For the first time in its history, the U.S. Forest Service admits it has lost money on national forest timber sales. Losses amounted to $14.7 million for fiscal year 1996. The agency says the shortfall comes mostly from rehabilitation projects such as forest thinning and stream restoration, while commercial logging operations continue to profit.
Utah has moved
closer to confrontation with federal officials over storing nuclear
waste on the Goshute Indian Reservation (HCN, 9/1/97). State road
commissioners voted Dec. 4 to assume control of a county road into
the reservation. They took their cue from Gov. Mike Leavitt, who
opposes nuclear waste storage in the state. Leavitt says he'll use
the state's control of the road to block waste
The U.S. Forest Service has removed an
obstacle to Vail's plans to start clearing forest for ski runs and
new lifts under a new 4,000-acre expansion. The agency has rejected
an appeal by environmental groups aimed at protecting habitat for
the lynx, a wildcat last seen in Colorado in 1974 (HCN, 11/24/97).
Vail needs Eagle County's approval before it starts building
chairlifts and other structures.
line-item veto, President Clinton killed a $4.26 billion transfer
of federal mineral rights to the state of Montana. Montana Sen.
Conrad Burns and Rep. Rick Hill, both Republicans, saw the transfer
as a payback for the federal buyout of a proposed mine outside
Yellowstone National Park (HCN, 11/24/97). The Clinton
administration said it would set "a costly, and potentially
environmentally harmful, precedent."
Atlantic salmon, federal officials have ordered the removal of
Maine's Edwards Dam, the first time the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission has denied a dam license renewal application. What dam
in the West may be next? The Condit Dam on Washington state's White
Salmon River could go (HCN, 3/22/93), say officials at American
Rivers, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental group. Federal
studies show that taking out Condit Dam would be cheaper than
building fish passages. A decision is a year or two
Ted Turner, an admirer of the wild nature
of bison, owns 15,000 bison on ranches across the West. Now he sees
a business opportunity. Turner appointed his son Teddy to head his
U.S. Bison Co. to explore market possibilities for the herd. "If
you really want to bring something back," Ted Turner told the
Associated Press, "you have to make it pay."