The singing wilderness in a time of climate change

For years wilderness preservationists and U.S. Forest Service staff who wanted to limit wilderness clashed over what was essentially a purity issue.

The Forest Service wilderness managers of the 1960s often opposed designating any area where the hand of man, except Indians, was obvious. The legal criteria specified by the 1964 Wilderness Act defined wilderness "as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."

I missed the Allen and Co. retreat, again

I can’t tell you if the financial wizards sipping drinks in Sun Valley Lodge’s Duchin Room and rafting the Salmon River this week cut any deals that will change our lives. But neither can the reporters from the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News or CNBC camped out at Investment banker Herbert Allen’s annual party for the rich and powerful.

Sali and Pelosi agree, spend more money on fires

Idaho Rep. Bill Sali was quick to crow about the kind words he got from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for his support of a bill that will restore to the federal firefighting agencies a blank check to fight fires.

The House approved a bill Wednesday that would establish a fund for wildfire suppression. The Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act is designed to ensure federal firefighting agencies have enough money to fight fires without having to drain the budgets of other programs such as recreation and restoration programs.

Yellowstone 88 fires retrospective moves into high gear

The 20th anniversary parade for Yellowstone’s fires is burning into high gear this week. The Billings Gazette has put its fantastic collection of photos online.

Caswell reverses solar energy moratorium

Bureau of Land Management Director Jim Caswell didn’t wait long to reverse his agency’s decision to quit processing new solar generation plant applications.

Almost as soon as the story got out the agency that manages most of the high plains desert of the West made it clear that developing solar energy on 258 million acres of public lands is at least as important as drilling for gas and oil.

Pacific Northwest has more power than it can use

The importance of a new transmission connection between Idaho and the rest of the Pacific Northwest was illustrated late last week when the Bonneville Power Administration reported it had too much electric power.

That’s right. wind generators in the Columbia Gorge were producing so much electricity that BPA, which markets electricity from dams on the Columbia and Snake River, had to spill too much water over it dams. It was spilling so much water that it was killing salmon by giving the little migrating fish a pectoral version of “the bends.”

Lovins says nuclear dollar less efficient than wind, solar and even coal

Alternative energy guru Amory Lovins is becoming the major voice challenging former Greenpeace activist Patrick Moore’s assertion that nuclear power is the world’s answer to carbon free energy.

Newsweek called Lovins, the founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, "one of the Western world's most influential energy thinkers." He has long been one of the leading voices for alternative energy.

Herbert Allen brings all his rowdy friends to Sun Valley soon

Idaho is only a week away from its annual role as the center of the business, entertainment and media world.

Herbert Allen, is once again hosting the rich and famous at Sun Valley for the Wall Street investment banker’s 26th extravaganza in Idaho. The President and CEO of Allen & Company, Inc., has made Sun Valley a must stop for billionaires who golf its courses, walk its trails, raft the Salmon River and fly fish on Silver Creek. In between they talk business, smooze and most famously make deals that often reshape the high tech and entertainment industry.

Biologist gets unique intruder in his camp

You might expect bears or raccoons to raid your camp but would they take your water?

Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologist Jason Husseman tells the story of being awoken in camp in central Idaho recently to the sound of plastic crunching outside his tent.

First he though the intruder might be a rodent but it became clear that that it had to be bigger. Whatever it was, was trying to pick up one of his 2.5 gallon water jugs just outside his tent door.

Idahoans play role in solar moratorium on public lands

The Bush Administration, which raced to open public lands to oil and gas development early in its administration, has decided to look before it leaps into a new energy development wave.

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