Saturday, November 29, 2003


Bison make a home where they roam On a mountain ridge at the north end of the Eagle Cap Wilderness, a herd of runaway bison spent part of last summer and this fall munching grass and startling visitors. Their presence underscored a continuing headache for private landowners and public land managers across Eastern Oregon: Bison increasingly are roaming where they don't belong. Bob Stangel, an Enterprise rancher who is president of the Northwest Bison Association, estimates that Oregon ranchers are raising about 2,000 bison. But no one knows how many have gotten loose or how many are running loose now...Column: Creating Healthy Forests Takes Comprehensive Approach America's forest ecosystems are being decimated at an alarming rate by large-scale catastrophic wildfire and massive outbreaks of disease, insect infestation and invasive species. Federal foresters estimate that an astounding 190 million acres of federal land are at risk to catastrophic wildfire. Of that, over 70 million acres are at extreme risk to catastrophic wildfire in the immediate future. Because of a decades-long build up of forest fuel, woody biomass and dense underbrush our forests are only a lightning strike or escaped camp fire away from exploding into a massive conflagration. In many areas, tree density has increased from 50 trees per acre to as many as 500 trees per acre, according to the Forest Service and fire ecologists. These unnaturally dense forests are a small spark away from a large-scale wildfire...Fighting fire with better hires The two words don't belong together: "firefighter arson." According to a government report titled "Firefighter Arson," firefighters around the country - the vast majority of whom are willing to die to protect the public - are being forced to confront the idea of ultimate betrayal. "The problem may be increasing, or maybe is just now capturing the attention of the media, but the number of cases that have recently come to light indicates the need for better screening and adequate arson-awareness training programs for firefighters," according to the report, released earlier this year by the Federal Emergency Management Agency...Environmentalists, landowners disagree on fire prevention strategy The October firestorm is fueling a fierce debate over whether decades of poor planning or a century of putting out fires is to blame for the destructive breadth of the Cedar and Paradise blazes. Landowners and local public officials say the disaster is the result of forests and brushland choked with overgrown vegetation. They say the way to prevent another disaster is to thin plants with ax and flame, and to emphasize constructing backcountry homes with fire-resistant materials. Environmentalists and "smart growth" advocates flatly disagree with the focus on clearing. They say the enormous loss of life and property painfully illustrated that urban sprawl puts people in harm's way and must be halted to prevent another disaster...Taxpayers group blasts county habitat plan A taxpayers advocacy group is blasting a county habitat plan in a letter received by Lake Elsinore residents in recent days, roiling the waters on an already contentious issue. The letter from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association urges residents to pressure City Council members to vote no on joining the county's proposal for a multimillion-dollar habitat-protection project. The proposal asks 14 cities in Western Riverside County to support the project, known as the Multiple Species Habitat Protection Plan... Column: Activists drop the carrot, use threat of litigation as a stick Their latest maneuver is an Oct. 30 motion filed with a federal judge in Portland, Ore. In it, environmentalists demand the entire Columbia and Snake river system, from the Pacific to Wyoming's Jackson Lake, be included in a revised biological opinion detailing what federal regulators must do for salmon and steelhead recovery. That means they want all the water in the Snake River Basin made available for saving wild fish runs. The motion asks U.S. District Judge James Redden to require the government to "employ a definition of the action area in its revised opinion that recognizes the full extent of the direct and indirect effects on the listed species of hydrosystem operations." That might be just so much legalese to most people. But to water users -- and that's all of us -- it doesn't get much scarier. It's a direct and imminent threat to our state sovereignty and the livelihoods and property rights of hundreds of thousands of individual Idahoans...State wants to use endangered fish to fight West Nile virus Arizona wants to use endangered fish in its fight against West Nile virus. State wildlife officials are finalizing an agreement to allow rare topminnow and pupfish to be used for mosquito control in ponds and wetlands. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must approve it and hopes to sign off this spring. The four species - the Gila topminnow, Yaqui topminnow, desert pupfish and Quitobaquito pupfish - have all been pushed toward extinction by habitat loss...139 cruise ships, whales to share Alaska waters The National Park Service has decided to maintain the status quo on how many cruise ships will be allowed to enter the whale-filled waters of Glacier Bay National Park. The decision means that 139 ships will be allowed into Glacier Bay during the summer season, officials said, or one or two ships a day from May to September...Not all fun and games Unruly off-roaders clashed with paintball gun-wielding Bureau of Land Management rangers Friday night, putting on a show for thousands of spectators near the sand drags area of the dunes. "What had happened ... people were starting to get unruly, throwing beer cans at the officers," said BLM spokesman Gary Taylor. To disperse the crowd gathered near the sand drags area off of Gecko Road, the rangers fired pellets filled with a chili powder-type substance from paintball guns...US trade deal talks near endgame (Australia) Australian and American negotiators begin the final round of talks for a free trade deal with several key sticking points set to dominate. There will also be debate over America's push for changes to quotas on local content in film, television and radio and on future media. But Australia will be pushing hard for its key demands in agriculture. Australia is looking for major improvements in access to America's dairy, beef and sugar markets, as well as in other farm commodities...The cowboy image embraced by U.S. presidents hasn't always been one of chivalrous bravado In point of fact, the term "cowboy" has had a rather up-and-down history. The term goes all the way back to the American Revolution when it was used to describe members of pro-British guerilla bands that operated between American and British lines near New York City. But that usage died out, so that hardly anybody remembers the word in that context. The word was resuscitated in Texas in the aftermath of the Mexican War (1846-1848), when it had quite unsavory meanings. Mainly it meant a ruffian or a bandit, somebody who lived on the open range, outside the law. The word began to acquire a host of meanings, though still largely negative, during the cattle drive era of the 1870s. Joseph McCoy, the entrepreneur responsible for building up Abilene, Kan., as a destination and shipping point for cattle trailed up from Texas, devoted several pages of his 1874 book, "Historic Sketches of the Cattle Trade of the West and Southwest," to cowboys...Photos of life on the ranch help preserve a rugged culture that's fading into memory There's a lot of dirt, grit and sweat in Janell Kleberg's new photography book, "Waiting for Daylight." But that's only natural, since most of these pictures are of people and horses working outdoors for long hours, "before daylight to dark" - working cattle in dust, heat and rain. "It was," Kleberg says, "tough, dangerous and a great adventure." As intimated by the subtitle, "King Ranch: Images from the Past," Kleberg's lens looks back to a storied time now gone. That was before cattlemen kept their ranch's stock records on computer disk, before cowboys herded steers by helicopter...For generations of ranch workers, the land is their life "On my other side, my grandfather and my father came to the King Ranch in 1909 from Mexico," Rudolfo says. "My grandfather's name was Hipolito Silguero. My father was Emiterio Silguero. He was 9 years old at the time. He started working for the ranch when he was 10. He worked here until he was 73. Their graves are over on the Laureles division." Santa Gertrudis and Laureles are the northern divisions of the King Ranch, oldest and most famous of the great Texas cattle baronies. Silguero and all those ancestors and his descendants are Kinenos. King's men, King's people...Apaches pack premier of 'The Missing' Director Ron Howard's latest film,"The Missing," was screened in Alamogordo at the White Sands Mall with a "special Apache Premier" to a packed house of Chiricahua and Mescalero Apaches Tuesday. Producer Daniel Ostroff, Jay Tavare, who plays Kayitah, an Apache medicine man and Tommy Lee Jones' sidekick, and Yolanda Nez, who played a captive girl in the film, were on hand for the screening...On The Edge Of Common Sense: Nothing's quite like the wild ride of a hurricane 'Thousands flee" I couldn't flee. I was trapped in a five star hotel in Richmond, Va, Sept. 16, with Hurricane Isabel bearing down on us like 200 elephants on the last peanut on earth...Rodeo defends its name to PETA An advisory board bucked in unison Wednesday at a proposal by an animal rights group to change the town's name to Unity to protest animal cruelty. The anticlimactic 8-0 vote by the Rodeo Municipal Advisory Council followed a monthlong outpouring of indignation and humor over the idea, advanced by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- while San Francisco hosted the Grand National Rodeo. On Oct. 20, Norfolk, Va.-based PETA faxed Contra Costa County Supervisor Gayle Uilkema a letter urging Rodeo to shed its name because "it conjures up visions of a violent 'sport.'"...No Bull: Canadian Animals Barred from Top Rodeo A U.S. ban on Canadian cattle, spurred by a lone case of mad cow disease, has had an unintended consequence -- bulls bred north of the border to toss cowboys around for eight seconds at a time have been shut out of rodeo's biggest event. The 10-day Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas runs Dec. 5 to 14, with nearly $5 million in prize money up for grabs among the world's best professional cowboys, and up to 125 bulls are chosen for the gritty bull-riding event...

