Saturday, October 18, 2003


Aspen Fire impact tops $162M The total economic impact of this summer's Aspen Fire is more than $162 million and recovery to the environment and business is expected to last at least five years. Insurance payouts to date have topped $80 million, said James Frederikson, executive director of the Arizona Insurance Information Association, and are expected to increase to $100 million or more for cabins and businesses, personal property lost and temporary living expenses. Summerhaven residents and business owners continue to struggle with insurance claims. "The majority of us just got through the debris removal stage and now we're dealing with insurance companies," said Debbie Fagan, owner and president of The Living Rainbow in Summerhaven, who is still negotiating her claim. "A lot of us were underinsured, not realizing it."...Environmentalists to protest EPA settlement Environmentalists are likely to protest an EPA settlement of wetlands violations during the development of new powder-skiing terrain at the nation's most popular ski resort. The federal agency announced late Friday that it had fined Vail Resorts $80,100 as part of a settlement of the company's violation of the Clean Water Act during development of Blue Sky Basin. The agency had earlier said it was considering a $200,000 fine. ''The fine is nothing. It should clearly be 10 or 20 times that much,'' said Rocky Smith of Colorado Wild on Saturday...Local denied permit for peace flag The U.S. Forest Service last week denied permission for Doug Malkan to place a peace flag alongside an American flag atop Peak 1. The American flag was originally erected on Peak 1 Sept. 16, 2001, five days after the terrorist attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C., in honor of those who died. Each year, hikers summit the peak to replace the flag, which after a winter on the blustery peak, is weather-worn. A few days after they replaced the flag last month, however, someone burned the new flag, leaving behind handwritten notes and computer printouts denouncing the war in Iraq. Law enforcement officials have not arrested anyone in that incident. In the interim, scores of people have ascended the 12,805-foot peak and erected flags of their own - including one donated by Rep. Scott McInnis that flew over the nation's capitol. Malkan hoped to be part of those groups, but held off until he could obtain permission from the U.S. Forest Service. Rick Newton, the Dillon district's new ranger, sent Malkan a letter this week denying the application, saying the use is not consistent with Forest Service laws, regulations and policies...Garbage in, garbage out: Nature wins Officially, the mission of Leave No Trace is "to promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships." But according to the nonprofit organization, it often finds itself deflecting an ill-gotten image as an outdoors "referee" - a group that makes the laws and then enforces them. In other words, the "wilderness police."... Wilderness bill introduced Legislation that will protect California's most prized natural areas as wilderness and wild and scenic rivers has been introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa. The California Wild Heritage Wilderness Act of 2003 will protect more than 1.1 million acres of federal lands in Northern California and nine of the area's rivers...Click here to view the legislation...Groups to file prairie dog lawsuit A coalition of conservation groups this week notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that it intends to sue over the agency's failure to protect the black-tailed prairie dog under the Endangered Species Act. The notice is required under the act and gives the agency 60 days to respond or to settle the issue. FWS determined in February 2000 that the black-tailed prairie dog required protection under the act but that there were other, higher priority species. The species became a candidate for listing, with its status to be reviewed annually. Forest Guardians, based in New Mexico, said that more than three and one-half years after FWS determined that listing the black-tailed prairie dog was "warranted but precluded," the agency has failed to even propose listing it. The groups are challenging the "warranted but precluded" designation and point to a mandate from Congress that it not be used as a shield for the "foot-dragging efforts of a delinquent agency." The organizations said they believe FWS is refusing to make politically controversial wildlife decisions that are required under the act...Click here to view the notice of intent (pdf)...Pentagon, environmentalists battle over training impact Now the Defense Department is doing battle over Red Beach itself, part of a larger war the Pentagon is waging in Congress over the nation's more than 425 military installations, the largest of which dot states throughout the West -- from the 2 million acres of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico to the 870,000 acres of Fort Wainwright in Alaska. The Pentagon fears much of that land, originally set aside for its exclusive use, could be snatched away from it by the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws that address everything from porpoises to pollution. At stake, it argues, is the U.S. military's very ability to train in peace as it fights in war. To counter the perceived threat of laws such as the Superfund and Clean Air Act, the Pentagon is pushing for exemptions...Military coexists with endangered pronghorn on bombing range It's not yet sunrise but Pam Landin's day is already swinging into high gear on this southern Arizona military range. She has hiked 200 feet up a rocky slope to a ledge on Observation Point Echo, overlooking a vast flat landscape where Air Force pilots routinely practice bombing runs. With binoculars and a high-powered scope she searches the desert below for endangered Sonoran pronghorns. The presence of any of the deer-like animals within three kilometers of a nearby array of targets resembling tanks can force pilots to detour to other sites on the Air Force's 1.1 million-acre portion of the range, or even scrub their missions...License to kill: Residents face task of shooting lions after county cuts trapper position The mere mention of mountain lions can provoke a variety of responses: fear, awe and loathing among them. With five dead sheep in little more than a month, Dawn Leaming is matter-of-fact calm when she recounts her first-hand encounter with one of California's largest - and most elusive - predators. "I was down doing some chores, and there was a commotion in the sheep pen," the Rough and Ready septuagenarian said. "We've had in 20 years eight lions killed on this property. That was the first one I have seen."... Longmont seminar links faith, environmental activism The ad campaign, "What would Jesus Drive?" asks us to stop driving gas-guzzling SUVs. A group called "Redwood Rabbis" fights to preserve old growth forests outside San Francisco. Evangelical preachers are working the term, "endangered species" into Sunday sermons. The voice of the faith community is becoming increasingly bold in the environmental movement and this is true at in Boulder County. Jews of the Earth promotes a Judaism grounded in saving the planet. Next weekend, the faithful and Earth-minded are invited to Longmont's First Congregational United Church of Christ to explore global warming with a theological spin...Badlands may become closed to motor vehicles Bureau of Land Management officials have proposed banning motorized use of the Badlands, a desert area about 20 miles east of Bend. The closure would ban trucks, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and cars from any of the roughly 50 miles of roads that currently run through the approximately 32,000-acre area, according to Greg Curry, outdoor recreation planner for the BLM...Far from Mideast, home-grown eco-terrorism on rise Beneath a cluster of stumps spread over a grassy flat, the fungi are finishing the job, completing the annihilation of much of a life's work. For 18 years, U.S. Forest Service researcher Don Riemenschneider had raised and documented 500 poplars, devoting such attention to them that the trees became, he said, like his children. Over the decades, his technical and time-consuming labors to breed resistance to a certain cottonwood canker went largely unwatched. Except, that is, by the "Elves." In the darkness of July 20, 2000, members of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) crept onto the grounds of the Rhinelander Forest Service research station and mauled the trees that Riemenschneider had known since they were buds...Prone to controversy W hen the Booth and Bear Butte fires erupted 14 miles apart in Central Oregon on Aug. 19, Laurie Heath feared the worst. Heath, fire management officer for the Sisters Ranger District, had seen hundreds of fires in her 24-year U.S. Forest Service career. But she had worried since the early 1990s that a big fire might blow up in that section of the Deschutes National Forest. Many of the trees had been weakened by bark beetles and the spruce budworm, a caterpillar that strips foliage from conifers. Fuel density was 50 to 130 tons an acre, compared with an acre of healthy forest where perhaps 15 tons of pine needles, duff, small trees and grasses would accumulate on the forest floor...Park rangers facing more danger on job On a routine patrol through Big Bend National Park on the Texas-Mexico border, law officer Cary Brown pulled over a speeding pickup and found an antsy driver with a two-way radio -- and more than $2 million worth of marijuana. Narcotics interdiction is a major part of Brown's job, but the 26-year law enforcement veteran doesn't work for the U.S. Border Patrol or any other agency typically connected with such a mission. Brown is a National Park Service ranger, and it's been a long time since he and the 40 other park rangers have been able to focus on illegal camping and other such violations as they patrol some 300 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. Today, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, rangers have shifted their focus to smugglers and fugitives in what has become one of the most dangerous jobs in federal law enforcement...Yellowstone tightens boating restrictions Park officials say they have tightened their rules for use of motorboats in portions of Yellowstone Lake that are off-limits to motorboats belonging to the public. The park was criticized recently by Edward Meyer, a park resident of many years, who said park employees have been abusing their authority to use motorboats in the lake's south and southeast arms. ''Too many backcountry hikes and paddles have had their solitude disturbed by whining engines and rocking wakes for me to stay silent any longer,'' Meyer wrote. He said rangers have used motorboats, instead of horses, to stock backcountry cabins and that VIPs and politicians - including First Lady Laura Bush - have been allowed to bend park rules...Norton 'disappointed' with higher Animas-La Plata costs A 48 percent increase in costs for the Animas-La Plata Project likely won't derail construction, Interior Secretary Gale Norton said Friday. Still, Norton said she, too, wants to get to the bottom of why project costs jumped from about $338 million to more than $500 million only four months after construction began. "We were disappointed with finding out that the costs were going to be significantly higher," Norton told The Durango Herald. "There should have been a system in place that would tell us if the contracting was not going to be able to stay within expectations."... Cloud seeding to continue in Summit Summit County can expect 12 to 14 percent more snow than usual this season if cloud-seeding efforts pan out as resort and Denver Water officials hope. Western Weather Consultants of Durango has been working with Vail Resorts for 28 years and will enter its second winter of seeding clouds in Summit County...Property compensation fight on again A property rights group is renewing its fight to require state and local governments to compensate landowners when land-use regulations devalue their property. Oregonians in Action is using paid petition gatherers in hopes of placing the property rights measure on the November 2004 ballot to replace one that was tossed out by the courts. The plan is a new one, but it's likely to spark the same heated debate as the 2000 initiative did over the rights of landowners versus the right of government to regulate land development. It's being called "Son of Measure 7," after the controversial plan that was approved by 54 percent of Oregonians. That measure, which would have amended the constitution to require property owner compensation, was struck down by the state Supreme Court on the grounds that it put too many constitutional changes into one amendment. The new measure attempts to circumvent that problem by putting the changes into state statute, rather than the constitution. Dave Hunicutt, head of Oregonians in Action, said the new measure also makes it clear governments could avoid having to compensate landowners simply by not enforcing land-use regulations that diminish property value...Click here (pdf) to read more about the iniative, and click here for another article...Judge: Loggers Need Pollution Permit Timber companies that engage in forest logging should be required to obtain federal stormwater pollution permits, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has misconstrued the 1972 federal Cleanwater Act by exempting logging companies from going through the permitting process for stormwater runoff. Runoff of dirt, debris and chemicals is a major pollutant in rivers and harms fish and wildlife. The Tuesday ruling was based on a lawsuit brought by the Environmental Protection Information Center and other groups against the EPA and a Pacific Lumber Co. logging operation in California's Humboldt County. The groups charged that Pacific Lumber was violating the Clean Water Act in the same manner as a factory that dumps pollutants into a river without a permit...

