Monday, March 30, 2015

Federal Land Management Not a Good Deal for Americans

by Marshal Wilson 

“By nearly all accounts, our federal lands are in trouble, both in terms of fiscal performance and environmental stewardship.” That was an assertion made earlier this month in a study released by the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC). The study focused on the difference between state-managed public lands and federally managed public lands. The federal government is ill-suited to manage vast amounts of land in the West. Short of private ownership, state and local governments are best suited for the task.

Federal Land Ownership. The federal government is the largest land owner in the United States, owning roughly 640 million acres, about 28 percent of the country. The federal government owns nearly half of the land west of the Rockies, and roughly 81 percent of Nevada alone. However, east of the Rockies, the federal government owns an average of only 5 percent of the land in each state. Such a high level of federal ownership of land in Western states has led to controversy over ownership and management of public lands...

PERC’s Findings. PERC conducted its study by comparing revenues and expenditures for the management of federal land and state trust land in New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho, and Montana. State trust lands are the most common form of state-owned lands in the West. State trust lands were created by land grants made to the states by the federal government and are used for the benefit of public institutions, like schools. The lands generate revenue through uses ranging from timber and grazing to mineral extraction. The study looked at two federal agencies that manage public land: the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (USFS). According to the study,
  • “The federal government loses money managing valuable natural resources on federal lands, while states generate significant financial returns from state trust lands.”
  • “The states examined in this study earn an average of $14.51 for every dollar spent on state trust land management. The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management generate only 73 cents in return for every dollar spent on federal land management.”
  • “On average, states generate more revenue per dollar spent than the federal government on a variety of land management activities, including timber, grazing, minerals, and recreation.” For example, New Mexico receives $12.78 of revenue per dollar spent on administering grazing fees, whereas the USFS and BLM receive $0.10 and $0.14, respectively.
  • “These outcomes are the result of the different statutory, regulatory, and administrative frameworks that govern state and federal lands. States have a fiduciary responsibility to generate revenues from state trust lands, while federal land agencies face overlapping and conflicting regulations and often lack a clear mandate.”


BLM allows old unplugged wells to fester in Utah, former employee’s report says

The Seep Ridge No. 3 well never produced much oil and gas. And it has been dormant since 2000 — five years after the well was acquired by a one-man Vernal energy company called Hot Rod Oil. But in defiance of Bureau of Land Management policy, several Hot Rod wells remain unplugged and unreclaimed along with hundreds of other nonproducing wells on federal lands in Utah, according to a new analysis by a retired BLM official who conducted well inspections for the agency's Vernal field office. Such "orphaned" wells unnecessarily enlarge the oil and gas industry's footprint on Utah's landscape, according Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which released the analysis Monday. Uncapped wells allow disturbed land at well sites to go unreclaimed and could potentially pollute the environment, the group argues. Stan Olmstead, a 20-year veteran of the BLM's Vernal field office who now lives in Tennessee, has compiled years of well status data related to four BLM field offices. His analysis identified 557 unplugged wells that haven't produced for the past 10 years. Most of the wells are in the Uinta Basin, administered by the Vernal office — the nation's busiest for energy development. Olmstead's report dovetails with an Associated Press analysis released last year that found a large number of Vernal's "high-priority" wells are going too long without inspections...more

