Thursday, April 24, 2014

New Mexico prosecutor: Charges dropped against Tennessee boy in Taos minivan incident

Charges have been dropped against a teenager whose mother led police on a high-speed chase in a videotaped incident during which a State Police officer fired at her fleeing minivan carrying five children. The son of Oriana Farrell of Memphis, Tennessee, had been accused of battery and assault in connection with a scuffle with officers during a chaotic traffic stop near Taos last October. Nobody was injured by the officer's gunfire. The officer, who said he was aiming at a tire to stop the vehicle, was fired in December. Taos-area District Attorney Donald Gallegos said charges were dropped against the youth because of concern for his future, the Albuquerque Journal reported. "We are not out to drag any child through the mud, so to speak," the prosecutor said. The Associated Press is not identifying the son, who was 14 years at the time, because of his age. Charges of aggravated fleeing from a police office and child abuse remain pending against the mother. She has pleaded innocent. The decision to drop the charges against the boy resulted from a three-hour meeting between the prosecutor, the mother and others, Gallegos said. The meeting, called a "restorative justice circle," was facilitated by a retired judge and was an attempt to come to some form of consensus about what transpired. Dash-cam video of the incident garnered national attention...more

Report: Nevada would benefit from transfer of federal lands

A new report analyzing the financial ramifications of a takeover of some of Nevada’s millions of acres of federal lands suggests the state would benefit from such a transfer. A transfer of 4 million acres of U.S. Bureau Land Management land could bring in anywhere from $31 million to $114 million a year, based on a review of four Western states that have significant amounts of trust lands under their control, the report says. The preliminary draft report from the Nevada Public Land Management Task Force was prepared with the assistance of a consultant and will be reviewed Thursday by the Legislative Committee on Public Lands when it meets in Tonopah. The task force was created by the 2013 Legislature to evaluate the feasibility of the state taking control of some of the federally controlled public lands in Nevada. A final report is due from the task force by Sept. 1. The discussion of such a public lands transfer has received heightened interest since the recent cattle grazing dispute between Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy and the BLM. Demar Dahl, an Elko County rancher and chairman of the task force, said the analysis by Intertech Services Inc. shows that a transfer is not only economically feasible but even beneficial to Nevada. “The way those numbers turned out it looks like we can surely afford it,” he said. “Not only afford it but the state could make a lot of revenue having the land and managing it ourselves.” The revenues would come from the sale and lease of the resources on the lands, including through mining and grazing, Dahl said. In recent comments U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said he supports the work of the task force. But not everyone is on board with the effort. In a presentation to the task force in November, David von Seggern, chairman of the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club, asked how the state would replace the hundreds of federal workers now working in Nevada. He questioned whether Nevada has the financial resources needed to meet the demands for firefighting or assisting in activities that would support mining, grazing and energy production...more

Western lands takeover: Former BLM chief, state lawmaker clash - video

A conservative state lawmaker and a liberal former director of the Bureau of Land Management argued the merits of a debate that’s sweeping the West — whether states should take control of federal lands and would they manage them better. Their exchange, which included a few pointed barbs, during Wednesday’s Trib Talk may just be round one. Former BLM Director Pat Shea challenged state Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, to a formal debate at the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, and the lawmaker said he would accept such a challenge. Wednesday’s conversation identified the deep philosophical disagreement that would underpin any such debate. Ivory argues the federal government used to own much of the land in states like Florida, Illinois and Nebraska and has since turned it over to private owners or the state. He believes it’s time for Western states to demand equal treatment in this matter and if Congress won’t comply, it may be time to launch a major court case. He said the land would be better managed and the profits from mining would help fund the state’s education system. Shea was dismissive of such an idea. "I don’t think states are capable of the complexity of managing these lands," he said, accusing Ivory of inflaming local officials to challenge federal land managers when the chances of the state’s gaining control of these lands are remote at best...more

Here is the 32 minute Trib Talk discussion.