Who owns 'public' land?

Nearly 100 ranchers gathered in Farmington, N.M., last weekend to listen to Wayne Hage and his wife, former Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth-Hage, explain how the "public" land on which their cattle graze may not be "public" at all. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims found, in Hage v. United States, that the ranchers, not the federal government, may be the true owners of the property referred to as "public" land.

Environmental organizations, and agencies of the federal government, have been trying to rid the West of cattle for decades. The Hage decision demonstrates that the "ownership" of the forage, water and migration routes, may actually belong to the ranchers, and not to the government.

The doctrine of "prior appropriation" governed land and water acquisition in the West long before there was a United States. This doctrine means that the first person to find water, and put it to beneficial use, had the exclusive right to use the water and the adjacent land and forage sufficient to maintain the livestock the water would support.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed in 1848, decided the boundary between Mexico and the United States. Article Eight of this treaty declares that citizens living within the area assigned to the United States, would "retain all the property they possess without their being subjected, on this account, to any contribution, tax or charge whatever."

Virtually every land law enacted since this treaty contains language that protects the existing rights of those who "possess property" as the new laws enter into force.

For half a century, there was no thought or question about whether the federal government owned the land on which the ranchers grazed their cattle. The feds got involved to help resolve conflicts among the ranchers who claimed grazing rights on the same land. Since grazing rights flowed from the prior appropriation of water rights, access to water became the basis for establishing the extent of grazing rights.

In the late 1800s, the federal government established a mechanism for adjudicating these conflicts. Based on established and recorded rights to water, the adjudicators developed a way to measure the forage that would be required to support the cattle that could be supported by the available water. This measure was called AUM – Animal Units per Month. An AUM represents the forage required by a cow and a calf for one month. Conflicts among the ranchers were resolved by the federal adjudicators, who awarded an appropriate number of AUMs to each rancher involved in the dispute, and surveyed and defined the geography in which the cows could graze.

These AUMs and the defined territory became the "allotments" attached to the water rights of the ranchers. Both the right to the water and to the forage, and access (rights of way) to the forage, were already owned by the ranchers. The allotments were simply the adjudicated division of pre-existing rights of the ranchers. The ranchers were required to pay a fee to the government, for the cost of this adjudication.

This simple process of adjudicating the existing rights of ranchers evolved to enlarge the fee to cover not only the adjudication costs, but to also provide a portion to local government, and to create a "range improvement fund," which could be used by the ranchers to help defray the cost of capital improvements to the range.

Environmentalists, and in recent years, the federal government have ignored these historical facts, and have held that the land and water in the West belong to the federal government, and may be used by the ranchers only with the permission of the government, expressed through the allotment of AUMs for which the ranchers pay.

