The Latest Bounce

 

It's lights-out for two Idaho power plants that would have tapped the sole source of drinking water for more than 400,000 people in northern Idaho and eastern Washington (HCN, 4/15/02: Water threat inspires a rare alliance). The proposed plants would have pumped 3.8 billion gallons of water out of the aquifer each year and evaporated it in their cooling towers. Idaho's Department of Water Resources says that the use of such large amounts of water is "shortsighted.

A proposed wind power project on the Nevada Test Site has been canceled (HCN, 7/2/01: Can Nevada bury Yucca Mountain?). The 325-turbine project, which would have produced enough power for 260,000 homes, was part of a plan to retool the Test Site for the post-Cold War era. The Air Force says the turbines' blades would scramble the radar systems of jets training at neighboring Nellis Air Force Base.

Wolves that prey on livestock in Idaho's Sawtooth National Recreation Area cannot be killed this summer (HCN, 5/27/02: Wolf at the door). In April, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shot the last ten wolves in the Whitehawk Pack after they repeatedly attacked sheep and cattle. But this June, a federal judge ruled that the law that created the Sawtooth National Recreation Area gives wolves a higher precedence than livestock, thereby turning the rules of the game on their head. Now, the Forest Service must determine whether livestock "substantially impair" the wolf population in the area.

As environmentalists and the Forest Service trade salvos over how best to reduce extreme fire danger in the nation's forests, the Forest Service says it intends to log as many as 72,000 acres of ponderosa pine burned in Arizona's Rodeo-Chediski Fire - about half of the national forest acreage burned in the fire (HCN, 7/8/02: The anatomy of fire). The agency hopes to begin logging next spring, before the burned timber is attacked by insects.