Federal forest boss Dale Bosworth's complaints about citizen appeals of forest projects hit a crescendo in mid-September, yet appeals continue to pop up across the West. In Colorado, 11 groups appealed the White River Forest Plan, released in June (HCN, 7/8/02: White river). This time, Bosworth can't lay all the blame on environmentalists: Appellants range from Vail Resorts to the Sierra Club to the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition.
Wyoming's Game and Fish Commission,
which plans to take over wolf management from the feds, isn't very
wolf-friendly. The commission has suggested dual classification for
the gray wolf: In Shoshone and Bridger-Teton national forest
wilderness areas, wolves would be hunted as "trophy game," while in
the rest of the state, wolves would remain a "predator species"
that could be shot and killed anytime by anyone (HCN, 5/27/02: Wolf
at the door).
For the second time this year,
Judge James Parker has ordered the Bureau of Reclamation to stop
shirking its duties and release water for the silvery minnow in New
Mexico's Rio Grande (HCN, 7/08/02: Southwest drought desiccates
fish before farmers). Environmentalists sued the Bureau and Fish
and Wildlife Service when both agencies sidestepped the issue of a
potentially dry riverbed this fall. The Bureau refused to wrangle
water from irrigators and turned down a loan of water from
Albuquerque, while, in a suspicious show of solidarity, the Service
released a September opinion that no longer advocates releasing
water from upstream reservoirs.
Secretary Gale Norton and Assistant Secretary Neal McCaleb have
been held in contempt of court for mishandling Indian trust
accounts (HCN, 2/4/02: Indian trust is anything but). U.S. District
Judge Royce Lamberth ruled Sept. 17 the two committed fraud and
litigation misconduct. Several years ago, Lamberth held
then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in contempt. Thousands of
Indians are still waiting for their money.
in a stunning display of inhumanity, Cochise County deputies in
Arizona carried out the final act of humiliation for a Mexican
woman who died of exposure while crossing into the U.S. (HCN,
10/9/00: The hunters and the hunted: The Arizona-Mexico border
turns into the 21st century frontier). The officers strapped Janet
Mata Mendez's decomposing body to the hood of a sheriff's vehicle
and drove into the town of Bisbee. They said they didn't have room
for Ms. Mendez inside the vehicle.