This new interpretation of the ownership of "public" land was imposed on Wayne Hage a decade ago, when his cattle were taken by the government and sold, because Wayne did not have the permits the government said were necessary. The government has gone on a rampage, in recent years, to remove cattle from the West using the same assumptions and techniques against ranchers whom the feds say are "trespassing" on federal land.

The Hage case may pull the rug, floor and foundation from the government's efforts to exercise control of land that it may not own, after all. In his ruling in the Hage case, Judge Loren A. Smith said, " ... the Court is not of the Opinion that the lack of a grazing permit that prevents access to federal lands can eliminate Plaintiff's vested water rights ... that predate the creation of the permit system."

Ranchers who can demonstrate a clear chain of title to water rights and the adjacent forage may well, in fact, own the "public" land which the federal government claims.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization and chairman of Sovereignty International.

Lawmakers say Sierra overgrown, ask for "common sense" management Citing the recent California wildfires, Republicans and a few Democrats representing the state in Congress warned this week that the Sierra Nevada is dangerously overgrown and urged "common sense" revisions to a management plan for the forest. The lawmakers' letter to Regional Forester Jack Blackwell, the top U.S. Forest Service official for California, comes as he prepares to finalize controversial revisions to the management plan for 11.5 million acres in the southern and northern Sierra. The proposed revisions would allow more logging in the Sierra's national forests by increasing the size of trees that could be cut, from maximums of 12 inches or 20 inches in diameter in most areas under the existing plan, up to 30 inches in diameter...Fire retardant dispute heats up It steers wildfires away from homes, yet it can kill fish, too. That's been a tradeoff the U.S. Forest Service has gone along with for decades in its heavy reliance on fire retardant. But for one retardant company, the tradeoff is coming to an end in 2005, when its products will be banned by the Forest Service. Faced with the prospect of going out of business, Phoenix-based Fire-Trol has sued the Forest Service. The lawsuit, filed with U.S. District Court in Phoenix Oct. 21, says two Forest Service policy changes will put the company out of business, leaving the agency to rely on a single retardant supplier...Environmentalists oppose extended drilling in winter range Some environmental groups are upset by the number of extended drilling permits the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has granted in key winter range corridors. The BLM has approved 31 of 39 requests so far this season, and last year granted 286 of 311 requests by energy companies to keep operating in big game migration areas such as the Pinedale Resource Area past a Nov. 15 cutoff point...Newest residents of suburbs? Wolves With wolf packs predicted to expand into many states, possibly coast to coast, some say it is time to take another look at laws protecting wolves and other large predators. There is growing concern about conflicts with wolves in Minnesota, where packs are moving deeper into farming areas and killing livestock, approaching city suburbs and making more contact with humans...Program chronicles 100 years of wildlife conservation in America Sometime during this holiday weekend, conservationists may consider giving thanks to Theodore Roosevelt. They may praise the foresight and conviction he exercised as president when he signed an executive order on March 14, 1903, creating America's first national bird reservation on Florida's Pelican Island. Because of Roosevelt's vision and ethos, wildlife conservation is very much alive and well a century later. That rich century-long legacy of the National Wildlife Refuge system is being chronicled on ESPN2 this fall, including this Sunday morning at 8:25 ET, as "A Century of Conservation" airs on the Deuce...Food for fertile debate: cloud seeding is back Whether Mother Nature is in the mood or not, Durango weather wizard Larry Hjermstad is firing up his cloud-seeding generators all the same. Hjermstad, manager of Western Weather Consultants LLC, recently signed a contract with the Denver Water Board for another season of seeding to boost the city's water supplies and will continue a long-running program for Vail and Beaver Creek. This winter, with the help of some slick Colorado State University computer models, Hjermstad hopes the operation can be fine-tuned in real time - and that could mean even more snow for the Colorado mountains, upping the all-important powder quotient for Eagle County ski areas...New Zealand mud snails invade: Tiny mollusks threaten area trout streams The New Zealand mud snail is as unprepossessing as its name: A tiny mollusk that seldom exceeds 5 millimeters in length, with a color like ripe compost. But this seeming nebbish is actually the Conan the Destroyer of gastropods, a fecund and voracious grazer that can strip entire river systems of algae. Sometimes reaching concentrations of 700,000 per square meter, they displace virtually all other bottom-dwelling species...Ranchers worry proposed bills could end grazing Ranching is all Calvin Crandall has ever known. He grew up with it and learned the business from his father. "That's all I've ever done," the Springville rancher said. He doesn't think much of a proposal that would allow ranchers to sell their federal public land grazing permits back to the government. He opposes the proposal because it aims to take cattle off the public lands, he said. Campaign president Andy Kerr this month sent a letter to more than 25,000 individuals and groups that hold livestock grazing permits on federal public lands, explaining and urging support for the two bills...Efforts save home of 1889 Derby winner Mining entrepreneur Noah Armstrong built the barn in the 1880s. Armstrong made his fortune mining silver in the Pioneer Mountains near the ghost town of Glendale, according to a history compiled by Byron Bayers of Twin Bridges, whose family once owned the land where the barn sits. Armstrong had a passion for race horses and he believed that horses raised in the thin air of Montana might have an edge on the racetrack. He purchased the ranch just outside of Twin Bridges in 1882 and renamed it Doncaster Ranch after a favorite horse. And then he went to work having a barn built worthy of his dreams. The ground floor of the three-story Round Barn contained horse stalls, offices and sleeping quarters for the employees. In the center of the circular structure were harness closets, two hospital stalls, a grain elevator and a spiral stairway to the second floor. In one of the hospital stalls, a horse later named Spokane was born in 1886. It went on to win the Kentucky Derby in 1889...Arrest for catching mouse?: California law pushed by animal group requires trapping license A California law requires a trapping license in order to kill mice. The Animal Protection Institute of Sacramento pushed the bill, which mandates anyone who takes furbearing mammals or non-game animals must purchase a trapping license by passing a complex test and paying a fee of $78.50, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The Fish and Game Code 4005 defines non-game animals as including mice, rats, gophers and moles, the paper noted...Horses ordered to diaper-up for parade An ordinance to keep horse manure from littering the streets during a Christmas parade caused such a stink in Lucedale that it won't be enforced. The city's jewel, the annual Christmas parade is scheduled for Dec. 6. The parade turns the town of 2,458 residents into an overflow crowd of 10,000 people spilling into the streets to see dozens of floats, several bands and 200 horses. At one point, horse riders threatened to boycott the parade because of the new town ordinance requiring horses to wear a "bun bag", a "diaper" of sorts...

