"DENVER — A road into the piney woods can be fraught with consequences. That was the premise, more than a decade ago, behind a Clinton administration rule that restricted road building on millions of acres of national forests in the West. The so-called roadless rule, fought over in court from the start, was validated last year by a federal appeals panel, setting off a wave of euphoria among supporters and consternation among critics. But there is a big wrinkle here in Colorado, which was one of only two states — Idaho was the other — that at the urging of the Bush administration developed their own rules about roads in the wild."
"Now the national planning rule that governs individual national forest plans is about to change, for the first time since the Reagan era. Scientists and environmentalists say many of the changes are improvements, but they object to a key change in the way the plan would protect wildlife."
Oct. 17-21, 2012 in Lubbock. Find multimedia coverage here. It's never too late to send us your story links for inclusion. If you attended the conference, we would love your feedback; please complete our online survey. The Texas Observer published on Dec. 11 a deeply flawed story about SEJ's 2012 conference. Please go here for SEJ's formal response through letters to the Observer's editor and publisher, from SEJ President Don Hopey and Board Member Roger Witherspoon, setting the record straight, as well as replies received from Texas Observer editor Dave Mann. © Photo: Communicating Climate Change plenary by Lindsey Hoshaw.
"The Obama administration [Thursday] proposed a new forest planning rule that will guide the management of 155 forests, 20 grasslands and one prairie in the National Forest System."
"While the National Assn. of Music Merchants and some guitar makers seek reform of the federal Lacey Act that protects certain exotic woods, others benefit from it."
A new study suggests that Sudden Aspen Decline, which is killing many trees in the Rocky Mountains, is caused by dehydration and drought.
"Brazil says the rate of deforestation in its Amazon region has fallen to the lowest level for 23 years."
"SEATTLE — So many pine, fir and spruce trees in the Northwest are riddled with bugs and disease that major tree die-offs are expected to rip through a third of Eastern Washington forests - an area covering nearly 3 million acres - in the next 15 years, according to new state projections."
The agency would add slightly more acreage to the lists of sensitive land and water areas where fire retardant could be dropped only in cases where human life or public safety is threatened. There would be no significant changes in the formula of the retardant, or the general strategy used to determine when and where it's appropriate to drop retardant.
"Whitebark pines may be among the earliest victims of a warming climate in the Northwest, as rising temperatures at higher elevations have brought the trees into contact with the destructive mountain pine beetle."