Brewer vetoes bill letting ranchers kill endangered wolves on federal lands

Gov. Jan Brewer will not give ranchers and their employees permission to kill endangered Mexican gray wolves on federal lands. The measure vetoed Tuesday was crafted by Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford. She has been a vocal foe of the program by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reintroduce the wolves into sections of Arizona and New Mexico, saying they endanger not only cattle but also pets and children. SB 1211 would have spelled out that ranchers could “take” — legalese for kill — a wolf that was killing, wounding or biting livestock. It also would have legalized the killing of a wolf by a guard dog that is protecting livestock. The measure would also have permitted killing a wolf in self-defense or defense of others. In that case, though, the act would have to be reported within 24 hours to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Brewer, in her veto message, said she is a strong supporter of states’ rights. But she said SB 1211 was both unnecessary and conflicts with federal law. She said the Arizona Game and Fish Department already is working with federal agencies to deal with how wolf reintroduction will affect the state. By contrast, Brewer said SB 1211 would have given that duty to the state Agriculture Department, the agency responsible for dealing with ranchers and grazing. Beyond that, Brewer said the legislation sought to put the Mexican wolf in the same legal category as mountain lions and bears. But she said that is in conflict with federal law, which does allow killing those two species in certain circumstances, but not the wolves...more

Southern Oregon ranchers legally kill 500 pound black bear

 A nearly 500-pound male black bear was legally killed by north Lake County ranchers earlier this month after it killed a large heifer and was found in the family’s herd of cattle. “It’s a whopper,” said Craig Foster, district wildlife biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “It was shot legally,” Foster said, emphasizing Marie Leehmann, a third generation owner of the 24 Ranch in Summer Lake had actually gone beyond legal requirements by obtaining a kill permit. “Marie and the Leehmanns went the extra mile above and beyond what they had to do by statute.” Field biologists said the bear weighed 490 pounds, stood 6-foot-5 and was 13 to 15 years old, based on tooth samples. Foster said the largest bear he had previously seen weighed 345 pounds. The Leehmanns said two calves had been previously reported missing. Foster said if the large bear killed the calves, it could have easily carried them off to be eaten. The agricultural damage permit was issued after it was determined one of the Leehmann’s yearling heifers, which weighed 1,100 to 1,300 pounds, had been killed by a bear. Estimated value of the heifer was $1,000. Two days later, on April 4, Leehmann was checking the cows when a bear ran out of the herd. Her son, Ryon, shot the bear within a quarter-mile of the home...more

Proposed Boulder-White Cloud Boundaries Expanded

Conservationists looking to protect the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains have changed the boundaries of a proposed national monument, adding 20,629 acres. Groups such as the Idaho Conservation League and Wilderness Society had been pushing the Obama administration to designate 571,276 acres north of Ketchum as a monument. They now are asking for 591,905 acres. The decision expands the boundaries to include Malm Gulch, a Bureau of Land Management-maintained site containing petrified sequoia trees, the product of showers of volcanic ash. The gulch is within the proposal’s northeastern border off Idaho 75, 10 miles south of Challis. “Multiple explosive volcanic eruptions from volcanic vents near the Yankee Fork area sent up clouds of hot gas, ash and pumice, and engulfed the entire area,” says a BLM brochure about the area. “The white and pastel colored soils and rocks in the Malm Gulch area are the visible remnants of those volcanic ash deposits. Most of the redwoods or sequoias in the Malm Gulch forest were destroyed by the heat of the eruption, but some trees were buried by ash and eventually became the petrified remnants you see today.” The boundary redrawing now excludes private land around the edge of the Salmon River and a large rock quarry east of Clayton. While other sections of the proposed monument still include private land, the groups say a monument designation would “have no impact on private property rights,” according to a news release...more

'Cowboys And Indians' Stake Out The National Mall To Protest Keystone XL

Farmers, ranchers and indigenous leaders who live along the Keystone XL pipeline route are holding an encampment on the National Mall this week to protest the proposed project that would carry oil from Canada's oil sands to refineries in Texas. They call themselves the Cowboy and Indian Alliance and plan to be at the camp through April 27. It includes tepees, covered wagons, speeches and musical guests, and those participating are calling on the Obama administration to reject the proposed pipeline. The encampment opened Tuesday with a traditional ceremony performed by tribal leaders and a horseback procession to the Capitol. On Friday, the State Department announced yet another delay in deciding whether to approve the pipeline. There is currently a legal dispute, which may take months to resolve, over the proposed route through Nebraska.


