Western Republicans are tightening the noose on an inland Northwest ecosystem study. Riders on the appropriations bill in the House and Senate would give the 4-year-old Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project 4 months to live (HCN, 6/23/97). "We made an endangered species list for bureaucratic boondoggles and (the project) just got listed," Idaho Rep. Helen Chenoweth told the Medill News Service. The rider has already passed in the House, but Democratic supporters say they haven't lost yet - President Clinton could still veto the appropriations bill.
The U.S. 9th Circuit
Court of Appeals still isn't in step with the Supreme Court - but
the high court has reversed fewer of the West Coast court's rulings
(HCN, 1/19/98). The Supreme Court overruled 13 of 17 cases this
year, compared to 28 of 29 cases the year before, reports the Los
Angeles Times. The California-based judges downplay any major
difference of opinion between the two courts, since the 9th Circuit
hears about 4,600 cases a year. Chief Judge Proctor Hug Jr. said:
"It doesn't mean a hoot."
Elizabeth Winter of the
Picuris Pueblo's environment office says "It's not just a relief.
It's a cause for celebration." The Tribe of Picuris welcomed Summo
USA Corp." s announcement last month that it was dropping its 223
mining claims on northern New Mexico's Copper Hill (HCN, 6/23/97).
The pueblo had allied with environmentalists and fought the mine
for almost two years. But the company reports its Lisbon Valley
copper mine in Utah is still in the works.
Paperwork on the McDonald
gold mine has stopped. Last month, Montana halted environmental
studies at the headwaters of the Blackfoot River because Canyon
Resources Corp. wasn't paying its share of the bill. Now, the
mining company owes more than $300,000, and the state won't resume
its review until the company pays up. Canyon Resources insists it
is going ahead with the project (HCN, 12/22/97).
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service says that leaving the Atlas uranium tailings pile beneath
an earthen cap on the bank of the Colorado River near Moab, Utah,
might be OK after all (HCN, 4/13/98). Atlas Corp. wants to leave
the low-level radioactive pile in place, and the agency's opinion
moves the company a step closer to getting its way. "This is pretty
good news for us," Atlas Corp." s Richard Blubaugh told the Salt
Lake Tribune. Some environmentalists and the National Park Service
want the waste hauled off to a remote desert
* Dustin Solberg