Friday, October 17, 2003


Biologists concerned about skimpy salmon run at Lake Tahoe An unusually low kokanee salmon spawning run on a Lake Tahoe tributary has wildlife biologists concerned about the effect on bald eagles and other species that feed on the fish. Only an estimated 2,000 kokanee have made the run up Taylor Creek on the lake's south shore this fall, down from the usual 40,000 to 80,000 salmon. It's the lowest number since the mid-1980s. "One season is not going to make a huge difference," U.S. Forest Service biologist Raul Sanchez told the Tahoe Daily Tribune. "The eagles know the fish are here, but it may catch on over time that if there are less fish, (the eagles) may or may not come back."...More lynx added to radio-collar study Biologists in northeastern Minnesota have captured and radio-collared three additional lynx as part of a three-year study of the rare northern cats. Chris Burdett, a researcher with the Natural Resources Research Institute, gave the update on the research project during a national interagency lynx biology team meeting, held this past week in Ely. The two-day meeting brought together nearly 50 lynx researchers from around the country to learn more about the studies currently underway from Maine, to Washington...Spotted Owls Endangered by Logging or Nature? The spotted owl is one of the most studied, protected animals in U.S. history but despite efforts to halt the logging of their natural habitat, scientists say its recovery is endangered and it may become extinct for completely natural reasons. Protective efforts for the owls led to timber industry wars in the 1980s and the walling off of millions of acres of forest to loggers - but the spotted owl is being replaced by a heartier feathered foe - the barred owl. "Natural systems are pretty unpredictable," Eric Forsman, a U.S. forest service biologist, said. "When you set about trying to manage a particular species there are lots of things that can happen that are unplanned." Author Ron Arnold said this discovery vindicates the loggers who claimed all along the owls' precarious position wasn't their problem. "What's happening is a natural process," he said. "You can't turn nature into a museum even though environmentalists try. But I think they should be very apologetic and do some reparations" put the loggers back. "Studies show more than 22,000 logging jobs vanished because of the battle to save the spotted owl, devastating small mill towns throughout the Northwest. They're jobs that despite this new research are likely gone forever as environmental groups refuse to give an inch."...Island fox subspecies likely to win endangered species status Four subspecies of island fox likely will be listed as endangered under a legal agreement hammered out with a wildlife group that sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to win added protection for the rare predators, officials said Friday. The agreement, signed this week, also calls for the agency to map out and protect critical habitat for the tiny foxes on San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Santa Catalina islands, located off the Southern California coast...Clean Air, Public Lands at Risk From Energy Bill Provisions The final draft energy bill, expected to be released tomorrow, will more than likely seek to: Exclude drilling fluids, many containing diesel fuels and other potentially toxic chemicals, from being considered drinking water pollutants under the Safe Drinking Water Act; Exempt oil and gas drilling sites from water pollution controls under the Clean Water Act; Require federal land managers to determine whether programs to protect wildlife, watersheds, wildlands, and recreational activities would have "significant adverse effect" on energy development before "taking action" to implement such plans; Allow the Department of Interior to permit new energy projects without addressing environmental reviews as required by existing laws; Create a "pilot project" in seven Bureau of Land Management (BLM) field offices throughout the Rocky Mountain states to expedite the approval of drilling permits. Protections of wildlife and other public values could be abandoned in the name of streamlining paperwork; Require the U.S. Geological Survey to identify as "restrictions" and "impediments" to oil and gas development on public lands such federal management practices as scientifically-based protections of fish, wildlife, and cultural and historic sites; A section that gives BLM just 10 days to review lengthy permit applications that applicants may have taken up to two years to complete. The measure also biases the BLM toward approving completed permit applications, by allowing just 30 days for the agency to either approve an application or offer specific suggestions for "any steps that the applicant could take for the permit to be issued";The provision seeks to require approval of an application that is deemed "complete," even if the project is fundamentally flawed because its environmental impacts cannot be mitigated, such as projects sited near sensitive areas including streams or steep slopes; A section that seeks to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to lease 100% of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA) for oil and gas development, without regard for wildlife habitat, native hunting and fishing, water quality, or other non-commercial values. This section makes other changes to enhance leasing as well, including authorizing the Interior Secretary to give away public resources to private companies, waiving all fees and royalties at the Secretary's discretion; Additional language has been proposed, but not yet inserted in the last draft that seeks to weaken a fundamental requirement of the Endangered Species Act by creating a special rule for endangered species consultation in the NPRA...Montana the epicenter of modern-day dinosaur craze Widely regarded as one of the best places on Earth for dinosaur hunting, Montana ranks with other hot spots such as Mongolia, China, Argentina and Canada, particularly Alberta. A cottage industry has sprung up around dinosaur hunting, which brings in people paying hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars to participate in digs. The number of people wanting to dig for dinosaurs on federal land is growing so rapidly that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is drafting a national policy restricting digs on its lands...Man who submits winning bid for Mustang Ranch brothel a mystery The identity of a man who submitted the winning bid for the trademark and pink stucco main building of Nevada's best known bordello remains a mystery. Bureau of Land Management officials said the man who offered to pay $145,100 in an eBay auction for the Mustang Ranch in northern Nevada appears to be a legitimate bidder. They said they won't identify him until after payment is made. The man, who requested anonymity, faces a noon Oct. 27 payment deadline. A total of 85 offers from 29 bidders were submitted in the 10-day auction that concluded Thursday... Federal auditors call BLM southern Nevada land sales a success Earl Devaney, the Interior Department inspector who oversaw the audit, said the 1998 Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act fixed a problem of public land sales shortchanging taxpayers by millions of dollars. The audit was released Thursday. Devaney called the measure a model for selling Bureau of Land Management property elsewhere - a proposal that Nevada's senators, Republican John Ensign and Democrat Harry Reid, have endorsed for other counties in the state. The BLM heads a list of federal military, energy, park and forest agencies controlling about 87 percent of the land in Nevada and 80 percent of the land in Clark County. As of Aug. 31, the BLM had reaped $567.3 million selling 4,901 acres through live and Internet auctions of southern Nevada land. It plans to auction another 2,723 acres Nov. 6 in Las Vegas. A recent appraisal put the value of those lands at $361.2 million, or $132,639 per acre...Some angry about congressional salmon letter Idaho water users are reacting angrily to a letter to President Bush from 118 members of Congress who want the administration to consider every credible way to save wild salmon -- including breaching four lower Snake River dams. The bipartisan group of lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives asked Bush to ensure that his new federal salmon plan sets a goal of restoring self-sustaining, harvestable populations of wild salmon in the Snake and Columbia rivers. It comes at a time that conservationists and water users are clashing over the amount of upper Snake River water available for the fish migrations through those lower dams. "This is obviously part of an orchestrated attempt by the environmental groups to target Idaho water in a vain attempt to put pressure on us to support dam removal," said Norman Semanko, president of the Coalition for Idaho Water and executive director of the Idaho Water Users Association...History of N.M. cattleraising The origin and development of New Mexico cattle-raising is a subject that I have been following for years. It's a story not easily learned, since the details are buried in old Spanish documents preserved in our state archives. We know that Coronado introduced a small herd of cattle when he explored the Southwest in 1540. But those animals were intended as a food supply for his expedition and none survived the butchers' knives. Another herd arrived with the first permanent settlers at the close of the 16th century. These "seed cattle" became the foundation for New Mexico's livestock industry. Soon large ranches, or estancias were flourishing on lands bracketing the Rio Grande... BSE In Japan Won't Affect Reopening Of U.S. Border To Canadian Cattle Japan's alleged discovery of a unique form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in a 23-month-old bull will likely have no effect on U.S. efforts to reopen its border to some Canadian live cattle, according to USDA Undersecretary Bill Hawks. The USDA is preparing to publish a proposed rule that will eventually allow some Canadian live cattle to enter the U.S., so long as they are younger than 30 months. The 30-month standard for cattle is the cornerstone of the USDA's actions to slowly reopen its border to Canadian beef and live cattle after a case of BSE, also known as mad-cow disease, was found in Alberta in May. The USDA eased the ban on some Canadian boneless beef products on Aug. 8, but stipulated that they be derived only from cattle slaughtered before they were 30 months old...USDA Loses Check-Off Court Appeal A request by USDA for a full panel of judges to review a previous three-judge panel decision ruling the beef checkoff unconstitutional was denied by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, Mo. Thursday's 5-2 vote will mean no immediate change in the collection of the beef checkoff. Essentially, USDA didn't like the July decision by the panel of three judges in the case of Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) vs. USDA. So, in August, the USDA, Nebraska Cattlemen's Association and the Cattlemen's Beef Board sought a "en banc" or full panel review of the decision. As a result of the denail for a full court review, USDA filed a request Friday for a stay (delay) of the 8th Circuit's decision to uphold the termination the beef checkoff and to declare it unconstitutional. David Moeller, attorney with Farmers Legal Action Group (FLAG) which has been involved in previous checkoff cases, told DTN the 8th Circuit judges will most likely issue their decision on the USDA's request in about two weeks...
Date: Fri, Oct 17, 2003
American Land Rights Association - Land Rights Network
PO Box 400 - Battle Ground WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 - Fax: 360-687-2973
Email: -
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE - Washington DC 20003
Phone: 202-210-2357 - Fax: 202-543-7126 - Email:

Healthy Forests - Urgent Action Required

Call both your Senators now! The Healthy Forests Restoration Act will come to a vote this coming week. Call each day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Sneak Attack on Roadless Rule Planned by Senators Bingaman and Leahy. Sometime early next week...the week of October 20th...the U.S. Senate will vote on the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HR 1904). In recent days, there has been some behind the scenes activity that could kill this important legislation.
For weeks, key members of the Senate and their staff members have been working out compromise language with the Bush Administration. Just last week, a small group of Senators including Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) sent out a letter with several other Senate signatures basically telling the Administration and the House leadership that the language adopted in the Senate negotiations was the ONLY language that would pass the Senate on a floor vote.
It was more or less a "take it or leave it" type message to the House -- who passed the bill with strong bi-partisan support back in May.
In just the past few days, Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have indicated they will offer an amendment to codify the Clinton Roadless language into the Healthy Forests legislation. This in effect would kill the bill because there is no way the House would accept such language (thankfully!).
These Senators who said the House must "take it or leave it" as it comes from the Senate, are now not willing to stand up and defend their own demand and vote to defeat the Roadless Amendment out of fear of environmental political pressure.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO? Call your US Senators today. Ask them to:
-----1. Support the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HR 1904) that was agreed upon by Senators Wyden, Feinstein, Lincoln, Cochran, Craig, Crapo and Domenici.
-----2. Tell them to not break the pledge and promise of the Senate negotiators - Urge Them Not To Support The Roadless Amendment.
-----3. Congress has worked hard on this important legislation that would help better protect our federal and private forestlands from the effects of catastrophic fires that destroy water, wildlife habitat, and fill our air with smoke. Don't let this bill be killed by an inside effort of a few Senators who don't want it to pass...

For the entire alert, go here.

Two grizzlies killed by hunters this fall Two grizzly bears have been killed by hunters in the Crandall area this fall, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. Hunters in both encounters claimed they shot and killed the bears in self defense. A federal investigation was continuing, investigator Tim Eicher said...Funding for river habitat is sought Alleging government neglect, conservationists today will call for decades of funding to revive high-elevation river habitat in the Sierra Nevada where two-thirds of California's water originates. The suggestion is part of a report being released today by the broad-based conservation group Sierra Nevada Alliance. The report also says global warming and population growth pose further threats to the Sierra and millions of future Californians...Column: The Enron of non-profits Its famous name and high-profile campaigns convinced legions of people to invest in it - because it was devoted to the public interest. But complex corporate structures enabled it to violate tax laws with impunity, and engage in illegal activities on a regular basis. Enron? Global Crossing? The Soprano family? Hardly. The culprit, according to a story in The Sunday Times of London, is none other than Greenpeace. The Times reports that Public Interest Watch, a nonpartisan Washington, DC group that monitors non-governmental organizations, has analyzed Greenpeace's operations and requested that the Internal Revenue Service investigate the organization. "The Rainbow Warriors have deliberately, systematically and illegally solicited and transferred millions of dollars a year in tax-deductible contributions into non-tax-exempt entities, in support of improper and sometimes illegal activities," says PIW executive director, Mike Hardiman. The Tax Code, longstanding IRS practices and California law all clearly differentiate between taxable, and tax-exempt contributions, and how they can be used... APC Mobilizes Against More "Heritage Areas" Sites Leading the fight against the authorization of more "Heritage Areas," the American Policy Center is organizing a coalition of property rights groups to fight four pending pieces of legislation. Testifying last month before the House Resources Committee's subcommittee on National Parks, APC's Legislative Director, Peyton Knight, argued against the proliferation of heritage areas, warning that "they disguise restrictive federal zoning practices" that strip local owners of their property rights. Mr. Knight reminded the subcommittee that "the Heritage Areas are administered through the National Park Service, which he characterized as being 'a federal agency with a history of hostility towards private landowners."...Newspaper, group seek Animas-La Plata meeting details The Durango Herald and a grassroots organization have asked for details about a meeting where officials representing entities involved in the Animas-La Plata Project discussed cost overruns. The formal request was made after the head of the Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District refused to allow a reporter to listen to a tape of the Aug. 14 meeting in Ignacio. Representatives of the newspaper and Taxpayers for the Animas River are trying to determine if the district provided proper public notice of the meeting...Arsonist torches truck of activist The Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity is stepping up security after an employee's truck was set on fire outside the environmental group's office. Activist Shane Jimerfield's 2003 Toyota Tundra was destroyed Monday at about 2:15 a.m. in what the center calls "an apparent political attack." A gas can that Jimerfield says wasn't his was found in the bed of the pickup, a police report said. "I'm working here, it's late, I'm pretty tired and ready to leave, then I hear this low booming sound," Jimerfield said in an interview. "My window looks out over the parking lot and I see there are these flames shooting up into the sky."... US Objects to EU Beef Decision The US government and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association reacted negatively Wednesday to the European Union's announcement that its prohibition on beef growth hormones had "entered into force" and that it would ask the World Trade Organization to lift trade sanctions awarded to the US and Canada. The EU now considers itself in compliance with WTO requirements in this case, although US officials said they fail to see how that is accurate. After the European Union banned the sale of US and Canadian beef from cattle that received growth hormones, the Clinton administration took a case to the WTO, saying there was no scientific basis for the decision. The WTO ruled in favor of the US and Canada in 1998 and in 1999 allowed the US and Canada to impose punitive tariffs on the European Union if it did not lift the ban. The European Union has chosen to pay the tariffs, which are applied to a selected list of products in the amount of $116.8 million USD and $11.3 million CDN...BSE expert says Japanese case implies larger outbreak The recent finding of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a 23-month-old bull in Japan suggests that Japan may have more cases of the disease than previously suspected, according to a University of Minnesota expert on the disease. "For me the Japanese case suggests that in fact they had a much larger epidemic than most people realize, because this animal had a massive exposure to develop the disease this early," said Will Hueston, DVM, PhD, director of the university's Center for Animal Health and Food Safety in St. Paul. The occurrence of BSE, or mad cow disease, in an animal less than 24 months old is rare and implies that the animal was exposed to a large dose of infective material, Hueston explained. "With this disease, the larger the exposure, the shorter the incubation time," he said...

