Craig's role as pariah mutes the Idaho senator's voice on climate change

Sen. Larry Craig has become such a pariah in Congress that anytime he does something public it makes news, not for the issue at hand but because as the Huffington Post shows, it’s him, the toe-tapper who pled guilty to charges related to a sex sting in an airport men’s room.

That means anything he says is likely to be dismissed for its substance. On the climate change issue that’s unfortunate. Craig had thought about the issue for a long time certainly longer than many of his Republican colleagues.

Texas mining company hopes old Boise Basin mine still has pay dirt.

Another company appears interested in reopening a mine in the Boise River watershed.

Standard Silver Corp., a Texas-based company announced Nov. 7 that it had purchased an old gold mine, the King Mine, located in the mountains between Grimes Creek and Elk Creek 50 miles north of Boise. The deposit, produced gold and silver from the 1890s to the 1940s for the Smith family, of Idaho City, who sold the claim to the Texas company.

With gold prices rising past $800 an ounce old deposits like this take on new interest. It also comes as Treasure Valley residents have become activated against mines that could threaten to pollute the Boise River that supplies their water, irrigation and provides recreation.

Otter seeks volunteers to dry up their fields for cash in the Magic Valley

If anyone doubted that the Eastern Snake Plain Water controversy is reaching a climax consider Gov. Butch Otter’s guest opinion released Thursday.

Otter has made resolving this dispute between groundwater users, who pump their water out of the aquifer, and spring water users, who get the water from springs flowing out of the aquifer, one of his top priorities. He held a conference in Boise last year hoping to bring the senior spring users and the junior groundwater users together without luck.

Water director David Tuthill backed off his plan to shut off pumps to thousands of acres last July only after groundwater users agreed to pay for water that is currently flowing through a canal in an experimental project to see how much they can recharge the aquifer.

Growth concerns drive elections across Idaho and the West

The slow growth message that came out of elections Tuesday was not limited to the Treasure Valley.

The ”Preserve Eagle” slate of candidates, who won two seats on the Eagle City Council and the most votes in the mayoral race were the most surprising beneficiaries of the rising concerns about growth in Idaho and the West. But they weren’t the only ones.

In eastern Idaho’s Teton County two county commissioners whose moratorium on approval of new developments was overruled by a judge, easily overcame a recall vote. They got more votes this time than they did when they were elected. That once rural valley is in a frenzy of development as landowners raced to get approval for subdivisions before changes that limit growth take effect.

Why it pays to be paranoid about Idaho's water

Idaho Water users are so caught up in their own fights over water its hard to focus on the fights of other states or perhaps future fights between Idaho and its downriver neighbors.

Our current battles between groundwater users and surface users, Idaho Power and the state, and now Treasure Valley irrigation companies versus the city of Boise and others over winter flows, masks the impacts of our conflicts on our own future position, water experts say.

In 2005, the Andrus Center for Public Policy and the Idaho Statesman put on a hypothetical presentation with key officials from several states role-playing. The idea was to tease out the future water confrontations we can expect west wide and especially in Idaho.

Coroner's jury makes it official: Wolves killed and ate engineering student

It’s now official.

A man was attacked, killed and eaten by a pack of wolves in Saskatchewan, Canada. A jury decided Nov. 1 that a 22-year-old Ontario man was killed 2 years ago in a remote mining camp by a pack of wolves.

The jury’s decision makes Kenton Carnegie the first confirmed killed of a human in North America by wolves. The decision has delighted anti-wolf advocates, who have been skeptical of the most powerful claim made environmentalists who pushed to get wolves reintroduced into the Northern Rockies: Wolves don’t kill people.

Now, of course this single incident suggests that wolf attacks on human are rare. More people are killed by dogs, grizzly bears and mountain lions.

Bison issue, like wolves is one of tolerance, not a fight for survival

Yellowstone’s bison herd is back near record levels after officials authorized the killing of more than 1,000 animals two years ago.
The herd is now 800 animals higher than it was a year ago according to Cory Hatch in the Jackson Hole Guide and News. Yellowstone officials say it is considered the largest in the world.
Yet the controversy over its drive to migrate out of the park keeps animal rights activists and environmentalists in a perpetual public relations campaign. And Montana’s livestock industry stands at the front lines fighting to protect its brucellosis-free status.

Don't expect any surprises in salmon and dam politics in 2008

Remember when George Bush stood at Ice Harbor Dam and told Pacific Northwest residents he wouldn’t remove dams to save salmon?

The second biological open released by his administration came out this week and he has stood by his pledge. The federal officials who work for him also believe they have done what is necessary to protect and restore salmon.

Bob Lohn, Pacific Northwest director of the National Marine Fisheries Service, was rightly proud of his agency’s effort to look at each of the 13 salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia Basin and determine the limiting factors for each. We have to wait until independent scientists and fisheries biologists from the states and the tribes grade his agency's work.

Senate leaders back off pressure, allowing Craig to funnel money to Idaho

Sen. Larry Craig has desperately sought to prove his decision to stay in the Senate was about serving Idaho, not his own interests. He got some help Thursday by a story in The Hill.

The Capitol newspaper, which broke the story on his arrest and guilty plea to charges resulting from a men’s rest room sting, reported today that Senate leaders have apparently backed off stripping Craig of his “earmarks.”

Earmarks are provisions adding funding to spending bills for a congressman’s own preferred programs. Craig has 84 earmarks, the Hill said in various appropriation bills and is the only sponsor for 22 of them says Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Is it a bear or Bigfoot?

Last week I wrote about the Idaho rancher’s report of cattle mutilations. This week a hunter in Pennsylvania captured a picture of what researchers claim is Bigfoot. Follow the link and see for yourself.

The Bigfoot Research Organization says it’s Bigfoot, despite the fact everyone knows that Bigfoot lives in the Pacific Northwest. That’s like saying they found a spotted owl in Iowa.

Pennsylvania game officials say it’s a bear with mange. Linda Moulton Howe, the Boise native, who is an expert on crazy things like this has it on her website, Earthfiles. She also interviews an elk hunter who was abducted by aliens.

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