wildlife

Wolf killing ban sought for land between Yellowstone and Teton national parks

Posted: May 21, 2013

Written by

Angus M. Thuermer Jr., Jackson Hole News & Guide

A conservation group is asking the National Park Service to eliminate potential wolf hunting in the 24,000-acre Rockefeller Parkway between Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks.

The National Parks Conservation Association is petitioning the agency to launch a “rulemaking process” to review which species could be hunted in the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway, the group’s Jackson representative said Wednesday. The Park Service has the authority, and duty, Sharon Mader said, to conduct such a review.

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BLM moves Ariz.'s largest wind-power project closer to approval

Posted: May 21, 2013

Written by

Scott Streater, E&E News PM

The Bureau of Land Management announced today that it has completed a years-long environmental review of what would become the largest wind power project in Arizona, covering nearly 40,000 acres of public land.



Silvery minnow faces cruel, cruel summer on parched Rio Grande

Posted: May 21, 2013

Written by

April Reese, Greenwire

With flows on the Middle Rio Grande in central New Mexico expected to slow to a trickle this summer, the endangered silvery minnow is facing one of its worst years ever.

Farms and cities in the Middle Rio Grande Valley that rely on the river are also bracing for low flows. Under a 2003 plan from the Fish and Wildlife Service, water managers with the Bureau of Reclamation are supposed to provide enough water to sustain the diminutive fish, but without much water in the river, that will be difficult this year, officials said.



Warm spring temps shrank Rockies snowpack over last 30 years

Posted: May 21, 2013

Written by

Stephanie Paige Ogburn, ClimateWire

When a Denver resident turns on the sprinkler in midsummer, it applies last winter's Rocky Mountain snowfall to the lawn. In the northern Rockies, that snowmelt fills the Columbia River, whose hydroelectric dams provide power to Seattle residents. Meanwhile, the meltwater flowing into the Colorado River irrigates farms across the West.

But since 1980, snowpack in the Rocky Mountains has steady declined in spring, right when the winter's bounty of snow is needed to flow into the reservoirs that provide Westerners with the precious water that sustains their society.



Exxon Mobil challenges Yellowstone River spill fines

Posted: May 17, 2013

Written by

AP/Greenwire

Exxon Mobil Corp. is challenging $1.7 million in penalties for a 63,000-gallon crude oil spill in the Yellowstone River, according to documents.

The penalties were proposed by the Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which cited bad decisions by the company before and after the spill. The penalties included the failure of employees to close a safety valve, which could have reduced the spill's size, investigators said.



Wind farms escape punishment for eagle deaths

Posted: May 17, 2013

Written by

AP/Greenwire

Under the Obama administration, wind farms have never faced prosecution or fines for the deaths of eagles and other protected bird species.

While the administration has used bird deaths to prosecute oil companies and traditional power companies, wind companies have never faced penalties -- even repeat offenders -- according to an investigation by the Associated Press. The lack of punishment has not only kept the industry from facing liabilities for the deaths but also has kept the number of killed birds a secret.



ENR panel to mark up roughly 30 bills promoting wilderness, O&G

Posted: May 15, 2013

Written by

Phil Taylor, E&E Daily

A Senate committee Thursday will seek to advance roughly 30 lands bills, including measures to designate wilderness in Nevada and New Mexico, swap tens of thousands of acres of gas-rich lands in Utah, and designate a national historic park in Rhode Island.

The Energy and Natural Resources Committee will also consider measures to promote geothermal development on public lands, extend the life of a federal helium reserve and expand off-highway vehicle access at a North Carolina seashore.

Most of the bills on Thursday's docket are noncontroversial.



Wind farms won't be prosecuted for condor deaths, says USFWS

Posted: May 15, 2013

Written by

Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times/GW

The Fish and Wildlife Service on Friday said the operators of wind farms in the Tehachapi Mountains will not be charged if their turbines kill protected condors.

The announcement drew anger from environmentalists, who said the move undermines the California condor program.

The birds were nearly extinct 25 years ago and still have a small population. Federal laws prohibit their disturbance or killing.

But FWS made an exception for the 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch that will last for 50 years. The wind project is expected to expand to cover 8 percent of critical condor habitat.



Company proposes mitigation project in Wyo.

Posted: May 15, 2013

Written by

Adam Voge, Billings Gazette/GW

The plan for a 600,000-acre mitigation bank in Wyoming would benefit environmentalists, the state and energy developers, according to the men behind the idea.

The idea would allow companies to conserve land before they develop elsewhere. The current proposal involves a restoration project on a parcel of the 600,000 acres in return for credits on other lands for activities such as mining and road construction.



Feds work to remove protections from northern Rockies grizzlies

Posted: May 14, 2013

Written by

ROB CHANEY, The Missoulian

Grizzly bears lack a reputation as a rule-following animal, but they sure inspire a lot of rule-making. The bears of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem have a draft 158-page rulebook up for public comment this summer as they move toward possible removal from federal Endangered Species Act protection.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan describes how roughly 1,000 grizzlies in that area would be managed, protected and restricted. It’s up for public comment through August.

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