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In a recent email from Vice President Joe Biden, the White House chose, among the umpteen thousand examples of government waste, a federally funded Desert Tortoise website as its whipping-boy to highlight what it considers wasteful government spending in its "€œCampaign to Cut Waste"€.

There'€™s a New Sheriff in Town -€“ The White House Blog

I bet you didni€™t know that your tax dollars pay for a website dedicated to the Desert Tortoise. I'm sure it'€™s a wonderful species, but we can’t afford to have a standalone site devoted to every member of the animal kingdom. It's just one of hundreds of government websites that should be consolidated or eliminated.

This kind of waste is just unacceptable. Particularly at a time when we'€™re facing tough decisions about reducing our deficit, it'€™s a no-brainer to stop spending taxpayer dollars on things that benefit nobody.

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They're hard to look at, especially for the animal lovers and environmental activists among us, but these photos of ranchers celebrating their recent take of a wolf in Idaho illustrate a side of the west that's important to understand - they call it "custom and culture."  

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Video Cross-Posted From WWPBlog

More below...

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Wed Oct 10, 2007 at 10:52 PM PDT

Fate of the Western Great Basin

by begreen

The Senate Public Lands and Forests Subcommittee will be holding a hearing in Las Vegas tomorrow ~ Thursday, October 11 ~ to discuss threats to the Great Basin.  From what I gather, fire and cheatgrass will be highlighted on the agenda.  Subscription only article from E & E :

The Senate Public Lands and Forests Subcommittee looks at environmental threats facing rangelands and forests in the Great Basin at a field hearing Thursday in Las Vegas.

The Great Basin includes much of Nevada, western Utah, the lower third of Idaho, the southeastern corner of Oregon and a narrow strip of eastern California. It has been under assault recently by a combination of invasive species, wildfire, drought and climate change.

   
The hearing has the potential to alter the current momentum of the debate over how best to manage habitat in the West that continues to diminish ~ habitat that is critical to the almost listed pygmy rabbit, sage grouse, and a host of other species including pronghorn, a variety of beautiful birds, fish, and other wonderous plants and animals.

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There is no doubt, the hoopla surrounding ID Senator Larry Craig is a well deserved condemnation of hypocrisy that's been years in the coming and nobody is celebrating his descent more than progressives in the Northwest.    

But the shamefull manner in which a powerful Republican Senator squandered his standing is thankfully failing to completely overshadow just what it is many in Idaho and throughout the West are celebrating:

In the meantime, his actions in backrooms of the nation's capital deserve attention. Call it a Craig's List of how to block good deeds, or at least see that they don't go unpunished.

some background music...

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Dan Popkey adds to Idaho media's star-struck relationship with public lands reliant industry by calling for Idahoans to Help keep Idaho one of the last best places to live with their support of Idaho  H262 in the Sunday Statesman.  The House Bill would pony up scarce state dollars to loggers, ranchers, and farmers to crutch their operations against development competition.  Individual and corporate state income tax credits of 50% the assessed private land value would be added to the pile of subsidies ranchers and loggers already enjoy with reduced Ag property taxes, public land resource rates at a fraction of market value, low interest loans, etc. etc.

The bill is the result of a collaboration of industry interests and conservationists calling themselves the Working Lands Initiative.  The name sounds nice (in these times that ought to justify an immediate double-take) but the results to conservation efforts are misleading.

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