New Spokane Riverkeeper

We had heard this through our excellent regional enviro-grapevine, but it became official today.  Bart Mihailovich, best known as one of the bloggers at the excellent Down To Earth, was appointed as Riverkeeper for the Spokane River.  Bart replaces founding Riverkeeper Rick Eichstadt who will still be handling legal and support work for the organization.    The Spokane Riverkeeper, a project of Spokane’s Center for Justice, is one more »

The BP Spill Bill and the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Intern and Congress-watcher Jordin Jacobs helps with this report: Full and dedicated funding for the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund is expected to be considered this week in the context of comprehensive oil spill legislation being considered by the US Congress. Since its inception in 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has helped state agencies and local communities acquire millions of acres more »

Save Cougar Bay

After some careful consideration and some grassroots encouragement, Kootenai Environmental Alliance is launching a new campaign this week to Save Cougar Bay.   We think Cougar Bay is essentially the Tubbs Hill of Coeur d’Alene Lake. Cougar Bay, the last quiet bay on Coeur d’Alene Lake, is rich with fish and wildlife habitat, historic significance, and is an important haven for quiet recreation close to the more »

What We’re Reading

Too hot to work in the yard: Federal legislation is dead, climate action returns to EPA and the states — CPR Blog Penny-a-gallon water: Alaska town sells H2O for sale to India — Circle of Blue NASA lasers measure the height of forest canopies — NASA BP economic impact extends to charitable giving — Nonprofit Quarterly Regulation of business, or regulation of the worst of more »

Opening Salvos in Spokane River Legal War

 The City of Post Falls and the Hayden Area Sewer Board followed through on their promise to file a lawsuit in federal court challenging the legitimacy of the 12-year effort to establish a cleanup plan for the Spokane River. The City of Coeur d’Alene just decided it will be joining in as well.  The Idaho polluters’ lawsuit is drawing high-powered opposition. The U.S. EPA and more »

Congress Considers Electric Vehicle Deployment Bill

Our outstanding intern Jordin Jacobs informs us of legislation pending in Congress regarding electric vehicles. Both Senators Crapo and Risch are on key Senate committees that will consider S. 3442, The Electric Vehicle Deployment Act, written to jump start the operation of electric vehicles and development of the necessary infrastructure: Our current transportation system accounts for 70% of our oil dependency. According to proponents, if the Electric more »

Climate Impacts on Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer

The Rathdrum Prairie CAMP – short for Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan — is currently being drafted by the Idaho Water Resources Board for the long-term management of our important local aquifer, the sole source of drinking water for more than a half million people. Jeff Briggs from our summer legal team files this report from the Rathdrum Prairie CAMP meeting being held in Coeur d’Alene today: This morning I attended more »

IPNF Responds to KEA Letter and Promises Monitoring Reports

Just back from vacation in the pine-beetle-ravaged Colorado mountains, I was pleased to see the letter (reproduced below) from Idaho Panhandle National Forest Supervisor Ranotta McNair regarding KEA’s request for long-overdue monitoring reports. The annual reports, required under several provisions of federal law, have not been produced since 2007.  McNair explains that Recovery Act projects have taken USFS staff away from the reporting requirements, but more »

EPA Opens Comment Period For Upper Basin Cleanup

Vacationing with the pine beetles in Colorado this week, I’m still checking emails and here’s a semi-important one from EPA: The public comment period opens today on EPA’s Proposed Cleanup Plan for the Upper Coeur d’Alene Basin.  Documents are available for review on the web at  You can also view the documents on CD-ROM at North Idaho College’s Molstead Library, Wallace Public Library, Spokane more »

Breaking News: The Comp Plan Failure Nears Completion

 Our long county nightmare is (almost) over. Last night, the County Commissioners finished their yearlong line-by-line editing of a new Kootenai County Comprehensive Plan. The long, slow failure of a process came to an anti-climactic end at precisely 7:10 pm when Chairman Currie ordered that the edited document be re-printed for a final public hearing.  Now, the bazillion of mostly-pointless edits to the plan will more »