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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for February 6. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and legislative leaders agreed on March 6 to settle all financial claims by Education Networks of America and CenturyLink for their development of the Idaho Education Network broadband system for Idaho’s public schools.

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today introduced the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act to require federal agencies to analyze the full impact of a proposed regulation on small businesses during the rulemaking process. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley, who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Jim Risch, who is chairman of the Small Business Committee.

On July 5, American Airlines will begin nonstop service between Boise and Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The new service will operate once daily on a Bombardier CRJ700. The jet will have six first class seats, and 64 coach class seats.

The Bureau of Land Management said on March 8 it has issued a Decision Record for the Soda Fire Fuel Breaks Project, located in Owyhee County, Idaho and Malheur County, Oregon.

The recent collaboration between Boise State University and technical staff at Idaho Power Company on Boise State’s newest computing cluster, R2, enhances both partners’ ability to forecast weather and water supply.

Biologists are focusing these types restoration efforts in the East Fork Potlatch River watershed because they determined steelhead production in this basin is limited by a lack of channel complexity. (photo/Department of Fish & Game)

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Water rights weekly report for January 9. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on March 7 held that federal implied reserved groundwater rights can be claimed by an Indian Tribe – in this case, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. In Agua Caliente Band v. Coachella Valley Water District, the court said “the Tribe has a reserved right to groundwater underlying its reservation as a result of the purpose for which the reservation was established.”

The Nebraska Supreme Court on March 10 held that the Republican River Compact is in effect federal law and therefore supersedes state water right law – and thereby denying a water right claim from within the state. In Greg Hill v. Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, the Nebraska high court said “We find that the Compact, as federal law, supersedes the appropriators’ property interests. We further find that the DNR does not have a duty to regulate ground water; thus, a failure by the DNR to regulate ground water pumping that affects the Basin does not give rise to a cause of action for inverse condemnation.”

The Black Hills Energy electric utility on March 7 formally gave the city of Pueblo, Colorado, and its utility Pueblo Water, its local rights on the Arkansas River, and the diversion infrastructure and equipment needed to access it.

A new film airing on the National Geographic channel on March 14, “Water & Power: A California Heist”, reviews groundwater use in the state and, as a public television channel said. “looks at how heedless groundwater tapping and secret deals over water rights put California’s water supply in peril.”

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for February 6. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

The Idaho Office of Performance Evaluations on Marc 2 released a report on state jurisdictions in Indian country. Five tribes are affected by Idaho state jurisdiction. The report noted at the beginning, “State and local government powers are limited in Indian country by federal law and tribal sovereignty. The US Constitution gives Congress exclusive power over Indian affairs, and states have jurisdiction on reservations only with Congressional consent.”

Senator Mike Crapo and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow are leading a bipartisan effort to end the shortfall of veterinarians in rural areas by reintroducing the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act.

Idaho’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for December 2016 was revised by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to 3.6 percent – one-tenth percent lower than the 3.7 percent first reported.

The Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on proposed changes to guidance related to grants and loans for drinking water and clean water (wastewater) infrastructure construction projects in Idaho.

(photo) Fire burned 22,000 acres of winter range on the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area in eastern Idaho in 2016. To support elk and deer, and prevent private property damage, Idaho Fish and Game set in motion the largest winter feeding operation in Idaho’s history. (photo/Department of Fish & Game)

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Water rights weekly report for January 9. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

Santa Barbara (California) Superior Court Judge James Herman ruled against a plan by the Slippery Rock Ranch to pump groundwater for bottling, siting with the Goleta Water District. The judge held in his 30-page ruling that Goleta had a senior and adjudicated water right to groundwater in the area, and the water Slippery Rock proposed to extract “materially contributes” to it. That means, he wrote, the district is “senior appropriator with standing to enforce its claimed rights with respect to sources of water on or underlying SRR’s property that recharge the basin by way of hydrologic connectivity.”

