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Posts published in “Digests”

FL resignation; gold water buy; Sundance doc

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

Jon Steverson, the top administrator in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, in January resigned after legislative complaints about exploding legal bills in the state’s water war with Georgia. He will depart on February 3. Steverson will go to work for the law firm Foley Gardner, which is one of the four private firms the state hired to prosecute its claims in the water case.

Canamex Resources Corp. said on January 24 that the Nevada Division of Water Resources has granted it an extension through 2017 for a subsurface water right for the Bruner Gold Project located in Nye County, Nevada.

The Idaho Department of Water Resources has ordered a reduction on water use by holders of about 70 rights holders in the eastern part of the state. They were not participants in a groundwater mitigation program.

The documentary film “Water & Power: A California Heist” was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in late January.
Director Marina Zenovich visited communities in the San Joaquin Valley where water disparities abounded.

Water transfer rule, etc.

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

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on January 18 reversed a district judge in effectively reinstating a Bush-era rule which says direct water transfers are not subject to the permitting system set up by the Clean Water Act.

A representative of the New Mexico State Engineer’s office in January described to Lincoln County officials the chances of obtaining a new water right in the area. The upshot was: Somewhere around slim or none.

The Oklahoma city of Ada on January 17 will move forward with purchase of 120 acres of land linked to substantial aquifer rights. And the city of Alamosa, Colorado, has agreed to purchase more than a half-million dollars in water rights, presented held by a ranching corporation.

Nigeria’s government in January released a new national Water Use and License 2016 document.

Exeter Resource Corporation said on January 17 that it has secured a second water source, which will provide a timely development pathway for its 100% owned Caspiche gold oxide/ gold-copper project in Chile.

Idaho Briefing – January 23

This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for January 23. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

As a new administration takes power in Washington, the Idaho Legislature kicks into gear and introduces legislation at a somewhat faster rate than its members did a year ago.

The Bureau of Land Management has signed a Record of Decision to authorize routes for the final two segments of the Gateway West transmission line project, which connects the Hemingway substation in southwest Idaho with power generation facilities in central Wyoming. The project will address congestion problems within the Western electrical grid, facilitate the renewable energy market, especially wind energy in Idaho and Wyoming, and aid in delivering that energy to the region.

Idaho's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.7 percent in December – after five straight months at 3.8 percent.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said on January 20 that the State of Idaho’s official website, idaho.gov, has a new design and significantly improved functionality.

Senator Jim Risch, chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, provided opening remarks at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, Improving Small Business Input on Federal Regulations: Ideas for Congress and a New Administration.

A regional cold snap drove loads, or power demand, in the Bonneville Power Administration’s balancing authority area to high levels – topping out on Friday, January 6 at 10,943 megawatts. The balancing authority area is the electrically-defined “geographic” unit within which BPA’s Transmission Services Operations team balances the supply and demand of electricity on an ongoing real-time basis.

PHOTO The Idaho National Laboratory has had five supercomputers recognized on the TOP500 list, which originated in the early ’90s. The new Falcon supercomputer initially made the list in November 2014, and has maintained a position on subsequent lists. The supercomputer advanced in the current rankings as recent processor upgrades improved the operating capabilities of Falcon. Operating with more than 25,000 cores and 122 terabytes of memory, Falcon supports the needs of over 400 users – spanning the lab, national universities, other DOE labs and industry partners. (photo/Idaho National Laboratory)

In the Briefings

kingenergytracking
 

King County Executive Dow Constantine (foreground, left) tours a new energy use tracking system being installed by the county. (See the local government section.) (image/King County)

 
After the gubernatorial excitement of the last few weeks, things seemed to settle down a bit in Oregon last week. Just as the legislative activity started to pick up.

So it seemed in the other two states as well.

Idaho officials managed a short-term stopgap last week in the public school broadband collapse; money was appropriated, and for the most part at least the system will not go dark – for now. How long the stopgap may sufficie, though, remains unclear.

