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Judge blocks Utah law that would prevent BLM, Forest Service from enforcing state rules

May 17, 2013

A state law that would have prevented some federal officials from enforcing state laws anywhere in Utah was temporarily blocked yesterday by a federal judge.

Under the law sponsored by state Rep. Mike Noel (R), federal employees would have faced a $1,000 fine and six months in jail for...

USFS to add uncertified military planes to firefighting fleet

May 15, 2013

The U.S. Forest Service won’t cut any funds from its retardant-bombing fleet this fire season, but it will enter the fray with a lot of planes that aren’t certified to fight wildfires.

On Monday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the agency will look to the U.S. military to...

BLM cancels Nevada land deal

May 15, 2013

Bureau of Land Management officials said it would not issue a patent for 480 acres of federal land in southern Nevada that was once slated to be the future home of a professional sports complex.

The agency Friday informed Silver State -- the lender to Texas developer Chris Milam -- and...

Limited federal funds may mean cuts to local firefighting programs

May 14, 2013

Lance Okeson at the Boise Fire Dispatch office had a surprise visit from the secretaries of the U.S. Agriculture and Interior departments Monday, and they came with bad news.

Okeson is in charge of the fuels program for the Bureau of Land Management's Boise District. Agriculture Secretary...

Devils Tower prescribed burn ignites wildfire

May 13, 2013

Fire officials got more than they bargained for Wednesday afternoon when a prescribed burn at Devils Tower National Monument ignited a wildfire.

The original, 300-acre planned fire burned Tuesday and was being mopped up ahead of schedule on Wednesday. It succumbed to late-afternoon high...

House farm bill cuts deeper than last year

May 13, 2013

The House farm bill would strip the Department of Agriculture of its authority to fund the installation of ethanol pumps at gas stations, as well as prohibit new permits that U.S. EPA requires for pesticides sprayed over water.

The 576-page chairman's mark, which was posted on the House...

Wyo. takes time leasing 'potentially massive' lithium find

May 10, 2013

Wyoming has put on hold all four lithium lease applications it received after discovering a vast and potentially lucrative lithium deposit in Sweetwater County last week.

The State Board of Land Commissioners will compose a plan for how to handle the leases, which are all from one company...

Enviro group appeals BLM decision to extend Colo. leases

May 10, 2013

A Colorado environmental group yesterday appealed the Bureau of Land Management's decision last month to extend more than two dozen leases in the state's rugged Thompson Divide area, arguing the agency should have let the leases expire.

Earthjustice, representing the Carbondale-based...

Sequester seen as test for 'pretty lean' DOJ environment division

May 9, 2013

At first glance, the Department of Justice's division for investigating and prosecuting environmental crimes appears to have escaped the worst of the sequester.

Attorney General Eric Holder told the Environment and Natural Resources Division last month that it, as well as the rest of DOJ...

Coal mine smoldering poses fire risk in SW Colo.

May 8, 2013

At least seven coal fires are smoldering near the site of a wildfire that burned 10,000 acres in southwestern Colorado last year.

Coal fires are not uncommon and can burn for decades underground without ever producing open flames. But the number of fires near the mountain concerns state...

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