©1999 Wolff Den Design - Lady Wolf - Ralph Maughans Wildlife Reports


Conservation News Stories in Western Wolf Country, Oct- Dec. 2001

Some of the links will be dead, but others work for a surprisingly long time.

Unless the commentary is in quotes, the commentary is my own.  Ralph Maughan

12-31-2001. Western property owners, federal officials face off over public lands. AP from the Billings Gazette (originally by Scott Sonner. Las Vegas Sun). This article has appeared in about umpteen papers. It is one-sided. The Billings Gazette headline is the worst yet, "Western Property Owners. . " Are ranchers who don't want to obey the rules the only property owners in the West? Here is the reply I wrote and was published in the Idaho State Journal last week. "City folk are westerners, too." By Ralph Maughan. 12-27-2001.

12-22-2001. Bad moon rising. The waning of Montana's once-mighty progressive coalition. By Ray Ring. High Country News 12-17-01.
Commentary by Ralph Maughan. This is an important and interesting article with a lot of truth in it. However, it's not just true of Montana, it happened over most of the rural interior west. Environmentalists could have done better politically than they have, but I think the rise of the browns was inevitable because the mythology of the rural West is so strong that it prevents most rural areas and certain  "hallowed" occupations from reacting constructively to the changing economy. A powerful reactionary political movement looking for scapegoats is the result of the conflict between the Myth and economic reality.
Added 12-30-2001.
The Myth wins . . . For example, read this recent commentary by a Lemhi County (Salmon, ID) commissioner. Robert Cope: Central Idaho residents need access to use abundant federal lands.
Idaho Statesman.
More of my commentary.
In fact, livestock from central Idaho can't compete because it is high elevation, infertile soil, steep, and doesn't get very much precipitation. Logging couldn't compete for the same reason. Someone needs to take these central Idaho politicians to pinelands of the southern U.S. or western Oregon or Washington to see what real tree-growing country looks like. The gold mines mentioned by Commissioner Cope closed because the economically recoverable deposits were exhausted. The cobalt mine Cope talks about operated last during World War II and left a legacy of heavy metal water pollution that destroyed the salmon fishery in Panther Creek. None of this was shut down by the Endangered Species Act. When it comes to extractable natural resources, central Idaho is about as uncompetitive as a place can get in the global economy. As long as this mythic natural resource mindset prevails, Central Idaho will get poorer and poorer. A few more sheep and cows, another mine or two that lasts for 2 years (Grouse Creek), or 8 (Bear Trap), won't bring prosperity.

12-20-2001. Scientists' 'wild hair' really wasn't. Snowmobilers and timber groups are wondering if government biologists have cried "lynx. " By LISA STIFFLER. Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter. Was this an attempt to test the system, or "salt the mine?"
Related 12-20-2001. Sec. Norton wants probe of biologists. Denver Post.
Related 12-20-2001. Statement from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Chief Scientists Regarding the Submittal of False Data for Interagency Lynx Study.
This sounds like a plausible explanation.
Related 12-31-2001. Planted Lynx Fur In Habitat Survey Upsets Legislators . Washington Post. Congressman McInnis and Hansen are two of the most anti-environmental members of Congress. No doubt they will try for a public lynching if possible.

12-29-2001. Story originally printed 12-18. Sportsman miffed at cattle on Montana state game range. By Scott McMillion Bozeman Daily Chronicle. I missed this story when it first was published. It is important to show the bias and incompetence of Montana's management of wildlife. In Montana, you buy ranch property to benefit the wildlife and the ranchers still get to graze the land. The only result I can see, is the ranchers got rich and now get to graze as before but owe no property tax.

12-28-2001. Giant silver/copper mine gets approval near Idaho-Montana border. AP. The mine will tunnel under the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness, and has been fought for 15 years.

12-27-2001. Burned at both ends . by Carlotta Grandstaff. Missoula Independent. In the summer of 2000 the Bitterroot was on fire. Now the Bitterroot National Forest is under fire from a federal judge and the USDA Inspector General.
Related 12-29-2001. Feds try to defend Bitterroot fire salvage in court. By Sherry Devlin. Missoulian. One of the government's stupidest arguments is that by delaying the "salvage" a catastrophic wild fire will result. The "catastrophic wildlife" was in 2000. Burned timber can reburn, given intense lightning and enough drought, but reburn fires spread slowly because the burnt trees lack the needles necessary to carry a tree-to-tree crown fire.