The Rise of Outdoor Recreation

When President Obama picked REI president and chief executive Sally Jewell almost two years ago to be the 51st Secretary of the Interior of the United States, it was, like a snowball rolling downhill, a clear signal of gathering momentum for outdoor recreation. April 10 will mark two years in office for Jewell, who left her position as the head of one of the world’s biggest and most recognizable outdoor recreation retailers to lead the Interior Department. With her arrival in Washington, a story whose plot had been slowly developing for decades finally had a protagonist to support its other main characters, the millions of Americans who hike, bike, camp, backpack, ski, paddle and otherwise play in the outdoors.  In the past, the balance of that equation has been tipped in favor of development and extraction. See James Watt, Gale Norton. And while other Interior secretaries can certainly be applauded for their conservation ethic and achievements, Jewell brings a new sensibility that goes beyond simply setting land aside to protect it. Her appointment is symbolic of how America’s love of outdoor recreation is now shaping the nation’s political and economic landscape. Take, for example, America’s newest national monument, which Jewell’s agency will co-manage with the U.S. Forest Service. Browns Canyon in Colorado is iconic; 21,000 acres of rugged granite cliffs and colorful rock formations, a wild stretch of the Arkansas River slicing through it, bighorn sheep, bear, deer, mountain lions, and breathtaking vistas. Certainly qualities one would expect from a national monument. But Browns Canyon is also one of the single most popular whitewater rafting destinations in the country, attracting upward of 200,000 adventurous visitors a year, who happen to inject about $60 million into the regional economy in central Colorado. That kind of impact and popularity is hard to ignore, and similar stories are playing out across the country. Nationwide, all that outdoor fun has become a powerful economic driver, generating $646 billion in annual consumer spending nationwide. Politically, the groups and associations that represent human-powered outdoor recreation are becoming more professional and organized. And as they do, they are coming of age as strong voices advocating for policies that support their constituents, especially on issues such as protecting public lands. Once the province of the backwoods, hiking, backpacking, canoeing, snowshoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, climbing and other outdoor mainstays have blazed a trail into boardrooms and ballot boxes.  The rise of outdoor recreation is noteworthy, and Resource Media has prepared a backgrounder with more details on the many ways that it is helping shape America’s story. Read on here.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1402

Its Swingin' Monday and here's Wanda Vick and her instrumental version of Deep Water.  The tune is on her 2008 CD Romance at the Rodeo Dance

Bison preserve seeks to change federal grazing permits

American Prairie Reserve has applied to graze bison and remove interior fences on federally leased lands within the boundaries of a ranch that the organization purchased last year in south Phillips County. The Bureau of Land Management is seeking comments on the proposal to develop an environmental assessment for the Flat Creek Allotment. The Bozeman-based American Prairie Reserve is also requesting to change the allotment grazing season to year-round from the current May 1-Nov. 15 grazing season. The BLM gave approval for a similar request about four years ago on other APR federal grazing leases, according to B.J. Rhodes, a BLM rangeland management specialist. Bison have become a controversial topic in Eastern Montana as conservation groups have pressed to release disease-free wild bison from Yellowstone National Park onto federal lands like the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is working on a state bison management plan, but progress has been slow and opposition stout, including hotly debated bills introduced in the Legislature to halt any wild bison releases. Requests such as APR’s are particularly hard for the locals to swallow since they don’t want bison on the landscape but are strong advocates of private property rights. Federal grazing leases on the property total 13,075 acres, Rhodes said, or 1,243 animal unit months — an indicator of the amount of forage consumed. The AUMs and carrying capacity of the public lands would remain unchanged. All regulations for grazing public lands would apply and all grazing management would continue to adhere to the Standards for Rangeland Health. American Prairie Reserve purchased the 22,000-acre Holzhey Ranch last year...more

Proposed bill would limit federal land control

The ongoing debate over federal control of lands in Nevada will heat up again this week with a hearing on a bill proposed by Assemblywoman Michele Fiore that would prohibit the federal government from owning or managing any lands that it has not acquired with the consent of the Legislature. Assembly Bill 408 also would prohibit the federal government from owning water rights in the state. The bill is just the latest in the Republican-controlled Legislature challenging the federal government’s authority over more than 80 percent of the acres in Nevada. Fiore, R-Las Vegas, sent out an email last week asking for supporters to attend the Tuesday hearing in the Assembly Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining Committee. Critics say Fiore’s bill is unconstitutional and is based on a flawed legal theory about public lands, noting that on numerous occasions the U.S. Supreme Court has described the federal authority over public lands as “without limitation.”...more

A copy of Assembly Bill 408 is here.

EDITORIAL: Keep exceptions for seasonal ag workers

Proposed changes to an immigration policy concerning temporary agricultural workers demonstrate, once again, that the nation's urban decision-makers just don't understand life in the West.

