Posts tagged: politics
CONSERVATION — Some conservationists didn't hide their happiness to hear that Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., is retiring after 20 years in Congress, an unexpected announcement that drew both cheers and jeers Thursday in the nation’s capital.
As chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, he's been a barrier to many efforts championed by environmentalists, especially those who objected to his persistent moves to open more public lands to development and to change laws dealing with endangered species, among other things.
“It’s really good riddance,” said Athan Manuel, director of the lands protection program for the Sierra Club.
Click “continue reading” for the full story from the McClatchy Washington Bureau.
PARKS — The giant yellow snowplows that wake Yellowstone from its winter slumber every March are idled, waiting for the sun to make up for federal budget cuts that are forcing the park to open late for peak season.
Faced with an order from Washington to slice $1.8 million from his budget, the park superintendent, Dan Wenk, had considered his options, and delaying the plows was a better choice than cutting his already barebones staff of rangers and seasonal employees.
National Parks are just one of many agencies weighing choices being forced by the budget reductions known as sequestration.
OFF-ROADING — It's no secret that off-road vehicle riders run rampant in some areas of national forests and other public lands that are closed to motorized traffic. But even if you catch them in the act, little can be done to report the offenses because ATVs and off-road dirt bikes don't need licence plates necessary for ID.
A compromise bill is in the works in the Washington Legislature that would help open more roads for OHV riding while getting a licensing requirement promoted by environmentalists. Many OHVers support the licensing portion of the bill to help deal with the bad apples in their ranks.
See Olympia reporter Jim Camden's Spin Control column for the details.
CLIMATE CHANGE — In the first comprehensive study of its kind, a Portland State University study has found Mount Adams' 12 glaciers have shrunk by nearly half since 1904 and are receding faster than those of nearby sister volcanoes Mount Hood and Mount Rainier.
Mount Adams, 54 air miles from Yakima, is another sign of gradually warming temperatures that — if continued as expected by researchers — will mean significant problems for the water-dependent Yakima Valley, according to reports by the Oregonian and the Associated Press.
The study lends urgency to an earlier federal report that shows the water content of Cascade Mountain snowpacks could dwindle by as much as 50 percent by the 2070s.
The latest work on glaciers on the 12,276-foot Mount Adams by a Portland State University geology professor and a student team was based on aerial photography, geographic information system mapping, buttressed by historic photos taken by hikers.
The results show Adams' glaciers have melted away 49 percent of their coverage area since 1904.
Over generally the same time period Mount Rainier's glaciers lost 24 percent of coverage area and on Mount Hood the decline has been some 32 percent.
Some scientists suggest Adams gets less moisture because it is just to the east of the Cascades crest.