Thursday, October 16, 2003


Column: Bush's plan for preserves The Bush administration is proposing to alter the way national wildlife refuges and national parks are staffed and run. The proposal will find new staff for these preserves outside the traditional National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel, through "outsourcing" agreements. While critics of the proposal see a profound threat to these preserves, supporters say the changes should bring fresh ideas to resource management, and cultural renewal to the Indian tribes poised to be the first to assume many jobs on these federal public lands...Editorial: We can't stop dousing fires At first glance, a lawsuit to force the U.S. Forest Service to stop routinely fighting wildfires seems a little crazy. At second glance - certainly for hundreds of Helena-area residents - it seems downright scary. That's not to say the lawsuit filed by Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics doesn't raise some valid concerns. By seeking a court order forcing the Forest Service to prepare an environmental impact statement on forest firefighting, the group wants the agency to examine the toll firefighting takes in terms of firefighters' lives and the environmental impact of dropping retardant on wildfires. More generally, the lawsuit questions the Forest Service's longstanding "put 'em out" mentality that has increased fuels and worsened fires. But drive around the outlying areas of most cities in the West - Helena most definitely included - and you'll find a major flaw in the argument that most fires should be ignored. The urban-wildland interface isn't a line. It's a deep web of woodsy residential development stretching for miles into the forest in all directions...Video to be produced on new electric bear fence An instructional video and CD will be developed this spring for a lightweight electric fence system showing promise as a new way to keep food from bears. The fence, developed by the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, is designed to help backpackers, horse packers and other outdoor enthusiasts safely store food in the backcountry. The fence can be stored in a backpack and is meant to condition bears to avoid human food. Testing among both captive bears and in the Wind River and Absakora ranges and other areas has been effective...Seeking grants? Forest Service has new Web site to help The U.S. Forest Service has created a new Web site to explain various types of federal and state forest, fire and community assistance grants available in the Southwestern Region (Arizona, New Mexico, and portions of Oklahoma and Texas). The Southwest Area Forest, Fire and Community Assistance Grants Web site will let interested parties and contractors know how they can use the grants, eligibility requirements, contact points and other Web sites available for various grants...Click here to go the website...Airborne Ozone Can Alter Forest Soil The industrial pollutant ozone, long known to be harmful to many kinds of plants, can also affect the very earth in which they grow. Researchers at Michigan Technological University and the North Central Research Station of the USDA Forest Service have discovered that ozone can reduce soil carbon formation--a measure of the amount of organic matter being added to the soil. Their findings are published in the Oct. 16 issue of the journal Nature. The scientists exposed forest stands to increased levels of two atmospheric pollutants, ozone and carbon dioxide. Soil carbon formation dropped off dramatically in the plots fumigated with a mix of ozone and carbon dioxide compared to carbon dioxide alone. "This research shows that changes in atmospheric chemistry can cascade through the forest and affect soils," says Dr. Kurt Pregitzer, a coauthor of the Nature paper and a professor in Michigan Tech's School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science...Senators, governor ask for federal involvement in minnow negotiations New Mexico political leaders want Interior Secretary Gale Norton to get involved in discussions over the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow. Governor Richardson, and Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman sent a letter to Norton Wednesday. They asked her to develop a position, become involved with future discussions and suggest water supply solutions...Revisions in permit process Federal agencies in the West are at work on revisions to their own paperwork that government officials hope will iron some of the kinks out of oil and gas permitting processes for the region. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service have begun updating Onshore Order No. 1 -- a 1983 document outlining permiting requirements for federal oil and gas leases -- and the federal agencies' Gold Book, a compilation of best practices for work on federal leases. The revisions will most likely be published on the federal register early next year, minerals team leader Barry Burkhardt of the Forest Service's Inter-mountain Region office said...Agency Probes Damage to Jamestown Items National Park Service investigators are reviewing how 80 percent of the artifacts from historic Jamestown settlement were damaged during Hurricane Isabel and how such damage could be prevented. The Park Service estimates the storm last month caused $11.4 million in damage to artifacts from the first permanent English settlement in North America, founded in 1607. "Some of the issues being investigated have to do with the preparations before the storm and the recovery efforts directly afterward,'' said Pat Tiller, associate director of the Park Service branch of cultural resource stewardship and partnerships...Hoover Dam history -- Hoover or Boulder? Hoover Dam, on the Colorado River 30 miles east of Las Vegas, was named by a 1931 act of Congress for President Herbert Hoover, the architect of the Boulder Canyon Project Act of 1929 that led to the dam's construction. After Hoover left office, however, the Democratic administration of President Franklin Roosevelt was loathe to use Republican Hoover's name and began referring to it as Boulder Dam. While the dam's name was not formally changed, the Boulder Dam name became so attached during the Roosevelt years that Congress in 1947, citing an injustice to Hoover, by then an elder statesman, approved a resolution officially naming the structure Hoover Dam again...
Federal Agencies Failure to Comply with Executive Order Has Cost Taxpayers over $1 Billion

For Immediate Release
October 16, 2003 NEWS ADVISORY
CONTACT: Nancie G. Marzulla

Federal Agencies Failure to Comply with Executive Order
Has Cost Taxpayers over $1 Billion

Washington [D.C]—Today, Roger Marzulla, General Counsel for Defenders of Property Rights, testified before Members of the U.S. House Subcommittee on the Constitution, telling them that over $1 billion worth of private property takings by the federal government has occurred over that last ten years.
“Federal agencies are simply not complying with their obligations under the Takings Executive Order, which is designed to protect individual constitutional liberties in property while protecting the public fisc,” said Mr. Marzulla. “In a report issued today by Defenders of Property Rights, we conclude that widespread noncompliance with the Takings Executive Order has resulted in a massive violation of constitutionally guaranteed property rights, subjecting the federal government to liability for $1 billion or more.”
Mr. Marzulla served as an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice under former Attorney General Edwin Meese III. In 1988, he spearheaded the Reagan administration’s initiative that resulted in Executive Order 12,630. The Executive Order was designed to avoid where possible the destruction of constitutionally protected property rights by federal agencies by requiring that a takings impact assessment (TIA) be performed prior to any federal action that implicated private property rights.
“We urge Congress to required federal agencies to comply with the Takings Executive Order, and to undertake a good faith effort to protect the property rights of the citizens as the Constitution requires,” stated Mr. Marzulla.
Defenders of Property Rights is the only national public interest legal foundation dedicated exclusively to the protection of property rights. For further information about Defenders and to download a copy of Defenders’s testimony please go online to or contact us directly at 202-822-6770.
To read Roger’s full testimony please click here
To download a copy of Defenders Special report entitled, “Executive Order 12,630: Why the Takings Executive Order Needs to be Updated” please click here(pdf)

