Riverkeeper Intervenes in Spokane River TMDL Case

We got word over the weekend that the Spokane Riverkeeper is intervening in the pending TMDL lawsuit brought by Idaho polluter-plaintiffs Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, and the Hayden Area Regional Sewer Board.  Recall that the Idaho dischargers filed a complaint in federal district court challenging the dissolved oxygen total maximum daily load (TMDL) issued for the Spokane River. The litigation, which has cost North Idaho more »

Lead Poisoning Prevention and the Silver Valley Cleanup

It is, officially, National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. It’s an annual coordinated concentration of education and awareness regarding lead poisoning, which is recognized by the CDC as the number one environmental health threat to children in the U.S. In most parts of the country, the focus is on deteriorating lead-based paint, which was widely used in residential housing prior to being banned in 1978. However, more »

Comp Plan Redux

The fourth (count ‘em!) draft of a new Kootenai County Comprehensive Plan is set for yet another hearing Tuesday at 5pm. However, with the same three commissioners who took a year to edit draft number three, now considering their own draft number four, we don’t expect them to make major changes, or take the time to do major re-writes. KEA will certainly attend the upcoming more »

Butch Otter’s Wolf Mistake

Leave it to Butch Otter to actually follow through on what should have been an empty threat. Today, Butch Otter decided to end Idaho’s role in wolf management. For the time being, at least. Unless it’s a purely political move, the directive is completely baffling, no matter which side of the debate you’re on. Even the most vehement anti-wolf partisan needs to ask some serious questions: more »

Critical Habitat for Bull Trout Finalized

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has just issued the final designation of critical habitat for bull trout, a threatened species found throughout much of the northwest. The action designates nearly 19,000 miles of streams and 488,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Nevada. Bull trout need clean cold water to thrive. Once plentiful, bull trout were found in more more »

Idaho’s Uncooperative Federalism

Again this week, candidates for public office in Idaho railed at the federal government over environmental regulation and federal programs, calling upon their familiar “state’s rights” arguments, often invoking the Constitution’s 10th Amendment.  In our region in particular, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and federal lands management are all challenged by much of Idaho’s political leadership as fundamentally trespassing on Idaho’s supposed more »

Where Is The Water Monitoring Accountability?

We had some interesting discussions yesterday about our blog posting about Idaho’s water monitoring meltdown. Recall that we wrote: We know that Idahoans care deeply about water quality. The failure of DEQ to accomplish the very basic minimum requirements of the Clean Water Act should be unacceptable. The legislature, which has zeroed the water monitoring budget for two consecutive years, needs to provide the resources more »

Draft Report Confirms Idaho Water Monitoring Failures

As required by the Clean Water Act, the Department of Environmental Quality has just issued its draft “Integrated Report” on the state of water quality in the State of Idaho.  The utter failure of Idaho to do necessary water quality monitoring is probably the most glaring finding. According to the draft report, of  5747 distinct waterways in Idaho, 2108 have insufficient data to determine the more »

What We’re Reading

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

Cities will be Cities — And the Comp Plan Returns

Two interesting and somewhat interrelated items in today’s Coeur d’Alene Press:  first, that the City of Post Falls is reviewing their procedures for annexations into the City; second, that the City of Coeur d’Alene is reluctant to provide water service outside its municipal boundary in Huetter. The articles signal that both municipalities remain acutely concerned about expanding expensive city services at the periphery of their more »