The U.S. Department of Labor is preparing to release new rules for the H-2A visa program, covering agricultural workers from other countries who work in the United States on a temporary basis.
The changes are expected to be published on April 15, and were reportedly prompted by a lawsuit charging the Labor Department with violating federal law by allowing special – and substandard – rules for livestock herders. Now, the department is preparing to shepherd its new requirements through the larger rule-making process.

We wholeheartedly support strong protections for migrant workers, and we have a strong hunch that most Montanans also feel that seasonal workers who come to this state to work in any industry ought be given fair compensation and comfortable housing, at the very least. However, providing those protections does not necessarily require the sort of restrictions the Labor Department is suggesting.

Ranchers across Montana who employ workers through the H-2A visa program are worried that the new rules may obligate them to provide housing on a permanent foundation and to pay their workers an hourly wage. Needless to say, these kinds of requirements are ill-suited to life on the open range.

2 Wyoming ranching families are part of Japanese advertising campaign to promote US beef

Two Wyoming ranch families are part of an advertising campaign to promote and increase the demand for American beef in Japan. The U.S. Meat Export Federation chose Carol and Charlie Farthing and their family of Iron Mountain and Adam and Meghan George and their family of Cody for the campaign. An article about the Farthings was posted earlier this year on the federation's promotional website for Japan. A story about the George family will be available later this spring, Anne Wittmann, executive director of the Wyoming Beef Council, said in a news release. The profiles are written in Japanese and are translated from ones that have appeared on the Wyoming Beef Council's website. The Beef Council has written about these families to show the commitment and care it takes to provide high-quality beef, Wittmann said. The campaign has directly reached about 420,000 Japanese consumers, Wittmann told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. However, the campaign has reached millions of people through contact with distributors, bloggers and food editors in Japan and social media, according to Joe Schuele, vice president of communications for the U.S. Meat Export Federation. The federation is a nonprofit trade association that creates new and develops existing international markets for U.S. beef, pork, lamb and veal. Japan has been a large market for United States beef for a long time, Schuele said. International beef trade between the United States and Japan closed in 2002 when the U.S. reported its first case of BSE, a disease more commonly known as mad cow disease. The market reopened in 2006, and all restrictions were lifted in 2014. Now, Japan has reclaimed its spot as the top international market for U.S. beef, Schuele said. Last year set a record value of U.S. beef sold in Japan, reaching $1.6 billion, he said...more

Floyd’s Hinrichs honored

When Bruce Hinrichs, like everyone else in the crowd at the Floyd Jamboree Saturday night, was anticipating the announcement of the 2015 Floyd Lions Club citizen of the year. He just didn’t expect to hear his name. “It’s one of those speechless moments,” Hinrichs said. “I was just humbled and grateful.” The citizen award is the highlight of Saturday night tradition at the Jamboree, now in its 65th running with socializing and country music. The presenter, Floyd Schools Superintendent Paul Benoit, said Hinrichs had been chosen for his passion for the Floyd community and the work he does to help local farmers, ranchers and 4-H students. “He believes in the organization,” Benoit said. “He has just jumped in and he’s always the first to arrive and the last to leave and he does it all with a passion.”...more

Moonshine: The American Rebel Spirit

Moonshine evokes imagery of outlaw distillers practicing their craft by the light of the moon to evade the law. But Prohibition ended in 1933. Why are illegal moonshiners still a thing?  "To make this liquor on your own is really exciting to a lot of people. It's under the radar. It remains against the law to make distilled spirits even though wine and beer you can make legally [without a permit]," explains Jaime Joyce, author of Moonshine: A Cultural History of America's Infamous LiquorAccording to Joyce, it's also a matter of economics. Illegal moonshine is most prevalent in poor, rural America where getting licensed to make and sell distilled spirits comes with prohibitive costs. To a financially strapped family, it's more beneficial to risk jail and be able to afford food on the table than it is to shell out hundreds of dollars in fees.  Joyce sat down with Reason TV's Anthony L. Fisher to discuss the economics and cultural significance of moonshine, it's role in the creation of NASCAR, and why this old school tradition has grown so popular among urban hipsters...more

