Volume 4, Number 25 - September 16, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service announced last week that it has extended its public comment period 60 additional days for a proposed rule on protecting roadless values in national forests and grasslands based on several requests from the public. The original comment period was to end on Sept. 14; comments must now be received in writing by Nov. 15.
On July 16, the Forest Service published a proposed rule to revise regulations concerning the Roadless Area Conservation Rule published on Jan. 12, 2001. The proposed rule would allow governors to petition the secretary of agriculture to establish or adjust management direction that exists in forest plans for inventoried roadless areas within their state.
An interim directive remains in effect to conserve inventoried roadless areas until the new rule is publicized. For more information, log on to www.roadless.fs.fed.us.
Sublette County has been determined to be a "contiguous county" for federal drought designation. The following counties were determined to be primary drought areas: Big Horn, Crook, Lincoln, Sheridan, Campbell, Goshen, Niobrara, Weston, Converse, Johnson and Platte. The declaration included the following contiguous counties: Albany, Laramie, Park, Sweetwater, Uinta, Carbon, Natrona, Sublette, Teton and Washakie.
According to Lois Van Mark of the Farm Service Agency in Casper: "The purpose of the declaration is really meant to allow producers, suffering a loss due to drought, are eligible in both primary and contiguous counties to apply for a low interest loan. This loan can be amortized out over about 20 years."
The secondary purpose for which the declaration can be used is for those livestock producers who are selling more of their herd than is normal for them to do as a result of the drought, Van Mark reported. In doing so the producer can utilize the provision under IRS for a tax deferral.
Brucellosis Task Force
The Wyoming Brucellosis Task Force will continue its two-day meeting in Jackson today, Thursday, Sept. 16. The commission is currently focusing its work on generating recommendations for dealing with brucellosis in wildlife. The meeting is being held at the Pavilion at the Cowboy Village in Jackson. The next meeting is tentatively set for Oct. 28-29 in Gillette.
Legislative Ag meeting
The Joint Agriculture, Public Lands and Water Resources Interim Committee of the Wyoming Legislature will meet at the Best Western Dunmar Inn in Evanston on Sept. 16 and 17.
The purpose of this meeting is to continue the committee's interim study topics including: long-term quarantines, brucellosis and West Nile Virus, predators, premise and animal identification, private property access, self-funded trust for management of state lands, land use management and plan for state lands and electronic permitting for the State Engineer's office.
The Joint Executive-Legislative Committee on Split Estates will hold its next meeting on Sept. 20 at 8 a.m. at the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission building, located on King Boulevard in Casper. The purpose of the meeting is to consider draft legislation related to split estates.
It's an all-star cast set for the RangeNet 2004 anti-grazing confab to be held in November in Albuquerque, New Mexico. All the usual groups wanting livestock off public lands will be represented, and other speakers on the agenda include U.S. Representative Rall Grijalva (D-AZ), slated to give the keynote address; University of Wyoming's Debra Donahue will join a panel to discuss how western landscapes are endangered by livestock production and Deborah Popper will give a presentation of her view of a "Buffalo Commons."
Tops in officers per capita
Okay, so it certainly seems like there are lots of Sublette County law enforcement officers, but how does Sublette County really stack up compared to other areas? Number one.
Sublette County as a whole has the highest number of officers with 3.7 per 1,000 residents of any county in the state. What also sets Sublette County apart is that it is the only county without separate metro police departments.
So while Sweetwater County, as a whole, has 2.7 officers per 1,000, the Green River Police Department has eight officers per 1,000 people.
Natrona County as a whole has 2.1 officers per 1,000, but that county's sheriff's department has 3.6 officers per 1,000. Lincoln County has 2.3 officers per 1,000 people.
(Source: DCI Annual Report on Crime for 2003.)
The U.S. Forest Service decided to postpone the leasing of 157,000 acres in the Wyoming Range, pending review of environmental impacts attributed to oil and gas development.
"The Forest Service has done the right thing here by taking into account significant public concern with the impacts and then slowing leasing until remaining questions can be answered," said Governor Dave Freudenthal. "I continue to fully support Wyoming's oil and gas industry, but development needs to occur in a deliberate fashion that takes into account all the impact it brings. The Forest Service recognized that balance is needed when it decided to postpone these leases to provide an opportunity for further evaluation."
The leases were set for sale in October 2004.
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