Conservation News Story Archive May - July 2001
Note that some of the links below will be dead
No homes were lost Saturday in the Green Knoll fire, but wind is predicted again for Sunday. For the first time the town of Wilson is beginning to be threatened. For continuing info on the fire, see
8-2-2001. In the end the houses were saved. Wyoming wildfire winds down
Campfire may have been cause of Jackson Hole Blaze. CNN.
Crews battle to save Wyo. homes. By Jim Hughes Denver Post Staff Writer. Despite one of the biggest assaults on such a forest fire in history, the Green Knoll fire is posed to to burn some homes Saturday.
YNP visitor receives scald after unsuccessful attempt to save his dog from hot pool. Yellowstone National Park news release.
Timber lobbyist to oversee Forest Service faces tough Senate Questions. By Mike Madden Idaho Statesman Washington Bureau
Fire marches toward Jackson Hole. Homes saved for now by last minute lull in the wind. By Robert W. Black. AP. The future depends on the wind and Friday they are forecast to be strong and from the southwest (precisely the wrong direction if the homes are to be saved).
Fire threatened Ketchum, Idaho. Idaho Statesman. By Jeffrey McKinnie
Fire near Jackson Hole forces evacuations. AP. More news and photos of the fire from the Jackson Hole Guide.
|7-25-2001||Broad Coalition of Groups announce plan to save and restore the Yellowstone River. News Release.|
From 7-23. Group pays tribute to 17 killed wolves. `Wolf walk' on Horton Peak evidence of dispute over management of livestock predators. AP. This is another chance to read the story that was first featured in the Twin Falls Times News on 7-20. 7-24. Statement by Lynne Stone on the story.
Montana Governor in land sale scandal. By Charles S. Johnson. Billings Gazette. Governor Judy Martz entered office this year saying she wanted to be "a lap dog for industry." Now some claim she got special favors from Arco oil.
Herd of 200 sheep dies from contamination Water near Eastern Idaho mine had lethal amounts of selenium. Idaho Statesman. For comparison in the year 2000, wolves in Idaho killed 39 sheep.
Climate Agreement Leaves U.S. Out in the Cold. By Eric Pianin and Dana Milbank Washington Post Staff Writer
Researchers forecast rapid, irreversible climate warming. By Environmental News Network
Global warming deal reached without U.S. CNN.
Yellowstone Cougar Project. Folks might be interested in a description and some preliminary findings of the Yellowstone Cougar Project.
Mudslides hit southern Bitterroot County, Montana. AP. These mudslides probably related to the massive forest fires of last summer.
Energy companies eye the Bridger-Teton National Forest area in the Greater Yellowstone between the southern end of the Absaroka Range to the northern Wind Rivers. by Jeff Tollefson. Billings Gazette.. Outfitter Tory Taylor (in the news story) gave this web page a generous grant last year.
Montana Drought Worse than last year, but forest fires fewer so far. By Ericka Schenk Smith. Billings Gazette.
VP Cheney thinks electricity prices too high (for him). Wants Navy to pick up his personal electricity bill. By Philip Shenon. New York Times.
Theodore Roosevelt IV, GOP clash over monuments. By Faith Bremner Idaho Statesman Washington Bureau. President Theodore Roosevelt was a staunch Republican and created a score of national monuments , national wildlife refuges, and about 160-million acres of national forests. I have met a lot of Republican conservationists today who call themselves "Theodore Roosevelt" Republicans to distinguish themselves from the Tom DeLay, Larry Craig, Trent Lott kind of anti-conservation Republicans. Naturally the testimony of TR 4 would cause soreness in the GOP.
US 191 "Scary" at best. By Brett French. Billings Gazette. This increasignly jammed highway, which cuts through Yellowstone, is a massive killer of people and wildlife.
