Public lands projects could help left rural communities from depression

President-elect Barack Obama gave a glimpse this weekend of his stimulus package and its plans to spend hundreds of billions on roads, bridges, energy projects and other infrastructure.

When President Franklin Roosevelt was developing his own plan in 1933 it looking remarkably similar:

Thompson's stock rising for Interior

A few weeks ago I went to a gun show at the Ada County Fairgrounds and the central theme among my fellow guns nuts of the world was “you’d better buy now before Barack Obama takes the oath of office”

Despite Obama’s repeated support for the 2nd Amendment it has been taken as gospel in the gun world that the new president has a secret plan to disarm the country. Now let’s face it, if you are a gun dealer, the theme is a great way to drum up business.

Wind company pledges to work to reduce wildlife conflicts

The biggest environmental challenge for wind energy developers has been protecting birds and bats that fly into the blades.

The technology has improved to reduce the problem but in the case of bats just the chage in air pressure around the plants is known to kill. The best method of avoiding bird and bat death is to place the wind plants away from bird migration routes and habitat.

Kitzhaber likely off list for Interior secretary

Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has said he won’t leave Oregon for Washington so that likely takes him out of the running for the Interior secretary job.

Kitzhaber said he wants to raise his 11-year-old son in Oregon leaving little chance that President-elect Barack Obama will pick him for the post that controls land, wildlife, water, oil gas and minerals in the West. Obama is expected to fill the post this week.

Transmission the key to making alternative energy pay in Idaho

President-Elect Barack Obama and Congress have made it pretty clear that infrastructure needs like roads, bridges and electric transmission lines are going to be funded as a part of the stimulus package expected next month.

Idaho will naturally fit in to programs for roads, bridges and sewers. But it’s not as clear how Idaho might benefit from electric line transmission. Idaho’s private utilities are already working on new transmission lines east and west.

Idaho has chance to lure nuclear reactor plant to Idaho Falls

Idaho is in the running again for a nuclear reactor company.

Los Alamos-based Hyperion Power Generation Inc. want to mass produce nuclear reactors and it is considering New Mexico and Idaho Falls as sites for its factory, The Sante Fe New Mexican reported.

Meanwhile, nuclear power advocate Dan Yurman suggests

World climate change debate shifts

The debates over global warming are shifting with the election of Barack Obama throwing a curve in the rest of the world's position on the issue. European countries could simply blame George Bush for the lack of meaningful action on climate change.

Still don't believe global warming is real? Watch this

While I was debating one of my regular contributors I came back across this thoughtful report that explains the science of the Arctic melting the best I've seen.

Mesa Falls National Monument good idea for Obama too

Boisian Kathy Steinbach’s vision for a new national monument that contains Idaho’s most moving waterfalls, pure, clear springs bubbling out the ground, home for grizzly bears and priceless hot springs connected to Yellowstone’s geysers will have to wait.

It doesn’t appear that President Bush is going to set aside 200,000 acres in the Caribou Targhee National Forest as Mesa Falls National Monument. Steinbach, an Idaho Statesman reader, made the recommendation in response to our appeal for nominations to send to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.

Sage grouse decision looks like its going to be left for Obama

Dirk Kempthorne had hoped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would have been able to complete a review of the status of greater sage grouse before the end of his term.

But it appears that Kempthorne is not going to be able to decide whether to list or not to list the sage grouse that is the canary in the coal mine of the health of millions of acres of sagebrush steppe habitat across 11 western states.

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