Montana Wildfire arsonist receives 10 years

This 19-year-old set the Gash Creek Fire that smoked up Bitterroot Valley, Montana air for about 2 months last summer, and 18! other fires (most of which were quickly put out).

Story in the Missoulian. By Tristan Scott.

Federal judge tosses out new [Bush] rules governing national forests

The Bush Administration rewrote the rules and regulations that implement the laws that tell how national forest plans are to be done. The new regulations exempted the formation of new forest plans from NEPA (the most important forest decisions were regarded as not important enough to merit an environmental impact statement). The new rules reduced public participation and they also downgraded the standards for protecting wildlife.

AP story on the decision.

Most folks I knew thought the new regs were clearly in conflict with the law, and a judge has set them aside. However, this leaves forest planning in kind of a limbo — another Bush Administration mess-up (can I say sort of like the Iraq failure, but applied to the national forests?).

Posted in public lands management. Comments Off on Federal judge tosses out new [Bush] rules governing national forests

Nez Perce Tribe very concerned about Hells Canyon bighorn/domestic sheep mixing in upcoming grazing season

The Nez Perce Tribe issued a news release today expressing concern that in the upcoming grazing season there was a high probably of domestic sheep mixing with bighorn in Hells Canyon where restoration of bighorn herds has gone slowly. The Payette National Forest has promised to solve the problem (because the FS Chief upheld an appeal of their Forest Plan back in 2004), but with the near onset of grazing, it looks to be like they are doing nothing.

When domestic sheep mix with bighorn, the bighorn die of domestic sheep diseases very quickly. It cannot be tolerated.

The Tribe’s news release follows. It is very low key and respectfully written. I’m used to seeing “get your rear in gear, slackers, or we’ll see you court right away.” I hope the tone of the Tribe doesn’t lead the Forest Service and the livestock politicians not to take this seriously.

Read the rest of this entry »

She blinded me with “science” . . . more on Julie MacDonald’s misdeeds at Interior

Read She blinded me with “science” Filed under: Politics, Corruption — Jodi Peterson at 6:26 pm on Thursday, March 29, 2007. In Goat, High Country News blog.

Update. March 31, 2007. The Sagebrush Sea Campaign reports on MacDonald’s manipulations of endangered species. DOI Inspector General Confirms Political Interference in Greater Sage-grouse, Other ESA Listing Decisions

Posted in politics. Comments Off on She blinded me with “science” . . . more on Julie MacDonald’s misdeeds at Interior

An American icon in the crosshairs? Bush’s delisting plans harmful to wolf recovery in Oregon

Few animals stir up as much emotion and heated debate as gray wolves. In many ways these majestic predators are the symbol of American wilderness, of wild places that have not yet been clear-cut or paved over. They were once common throughout Western America, including Oregon, but a misguided policy of using tax dollars to fund extermination programs drove them to the brink of extinction.Today gray wolves represent the beginning of a great American conservation success story. Because of the safety net provided by the Endangered Species Act, and the hard work of countless biologists, landowners and concerned citizens, wolves are making a strong comeback.But in February, the Bush administration announced plans to remove western gray wolves from the endangered species list and hand over management to state governments. The proposal comes as a mixed blessing. On one hand, it means wolf populations are rebounding, at least in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming — there are still no confirmed wolf packs here in Oregon. But it also means the feds will hand the keys over to states like Idaho, which could spell disaster for Idaho’s wolves and wolf recovery in Oregon.This is from a guest opinion in the Salem (OR) Statesman Journal. Read the full story. (Link has been moved or deleted by Statesman Journal)

Three groups ask judge to kill Alaska governor’s new bounty on wolves

Alaska’s offer of $150 for each wolf killed under its predator control program is nothing more than an illegal bounty and should be stopped immediately, conservation groups said Tuesday in court filings. Full story in the Casper Star Tribune. By Mary Pemberton. AP

Alaska’s new governor wants a lot more wolves killed than were killed this winter, so she has implemented $150 for each wolf killed as an “incentive.” The Alaska state legislature revoked all bounties in the state a number of years ago. The groups say calling a bounty “an incentive” doesn’t mean it isn’t a bounty. It seems like the groups are easily correct.

Posted in Wolves. 1 Comment »