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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Public lands in Oregon's Dark Sky Sanctuary set for BLM update

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Monday, June 10, 2024   

More than 3 million acres of public lands in southeastern Oregon are poised for enhanced management by the Bureau of Land Management.

The BLM is seeking public comment on a draft Environmental Impact Statement released last week to amend the 2003 Lakeview Resource Management Plan for Lake and Harney counties.

Renee Patrick, a small-business owner, hiker, and steward of the Oregon Desert Trail, said the area needs more TLC as a gateway to the local outback.

"Not only to recreation but to the sagebrush steppe habitat," Patrick urged. "So the ecosystem and the animals that live there and the plants -- and especially the dark night sky -- now that it's part of the dark night sky sanctuary."

The Oregon Outback International Dark Sky Sanctuary is the largest dark sky reserve in the world. The proposed plan promises to deliver management balancing wildlife conservation, watersheds and wild lands with continued multiple use of public lands.

The BLM's amendment will consider a wide range of oversight options for lands with wilderness characteristics, grazing and outdoor recreation, including off-highway vehicle use.

Karl Findling, owner of Oregon Pack Works in Bend, said Lake County is one of the fastest-warming counties in the country and is taking the brunt of climate change.

"That landscape is in some dire need of being protected and having some alternate uses," Findling argued. "So much in the desert needs an extra hand, and the federal government plays a part in that."

Findling noted Oregon's southeastern landscapes are vast and dramatic.

"They are havens for pronghorn and sage-grouse," Findling pointed out. "As we know, sage-grouse are in decline -- about 80% since I was born -- so there's some real diversity out there that also is home to bighorn sheep."

During the 90-day comment period, the BLM plans to host an in-person public meeting in Lakeview and two virtual public meetings to answer questions about the plan.

Disclosure: The Pew Charitable Trusts Environmental Group contributes to our fund for reporting on Endangered Species & Wildlife, Environment, and Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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