WildEarth Guardians sues FWS over Gunnison’s prairie dog

A Western environmental organization sued the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service last week for its refusal to list the Gunnison’s prairie dog as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. WildEarth Guardians filed the suit in federal district court in Phoenix, Ariz. on April 17, saying the FWS failed to use the best available science to properly consider the act’s five listing factors or consider the historic range of the species. Ongoing urban oil and gas development, shooting, poisoning, outbreaks of sylvatic plague, drought and climate change pose significant threats to the Gunnison’s prairie dog and its habitat, according to WildEarth Guardians. “We would like to see them protected,” said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. “We would like the service to take a look again. We thought the analysis was just deficient.”...more

Loaded, stolen gun found in woman's body (not for the faint at heart)

As Dallas Archer was being booked into the Kingsport jail, a female corrections officer alerted to an “unknown object” in the teenager’s crotch during a search. The jailer and a female cop then accompanied Archer to a bathroom for further examination, a review that led to the recovery of a “North American Arms 22 LR revolver (loaded) which Ms. Dallas had concealed in her vagina,” according to a Kingsport Police Department report. A subsequent check revealed that the five-shot mini-revolver--which is four inches in length--had been “stolen from an auto burglary in 2013.”...more

The first Pistol Packin' Pussy I've heard of...or is it a Concealed Carry C...oops, better stop there.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bundy's 'ancestral rights' come under scrutiny

...This land is unusually fertile and green for southern Nevada. Cliven Bundy grows melons there. They are said to be the best in the state. His cattle, until recently, roamed freely on land managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management. Before the roundup that sparked protests, confrontations and gunmen taking a bridge, Bundy explained his "ancestral rights" to the I-Team. "I've lived my lifetime here. My forefathers have been up and down the Virgin Valley here ever since 1877. All these rights that I claim, have been created through pre-emptive rights and beneficial use of the forage and the water and the access and range improvements," Bundy said. Clark County property records show Cliven Bundy's parents moved from Bundyville, Arizona and bought the 160 acre ranch in 1948 from Raoul and Ruth Leavitt. Water rights were transferred too, but only to the ranch, not the federally managed land surrounding it. Court records show Bundy family cattle didn't start grazing on that land until 1954. The Bureau of Land Management was created 1946, the same year Cliven was born. "My rights are before the BLM even existed, but my rights are created by beneficial use. Beneficial use means we created the forage and the water from the time the very first pioneers come here," Bundy said. Early census records show Cliven's maternal grandmother, Christena Jensen, was born in Nevada in 1901. One genealogical researcher says records indicate Jensen helped settle Bunkerville some years later. One word spreading through Bundy supporters and his armed guards is that what the federal government is doing to Bundy is exactly what they did to native Americans. "They are literally treating western United States citizens, ranchers, rural folks like this- are the modern day Indians. We're being driven off of our lands. We're being forced into reservations known as cities," Justin Giles, an Oathkeeper from Alaska, said.  The local Paiute Indians were forced into reservations by federal troops in 1875. Two years prior, the tribe was promised the same land Cliven Bundy now grows his melons ,and until recently, grazed his cattle. The I-Team's research team has come up with an in-depth look at the genealogy and property records that form the basis of Cliven Bundy's claim of ancestral rights on the ranch land...more

The gentleman who put this report together for KLAS-TV doesn't seem to understand that whatever rights Bundy may have do not originate with his date of birth or when the BLM was created.  They originate, with water for instance, on the date his predecessors diverted the water and put it to beneficial use.  Ranchers have a preference right to graze on federal land based on either control of water rights or ownership of private property near the federal land, called base property.

