Like anything in life, there are highs and lows and we learn how to deal with them. This update will deliver both good news and bad news, pending on how you feel about the issue. Judge Molloy has issued his decision regarding the wolf-rider, a preliminary injunction has been granted involving megaloads, the Forest Service is considering a new proposal for the Lochsa land exchange, and the Giant Palouse earthworm has been denied protection. Plus you get an invite to a summer barbecue and will find out how to donate a dime to keep it wild!
Federal judge Donald Molloy recently upheld the legislative rider that de-listed Northern Rocky grey wolves in Idaho, Montana, and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. However, Molloy clearly stated in his 18-page ruling that he feels the rider is unconstitutional and is a breach of separation of powers, but that he is bound by precedent set in the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. FOC and the co-plaintiffs are appealing the decision. Wolf hunts are scheduled to begin in Idaho on September 1 and in Montana in mid-October.
The Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance is planning a pro-wolf rally in Coeur d’ Alene this month, but the date and location is still being figured out. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to Howl Across America on Facebook to learn more. Another source is http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com.
Montana District Judge Ray Dayton recently issued a preliminary injunction that prevents Exxon/Imperial Oil from transporting megaloads along US12 and Highway 200 in Montana. Judge Dayton ruled that the Montana Department of Transportation violated the Montana Environmental Policy Act when they approved an inadequate Environmental Assessment (EA). The injunction will remain in place until a final judgment on the case is handed down. Meanwhile, Idaho contested case hearing officer Duff McKee has denied a Petition for Reconsideration submitted by Advocates for the West which argued that Mckee had overlooked evidence, misapplied the law, and wrongly interpreted the interveners arguments when deciding that US 12 is a safe and feasible route for megaload transport. Idaho Transportation Department Director Brian Ness now has the ability to approve or deny permits for megaload transport on US 12 in Idaho. The injunction in Montana however, prevents any megaloads from crossing over Lolo Pass into Montana.
Exxon/Imperial Oil has begun trucking micro-loads up US 95 in response to the legal roadblock on US 12. The first four modules have weighed around 80,000 lbs. and measured approximately 14 feet wide, but the remaining 50-plus modules are reported to be around 400,000 lbs. and approximately 23 feet wide. No permits have yet been issued for those megaloads. The group Wild Idaho Rising Tide http://wirisingtide.wordpress.com. is leading the charge in fighting this proposal.
The Port of Lewiston has filed for a permit with the Army Corps of Engineers to expand their dock facilities. This would most likely enable the Port to receive larger equipment, and more of it (think megaloads) in the future. Deadline for comments are August 22. Learn more: http://www.friendsoftheclearwater.org/node/1080.
The Forest Service has announced that they will issue a supplemental draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) this fall for the Upper Lochsa Land Exchange. After repeatedly telling the public that no new lands were going to be considered for the exchange, Idaho County has submitted a proposal that would exchange 45,000 acres on the Nez Perce National Forest in exchange for the cutover 40,000 acres in the upper Lochsa. There will be a 45-day comment period after the supplemental EIS is released.
For the second time, the US Fish & Wildlife Service has denied a petition to list the Giant Palouse Earthworm on the Endangered Species List. Despite only a few sightings of the worm over the past century, the agency is claiming that the worm may be more widespread than is being reported or is naturally rare. The Obama administration is currently on pace to protect fewer imperiled species than the previous Bush or Clinton administrations.
Please come out to East City Park in Moscow on Wednesday August 24th for a summer barbecue. Bring your friends and family if you can. Learn more: http://www.friendsoftheclearwater.org/node/1077.
We are also proud to announce that we have been chosen as the Dime in Time recipient for the month of August at the Moscow Food Co-Op. Consider donating ten cents to our organization every time you shop with a reusable bag at the store! Learn more: http://www.friendsoftheclearwater.org/node/1086.
Stay cool everyone!