12-21-2001. Gravelly Pack goes to the Yaak. By Sherry Devlin of the Missoulian. There is one mistake in the story. The Gravelly Pack was not killing sheep on the Bridger-Teton National Forest of Wyoming, but the Beaverhead National Forest of Montana.

12-20-2001. New rules, old gripes: Snowmobile season under way in Yellowstone .Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer

12-20-2001. Ag subsidies go to wealthiest U.S. farmers by Carlotta Grandstaff. Missoula Independent. Things are no different in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana.
Ever since the list of American farmers (by name) and the dollar amount of their subsidies has been put  on-line, there has been great controversy whether this should have been done (privacy and all). Methinks the complaints are really because the data show how unfairly distributed and top heavy the subsidies are.
See how much farms near you did, or didn't get. EWG Farm subsidy database.

12-20-2001. Is, 1080, the chemical used by illegal wolf poisoners in Idaho, a terrorist threat? By Ursula Owre Masterson. MSNBC. After reading this story, it is clear to me that 1080 could be a real menace. The EPA declined to ban 1080, and it said the agency had “placed a number of unique controls on this compound in order to ensure its security and appropriate use.” This is obviously untrue, or how did the wolf poisoners get it? No doubt political pressure was applied to the EPA even though people's lives may be at stake.

12-19-2001. Judge halts Bitterroot timber salvage. Temporary order comes with stern words for Forest Service . By Sherry Devlin. Missoulian. This might be a good lesson to the timber lobbyist who now oversees the Forest Service -- by-pass the public and you'll land in court. I do think the argument about bull trout by the environmental attorneys might be good legally, but it is weak politically. The real problem with the salvage sale, is that the forest recovers from fire best without disturbance by heavy machinery. Moreover, the Bitterroot Valley is the "noxious weed capital" of the the West, and building logging roads, etc. will spread the weed seeds from "hell to breakfast" into the backcountry. If that happens, no more elk.

12-18-2001. Judge lets Interior put their web sites back up . Denver Post. Don't expect them immediately, however.

12-15-2001. Groups welcome new Yellowstone NP superintendent. Billings Gazette.By Clair Johnston. The new superintendent Suzanne Lewis will succeed Mike Finley, who left to work for Turner Endangered Species Fund last spring.

12-18-2001. U.S. Approves Timber Sale, Prompting Court Challenge. By Katharine Q. Seelye. New York Times. One mistake, the article implies the forests were in the summer of 2001. They were in 2000.

12-17-2001. Move to log fire-damaged trees ignites controversy. Agriculture Department may decide the issue this week for Bitterroot Forest, possibly setting a precedent. By Todd Wilkinson. Special to The Christian Science Monitor.
Decision, lawsuit expected on salvage logging. Groups vow to sue over huge Bitterroot fire "salvage" sale.
By Sherry Devlin of the Missoulian.
12-15-2001. Administration postpones Bitterroot logging decision. AP.

Dec. 14, 2001. Did logging supporters threaten Bitterroot area enviro? Missoula Independent. By Carlotta Grandstaff.
Dec. 7, 2001. Bitterroot N. F. appeals rule may provoke federal suits and protest marches from both sides. By Sherry Devlin of the Missoulian
Dec. 8, 2001. Competing Demonstrations held in Missoula on Bitterroot Logging.
Missoulian. By Sherry Devlin.
Dec. 6, 2001. Back door plan for Bitterroot fire "salvage." By Carlotta Grandstaff. Missoula Independent.
The Bitterroot National Forest is gearing up for one of the largest timber sales in its history -- "salvage" of the huge forest fires that burned in the Bitterroots in the summer of 2000. I have been following fire salvage for a long time. Despite the public relations tears shed by the timber industry about forest fires, they just love fire salvage. 1. Much of the timber is usually just fine --  perfectly sound -- especially if it is lodgepole pine; 2. they get it for next to nothing; and 3. they usually get to cut much of the unburned green timber too and at the same low rates. The only problem is this harms forest recovery and turns what might have been a neutral or beneficial natural event into a catastrophe while they fleece the taxpayers pocket.

