Am I too sensational or cautious about climate change?

This seems to be my week to deal with climate change so here are two stories that add to the mix. The Washington Post reported that the White House tried to stop the EPA from sending a response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that demanded the government to make the determination whether greenhouse gases endangered public health or the environment.

Supreme Court goes along with Elmer Keith, big calibers better

The U.S. Supreme Court resolved the long debate over Americans’ rights to own guns today with a 5-4 decision. It struck down a 32 year old ban on handguns in the District of Columbia and most important, said Americans have the right to own guns independent to service in a state militia.

Get the decision here.

Now I hope we can move on to the kind of gun debates that matter to me. Are big calibers better than smaller faster rounds for hunting big game?

Climate change forces consideration of "Noah's choice"

The seriousness of human-caused climate change came home hard Tuesday when scientists, one from the Defenders of Wildlife, acknowledged that our official goal to protect all endangered species is obsolete.

There is no free lunch for energy independence

For years former Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus chided the supporters of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for ignoring the similar opportunities for oil available off shore along America’s coasts.

The mostly Republican supporters, including President Bush, were unwilling to push for off shore drilling because of the political opposition from their own friends, and in the case of President Bush, their own family. His brother Jeb, the former Governor of Florida opposed off shore drilling there.

Summer comes late to Stanley

The summer tourist season was starting slow in Stanley last week.

Four dollar gasoline, combined with a cool spring, left many campsites empty and restaurant seating easy to find. Yet 60 miles south in Ketchum the parking lot of the Sun Valley Lodge was filled to the brim and its expensive shops busy with shoppers whose incomes shield them from the high fuel prices.

My publisher of the Flyfisher’s Guide to Idaho says book sales are down right now because middle class fly fishermen aren’t driving their sport utility vehicles far beyond their home waters. Late June is the some of the best time to fly fish in the Northern Rockies with the green drake and salmon fly hatches beginning or about to begin.

Rey tells his side of Montana land dispute

I was pretty hard on assistant Agriculture secretary Mark Rey for what I characterized as arrogance in his treatment of Montana state and local officials. I talked to Rey Thursday and he straightened me out on a couple of things that puts him in a better light.

To recap, I reported that Plum Creek wants to sell the land to rich urbanites who want to build giant homes deep in the middle of the forest of what used to be open space timberland. At issue are easements on the roads built through national forests.

The easements were written to ensure Plum Creek and other timber companies could get to their lands and federal lands to log and could, when necessary shut them down so logging trucks could have sole access for safety at times. Plum Creek, the Forest Service and Rey say those easements not only allowed the companies access for logging but can be used to provide access to new subdivisions now that Plum Creek is selling the land for development.

"Girls Like Us" reveals Carole King's long ties to Idaho

The death of J.R. Simplot helped Idahoans recognize the immense influence the farmer, entrepreneur and humanitarian had on the world. When he was called the most influential Idahoan in history, no one rose to express doubts nor should they.

Carole King is perhaps the only living Idahoan in the same ball park. Her album, Tapestry, was one of the top selling records of all time and the songs she wrote influenced a generation of girls and the songwriting of people like John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

I know this idea will be derided and challenged. King’s life in Idaho has been long marked by controversy. Whether she was challenging the Boise schools about her kids education, fighting the Forest Service over her road or pushing for wilderness, King has never avoided fighting for what she thought was right.

Appeals court reopens long quieted Jarbidge road fight

Some issues never die.

The dispute over the South Canyon Road along the Jarbidge River on the Idaho-Nevada border was one of the last of the “War on West” battles to capture national attention.

To see the road, visitors must drive 50 miles of beat-up back roads that could bust an axle. It was an unlikely place for a national fight.

The Forest Service closed the road in 1999 to protect endangered bull trout. It was a road that ended in a wilderness area and for many locals, hunters and motorized recreationists the closed stopped access to a wild area they loved. Elko County had graded it in 1998, illegally said the Forest Service.

D.C. political appointee flouts states rights and local control

Tens of thousands of logging roads were built across the West by the U.S. Forest Service and its contractors for logging. Easements that limited their use, so for instance, the public could be kept off of them when logging occurred, were common.

Imagine a political appointee from all the way back in Washington D.C. deciding himself that those easements aren’t valid. When state and local officials want to see the easements and talk to him about the decision before he makes it, he tells them to shove it.

Is this the war on West? Could the administration be ignoring the 10th amendment of the constitution about state rights?

Energy taxes versus cap and trade

Republicans had a field day last week debating about a cap and trade program that would increase energy prices at the same time that American’s were stinging from $4 gas prices.

But the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act would not have had a direct effect on energy prices for another 12 years when its caps would have gone in place. Idaho Republican Senate candidate Jim Risch, lieutenant governor, rightfully chided the bipartisan coalition backing the bill for putting off any serious action until later.

“What they need to be talking about is what they are going to be doing next year and being accountable for it,” Risch said.

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