Stopping growth in Teton County, Idaho

No one will surprised to learn that growth on the Idaho side of the Tetons is out-of-control.

The linked article by Pacific Northwest political observer Randy Stapilus about enactment of a 6-month growth moratorium in Teton County is interesting here because people keep saying we need to subsidize the ranchers. We need to let them run amuck with their livestock so they won’t sub-divide, but the article makes it clear those against growth management are the ranchers, who want to subdivide because it’s their retirement. New comers are often bad-mouthed, but newcomers are the ones with the idea an area can be kept intact as it grows. It’s the ranchers who will ruin the community to help themselves. I hardly blame them for wanting to retire, but the solution is the national grazing buyout which gives them retirement money, but lets them keep the ranch itself.

Stapilus writes: “The discussion was fired up — definitely some very pragmatic and concerned new comers were pitted against some of the most pissed off ranchers I’ve ever seen.”

Divide Wide Over Mexican Wolf Program

This is bad news for the struggling Mexican wolf program, but the blame is on these rural counties who for years have believed that obeying the law is optional. I am not just badmouthing them, this was heart of county secession, militia movement back in the 1990s.

Story in the Las Cruces Sun News. AP

The fact that the psychologist mention in the story, found that children in the area startled more easily now than before wolf reintroduction and were “clingy” with their parents, is just what you’d expect if their parents were telling them that there were big bad wolves all around ready to gobble them up. I expect scaring the children also results in  reports from frightened children who bring back an exaggerated story to their parents, who then reinforce the cycle of fear and recrimination.

Fear, including this irrational fear, is very contagious. There is social pathology here.

Additional wolf delisting hearing slated for Cody on April 19.

The time and place for the Cody wolf delisting hearing has been set.

Open house, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (brief presentations about the proposed rule will be given at both 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.), and public hearing, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., will be held April 19, 2007, Thursday, at the Cody Auditorium Facility, 1240 Beck Avenue, Cody, WY 82414.

The purpose, I suppose, is the congressional request from Wyoming motivated to provide an opportunity for anti-wolf forces to muster a majority at one public hearing on delisting. Here is more information

Read the rest of this entry »

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Ex-Dept of Interior Auditor Says He Was Told to Be Lax on Oil Fees

Another DOI outrage has been revealed by the new congress.

Story in the New York Times. By Edmund L. Andrews.

You can bet DOI employees were told to be lax on a lot of other things besides collecting fees from the oil companies on your public land!
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Update. What a day for expose’ of the Department of Interior!

Report Says Interior Official Overrode Work of Scientists. By Felicity Barranger. New York Times. Here is the Inspector General’s report on what Ms. McDonald was up to. 

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Wuerthner: Hunting In National Parks Not Appropriate

This is a guest opinion column in New West.

It is proposed to reduce the obvious overpopulation of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park by hunting. There are other possbilities. Wuerthner doesn’t like the hunting option and explains why. He prefers predation of the elk.

I’d like to see wolves reintroduced too, but they would not very efficient at reducing the elk population in the Park because, as we have seen, wolves most often do not reduce ungulate populations. Rocky Mountain National Park is very small compared to Yellowstone, and in Yellowstone the wolves quickly expanded outside of YNP (as was predicted and desired). So it would really be a wolf reintroduction to Colorado, not to Rocky Mountain National Park alone.

Unparalleled views impress tourists at the opening of the Skywalk over the Grand Canyon

This glass bottomed walk over the Grand Canyon is on the little-visited Indian Reservation part of the Canyon far downstream of where most tourists see the canyon.

There are complaints about this intrusion, but I see it as little compared to the traffic jam of aerial sightseeing over the canyon.

The purpose is to make money for the Tribe, and the whole thing is pretty expensive.

Story in the Arizona Republic by Stephanie Paterik

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“Montana, Don’t Be Another Wyoming,” says Bill Schneider

Columnist Bill Schneider at New West writes: Earlier this week, the Montana House of Representatives, on a 58-41 vote, passed an appropriation to send at least $150,000 in the hard-earned tax money to a Cheyenne law firm (Budd-Falen) to sue the federal government–at the same time cutting money for programs like all-day kindergarten, assistance for the mentally ill and foster care for Meth babies. Read the rest.

He fears that Montana may go the way of Idaho and Wyoming on wolves because this money would hire a well known far right Wyoming law firm to get Montana involved in Wyoming’s delisting lawsuit.

Folks needs some explanation, however. The Republican Party gained control of the Montana House in the last election by one vote (actually on the vote of an extremist 3rd party candidate who doesn’t even believe there should be public education). The Republicans rewarded him by making him chairman of the House’s education committee! Democrats control the state senate by a narrow margin and the governor is a Democrat.

The Republican majority in the House is mostly bunch of far right wing ideologues and their extremist notions will most likely killed by the Senate and/or the governor. However, it is possible that this appropriation to enter the Wyoming lawsuit could slip through as part of a larger deal to settle the budget crisis the Republicans have created in Montana.

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