The Grid May Be Smart, But Will It Also Be Green?

With all of the talk about “smart grid technology” and “green” energy recently you may wonder if the two are really what they are claimed to be.   Here is a story about “smart grid technology” which indicates that it may not be all that green.

“Anybody who’s proposing a transmission line in the United States these days is going to claim it’s going to be used for renewable — it’s going to be a ‘green’ line because that’s mom and apple pie.”
Dian Grueneich,
California Public Utilities Commissioner

The Grid May Be Smart, But Will It Also Be Green?
National Public Radio.

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House backs Hell’s Canyon sheep bill

Now it’s up to the Governor.

Bighorn sheep near North Fork, Idaho © Ken Cole

Bighorn sheep near North Fork, Idaho © Ken Cole

This bill is not just going to affect bighorn sheep in Hell’s Canyon, it affects bighorn sheep throughout the state. It is political game management which can be changed at the whim of livestock industry pressure.

It does not address important issues regarding disease transmission and basically writes off recovery of declining bighorn sheep populations as “acceptable”.

The media has not reported that there has been an amendment to the bill changing the timeframe in which the IDFG must develop, with the permittees, best management practices.

Here is the new language in the bill:

“(E) The Idaho department of fish and game: (1) shall develop a state management plan to maintain a viable, self-sustaining population of bighorn sheep in Idaho which shall consider as part of the plan the current federal or state domestic sheep grazing allotment(s) that currently have any bighorn sheep upon or in proximity to the allotment(s); (2) within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this act will cooperatively develop best management practices with the permittee(s) on the allotment(s). Upon commencement of the implementation of best management practices, the director shall certify that the risk of disease transmission, if any, between bighorn and domestic sheep is acceptable for the viability of the bighorn sheep. The director’s certification shall continue for as long as the best management practices are implemented. The director may also certify that the risk of disease transmission, if any, between bighorn and domestic sheep is acceptable for the viability of the bighorn sheep based upon a finding that other factors exist, including but not limited to previous exposure to pathogens that make separation between bighorn and domestic sheep unnecessary.”

This language ensures that disease transmission will continue and that it is “acceptable”.

Here is the old language:

(E) The Idaho department of fish and game: (1) shall develop a state management plan to maintain a viable, selfsustaining population of bighorn sheep in Idaho; and (2) within one hundred twenty (120) days of the effective date of this act will cooperatively develop best management practices with permittees for their federal and state grazing allotments that include or adjoin core populations of bighorn sheep as determined by the department. Upon commencement of the implementation of best management practices, the director shall certify that the potential risk of disease transmission, if any, between bighorn and domestic sheep is acceptable for the viability of the bighorn sheep core population. The director’s certification shall continue for as long as the best management practices are implemented by the permittee. The director may also certify that the potential risk of disease transmission, if any, between bighorn and domestic sheep is acceptable for the viability of the bighorn sheep core population based upon a finding that other factors exist, including but not limited to previous exposure to pathogens that make separation between bighorn and domestic sheep unnecessary.

House backs Hell’s Canyon sheep bill
Associated Press

Yellowstone Northern Range wolf update. April 2009

Kathie Lynch’s latest trip to Yellowstone found early spring wolf denning triumph mixed with tragedy-

Yellowstone Wolf News. April 4-12, 2009. By © Kathie Lynch.

“Spring” in Yellowstone means a few days of warm weather, followed by a return to snowy winter and then springtime again. As the snow melts, it gets harder and harder to find the gray wolves against the sage, dirt and rock backdrop, but, thankfully, the blacks still stand out.

My nine day spring break (April 4-12, 2009) started without a wolf sighting on the first day–unless the canid that materialized down the road in front of my car, just east of the high bridge near Mammoth, really was the light gray former Agate 471F and not a coyote!

Considering that 471F, her alpha male (Montana 147M), and her younger sister (the “’06 Agate Female”) had often been sighted in the area, maybe I didn’t get shut out after all!

In fact, the very next day, there they were right next to the road near an elk carcass, which was almost under the bridge at the Lava Creek picnic area. Unfortunately, it was so close to the road, the rangers had to move it away, so the wolves didn’t even get to eat their fill. Read the rest of this entry »

Midvale residents say Gov. Otter has abandoned rural Idaho

Otter pushes for road money, but residents gripe about feds, wild sheep

Here in Idaho the legislature has gone into overtime because Governor Otter vetoed 35 appropriation bills over the course of a few days because he wants the legislature to raise gas taxes for road construction projects. They are not complying.

Each month Governor Otter spends a day in an Idaho town or city in his program “Capitol for a Day”. This time he spent the day in Midvale, Idaho and got an ear-full from the rural residents, who overwhelmingly supported him in the election, about his proposed gas tax increase and his veto of the bighorn sheep killing bill SB1175.

This is an interesting look at the conflicting values of rural and urban values.

Midvale residents say Gov. Otter has abandoned rural Idaho
DAN POPKEY, Idaho Statesman

Senate OKs new bill to help resolve sheep conflict

Will this save the collaborative group?

Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole

Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole

The new bill, SB1232, passed the Senate but will it save the Bighorn Sheep Domestic Sheep Advisory Group? Some of the members of the advisory group are saying the new bill interferes with what the group was formed to do and is still bad for bighorn sheep. Will the advisory group continue?

Senate OKs new bill to help resolve sheep conflict
Associated Press

Changing attitudes stymie elk managers

As elk hunters in Montana let out a bellow for wolf “control” right alongside their friends in other western states – elk distribution and populations in Montana demonstrate a soaring population of elk in areas – enough so that ranchers are getting fed up with elk depredation on cattle forage.

Changing attitudes stymie elk managersHelena Independent Record

Soaring population

Elk populations are soaring in some areas and a concern that other management techniques — changing hunting seasons, instituting more areas where only antlerless elk can be hunted or even something as drastic as using sharpshooters to cull herds, similar to what’s been done to deer in Helena, or paying people to hunt — might be necessary in the future unless something is done now.

The article also hits on a key demographic change in the West ~ people are valuing wildlife more and more, and the old-line adversarial relationship to the natural world (what some folk call the “Livestock Culture of Death”) is waning.

Another article via the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) looks at populations throughout the West :

Elk Populations SoaringNew West, Guest Column

Population highlights among top elk states: California, Nevada and New Mexico experienced the greatest increases with growth exceeding 100 percent. Colorado, Montana and Utah herds are 50-70 percent larger. Oregon and Wyoming are up 20-40 percent.

The article demonstrates that it’s chiefly habitat conservation initiatives and management regimes with regard to take of elk that RMEF attributes to having had such an impact on elk numbers.

Clearly hostility toward wolves, and other predators, is being fomented by something other than sound reasoning and data which would suggest wolves will wipe out all of the elk herds.

Officials to reconsider sheep grazing

Nez Perce National Forest will write a new EIS to reconsider sheep grazing in the Salmon River Canyon.

The Allison-Berg Allotment, which lies east of Riggins, is in occupied bighorn sheep habitat where disease is a real concern. It appears that the Nez Perce Forest may follow the Payette National Forest’s lead on how to deal with domestic sheep allotments in bighorn sheep habitat.

The allotment has not been used since a federal judge ruled in favor of protecting bighorn sheep in 2007.

Officials to reconsider sheep grazing
Lewiston Morning Tribune