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Posts Tagged ‘Scott Reed’

On Friday, Earth Day, friends and members of Kootenai Environmental Alliance will be celebrating at our first annual Earth Gala at the Hayden Lake Country Club.  Not just celebrating the Earth, we will also be celebrating some great citizens who help us protect what makes North Idaho a wonderful place to live and work and play. Here is the first of two posts on our awardees.

Scott Reed and Art Manley

Since 1994. KEA has awarded the Art Manley Environmentalist Award to someone for sustained efforts in furtherance of our mission: “to conserve, protect and restore the environment in North Idaho with a particular emphasis on the Coeur d’Alene basin.” Named for our founder, former state senator and dedicated conservationist Art Manley, the award this year goes to Julie Dalsaso. An all-star volunteer, Julie is positively dedicated to the Coeur d’Alene basin and working on its many complicated environmental problems.

Julie Dalsaso

There is not a governmental agency in Idaho that hasn’t receive a letter from her or heard from her at a hearing. Julie is passionate about protecting water quality in our lakes, protecting our shorelines from contamination, and protecting waterways like Cougar Bay for quiet recreation. Her hard work is tenacious and her commitment is extraordinary.

Also this year, we are inaugurating a new award, named for Scott and Mary Lou Reed, also founding members of our organization. The Reeds – Scott, a universally well-respected lawyer in Coeur d’Alene, Mary Lou a former State Senator and all-purpose community activist (both winners of the Art Manley Award, by the way) – are recognized for their principled defense of our environment and our community through action.

Pter Grubb

So it is appropriate that the first Reed award goes to Peter Grubb, owner and operator of ROW Adventures in Coeur d’Alene. Peter has always been committed to environmental causes, is involved with a number of Idaho conservation efforts and organizations, and he has been very active locally. Peter and ROW joined the KEA effort to protect Cougar Bay for quiet recreation – and demonstrating the value of the Bay with kayak tours. But Peter was also a leading plaintiff in the court battle with Idaho Department of Transportation over the megaloads that are clogging the Lochsa-Clearwater Wild and Scenic River corridor. Peter’s willingness to stand up to the oil giants was inspiring, but also true to his nature.

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Although things have been quiet recently on the Save Cougar Bay battlefront, new shots were fired yesterday by the Cougar Bay Osprey Protective Association, which filed a lawsuit challenging the Idaho Department of Lands’ rejection of their application to protect the pilings and booms in Cougar Bay. Having been rejected twice by the Department, without so much as a hearing, the Osprey Association filed a “Petition for Writ of Mandate” to have the Court order that IDL accept the application and hold a hearing.

A most unlikely pair of attorneys — Scott Reed and John Magnuson, who are usually on the opposite sides of land use and waterways cases — filed the case late Thursday afternoon on behalf of the Osprey Association.

The petition describes the attempts by the Osprey Association to bring their application for a hearing only to be arbitrarily and somewhat absurdly rejected by IDL. The petition says:

The basis for the rejection of the permit application by respondents and their attorney was the determination that only a government agency is empowered to improve waterways for wildlife habitat and other non recreational uses by members of the public. This interpretation would prohibit other non-profit organizations such as the Idaho Nature Conservency, Ducks Unlimited and the Coeur d’Alene Lakeshore Property Owners Association from seeking to improve waterways for navigational, wildlife habitat or other recreational uses …

The afore-described duties [to accept the application and hold a hearing] incumbent upon [IDL] constitute plain official duties and require no exercise of discretion. [IDL] had no legal right to reject the non-commercial encroachment permit application

The petition points out that “Cougar Bay represents only 1.3 percent (417 surface acres) of the lake where kayaks and smaller water craft can safely enjoy the quiet scenery without risk of being swamped or overrun by larger faster water craft.”

The petition goes into some detail concerning the benefits to recreation and habitat inherent in protecting the pilings and booms. And the petition notes that a great deal of public, private, and non-profit investment has permanently preserved much of the shoreline. The application, the petition says, is consistent with Idaho’s Public Trust Doctrine.

It will be interesting to see what this legal wrinkle does to the recent agreement between Kootenai County and IDL over piling removal.

We remain convinced that Cougar Bay is an extraordinary place, deserving of much more protection than currently exists. The pilings and booms are a remarkable historic and wildlife and recreational resource, but they are, perhaps, the last line of defense. Good luck to the Osprey Association and its lawyers. And stay tuned.

 

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Yesterday, the Cougar Bay Osprey Association received yet another rejection letter from its least favorite correspondent, the Idaho Department of Lands. This time the letter came through their attorney in the Idaho Attorney General’s office. The letter affirmed the Department’s outright rejection of the application to protect the pilings and booms in Cougar Bay for osprey habitat and quiet recreation.

The letter rationalizes the Department’s position by stating that the Osprey Association is not a “sort of governmental or public entity” that can apply for a permit, nor is it an entity “empowered” by such a public entity to do so. Moreover, the letter insinuates that there is absolutely no circumstance under which the Osprey Association can make an application to protect wildlife and recreation values for the general public, even if quite clearly consistent with the public trust. Indeed, under the Attorney General’s interpretation, private entities, either for-profit or non-profit, are quite literally banned from doing on-the-water restoration in Idaho.

Attorney Scott Reed is reviewing his options with his Osprey Association client, but the AG interpretation appears to be clearly problematic. Stay tuned.

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Last week, area attorney Scott Reed responded in writing to the Idaho Department of Lands rejection of a proposal to protect the pilings in Cougar Bay. In a tough letter, Reed describes that the Department, which has now rejected the application twice without a hearing, must accept the application by the Osprey Protective Association one way or another.

On the first attempt, IDL refused to consider the application, stating that the Osprey Association application fell under the definition of a non-navigational encroachment which requires a $1000 application fee. When the Osprey Association applied again, including the $1000 fee this time, IDL again refused the application. This time, IDL cited regulations that say “noncommercial encroachments intended to improve waterways for navigation, wildlife habitat and other recreational uses by members of the public must be filed by any municipality, county, state or federal agency, or other entity empowered to make such improvements.”  IDL then said that the Osprey Association doesn’t appear to be able to satisfy the standard as a private, non-profit organization.

Reed argues that the non-profit Osprey Protective Association is, indeed, an actual “other entity,” empowered by the state as a non-profit corporation, organized for the very purpose of improving the Cougar Bay habitat for Osprey and protecting quiet recreational uses. Reed writes, “It cannot be said that in this conservative, pro-privatization, anti-government State of Idaho that a state agency would take the position that only the government could apply ‘to improve waterways … for wildlife habitat and recreational uses by members of the public.’”

Reed emphasizes that, at the very least, one way or another, the Department needs to determine the application on the merits and apply the Public Trust Doctrine according to comments by the public and a hearing if necessary. If not, Reed says, “my advice to [the Osprey Association] will be to let a judge decide.” Reed writes, “I would like to think that after accepting our application, IDL would give us a fair hearing.”

Meanwhile, our Save Cougar Bay campaign continues. Check out our Save Cougar Bay facebook page and continue checking the blog for updates.

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