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Posts Tagged ‘What we're reading’

Idaho and Montana wolves have had a pretty tough week. First, the wolf-panicked Idaho legislature authorized the Governor to take “disaster emergency” actions.  Then, the wolves were a subject of one of the few “policy riders” to survive the government shutdown budget brinksmanship. And on Saturday, even though it may not matter anymore, Judge Malloy in Montana tossed the proposed settlement of the continuing litigation over delisting the wolves from Endangered Species Act protections in the Northern Rockies.

What does it all mean? It’s maybe too early to say, but odds on a wolf hunt this fall are certainly not as long as they were a couple of days ago.

Here’s some of what we’ve been reading about it all:

Idaho legislature passes “wolf disaster emergency” legislation, making westerners look like wimps — Idaho Mountain Express

An editorial about the legislature’s not-exactly-scientific approach to wolves  — Idaho Statesman

Judge Malloy declines to accept the proposed settlement. — Idaho Statesman

The actual Malloy opinion, linked here,  is well-written and fascinating reading. (All the legal arguments, from all the parties, are linked here.)  — via Wildlife News

All that work by Judge Malloy may soon be moot.  The wolf rider is still attached to the federal budget resolution.  — Spokesman Review

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In a move that may, or may not, resolve the federal lawsuit over the delisting of wolves from Endangered Species Act protections, 10 of the 14 conservation and wildlife organizations that filed the lawsuit have agreed to a tentative settlement. Also, the tentative agreement may, or may not, cause Congress to reconsider efforts to delist wolves legislatively.

The agreement would be subject to approval by Judge Malloy in the federal courtroom in Montana, and subject to a number of procedural niceties. The basics of the agreement would return wolves to state management in Idaho and Montana, but not Wyoming or other bordering states with still-recovering populations of wolves. The agreement would also set up a scientific panel within two years to evaluate wolf recovery numbers in the region.

The deal, theoretically, eliminates any need for Congressional action, and notably, the settlement agreement states that it is “null and void” if Congress acts to delist wolves. Still, it appears as if Idaho’s Congressional delegation, all Republicans, are not backing off. However, the deal does have support from Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat. And Senator Max Baucus, a Democrat critical in Congressional budget negotiations, was non-committal.

We’re still parsing the words of the settlement, the words from congressional and political leaders, and words of the organizations involved in the lawsuit. Here’s what we’re reading:

Here’s the actual proposed settlement agreement (pdf)

Clear-eyed reporting and analysis from Idaho Statesman’s Rocky Barker.  And Montana reporting from the Missoulian.

Statements from Rep. Mike Simpson, Sen. Mike Crapo, Sen. Jim Risch, and Sen. Max Baucus.

The statement from the Interior Department regarding the settlement.

Statements from WildEarth Guardians (one of the groups not agreeing to the settlement), Defenders of Wildlife (and the other groups signing on to the settlement) and EarthJustice (formerly attorneys for all the groups, but now, because of the split, not attorneys for any of them).

UPDATE 3/20: More analysis from the Statesman’s Rocky Barker.

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I’m heading out of town for some mid-winter sunshine (I hope) and the blogging will be light, if at all, this week. Meanwhile, ponder some of this stuff coming out of Washington DC. The House GOP has some truly devastating cuts for environmental protection planned. Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson chairs the subcommittee that will inflict the damage.

Newt Gingrich wants to get rid of the EPA entirely. The House GOP budget proposal does it for him. — NRDC here and here.

The budget cuts funds for grants to state and local entities for clean drinking water and sewer construction projects. — NRDC

The proposed budget would be devastating for species protection efforts. — NRDC (Including wolves)

BLM’s effort to manage wild lands? That’s not happening either. — Idaho Statesman (See also Idaho Reporter on the state legislature’s nullification fetish extending to the BLM.)

 

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Because it is easy enough to do, and because everyone else seems to be doing it, we’ve tallied the clicks and the top ten posts here on the KEA blog in 2010 are listed below. With one amazing exception and one minor exception, the most popular postings are actually very reflective of the work KEA has been doing. The Spokane River, the M3/BLM land exchange proposal, the Coeur d’Alene Basin cleanup, the comp plan, elections, and wolves are all in the top ten.

Without further ado, the following posts got the most clicks in 2010:

10. KEA Expresses Concern With M3 / IFG / BLM Land Exchange Proposal

9. KEA Submits Comments on Spokane River Cleanup Plan

8. Breaking News: Osprey Association Files Cougar Bay Lawsuit Challenging IDL Rejections

7. Butch Otter’s Wolf Mistake

6. Meeting Keith Allred

5. Spokane River TMDL — It is not fair, not perfect, but not worth delaying

4. Hecla Mining and the Silver Valley Cleanup

3. Neighbors to the Rescue of East Side Llamas

2. Breaking News: Commissioners’ Comp Plan Decision to Fail

And the surprising winner and still all-time champ: an old post about Woodsy the Owl.

1. The owl is required to be fanciful and must wear slacks

The lessons to be learned here are: (1) readers are interested in what we actually do at KEA, (2) readers are also interested in what our members do, especially when accompanied with awesome pictures of llamas, and (3) search engines rule, and when people want to know about Woodsy the Owl, KEA is a leading source of information and images. Amazingly enough.

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Sure. The guy with the neck tattoo knocks on the door to shovel snow when there’s four inches of fluffy powder. But he’s nowhere to be found when there’s nine inches of the wet stuff.  So, while the ibuprofen kicks in, here’s what we’re reading this holiday weekend:

— Frustration with the largely voluntary approach to saving the Chesapeake Bay finally boils over.  Does grassroots power need to be deployed more effectively? Bay Action Plan

— New guidance for “categorical exclusions” from NEPA review. Have we learned important lessons from a certain deep water oil drilling disaster? CPR Blog

— What does climate change look like? Here are the photos: Lost islands in the Chesapeake and dead and dying white pine in Yellowstone.

— Why do we love our communities? Polling shows it isn’t the economy, stupid. NRDC Switchboard. (Also, Legal Planet.)

— John Wesley Powell understood the western water rights battleground and had a solution (and a cool map) in 1890. If only…  AqueousAdvisors.

— Good news and bad news for non-profits like ours. The bad news is that a growing number of Americans don’t give anything at all to charity. The good news is that most Americans still plan to give something this season.

— Finally, totally awesome photos of earth from space!  USGS/EROS

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Another weekend, another bunch of stuff to read:

A “heatmap” shows where all the coal comes from — via Plains Justice

Trust for Public Lands publishes its report on City Parks — via NRDC Switchboard

Speaking of city parks, Coeur d’Alene has plenty to brag about — CDA Press

Some amazing Google Earth photos of Florida’s zombie subdivisions and patterns of sprawl — Boston.com

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Post PARK(ing) Day, pre Partners for Idaho’s Future meeting in Hailey:

What’s the deal with the CuMo mine in Boise National Forest? — The New York Times has an article, and Idaho Conservation League publishes a piece in the Idaho Statesman.

Rep. Walt Minnick has some tax troubles. Is the IRS giving proper valuations to conservation easements? — Idaho Statesman.

Dangerous Toyota cars, poisonous lead in toys, sickening salmonella in eggs, the horrendous BP oil spill, and a tragic mine disaster. Is our regulatory state broken? And can an obscure government agency fix it? – CPR Blog.

The new LEED-ND tool works to promote smart growth in small towns too. — NRDC Switchboard.

Speaking of small towns, what’s with the big balls of twine? — Design Observer.

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