12-13-2001. TB discovered on Oregon elk farm. This is one of the most feared diseases of wildlife and cattle. These elk farms seem to generate one infectious menace after another. Even worse, this ranch also raises cattle.

12-13-2001. Denver Post editorial. Interior's Bad Faith. About the Indian trust fund scandal that has, as a by-product shut down Interior and agency (such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) web pages.
12-14-2001. Indian Payments Stalled by Shutdown. By Robert Gehrke. Associated Press Writer. The Indian Trust Fund mess generates still more negative side-effects.

12-13-2001. Western Watersheds Project and Partners Challenge BLM Land Use Plan on Vail, Oregon District. News Release.

12-13-2001. Forest chief vows to end project gridlock. Dale Bosworth explains goals to Boiseans. By Rocky Barker. The Idaho Statesman. Chief Bosworth said all the right things, but the problem isn't really the Forest Service, it's the fact that local folks on the ground have incompatible values and after years of intense, often personal conflict, and can't stand each other.

12-12-2001. Forest rejects domestic bison grazing: Bridger-Teton forest officials say year-round grazing is not allowed by forest plan. By Deanna Darr. Jackson Hole Guide.

12-12-2001. Mad elk shipped from Colorado elk farm shows up in Kansas elk farm. Yahoo News.

12-12-2001. FWS investigates pair of wolf killings . By Perry Baucus. Of The Montana Standard . These were probably members of the Freezeout Pack, or the dead alpha female of the Taylor Peaks Pack who dispersed this fall.

Dec. 11, 2001. Wyoming seeks funds for wolf management after delisting. AP

Dec. 10, 2001. Yellowstone area needs unified forest leadership . By Todd Wilkinson. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Dec. 8, 2001. Fishing for a Solution: Yellowstone National Park Struggles to Avert an Ecological Disaster . December Greater Yellowstone Coalition Newsletter. Progress is being made against this grave threat to the Yellowstone ecosystem.

Dec. 8, 2001. Closure of all Department of Interior Web Sites Ordered by Federal Judge . LA Times. You won't be able to visit Yellowstone National Park or learn about wolves from the Fish and Wildlife Service on-line because all DOI web sites are down. This is related to the incompetent and perhaps corrupt handling of Indian Affairs by Secretary Gale Norton and her crew.
Dec. 8, 2001. Interior Department Trying to Function after Judge orders Internet shutdown . Las Vegas Sun. The shutdown includes email too.
Dec. 8, 2001. Norton faces 5th contempt charge: Computer woes anger judge in Monday's trial. By Bill McAllister.
Denver Post Washington Bureau Chief .
See earlier story
Nov. 29, 2001. Secretary of Interior Gale Norton, top aide to stand trial. By Bill McAllister Denver Post Washington Bureau Chief.
Related Dec. 11, 2001. Trial starts over Indian trust funds. By Bill McAllister. Denver Post Washington Bureau Chief

Dec. 6, 2001. USFWS gears up for wolves in Oregon. By Michale Milstein. The Oregonian.

Dec. 6, 2001. Boastful gray wolf poacher to spend time in U.S. prison. By Clair Johnson of the Billings Gazette.
Related Dec. 7, 2001. Man goes to prison for killing gray wolf in Idaho: Utah hunter saved hide, skull to show his co-workers. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman. Barker also says that Tim Sundles isn't off the hook yet.

Dec. 5, 2001. GOP attempt to open Arctic Refuge and pass the oil company energy bill fails again. By Duncan Campbell. The Guardian (UK).

Dec. 4, 2001. Snare killers of Utah cougar and bobcats prove to be sheep rancher couple . Salt Lake Tribune. The couple is being charged with a felony.

Dec. 3, 2001.
New Gallatin National Forest supervisor must see the forest through the trees By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Dec. 2, 2001. Coalition proposes buying up public land grazing permits Industry leaders say ranchers' support would be minimal. By Scott Sonner. AP. While "industry" says support would be minimal, I think many ranchers (as opposed to interest groups who claim to represent ranchers) would jump at the chance to sell there grazing privilege's as though they were property rights. Where is that Western property rights movement when there is a chance to help ranchers who want to retire?
Related Dec. 2, 2001. A Showdown Over Western Range Rights. Reform of the vast grazing program on federal lands is long overdue. By John Balzar. LA Times.
Related Dec. 4, 2001. Arizona environmental groups want to outbid ranchers on over 200,000 acres.   This free enterprise method was developed in Idaho by the Western Watersheds Project. However, the Idaho state government uses any excuse to turn down their high bids when they outbid ranchers. Perhaps enviros will be more successful in Arizona. Ironically, many Western politicians who rave on about the glories of free enterprise suddenly revert to cow socialism when it comes to letting folks bid against ranchers so as to pay to remove cattle from the land.