Friday, November 28, 2003

Not So Smart Growth(subscription)

Excerpted from an editorial in today's Wall Street Journal.

...Smart growth's objectives sound sensible enough; proponents work to promote mass transit, slow the development of farmland and rebuild inner cities. In practice, however, smart growth often turns out to be pretty dumb. In many communities, it drives up housing prices with costly regulations and limits on new construction. Zoning restrictions and local development plans effectively dictate what can be done with private property. Once-valuable land becomes locked into outmoded uses.

Mr. Schwarzenegger might take a look at what smart growth is threatening to do in South Carolina, where local greens are engaged in a particularly nasty battle against a collection of mostly African-American landowners. The fight is over control of private property adjoining the 22,000-acre Congaree Swamp. The swamp -- home to some of the tallest trees in the East and more than a gator or two -- was just named a national park. Environmental extremists now wish to extend control over tens of thousands of acres of nearby private property in Richland County.

Richland's smart-growth agenda includes a land-use plan that raises minimum lot sizes, prevents clustering homes on rurally zoned land and could impose 50-foot buffer zones around all bodies of water, including dry stream beds. County regulations would also steer new development into three categories of "villages" to be built at rural crossroads. Many of these are zoned for high-density, low-income housing but not for manufacturers or other high-paying employers. Critics call them nonemployment villages.