The Bureau of Reclamation will increase flows below Iron Gate Dam to reduce the risk of disease for coho salmon in the Klamath River. Starting Feb. 10 through Feb. 13, flows below Iron Gate Dam will be elevated increasing from approximately 4,000 cubic feet per second to as much as 9,600 cfs. The public is urged to take all necessary precautions on or near the river while flows are high during this period.

The Bureau of Reclamation announced the initial 2017 water supply allocation for Central Valley Project contractors in the Friant Division, Eastside Division and Municipal & Industrial Water Service Contractors in the American River Division. The 2017 water year has been an extreme year thus far, with precipitation throughout the Central Valley on track to be the highest in our historic records,” said Reclamation’s Acting Mid-Pacific Regional Director Pablo Arroyave. “As such, Reclamation is taking an approach to the announcement of CVP water allocations this year that differs from our historic practice.”

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, who in July won assurances that water stored in Lake Mead would be retained by Arizona, has been named chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power.

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Water rights weekly report for January 9. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on February 21 held that a local California water authority did not have standing to challenge Department of Interior and Bureau of Reclamation decisions on water flow based on endangered species considerations. San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority v. Kevin Haugrud wound up affirming federal agency obligations to take responsibility for considering endangered species considerations.

Despite objections from many water suppliers that drought conditions have ended, the State Water Resources Control Board this week voted unanimously to extend emergency water conservation regulations throughout California.

The largest coal-fired power plant in the west, the Navajo Generating Station in northeast Arizona, is proposed for an end of operations in 2019. It is a heavy water used in a parched region. The plant uses a significant amount of water, much of it from Lake Powell on the Colorado River system. What would happen to it if the plant stops operations?

photo/At the Oroville Dam in California, a partial view of the emergency spillway (left) and the concrete structure containing the gates for the main service spillway (right)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for February 6. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

The Wilderness Society and Idaho Conservation League released results of new research on February 22 that reveal what appear to be widespread violations of the Idaho constitutional limit on how much land the State Land Board can sell to private parties. The new findings further deflate claims by public land takeover advocates that Idaho citizens won’t be locked out of their forests and recreation lands if they are given to the state.

Staff from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission will conduct a public workshop for Idaho Power Company customers on Tuesday, March 21 at 7 p.m., regarding the utility’s application to accelerate depreciation for its share of the Valmy, Nevada, coal plant.

The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will continue to increase flows from Lucky Peak Dam beginning today due to above-normal winter precipitation in the Boise River drainage.

The Idaho Department of Labor is actively investigating a scam where job seekers are receiving fraudulent emails with the subject line of “Job Offer” from a company called Juno Publishing Limited.

Nampa residents will find a new and easier-to-use website when they visit the city’s website next time. The city also modernized the Nampa logo, giving it fresh, brighter colors.

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Water rights weekly report for January 9. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

A special master on February 14 sided with Georgia in its dispute with Georgia over water rights in the Apalachicola River, Chattahoochee River and Flint River.

Despite objections from many water suppliers that drought conditions have ended, the State Water Resources Control Board this week voted unanimously to extend emergency water conservation regulations throughout California.

Dropping water levels in Kenya’s Lake Turkana following the development of dams and plantations in Ethiopia’s lower Omo Valley threaten the livelihoods of half a million indigenous people in Ethiopia and Kenya, Human Rights Watch said on February 14.

The Idaho Senate has voted to confirm four members of the Idaho Water Resource Board who were reappointed to new four-year terms by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. Idaho Water Resource Board Chairman Roger Chase of Pocatello was confirmed for a third term; Albert Barker, a Boise attorney, was confirmed for a second term; Vince Alberdi of Kimberly, retired, was confirmed for a third term; and John “Bert” Stevenson of Rupert, retired, was confirmed for a second term.

A measure that would have let Wyoming state agencies negotiate for water rights in Lake DeSmet failed on February 15 in the state Senate.

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for February 6. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

The Bureau of Land Management Challis Field Office and U.S. Forest Service Salmon-Challis National Forest are developing a draft plan for the Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness and are soliciting public comments.

