County seeks de-listing of woodland caribou

Print Article

SANDPOINT — Bonner County is contracting with the Pacific Legal Foundation to petition the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to remove the southern Selkirk Mountain woodland caribou from the federal endangered species list.

County commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to contribute up to $10,000 toward the effort.

“Getting into contractual agreements with a not-to-exceed amount always makes the most sense,” said Commissioner Lewie Rich.

A memorandum of understanding approved by the board also allows the public to contribute financially to the de-listing move.

“We’re going to seek out donors,” Commissioner Mike Nielsen said after the board approved the expenditure.

Contributions gathered from the public can only be spent on the de-listing move.

The nonprofit Pacific Legal Foundation is regarded as one of the oldest conservative/libertarian public interest law firms in the nation.

“They’re the most nationally respected free-market law firms in the country,” said Scott Bauer, the commission’s civil counsel.

The foundation is already representing a Priest Lake couple who are dueling with the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. Supreme Court over a wetland designation.

Commissioners have aggressively challenged Fish & Wildlife’s plan to designate 375,500 acres in the Panhandle and eastern Washington as critical habitat for woodland caribou. They contend the caribou population is too small to justify the designation and the impact on the economy would be too great.

The board’s stance has been cheered by business owners at Priest Lake who contend caribou considerations have already restricted snowmobile riding on national forest land and hurt tourism. They fear the habitat designation will further restrict snowmobiling and virtually every other forest activity.

Fish & Wildlife officials assert that they are unable predict what forest uses would be impacted in deference to caribou enhanced protections.

Environmental groups such as the Idaho Conservation League have defended the habitat designation and maintain that logging, motorized recreation and other forest uses can continue despite the designation.

Fish & Wildlife was sued by the Selkirk Conservation Alliance and other groups to compel the agency to designate critical habitat.

When the designation was announced last year, county commissioners invoked a federal rule requiring the agency to coordinate with local officials on the designation.

But there unease whether coordination will enable the county to influence the designation. Fish & Wildlife officials told commissioners at a meeting last month that federal rules prohibit them from accepting the county remarks on the issue because they are being made outside of the regimented public comment process.

Print Article

Read More News

South Korean prosecutors push to arrest ousted president

AP

March 27, 2017 at 1:14 am | SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean prosecutors said Monday that they want to arrest former President Park Geun-hye over the corruption allegations that triggered a huge political scandal and topp...

Comments

Read More

IdahoWorks notified about data breach

March 26, 2017 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee About 170,000 of the Idaho Department of Labor’s 530,000 job-seeker accounts — active and historical — were compromised by a hacking incident on March 12-13 involving America’s Job Link, a Kansas-bas...

Comments

Read More

Committee names Women of Wisdom

March 26, 2017 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — The Women Honoring Women committee is pleased to announce the 2017 Women of Wisdom. The five women to be honored this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award are Patti Clemons, Janel Holm, Donn...

Comments

Read More

‘Illusio’ to transform Panida with magic

March 26, 2017 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee By DAVID GUNTER Feature correspondent SANDPOINT — In theatrical realms, there is a concept known as the “suspension of disbelief.” It is predicated on that fact that, while audiences know full we...

Comments

Read More