Bison touted as problem solver for ranchers. AP. One of the problems with wolves, cougars, coyotes and livestock is that ranchers have chosen to raise weak, dependent animals (cattle and, especially sheep). Bison as livestock may be better for the land and reduce the slaughter of wildlife predators.
|7-16-2001||Drop in Fuel Price May Weaken Push for Energy Plans. By Joseph Kahn. New York Times. This is hardly surprising since the surge in prices was the result of market manipulation and a drought in the Pacific Northwest which relies heavily on hydropower. The energy companies knew that only had a few months to roll Americans. Now their opportunity to rob us may have faded.|
Lodgepole pine face epidemic Mountain pine beetles sweep through SNRA. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express. Although the common solution to such an epidemic is logging. Logging doesn't stop the beetles, except inasmuch as all the trees are cut down. The beetle epidemic, which only effects the relatively short-lived lodgepole pine, probably got started with trees weakened by three years of drought.
House GOP writes bill to require survey of most public lands, incuding the national parks for energy resources. AP. Because a geothermal survey is required, they may target Yellowstone's geysers.
|7-10-2001||New Kind of Tick-borne disease suspected in Montana. By Tim Howard. Billings Gazette.|
|7-9-2001||Wolves have set up natural smorgasbord Ecologist: Yellowstone packs key to diversity. By Theo Stein. Denver Post.|
Rockies ranchers adapt to reality of wolves. By Theo Stein. Denver Post.
Yellowstone wolf packs attract herds of tourists Wolf fans flock to Lamar Valley. By Theo Stein. Denver Post.
Group threatens suit over shooting of Sawtooth National Recreation Area wolves By Jeff Tollefson. Billings Gazette. This is an elaboration on one of my earlier stories about the shooting of two members of the Whitehawk Pack.
Carbon dioxide emmissions soar in U.S., decline in other key countries. By Elizabeth Shogren. Los Angeles Times
|7-6-2001||Pollution worsens in national parks. Christian Science Monitor. By Daniel B. Wood. There was clearly a layer of air pollution in the northern part of Yellowstone on my recent visit. It was very obvious from the shoulder of Mt. Washburn. If you look at 6-22 articles, there is one announcing a 60-day comment period on an EPA rule to clean up the parks' air by 2064. I don't think I can wait.|
Idaho Forests ready to burn hard. Idaho Statesman. Along with this story, see my forest fire links above.
We were right to fear Norton. By Geneva Overholser. Boston Globe.
Rainbows' peace party goes out with a 'whoop!' By Emily Simnitt. Idaho Statesman.
|7-3-2001||Clearcuts 'partly to blame' for giant B.C. pine beetle outbreak. Vancouver Sun. Logging to stop insect infestations is often like the old method of bleeding folks to cure anemia. It worked as well as logging to save the forest. Neither the anemic nor the forest ever had problems again.
From 6-28. B.C. lodgepole pine beetle infestation may worsen timber glut. The Globe and the Mail. By Peter Kennedy. Lumber prices are rock bottom in the U.S. Massive clearcutting of the B.C. beetle infestation should lower them further. On top of that, the Bitterroot National Forest is going to throw "salvage" timber from last summer's giant fires on the market. No doubt environmentalists will somehow be blamed for all this. Mountain Pine Beetle Epidemic Panics British Columbia. Environment News Service.
Rainbow Gathering Update. By Anna Means. The Challis Messenger. Gathering not expected to hurt wolves.
Some enviros are very concerned about this large gathering, but I doubt the Rainbow Family will damage the meadow any more than the 300 or so cows that normally go on it.
Governor Geringer joins Jackson Hole community against helicopter tour flights. Jackson Hole Guide. Few issues have united Jackson Hole and leading Wyoming politicians as much as opposition to Vortex aviation's helicopter tours, which have just begun. The tours don't involve the Tetons, except incidentally, but will many predict they will disrupt the increasingly popular adjacent national forests.
Snowmobile settlement gives new life to sleds in Yellowstone. By Jeff Toffefson. Billings Gazette Wyoming Bureau.