Richland's biggest smart-growth proponents live in the wealthier northern part of the county, where residents tend to make their living in the state capital of Columbia. Lower Richland, however, is rural and predominantly African-American. Smart growth hits these landowners particularly hard because they are often only a few steps away from poverty. They depend on farming, harvesting trees and opening small businesses on their land. Sometimes they sell off several acres to developers or borrow money using their land as collateral. Parents typically set aside land for their children to build homes nearby, but now such family compounds will be prohibited...

Many of Richland's families have made their living off this land since their forefathers purchased it after being freed from slavery by the Civil War. They've had to fight for it through Jim Crow, segregation and now, apparently, through smart growth.

Thursday, November 27, 2003


Feds OK climbing on landmark The U.S. Forest Service has agreed to stay a ban on rock climbing at a Lake Tahoe landmark pending the outcome of an expected lawsuit challenging the administrative ruling. Rex Norman, a Forest Service spokesman for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, said it makes sense to wait and see how the court case turns out. The Access Fund, a climbing advocacy group based in Boulder, Colo., said it will challenge the constitutionality of the ban at Cave Rock announced in July and upheld in an administrative appeal earlier this month...9th Circuit Court asked to review Lolo salvage ruling Spurned in U.S. District Court, leaders of a Missoula environmental group are taking their lawsuit against the Lolo National Forest's post-wildfire logging plan to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. District Judge Don Molloy set a "dangerous precedent" by deferring to the "expertise of the agency" in evaluating the effects of logging on 4,600 acres burned during the 2000 wildfire season, the environmentalists said Tuesday...Varmint Hunt Fundraiser Declared Off-Limits on Forest Land About a fourth of Utah's Wayne County ... today, was ruled off- limits ... for the controversial varmint hunt, this Friday and Saturday. The county sheriff organized the hunt ... to raise funds for a Christmas charity ... AND, to reduce the multitudes of predators ... which threaten livestock, in the county. But, the proposed hunt for the "varmints" ... such as racoons, foxes, skunks and coyotes ... has stirred outrage, among animal activists. The Humane Society labels it ... "an insult to human intelligence." The Forest Service, says ... a Special- Use Permit is required... and, no one applied for one...Ranchers worry about wandering Crow bison More than 500 bison have wandered off the Crow Reservation and onto private and public land in Wyoming over the last several weeks, prompting concerns among ranchers and a recovery effort by land and air. As of Monday, all but a few stragglers had been pushed back onto the reservation by snowmobiles and helicopters, according to Leroy Stewart, director of the buffalo program at Crow Agency. The bison, part of the reservation's herd of about 1,200, apparently left the reservation earlier this month, crossed the Montana-Wyoming border northeast of Lovell and wandered onto private ranch land and land owned by the Bureau of Land Management and Bighorn National Forest...Oregon earns 'B' in invasive species battle Oregon has received a letter grade of "B" for 2003 in its ongoing battle against invasive species that threaten the state as a new list of the 100 most dangerous species from the plant and animal kingdom has been developed. The grade and list come courtesy of the Oregon Invasive Species Council, which has been coordinating efforts to protect the state from these nasty invaders the past couple of years. This year's report card shows an improvement over last year's grade of C-plus...Landowners eye fire plan with suspicion The Washington County Board of Commissioners spent the last hour of its weekly meeting Monday attempting to assuage the fears of several landowners that the Washington County Fire Mitigation Plan will infringe on their property rights. Ron Pound, Esther Smith, Loraine Carr, and two other local landowners requested the meeting to air their concerns that the plan would lead to more government regulation and control over how their land is used. They all accused the commissioners of instituting the plan by stealth...GROOMING AN ELF: How Tre Arrow turned Jake Sherman into an "eco-terrorist." It seemed a simple plan. They would collect a bunch of empty milk jugs, slice off the tops, fill them three-quarters full of gasoline, stuff the tops with cellophane, push