Designating lands as wilderness or some other highly protected status always is contentious, but the BLM has identified 24 areas in 9 western states the agency says have significant local support for this idea: CA (9 areas), CO (3), ID (1), MT (1), NM (2), NV (2), OR (2), UT (3), and WA (1).
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The agency says the remaining 17 sites covering ~285,000 acres in six states have the best solar gain and energy transmission traits, the fewest conflicts with environmental, cultural, and historic resources, and the best compatibility with each state's efforts. Public meetings commence Nov 30 and a 90-day public comment period ends Jan. 27, 2012. A variance process could be used to approve additional solar development elsewhere.
The naturally-occurring erionite causes malignant mesothelioma and evidence suggests it is much more toxic than asbestos. Concern is rising as development that disturbs erionite deposits occurs in 12 western states.Region:
As part of its push to improve the nation's power system, the Obama administration is trying to expedite construction of 7 transmission lines, in various stages of planning and design, spanning 3,100 miles in 12 states.Region:
Greater sage-grouse are at just 3% of their historical numbers, and warrant protection, according to the Bureau of Land Management. But since other species are in even more dire straits, the birds haven't been declared a threatened or endangered species. The US Dept. of Agriculture money is a work-around aimed at saving the birds and their habitat.Region:
USDA continues to expand its Biomass Crop Assistance Program that provides financial incentives for producers of various biomass products with the latest selected project areas for growing camelina in CA, OR, WA, and MT, poplar trees in OR, and switchgrass in KS and OK.Topics on the Beat:Region:
Hunting, under certain conditions, is already allowed at more than 300 of the 553 sites in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Contact local environmental, animal rights, and hunting groups for opinions for or against these proposals that would allow additional species to be killed at 10 refuges in 8 states.Topics on the Beat:Region:
Information sessions and webinars on possible health and environmental effects of aerial-applied chemicals used to fight wildfires will be held in various locations around the country during the 45-day public comment period that ends June 27, 2011.
The Bureau of Reclamation report says major changes often are expected, with the magnitude varying substantially by location. The data and information provided allow you to dig into the details to some degree for the watersheds of interest to your audience.Region:
Public meetings in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming from April 26 to May 5, 2011 will likely be newsy events, with advocates and critics representing industry, environmentalists, local governments, and other interested groups and individuals voicing their opinions.