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As feds propose listing wolverines, Idaho snowmobile group supports research

Sandra Mitchell doesn’t care whether the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists wolverine as a threatened species even though it could force snowmobilers and skiers out of some of the powdery back country they love.

Mitchell, the executive director of the Idaho Snowmobile Association, has been working with noted wolverine researcher Jeff Copeland on a study that is revealing where these elusive predators live and how recreation impacts of their numbers. She and her members know the study could force them to move to places that don’t disturb the shy females as they den in the winter.

Renewable groups pull out of conservative lobby group

The American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association dropped out of the American Legislative Exchange Council, because of what they say are its efforts to wipe out state level clean energy programs.

The American Legislative Exchange Council has become a clearing house for conservative and so-called free market legislation. It brings together businesses and about 2,000 state lawmakers from around he nation, who then introduce the legislation.

McCarthy steps down after long conservation career

To timber mill workers, loggers, Boise Cascade executives and rural county officials in the 1990s, John McCarthy was the face of the enemy.

McCarthy, then the public lands director of the Idaho Conservation League, was the man they saw on local television speaking out against timber harvests he considered damaging to water quality, fisheries, endangered species and future wilderness. He was the voice on National Public Radio speaking against the logging that was at the heart of their livelihoods and culture.

City of Boise intervenes in solar power metering case

The City of Boise has asked to intervene in Idaho Power’s case before the Idaho Public Utilities Commission that would increase the costs for residents with solar panels on their homes.

Idaho Power filed a request with the PUC to expand its net metering program and said it wants to stop writing checks to solar customers. The investor-owned utility also wants to increase the rate solar users pay for the power they get from Idaho Power and quadruple the fees they pay to hook up to the grid.

Kitties are the biggest killer of birds and mammals tied to us

This ought to ramp up people even more than wolves.

Scientists with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that the median number of birds and mammals killed annually by cats is 2.4 billion and 12.3 billion respectively. They made this shocking assertion in a new study published in the journal Nature Communications.

EPA files 13 enforcement actions against Idaho companies and governments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took 13 enforcement actions in Idaho in 2012.

EPA’s Region 10 said in filed nearly 40 enforcement actions in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to protect communities and the environment. The largest action in Idaho was filed against Valley Paving & Asphalt, Inc. in Cottonwood for operating an asphalt plant without an air permit. It was fined $36,360.

Fox News comes to Boise to examine solar power dispute

Fox News is scheduled to come to Boise today to investigate the dispute between Idaho Power and its more than 300 customers with rooftop solar power systems.

I suspect that Fox is here because nationwide, indeed worldwide solar power’s time has come. So many solar panels have come on the market, especially from China, that the price of the panels has come down dramatically.

Lawmakers ignore collaboration in public land discussion

The disconnect in public land policy in Idaho was on display last week.

The Idaho Legislature held a well-attended joint Senate and House resource meeting to hear Utah lawmaker Ken Ivory make the case for western states to demand the federal government turnover the vast federal public land base. He held out the potential for the states to gain access to the mineral wealth beneath them and to dramatically increase the harvest of timber and other above-ground resources.

BLM delays decision on controversial Gateway West power line

The Bureau of Land Management has delayed a decision on routes for the controversial Gateway West power line across southern Idaho.

The federal agency had tossed out two routes across the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey area that had been negotiated by the involved parties. Instead it chose a route through private land through Kuna and Melba, angering residents, local and state officials.

The final EIS was scheduled for release Friday but officials made the announcement of the delay at Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s Capitol for a Day in Kuna.

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