Utes visited valley into early 1950s

Jim Tomlinson remembers playing with young Ute Indians on a knoll above the railroad stockyards in Mack in the late 1940s. Some of the Ute youngsters had never seen a train, he said, so when the locomotive pulled in and blew its whistle, “they would whoop and holler, they were so excited.” Many current residents of the Grand Valley know that some Ute Indians who were forced out of Colorado in 1881 regularly returned to visit in the late 19th and early 20th century. The Daily Sentinel frequently reported on the visits of these Utes, as when it told of Chipeta’s final visit to Colorado in September 1923. Chipeta, the wife of the late Ute leader Ouray, was the most famous of the Utah Utes who regularly visited Colorado. She died in 1924 at her home at Bitter Creek on the Uintah-Ouray reservation in Utah. But other Utes continued to come to the Grand Valley on a regular basis, particularly those from the Bitter Creek area. They arrived every fall with several hundred head of cattle to ship to Denver from the railroad center at Mack, Tomlinson said...more

Cattle & Citrus

ARCADIA — In 1887, cattle rancher James Shelfer moved his family to Florida from Texas and began planting orange trees along the Joshua Creek. Four generations later, his great-great grandson Kevin Shelfer and his wife, Lynn, are over a 1,000 boxes of citrus a week up north and bringing back “old time Florida” at the same time. James Shelfer died not long after his arrival to the area, killed by a broken neck when he was thrown off a bucking horse, explained Kevin. James’ wife and three living sons continued the family ranch and grove, which was passed down to Kevin through his great-grandfather Dan Shelfer, grandfather Arthur Shelfer, and father Dan Shelfer. But it was Kevin and Lynn who started the well-known mail-order business and retail store known as Joshua Citrus in 1989. With its retro signage, fresh-squeezed OJ, and orange-flavored ice cream, the packinghouse and outdoor store feels like a throwback to the old Florida that existed before the coasts became stacked up with condos and when no one had ever heard the term “citrus greening.” “We just kind of fell into it,” said Kevin, who explained that the couple were running a plant nursery at the time. “We had a friend that had a gift fruit shipping business, and we just thought it would be kind of neat,” added Lynn, who is also from a citrus family. “We started small.” By “small” she means she and her husband packed the fruit themselves, spraying the wax on with a spray bottle. They carried their packages to the post office. ”It was just us and we did it,” Lynn went on. “We were excited if we had eight or 10 (packages) a week!” Twenty-six years later, the bustling grove and packinghouse at 4135 County Road 760 grows 13 different varieties of citrus and ships between 1500 and 2000 boxes of fruit a week during the busiest time of the year...more

100 years ago today, the Valley made Los Angeles big

Today is the centennial of, arguably, the most significant public vote in the history of Los Angeles. The ranchers and townsfolk of the lightly populated San Fernando Valley voted overwhelmingly to join the small city of grand ambitions on the far side of the mountains — Los Angeles. In one stroke, Los Angeles more than doubled in size. The San Fernando Valley is large enough to hold all of Boston, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Los Angeles got territory, about 170 square miles in all, but not very much new population. The election counted just 706 votes: 681 for annexation, 25 opposed.  As a result of the decision to be annexed, the Valley's farms, dairies and ranches — and newly erected startup towns — gained access to the Owens River water that had begun flowing two years earlier down the aqueduct built by LA's chief water engineer, William Mulholland. The public vote to authorize construction of the aqueduct is probably the only other vote that comes close to shaping the Los Angeles we know.  The annexation event is commemorated on what has been my favorite map of Los Angeles. This is the official Annexation and Detachment Map kept by the office of the city engineer that shows 292 separate transactions which, taken together, form the city limits that we know today. The original Spanish pueblo of Los Angeles was, what, about 28 square miles. The city dates itself to 1781, and since then it has been swallowing up land in all directions (minus a few small deletions.) The classic map I have long admired has undergone a freshening up for the web since Eric Garcetti became mayor, but you can still see the holes in the original San Fernando Valley annexation tract. The farming towns of Lankershim (later to be re-dubbed North Hollywood) and Owensmouth (now Canoga Park) did not come into Los Angeles in the great annexation vote of March 29, 1915. They didn't join until later...more

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Hard-stoppin’ win

by Julie Carter

Cowboy stories are shared over and over and usually last through several generations. As a rule, they either impart a lesson, offer simple entertainment value or sometimes the stories are an opening overture for a new friendship.