Indians beg Rainbow Family to relocate Followers weep, apologize, but are staying put By Emily Simnitt. Idaho Statesman. I should add that the Idaho Statesman has been consistently very hostile to this gathering, but many other Idaho papers have been more moderate. The gathering has also given some Idaho politicians who seemed not to care about salmon to sudden speak up for the endangered salmon.
|6-27-2001||Judge clears the way to ban roads across more federal lands. By Tom Kenworthy. USA Today. This may seem to be an obscure victory, but it is very important. Some rural Utah counties, and counties in some other states who hate parks and land protection, had seized on a RS 2477, law passed in 1866 but repealed 100 years later, to claim that cow trails, long disappeared wheel tracks, even dog sled routes, were in fact highways on federal public land, as defined by that 1866 law; and that these "highways" could not be closed by the federal government to protect wildlife, scenery, wilderness, to prevent vandalism or stealing of pre-historic artifacts. They even went a step further to blatantly lie -- telling people the federal government was trying to close thousands of miles of "highways." They went out a graded some of these invisible highways to try and make their point. Here is a more detailed story from the Environment News Service. Court Ruling Could Keep Roads Out of Wilderness. By Cat Lazaroff|
Critical land in the Taylor Fork of the Gallatin, just NW of Yellowstone, purchased. News Release. This is very good news for elk, wolves, grizzly bear, trout, and for open space, rather than sprawl, next to YNP.
Fran Mainella, poised to become the first woman head of the Park Service, earns praise but inherits problems. By Todd Wilkinson. Christian Science Monitor. This is an article on President's Bush's nominee to head the national park service.
|6-24-2001||Bush Environment Jobs Are Skewed to Business. Most of the posts go to lawyers and lobbyists who worked for industries they would be regulating. By Elizabeth Shogren. Los Angeles Times Staff Writer|
Forest Service accommodates Rainbow Family. Agreement allows officials to designate areas to use, avoid during gathering. Spokane Spokesman Review.
Superintendent of Grand Teton National Park retires. Park News Release. Now we have vacancies at both Yellowstone and Grand Teton for the Bush Administration to fill.
Mountain lion hunting quota changes debated in Wyoming. AP
G.O.P. Considers Tighter Gas Mileage Rules. By Joseph Kahn. New York Times.
Witnesses Say Generator Cut Power Supply to Raise Price By Matt Richtel. New York Times. Increasingly Americans don't believe there is any real energy crises. Is this evidence?
Local Environmental Issues Split Republicans. By Katharine Q. Seelye. New York Times. Article on the meaning of Bush's defeats yesterday on his energy/environmental policies.
Bush selects timber lobbyist to oversee Forest Service. Missoulian. Timber lobbyist Mark Rey, said to be close to Senator Larry Craig (Idaho) will be the boss of the new Forest Service Chief, Dale Bosworth.
Lawmakers: Crack down on Rainbow Family. Sen. Craig asks Forest Service to deny permit. By Faith Bremner Idaho Statesman Washington bureau
House Blocks Bush Plans to drill national monuments and in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida. Bush Also Dealt Setback on Mining Rules. By Eric Pianin Washington Post Staff Writer. Politicians are reading the polls, and enough Republicans deserted President Bush's unpopular energy /environment policies to hand him a stinging defeat in the Republican-controlled House.
EPA to let Clinton rule to go into effect to protect clean air for national park vistas. New York Times.
Cartoon from the P-I.
Rainbow Gathering Makes it to Central Idaho. By Anna Means. Challis Messenger.
No Quiet on the Rocky Mountain Front by Steve Hawley, Missoula Independent. Here is another article about oil and the gem of Montana.
Sagebrush, the new cash crop. Salt Lake Tribune.
Forest Service may scrap giving ecology priority. Plan would revise Clinton ban on new road building in forests. Katherine Pfleger. Associated Press. I got world from Idaho conservationists yesterday that the reality in Idaho is that the status of roadless areas is now back to the same as before President Clinton. Despite the window dressing from the new Administration, it will be road building as usual in the roadless areas.
Rain is too late for most farms By Erica Schenck Smith. Billings Gazette. There has been a sudden surge of rain and snow inparched Montana and some in drought stricken Idaho and Wyoming as well. It has helped by the situation is still bad and will return to terrible unless precipitation continues.
Rainbow Family picks central Idaho for summer gathering. Forest Service braces for up to 20,000 people. Idaho Statesman. The gathering of the Rainbow family always brings predictions of chaos and doom by local political honchos, but lots of local folks always attend, and the damage is hardly worse than the usual overgrazed pasture. A article in the Missoula Independent gives a retrospective on last year's Montana gathering. Without a Trace. In the end, the Rainbows were a lot gentler on Montana than Racicot was. By George Ochenski.
