The Wayward West

  Three Idaho Supreme Court decisions the first week in April reaffirmed the right of an anti-grazing group to bid on state grazing leases (HCN, 12/21/98). A week later, the Idaho Watersheds Project won a federal court decision that pulled grazing permits from 1 million acres of BLM grazing lands in Idaho. The group's Jon Marvel says the rulings pound "one more nail in the coffin of public-lands ranching."

If Gary Boyce and his Stockmen's Water Co. go ahead with plans to export water from Colorado's San Luis Valley, state Attorney General Ken Salazar says the company won't necessarily get its way (HCN, 10/26/98). "They can expect we are going to fight (them) with all the resources that we have within the attorney general's office," Salazar told The Denver Post. The company has reportedly floated proposals to sell water to cities on Colorado's Front Range and in New Mexico.

Now that the hubbub of Idaho's last legislative session has quieted down, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is trying to get its house in order (HCN, 3/15/99). Legislation that would have pulled the department's authority to run the state's endangered species program was voted down, along with a request to hike hunting and fishing license fees. "We can get by one more year without (making) any serious cutbacks," the department's acting director, Jerry Mallet, told the AP. "If we don't get a fee increase during the next legislature, that's when we'll need to make some serious adjustments."

The state of Montana corralled about 60 bison caught wandering just outside Yellowstone National Park on April 15, then arrested five protesters from the Buffalo Field Campaign who interfered (HCN, 2/15/99). Bison testing positive will be killed, and the rest of the animals will be set free. The Montana Department of Livestock has captured 100 bison over the winter and killed 27, reports the Billings Gazette.

* Dustin Solberg
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