Posted on May 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Federal judge once again rejects mining industry challenge to withdrawal
Speculative uranium plays have raised the prospect of mining in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy National Park Service.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A moratorium on uranium mining in the greater Grand Canyon region withstood another test this week, as U.S. District Judge David Campbell denied a uranium industry motion to reconsider his previous ruling to let the temporary ban stand.
Mining interests could still go to a federal appeals court, but for now, the withdrawal enacted last year by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will stand.
“It’s another good day for the Grand Canyon, and for rivers, wildlife, and communities across the West,” said Ted Zukoski of Earthjustice, one the attorneys representing conservation groups and the Havasupai Tribe in the case. “The court has now twice rejected the uranium industry’s attempt to cripple the Interior Department’s ability to temporarily protect lands from destructive mining.” Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment, national parks, public lands | Tagged: Department of Interior, Earthjustice, Grand Canyon, Havasupai, Ken Salazar, National Mining Association, uranium, uranium mining | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Fossil fuel industry frustrated by federal delays
The BLM, conservation groups and the fossil fuel industry are grappling with a development plan for the Roan Plateau in northwest Colorado.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The fossil fuel industry continues to battle over energy development in court, most recently by asking a federal appeals court to overturn a previous lower court ruling that spurred the Bureau of Land Management to reconsider its plan for northwest Colorado’s Roan Plateau.
Conservation groups joined the battle in late April, filing their response to the latest legal challenge, which would “turn back the clock” to Bush-era energy development policies, according to Earthjustice, which is representing community and environmental groups in the case.
At issue is how many wells will be drilled atop the plateau, which is billed by conservation advocates to have high natural resource values. The fight dates back to a development plan approved by the BLM under the Bush administration. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands | Tagged: Bill Barrett Corporation, BLM, Colorado, Earthjustice, energy, Environment, public lands, Roan Plateau | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Wrangling continues over oil and gas leasing in Colorado.
Appeal asks state BLM director to let leases expire
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Conservation advocates are challenging a decision by the Bureau of Land Management to extend the life of several oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide area of Colorado’s White River National Forest.
The leases have been unused for 10 years and were illegally sold to begin with, according to Earthjustice, which is filing the administrative appeal on behalf of Wilderness Workshop.
“Sometimes BLM needs to just say no to the oil and gas industry,” said Earthjustice attorney Michael Freeman. “If we can’t keep energy development out of a place like the Thompson Divide, what part of Colorado is safe? We can meet our energy needs in responsible fashion without destroying our most important public lands,” Freeman said. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: BLM, Colorado, Earthjustice, energy, Environment, oil and gas, Thompson Divide, White River National Forest | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 25, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
The 2001 national roadless rule has been upheld by yet another federal court.
Federal court rejects Alaska challenge
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A national roadless rule that protects watersheds, buffers wilderness areas against invasive plants and provides habitat for wildlife has withstood its final legal challenge from the state of Alaska.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia this week rejected the same worn-out arguments that critics have been repeating for a decade or more, affirming the legality of the rule and protecting tens of millions of acres of roadless forest lands from logging and road building.
The court dismissed the state’s lawsuit for being filed after the six-year statute of limitations. Conservation groups who helped galvanize a citizens’ campaign in the late 1990s to protect America’s last wild national forest lands breathed a sigh of relief after more than a decade of legal challenges. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, forests, US Forest Service | Tagged: Earthjustice, Environment, national roadless rule, Roadless area conservation, roadless areas, U.S. Forest Service | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation groups hail partial victory; more legal arguments on tap
Th North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy National Park Service.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A federal judge this week partly rebuffed the mining industry’s attempt to pursue speculative uranium claims in the Grand Canyon region, saying that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar acted within his authority when he ordered a temporary mining ban across more than 1 million acres.
The ban was adopted January 2012 to protect the Grand Canyon’s watersheds. The withdrawal prohibits new mining claims and development on old claims that lack “valid existing rights” to mine.
The National Mining Association, Nuclear Energy Institute, Northwest Mining Association and others last year filed four lawsuits challenging the withdrawal and the underlying federal authority to enact any withdrawals larger than 5,000 acres. The Havasupai tribe and conservation groups intervened to uphold both. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, national parks, public lands | Tagged: Earthjustice, Grand Canyon, Ken Salazar, National Mining Association, public lands, Sierra Club, uranium mining ban | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Measures don’t meet Clean Water Act requirements
Florida’s Everglades are threatened by a new state water plan. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Watchdog grous are characterizing a proposed Florida water quality plan as a give-away to polluting industries, creating even more loopholes to spew sewage, manure, and fertilizer into Florida waters, according to watchdog groups who sued the state and federal government in 2008 for their failure to set pollution limits, as required by the Clean Water Act.
“We have record numbers of dead manatees washing up on southwest Florida right now, in the prime of our tourist season,” said Earthjustice attorney David Guest. “Where is the leadership? This is an absolute sell out. This bogus plan gives deep-pocketed polluters even more loopholes. And what do we, the public, get? More gross, slimy algae in the water.”
Earthjustice said the plan was developed in a shady backroom deal without public input, and pointed out that a federal court has to review the plan under the terms of an earlier settlement agreement. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, water, wetlands | Tagged: Clean Water Act, Earthjustice, EPA, Everglades, Florida, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A bison grazes near a highway in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A long-running battle over Yellowstone bison was at least partly resolved this week, as a Montana judge upheld a state policy allowing the animals to roam outside Yellowstone National Park without facing harassment and death.
The state rules were challenged by ranchers opposed to allowing bison to graze in the Gardiner Basin, just north of the park, important habitat in the winter and early spring. Federal and state biologists decided last year to allow bison seasonal access until May 1 of each year, opening critical foraging lands when higher elevations in the park lack spring grasses for bison and other grazing animals.
“Today’s ruling represents a victory for all those who want to see wild bison as a living part of the Montana landscape,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso, who defended the bison policy in the case on behalf of the Bear Creek Council, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and Natural Resources Defense Council. “The Yellowstone region’s bison herds are the descendants of the last wild bison in the American West, and today they stand as some of the last genetically pure bison in the world. The court rejected the idea that the law requires slaughtering these magnificent animals whenever they cross the park boundary.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, national parks, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: Earthjustice, Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Montana, north american bison, wandering bison, Yellowstone National Park | 2 Comments »