After election, Republicans plan attack on EPA and climate scientists if they win the House

In the old Soviet Union, being a scientist was a dangerous thing unless discoveries upheld the Party’s ideology-

Doubt GOP will be put scientists in a gulag. They will just be investigated and badgered out of a job.

GOP plans attacks on the EPA and climate scientists. By Neela Banerjee. Los Angeles Times

Movement of giant oil equipment through Montana sparks Missoula protest

Oversized, outsized equipment protest. . . the first of years of citizen anger against environmental disruption and traffic delays?

It seems to me that this will not be a one time event because the passage of this huge equipment through north central Idaho and then Montana will be ongoing for many years.

Missoula demonstrators protest big rigs, fossil fuels at Exxon station. By Gwen Florio.  Missoulian

One reason why domestic sheep are such disease ridden menaces?

Sheep laden with germs and parasites are more likely to produce lambs than less diseased sheep-

I don’t know if this is a strange result of evolution or due to deliberate breeding, but it is shocking.

Sheep Study Finds an Upside to a Weak Immune System. New York Times.

Leaving Las Vegas: Will Sharon Angle turn out the lights?

Will the resource-sucking “sin city” be reclaimed by the desert?

Everyone knows at least a little bit about Las Vegas. To many visitors, Las Vegas is Nevada. In terms of population this is almost true. The large majority of the state’s population lives in Clark County (Las Vegas) — almost 2-million people live in this small southern Nevada urban area.  Reno is the only other major population center.

There is the real Nevada. It’s a land of vast deserts (both hot desert and cold Great Basin desert).  Over a hundred mountain ranges bisect the desert basins. Scenery is wonderful, although it is not the classical jagged glacier peaks and deep forest. Population density is very low. Best of all, almost 80% of the state is public land. You don’t have to ask permission to use it.

On the other hand, it is not pristine land. Most of the land is grazed by cattle, although Nevada is regularly held up as an example of the poorest grazing land in America. Much of north central Nevada is being torn apart by vast gold mine pits that spew their poisonous mercury upon the residents of Utah and Idaho. The gold pits are late comers to an earlier era of mining that created towns like Searchlight, Nevada.

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Idaho Gov. Candidate Allred: “On public lands, to me, wildlife populations have to take priority”

Public land ranchers concerned about candidate’s position that public lands ought be managed to preserve Idaho’s wildlife heritage

Idaho’s Gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred, challenger to “Butch” Otter, recently drew a distinction between wildlife management on public versus private land, standing behind Idaho sportsmen on the bighorn sheep issue :

Candidate’s Comments Cause for Concern – Frank Priestley, Idaho Farm Bureau President

During the October 9th discussion between Allred and members of the Idaho Sportsmen’s Caucus Advisory Council, the subject of bighorn sheep management came up. Following are Allred’s comments verbatim:

“My family a hundred years ago was driving sheep and cattle up to the Sawtooth Valley and running sheep. So I’d like to see a viable sheep industry. But we also have a long enough family history that we remember when there (were) much more substantial bighorn sheep populations in Idaho than there are now. So how do you manage those competing perspectives? Here’s one kind of distinction I would draw: On public lands, to me, wildlife populations have to take priority over individual private interests, really economic interests, and grazing. On private lands then private property owners need to take priority.”

(Emphasis added)

This recognition that wildlife management on public lands ought reflect all Idahoans’ interest, and ought preserve Idaho’s wildlife heritage is threatening to some.

To most, it’s just plain common sense.

UPDATE:  Allred Licks the Boot 10/29/10 : Statement on Bighorn and Domestic Sheep – Keith Allred, Ag Weekly

From Keith Allred – I’m sorry to have inappropriately applied the distinction between public and private land to bighorn and domestic sheep questions in recent comments I made to the Sportsman’s Caucus. I’d like to clarify my points and suggest a solution.

[More…]


WWP & Wolf Recovery Foundation: “Wildlife Services” slaughter of wolves in Idaho is Unlawful

Advocates for the West‘s Laurie Rule (best known for her esteemed success in the Payette National Forest on behalf of bighorn sheep) has filed another brief on behalf of Western Watersheds Project & The Wolf Recovery Foundation’s lawsuit against Wildlife Services’ wolf control activities in Idaho (complaint & associated filings).

This lawsuit asks the court to stop Wildlife Services from engaging in wolf “control” efforts until the agency fully analyzes its impact to Idaho wolves and a host of other environmental values that it affects.

Plaintiffs’ Response/Reply In Opposition to Defendants’ Cross Motion and in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion For Summary Judgment

This brief makes three basic arguments with respect to WWP & The Wolf Recovery Foundation’s claim that Wildlife Services’ wolf control program should be shut down in Idaho for failure to comply with NEPA and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) Act:

  • Wildlife Services has never adequately analyzed a range of alternatives to its existing wolf control activities and their effects, in violation of NEPA
  • Wildlife Services unlawfully relies on “Categorical Exclusions” (from NEPA) for its Wolf Control Actions
  • Wildlife Services failed to consider whether its wolf control actions within or near the SNRA cause “substantial impairment” of SNRA values, including wildlife

Thanks Laurie !!

Greater Yellowstone grizzly numbers top 600 for first time

Record population is reached amidst a year of bear food stress and many mortalities-

This is a replacement of the original article (it’s more complete). Grizzly numbers hit new high in Yellowstone region. By Matthew Brown. AP

Because of the late spring, just average berry crop, and failure of the whitebark pine nut crop (there will be no more successes), the record number of grizzlies (603) have been very hungry and have come into lots of contact with humans. The death toll of grizzlies is getting close to 50 just before hibernation.

Latest: Hunter shoots grizzly in the South Fork Shoshone. Wyoming Bureau, Billings Gazette

Here are the details on grizzly mortality (up to number 47). 2010 Known and Probable Grizzly Bear Mortalities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK). USGS.

Here is the sorry news on Whitebark Pine nut production. http://www.nrmsc.usgs.gov/files/norock/products/IGBST/2010Wbp_FINAL.pdf