Idaho lawmaker hopes to make justice on Megaloads unaffordable

Idaho lawmakers hope to dissuade public access to judicial review of state megaload approvals by forcing them to post huge sums of money before access to court is granted.

Idaho bill targets anti-megaload lawsuitsSpokesman Review

BOISE – Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, has introduced legislation requiring anyone who files a lawsuit against a transportation project on state highways to post a bond equal to 5 percent of the value of the items being hauled, and if the plaintiffs lose the lawsuit, the whole bond would go to the Idaho Transportation Department.

Requiring potential litigants to post bonds jams up the gears of justice, making those with financial resources ‘more equal’ in their access to justice than those without wealth.  Whatever one thinks about the merits of the megaload controversy, state laws that have the effect of erecting economic prohibitions on justice are not a good idea.

Oral Arguments on Wilderness/Wolf litigation heard today

“Wilderness Wolf Watchers” Coalition seeks an Injunction/Temporary Restraining Order preventing the landing of helicopters

Chief District Judge B. Lynn Winmill is set to hear oral arguments on the Frank Church Wilderness/Helicopter Landing litigation this afternoon.  The “Wilderness Wolf Watchers” Coalition seeks an Injunction/Temporary Restraining Order preventing the landing of helicopters in the Frank Church Wilderness before they take place, while the merits of the case are considered.

The Idaho Department of Fish & Game and the US Forest Service each filed briefs against the Wilderness Wolf Watcher coalition’s request :

IDFG Brief
USFS Brief

Among their arguments, the government belittles several advocates’ declarations describing their trips to the Frank this winter and their potential for their wilderness experience to be harmed by the helicopter incursion.

Laurie Rule, Wilderness/Wolf advocates’ esteemed attorney, replied to the governments’ argument with this excellent brief :

Plaintiff’s Reply Brief

Read the rest of this entry »

Judge rejects U.S. management plan for California desert (West Mojave)

Complicated ruling was a victory of sorts for conservation-

Judge rejects U.S. management plan for California desert. By Louis Sahagun. LA Times.

This was a huge case over a big area and a BLM plan that took 15 years to develop. My view of it as a partial victory is based on private email from kt. Perhaps kt will want to comment on it here.

Here is the judge’s decision pdf

Mudslides from the 2007 Idaho wildfires begin after unusual June wet spell

Article below is about a mudflow near Ketchum, orginating from the Castle Rock Fire area, but there a numerous slides around southern Idaho-

June is often a fairly wet month in Idaho, which is mostly an arid or semi-arid state. The end of May and continuing into June has brought a lot of precipitation into southern, south central and southeast Idaho. Much of it is in slow moving thunderstorms. Thunderstorms are much more typical of July and August than May in Idaho.

In 2007 over a million acres of wildfire burned in Idaho’s mountains (and even more on its sagebrush steppe country — “rangelands”). The soil on the burns on these steep mountains are stable yet as this mudslide west of Ketchum indicates.

When travelling backcountry roads you should inqure about slides and washouts, and at least for the next week (according to the weather report) be prepared for flash floods.

Officials: Burned hillsides still pose risk. Mudslide threat could last several years in Castle Rock Fire area. By Jason Kauffman. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer.

Are any readers aware of slides and blockages in your part of Idaho or nearby states that folks should be aware of. Please post.

Posted in The Great Outdoors, Trees Forests, vehicles. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on Mudslides from the 2007 Idaho wildfires begin after unusual June wet spell

Will Salazar be as tough on law breaking off-road rally as on Tim De Christopher?

This is the critical test of whether only pro-environment conscientious objection is prosecuted-

Today about 1000 ATV and 4 x 4 owners are going to deliberately violate the law and charge up the Paria River’s bed in the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument. Because they have announced the event as a deliberate violation of the law, it is consciencious objection. The Secretary of Interior’s action will shows us whether only one side on conservation issues gets treated as criminals.

The Salt Lake Tribune writes today of Salazar’s “acid test.“Equal treatment”. Feds must foil OHV lawbreakers. Tribune Editorial.

New vehicle plan for Bridger-Teton National Forest goes in effect May 1

The new travel plan for this high profile national forest is effective May 1-

Developing a national forest travel plan nowadays is fraught with controversy and often lawsuits, but the Bridger-Teton seems to have pretty wide acceptance, relatively speaking. Years in the making, it goes into effect on May. 1.

ATV, motorbike rules to go into effect soon. Plan will limit off-highway vehicle access for those hunting antlers in Gros Ventre River drainage this spring, Bridger-Teton official says. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Earlier on this blog. Jan. 28, 2009. Bridger-Teton National Forest produces its long-awaited travel plan
Still earlier. Jan. 15, 2007. Bridger-Teton National Forest has draft travel plan

Park concerned about Sylvan Pass costs

Yellowstone Park’s East Entrance was kept open in 2008-9 winter at the cost of $3500 per snowmobile!

Park concerned about Sylvan Pass costs. By Gazette News Services. Billings Gazette.

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Prior to the season, financially strapped Yellowstone Park wanted to abandon the costly effort to keep this high altitude entrance open. News reports were that VP Dick Cheney personally intervened to overrule the NPS.

Now we see the cost.