a punk into the top for a fuse, light them off, then run like hell--sort of a moo-lotov cocktail. But the fires set by Jake Sherman, Angie Cesario and Jeremy Rosenbloom in the early-morning hours of June 1, 2001, had more consequences than some burned-up logging equipment near Eagle Creek...Senate OKs hunting camp reprieve As the U.S. Senate moved toward adjourning for the Thanksgiving holiday, it voted to reverse a federal court order for dismantling permanent hunting camps at three sites in central Idaho's Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Republican Sens. Larry Craig and Mike Crapo said Tuesday that the action, which still must be ratified by the House, reasserts the original intention of the 1980 law creating the wilderness area...Women ordered to forsake tree-sitting, anti-logging protests Two tree-sitters who perched 80 feet off the ground in a spring protest at the Klamath National Forest were sent to jail Tuesday after pleading no contest to being in an area that was closed by the U.S. Forest Service. Amelia Vasquez and Kristi Sanchez, both in their early 20s, were handcuffed and led away by Forest Service law enforcement officers after they entered the pleas in federal court in Redding...Timber Trade-Offs. Plans to increase harvest has ramifications The state forests that help pay for Idaho's schools have avoided the timber wars that sharply reduced harvests across the West during the last decade. Now an Idaho Department of Lands proposal to increase the harvest of some of its biggest, oldest trees has sparked a debate about old-growth forests, endangered species and sustainability...Editorial: Good riddance, energy bill The Bush administration's energy bill died from an overdose of pork in the Senate earlier this week. Blatant attempts to buy its passage by injecting huge special-interest subsidies and tax breaks instead caused the legislation's demise. The original reasons for having energy legislation, a crying need to craft a sane national energy policy, remain. In January, Congress should try again to write meaningful energy legislation. But next time, congressional leaders must curb lawmakers' urge to decorate the bill with political favors...Study: California eagles may be put to death To control a bizarre gathering of eagles, pigs and foxes on the California channel islands, federal wildlife officials may have to kill a protected species in order to save an endangered one. Attracted by a plentiful supply of feral pigs rooting around the islands, a community of Golden Eagles settled in about 10 years go to prey on piglets. But they also found that the island foxes, an endangered group of subspecies, also made good meals. The population of pigs, which reproduce year around, were little affected by the winged predators, but the foxes were decimated...Going to the birds: Wild turkeys turning up around New York City Alex Calota saw it strutting near his hot dog cart about five months ago. It was a wild turkey -- in Manhattan. Calota is among the increasing number of New Yorkers reporting strange encounters with the wild birds best known this time of year as a main course...Endangered wildcat cloned Researchers at the Audubon Institute have become the first to succeed in repeating the cloning of a single cat - in this case an endangered African wildcat. The latest two births occurred on Nov. 15 but were not announced until Tuesday. There has been no other reported instance of a cloning procedure being successfully repeated from a single member of any feline species, wild or domestic, Audubon scientists said...COURTS STOP WATERING DOWN CLEAN WATER ACT A federal court for the District of Columbia this week rejected industry attempts to weaken nationwide dredge-and-fill permits for development projects, mining and other environmentally-damaging activities. Nationwide permits already cause substantial harm to wetlands and streams, according to the environmental groups who opposed the industry arguments, and weakening them would have increased the damage to the environment and economy. "This decision sends a message to industry: you cannot have free rein to destroy our nation's streams and wetlands," said Earthjustice attorney Howard Fox, who intervened in the industry suit on behalf of NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and Sierra Club. "Everyone who cares about protecting our nation's waters can give thanks today for this decision."