So just who was it that helped the National Park Service rewrite its management policies? The agency has repeatedly said that "more than 100 key (Park Service) career professional staff" contributed to a controversial rewording of park guidelines in October to emphasize recreation over preservation (HCN, 11/14/05: Business booster still guides national park rules). But it can’t produce a list of the participants. Nonetheless, says Park Service spokesman David Barna, "we stand by that number."
14 miles of border fence will soon
cut off U.S.-Mexico access south of San Diego (HCN,
10/31/05: Homeland Security gets to bypass environmental laws). In
September, Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff used his
authority to waive any environmental, labor or safety laws that
might hinder the fence’s construction. Environmental groups
sued, alleging the waiver was unconstitutional, but Judge Larry A.
Burns threw out the case, setting a precedent for similar waivers
on security projects.
Help wanted: Manager for
national monument. Previous diplomatic experience
required. David Hunsaker, who’s run southern
Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument since
2001, is stepping down (HCN, 10/13/03: National monument back under
attack). Hunsaker plans to move to Washington, D.C., in March to
become deputy director of the National Landscape Conservation
System, which oversees specially designated BLM lands, such as
wilderness study areas. Don Banks, spokesman for the agency’s
Utah office, says that managing the monument, which comes under
constant fire from unhappy locals and officials in Kane and
Garfield counties, "is probably the toughest job in the BLM."
The sky isn’t falling after all.
In late September, the Forest Service said a recent court ruling
forced it to pull the plug on minor activities like Christmas tree
cutting, mushroom picking, and firewood gathering until it could
gather public comment on each one (HCN, 10/31/05: Forest Service
tries to teach greens a lesson). In October, U.S. District Judge
James Singleton said that the agency had blown his order out of
proportion, and on Dec. 2, the judge denied the Forest
Service’s request to stay his ruling.