Kempthorne struggles to construct clean image… and bathroom

Department of Interior Secretarty Dirk Kempthorne swung into Boise, Idaho in a fleet of black Escalades yesterday to attend a luncheon in honor of his “public service”.   While industry leaders met with Idaho’s politicos to celebrate Kempthorne’s ‘achievement’ Western Watersheds Project’s Katie Fite, Ken Cole and indie rock band Built to Spill bassist guitarist Brett Netson stood in the snow to bring attention to Kempthorne’s dismal record at Interior :

The protesters called attention to unethical actions of staffers in the department, which they say occurred during Kempthorne’s leadership and under the direction of his predecessor Gale Norton.

Yeah, let’s not forget all these midnight regulations, the attempt to gut the ESA (in a number of ways), the free-for-all oil & gas extravaganza and any number of other transgressions that occur(ed) under Kempthorne’s watch.

But Dirk, like any crafty politician, has never been one to let the truth stand in the way of a good talking point double-speak :

Read the rest of this entry »

Miscellaneous bunch of groups may sue on wolf delisting this time

Next suit may not just be groups that support protecting wolves-

The Casper Star Tribune has an article today saying that Wyoming government and Wyoming livestock groups might sue to halt the newest attempt to delist the wolf. Of course pro-wolf groups will sue.

It’s interesting that the delisting hasn’t taken place yet. Folks thought USFWS would rush the delisting through lest Cheney have them waterboarded or worse, but here it is Jan. 5. 2009.

Here is the story. Wolf debate lingers into new year. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star Tribune.

Barker: Attorney Laird Lucas gears up to fight energy plants

Lucas is one of the finest environmental lawyers in the country. He understands that MASSIVE alternative energy wind and solar farms are not the answer-

We have discussed the problems with massive energy generation in remote locations with long transmission lines a lot in this forum. It’s good to see  someone of Lucas’ caliber understands and will fight. It looks like Rocky Barker understands too. He has written quite a bit about this lately.

Rocky Barker: Attorney Laird Lucas gears up to fight energy plants. Idaho Statesman.

More last minute Administration swipe at the economy and the environment

Mark Rey set to hamstring Western national forests and counties allowing developers to pave Forest Service logging roads for remote subdivisions-

The “Darth Vader” of the national forests is poised to strike again during the Administration’s deaththrows. Former timber lobbyist Rey, who bosses the Forest Service, will try to set in stone the plan to make it easier to turn the remote backcountry to ugly, tax-draining subdivisions.

This is on behalf of Plum Creek Timber who would rather sale for subdivisions their timberlands interspersed with national forest land rather than grow trees. Plum Creek has about 8 million areas, mostly as the result of the 1864 Northern Pacific Land Grant.

This continues the host of housing policies of the Bush Administration which have caused a collapse of the economy of the United States and plunged the entire world into a recession. Fortunately, Obama can reverse this. In fact, he specifically referred to this during has campaigning in Montana.

U.S. Forest Policy Is Set to Change, Aiding Developer. Shift Would Let Firm Pave Logging Roads. By Karl Vick. Washington Post.

Mark Rey

Mark Rey

Update. Plum Creek Backs Off Road Easements in Montana. Timber company tells Missoula County the easement amendments are off the table, just as Mark Rey was ready to go to bat for it. By Matthew Frank, 1-05-09. New West.

2nd update. Forest Service too backs off road easements. By Courtney Lowery. New West.


Kathie Lynch: end of the year Yellowstone Park wolf notes-

Wolf watching good in cold and snowy Yellowstone-

Once again Kathie Lynch has favored us with her detailed observations of the wolves on Yellowstone’s northern range. The redistribution of the much reduced wolf population continues, with the Druids providing a note of stability.

Famous wolf 302M seems to now, finally, lead a pack, although mating season is upon us and often causes even more wolf pack restructuring.

Here are three previous links to put Lynch’s report in context:

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Yellowstone wolf notes

by © Kathie Lynch

The holidays in Yellowstone–a winter wonderland of endless snow, howling winds, temperatures barely above and sometimes below zero degrees F, icy roads, very occasional sunshine (one day in two weeks!)–and wonderful surprises, including a Christmas grizzly and wolves whenever or wherever you could find them. Luckily, the Druid Peak pack, 302M’s Group, the Canyon Group, 471F’s Group, 470F’s Group (the “Everts Pack”), and even the elusive former Slough 527F all contributed to make it a true Wonderland for wolf watchers! Read the rest of this entry »

Ranchers oppose bison relocation

Opposition to restoration of genetically pure bison to Fort Peck once again shows the real agenda-

Ranchers from nearly empty NE Montana are opposing the restoration of bison (derived from Yellowstone) to the remote Fort Peck area.

Once again they cite brucellosis, even those these bison have been quarantined for three years. They obviously think they can ride the fear of this not so fearsome disease another mile or two trying to hide their true agency of showing us all who is really the boss in Montana, including Native Americans who refuse to take their subordinate position.

Ranchers oppose bison relocation. By Tom Lutey. Billings Gazette Staff

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A reminder on tomorrow’s (Jan. 5) bison rally.

WHO: Buffalo Field Campaign, Buffalo Allies of Bozeman, and everyone who cares about restoring wild bison in Montana
* WHAT: March & Rally in Defense of Wild Bison in Montana
* WHEN: Monday, January 5, 2009. 9:00 am – 10:30 am
* WHERE: Meet at Women’s Park in Helena, located between Neil and Fuller Avenues, then march to the state capitol around 9:30 am.