Nov. 30, 2001. Idaho F&G chief rebukes Cattle Association. Sando was asked to intervene in lion-killing case . Idaho Statesman. By Rocky Barker.

Nov. 30, 2001. Illegally killed elk leads to major poaching arrest at Arco, Idaho . Challis Messenger.

Nov. 29, 2001. Group of snowmobilers fined $230 each for trespassing after illegally entering and getting stuck in the Teton Wilderness. Shoshone NP new release. Wish they would have been fined a lot more.

Nov. 29, 2001. Questions about the details of Ingalls' domestic bison proposal . Jackson Hole Guide. The view of Dr. Joel Berger, of Wildlife Conservation Society in Moose, Wyoming, on Dan Ingalls' plans to covert his cattle grazing lease to bison is the best summary I have seen in print of the pitfalls of the proposal.
Related. Nov. 27, 2001. Bison ranchers in a pinch: Guided hunts bring in business in bleak market. By Scott McMillion Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer. This story is relevant to the feasibility of the proposal to convert a controversial cattle allotment in Wyoming's Gros Ventre area to bison that I discussed in my last wolf report.

Nov. 29, 2001. Secretary Norton weakens protection for new national monuments. News Release. Predator "control," powerlines, off-road vehicles.

Nov. 28, 2001. Northern Idaho Rancher Jailed After failure to appear in court and continued illegal grazing. Idaho Statesman.

Nov. 25, 2001. The True Cost of Oil. By Jim Hoagland. Columnist.
Related Nov. 27, 2001. Of Oil and Hot Air. Opinion of the LA Times.

Nov. 25, 2001. 2001 fires fought lavishly. Gallatin N. F. was more economical than most. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. 

Nov. 25, 2001. Bush blunders on climate treaty. Editorial by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. I might add that the Administration is going to need more international support to hold the coalition together beyond Afghanistan. If it stopped offending our allies with its environmental policies, it might get the needed support.

Nov. 23, 2001. Wolf Attack: The Wolf came at Tim, then turned toward his wife and headed straight for her. Range Magazine. By Heather Thomas Smith (of Salmon, Idaho). Oh my god! Tim Sundles has got his wolf attack story all prettied up now and published in a Range Magazine, a glossy true fiction Western magazine.

Nov. 22, 2001. Crank callers. by Will Rizzo. Missoula Independent. "Meth labs create toxic headaches in national forests." My view: eliminating these toxic drug labs in yet another reason why dead end abandoned timber roads should be obliterated.

Nov. 21, 2001. Wasting in the West. Mysterious disease threatens deer and elk By Cynthia Sewell. Boise Weekly.An article on chronic wasting disease, a.k.a., "mad elk" and "mad deer" disease, in the West .
Related on CWD. Nov. 18, 2001 . Colorado Rancher: Elk will survive CWD crisis . By Theo Stein Denver Post Environment Writer; also Nov. 18. Colorado elk ranchers lock horns with Dept. of Wildlife . By Theo Stein Denver Post Environment Writer

Nov. 21, 2001. Opinion of the Post Register. Losing Ground at Yellowstone. Post Register (Idaho Falls). Park is $700-million behind in needed repairs.

Nov. 21, 2001. Nevada rancher briefly jailed in grazing dispute . Las Vegas Sun.If your average citizens played these kind of games in court, they would stay in jail.

Nov. 21, 2001. "Salvage" logging of Bitterroot burn area of 2000 is delayed. Billings Gazette. 180 million board feet of timber is a lot to throw on a depressed lumber market.

Nov. 19, 2001. Group commits to preserve South Fork of the Snake River . By Chris Hunt - Idaho State Journal City Editor

Nov. 18. 2001. Idaho sheep growers coming to end of the trail Rising costs, foreign competition spell doom for industry that fostered families for 100 years. By Tim Woodward. Idaho Statesman.

