What the Law Requires in the Silver Valley Cleanup

Despite some of the rhetoric coming from opponents of the proposed Superfund cleanup of the upper Coeur d’Alene basin, “EPA go home” isn’t an option. In fact, the law is fairly clear why EPA is in the basin and what needs to be done. A quick review of the relevant federal regulations might be helpful. According to the governing federal regulations, the EPA’s primary purpose more »

Harrison Annexation of Powderhorn Property Heading to Kootenai County Courtroom

The inevitable lawsuit has been filed in Kootenai County District Court regarding the absurd annexation of the Powderhorn peninsula by the tiny city of Harrison. Recall that in September, Harrison, a city of 300 or so residents, moved to annex land across the open waters of the Coeur d’Alene River for a massive gated-community golf course development with more than 1300 homes. Two citizens groups more »

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

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 more »

Hecla Mining Proposes Non-Cleanup for Upper Coeur d’Alene Basin

We have obtained a copy of a cleanup counter-proposal for the upper Coeur d’Alene basin from Hecla Mining, and not surprisingly, the mining company proposes a much shorter, much cheaper, much less comprehensive, cleanup. We’re still weeding through their complicated 378-page, 10-year proposal, but based on a quick skim, we’re skeptical that their plan will meet cleanup standards in our lifetime. Or anyone’s lifetime. As more »

Last Comp Plan Hearing Ever?

Kootenai Environmental Alliance provided comments, again –and hopefully for the last time — on the long-awaited draft comprehensive plan revision for Kootenai County.  In the works for four or five years at this point, the draft could gain final approval by the County Commissioners next month. The hearing was nowhere near as lengthy, or heated, as previous hearings on the plan. Commissioners Tondee and Currie more »

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 »