Alleged Hazing of Rookie Firefighters Federal officials are tight-lipped about a probe into the alleged hazing of rookie firefighters. And shocking allegations have been leveled at ranking members of the BLM fire-fighting staff. The BLM has confirmed that an investigation has been completed. But few details are being made public. Eyewitness News heard conflicting stories about just what happened to a rookie firefighter class during summer training sessions. But some of what has been alleged sounds way out of line, including stories of humiliation, sexual fondling, even sodomy. It's unclear whether the public will ever get the full story from the BLM, but the feds are willing to say they simply won't tolerate such behavior. Eyewitness News has filed a Freedom of Information request with the BLM to see if a copy of the report can be obtained, but it's unknown if that will ever happen. Since these, after all, are personnel matters, Eyewitness News was told, and that usually means -- no comment. A good question is whether there are stronger indications of a rift between the BLM and the Forest Service. Officially, no one will say so, but Eyewitness News heard from a few employees that there is discussion underway about seperating the fire functions of the two agencies and that some bad blood has developed. Eyewitness News emphasizes that the allegations came from independent sources and it is not known if these are the same things that are under investigation. Forest Service criticized in Nevada outhouse dispute The Forest Service is being criticized for spending $15,000 to hire a helicopter to empty sewage from a remote outhouse in northeast Nevada, work a citizens group had volunteered to do for free. A state assemblyman described the agency's surprise aerial lift of 5,500 pounds of sewage from the national forest outhouse as a "covert operation" and said he would seek government records to make sure all costs are revealed. The outhouse debate is just the latest flare-up in an ongoing dispute over property rights, a closed road and protection of the threatened bull trout in the Jarbidge River... Tribes not seeking water-land swap: Tribal officials say media reports incorrect The Klamath Tribes are not interested in surrendering their claim for senior water rights in exchange for regaining portions of their former reservation, tribal officials said Tuesday. A press release issued by the tribes said media reports indicating they were considering a trade of water rights for land now held by the U.S. Forest Service were incorrect. Carl "Bud" Ullman, attorney for the Tribes, said the Indians have two objectives: gaining water rights in order to restore fish populations, and regaining about 690,000 acres of former reservation land now in public ownership. Though both objectives are being discussed with federal officials, the Tribes aren't planing on turning over their senior water rights, Ullman said. "While they are being discussed together, each has to face survival on its own," he said. The Tribes have been negotiating with a Cabinet-level working group for about a year... Beaverhead proposal would limit motorized travel Areas recommended for wilderness on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest would be off-limits to motorized travel under a proposal being circulated for a new long-term management plan. The 297-page document suggests areas in the West Big Hole, Pioneer Mountains and Mount Jefferson in the Centennial Range would be managed for their wilderness characteristics. Snowmobiles and ATVs wouldn't be allowed to operate there... Editorial: Exploiting endangered species The Bush administration is pushing a new policy that may drive 500 endangered species worldwide over extinction's brink. Scientists and conservation leaders from around the globe are pleading with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service not to allow commercial trade in skins, hides, hoofs, pet swaps and irresponsible zoo collections, because such activities will inevitably invite poaching and over-harvesting. But the administration appears to be ignoring science and public opinion in favor of commercial interests... USFWS releases impacts of wildlife watching A new economic report released by the Department of Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that 66 million Americans spent more than $38 billion in 2001 observing, feeding, or photographing wildlife. The new report, called the 2001 National and State Economic Impacts of Wildlife Watching Addendum relied on data collected in the Service's 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. "Many Americans enjoy watching wildlife, however we often overlook the positive impact these activities have on state and local economies," said Service Director Steve Williams... You can view the entire report here (pdf)....Tribe says it may launch game preserve near Box Elder The Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation is making plans for a 1,700-acre game preserve holding bison, elk and other wildlife that could lead to big game hunts, a tribal official said Tuesday. The animals would be put in a fenced area around the base of Square Butte, east of Box Elder, said Robert Belcourt, the tribal natural resources director. The preserve could be open for tourism within two to three years, and eventually could be open for hunting once the herd grew enough, said Leland Top Sky, the tribe's fish and wildlife supervisor. Two state officials said Montana would have no authority over operation of the game farm by the sovereign Indian nation and could not prevent fee hunting of the captive animals. However, they said the state could regulate the tribe's access to animals for the farm... Reward offered in archaeological cave looting A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the looting of an archaeological cave in Big Horn County. The looting occurred at a site known as the BA Cave south of Shell between early spring and mid-June, causing nearly $7 million in damage, Bureau of Land Management archaeologist Mike Bies said Wednesday...E.P.A. Nomination Advances but Senators Vow Tough Vote Ahead Gov. Michael O. Leavitt of Utah won the bipartisan endorsement of a Senate committee today to head the Environmental Protection Agency. But he still faces a delay on his confirmation vote. The Environment and Public Works Committee voted, 16 to 2, to send Mr. Leavitt's nomination to the full Senate. Only Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut voted no. Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, abstained, saying that Mr. Leavitt's answers had been too vague. The panel's chairman, Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, said afterward that he hoped the Senate would act quickly. "I am confident that his nomination has overwhelming bipartisan support," Mr. Inhofe said. "We must not allow presidential politics or partisan bickering to sacrifice a nominee with a proven record of environmental accomplishments." But a quick Senate vote is by no means certain. Senators Clinton and Lieberman are among several Democrats who have vowed to block a full Senate vote on Mr. Leavitt's confirmation until the Bush administration provides more specifics on its environmental policies. Other Democratic senators who have said they will block the nomination are John Edwards of North Carolina, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey. In addition, Senator Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat and member of the environment committee, who endorsed Mr. Leavitt today, was said to be considering whether to join in holding up the vote of the full Senate... Deal to move water from farms to cities In a ceremony today at Nevada's Hoover Dam -- America's pre-eminent monument to altering arid landscapes in search of water -- U.S Interior Secretary Gale Norton will open a new era in the West's 100-year-long struggle to quench its thirst. Norton is scheduled to sign a historic deal to transfer billions of gallons of water from California's desert farms to its burgeoning coastal cities. The largest sale of water from agriculture to urban residents in United States history, its terms call for farmers in Imperial County, on California's southeastern border with Mexico, to sell up to 200,000 acre-feet of water a year to San Diego for the next 75 years. The water, drawn from the Colorado River, is enough for 400,000 homes a year...City allows boy's therapy horse to stay on property Chick the horse can stay. After one denied request, neighborhood friction and a turn in the national television spotlight, the Lehi City Council agreed to let Tim and Daralyn Hunsaker keep Chick, a 2-year-old quarter horse, at their home in southwest Lehi and approved a zoning change for the property from residential to agricultural. The zoning change will allow the Hunsakers to keep the horse they bought for their 6-year-old son, Dallin. The specially trained horse provides hippotherapy for Dallin, who suffers from cerebral palsy... Chicken Ropin' They laughed at it at first. They said it would never last; that it was just a trend that would disappear as quickly as a West Texas dust devil. But it didn't. The fifth annual Watt Matthews Days Texas National Chicken Roping is scheduled for Saturday in Albany, with 150 to 200 teams lined up for the championship event. Matthews would be proud. The legendary rancher died in 1997, and the folks in Albany -- 120 miles west of Fort Worth near Abilene -- established the celebration in his honor. The first year was 1999, and the events included the chicken roping, a Western photography symposium, a cowboy breakfast on the courthouse lawn, a melodrama inside the courthouse and a Western swing concert. There was also a ranch rodeo, and a chuck-wagon dinner. But chicken roping was clearly the premier event. "It's a new event, and we're pleased to present to the state of Texas the first National Chicken Roping," said Bob Echols, chairman of the event that first year. "There will be three divisions: Junior, Women's and Men's." The chicken roping is a team event. A header and a heeler go to work, on foot, as soon as the chicken is turned loose in a 20-foot by 30-foot pen. The chickens, should it matter, are all roosters purchased from the public market in Weatherford. The ropers have 90 seconds to toss a soft nylon rope around the chicken's neck, and another around its legs. The 10-foot-long ropes were made specially for the event by Classic Rope Co. in Granbury. "They might start making them commercially," Echols said. "This thing could catch on." It has. The folks in Robert Lee, another West Texas town, held their first chicken roping this year, and there is also one in Muleshoe. There was also one in Ruidoso, N.M., but it got too big and was discontinued...

