wildlife

Yellowstone gets real about budget cuts

Posted: Mar 12, 2013

Written by

Lisa Rein, Washington Post

The giant yellow snowplows that wake Yellowstone from its winter slumber every March are idled, waiting for the sun to make up for federal budget cuts that are forcing the park to open late for peak season.

Mandatory cuts kicked in three days before the plows were to start clearing snow and ice from 300 roads at altitudes that reach 11,000 feet. Faced with an order from Washington to slice $1.8 million from his budget, the park superintendent, Dan Wenk, had considered his options.

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Utah legislature advances sage-grouse resolution

Posted: Mar 12, 2013

Written by

Salt Lake Tribune

With some grousing about federal management of endangered species, lawmakers finalized a resolution urging federal officials not to designate any private land in San Juan County as protected habitat for the Gunnison sage grouse.

The Senate voted 20-2 to pass HCR7, and sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature. The House previously passed it 64-3.

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, notes that the federal government has proposed to designate 145,500 acres in San Juan County as critical habitat for the bird — and said 95 percent of it is on privately owned land.

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EPA seeks reviewers for water study seen as key to regulatory scheme

Posted: Mar 12, 2013

Written by

ANNIE SNIDER, Greenwire

A new front in the high-stakes battle over which swamps, streams and other water resources should be regulated under the Clean Water Act opened up today, as U.S. EPA took a key step toward finalizing a scientific study examining how such water resources are connected.



Yellowstone sending some bison to research facility

Posted: Mar 12, 2013

Written by

AP/ Greenwire

As Yellowstone National Park looks to reduce its bison population, government officials plan to transfer 63 of the animals to a nearby Agriculture Department research facility.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) has given his approval for the relocation, his office said yesterday. The research facility is 3 miles away from the northern entrance of the park.



Endangered or not, but at least no longer waiting

Posted: Mar 7, 2013

Written by

Michael Wines, New York Times

Under a 2011 settlement of two lawsuits by conservation activists, the wildlife service has pledged to decide the fates of all the backlogged species by 2018. A schedule issued by the service on Feb. 8 promised to decide by September whether to add 97 species to the endangered list, including 70 covered by the lawsuit settlement.

Moreover, the service has finished preliminary work on more than 550 other potential candidates for the endangered-species list, almost all of which will be further evaluated after the backlog is erased.

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RELATED BLOG POSTS


House approps bill would help Colo. recover from blazes

Posted: Mar 7, 2013

Written by

SCOTT STREATER, E&E Daily

Colorado may finally get federal funding to restore watersheds damaged during last summer's devastating wildfires that are still vulnerable to flooding and landslides, under a newly proposed government funding bill.

Included in legislation sponsored yesterday by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) that is designed to keep the government funded through the end of the fiscal year is $48 million for an Agriculture Department program that Colorado leaders say is needed to protect watersheds that supply drinking water to tens of thousands of residents.



Bills curbing federal authority gain momentum in Utah

Posted: Mar 7, 2013

Written by

BRAIN MAFFLY, Salt Lake Tribune

HB155, which cleared the House on Monday, is just one of several pieces of legislation this session aimed at limiting or mitigating federal influence in the management of public land, natural resources and endangered species in Utah.

Additional legislation this session aimed at limiting or mitigating federal influence in the natural resource arena include:

HB68 » Would limit the reach of the public trust doctrine.

HB155 » Would limit some federal officers’ police authority.

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Poll shows broad support for maintaining, boosting ESA

Posted: Mar 7, 2013

Written by

ALLISON WINTER, E&E PM

Nearly two-thirds of Americans think Congress should strengthen the Endangered Species Act or leave it alone, according to a new poll conducted by an environmental group.

The Center for Biological Diversity, which frequently sues the government to press for more stringent protections of endangered species, released the results today of the national poll of 657 registered voters. The group found that 42 percent of respondents said Congress should "strengthen" the Endangered Species Act, 25 percent said lawmakers should not make any changes and 24 percent said it should be "weakened."



Judges rule for USFS in Nev. road dispute

Posted: Mar 7, 2013

Written by

JEREMY P. JACOBS, E&E PM

Federal judges today upheld a Forest Service plan to rebuild a controversial road in Nevada's Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

At issue is a Jarbidge Canyon road that was severely damaged when the Jarbidge River flooded in 1995. Located in Elko County, the area is home to the only population of bull trout -- a threatened species -- known to exist south of the Snake River.



State Dept: No major objections to Keystone XL Pipeline

Posted: Mar 6, 2013

Written by

JEAN CHEMNICK & NICK JULIANO, E&E

The State Department today concluded that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline wouldn't significantly influence the pace of development in Alberta's oil sands, dealing a blow to environmentalists seeking to block the project over concerns related to climate change.

State's draft supplemental environmental impact statement released this afternoon does not issue a final verdict on the controversial Alberta-to-Texas pipeline; that will not come until later this spring, following a 45-day comment period.



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