Large salmon run due to nature, not man Large snow level in 1999 to thank for spring chinook run. Associated Press. Despite being on the endangered species list, the salmon run into Idaho this year is the largest since the early 1970s. Is it a last hurrah or the beginning of real recovery?
Yellowstone steps up battle against lake trout. AP.
|6-13-2001||Finley blasts Bush over snowmobiles. AP. Just retired Yellowstone National Park superintendent Mike Finley spoke just before Ted Turner at the GYC annual meeting last Saturday.|
Ted Turner Blasts Bush on Environment. Reuters. I attended the speech. It was great!
Off-roaders tear through the Colville. Heavy use in sensitive areas damages national forest Rich Landers - Outdoors editor. Spokane Spokesman-Review. Here is yet another sad story how off road vehicle riders are abusing our public lands. The Colville National Forest is in extreme NE Washington up against the Panhandle of Idaho and British Columbia.
|6-7-2001||National Academy of Sciences Tells Bush Global Warming Is Real Problem. Washington Post. By Eric Pianin|
Bush names new director of the National Park Service. ENS.
6-5-2001. Bush Energy Plan Eyes the Rocky Mountain Front. High Country News. By Michelle Nijhuis. Note that the hero of this story, Gloria Flora, the brave forest supervisor who put the Rocky Mountain Front off limits to the oil companies, was, sadly, severely injured in a traffic accident in a Montana snow storm June 4.
Teton Dam broke 25 years ago today. By Dan Egan. Salt Lake Tribune. The battle to stop the Teton Dam was my first political effort trying to protect the environment.
As the article shows, some fools never learn, and that's one reason these kind of farmers are going out of business, but the dam's spectacular collapse did ring the death knell for further Bureau of Reclamation dams on Western rivers.
My uncle and my aunt lived in Sugar City, Idaho, and they lost their home that June 5, 1976.
Craters of the Moon National Monument Expansion Going Well. AP
Bush Standing in the Polls declines due to public disapproval of his energy and environment stands. Reuters. Related. Poll Results Washington Post-ABC News Poll.
|6-4-2001||Wyoming US Senator supports call for an injunction on controversial Teton helicopter tours. Billings Gazette. Vortex Aviation has been incredibly aggressive in their effort to start noisy helicopter tours of the Jackson Hole area and have alienated a powerful US Senator.
Related. Aerial tour controversy swirls around Grand Teton. By Becky Bohrer. Billings Gazette.
Drought Tightens its grip on Montana. Great Falls Tribune. It is now as dry as the "dust bowl" days of the 1930s.
Prominent Republican tours Idaho backcountry in support of Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. Idaho Statesman.
Drilling clash resurfaces on the Rocky Mountain Front and Bridger-Teton National Forest: Developers fueled by Bush support. By Carol Bradley. Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer. It seems to be that this Leland Griffin mentioned in the article is typical of oil men. He can't see the problem. . . well it's a problem of values. . . and the oil boys got the wrong values.
Trade Groups in Lock Step Behind Bush Energy Policy. By Michael Grunwald. Washington Post. For business, support the Bush Plan . . . or else!
|5-29-2001||National Park Service detains environmental leaders for exercising their freedom of speech at Glen Canyon. News Release.|
As Others Abandon Plains, Indians and Bison Come Back. By Timothy Egan. New York Times.
Norton and Cheney celebrate addition of Rockefeller Land to Grand Teton NP. Billings Gazette. The Rockefeller Family is largely responsible for the creation of Grand Teton NP. Now they have given another thousand acres. The presence of the VP and Secretary Norton is not relevant expect for their hope that some of the luster of the gift will rub off on them.
Secretary of Interior chief Norton decries the decaying infrastructure of Yellowstone NP. By Becky Bohrer. AP
Prescribed burn becomes wildfire near Flathead Lake. Helena Independent Record. Despite the green, the forests are already going up in flame.