Tuesday, October 14, 2003


Enviro groups may appeal East Fork grazing decision One of the West's leading public lands conservationists said this week his group will appeal a recent U.S. Forest Service decision that establishes new public lands grazing guidelines in the East Fork of the Salmon River valley on the eastern slope of the White Cloud Mountains. "As anyone can tell from reading the record of decision, a lot of political pressure was brought to bear on (former Sawtooth National Recreation Area ranger) Deb Cooper, and it has resulted in this unfortunate decision," said Jon Marvel, executive director of Western Watersheds Project based in Hailey. "I would anticipate that our group will appeal this decision."...New law proposes permanent user fees In the latest chapter of the ongoing legislative fray over public lands user fees, a bill was introduced last week that would make fees like the Sawtooth National Forest's trailhead parking fee permanent. The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act was introduced on Wednesday, Oct. 8, in the House committees on agriculture and resources by Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Ohio. The bill has five East Coast cosponsors, along with one from the Midwest...Go here to view the bill...American Motorcyle Association Backs Public Land Bill The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has endorsed legislation in Congress to get tough on individuals who cause willful damage to federal lands. The Trail Responsibility and Accountability for the Improvement of Lands Act (TRAIL Act), introduced by U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado), provides for consistent enforcement of land use, protection and management regulations by the federal Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service. Currently, those agencies impose different penalties on recreational users who damage public land. In addition, the bill substantially increases the penalties on individuals who willfully cause damage to designated trails. Any fines collected would be used for rehabilitation and trail awareness programs at that trail. This legislation sends a clear message to individuals who deliberately engage in irresponsible recreation," Tancredo said. "Abuse our public lands and you will pay the price."...Go here to view the bill...Protesters greet federal forest overseer Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, the Bush administration's point man on forest policy, participated Monday in a forum at the University of Washington that drew a small crowd of protesters outside. "Don't Bush whack our forests," said small peel-and-stick signs worn by several of the activists. "They're taking the 'public' out of public lands," Patti Goldman of Earthjustice told the few dozen people gathered outside the College of Forest Resources. Inside, the mood was less confrontational, though Rey resisted Professor Jerry Franklin's call for an administration pledge to put old-growth forests and roadless areas off limits to logging... Column: Forest Rangers Tell Congress, 'Let Us Do Our Jobs' "If we had done all the thinning we wanted to over the years, we could have kept this fire from exploding, and we could have saved the towns it burned through," said Kate Klein, a forest ranger quoted in the August 2003 edition of Smithsonian magazine. Tragically, cases like this are frequent. Millions of acres of forests throughout the West are virtual tinder boxes, in critical need of thinning, logging, and prescribed burning to reduce "fuel load." Yet an endless cycle of appeals and senseless litigation fueled by environmentalists opposing logging practices have gridlocked necessary fire prevention treatment, endangering lives, homes, wildlife, and air quality. According to a General Accounting Office study, environmental groups in 2001 and 2002 appealed 59 percent of the Forest Service's thinning projects open to public appeal, multiple times. Most appeals -- 133 out of 180 -- were rejected by the Forest Service, but the lengthy process cost precious time. Appeals and lawsuits, along with regulations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requiring the Forest Service to perform extensive environmental impact analyses before undertaking fuel reduction projects, all divert time, effort, and dollars away from fire prevention... Experts offer little hope for saving pinons Foresters from the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado State Forest Service offered little encouragement to the landowners who dared to think their pinons might have escaped infestation by bark beetles. Because of the expense of insecticide spraying, CSFS entomologist David Leatherman recommended trying to protect a few key, high-value trees, which in most cases would mean trees close to homes. Spraying is the only method available for protecting some trees, and it will not stop the epidemic of ips beetles through the pinon forest, he said. The epidemic will leave millions of dead pinons in the region, creating even more fire danger. The only optimism that emerged from the evening's meeting concerned the distant future: 25-50 years from now...Walden addresses key issues in forest billA Congressional bill that would cut down appeals and boost timber harvest on federal forest lands could become law within weeks. But first the bill needs to be reworked to eliminate provisions added by the Senate that would expand public participation in the appeals process, said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore. a co-sponsor of the House version. The Senate provisions were added by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and include measures to protect old growth forest from logging under the exemptions proposed in the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. Speaking to a group of more than 100 Oregon forest industry executives gathered at Sunriver Monday for the annual Oregon Forest Industries Council meeting, Walden said there is too much ammunition under current federal forest rules for opponents to derail logging and thinning projects... Ranch values outgrowing land income A New Mexico State University economist has found that the old-fashioned idea of living off livestock is fading as new, well-financed owners enter the New Mexico's ranch market for the lifestyle. "Ranch values have just moved completely out of line with the ability to pay for it with income from the cows," said Allen Torell, an agricultural economist at NMSU. "Basically, you have to come to ranching with big bags of money, inherit it or be willing to work off the ranch." In the study, researchers at NMSU and the University of Idaho developed a statistical analysis and computer model to determine the value of New Mexico's ranches based on the sale of some 500 ranches from 1996 to 2002. The size of the ranches ranged from 320 acres to 180,000 acres, while costs varied from $14 to $1,000 an acre. The study was funded by the U.S. Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, Colo...Rock and Risk When the first two stars blink in the indigo sky, ranger Garry Oye pulls on a fleece hat, zips up his U.S. Forest Service jacket and turns to the west to wait. Soon enough - before the spring hiking season begins, for sure - he'll have to confront screams of outrage over the changes he plans to propose for this iconic wilderness. But for the moment, in the stillness at 12,000 feet, Oye plants his feet on the rocky ground and anticipates something much less stressful...In the Northwest: There is a place where grizzlies, humans co-exist He spent eight seasons riding bulls in rodeos, but Karl Rappold has devoted most of his 51 years to challenges of running a 7,000-acre cattle ranch at the base of the Rocky Mountains pioneered by his grandfather 121 years ago. During 27 of those years, the Rappold Ranch has played part-time home to a male grizzly bear that has grown to more than 1,000 pounds and leaves behind a footprint measured at 9 1/4inches. "We've learned to respect him. After all, it is we who are the trespassers on his land," said Rappold. His ranch has not seen one of its animals killed by a grizz since the 1960s. Karl Rappold does not seek out bears, get up close or camp along their migration routes. In the spring, when grizzlies come out of hibernation, he keeps calves away from the upper ranch, which borders the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. A biologist collects dead animals and livestock, and scatters carcasses in the highlands. "It gives them food and keeps them there," he explained. As many as 15 sub-adult grizzlies have been counted feeding in the spring on the upper Rappold Ranch...Study: Ravens a threat to desert tortoises Researchers have charted the decline in desert tortoises for years, and mounting evidence points to the exploding raven population's role in suppressing their recovery. Researchers say that they hope new studies will help them chart a course for better strategies to recover the tortoise. The September issue of the journal Ecology describes a study in which researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey and California State University, San Marcos, deployed plastic foam decoys resembling baby tortoises across the desert on and around Edwards Air Force Base...No more delay on designating critical owl habitat, says judge A federal judge has ordered Interior Secretary Gale Norton to comply immediately with an earlier order to redesignate critical habitat for the threatened Mexican spotted owl. U.S. District Judge David Bury dismissed Interior Department arguments that it should not be required to make such a designation, required under the Endangered Species Act, until Congress appropriates enough money. In his order, Bury cited an appellate court ruling that found "the United States may not evade the law simply by failing to appropriate enough money to comply with it." Although Bury said the Center for Biological Diversity had shown that the department had violated a court order, he denied the environmental group's motion to hold Norton in contempt, saying the move was premature...Shotgun blast drops charging grizzly Two aggressive grizzly bears have been shot, one by a hunter and one by a Fortine homeowner. A Kalispell man shot a stalking grizzly bear in the Swan Mountains and a Fortine man shot a grizzly at close range, narrowly escaping as the bear charged from a chicken coop...Bush is urged to back salmon plan: Proposal could include removal of 4 Snake River dams About 120 members of the House -- including 12 Republicans -- sent a letter to President Bush yesterday asking him to consider a scientifically valid approach for saving salmon, including possibly tearing down four dams on the Snake River. Written by Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer, the letter asks the president to support a plan "guided by the best available economics and science" to replace an approach deemed unworkable by a federal judge in May. The letter to Bush amplifies concerns voiced by U.S. District Judge James Redden and by the General Accounting Office pointing out that current practices have not produced results despite costing $3.3 billion. The effort that Redden dismissed was based largely on pulling fish from the Columbia and Snake rivers, putting them in trucks and barges and carrying them around dams...Gray Wolf Illegally Killed Near Idaho City U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of the person who killed a gray wolf near Mores Creek Summit north of Idaho City. The wolf, a collared female known as "B-158," was killed sometime between October 5 and October 11 off of Forest Road 323...EPA Failing To Protect Public from Weed-Killer's Cancer Threat, Says NRDC The Environmental Protection Agency is failing to protect the public from the cancer threat posed by the most widely used weed-killer in the nation, says NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). In a legal motion filed today, the group charged that the agency violated the law by refusing to fully evaluate the links between cancer and the weed-killer, called atrazine. NRDC asked the court to force EPA to solicit an independent scientific review of the possible links between all cancers and the chemical, which the agency was required to do under a court order issued two years ago...Salmon return in big numbers Federal officials watching the counts at Bonneville Dam said they are elated by record-setting numbers of returning salmon this year, including more than a half-million fall-run chinook. Between 1,200 and 1,450 fall chinook come through the fish ladder each day. Those fish are counted through the end of November, when the run drops off...Volunteer pilot crashes while aiding family A pilot crashed his plane while flying in supplies to a McCarthy-area family that has been feuding with the National Park Service. Kurt Stenehjem, 52, of Anchorage, said he was unhurt in the crash. His Cessna 180 was heavily damaged. A spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the crash was reported Friday. Stenehjem had volunteered to fly supplies to the 17-member Pilgrim family, which has been barred by Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve officials from using a former mining road... Dam safety bill introduced A measure authorizing nearly a five-fold funding increase -- exceeding half a billion dollars a year -- to improve the safety of aging dams in the West has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. The measure by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., would amend the 1978 Safety-of-Dams Act by increasing authorized appropriation levels to $540 million annually for U.S. Bureau of Reclamation dam safety projects, compared with the current $109 million a year. The bill involves work in 12 states -- Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming... Water groups riled up The Canadian River Municipal Water Authority and Mesa Water officials found one thing in their often contentious relationship to agree upon: There are problems with proposed Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District rules. The proposed rules designed by the groundwater board during the past 15 months were described as discriminatory, unconstitutional and a statutory taking of property at Tuesday's scheduled PGCD meeting in White Deer...An answer to water woes? Cities grow, gobble up land and irrigating water, and farms die. Seems to be an inevitable scenario. Not so, says a Colorado State University professor who doesn't think the two have to square off in a face to face battle. Dr. John Wilkins-Wells, a sociology professor at CSU has been studying canal modernization, pressurized water delivery systems, and dual distribution systems for residential municipal watering - and he thinks they may be a means to help Colorado meet some of its water needs, and even help farmers survive the seemingly relentless pressure to move their water from agricultural to municipal use...Mesa signs to float water down Brazos Mesa Water Inc. has signed a nonbinding alliance with the Brazos River Authority in what could be the first step to pumping Roberts County water south by the end of this decade. The discussions potentially could lead to combined groundwater and surface water availability to customers both inside and outside the Brazos River basin by Jan. 1, 2009, according to Brazos River Authority officials...The politics of water The battle has been joined in a San Jose courtroom over water rights in the Santa Maria Valley. What began six years ago as a relatively limited dispute between local farmers and government officials, over who was using water and how much, has mushroomed into a legal extravaganza involving about 700 separate parties and nearly 100 attorneys. The first phase of the trial is expected to take about a month, but that may be just the tip of this legal iceberg. At issue is how much water is under the ground in the valley, and who will be the primary users of that water in the future... West edges toward riparian law It took the Colorado River perhaps six million years to cut through layer after layer of sediment, eventually carving the Grand Canyon. A trip down the canyon reveals a cutaway geologic record stretching back two billion years and a swath of the earth's history two billion years long. Visitors on opposite sides of the vast chasm couldn't ever conceive of bridging it. A similar trip down the river's recent history is equally revealing. Even the amateur historian can appreciate the many strata of compacts, treaties and court rulings that govern rights to the water. The rifts the river has caused among the parties claiming water are deep and wide. However, after 200 years, there's been a fundamental change in how water rights are determined, and it's a change for the better... Lawyer sees hope for dam breaching, salmon: Calls Bush administration 'an interlude'Calling the George W. Bush administration "an interlude" to river recovery in the West, one of the region's premiere natural resource lawyers gave salmon and steelhead advocates some seeds of hope last week that breaching of four lower Snake River dams may yet occur. "My sense is that the four lower Snake River dams are going to come out," said Charles Wilkinson, a Boulder, Colo., environmental lawyer, professor, historian and author...Old Walt’s at it again: Inola Haunted Hay Ride shares spooky legend Old Walt, that’s what people called him in the early 1800s when he settled in Indian Territory and started running cattle on a ranch now owned by the McFarlin-Ingersoll families. He was a mean gun-toting cowboy and known to shoot any man who stepped foot on “his property.” It is said as he grew older — and meaner — his ranch hands were on the lookout day and night. Tresspassers met with a fate worse than death. Graves of Old Walt’s victims are everywhere on the ranch. His dying wish was to be buried on the ranch in an old cemetery in an above-the-ground vault — with his pet werewolf — “Wolfy.” The ranch has long since sold, but Old Walt’s ghost along with those of his cowhands, animals and victims wander those hills every year during October during the Inola Haunted Hay Ride...