Sheriff travels to Nev. ranch in fed dispute

Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers has weighed in on a controversy surrounding a Nevada rancher, and visited the scene of the struggle. Rogers acknowledges the situation is complex. Via a Facebook post, he also said sheriffs have great authority to protect the people from criminals — and sometimes an overreaching government itself. “Even though this is currently occurring in Nevada, something similar will be coming to a location near you,” the sheriff wrote. “You can bet on it.” Rogers was invited to Nevada by the Bundy family and the Oath Keepers, a group defining itself as defending the Constitution. The sheriff arrived at the ranch Friday and stayed in the area through Sunday; Rogers said he did so on personal vacation time “and not on the taxpayer dime.” Rogers said he is sensitive to federal government overreach since his confrontation with the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Justice. This confrontation stemmed from what Rogers termed numerous and unreasonable inspections of an Amish milk farmer in Elkhart County in 2011. The sheriff said he was able to see firsthand many of the dynamics involved in the Nevada situation, and also spoke to Bundy. Rogers also said he doesn’t know if Bundy is correct in his stand, or whether he truly owes money or not. “Some people think he’s a freeloader, using public land for his cattle,” Rogers wrote on Facebook. “Yet, he is a hard worker, unlike others on welfare sponging off the taxpayer for no work. The tradition of ranchers using public land is centuries old. Bundy supporters agree that the issue is complex. However, what all people, including myself, would agree on, and likely sparked the patriot response to this event, is that we will not tolerate being governed by a Federal government at the point of a gun.” Rogers said that after bureau personnel left the land last week, the Bundy family found a mass grave containing numerous cattle that had been shot. The sheriff also alleges the bureau destroyed watering holes and fencing that had been constructed by Bundy...more

A sheriff from INDIANA travels to the Bundy Ranch while the sheriff in NEVADA cowers before the feds (and probably Harry Reid) and finally negotiates "behind the scenes." 


Pat Buchanan sums up Nevada ranch standoff: Sending ‘Seventh Cavalry to collect a bill’

Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan summed up the armed federal standoff between agents with the Bureau of Land Management and cattle rancher Cliven Bundy, his family and his supporters: It was all over an unpaid bill. “You don’t send the Seventh Cavalry to collect a bill, and that’s exactly what happened,” he told Sean Hannity on his radio show Monday. He went on, Breitbart reported: “And when they put all those forces out there — that’s what attracted all the others, the history of what happened at Waco, Ruby Ridge. And so these folks came to that rancher’s defense. But the initial problem here is [the] sending of all the force of arms out there on to that ranch, which was a provocation to which these folks responded.”...more

Freeloading rancher is no revolutionary

by James Greiff
Bloomberg News

The tale of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada cattle rancher, had all the elements of a certain type of political theater, making it inevitable that he would become a hero in the conservative blogosphere and a fixture on Fox News.

The story line, as told in those forums, went something like this: Heavy-handed federal bureaucrats, having seized Bundy’s cattle, were forced to back down after being confronted by cowboys on horseback toting nothing more than their sidearms and an unshakable faith in the U.S. Constitution. (A little-told detail: A sniper or two were concurrently taking aim at the federal agents.)

Bundy was painted as a man being “squeezed” by the federal government, and deserving of our sympathy. Or, more profoundly, he was cast in the same mold as Mohandas Gandhi and George Washington, men who disobeyed unjust laws to bring about revolutionary change. The word “tyranny” was used so often it became background noise in the news coverage.

Let’s dispense with niceties: Bundy is a freeloading scofflaw, a welfare queen in a Stetson who claimed what wasn’t his. He took subsidies from U.S. taxpayers and refused to pay the $1.2 million he owed for using federal – make that our – land.

Bundy has neither history nor law on his side in his long-running dispute with the U.S. government. He asserts that his grazing rights were established in 1880 when his ancestors settled the land where his ranch sits. By some reasoning understood only by him and his range-war sympathizers, the federal government has no constitutional right to interfere with his grazing cattle.

There is a gaping flaw with this argument. As several writers have noted, the Nevada constitution, adopted in 1864 as a condition of statehood, trumps Bundy’s right to graze on public land. It says:
“That the people inhabiting said territory do agree and declare, that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States.”

Read more here:

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EDITORIAL: Downsize National Park Service, dumping costly, unpopular sites

The National Park Service is waiving entrance fees to America’s national parks and historic sites during National Parks Week. The freebies continue until April 27, but taxpayers aren’t getting a bargain, considering that the swollen agency spends $2.6 billion a year.

President Obama wants to spend still more money on parks, asking Congress to approve a scheme to spend an additional $1.2 billion over the next three years. The cash would be earmarked to celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial anniversary in 2016. It would fund, among other projects, an expensive youth work program and provide more muscle for the federales to wrestle land from individual property owners.

The National Park Service runs so deeply in the red because it’s too big. The agency runs 401 parks and historic sites, 23 trails and 58 rivers. For every majestic natural wonder and historic treasure, there’s a sparsely visited Park Service site of little value or significance. Many, if not most, of the Park Service’s nearly 500 properties might be better served in state, local or private hands.