Nov. 17, 2001. Federal court upholds Clinton's National Monuments. LA Times.It is good for the outdoors that the court upheld the President, but it is time to make a larger point. For years liberal judges have been accused of judicial activism, imposing their personal preferences in the interpretation of law. This may have been true in the 1950s-60s, but for at least the last decade conservative judges and conservative  groups like the Mountain States Legal Foundation, who brought this case, have indulged in conservative activism so intense even the Warren Court would blush. Conservative activist lawyers like William Perry Pendley, who brought the suit, seem to think judicial activism should only be a one-way street.

Nov. 17, 2001. Elk from Idaho game farm free of mad elk disease. AP. Idaho's deer and elk may have escaped the menace of CWD "mad elk disease" for the moment.
Related Nov. 20, 2001. Montana owner lets hunters kill elk for free . Missoulian.

Nov. 16, 2001. Poaching: Southeast Idaho wildlife suffers illegal losses. Area officers say this year one of busiest for violations . By Kelton Hatch - Idaho State Journal Outdoors Editor
Related Nov. 21. Poaching Problem can be traced to Idaho lawmakers. Idaho State Journal. Readers Views.

Nov. 15, 2001. Deer loses predicted this winter central and northeastern Montana due to the continued drought. By Mark Henckel. Billings Gazette Outdoor Editor.

Nov. 15, 2001. Supreme Court rejects suit by natural gas industry to open Montana's Rocky Mountain Front. By Christopher Thorne. AP. Now hopefully the Front will remain the pride of Montana and not end up plundered, like Alberta's Rocky Mountains.

Nov. 15, 2001. Many Montana state fisheries left devastated by lingering drought By Mark Henckel. Billings Gazette Outdoor Editor "No water, no fish." Ironically the drought has lifted in Washington state and now there are now mudslides, but the intense storms are not going West due to the lingering high pressure.

Nov. 15, 2001. View of the Post Register (Idaho Falls, Idaho). Rancher's Political Muscle by J. Robb Brady . While massive numbers of average Idahoans lose their jobs, Idaho's congressional delegation spends its time pampering ranchers and excusing their environmental violations.

Nov. 14, 2001. Green issues sidelined by Sept. 11. How the tragedy changed the environmental landscape . MSNBC.

Nov. 14, 2001. Oil Reserve. Bush Orders Increased Emergency Supply of Oil By Neela Banerjee. New York Times. Finally a  move that will really increase American oil security. Now, a second petroleum reserve should be authorized and developed.

Nov. 13, 2001. Pacific Recycles Last Year's Winter. If you liked last winter, you'll like this one. If not, you won't. Science Daily Magazine. This is not good news for Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, where elk and deer are already struggling with the poor summer growth of forage and where cattle have devastated vast areas during the drought which is heading into its 3rd year.

Nov. 12, 2001. Grazing on public land target of conference. Spokane Spokesman Review.

Nov. 9, 2001. Prudhoe Bay oil field all but gone -- out the tailpipe. by Randy Udall. Writers on the Range. High Country News.

Nov. 9, 2001. Idaho Fish and Game's Green Field Hunt Policy Stirs Controversy. By Anna Means. Challis Messenger.Regardless of how one feels about whether archery season and rifle season should be mixed in "depredation hunts", this whole controversy is over how to kill the "excessive number of elk and deer eating crops" in the very place anti-wolfers say the wolves have killed all the wildlife.  Fortunately rural newspapers like the Challis Messenger are online now so the whole world can see the duplicity of these anti-wolf arguments.

Nov. 6, 2001. Administration's praise for ex-forest chief hypocritical at best. By Todd Wilkinson regional columnist and author. Headwaters News.

Nov. 5, 2001. ' 60s study may be wasting disease culprit. DOW biologist: Mad elk and mad deer may be result of contact with infected sheep . Rocky Mountain News.

Nov. 4, 2001. ATVs Trash SE Idaho Backcountry. By Rob Thornberry. Post Register.
Related Nov. 5, 2001. Gate-crashing damage mounts in NW Montana. By Jim Mann. The Daily Imterlake.

