KEA Files Lawsuit Over Bonner County Public Records

If all goes according to schedule today tomorrow, KEA is filing a lawsuit in a Bonner County court regarding Idaho Public Records Act violations by Bonner County officials. KEA had made a simple request for emails regarding the activities of the Bonner County Property Rights Council, which the County denied. Recall that in February, KEA came across an article in the “Right Side News” by more »

Voices Needed to Protect Mallard-Larkins, Grandmother Mountain and St. Joe River Watershed

The great folks at Friends of the Clearwater gave a great presentation last week at the Iron Horse. As promised, here are some of their suggestions for comments on the draft plan for the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.  Our local forest abuts the great forests of the wild Clearwater along the St. Joe divide. From FOC: The plan for the diverse 2.5 million-acre Idaho Panhandle more »

Region Lacking Industrial Stormwater Permits

With the remarkable rains over the last weeks, our waterways are both swollen with water, but also choked with pollution. Streams are running the color of chocolate. Stormwater runoff is probably the most significant problem for our region’s water quality. Unfortunately, there is very little being done to stop the flow of pollutants. In fact, a preliminary survey of industrial stormwater in Kootenai County indicates more »

A New and Improved Approach to County Shoreline Protection

Suppose the new development codes for Kootenai County could provide more development potential, more flexibility for builders and homeowners, and much better protection of our lakes and streams. Who wouldn’t want that? Indeed, as early drafts of the new codes are being released, this win-win-win scenario could soon be playing out along county shorelines. One of the most controversial — and dysfunctional – aspects of more »

Supreme Court Unanimously Rules for Sacketts on Narrow Procedural Grounds

In an opinion released this morning (pdf), Justice Scalia wrote for a unanimous court that Mike and Chantelle Sackett will get a day in court to challenge EPA’s wetlands compliance order. The Court ruled that the wording of the order itself made it a “final” decision by EPA, and thus subject to a Court’s review. The EPA had suggested that it is not final until more »

Bonner County Notes Sunshine Week By Hiding Public Records

Bonner County Notes Sunshine Week By Hiding Public Records

Sunshine week is an annual awareness campaign organized by the American Association of News Editors and sponsored by dozens of impressive organizations interested in open and transparent government. The week is intended to draw attention to open records laws and open meetings laws that can be used in the public interest. Indeed, open government is a remarkable and necessary feature of our democracy, and something more »

Property Rights Council Votes Against Drinking Water Protection

As Bonner County Property Rights Council member Tom Cleveland explained, the whole idea behind drinking water protection in Bonner County was “with the blessing of the EPA” which he called a “Gestapo agency” and “out of control.” He followed with an ominous non-sequitur, warning that “people should start thinking about where their food is coming from.” And when his tirade was completed, the PRC unanimously* more »

[Stuff] The Corps of Engineers Says

This is breaking news, and we are still absorbing the just-received document, but today the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers answered the complaint we filed in federal court to protect the dike road trees. The Corps of Engineers’ Answer to Plaintiff’s Complaint (pdf) is a detailed and formalistic response which will be used primarily to frame the case as it moves to the next phase of more »

Perspectives on Idaho Panhandle National Forest Plan Revision

Perspectives on Idaho Panhandle National Forest Plan Revision

When we look at our National Forests, we conservationists necessarily take the long view.  Our region has made a lot of mistakes in forest management over the years, and we continue to pay the price. Wildlife has been lost, habitat fragmented, and watersheds trashed.  Moreover, as federal forest funding dwindles to a trickle, restoring wildlife habitat watershed health becomes impossibly challenging.  So what becomes clear more »

Bonner County PRC Officially Opposes Everything – Including Clean Drinking Water

The bizarre Bonner County Property Rights Council (PRC) has issued its first draft “decision” in which they conclude that a simple common sense watershed protection ordinance is “unreasonable, unnecessary, and arbitrary.” How do they come to this conclusion? They simply presume ALL proposed ordinances are “unreasonable, unnecessary, and arbitrary.” Furthermore, as made clear from the eight pages of rambling nonsense in their decision document, no more »