Believe it or not, today is the first day of autumn. It took a while for the snow to melt this year in the upper elevations, but it eventually did, and we hope you were able to explore some of the Clearwater’s high country. This edition will provide updates on the Lochsa diesel spill, a proposal to log in a roadless area on the Nez Perce National Forest, the preliminary injunction in Montana against Exxon/Imperial Oil, the Nickel Bros. megaloads traveling up US12, an upcoming Army Corps of Engineers public hearing, why protections for grizzly bears need to be strengthened not weakened, and an invitation to some upcoming events.
Friends of the Clearwater has filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue Keller Transport Inc. of Billings, Montana for their failure to responsibly clean up the 7,500 diesel fuel spill into the Wild & Scenic Lochsa River. Approximately 3,000 gallons have yet to be recovered, and we think the group should work with the appropriate state and federal agencies to excavate the road and recover the remaining fuel. An adequate clean-up effort should be required to protect threatened species like Bull Trout and Steelhead.
The Forest Service is proposing to build two miles of new road and log approximately 260 acres of roadless country near the West Fork of the Crooked River, which is located just to the northeast of the Gospel Hump Wilderness. The area is “protected” by the Idaho Roadless Rule, but to no surprise the Forest Service is taking advantage of the loopholes in the rule to log where they shouldn’t be. Comments are due by October 6th and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Montana District Judge Ray Dayton heard arguments yesterday from both parties as to why he should or should not consider revoking or amending a preliminary-injunction he handed down this summer against the Montana Department of Transportation in their attempt to issue permits for the transport of Exxon/Imperial Oil megaloads across the state’s rural highways. Exxon is asking the judge to allow the company to use a portion of the route while the court considers a final judgment. Read the full article here: http://missoulian.com/news/local/article_f74cd898-e58c-11e0-b354-001cc4c002e0.html.
The latest corporation to apply for and receive permits to haul over-legal megaload equipment up US 12 is Weyerhauser and their transporter Nickel Brothers. After studying the traffic control plan for this project, Advocates for the West filed a petition to intervene on behalf of Friends of the Clearwater, only to have Idaho Transportation Department Director Brian Ness deny it. This despite the fact the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that the public is entitled to an administrative hearing. We are currently working with Advocates and considering our options.
The Army Corps of Engineers is holding a public hearing for the Port of Lewiston’s recent application to expand their docks and facilities. Port of Lewiston Manager David Doeringsfeld told the Lewiston Tribune that if the Port can expand it’s docks, it expects to receive three or four barges per year carrying megaloads. Learn more about the hearing: http://friendsoftheclearwater.org/node/1101.
Unfortunately, there have been multiple fatalities this year involving grizzly bears and humans. No one wants to see people getting mauled, nor threatened species like grizzlies being shot and killed in self-defense. However, the recent legislation proposed by Idaho Congressman Mike Crapo and Jim Risch will not prevent future conflicts between humans and grizzlies, nor will it improve the ability of the grizzly to biologically recover and one day be de-listed from the Endangered Species Act. Similar to wolves, private landowners need to invest in non-lethal measures, hunters and outfitters need to to be more certain of their targets, and society as a whole needs to learn to live with others species and embrace wildness.
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