Nov. 1, 2001. Deer hunt success up 600% in NW Montana. By Dave Reese. The Daily Inter Lake. Clearly the wolves have not killed all the deer.

Oct. 30, 2001. End of Grand Teton grazing is not environmentalists' fault. By Todd Wilkinson regional columnist and author. Headwaters News.

Oct. 30, 2001. Idaho outfitter charged with massive poaching . Spokane Spokesman-Review.

Oct. 29, 2001. New York Times editorial. More Environmental Rollbacks while the public isn't looking .

Oct. 29, 2001. Topping Off Strategic Petroleum Reserve Is Proposed. New York Times. Oil from Alaska is ten years away and the amount unsure. How about filling the Strategic Oil Reserve with the abundant and low priced foreign oil for use in an oil cutoff emergency?

Oct. 26, 2001. Possible mad elk at Salmon, Idaho game farm being destroyed. Idaho Statesman.

Oct. 25, 2001. An Axle to Grind: The debate over all-terrain vehicle use and the environment has ridden full-speed into some of the country's most remote wilderness. By Deborah Schoch. LA Times Environmental Writer.

Oct. 24, 2001. Grand Teton: Driving cattle out ... for good? By Jeff  Tollefson. Billings Gazette Wyoming Bureau

Oct. 23, 2001. Feds embark on landmark study of feeding elk on the National Elk Refuge; enviros push to restore ‘wild patterns’ By Jeff Tollefson. Billings Gazette Wyoming Bureau.

Oct. 21. Experts: Snow vehicles In Yellowstone, Grand Teton harmful. Associated Press.

Oct. 21. Montanans continue to suffer ill after effects from rapacious mining companies .

  • Landowners sue Canyon Resources for "devastation" at Kendall gold mine. AP
  • Average victim of deadly Libby asbestos stands to get as little as $400 in damages from W.R. Grace and Co. By Kathleen McLaughlin. Billings Gazette.
  • In case anyone has forgotten about what was done to Libby, Montana, here is the Seattle P-I series. An Uncivil Action: Libby, A Town Left to Die.

Oct. 17. Pleasantview Hills are unpleasant. Western Watersheds Project and ICL sue Pocatello Office of the BLM. These low mountains are about 20 miles south of where I live in Pocatello. The grazing there has been a horror story. It's hard to know where to begin. Perhaps the WWP tells it best. Link to Western Watersheds Project web page on the Pleasantview Allotment. 

Oct. 17, 2001. Study to get to the bottom of wolf-elk controversy. By Scott McMillion Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer. This was published Oct. 9, but I missed the article. The wolf-elk study was discussed last April at the Chico, MT interagency wolf meeting.  It could provide important information because it studies wolf-elk interaction inside Yellowstone and also outside.

Oct. 16, 2001. New round of public comments still support ban on snowmobiles in Yellowstone Park. By Jeff Tollefson. Billings Gazette. "Presidential politics may have shifted, allowing snowmobiles a second chance in Yellowstone National Park, but public opinion apparently has not. According to the National Park Service, 82 percent of those who submitted comments on the issue supported the Clinton administration’s decision to phase out snowmobiles in Yellowstone. They oppose the current supplemental environmental impact statement reviewing the earlier decision."

Oct. 16, 2001. Farm policy fails Federal, state aid pours into Idaho agriculture operations while small communities founder. Idaho Statesman. "Every year, the millions of farm program dollars coming into rural Idaho increase, but the rural communities continue to falter. Unemployment is high, per capita incomes are low and Main Street businesses are disappearing."
Related. Oct. 15, 2001. Idaho Statesman's View: Rural politics requires new ideas, less rhetoric. Yesterday, all the major newspapers in Idaho ran a series of stories about the economic decline and hurt in rural Idaho. This editorial is a follow-up. I agree with it. As I wrote earlier, the campaign by some rural leaders to fight wolf recovery in Idaho is the sum of their economic development plans.

