2013/05/03/b6f06960-b3c4-11e2-9fb1-62de9581c946_story.html
Associated Press 5/2/2013
Excerpt: “JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska’s governor is refusing to repay more than $800,000 to the U.S. Forest Service due to automatic federal budget cuts.
Gov. Sean Parnell, in a letter to the agency’s chief, says he doesn’t believe the Forest Service is authorized to demand the money back. He won’t ask the Legislature to consider the request. Parnell says the amount in question includes $707,000 that’s already been paid to the state and $118,000 not yet allocated. …”
Read entire article at http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2013/05/alaska_governor_refuses_forest.html