Cowboys value humor almost as much as they value grass and a gifted storyteller will find himself in demand at about every gathering in the county.  When strangers move into an area, the storyteller is certain to show up to give them his welcome. His real mission is to make them the beneficiary of the wildest of his stories in his repertoire since there is no way for the newcomers to determine any lack of truth.

Such is the story of Rocky and Gene which are fictitious names to protect the liars but the story telling is true.

Rocky just moved to the county, bought a nice little place, put few cattle out on grass to make it look right, tuned up his fishing pole, built a new roping arena and proceeded to move into what he liked to think of as semi-retirement.

Gene dropped by one day to help Rocky out with the Coors Lite inventory in the saddle house icebox. With the big W’s on his Wrangler pockets settled onto an upside down five-gallon bucket, Gene opened the conversation.

“Rocky, you ever rope any calves?”

Recognizing this as an intro to a story, Rocky allowed that he had roped a few, way back when.

There followed a Navajo length of silence just to make sure Rocky didn’t want to tell a story first, then Gene began his story about how he won the buckle at the big rodeo.

“I had been calf roping pretty steady for a good while, but I was always coming in fourth when they were paying three places or eighty-fourth when they paid eighty-three places,” lamented Gene.

He went on to say he had figured out, after giving it considerable thought, that what he needed to win was a calf horse with a real good stop on him.  He put out the word and not long after he got a call from a fellow he knew. This guy claimed he had just the horse Gene was looking for and assured him that he had a real good stop. In fact, he had named him Stop Hard.

The trade was made over the phone and arrangements were detailed to meet at the big rodeo with the horse. Gene was entered up in the calf roping and when they called his name, he backed his new horse into the roping box.

When everything was just right, he nodded and made a clean break from the barrier. He stood up in his stirrups and threw his best catch’em-fast loop.

That was the horse’s signal and he planted his backside in dirt like he’d been pole axed.  This launched Gene straight between ole Stop Hard’s ears.

In an effort to save his life, Gene grabbed the rope on the way to the ground and slid down it like a handrail until he got to the calf.  He knocked the calf over with his head and while he was in the neighborhood, he tied up three of the calf’s legs and threw up his hands.

Turned out that was the fastest time of the day. He won the event, got his buckle and almost enough money to cover the entry fee. He was a happy man albeit a little crippled up from the crash landing.

Out back behind the chutes, when the rodeo was over and all the other ropers came by to congratulate him and admire the buckle, he managed to swap off that “calf horse with the real good stop.”  That made him an even happier man.

And Rocky was real happy he wasn’t in need of a hard stoppin’ calf horse.