Few national parks are financially self-sufficient. The rest are on the dole, requiring taxpayers to subsidize a failure to attract visitors, revenue and interest. Fees paid by park visitors fund only a nickel of every dollar devoured by the Park Service. Taxpayers fund the rest.

Playwright Eugene O’Neill’s hillside home in the San Francisco Bay is now a National Historic Site. It costs federal taxpayers $687,000 per year to keep open, though visitors trickle through at an average of just seven a day. That’s $270 for each and every visitor. In contrast, the Columbus, Miss., home of O’Neill’s contemporary, Tennessee Williams, was restored by private donors and is open to visitors at no cost to taxpayers.

Fewer than 11,000 persons visit the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in New Mexico every year, but it consumes nearly $1 million in tax dollars annually. An equally impressive fossil site in Gray, Tenn., draws nearly eight times more visitors and is funded primarily through corporate gifts and a few state grants.

Last year, Montana’s Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site attracted only 18,439 people, but taxpayers paid $1.5 million to keep it open. The cost of keeping the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River in Texas works out to $241 per visitor. The Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial near Oakland is an even bigger financial draw, requiring a $329 taxpayer subsidy per visitor. The federally managed site honoring the Wild West-era town of Nicodemus, Kan., draws so few visitors that the taxpayers are out $192 per visitor.

Pine Beetle Outbreaks Increase Groundwater Supply in Rockies

Do more pine beetles mean more groundwater? Perhaps—but that's not necessarily a good thing, say the authors of a new study. The bark beetle outbreak that has plagued North America's Rocky Mountains is having significant ripple effects on the region's hydrology, researchers from Colorado's School of Mines in Golden, Colo., report in a study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change. Compared with a watershed where a beetle infestation's impacts were less intense and occurred less recently, a watershed with more beetle-killed trees absorbs about 30 percent more groundwater, the researchers found. "A 30 percent increase in groundwater is substantial, particularly in the late summer when other contributions are low," said lead author Lindsay Bearup, a doctoral candidate at the School of Mines' Hydrological Science and Engineering Program. However, Bearup cautioned that it's too early to celebrate this side effect of an otherwise ecologically devastating trend. "From a quantity standpoint, it's obviously not a bad thing," Bearup said, but she added that this is perhaps a simplistic way to look at her study's outcome. "As we're changing where the water comes from, it can change the quality as well," she said...more

Dead trees don't drink water.  Guess some didn't know that.

IRS Awards Bonuses to More Than 1,000 Employees… Who Owe Back Taxes

The Internal Revenue Service has paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with recent disciplinary problems, including $1 million to workers who owed back taxes, a government investigator said Tuesday. More than 2,800 workers got bonuses despite facing a disciplinary action in the previous year, including 1,150 who owed back taxes, said a report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. The bonuses were awarded from October 2010 through December 2012. George’s report said the bonus program doesn’t violate federal regulations, but it’s inconsistent with the IRS mission to enforce tax laws...more

BLM under fire for slaughter horses

The Bureau of Land Management rounded up a horse herd that roamed for decades on federal land in northwest Wyoming and handed the horses over to Wyoming officials. They, in turn, sold the herd to the highest bidder, a Canadian slaughterhouse. Wild horse advocates are incensed, saying they should have had a chance to intercede in the March roundup and auction. But the BLM says the horses were abandoned — not wild — and that it publicized the sale beforehand. According to the BLM, the horses weren't officially wild and protected by the Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burro Act, the federal law for maintaining many of the horse herds, some of which have roamed free in the West since the days of Spanish explorers more than 300 years ago. The BLM bans wild horses from being sold for slaughter. The horses in the Bighorn Basin's sagebrush hills descended from stray rodeo horses that were owned by Andy Gifford, a rancher and rodeo livestock contractor, in the 1970s, BLM spokeswoman Sarah Beckwith said. Gifford had claimed the horses as his but never rounded them up before he died in 2009. That, plus the fact that the horses never interbred with wild horses, officially classified them as strays...more