With Change of Senate, Power flows away from Idaho's two anti-environment US Senators. Idaho Statesman. By Faith Bremner
|5-25-2001||Democrats Gain control of US Senate. Bush anti-environment agenda may be legislatively dead. New York Times. By Lizette Alvarez.|
|5-23-2001||Bangs says Wyoming's failure to work on a state wolf management plan may derail wolf delisting in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. By Jeff Tollefson. Billings Gazette|
Bush Administration reconsidering Yellowstone snowmobile ban. Billings Gazette.
Bush energy plans blasted as bad for Montana's natural treasures. By Charles S. Johnson. Billings Gazette.
Idaho reaches for control of the ESA. by Stephen Stuebner. High Country News.
Firefighters, agencies gear up for hot summer in Idaho. More people, equipment will battle blazes. By Patrick Orr The Idaho Statesman
Druid Peak Pack Survives Winter by Jeff Tollefson. Billings Gazette. This is an interesting story confirming previous speculation about the Druids -- 1. it is amazing they have survived so well, but 2. they are underweight, 3. the adult females are probably a bit undernourished, and 4. the pack will not get much bigger, and in the near future probably will see a decline through mortality and dispersals.
Doing justice to the environment. ENN. By Margot Higgins. This is a good article on environmental hero, attorney Doug Honnold.
|5-19-2001||Power companies accused of orchestrating Calif. energy crisis. Associated Press|
Energy trade coalition to Bush: Get a clue. ENN. "The Bush administration is ignoring the most modern and sensible ways of supplying America's energy needs, says a coalition of energy businesses and industry trade associations."
NEWS ANALYSIS. Bush Energy Views Off by a Few Decades, Experts Say Flaws in his argument include the key assumption that the nation's situation is a replay of the '70s. LA Times. By Peter Gosselin.
Bush Issues Energy Warning: President Unveils New Policy, to Praise and Attacks on Party Lines. By Mike Allen and Dana Milbank. Washington Post Staff Writers. "
Conservative Idaho Republicans skeptical of the centralized federal force behind Bush energy plan. Idaho Statesman.
Rockefeller family gives over 1000 acres to GTNP. AP
Forest Fire Grows NW of Billings, Montana. By Greg Tuttle. Billings Gazette. This is the second major fire of the abnormally early forest fire season.
5-22-2001. Officials say Twin Coulee fire contained. Billings Gazette.
Idaho Land Board deserves the Western Watersheds Project. Editorial by the Idaho Mountain Express.
|5-15-2001||Yellowstone Volcano Observatory established. By Jeff Tollefson. Billings Gazette.
Bush Picks Industry Insiders to Fill Environmental Posts. By Katharine Q. Seelye. New York Times. Mr. beef (Myers), will be the chief department of interior lawyer. He opposed the wolf program and supports the bison slaughter, and he is not even the worst of the bunch.
Is Bush starting to listen to the public on energy? He actually said, "Some think conservation means doing without. That does not have to be the case." What the President says now is absolutely true. Conservation means using energy smartly, efficiently. It does not mean living in misery.
|5-11-2001||Cheney rebuffs energy critics Says opponents have 'blinders on'. USA today. In fact it is Cheney who has blinders on from 30 years ago. The energy crisis of the 1970s was solved primarily with conservation, not production and by a collapse in oil prices due to internal disagreements inside OPEC. Cheney says ''21st century technology'' means energy exploration can be done without creating environmental problems. In the 1970s we heard the same story -- "the energy industry had turned over a new leaf." They always say that. That leaf must have a lot of sides.|
Western Watersheds Council and Wyoming Outdoor Council File lawsuit to stop livestock turnout on large grazing allotment in western Wyoming. News Release. It's great to see the Western Watersheds Project (formerly Idaho Watersheds Project) out there suing grazing abuses outside Idaho.
Court Upholds Forest Service Decision to Not Permit Drilling Along Rocky Mountain Front. News release Earth Justice Legal Defense Fund.
Environmentalists walk away from talks with Idaho Power Co. about relicensing dams in Hells Canyon. Idaho Statesman. By Rocky Barker. Private hydro dams have licenses that last for 30 to 50 years. The three big private dames in the top of Hells Canyon are for relicensing.
