INTERIOR COLUMBIA BASIN ECOSYSTEM
MANAGEMENT PROJECT


NEWS RELEASE

June 20, 1997

SATELLITE TELECONFERENCE SCHEDULED JULY 9, 1997
ON
DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS

NEWS CONTACTS:

REX HOLLOWAY 509-522-4046
112 EAST POPLAR STREET
WALLA WALLA, WA 99362

ANDY BRUNELLE 208-334-1770, EXT 128
304 NORTH 8TH STREET, ROOM 250
BOISE, IDAHO 83702

Project officials announced today a satellite teleconference will be held in over 50 communities across six states on the evening of July 9 to introduce the Eastside and Upper Columbia Basin Draft Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) recently released by the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. The two Draft EISs address the management of more than 72 million acres of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-administered land in the Interior Columbia Basin and portions of the Klamath and Great Basins.

The teleconference will be broadcast from Boise State University to an expected audience of over 1,000 people. "This broadcast will be the first step of the formal public comment period," said Project Manager Susan Giannettino. "We want to encourage the public to provide us with written comments and suggestions on how to improve these draft documents." The public comment period ends October 6, 1997.

This teleconference is an introduction to the two Draft EISs. The Forest Service and BLM will explain why there is a need for agency action, what solutions are being proposed, and what the public can do to influence the outcomes. The teleconference will focus on how to best read and comprehend the two 1300 page draft documents, introduce the decision makers, and provide a forum to answer some questions during the broadcast.

"Understanding what is in the documents and public support is necessary for successful implementation of the final management strategy," said Deputy Project Manager, Geoff Middaugh. "Local public involvement is critical to produce the best Final EIS(s) possible."

The EIS team is planning several workshops throughout the project area later this summer to explain and answer questions about the Draft EISs. In addition, many local Forest Service and BLM offices are also planning public involvement activities to meet local needs and concerns. This teleconference is just the one of many opportunities to discuss the full range of alternatives presented in the EISs and ask questions.

The 1 hour teleconference will begin at 7:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) and at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on July 9. Tentative teleconference sites include:

IDAHO: Boise, Burley, Bonners Ferry, Challis, Coeur d' Alene, Council, Grangeville, Hailey, Idaho Falls, Lewiston, McCall, Moscow, Orofino, Pocatello, Rexburg, Salmon, Sandpoint, Shoshone, St. Maries, Elk City, Stanley, Twin Falls.

OREGON: Baker City, Bend, Burns, Enterprise, Hood River, John Day, Klamath Falls, La Grande, Lakeview, Pendleton, Portland, Prineville, and Vale.

MONTANA: Butte, Hamilton, Helena, Kalispell, Libby, and Missoula.

NEVADA: Elko, Winnemucca

WASHINGTON: Colville, Newport, Okanogan, Republic, Seattle, Spokane, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, Yakima

WYOMING: Jackson

"Specific sites will be announced next week," said Susan Giannettino, "for now, please mark your calendar for the evening of July 9th." Participants who have received copies of the Draft EISs in the mail should plan to bring their copy with them. A limited number of copies will be available at each site. People with personal satellite receivers can view the program by tuning into Galaxy 4, Transponder 14, Downlink Frequency 3980.

For further information about the satellite teleconference, the Draft EISs, or the Project's Scientific Assessment, please contact the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project in Walla Walla at 509-522-4030 or Boise at 208-334-1770.