Otter, Labrador Pick a Fed Fight With BLM

The battle over an obscure policy directive by Interior Secretary Salazar over BLM lands blew up this week, with Governor Otter testifying before the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, and Rep. Raul Labrador introducing his very first piece of legislation. The “wild lands” policy, announced in December, would simply have BLM consider wilderness values if and when it writes management plans for the properties more »

Snow, Ice and Salty Water

There’s a LOT of snow up on the passes this week. And what that also means, though, is that there’s a lot of salt being put on the roads on the passes. In a unique study, Idaho DEQ has taken a careful look at what happens to the road salt in the watersheds around 4th of July pass. And that’s the subject of yet another more »

What We’re Reading

Oscars edition: The buzz started to be more audible with the Academy Award nominated movie Gasland, but there’s been a lot of outstanding new reporting about “fracking” — the process of hydraulic fracturing to capture natural gas. The process comes with a whole new range of environmental issues without much regulatory oversight. See the extensive reporting from ProPublica and the New York Times.  And our more »

Questions for Raul Labrador

Many of you got the franked mailing from Raul Labrador announcing tonight’s first public town meeting in Coeur d’Alene since being elected to Congress last fall. The meeting comes just as the U.S. House of Representatives, under new GOP leadership, passed a contentious version of a continuing resolution to keep funding the government. We’re looking forward to the meeting, because we think there’s some explanation more »

Birds Can’t Read

Migrating birds can’t read the signs in the lower Coeur d’Alene basin.  They don’t know that much of the basin is contaminated with heavy metals, and they don’t know that simply landing to rest and to feed could be lethal.  Every year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service collects at least 150 dead tundra swans in the Coeur d’Alene River corridor. Short of cleaning up more »

What We’re Reading – Need A Vacation Edition

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 more »

Breaking News: U.S. Forest Service Issues Draft of Long-Awaited Planning Rule

In yet another attempt to update regulations for planning on National Forests, today, the U.S. Forest Service released a draft planning rule for public comment. The current regulations for forest planning date back to 1982. Attempts at revision have been delayed, scuttled, or struck down by courts. The new rule would apply nationally to some 155 National Forests, including our own Idaho Panhandle National Forest. more »

McEuen Park, the Ball Fields, and the Boat Launch

We are in the process of developing our detailed comments to Team McEuen regarding the proposals for McEuen Park. Over the next few days, we’ll roll out some of our thoughts and concerns relating to the proposal here on the blog. Today: the ball fields and the boat launch. Other than parking, the loss of the boat launch and the ball fields are the largest more »

McEuen Park and Parking

We are in the process of developing our detailed comments to Team McEuen regarding the proposals for McEuen Park. Over the next few days, we’ll roll out some of our thoughts and concerns relating to the proposal here on the blog. Today: Parking. Team McEuen’s approach to parking is quite literal in its adherence to the city-prescribed design principle to “ensure the replacement of any more »

McEuen Park and Tubbs Hill

We are in the process of developing our detailed comments to Team McEuen regarding the proposals for McEuen Park. Over the next few days, we’ll roll out some of our thoughts and concerns relating to the proposal here on the blog. Today: Tubbs Hill. Indeed, one of the more controversial aspects of the Team McEuen design is that a number of proposed features impact Tubbs more »