Enhanced nuclear test range planned

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho office is planning to expand the capabilities at Idaho National Laboratory’s security test and radiological response training ranges.

The goal, according to the Idaho Falls-based federal laboratory, is to enhance national security.

“Both ranges support the training of first responders from defense and homeland security organizations who are charged with safeguarding the public and protecting U.S. national security,” Department of Energy officials said in a statement.

Specifically, the department is proposing to install permanent structures and utilities that enable an increase in the frequency of range activities and an increase in testing capabilities. That would include offices, classrooms, conference rooms, restrooms and kitchen facilities.

An environmental assessment outlining the plans is open to public comment through Oct. 12. It’s available at TinyURL.com/INLplan.

Recreation committee meets this week

An interim legislative committee that’s focused on travel, recreation, wildlife and cultural resources issues is meeting in Dubois on Wednesday and Thursday.

The agenda for the meeting can be found online at WyoLeg.gov/committees/2019/J06.

Topics the committee is working on include creating a state gaming commission, an array of Wyoming Game and Fish Department issues and a statewide search and rescue study.

B-T plans to spray cheatgrass from air

Dozens of square miles of the Bridger-Teton National Forest infested with invasive cheatgrass will soon be sprayed from the air.

Forest officials announced on Friday that they’d signed off on a draft decision that will prioritize dousing cheatgrass with herbicides on crucial big game winter range, within fuels reduction and logging projects and along roads, trails and power lines.

“My decision authorizes annual treatment of approximately 20,000 acres,” Bridger-Teton National Forest Supervisor Tricia O’Connor wrote in her decision document. “This includes an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 acres that could be treated using aerial application of herbicides.”

Herbicides initially proposed for aerial operations include imazapic and rimsulfuron.

Bridger-Teton staff assembled an environmental impact statement over the past couple of years to gain authorization to spray from the air. The document weighs the affects of using aerial spraying and also outlines methods that were approved for dealing with other nonnative plants over the next 15 years.

O’Connor’s decision must still navigate the objection process. Concerned citizens have until Nov. 12 to send in their comments. Objections can be emailed to regional forester Nora Rasure a objections-intermtn-regional-office@usad.gov.

— Mike Koshmrl

 

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them for 7 years. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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