With autumn in the air, we have some important wildland updates to provide you. In this issue, we will discuss the recent US Supreme Court roadless ruling, fall-out from the national forest plan revision meeting in Moscow, our decision to litigate the Little Slate Timber Sale, an update on imperiled wolverine populations, and an opportunity to attend the Dana Lyons Coal Train Tour.
The US Supreme Court has rejected a challenge of the Clinton Roadless Rule (2001), which prevents road building and extraction development on approximately 50-million acres of public roadless wildlands. Our remaining roadless wildlands offer crucial habitat for fish and wildlife, provide numerous opportunities for fishing, hunting and other recreation endeavors, and are a hallmark of our national heritage.
Unfortunately, this ruling does not protect the 9-million acres of roadless wildlands in Idaho. The Bush administration exempted Idaho from the rule, permitting the state to create the Idaho Roadless Rule, which allows for development in roadless wildlands that would never have been allowed under the Clinton Rule. The Idaho Roadless Rule is currently being litigated in federal court.
Click here to read about the long history of the battle to protect our national heritage.
Members of the community were recently able to attend a Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests forest plan revision meeting. A forest plan establishes minimum standards and guidelines to assist with decision making on the national forest. Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell told the audience that folks need “to come to the table” and participate in an about-to-be-formed “special working group.”
At the meeting, citizens shared serious concerns with the collaborative process, and asked poignant questions pertaining to democracy, equality, and transparency. It appears the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which guarantees all Americans be given an equal opportunity to participate in the public lands decision making process, is being displaced by a process that clearly favors corporate constituents, local interests, and those that have the time, money, and energy to participate in drawn-out meetings scheduled at times that are inconvenient for the vast working majority.
Click here to read why we think this is an illegitimate process.
The Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Friends of the Clearwater recently filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop the egregious Little Slate Timber Sale on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. Both groups claim that the Forest Service decision to build roads and log in the Slate Creek watershed further imperils Canada lynx, pileated woodpeckers, northern goshawks, as well as bull trout, steelhead and Chinook salmon populations. We will keep you informed as things develop.
A federal judge has ordered the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to determine whether or not they intend to list the wolverine under the Endangered Species Act by December 14th. The federal agency was rebuffed in their attempt to get the lawsuit dismissed. In a response to a petition calling for the agency to list the imperiled species, in which FOC was a part of, USFWS concluded that the species warrants federal protection, but that listing “is precluded by higher-priority” listing actions. We will provide you an update in December.
Click here to learn more about this iconic predator that is native to the Clearwater Basin.
Lastly, FOC is co-sponsoring the upcoming event Dana Lyons and The Great Coal Train Tour. Circle your calendars for Friday October 19, 6-8pm, at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Moscow. The event seeks to entertain and educate citizens about the colossal proposal to transport millions of tons of coal across the Pacific Northwest, and eventually to China. Learn more.