Christ's paintbrush removed from list of candidate species

paintbrushIdaho’s native flower, Christ’s paintbrush, is one of three species removed from endangered candidate status by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the state.

Al Gore worries climate change will hurt western ranchers

A controversial grazing study has brought flack from predictable sources like ranchers, and others for its obvious point of view.

A study of federal rangeland by Oregon State University concluded grazing by cattle, sheep and wild horses and even deer and elk needs to be reduced because of climate change. It said global warming added stress to many rangelands still recovering from the heavy grazing in the past.The findings were reported in the journal Environmental Management.

FERC initiates unprecedented enforcement action against Idaho PUC

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will seek to enforce an earlier order against the Idaho Public Utilities Commission over wind power projects near Murphy.

The federal commission oversees electric and natural gas delivery policy. Its ruling says the Idaho commission
violated federal law when it denied an appeal by developers for three Murphy Flat wind power projects.

Idaho and the West enter the megafire era

Cecilia Seesholtz put a map on a screen at the Owyhee Plaza Hotel of the Boise National Forest Tuesday showing where the 148,000-acre Trinity Ridge fire burned from August through October.

The Boise Forest Supervisor was showing that its boundaries were, for the most part, past fires that have burned since 1992. What is amazing is how the fire filled in the gap between all of these fires that have been a part of the lives of Idahoans for the last 20 years.

Seeholtz won’t say it, but there isn’t much left to burn.

Midas calls ICL opposition to gold mine uncompromising

A Canadian mining company that hopes to mine gold in a tributary of the Salmon River called the Idaho Conservation League’s opposition “uncompromising.”

A Midas Gold official said in a letter released Monday, the company is still only in the exploration phase and hasn’t determined the extent of its mining plans in the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River near Yellow Pine. The ICL appealed the Forest Service’s approval of construction of 139 drill pads and 178 drilling holes for exploration.

Obama's reelection means Idaho has to reconsider nuclear waste future

The decision to back away from Yucca Mountain as a long term nuclear waste storage site is one of the actions of President Barack Obama’s first term that now appears to be permanent after his reelection.

That means Congress is going to have address the long term future examined by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. The Commission recommended developing an interim storage plan for the 70,000 tons of high level spent nuclear fuel now sitting next to nuclear reactors with states that consent to take it.

ICL opposes Midas Gold mine on Salmon River tributary

The Idaho Conservation League has made public its opposition to a proposed gold mine in the headwaters of the Salmon River in Valley County.

Midas Gold, a Canadian company, is seeking to open a mine that would have three open pits, one of which would require dewatering the East Fork of the Salmon River and routing it in a pipe while mining. The Forest Service has authorized construction of 139 drill pads and 178 drilling holes in the headwaters of the East Fork of the South Fork Salmon River.

The Idaho Conservation League is appealing that decision.

Wind power company started by Idahoans sold for $88 million

A renewable energy development company started by an Idaho entrepreneur will be bought by Atlantic Power Corp. for $88 million.

Ridgeline Energy Holdings Inc. has two Idaho wind projects in operation and a third expected to come on line by the end of the year. These projects alone represent a billion dollars in capital investment in Idaho.

Ridgeline was started by Rich Rayhill of Boise and Steve Voorhees of Seattle in 2002. They sold it to Veolia Environnement, a French company.

OSU study urges dramatic reduction of grazing on public lands

A study of federal rangeland by Oregon State University concludes grazing by cattle, sheep and wild horses and even deer and elk needs to be reduced.

The researchers say climate change is causing added stress to many rangelands still recovering from the heavy grazing in the past. It’s the kind of study that the Idaho-based Western Watersheds Project has long dreamed.Their findings were reported Thursday in the journal Environmental Management.

Uof I climate workshop shows how warming has already changed Idaho

Climatic changes are triggering bigger fires and longer fires seasons like this year when 1.7 million acres burned in Idaho.

That's not surprising to University of Idaho fire scientists. Decades of fire suppression have contributed to the size of fires but the trend, especially since 1980 can be attributed to climate change said Kerry Kemp, a University of Idaho fire ecologist.

"We can explain 50 to 80 percent of the annual area burned by climate alone," Kemp told scientists from federal agencies and interest groups Thursday in Boise.

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