Posted on March 31, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A U.S. Geological Survey map shows concentrations of uranium deposits in the U.S.
Objection process finds flaws in environmental review
FRISCO — An environmental study for the proposed expansion of uranium mines in Utah was flawed and needs to be redone, a regional U.S. Forest Service officer said last week, rejecting Manti-La Sal Forest Supervisor Brian Pentecost’s earlier decision to permit the project.
Responding to formal objections by environmental groups, the regional reviewing officer said Pentecost erred in deciding the project would not have a significant impact.
“There are statements that lack rational and conclusions formed without supporting data. A decision made from this record would not be well informed,” George Iversion, the objection reviewing officer, wrote in his March 20 letter to the Western Action Mining Project. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment, public lands, US Forest Service | Tagged: La Sal Uranium mines, NEPA, public lands, U.S. Forest Service, uranium mining, Utah | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A map included in the feasibilty analysis shows the lands near Wolf Creek proposed for a trade.
Under pressure from billionaire developer, Forest Service keeps digging itself into a deeper hole
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Conservation advocates in Colorado are bracing for a legal battle with the U.S. Forest Service after the agency last week stayed on course to approve a controversial land exchange that would enable a massive real estate development in the relatively untouched forests around Wolf Creek Pass.
A regional Forest Service officials rejected a series of objections to the swap, finding that the approval didn’t violate any federal laws or agency regulations, but conservation groups say they have obtained documents showing that Maribeth Gustafson, the regional forester who reviewed the objections, may have a conflict of interest because she participated in the process leading to the approval. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, endangered species, public lands, US Forest Service | Tagged: conflict of interest, lynx, public lands, U.S. Forest Service, Village at Wolf Creek, Wolf Creek land trade | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 24, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A Burmese python caught in the Florida Everglades. PHOTO COURTESY USFWS.
Non-native snakes have potentially huge impact to native ecosystems in Everglades National Park
FRISCO — Scientists working in the Florida Everglades are finding that invasive Burmese pythons are rapidly becoming the biggest predator of small mammals in the wetlands ecosystem.
The researchers found that nearly 80 percent of radio-tracked marsh rabbits that died in the park were eaten by pythons. A year later, there was no sign of a rabbit population in the study area. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, national parks, public lands | Tagged: Burmese pythons, Everglades National Park, greater Everglades ecosystems, invasive species, public lands | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Better wells and disclosure, but not enough protection for special areas
*More on public lands fracking in these Summit Voice stories
FRISCO — New fracking rules for federally managed public lands include tighter standards for well-bore integrity, wastewater disposal and disclosure of chemicals, but don’t go far enough to fully protect public health and the environment, according to activist groups, who wanted the Bureau of Land Management to adopt more stringent regulations. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: BLM, Environment, fossil fuels, fracking, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Budget cutting would threaten robust recreation economy
An arch in Colorado’s Rattlesnake Canyon, part of the system of National Conservation Lands. Photo courtesy BLM.
Staff ReportFRISCO — House Republicans are continuing their nearly relentless attack on public lands with a threatened move to take away funding for more than 30 million acres of National Conservation Lands, including popular Colorado areas like the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and McInnis Canyons NCA.Gutting the budget for the National Conservation Lands threatens access to public lands that drive the nation’s outdoor economy and provide a livelihood for many Westerners.
The push by the House Resources Committee is at odds with President Obama’s budget, which recognizes these lands are underfunded and proposes an increase in funding. Dozens of national monuments and national conservation areas across the West—places like Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, just outside of Las Vegas — would have to shut their doors. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, Environment, national parks, public lands, wilderness | Tagged: Environment, House GOP, McInnis Canyons, national conservation lands, public lands, public lands wars | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 2, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Sage grouse don’t much like these drilling rigs.
Wyoming greater sage-grouse populations down 60 percent in last few years
FRISCO — Conservation advocates say proposed new oil and gas leases on 89,000 acres in northwestern Wyoming would devastate greater sage-grouse in the region by permitting industrial operations in some of the birds’ most important nesting and rearing habitat.
In a comment letter to the federal government, the Center for Biological Diversity wrote that, even sage grouse have declined 60 percent over six years in Wyoming, the plan repeatedly ignores federal scientists’ recommendations for protecting these prairie birds from fossil fuel development. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: fracking, Greater sage-grouse, oil and gas, public lands, Wyoming | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Snowmobiles at Vail Pass, Colorado.
New policy requires designation of motorized winter use
FRISCO — With the recent huge growth in motorized winter sports, the Forest Service has been behind the curve in managing public lands, but last month, the agency released its final policy for managing snowmobile and other “over-snow” vehicle use.
As directed by court order, the policy requires that roads, trails and areas where over-snow vehicle use can occur be specifically designated by local Forest Service mangers. Previously, managers had the discretion to decide whether to designate specific areas for over-snow vehicle use. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, public lands, US Forest Service | Tagged: Environment, Forest Service, over-snow use, public lands, snowmobiling | Leave a comment »