In the Briefings

crapotftn
 

Senator Mike Crapo (left) talking with two editors of the Twin Falls Times News, Matt Christensen (center) and Jon Alexander. (photo/Senator Crapo)

 
The Idaho legislature continues on, moving ahead on normal schedule – so far. Two bumps in the road loomed a little larger last week, one being the problem of the school broadband funding (which some legislators were hoping to resolve by end of the week) and the other road funding, for which a variety of options have surfaced. Battle lines appeared not to have hardened, at least not yet. This week may tell whether the back end of those stories plays easily or hard.

The arrival and swearing in of new Oregon Governor Kate Brown, and some of her initial steps as governor, dominated discussion around the state last week. This week, it may return to the legislature overall.

To the north, will this be an unusual thing – Governor Jay Inslee complimenting the legislature for sending him its budget ahead of expected schedule – or was it a one-shot? The ability of legislators to wrap up in a single session may hang in the balance.

In the Briefings

Schweitzer
 
On Schweitzer Mountain, near Sandpoint, on January 1. It is one of the ski areas open around Idaho. (photo/Schweitzer Mountain Resort)

 

You may notice a few changes, mostly small but some larger, in this edition of the Briefing, the first of 2015. Some of the type fonts have changed (to a new one called “Droid,” which was specially designed to be easily read on electronic documents), and we are developing a few new small features. More will emerge in the next few weeks. The old familiars from last year will, of course, be back.

For Washington and Idaho, next week's editions will likely be legislature-heavy, as those states' lawmakers come into session. (Oregon is next month.)

In the Briefings

Middleton signage
 

A cluster of political signs (and one commercial sign as well) posted on November 1, on a farm just outside of Middleton in Canyon County. (photo/Randy Stapilus)

 
As last week ended, political campaigns began to fold their tents – along with some strong final-weekend activity – and everyone prepared for absorbing the results on the evening of November 4. A large chunk of the news revolved in one way or another around those elections.

Watch here for election analysis on Tuesday night.

In the Briefings

Hammer Flats
 
Spraying and other action for control of noxious weeds is underway in many places around Idaho; here, an Ada County weed control truck is spraying. (photo/Ada County)
 

As the primary elections in Oregon and Idaho near, political campaign activity hits a peak, with advertising starting to run heavily and campaigns hitting hard with their closing cases.

Meanwhile, some indicators of economic slowdown, in cases of revenue falling a bit short of expectations in Washington and Idaho.

In the Briefings

red algae
 
ALGAE BLOOM: This is a red-orange algae bloom spotted at Edmonds on May 16. (Photo/submitted to the Department of Ecology by Jeri Cusimano)
 

In Washington and Oregon both (most notably in Oregon), state tax revenue reported as rising, and unemployment dropping – one of the best weeks of economic news in more than half a decade. Not bad in Idaho, either.

If the mood in Olympia seems still a bit sour, that has more to do with political battling than anything else: The core news is not so bad, though legislators are likely to keep up their conflicts for some weeks to come. How about special session?

Cormorants

cormorants
 
Cormorants perched above the water, on an estuary along the Oregon coast. (Image/Oregon Fish & Wildlife)

 

An image from the Oregon Weekly Briefing, a year ago. Good odds that the cormorants are back again.

Worth a note on a fine spring day in most of the Northwest.

In the Briefings

osprey
OSPREY HATCH: Transportation Department crews placed an osprey nest atop a high platform; soon an osprey flew by to inspect their work. ITD environmental planners were concerned that relocating the nest from the Del Rio Bridge on the U.S. 20 business loop east of St. Anthony would drive the birds away. Twenty minutes after ITD workers left the site, however, an osprey landed, apparently ready to homestead.. (image/Idaho Department of Transportation)

 

This week's Briefings were heavy on legislative and post-legislative activity, but there was plenty of resource news too ... such as the posting of a nest of Osprey in Idaho.

In the Briefings this week


A rendering of the planned patas monkey exhibit at the Boise Zoo. (image/Boise Zoo)

 

An advance look at the new exhibition buiilding for Boise Zoo's patas monkeys, expected to be unveiled this summer. Efforts toward the new building were launched last year after one of the monkeys was killed by a human intruder.

Economic and legislative stories dominated the news in the Briefings across the three Northwest states, as legislators prepare to do their thing for 2013.