Oct. 17. Idaho paper says outlaw elk farms in Idaho to head off mad elk disease entering the state. Post-Register editorial. Like many states, Idaho's economy is reeling. The last thing the state needs is its elk and deer herds destroyed because some game farmer imported mad elk.  
Past stories:

Oct. 16, 2001. Mad elk disease funding too little, Montana Wildlife Federation says. AP. Secretary Veneman has released 2.6 million dollars to stamp out mad elk disease on "elk farms." 
Oct. 16. 2001 Related. Tighter elk ranch controls pushed By Theo Stein Denver Post Environment Writer
Oct. 2, 2001. 63 elk Colorado game farm elk exposed to mad elk disease were sold. Officials track shipments to Colo. ranches, 5 states.
By Theo Stein Denver Post Environment Writer.  For the first time and Idaho game may have received elk with this deadly disease.
Oct. 4. Related.Disease forcing Salmon, Idaho rancher to kill elk. Animals were exposed to mad elk disease in Colorado before shipment to Idaho.Idaho Statesman. By Mark Warbis
Oct. 3. Related. Denver Post says Colorado legislature to blame for spread of mad elk disease. Denver Post. "Colorado's cherished wildlife faces more risk than ever from a deadly nervous-system disease, partly because the Colorado Legislature put dubious, narrow agricultural interests ahead of legitimate, statewide wildlife needs."
Oct. 1. Related. Mad cow-like disease spreads rapidly in wild deer . ENN.
Sept. 29. Related. Montana Game farm owners risk arrest if they allow hunting . Missoulian.

Oct. 13, 2001. Senator Craig calls for drilling in refuge National Homeland Energy Security Act backs more dams, generating plants, conservation. By Amy Sieckmann. Spokane Spokesman-Review Staff writer. This is a cynical attempt to cash in on the current situation behalf of the energy companies. Alaska oil provides no security. Did the senator and his co-sponsors miss the big story that the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline was shut down for a couple days this week by a single stray rifle bullet that blew a big leak in the pipeline? How would an equally vulnerable pipeline from the Refuge 10 years from now be any more secure?
America has an ample, but vulnerable petroleum supply. From 55 to 60% of it is imported. All the U.S. drilling possible would only reduce this by perhaps 5 %. The United States accounts for about 25 percent of global oil consumption but has only 3 percent of proven global oil reserves. The U.S. needs a big fix, not a little here and a little there because it still adds up to just a little. Fortunately today the U.S. gets only 13% of its oil from Middle East sources, down from almost 25% ten years ago.
There are two answers. One short and one long. We have a Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Louisiana. It consists of mostly foreign oil bought and put back in the ground (in a salt dome) for use if there is an oil cut-off. Storage of one billion barrels is authorized. Currently about 500-million are in storage and for years, congressionals have refused to buy cheap foreign oil and fill it up. The price of oil right now is volatile, but generally low. Clearly this is a more ready and secure source of oil than dabbles of domestic oil here and there from wells that are yet to be drilled.
Secondly, in the longer run we can use technology to make much more efficient use of petroleum. Terrorists could blow up pipelines and refineries, but they would not sneak into a factory or your garage and replace an efficient burner or engine with a gas guzzler.
We are getting up to speed on many security matters, but it looks like a lot of politicians can't think "out of the box" when it comes to oil. Let's hope their blindness on the matter is does not lead to our ruin.
As far the so-called "electricity crisis" of this year, it is amazing how quickly it disappeared with a little conservation and governmental crack-down on price-gouging. Bulk energy suppliers are not giving back, under government order, the excess profits they took. An electricity problem  remains in the Pacific Northwest because it relies on hydropower. River flows are 50% of normal or less. If rain comes, the Pacific Northwest electricity problem will disappear. Meanwhile, how would building hydro-dams when there is not any extra hydro to run through them generate any electricity? 
Related Oct. 8, 2001. Cleanup massive on Alaska Pipeline oil spill. A drunken local was the source of the bullet . New York Times.
Related Oct. 14, 2001. Fears, Again, of Oil Supplies at Risk By Neela Banerjee.New York Times. This is a good article on America's vulnerable oil supply. There is one error, however. The author says that early on America made a choice whether to rely on higher priced domestic oil or cheaper imported oil and chose the imported oil. This is totally wrong. The oil companies lobbied strenuously to use higher priced domestic oil first. Imports of oil were purposely limited by law in 1959 until the late Nixon Administration. Oil companies were also given a 27.5 % oil depletion allowance to stimulate domestic production. There was a 20 year fight in Congress to repeal the oil depletion allowance. It was a "drain American first" policy . Finally when domestic supplies were largely depleted in 1973, the caps on oil imports were lifted and then America's dependence on OPEC emerged. The lack of knowledge of this history (even from a NYT writer) is appalling. The oil companies of days past and their cronies in Congress (both political parties) are to blame for our state of dependence now. American energy policy tied to the interests of the oil companies will be an insecure America.

