Idaho Bighorn Sheep/Domestic Sheep Advisory Group Waiting for Governor Otter

If SB1175 is signed into law collaborative group may collapse

Bighorn sheep lamb © Ken Cole

Bighorn sheep lamb © Ken Cole

Today there was meeting of the Idaho Bighorn Sheep/Domestic Sheep Advisory Group which ended early due to concerns of various groups about how Senate Bill 1175 will affect what the group does.

At the present time SB1175 is awaiting Governor Otter’s signature or veto and no-one is sure where he stands. The Idaho Bighorn Sheep/Domestic Sheep Advisory Group was formed at the behest of the Governor to address how to protect both bighorn sheep and domestic sheep but many in the group fear that SB1175 subverts this process and defines the policy of the State of Idaho without the input of all parties.

At the beginning of the meeting Senator Jeff Siddoway, a Republican sheep rancher from Terreton, Idaho and sponsor of SB 1175, was in attendance and was asked to describe what the bill does and to answer other questions. He seemed, to my eyes, uncertain about many of the aspects of the bill and could not answer some pointed questions about it such as what is meant by “appropriate separation” between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep and what exactly is meant by this passage:

It is the policy of the state of Idaho that existing sheep or livestock operations in the area of any bighorn sheep transplant or relocation are recognized and that the potential risk, if any, of disease transmission and loss of bighorn sheep when the same invade domestic livestock or sheep operations is accepted

Specifically, what is meant by transplanted or relocated sheep? Does this refer to sheep that will be transplanted or relocated or does it refer to sheep that have been transplanted or relocated.  Also, what does recognizing existing sheep or livestock operations in affected areas mean? Read the rest of this entry »

Idaho Environmental Council prints final newsletter

The IEC was pretty much Idaho’s original environmental group-

Rocky Barker wrote today about the IEC putting out their last newsletter.

Jerry Jayne, who was the primary person keeping the IEC going  in recent years, was probably the first Idaho environmentalist I met. His dogged and unheralded work over many years should be recognized.

He certainly taught me a lot, and especially not to stop fighting the bastards!  Thanks so much Jerry!

Idaho Environmental Council prints final newsletter. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman

China Mountain/Brown’s Bench Wind developer wants to keep its deals secret

Browns Bench © Katie Fite 2008, (Click to view Slideshow)

Brown's Bench © Katie Fite 2008, (Click to view Slideshow)

You might remember the controversial project that resulted in an IDFG regional supervisor to lose his job after pointing out the obvious – namely, that energy developments (yes, even ‘blessed’ Wind) on public lands impact wildlife and habitat in southern Idaho.  The wind company at issue on China Mountain/Brown’s Bench is RES Americas Inc., and recently it looks as if the only thing “renewable” about RES Americas is the questionable contracts it keeps producing.

They seem to want to keep their contracts secret. For example, they prevented a daughter from blowing the whistle on an RES wind-contract that her mother was asked to sign in South Dakota.  Mom asked her daughter to look over the contract because she worked as a lawyer for NV Energy, RES Americas Inc.’s partner on the China Mountain project :

Wind companies want to nix contract disclosuresAP

Sannes asked her daughter to look over the lease, and when she did, she “called me and said, ‘This is the worst contract I have ever seen,'” Sannes said in an interview. She said company representatives told her 80 of her Barnes County neighbors had signed it.

It just goes to show, Wind’s got good PR people – but with the same investors and business model as before is it really fair to call them “clean”.  It looks as though folk are getting blown over all over the country. Let’s not let our public lands be next.

Read the rest of this entry »

National Parks get a $750-million shot in the arm today

Stimulus package gives the national parks a rare pot of money-

Despite how Americans love their national parks, this rarely translates into appropriations. While an big increase in appropriations is still needed, this is a significant event, which, according to the article, will also create many jobs.

National parks to get $750 million today. By Andrea Stone. USA Today.

Officials hunt for pair of wolves south of Casper

Let’s hope they don’t find them and the wolves make it to the legal safety of Colorado-

Officials hunt for pair of wolves south of Casper. Casper Star Tribune.

Today is Earth Day!

Mostly likely  there will be events near you.

One billion expected to celebrate Earth Day. CNN

Gillett rails against wolves to crowd of 25 in Idaho Falls

Anti-Wolf Group Spreads Message in Idaho Falls. By Danielle Grant, Local News 8 Reporter