Link to Buffalo Field Campaign.

Note: I don’t speak for the Buffalo Field Campaign or Buffalo Allies. My opinions about the motivation of ranchers is my own. Ralph Maughan

A dark horse choice to replace Ken Salazar in the U.S. Senate

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet gets the nod from Colorado Governor Ritter-

The good news is it looks like Bennet is of a greener disposition than Salazar.

From the blog Colorado pols . . . Michael Bennet, Everybody!

115 Groups urge Ag Secretary Nominee to End Wildlife Service’s mass killing of wildlife

Groups want lethal control programs ended-

Here is the news release:

WILLIAMS, Ore.– Today, 115 conservation, animal protection, ranching, and faith-based organizations submitted a letter to Tom Vilsack, the Agriculture Secretary nominee, urging him to end the federal government’s systematic killing of wildlife, including wolves, coyotes, bears, cougars, and prairie dogs. Members of the coalition – comprised of Big Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Creation Care Study Program, Christians for Environmental Stewardship, Humane Society of the United States, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Sierra Club, and Ranchers for Rural Responsibility, among many others – said that each year the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services kills millions of wild animals, primarily on behalf of agribusiness. Coalition members said halting the agency’s “lethal control” programs should be one of the nominee’s first steps once he is confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture. (See complete list of signatories below.)
Read the rest of this entry »

In Obama’s Team, 2 Camps on Climate

Want a relatively inexpensive method of removing carbon with small economic impact? Remove livestock from the vast acreage of public lands-

Story in the New York Times. Two camps. By John Broder  (story doesn’t mention the above because Obama team is unaware of how much cattle and sheep reduce the amount of carbon rangelands can sequester and just as bad, add methane to the air).

Open thread. Discuss what you want.

I have not posted an open thread for about three months. Thanks for the request.

New Idaho bi-weekly wolf report

Latest Idaho wolf report is entirely short of site specific information-

There are some interesting figures on numbers of livestock and wolves killed . . . an unnecessary number of both in my opinion. It should also be noted 2 dead head of livestock, 7 wolves killed by Wildlife Services. Ralph Maughan

IDAHO WOLF MANAGEMENT

BI-WEEKLY PROGRESS REPORT

To: Idaho Fish and Game Staff and Cooperators

From: IDFG Wolf Program Coordinator, Steve Nadeau

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Management, Weeks of Dec. 5- Dec. 31, 2008.

Delisting: FWS – Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Status (WY, MT, ID):

For the time being, all wolves to the north of Interstate- 90 in Idaho remain listed as endangered. All wolves in the southern half of Montana, all portions of Idaho south of Interstate-90, and all of Wyoming are being managed under the 2005 and 2008 Endangered Species Act nonessential experimental population 10j regulations. The State of Idaho Department of Fish and Game is acting as the designated agent for the USFWS in implementing day-to-day management of wolves under the MOU between the Secretary of Interior and Governor of Idaho signed January 2006.

Delisting wolves and assuring their proper long-term management is and has been of highest priority for the state of Idaho and the Fish and Game Department. We continue to work along with the Department of Interior, Department of Justice, and other states and interveners toward the eventual delisting of wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains, and move toward state management under the State Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and the Wolf Population Management Plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Webcams capture success of deer underpasses

Some good results on US 30 in Southwestern Wyoming-

Webcams show deer quickly using new underpasses– By Jeff Gearino. Casper Star Tribune. Southwest Wyoming bureau.

Over 800 deer have already used the underpasses. Other animals too.

Obama will face Bush legacy on environment

Will Obama act quickly to overturn Bush’s midnight regulations or replace them slowly with “deliberation?”

Obama will face Bush legacy on environment. By Jim Tankersley. Washington Bureau

Posted in politics. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Obama will face Bush legacy on environment

Compensation for Montana game farms denied

Montana voters will not have to pay for their wise defense of the public interest-

Compensation for game farms denied. Associated Press. Great Falls Tribune Staff.

I wish someone organize Idaho voters to tackle elk farm issue. Some fat ass comes in and plugs an elk up against a fence goes home with his tales of the Idaho wild country.

Land auction monkeywrencher has a new plan

Univ. of Utah Student Tim DeChristopher could receive enough money to pay holding fees on leases he won in bid-

DeChristopher hopes to run out the clock

By Patty Henetz. The Salt Lake Tribune

Speculation on why Salazar?

George Wuerthner analysis why Ken Salazar got the nod-

Why Salazar?  By George Wuerthner, New West.

One interesting thought is that with senator Ken Salazar gone, the much more progressive Mark Udall will become Colorado’s senior senator. I should add that for progressives to improve their senatorial lot in Colorado, Ken Salazar’s appointed replacement cannot be his perhaps even less progressive brother, congressman, John Salazar.

Increasing Agreement on Carbon Taxes — Goodbye 2008 Conventional Wisdom

Huffington Post Analysis says carbon taxes work better and more feasible politically than cap-and-trade-

The argument that cap-and-trade has always had going for it was political feasibility, but maybe a revenue neutral carbon tax is more feasible. Economic theory would predict a more rapid response to a tax than to a market in pollution (or carbon release permits).

Story. By Dan Rosenblum
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~ And here is a related, new idea (to me) — personal carbon savings accounts. Green Stimulus. By Kathleen Rogers. Real Women; Real Voices.