Deer herd's 150-mile migration is longest recorded

Each spring, a herd of mule deer leaves the Red Desert and follows a trail of greening grass and retreating snow along the western slope of the Wind River Range. Months later, the animals arrive in the Hoback Basin south of Jackson, more than 150 miles away. It is the farthest recorded mule deer migration in the world, and an ancient rite vital to the long-term survival of Wyoming's iconic mule deer populations. And its future is uncertain. The journey from desert to mountains takes the herd over fences and across roads, near subdivisions and through narrow passageways flanked by towns and lakes. There are no National Parks or wilderness areas to offer refuge. The deer contend with the elements and whatever obstacles people put in their way. Scientist believe the migration has lasted this long because large swaths of land between the deer's summer and winter ranges have remained undeveloped. In many ways the migration, like bison roaming the plains, is a symbol of the old West. It is a possibility only states like Wyoming can still offer, and one that may not always remain. Researchers didn't even know the migration existed until two years ago.
The Bureau of Land Management had contacted Sawyer to find out where a group of deer living in the Red Desert call their winter and summer ranges...more

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Senators Flake and Heinrich on wildfire tour

U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake and Martin Heinrich are planning to visit Arizona and New Mexico to discuss forest restoration and wildfire preparedness. Their tour will begin Tuesday at Arizona Log and Timberworks in Eagar, Ariz. They will then travel to Alpine before heading to Reserve, N.M. The senators say the tour is focused on bipartisan efforts to address catastrophic wildfire prevention and recovery needs in the Apache-Sitgreaves and Gila national forests. Flake and Heinrich will also stop near Luna, N.M., to view the Wallow Fire burn scar. The 2011 blaze was the largest in Arizona's history, having burned nearly 860 square miles. The senators are supporting legislation that would give federal agencies greater incentive to contract with companies to harvest trees and other vegetation to reduce the wildfire risk.  AP

Record gun and ammo sales mean big bucks for wildlife

Record-breaking sales of guns and ammunition in recent years have resulted in a windfall for wildlife conservation. The corresponding federal excise taxes on guns and ammunition also have soared to record levels — and that funding is earmarked for wildlife and hunting programs. “The increase is not a surprise for anyone who’s tried to buy .22 shells in the past few years,” said Brad Compton, Idaho Fish and Game Department assistant Wildlife Bureau chief. “They’re sold out as soon as they hit the shelves.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it will distribute nearly $1.1 billion in hunting and fishing excise tax revenues to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects. The funding comes from two programs that have generated more than $15 billion since their inceptions: • Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration, approved by Congress in 1937, sets a 10 to 11 percent federal excise tax on guns, ammunition, archery and other hunting equipment; funding is earmarked for wildlife habitat, research and hunter safety and shooting programs across the nation. • Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration, approved in 1950, sets import duties on fishing tackle, recreation boats and a portion of the gasoline fuel tax attributable to small engines and motorboats; the funds are used for fishing and boating programs. The Dingell-Johnson sport fishing apportionment for 2014 totals $325.7 million, which includes $18.5 million that had been sequestered during 2013. However, the 2014 funding is $34.1 million lower than last year because of reduced domestic fishing equipment excise tax receipts, Department of Interior officials say. Meanwhile, the Pittman-Robertson wildlife funding continues to shoot past previous records, a trend that started with Obama’s election in 2008. The 2014 Pittman-Robertson wildlife apportionment totals $760.9 million, which would be a record even without the addition of $20 million that was sequestered last year...

Bundy Ranch - Cliven Bundy Discovers BLM Cow Graves

Bundy ranch family members and friends spent much of their weekend moving cattle shot or run to death during the BLM standoff earlier this month. The graphic images have gone viral online, shocking both rancher and animal advocates alike. The first mass cattle graves photos released by Cliven Bundy and his supporters on Sunday appear to substantiate reports by witnesses who first reported the cattle deaths. Nevada assemblywoman Michel Fiore was among those who maintained that BLM agents either killed cattle by either shooting them or running them to death during the Bunkerville incident. Fiore posted several images of the cow grave on Twitter last night, labeling the posting, “#BLM massacre. This isn’t how you herd cattle.”“Near their compound, right off the highway, they were digging holes. They tried to bury some cows on the compound, but I guess they didn’t dig the hole deep enough, so they throw a cow in and they put dirt over him and you have cow’s legs sticking out of the dirt.” The Bureau of Land Management’s court order only gave the federal agency the authority to seize the Bundy ranch cattle from owner Cliven Bundy. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, several prized bulls were also shot and killed after being deemed a “safety hazard” during the standoff. A Fox News reporter, among others, who viewed the bull holding pens after the livestock were “euthanized” noted that any evidence of wild behavior such as damaged gates or fencing were not evident...more