Monday, October 13, 2003


ONRC plans rejected by tribal leader A proposal by the Oregon Natural Resources Council to have the federal government buy or condemn private land to create a new reservation for the Klamath Tribes was rejected Friday by tribal Chairman Allen Foreman. In a letter to Jay Ward, the ONRC's conservation director, Foreman categorically dismissed the idea made public by the ONRC last week. The ONRC suggested the private land alternative so that former reservation lands that are currently part of the Fremont-Winema National Forests will not be returned to the Tribes, as is being considered. The Tribes are hoping to regain title to more than 600,000 acres of public land, reportedly in exchange for the Tribes' senior water rights. In his letter, Foreman said the Tribes plan to move forward with efforts to acquire the Forest Service land...Forest Service will Reduce Programs to Pay for Cascade Fire The Uinta National Forest Service will reduce programs to help pay for the $1.8 million costs associated with the Cascade II fire. The fire that started Sept. 23 as a prescribed burn of 600 acres in the Cascade Springs area consumed 7,790 acres... Goats' appetites a powerful fire maintenance tool National Forest Service officials in Arizona are wrapping up a pilot project to reduce the threat of wildfire by using goats from the Navajo Nation. The goats are being used to eat through dense forests full of brush. Forest officials say it's been an effective method to provide a fire buffer around forest area homes. The program in the Prescott National Forest has used about 650 goats as part of the six-month pilot project that ends later this month...Editorial: Move ahead to thin trees As another costly wildfire season burns to a close, few would argue that the fire-prone federal forestlands of the western United States are in need of some serious management to reduce the fire risk. But finding the best way to reduce the fuel load in our forests and protect our communities from wildfire is the subject of heavy debate. While the battle in Congress over President Bush's Healthy Forests initiative continues, researchers at the University of Washington's College of Forest Resources have released a report that sheds some light on the debate. The report attempts for the first time to account for the per-acre costs of the worst wildfires, including firefighting costs, lost buildings, economic losses to nearby communities and degraded waterways. The figure: $1,300 to $2,100 per acre. And that doesn't include a price tag for environmental costs such as lost wildlife or the release of tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere as the fire burns. On the other hand, the cost of thinning the fire-prone forests was calculated at between $380 and $580 per acre... Editorial: Moment of truth for healthy forests There had been no fires or major thinning in the Pike-San Isabel National Forest for 120 years, creating dangerous fire conditions. Local U.S. Forest Service officials had sought to clean it up, but were blocked by federal policy and environmental appeals and lawsuits. So by June 2002, the area was ready to blow, and it did: The Hayman fire roared over 137,000 acres, consumed 133 homes and cost $238 million. Not long afterwards, Forest Service chief Dale Bosworth told Congress that if proper forest management had been implemented a decade ago, and if the Forest Service weren't in the grip of "analysis paralysis" from regulation and litigation, the Hayman fire might not have raged out of control. A month later, as if to prove him right, fire burned nearly 40,000 acres of Routt National Forest, where the Wilderness Society had appealed a plan to clean up thousands of acres of trees that blew down in 1997 and caused a subsequent beetle infestation. Thankfully, lessons have been learned and better forest management is on the way. President Bush has provided leadership with his Healthy Forests Initiative, which asks for legislation that speeds up thinning to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires. To enact it, the House has crafted H.R. 1904, Rep. Scott McInnis' "Healthy Forests Restoration Act," under which environmental and judicial reviews would be streamlined and the use of lawsuits curtailed to permit thinning projects on 20 million acres of fire-prone federal land...Ranch, Carbondale face off over herbicides Cycling gear entrepreneur Garry Snook said he moved to the foot of Mount Sopris for a little privacy. Instead, he's found himself in a very public fight with town officials over his use of weed killers at his ranch. The founder of Performance, Inc., the leading retailer of cycling gear, Snook says officials in the small town are singling him out because he's rich, while ignoring ranchers who also use pesticides. "It really does seem like some kind of personal issue with them," Snook said...Firefighting policy defended Fire is a necessary part of nature and "a good tool," an assistant secretary of the Interior said Monday. But the federal government is not going to stop fighting forest fires, said Rebecca Watson, a Helena lawyer and Bush administration appointee. Watson's comments came in response to a complaint to be filed Tuesday by Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics challenging wildland firefighting on social and environmental grounds... Editorial: Saving Salmon Conservationists and business interests are at loggerheads so often these days that it is heartening when they can reach an agreement that produces good outcomes for both - and for the environment as well. A coalition of environmental groups, an Indian tribe, government agencies and a power company recently announced an agreement that could help save wild Atlantic salmon, which are now on the endangered species list. Two dams on Maine's Penobscot River will be torn down and a third decommissioned, opening up more than 500 miles of river for fish returning to spawn. In exchange, PPL, the power company, will receive cash and the right to increase power generation at other dams that pose less threat to fish migration. Apart from helping the fish, conservationists also hope that the deal will restore momentum to the idea of removing dams whose environmental damage outweighs their usefulness as generators of electricity. That idea took hold in 1997 when the federal government ordered the destruction of another Maine dam, on the Kennebec River, leading eventually to the removal of more than 100 dams elsewhere. Dam removal was vigorously supported by President Bill Clinton's secretary of the interior, Bruce Babbitt, who actually kept a sledgehammer in his office that he would carry around with him to decommissioning ceremonies...Editorial: Kill the policy, save the species Using Orwellian logic, the Bush administration is pushing radical policy change in application of the Endangered Species Act to imported animals on the brink of extinction. According to The Washington Post, Bush officials propose radical deviations from the way the act has been applied for 30 years, defending the taking of these species on the ground of conservation. The administration's argument is that allowing the export of exotic endangered species would generate income for poor nations that could, in turn, be spent on their conservation...Westlands to pitch water deal Westlands Water District, locked in a bitter dispute over irrigation water from Northern California, is planning Tuesday to offer a settlement proposal with a Trinity River Indian tribe. The west San Joaquin Valley farm district wants to settle a 3-year-old lawsuit against the Department of Interior over a federal restoration plan for the Trinity River. The Hoopa Valley Tribe, which intervened in the lawsuit, would need to approve the settlement. Westlands officials say the settlement would provide almost the same features in the federal restoration plan, with increased river flows to nurture damaged habitat and fisheries...Scientists say endangered fish is critical to Utah Lake; to others, it's a nuisance In June, at least, there's a sucker born every minute. But that hasn't stopped the decline of one of Utah Lake's last remaining native fish. Millions of June suckers, as the steel-gray fish is known, filled the shallow lake 150 years ago. But overfishing, pollutants, dams and the growth of nonnative predators such as carp have decimated the June sucker population. Today, fewer than 1,000 wild fish remain... Wolf management bill stays static The Wyoming Legislature and the Department of Game and Fish have no active plans to amend wolf management legislation or plans until they hear first from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Game and Fish officials urged legislators on Wednesday to "hold off" on offering proposals for tweaking the state's wolf management law until the state clearly understands whether U.S. Fish and Wildlife have problems with it...Navy agrees to limit use of sonar system Hoping to settle a long controversy with environmentalists, the Navy has agreed to limit the use of its new underwater sound system to small areas of the far western Pacific Ocean in order to avoid possible harm to whales and other sensitive marine species. The Natural Resources Defense Council and five other groups had sued the Navy in federal court two years ago, charging that the far-ranging sonar system designed to detect and track silent submarines could deafen, disorient or even kill mammals with its powerful sound waves... Hunting Falls in Popularity in Utah In the last couple of decades, the number of hunters taking to the field for the annual general deer hunt has dropped by more than two-thirds despite the state's population increasing more than 40 percent. At hunting's peak in Utah, more than 250,000 residents headed into the state's fields and forests. Only about 70,000 hunters are expected to head for mountains on this year's opener next Saturday... It's Gas vs. Heritage in Navajo Country The Navajo revere this remote area around a tabletop mesa in northwestern New Mexico as the place where the mythical figure Changing Woman gave birth to two warrior sons who made the universe safe. Energy companies desire this area for its strategic location in the San Juan Basin, a geological mother lode of natural gas reserves in the Four Corners region that has become one of North America's richest sources of mineral wealth. The almost inevitable clash of these conflicting values has laid bare the Navajo Nation's contentious relations with oil and gas companies, including accusations of underpayment for land leases and negligence by the government agencies overseeing such agreements...Can Rain Be Bought? Experts Seed Clouds and Seek Answers With a severe drought parching Colorado and much of the American West in recent years, Denver's water department decided to take a gamble in the hope of squeezing more precipitation out of the atmosphere. It has invested more than $1 million in cloud seeding in the last two years. Has it paid off? Possibly, some research suggests...Trappers defend trap-checking rules Trappers, ranchers and animal-rights advocates jammed the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife commissioners meeting this week to speak out on the possible tightening of trap checking rules. The current rules for predators require trappers to check animal traps "on a regular basis." Conservationists say the rule is vague and limitless, and causes animals to suffer needlessly. They recommend a 24-hour rule, the same time frame used by more than 30 states... Men Drop Their Drawers for Local Schools Cleve Dumdi -- a 70-year-old respected sheep rancher, husband of a former county commissioner -- was walking in this small Oregon town one day when a longtime acquaintance hailed him from across the street. "Hey Dumdi!," the man hollered. "Didn't recognize you with your clothes on!" It's the kind of ribbing Dumdi has had to bear ever since he disrobed and perched on his tractor for a 2004 nudie calendar featuring the men of Junction City's Long Tom Grange. All proceeds from calendar sales go to the Junction City school district, which has had to give up at least three classroom teachers, art, music, gym class and field trips after recent severe state cutbacks in education budgets... Factory-made horse trailer had its share of problems In today's world, it's hard to realize the common, tandem-axle horse trailer came onto the public scene only about 40 years ago. Sure, there have been homemade trailers since an abandoned Model T differential had a wooden box wired on top with baling wire. But the real, honest-to-goodness factory-made horse trailer is not that old. When we hauled horses from 1939 into the 1940s we used a regular grain truck with stock racks. Single horses were hauled in a stock rack fitted to the bed of a pickup. Usually, you gritted your teeth at the hot or cold weather and trotted your horse across country to your destination...Dyed-in-the-wool sheep town honors its history at festival In the land of trophy homes and overpriced yuppie shops, the sheep reign for a day. During the second Sunday of October, the resort town of Ketchum allows 2,000 sheep to invade the heart of town. It is called The Trailing of the Sheep, and it is an event modeled after the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain -- where bulls, agitated by people, trot to the ring during July's San Fermin festival. But you won't see people taunting sheep as they stroll down Ketchum's Main Street. Most visitors to this resort area pet and pose for pictures with the animals. They flock here to recall the heyday of the sheep industry in the American West and to pay homage to ancestors who worked as sheepherders or ranchers... Rancher's donation helps Rio Grande West Texas rancher and Hudspeth County Attorney Colquitt "Kitt" Bramblett has donated 1,236 acre-feet of water a year to the Texas Water Trust to provide water for fish and wildlife in the Rio Grande, Texas Water Development Board officials said. This is the first-ever donation to the trust, created in 1997 as a way to protect river flows and wildlife habitat... No bull: $14K machine is stolen Jackson police have set out to lasso a mechanical bull that was stolen last week. Don DeBerry bought the bull two months ago to launch a new business venture, one that hit a snag when his trailer holding the bull disappeared. The bull is worth $14,000. The trailer also contained two tents for the bull and various tools. The total value of the bull, trailer and the other items is $23,000. DeBerry had liability insurance for the bull, but not insurance covering theft. After buying the bull in Kentucky, DeBerry started a business called "Extreme Thrills." The bull, which simulates a rodeo ride, was featured at Skyfest earlier this month...