Julie can be reached for comment at

The EPA - Jack Boots Cometh

Fear of the almighty (not the Almighty)
Jack Boots Cometh
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            The notice announced the agency will solicit more feedback from farmers, Ag companies, and academics before moving ahead with a first-of-its-kind plan to curb the spreadof corn rootworms that can damage insect resistant GMO corn and survive. The presiding feds also forewarned that they may need to impose requirements that disallow year to year corn rotation in some areas.
            Of course, the fear of this almighty (not the Almighty) has set the stage for producers, seed companies, and Constitutionalists to wring their hands yet again and add worry to the fear of limitations imposed on American farmers to make their own business decisions. The expected industry reaction was accompanied by the expected default suggestion that some academics say the step is long overdue to maintain the GMO corn’s effectiveness.
            The agency in question is not the USDA which used to focus on all matters of American agriculture production. No, that agency has set its own evolutionary path toward expanding its role in engineering social welfare programs and rural community organizing matters. The agency setting course for its self directed and assumed calling of ruling the entire environmental universe is none other than … the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
            From Nixon’s hand
            Before we set the stage to cast further aspersions on the character of one Dick Nixon, the matter of public comments must be addressed. To those who loyally take the call for comments to heart and expend honest effort in objective responses for the creation of rules and regulations, the best case outcome has been woefully disappointing. There is little expectation that the adopted rules will be crafted in the best interest of those who actually face the directed assaults. The best case scenario for that citizenry has become recognition by the courts in order to sue in the aftermath of implementation.
            That theoretically still keeps the citizenry in the framework of the debate if, of course, they have the wherewithal to pony up the greenbacks.
            The truth is, power accrual in the implementation of the law is always the goal. Comments are just window dressing. The agenda of the power structure is the driving force and the affected citizenry is at best secondary. That is why Washington systematically doesn’t work.
             Nixon proposed the creation of EPA for the purpose of writing and enforcing regulations based on various laws, but most specifically the National Environmental Policy Act passed by Congress in 1969. Nixon was also the presidential signer of that historic act.
The EPA began operation in 1970 following another of the Nixon actions in the form of an executive order authorizing its creation.  To this day, the EPA is still not a Cabinet level department even though its administrator is normally given cabinet rank.
            It is a state within itself although it doesn’t have an official governor or dog catcher. The current agency has just over 15,000 employees and engages an unknown number of contractors. Its 2015 budget is $7.9 billion which happens to be $1.6 billion more than the annual budget of my home state of New Mexico.
            From an historical perspective, the agency rides shotgun over the big three natural resources that provide the foundation for our existence. That, of course, is air, water, and soil, or, as the official description implies … land.
            The number of environmental laws its tentacles have ensnared is fairly impressive. In the matter of air, there are 10 primary ones. From water, there are another 13 pieces of legislation, and from land there are 11.
             The horizons were expanded beyond foundational resource protections when the next two environmental materfamilias were cast into causes. Those grandiose bifurcations were endangered species and hazardous wastes. Another 15 laws required the agency’s diligent regulatory creation. Seemingly, the role of saving the environmental universe was nowhere near half life.
Not to be lax in saving the known environment, though, the agency ventured off into the energy sector in 1992. That was joined by pesticides, detergents, fuel economy, oil pollution, water use efficiency, radiation protection, and potable water supplies. The latter inspired the urge to venture off shore, so, in 2004 the OSV Bold, a Stalwart class ocean surveillance ship, was commissioned to go forth and monitor anything that might be dumped into the ocean. In 2013, the agency sold the boat to Seattle Central Community College for five grand for students to set up shop and determine the highest and best use of environmental surveillance.
With such conquests, the question must be asked … will imagination be the next frontier of entry for this agency’s regulatory quest?
            Global warming and water
            Before we get to imagination, two professionalized and induced moral assaults remain. That would be global warming and the attempt to alter the Clean Water Act (CWA).
First, there is the nebulous danger to mankind …global warming.
            The matter of global warming (or climate change) has never been codified in law. Although, there is a gang within congressional ranks who are fully vested in the notion, there has never been a congressional directive. It has been the agencies, led by EPA and started by a Bush era administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, that have seized authority in the matter.
            In 2007, Johnson approved a draft document that declared man-made climate change imperiled public welfare. It was not accepted by the Bush Oval Office. Johnson resigned in protest, but the machine was ready for action. The agency set a course for regulatory controls anyway.
            The CWA bolstered the authority of the EPA dramatically. It was passed on the premise to protect the primary responsibilities and rights of the Statesand … to consult with the (EPA) Administrator in the exercise of his authority under this Act, but, like most legislative outcomes, those words became largely convenient filler. The current battle rages over the agency’s decision to rewrite the law through regulatory fiat by simply dropping the word ‘navigable’ from the reference of waters of the United States. That simple change alters the authority of the administrator from defined parameters to every puddle of water as well as inland and coastal waterways.
Congressional committees have been convened to counter the action, but nobody has yet threatened the agency with a budget cut that would stifle their unbridled nonsense and unlawful quest for authority.
            That brings us back to the matter of imagination.
            A quick search reveals the agency is assuming greater conformity to 1930 era jack boot outreach paradigms for the mushy, malleable minds of academia (MMMA). The money is coming from the agency’s National StudentDesign Competition Focus on People, Prosperity, and the Planet.
In southern California, a grant has been given to UC Riverside to conceptualize and convert into practice methods to capture toxins released in the process of backyard grilling. Since the MMMA crew’s latitude is undefined, the assumption is they are free to go to the ends of the earth to come up with novel ways to police the lawless grillers. That will be particularly important in the particulate output generated from choice rather than select marbling characteristics of beef since it is increasingly monitored and controlled from all aspects of the regulatory spectrum.
            Another program in the pipeline harkens back to abusive uses of water. Control is forthcoming through the auspices of Urban Water Planning. One project is to monitor the amount of water hotel guests use while showering. The data will identify and track excessive users. It will also clarify what is acceptable per showering experience. With such intrusion of privacy, one can only surmise how the bathers will be identified.
            The bottom line is the imagination of the regulatory almighty is becoming incalculable, and … it will remain so as long as we, the policed subjects, dutifully pay our taxes.
             Real imagination
            As long as the go-along-to-get-along, flimflamming elite and want-a-be conservatives concede on every budget negotiation, there will be no change in the growing tyranny. The abuse the American taxpayer has taken is simply staggering. Americans are sick of the antics of confusion and breach of oath witnessed each day in Washington. Rather than strengthening any measure of resistance, Congress creates confusion and chaos.
            The real imagination is demonstrated in the heartland. It comes from the constant belt tightening and restructuring that tax payers must accomplish to accommodate the assault on their lives and freedoms.
            Half of the answer lies in defunding rogue agencies. There is neither self policing nor are there bounds regarding regulatory fiat in the face of the ineffective oversight. Control must start with the EPA and … it must continue through every expanding agency fiefdom.

            Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Notwithstanding the recent ruling by the Supreme Court, if the spirit of a law is changed through the crafting of agenda driven regulations, that is the creation of law without representation.”

Do biofuel policies seek to cut emissions by cutting food?

A study published today in the journal Science found that government biofuel policies rely on reductions in food consumption to generate greenhouse gas savings. Shrinking the amount of food that people and livestock eat decreases the amount of carbon dioxide that they breathe out or excrete as waste. The reduction in food available for consumption, rather than any inherent fuel efficiency, drives the decline in carbon dioxide emissions in government models, the researchers found. "Without reduced food consumption, each of the models would estimate that biofuels generate more emissions than gasoline," said Timothy Searchinger, first author on the paper and a research scholar at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Program in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy. The study looked at three models used by U.S. and European agencies, and found that all three estimate that some of the crops diverted from food to biofuels are not replaced by planting crops elsewhere. About 20 percent to 50 percent of the net calories diverted to make ethanol are not replaced through the planting of additional crops, the study found. Both the models used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board indicate that ethanol made from corn and wheat generates modestly fewer emissions than gasoline. The fact that these lowered emissions come from reductions in food production is buried in the methodology and not explicitly stated, the study found. The European Commission's model found an even greater reduction in emissions. It includes reductions in both quantity and overall food quality due to the replacement of oils and vegetables by corn and wheat, which are of lesser nutritional value. "Without these reductions in food quantity and quality, the [European] model would estimate that wheat ethanol generates 46% higher emissions than gasoline and corn ethanol 68% higher emissions," Searching said...more

Governments would actually deceive us to justify their political agenda?

And we're the lucky ones who pay the salaries of these modelers, who pay for the subsidies going to the biofuels industry and who pay more at the pump for fuel.  Say "thank you" to the DC Deep Thinkers in both political parties.