BLM confirms six cattle died in roundup

The Bureau of Land Management on Monday said six cattle died in the roundup of Cliven Bundy’s livestock that culminated with the release of some 350 animals after a standoff between armed protesters and federal agents on April 12. The BLM, which oversaw the roundup near Bunkerville, said four animals were euthanized and two died of unspecified causes. The four euthanized animals included a bull with Bundy’s brand, a cow with Bundy’s brand, an unbranded bull and unbranded cow, BLM spokesman Craig Leff said. The other two animals that died included an unbranded bull and an unbranded cow, Leff said in a statement. Without offering specifics, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said last week that a task force was forming to address the situation. The Bundys have criticized the BLM’s use of “contract cowboys” to handle the roundup. They also said they found dead cattle buried in holes. Pictures of the dead cattle were posted on social media sites. It’s unclear how much the failed roundup will cost taxpayers. Government contract records show the BLM inked a $966,000 contract in February for the roundup with Shayne Sampson of Sampson Livestock, based in Meadow, Utah. “The BLM has not completed a full accounting of the operation,” Leff said. “We are still calculating the full cost and will make it public once we are done.”...more

Environmentalists pushed Bundy ranch standoff over endangered tortoises

by Michael Bastasch

Some have speculated that the standoff between federal agents and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is the result of a secretive deal orchestrated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and political allies in the solar industry.

But the Bundy standoff is really the culmination of a long battle with environmentalists who want to keep federal lands off limits to economic activity. The primary vehicle used by government officials and environmentalists to advance this goal has been the desert tortoise, which was listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 1990.

The BLM even had a webpage detailing the problems they saw from Bundy’s “trespass cattle” that were grazing in desert tortoise habitat. The webpage, however, was deleted. So was the cached copy after the Bundy standoff became nationwide news.

A screenshot of the deleted page from the BLM’s website shows that environmental groups were some of the main forces aligned against Bundy’s trespass cattle. Environmentalists were pushing for the disputed federal lands to be used as “offsite mitigation” for the impact of solar development. Solar development in the area is heavily supported by Nevada environmental groups.

“Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle,” the BLM page says.

“The Center for Biological Diversity has demanded action to resolve trespass in designated critical desert tortoise habitat in several letters,” BLM page notes. “Western Watersheds has requested a verbal status update and later filed a Freedom of Information Act request.”

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Western Watersheds Project (WWP) have been actively pushing the government to impose heftier grazing fees on cattle ranchers for years, along with pressuring officials to close of huge areas of public lands to grazing and oil and gas development.

Antiquated Law Adds Billions to Fuel Costs

An obscure 1920 law is costing Americans billions of dollars a year in higher fuel costs.

The Jones Act requires that cargo shipped from one US port to another be carried on a US-registered vessel, built, owned and crewed by Americans. This protectionist law was designed to support a shipbuilding industry that no longer exists—but inertia and labor-union muscle keep it on the books.

The law mainly makes the news in time of crisis. It delayed shipment of road salt to New Jersey during a shortage last winter—happily, without incident, as the weather moderated before the Garden State had to shut down its highways for lack of salt.

In some crises, the president grants a waiver to allow emergency relief. President George W. Bush waived the Jones Act for a short time in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast; President Obama granted waivers to speed the release of strategic oil reserves (to counterbalance the loss of Libyan oil) in 2011 and most recently to get more gasoline into East Coast markets in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

But every day the law adds to energy bills because it stops foreign-flagged tankers and barges from shipping among US ports. They can’t help move crude from Gulf Coast ports to East Coast refineries, or supply Florida with oil from Louisiana and Texas ports or ship oil between West Coast and Alaskan ports.
Without the Jones Act, in short, we’d have significantly greater domestic oil production.

...Repealing the Jones Act would generate multiple benefits. It would energize the production of shale oil, creating thousands of jobs and boosting the US economy. It would reduce US reliance on imported oil from problematic OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, shaving billions from our trade deficit and enhancing US energy security.

And it would cut the price consumers pay at the pump.