EPA's Space Odyssey

The pivotal issue here is not whether farmers are adhering to the refuge requirements, or what is the best way to measure regulatory compliance. It is that the very basis of the EPA's regulatory policy towards gene-spliced plants and foods is unscientific and nonsensical. The EPA holds gene-spliced plants to a higher standard than other similar crop and garden plants, requiring the hugely expensive testing -- as though they were chemical pesticides -- of varieties of corn, cotton wheat and tomatoes that have been genetically improved for enhanced pest- or disease-resistance. The policy fails to recognize that there are important differences between spraying synthetic, toxic chemicals, and genetic approaches to enhancing plants' natural pest and disease resistance.
EPA's policy is so potentially damaging and outside scientific norms that it has galvanized the scientific community. A consortium of dozens of scientific societies representing more than 180,000 biologists and food professionals published a report warning that the policy will discourage the development of new pest-resistant crops and prolong and increase the use of synthetic chemical pesticides, increase the regulatory burden for developers of pest-resistant crops, limit the use of biotechnology to larger developers who can pay the inflated regulatory costs, and handicap US companies competing in international markets. All of these warnings have come to pass...

Center Urges House Committee to Investigate Greenpeace

Hon. William M. Thomas
Committee on Ways and Means
U.S. House of Representatives
1102 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Thomas:

On behalf of the Center for Individual Freedom, I write to ask that the Committee on Ways and Means investigate and hold hearings on abuses of tax-exempt status by non-profit organizations in general, and violations committed by the group Greenpeace in particular.
While tax violations by for-profit corporations have for some time captured legislative, regulatory, media, and public attention, similar violations by non-profits have gone largely unnoticed. Because of the magnitude of the budgets involved � and the magnitude of the corresponding impact on taxpayers � it would be prudent to bring this issue to the forefront.
To explain how non-profits routinely circumvent federal tax laws, Public Interest Watch, a non-profit watchdog, recently issued a report on the financial practices of Greenpeace. The report documents how during a three-year period Greenpeace Fund, Inc., diverted over $24 million in tax-deductible contributions to related entities for use in non-qualifying programs. In doing so, Greenpeace Fund, Inc., violated both the letter and the spirit of the law under which it was chartered, IRC Section 501(c)(3), cheating taxpayers in the process...

Revised New Source Review Will Help Clean-Air Efforts

The aim of President Bush's new source review program is to speed up the modernization of older utilities with newer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient technology. Under the 1977 Clean Air Act's new source review provisions, older utilities and industrial facilities that weren't required to install state-of-the-art pollution reduction equipment were required to install the best available pollution reduction devices if they expanded or substantially modified their power plants.
Older power plants were allowed to perform periodic maintenance, repairs and upgrades without having to file paperwork for or undergo a new source review. However, as the National Academy of Public Administration has noted, regulators were given little guidance concerning what counts as routine maintenance as opposed to a substantial modification or expansion.
As a result, a review is lengthy and the results are unpredictable, making it nearly impossible for industrial facilities to change operations quickly...

"Soft Kyoto" Strategy Raises Energy Concerns

As part of the deal moving energy legislation out of the Senate, leaders agreed to schedule debate on the "Climate Stewardship Act" (S. 139), sponsored by Presidential aspirants Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut). Like the Kyoto Protocol, S. 139 would impose caps on carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power, manufacturing, and transportation sectors.
McCain says he does not expect Congress to enact his bill. However, conference committee members may feel they have to accept a renewable portfolio standard--a top priority for Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico)--in order to look "green" and produce a bill Democratic leaders can support.
The possibility of an RPS provision in the energy bill raises several red flags for energy economists and policy analysts.
-- An RPS is fundamentally a set-aside program--corporate welfare that would not exist in a free market. At whatever level it is initially set, the RPS will function as a floor, not a ceiling. Once enacted, it will strengthen the renewable-energy lobby and grow like other entitlements. The potential to exploit consumers, misdirect capital investment, and undermine the productivity of electric-intensive industries is great. In March 2002, John Kerry (D-Massachusetts), Lieberman, and 27 other senators voted for a 20 percent RPS--twice the size of S. 517's mandate. Enacting a 10 percent RPS would encourage them to keep pushing, year after year, until Congress ratchets up the RPS to 20 percent or higher.
-- A nationwide RPS is an unfunded, one-size-fits-all federal mandate. Why require states to develop implementation plans for meeting federal clean air standards if Congress is going to dictate the details of those plans? States are already free to subsidize and mandate the use of renewables if they wish, and many do. A nationwide RPS tosses federalism out the window.
-- If Congress forces the power sector to use more non-fossil energy, utilities will have less reason to resist Kyoto or McCain-Lieberman, since they will already effectively comply with a carbon cap. Some may even lobby for McCain-Lieberman, figuring their renewable portfolios will make them net sellers of carbon credits under a cap-and-trade program. Instead of mollifying the Kyoto crowd, enacting an RPS will simply tee up McCain-Lieberman for the next round...

Glaciers, 'Global Warming,' and NY Times Hysteria

Speaking in grave tones, the editors of the New York Times have informed us that global warming--of the man-made, catastrophic variety--is fomenting "startling changes in landscapes once thought immutable." They cite several examples, including troublesome signs in Alaska, and now, a new study from three scientists that the Arctic's largest ice shelf is "disintegrating" (note: the editors studiously avoid discussing the retraction of a front-page Times story in 2001 linking global warming with "open sea ice" in Antarctica).
Surely proof of man-induced global warming, right?
Not exactly: "It is not yet possible, [the three scientists] say, to tie the melting directly to rising atmospheric concentrations of so-called greenhouse gases, or to the human activities--chiefly the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil--that create these gases."...