Oct. 12, 2001. Environmental champion is elected to number 2 Democrat post in U. S. House. Representative Nancy Pelosi Elected House Minority Whip. Her GOP counterpart is former pesticide pusher Tom DeLay. Pelosi's election as minority whip is the highest congressional rank a woman has achieved.

Oct. 10. 2001. Park Service muzzles heroic Yellowstone south boundary ranger. By Todd Wilkinson. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Perhaps they don't want the public to know the truth how outfitters conduct unsporting hunts along the south boundary of the Park. 
Jackson won the Greater Yellowstone Coalition's "government employee of the year award" a couple years ago. He has faced much danger from grizzlies and outfitters while trying to enforce the law in this most remote location. Look at the thanks he gets. American wants heroes, and let's hope the Park Service gets sued for not backing up a hero.  
Yes he does tell things that politicians don't want to hear, such as how outfitters tried to destroy the Yellowstone Delta pack by repeatedly riding over its den site in the year 2000.
Oct. 11, 2001. Related. Watchdog group questions Yellowstone ‘gag order’ By Jeff Tollefson. By Billings Gazette Wyoming Bureau. 

Oct. 10, 2001. Ag secretary declares mad elk disease emergency. It is surprising this did not get more public notice. The order was published in late September. Significantly the secretary does say mad elk and mad deer may cause BSE variant (mad cow-like disease) in humans. I guess the media overlooked this with all the concern about an anthrax, smallpox, or plague attack by terrorists.

Oct. 9, 2001. Western Watersheds Receives Bullitt Foundation Grant To Protect Caribou National Forest. From Western Watersheds Project. The Caribou National Forest of SE Idaho is not well known nationally, although I live within a mile of it. It is scenic, has large deer and elk herds and some moose, but it could be much better if livestock grazing was better controlled, especially in the riparian areas. This grant will help.

Oct. 7, 2001. Rifle bullet causes big leak in Alaska oil pipeline. By Yereth Rosen. Yahoo News. Although Congress just turned back an excuse to tie oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the defense authorization bill, some are still arguing that drilling ANWAR is vital to national security. Now we see the truth -- one rifle can cause a big leak. Disrupting any Alaska oil "national security" would be child's play for a terrorist.

Oct. 11, 2001. Trout Moved in the Wake of the Purdy Fire. By Scott McMillion.
Bozeman Daily

Oct. 7, 2001. Purdy Fire is finally out . Bozeman Daily Chronicle. After burning 5000 acres in the backyard of Bozeman, and employing 1000 fire fighters, it's finally out.

Oct. 6, 2001. New Idaho State Park in the Hagerman Valley. Spokane Spokesman Review.

Oct. 5, 2001. Federal Judge rejects timber industry lawsuit challenging President Clinton's creation of Giant Sequoia National Monument in California. By John Heilprin, Associated Press

Oct. 2, 2001. Foes say U.S. farm bill too costly, not 'green' enough. Reuters.
Related Oct. 2. Sierra Club info on the farm bill.
Related Oct. 4. Bush Administration says House GOP farm bill not green enough.
New York Times. By Elizabeth Becker.Administration support against this giant welfare bill for the big farmers is welcome. The bill would even re-establish long dead subsidies for sheep and honey. 
A lot of the new benefits will go to livestock. So ranchers get paid when a wolf kills a calf, they also get paid welfare from the government, and we pay through environmental degradation.

Sept. 30. 2001. 'Cow pie’ the culprit in range fire. Herald-Journal (Logan, Utah). Jason Bergreen. This is not just news from the weird. It shows how dry things are in northern Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. It also show how manipulative the debate is over logging versus thinning forests. When it's this dry, all forests will burn.

Conservation News Stories Archive-

May-July 2001
March-Apr 2001

Jan-February 2001

Nov-December 2000

Sept - October 2000
July- August 2000

May- June 2000
March - April 2000

Jan - February 2000

July - December 1999
January - June 1999
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