A federal judge has kicked President Clinton’s Roadless Rule to the curb: In mid-July, U.S. District Judge Clarence A. Brimmer ruled that the U.S. Forest Service violated the Wilderness Act and the National Environmental Policy Act by declaring 58.5 million acres off-limits to road building, mining and logging (HCN, 7/30/01: Bush fails to defend roadless rule). Environmentalists are appealing the decision, and the case will now go to the notoriously conservative 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
New Mexico is calling
off its coyote hunt: Since 2000, the state’s Game
and Fish Department has killed coyotes in the hopes of boosting
mule deer herds (HCN, 2/3/03: New lands boss takes the reins). But
after spending almost $300,000, biologists have found that fawn
numbers haven’t increased, so the department is rethinking
its predator control program.
Secretary Gale Norton can’t be held accountable for
botching American Indian trust accounts. The U.S. Court of Appeals
in Washington, D.C., has overturned U.S. District Judge Royce
Lamberth’s decision to hold Norton in contempt of court. The
three-panel appeals court also overturned Lamberth’s decision
to appoint a court employee to monitor reform of the Indian trust
accounts (HCN, 5/12/03: Missing Interior money: Piles or pennies?).
The fringe-toed lizard can rest
easy: Richard Oliphant is ditching his plans to develop
Joshua Hills, a 7,000 home development on 9,000 acres of dunes and
desert palms between California’s Coachella Valley Preserve
and Joshua Tree National Park (HCN, 8/19/02: New desert town no
home to the fringe-toed lizard). Environmentalists had opposed the
development, saying it would drain the area’s water supply
and destroy the last of the lizard’s
Just because you blow the
whistle, doesn’t mean anyone will hear: The
watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
says that calls to the federal agency in charge of investigating
government wrongdoing are on the rise (HCN, 6/23/03: 'Sound
science' goes sour). But the backlog of cases at the Office of the
Special Counsel, which is required to respond to disclosures within
15 days, has more than doubled since 2001, and more than two-thirds
of those cases are still pending after six months.