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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

News Follow-up

Air Date: Week of July 13, 2001

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New developments in stories we've been following recently.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Time now to follow up on some of the news stories we've been tracking lately. This winter, we talked about the clash between the planned expansion of Vail Resorts and local activists. Now, as a partner in the project to build some condos near the Keystone Ski Resort, Vail Resorts is encountering official opposition. Colorado's Division of Wildlife contends that developing this parcel would help block a travel route for animals, including the endangered lynx. Chris Hawkins, of the Summit County Planning Department, says scientists are worried about the cumulative impact of development throughout the area.

HAWKINS: They felt that when the sub-division proposal came along, that, in and of itself, it wouldn't cause an impact to this land linkage corridor. However, when you combine that with other currently permitted development in the area, that that would cause a significant adverse impact to wildlife.

CURWOOD: The County's Board of Commissioners rejected the development proposal by a unanimous vote. It's unclear if the developers will appeal or seek to modify their proposal.

This spring, we traveled the Klamath Basin, on the California-Oregon border. Farmers there have been using dammed water to irrigate their fields, for about 90 years. But now drought conditions have led federal officials to funnel most of the available water away from agriculture, to provide habitat for endangered fish. Many farmers in the area are outraged that fish are being placed above their livelihoods, and some protestors have taken matters into their own hands. They've repeatedly opened the irrigation canal's head gates that the government had closed, locked, and even welded shut. Tim Evinger is the Klamath County sheriff.

EVINGER: Emotions are extremely high right now, and I certainly have a huge concern for escalation. It seems as if every time they harden the facility, that somebody's going to use one more step to get it open or get the water flowing, at this point.

CURWOOD: Sheriff Evinger said the water gets shut off again after a few hours.

On the first of July, Tortugas ecological reserve became the largest fully protected marine area in the United States. It comprises 151 square nautical miles of ocean, off the tip of Florida. Divers are welcome, but coral fish and shellfish may not be harvested. As superintendent of the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary, Billy Causey now oversees the Tortugas. He compares setting aside this reserve under the sea to the creation of Yellowstone National Park.

CAUSEY: Over 150 years ago when Yellowstone was established to protect very important resources on land, we never thought that there would be a time that we would have to set aside parts of the ocean of this kind of protection--a wilderness, so to speak.

CURWOOD: This reserve meets half of the preservation goals set in 2000 by the Coral Reef Task Force, established by the Clinton administration. And that's this week's follow-up on the news from Living On Earth.

 

 

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