Franklin C. Walker named acting superintendent at Yellowstone. AP
Big bulge may be sign of volcano in central Oregon. Molten rock possible cause of uplift in Earth's crust. Spokane Spokesman-Review.
In retrospect, Montana's era of independence from corporate control lasted only a generation. Opinion by Pat Williams. In the 1950s Montana was considered to be the quintessential company state, run by Montana Power and the Anaconda Corporation. It had been that way for 75 years. All that begin to change in the late 1960s.
More evidence of energy excess profiteering and causing a crisis. Natural Gas Prices Surge, Fueling Crisis Power: Because gas is used by most generating plants, large markups could doom hopes of reining in costs. By Ricardo Alsonzo-Zalvidvar. Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Southern California Edison Says Prices of Natural Gas Were Inflated. New York Times. As Californians sit in the dark, they might want to contemplate the relationship of these Texas utilities, and President, and the energy crisis.
Idaho rancher gets OK to graze despite concerns Sulfur Creek operator given another chance. By Bob Fick. AP.
Does Cheney Think Energy Conservation is for Sissies? Opinion by syndicated columnist Genera Overholser.
Wolves in Bozeman area are spreading out. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer. I did an article on this April 1, but McMillion adds some interesting details such as wolves almost killing a pronghorn antelope in the lower Madison Valley upstream from Ennis.
First wild fire of the season burns 1500 acres east of Big Timber, Montana. Billings Gazette. This is incredible early for a forest fire and is a very bad omen for the summer
Montanans Weigh Options on a Toxic Legacy. New York Times. Wolf Country Conservation News has linked to a number of stories on the toxics behind Milltown dam, just upstream from Missoula. Now the story has finally made it to the New York Times.
The Wolves Are Coming to Utah; We Must Plan How to Get Along. By Robert H. Schmidt. Salt Lake Tribune. Op-ed.
View of the New York Times. A Blinkered Energy Strategy. NYT editorial.
U.S. Scientists See Big Power Savings From Conservation. By Joseph Kahn. New York Times.
View of the Seattle Post Intelligencer on the Bush Energy Plan. "They Must be Joking."
Wolves discover dead animal pit at the Challis dump. By Anna Means. Challis Messenger. I have been meaning to write an article about this, but Means does fine. Glad the wolves have moved on from the dump, and best, Idaho wolves are finally spreading eastward.
Related: Local attitudes stifle economic development. Letter to the Messenger from George Wuerthner -- famous photographer and wildlife biologist. George Wuerthner comments on the cause of the seemingly permanent economic hardship of Custer County, Idaho.
Predator Study Will Help Elk Management says Idaho Fish and Game. This is IDFG's news release on their very controversial study involving baiting and shooting bears to dramatically reduce their population in the North Fork of the Clearwater River area of northern Idaho.
MWA opens the outdoors to hikers of all abilities. Great Falls Tribune. The Montana Wilderness Association is an organization well worth joining. I have been a member for many years.
Gold mine near Gardiner, Montana to close. AP.
Expanded Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho modified by U.S. House. AP
Defenders of Wildlife wants to retain ESA status for wolves in SW Oregon and Northern California. AP
South Fork Shoshone Ranchers complain about elk damage. By Jeff Tollefson. Billings Gazette. This scenic area is south of Cody, Wyoming.
Senator McCain criticizes Bush on Global Warming. AP
Cheney Promotes Increasing Supply as Energy Policy. By Joseph Kahn. New York Times. "Vice President Dick Cheney said today that oil, coal and natural gas would remain the United States' primary energy resources for "years down the road" and that the Bush administration's energy strategy would aim mainly to increase supply of fossil fuels, rather than limit demand. . . Mr. Cheney dismissed as 1970's-era thinking the notion that "we could simply conserve or ration our way out" of what he called an energy crisis.
My comments on Cheney's massive foolishness. Cheney has never learned the lessons about energy.
Nation's 'green streak' growing. By Mark Z. Barabak Los Angeles Times. Bush and Cheney are out of step with the public, but no doubt they will launch an PR campaign arguing their massive plans for energy development are environment friendly and that long time conservation groups like the National Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club are "extremists."