Ground Truth: In the News

The Roundup for April 7, 2017

Objections to Olympic National Forest War Games Rejected – FSEEE

Olympic National Forest officials have largely dismissed objections filed by more than 100 people opposed to a Navy plan to conduct electronic warfare drills on the forest.

Interior Department repeals Obama-era rule on coal royalties – The Denver Post

The Interior Department said Monday it is scrapping an Obama-era rule aimed at ensuring that coal companies don’t shortchange taxpayers on huge volumes of coal extracted from public lands, primarily in the West.

Bureau of Land Management Changes Website Homepage to Coal Bed Photo – NBC News

Only 75 days into office, and Donald Trump has already begun rolling back environmental protections. Now, his administration is rebranding one government website in a move that better reflects its commitment towards prioritizing coal in policy decisions.

Judge: No permit required for predator hunting derby – Capital Press

A predator hunting “derby” in Idaho didn’t require a permit from federal officials despite the use of a national forest, according to a federal judge.

Forest Service mishandled timber sales, environmental group says – Alaska Public Media

A Washington, D.C., environmental group is accusing the Tongass National Forest of breaking its own timber-sale rules.

Op-Ed: The Bundy family and followers are on trial again. Win or lose in court, theirs is a lost cause – Los Angeles Times

Most people in the West understand that when we behold the horizon, when we walk toward it, what we see and the land we walk on often belongs to all of us. A majority of Westerners want to keep public land public, and so do most Easterners, Southerners and Midwesterners. But that fact hasn’t prevented a decades-long howling war against federal lands in the West, and it doesn’t reap the kind of headlines commanded by the long guns, big hats and cockamamie ideas of those who think the land is theirs, not ours.

Congressman Raúl Grijalva’s Stand for Public Lands – Men’s Journal

No public figure has been more vocal about saving public lands than Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee. Recently he’s been taking the fight to the airwaves, speaking about the unexpected costs of the border wall, how Trump’s proposed budget could impact the Grand Canyon, and speaking out against special interest groups that are teaching climate denial. While visiting with constituents in Arizona, the Congressman took a break to talk to Men’s Journal about today’s biggest threats to the environment, mining operations in his native state, and what public lands mean to him.

Heitkamp, others reintroduce Sportsmen’s Act – The Bismarck Tribune

The bipartisan bill includes legislation Heitkamp reintroduced recently to expand opportunities for target practice and marksmanship in North Dakota. The legislation would make federal lands in North Dakota and beyond “open unless closed” for fishing, hunting, recreational shooting and other outdoor activities.

King Among Senators Launching New ‘Working Forest Caucus’ – Maine Public

Maine Sen. Angus King is among a group of U.S. senators that is launching a new Senate Working Forest Caucus that is designed to protect jobs in the forest products industry.

Nestle pipes water from national forest, sparking protests

A little after 1 p.m. Sunday, a steady stream of cars pulled off Highway 18 at Lake Gregory Drive. Their occupants exited, darting across the road during traffic breaks and posting up on a dirt lot next to Grotewolds Carpet Station. Others caught rides there after meeting at a high school up the road. Dressed in bright colors and holding homemade signs, they held hose posts for the rest of the afternoon, aiming to draw drivers’ attention to an effort to get Nestle Waters to stop piping water out of the San Bernardino National Forest

3.0-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Wayne National Forest, Fracking Operations Temporarily Halted – Scene & Heard

The eyes of the seismological and environmental worlds have focused on Wayne National Forest this week, the sight of a 3.0-magnitude earthquake on Sunday. For now, fracking operations in the forest have stopped.

Blackfeet Tribe Continues Push For Bison Reintroduction Near Glacier Park – Montana Public Radio

Bringing bison back to the reservation and their historic range on land that now belongs to the U.S. Forest Service, like the Badger-Two Medicine and Chief Mountain, is a vision eight years in the making.

BLM Seeks Input on Plan for 650,000 Acres Including Arkansas River – Public News Service

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is asking for input on how to manage some 650,000 acres of public lands in eastern Colorado, including popular recreation areas.

Virginia pipelines will be subject to Department of Environment Quality water-quality review – Richmond Times-Dispatch

The project cleared a significant hurdle Thursday when the U.S. Forest Service said it is satisfied with the feasibility of the company’s proposal to drill through the Blue Ridge Mountain to avoid the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway between Augusta and Nelson counties.

Colorado ski resorts sent record revenue-based rent payments to federal landlords in 2015-16 – The Denver Post

For a fourth season in a row, 23 Colorado ski resorts operating on public land have sent record-setting rent checks back to Washington, revealing yet another gold-medal revenue harvest for the state’s $4.8 billion ski resort industry.

At White Mountains trailheads, volunteers work to save lives – Concord Monitor

The U.S. Forest Service is redoubling its efforts in the White Mountains to ward off search and rescue missions before they happen with the help of volunteers.

Forest Service hopes to restore tornado-damaged woodland near Kinkaid Lake – The Southern Illinoisan

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service has a plan to restore a vast swath of woodland near Kinkaid Lake devastated by a violent tornado earlier this year.

Pisgah National Forest grows with Mills River purchase – Citizen-Times

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Forest Service and South Asheville landowner Tom Oreck recently closed on a decade-long effort to protect the 84-acre Big Creek Lodge Tract in the Mills River Recreation Area of Henderson County.