Citing the stress on many rural county budgets, Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch joined 78 of their colleagues in sending a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the Office of Management and Budget calling on it to provide funding for the Secure Rural Schools program in the President’s upcoming budget request that will be submitted to Congress.

The Sawtooth National Forest is soliciting public comment in response to a proposal by the City of Ketchum, the City of Sun Valley, the City of Stanley, Blaine County, and the Idaho Conservation League to establish the ‘Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve’ on both public and private lands within an area that includes the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, portions of the Ketchum Ranger District, and the cities of Stanley, Ketchum, and Sun Valley.

The State Oil and Gas Regulatory Exchange, an innovative regulatory improvement program created under the States First Initiative by two state-based organizations, finds Idaho’s oil and gas regulatory structure to be mostly in line with the regulatory practices of other oil and gas producing states, and provides guidance for Idaho as its regulation of oil and gas exploration, drilling and production continues to evolve.

Senator Jim Risch, chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, released the following statement regarding the Senate confirmation of Linda E. McMahon to serve as the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

(photo/Homestead Ministries, the Boise Rescue Mission and The Ambrose School in Meridian at their Feed the Need event on February 10. This event incorporates crops grown in the Pacific Northwest and packaged by 500 students in one day. (photo/Governor Otter)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for February 6. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

H20 was the big topic in Idaho last week – first in colder form, as heavy snowfall that in some places threatened to break all-time snowfall records, and later as rain and snow melt that led to widespread flooding, mainly in the southern part of the state.

The House Education Committee voted on February 9 to remove references to climate change and human impact on the environment from a new set of science standards.

The Canyon County Board of County Commissioners announced on February 8 their plan to keep the Canyon County Fair at its current location in Caldwell for the foreseeable future.

The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear said on February 9 the availability of fiscal year 2017 funds for small business vouchers to assist applicants developing advanced nuclear energy technologies who are seeking access to the world class expertise and capabilities available across the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories complex.

Vista Outdoor Inc., a major employer at Lewiston, reported diminished operating results for the third quarter of its Fiscal Year 2017, which ended on January 1.

Citing Idaho law and the State Water Plan, the Idaho Water Resource Board unanimously approved a resolution Monday opposing additional fish-passage requirements on the relicensing of the Hells Canyon Dam complex.

PHOTO Heavy snowfall early in the week turned, in many places, to flooding later on in the week. (photo/Idaho Transportation Department)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for February 6. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

The money race gets well underway for the 2018 Idaho governor’s contest, while incumbent Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter goes internationally viral with his defense of the Trump Administration’s priority for Christian refugees over others.

The GOP primary to succeed retiring Gov. Butch Otter got started a while ago, with both Lt. Gov. Brad Little and ex-state Sen. Russ Fulcher announcing their candidacies last year. Little brought in $340,000 from July to December, and he added $50,000 of his own money. That’s far better than Fulcher, who lost the 2014 primary to Otter 51-44; since he announced in late August, Fulcher hauled in just $50,000.

Senator Jim Risch on February 1 introduced the Greater Sage-Grouse Protection and Recovery Act of 2017, legislation allowing states to implement their own specific conservation and management plans to protect greater sage-grouse populations and their habitats, in lieu of federal management. Original cosponsors of the bill include Senators Mike Crapo, Dean Heller (R-NV), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Steve Daines (R-MT).

Micron Technology, Inc. on February 2 announced the retirement of Chief Executive Officer Mark Durcan.

The Boise City Council on February 1 endorsed a resolution highlighting the city’s long-standing role as a welcoming community and a community of refuge for those fleeing violence and persecution from conflicts around the globe.

A recently completed audit shows logging operations examined on private, state, and federal lands in Idaho overall were 96% compliant in applying laws designed to protect water quality.

The seventh annual ACHD revenue and expense report details more than $1 billion in spending on transportation within each city and Ada County since 2002.

PHOTO Idaho Fish and Game is feeding big game animals at nearly 110 sites this winter and expects to spend about $650,000 on the effort (photo/Department of Fish & Game)

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