It was a busy week in the Inland Northwest, probably because many citizens were finally able to dig out and thaw off enough to try and reclaim some sort of normalcy in their lives. So in case you missed out on some of the environmental coverage in the region - DTE has you covered.
Just when most of you (us included) thought our mayor may have been buried under snow, she made her presence known, and in a big way. Mayor Mary Verner vetoed part of the city's shoreline master plan over an amendment that would make an exception to the no-construction buffer zone from 100 to 200 feet along most of the waterway. The exception, voted in favor of by the City Council, was for a 900-foot section in Latah Creek owned by former Spokane CEO John Pilcher. The City Council will vote on whether or not to override the veto this week. Read more HERE.
Last week wasn't easier on everyone. High mountain snow, gnarly weather, and depleted resources have forced wild animals out of higher elevations and closer to city limits. Up near Boundary Dam in Pend Oreille County late last week, about 20 wild elk took refuge in an old hay barn. Unfortunately, the barn collapsed like many other structures in the region, killing 5 elk instantly and breaking the back of another resulting in the animal having to be euthanized. Fortunately, volunteers were able to salvage the meat for a local food bank. Read more HERE.
Idaho Congressman nabbed to lead GOP spending panel for Department of Interior and environmental agencies. Republican Mike Simpson of Idaho's 2nd District has been assigned as the Ranking Member for the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environmental and Related Agencies for the 111th Congress, meaning he will have a great deal of decision-making power to help steer money to local projects like support for public lands. Read the S-R's coverage HERE, and the press release HERE.
Blame "global warming", it has big shoulders. For the third consecutive year, Western Washington is under water and many are wondering why - some say climate change, some logging, and others development. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports all three are causes. "Logging and development are prime suspects because dense forests intercept and slow down rainfall before it becomes a flood, while development plasters concrete and asphalt across marshy areas that once soaked up floodwaters. Meanwhile, climate change appears to be increasing the incidence of extraordinarily heavy rainstorms," says the report in the P-I. And some are just saying, "I told you so", as is the case of University of Washington geologist David Montgomery who warned state legislators this time last year that something needed to be done. Read more HERE.
"The greenest gadgets are the ones you already have." Obama called for a delay on the February 17th switch to all-digital broadcasting since millions of Americans are unprepared. Grist opined the delay is a good opportunity for manufactures to improve their inadequate recycling programs. Read HERE. Also, check out DTE’s "Destination Unknown" on e-waste. .
"Bush's assault on science and the environment is his second-worst war." Ooh. So wrote columnist Derrick Z. Jackson in response to more of Bush’s midnight Hail Mary’s against the environment. His anger is shared by conservationists. Witness the case of Plum Creek Timber, the nation’s largest private landowner. The latest midnight regulation would let the timber company destroy national forest to make way for residential subdivisions in western Montana. "We have 40 years of Forest Service history that has been reversed in the last three months," said Patrick O'Herren, rural initiatives director for Missoula County. MORE.
Unfortunately, we’ll conclude this morning’s editions on a gloomy note: We’re deeply saddened by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for sale, especially after watching this video out of the newsroom. The thought of the globe unplugged is a major civic loss. So, we would like to highlight a groundbreaking five-part series by the P-I, originally published in November 2002 about Puget Sound. For this writer, reading it was a formative experience in environmental journalism. Check out “Our Troubled Sound.”