This article written by Brett Haverstick has appeared in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, the Idaho County FreePress, and the Lewiston Tribune.
Now that we have kicked Exxon/Imperial Oil out of the Clearwater Basin, it’s time to show the door to Tim Blixseth and Western Pacific Timber. The public needs to be aware of the land grab about to take place in the upper Lochsa. Rick Brazell and the Forest Circus just released a supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Upper Lochsa Land Exchange, a hell-bent land grab that would put tens of millions of dollars into the pocket of one of the most controversial gangsters in the West, and simultaneously rob and ruin valuable public lands in the South Fork Clearwater drainage and across the Nez Perce National Forest.
Never mind that an acre for acre exchange is illegal, nor the fact that the land currently being proposed for the swap contains important wildlife and fishery habitat, including favorite fishing holes, hunting spots and family camping destinations. Never mind that the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the same group that screams bloody murder over wolves “wiping out the elk herds”, thinks that giving away prime elk wintering grounds in exchange for clear-cut parcels is a good idea. Completely ignore the fact that the Forest Service is operating under an expired Forest Plan, that the agency has no restoration plan to restore the Upper Lochsa, and that until King Blixseth purchased those hacked-over 39,000 acres, the Forest Service wasn’t doing squat to bring those lands back into public ownership.
Consider attending public meeting in Riggins on 12/12/2011 . You have until January 16, 2012 to submit a written or electronic comment to the Forest Service. Don’t stop there. Call Senator Crapo and Risch, and Rep. Labrador.
The Upper Lochsa Land Exchange must be stopped and the Forest Service must be forced to choose “No Action.”
Time to hit the reset button.