SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s governor is in favor of removing four hydroelectric dams on the Snake River in Washington state. Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, sent a letter to Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee this week, saying she believes it is the best way to increase endangered salmon runs. The Tri-City Herald reported the letter outraged Washington state’s three Republican U.S. House members, who want to keep the dams. The dams generate electricity, provide some irrigation and flood control and allow barges to operate all the way to Lewiston, Idaho. But they are also blamed for killing salmon and steelhead that are migrating to the ocean or back to their spawning grounds.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Bureau of Land Management has announced plans to fund 11,000 miles of strategic fuel breaks in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah in an effort to help control wildfires. Fuel breaks are intended to create breaks in vegetation that slow a blaze’s progress and help protect firefighters, communities and natural resources. The Oregonian reported Saturday that wildfires are becoming bigger and more frequent across the Great Basin states. Between 2009 and 2018, more than 13.5 million acres of BLM land burned in the project area. Some scientists debate the effectiveness of fuel breaks, raising questions about whether these efforts are worth funding.
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — State officials say the livestock disease brucellosis has been found in elk in southwestern Montana’s Ruby Mountains for the first time. It’s the latest evidence that the disease that can cause animals to prematurely abort their young continues to slowly spread among wildlife. Two elk tested positive for exposure during recent testing by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The disease can infect cattle, bison, and elk. It’s been essentially eradicated in U.S. livestock herds but persists in wildlife populations in and around Yellowstone National Park.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — One of Idaho’s death row inmates is nearing the end of his legal appeals and that could prompt prison officials to prepare for his execution before the end of the year. Gerald Pizzuto is one of eight people on Idaho’s death row. He was convicted in 1986 of murder for the 1985 beating deaths of Berta and Delbert Herndon, who were prospecting at a remote Idaho County cabin. Pizzuto’s appeals at the federal circuit court level have been exhausted. His attorneys have until March 30 to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up his case.