The Tip of the Climate Spending Iceberg

by Paul Driessen

Lockheed Martin, a recent Washington Post article notes, is getting into renewable energy, nuclear fusion, “sustainability” and even fish farming projects, to augment its reduced defense profits. The company plans to forge new ties with Defense Department and other Obama initiatives, based on a shared belief in manmade climate change as a critical security and planetary threat. It is charging ahead where other defense contractors have failed, confident that its expertise, lobbying skills and “socially responsible” commitment to preventing climate chaos will land it plentiful contracts and subsidies.

As with its polar counterparts, 90% of the titanic climate funding iceberg is invisible to most citizens, businessmen and politicians. The Lockheed action is the mere tip of the icy mountaintop.

The multi-billion-dollar agenda reflects the Obama Administration’s commitment to using climate change to radically transform America. It reflects a determination to make the climate crisis industry so enormous that no one will be able to tear it down, even as computer models and disaster claims become less and less credible – and even if Republicans control Congress and the White House after 2016. Lockheed is merely the latest in a long list of regulators, researchers, universities, businesses, manufacturers, pressure groups, journalists and politicians with such strong monetary, reputational and authority interests in alarmism that they will defend its tenets and largesse tooth and nail.

Above all, it reflects a conviction that alarmists have a right to control our energy use, lives, livelihoods and living standards, with no transparency and no accountability for mistakes they make or damage they inflict on disfavored industries and families...

But Climate Crisis, Inc. is using our tax and consumer dollars to advance six simultaneous strategies...

Driessens' conclusions are similar to Wilmeth's:

States must refuse to play the climate crisis game. Through lawsuits, hearings, investigations and other actions, governors, legislators, AGs and other officials can delay EPA diktats, educate citizens about solar and other natural forces, and explain the huge costs and trifling benefits of these draconian regulations. 

Congress should hold hearings, demand an accounting of agency expenditures, require solid evidence for every climate claim and regulation, and cross-examine Administration officials on details. It should slash EPA and other agency budgets, so they cannot keep giving billions to pressure groups, propagandists and attack dogs. Honesty, transparency, accountability and a much shorter leash are long overdue.

Proposed federal changes for foreign ag workers could affect Montana sheepherder

A proposal by the U.S. Department of Labor to change policies governing foreign agricultural workers – including sheepherders – has left the Montana Department of Labor and Industry busy answering questions from state ranchers. This week, western Montana rancher John Stahl voiced concern that a proposed federal policy change would jeopardize his sheep grazing project on Missoula’s open space and cost his hired hand – Enrique Marquez Banda – his job. Some ranchers, like Stahl, fear the changes would no longer allow them to pay their workers a monthly salary. Rather, they'd be required to pay their foreign workers $8.05 an hour when on the job, which runs 24 hours a day. Stahl and other Montana ranchers have also expressed concern over a second proposed change that would require foreign workers to live in homes with a fixed foundation. That would preclude them from living in wagons or trailers, which is common among sheepherders. Harris said the proposed change applies to foreign agricultural workers, though it will likely include an exemption for sheepherders. “It’s our understanding that sheepherders would receive an exemption for that, but it’s all just a proposal right now,” Harris said. “Our offices in Missoula, Hamilton and Helena have been receiving calls on this all day. They’re concerned about the changes.”...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1401

This song goes out to the family of Sara Cox Hopkins.  My heart goes out to you.  Cody Shuler & Pine Mountain Railroad - I Bowed On My Knees And Cried Holy.  The tune is on their 2008 CD Pickin' Praisin' & Singin' Hymns From The Mountains.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

School District Losing Thousands in School Lunch Sales

BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. -- Thousands of students have now stopped buying lunch each week in Buncombe County cafeterias. The district says it all started when schools were forced to implement the USDA's Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act. It was part of first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative to get kids to eat healthier. All of a sudden, kids are pitching pounds of food in the garbage. The 2010 Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act slapped strict salt regulations on schools saying nothing but whole grains, and now fruit and veggies must be on the tray. It they're not on there, the cashier must put them there for students. Hundreds of kids have now dropped out of the lunch program. Over the last two years, Buncombe County says they've lost about $1.2 million in sales. It's downsized its staff, equipment is getting old and the current menu has less options...more

Jobs gone, loss of income, fewer options...just another Obama this case the War on Meat.