...Curator at museum admits collecting fossils illegally A key leader in building the extensive fossil collection at the University of Washington's Burke Museum has agreed to retire after admitting he took fossils illegally from the Hanford Reach National Monument. Rensberger led geology students on a field trip to an area near Savage Island, adjacent to the Columbia River in the Hanford Reach, where they collected fossils of fish and a few rodents over two days in May 2002. It's a federal misdemeanor to take fossils from the 193,000-acre monument, said Mike Ritter, deputy project leader with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Hanford Reach. Ritter said a federal investigation is ongoing. He would not say whether the professor would be charged with a crime. Three years ago, President Clinton designated the national monument, which includes a 51-mile stretch of the Columbia River next to the Hanford nuclear reservation near Richland. That change gave greater protection to fossils and other artifacts at the site. Rensberger said he did not know the rules had changed...Copter pilot accused of pestering birds Salinas helicopter pilot Jim Cheatham stands accused by the federal government of buzzing bevies of beleaguered birds at Big Sur with his whirlybird. Cheatham says he was helping film the 18th annual Big Sur International Marathon, a four-event extravaganza that draws 10,000 athletes. His helicopter was used to televise the race and to spot injured runners along Highway 1. But federal prosecutors aren't giving in. Earlier this month, they filed three misdemeanor counts of "airborne harassment of birds" against Cheatham, who has been flying for 43 years after a stint in the U.S. Army...State ready for bison to leave park Workers are building a trap in preparation for the annual winter migration of bison from Yellowstone National Park. The herd is at or above record levels, but how many cross into Montana in search of food depends on what kind of weather the winter brings. "That's the driver" in bison management, said Rick Wallen, a wildlife biologist for the National Park Service. A recent count estimated the herd at 4,250 animals. A summer 1994 count found 4,100 animals, but might have missed some bison, Wallen said...Fund for Animals Denounces 'Management by Hysteria' in Slaughter of Yellowstone Buffalo; Highlights Need for Sound Science, Preservation Act The Fund for Animals, on behalf of its over 200,000 members and supporters nationwide, condemned the Montana Department of Livestock and the National Park Service for shooting a bull buffalo just outside Yellowstone National Park yesterday. The buffalo was killed despite the fact that bull buffalo pose no risk of transmitting the disease brucellosis to livestock. The lone bull buffalo had crossed the invisible boundaries of Yellowstone National Park to forage, and was harassed and hazed back toward the park. He was shot five times before dying, just 50 yards from the park boundaries, by Montana agents with the assistance of Yellowstone rangers. The ongoing hazing and slaughter of Yellowstone buffalo is allegedly done to protect the few hundred cattle who graze outside the park from the threat of brucellosis, despite the fact that there has never been a documented case in the wild of transmission of the disease from buffalo to cattle...Yellowstone snowmobile rules still not set When Yellowstone National Park opens for business this winter, new rules dictate that 80 percent of visitors on snowmobiles will have to be accompanied by a commercial guide. But with the season set to start three weeks from today, potential guides are still waiting to hear whether they'll be doing business in the park. For the first time, the National Park Service is putting broad limitations on snowmobiling, including capping the number of machines that can come through each gate and allowing only newer machines that meet "cleaner and quieter" standards. The new plan for Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, pursued by the Bush administration, overturns a previous ban on snowmobiles enacted by the Clinton administration...Land-Rights Dispute Continues in Alaska: Man Who Bulldozed Road Is Still at Odds With Park Service The curious case of Papa Pilgrim and the bulldozer he drove inside the largest U.S. national park continues to lurch across the legal and environmental landscape of Alaska. The judge ruled Nov. 18 against Pilgrim and in favor of the National Park Service. If Pilgrim wants to run a bulldozer on the derelict road, the judge said, he must first get a permit from the Park Service. Pilgrim drove the bulldozer last year without applying for one. Russell C. Brooks of the Pacific Legal Foundation filed a motion for reconsideration yesterday with the federal court in Anchorage. Brooks said last week that he will appeal the federal court ruling in Anchorage because the judge did not address two fundamental legal questions about private access across federal land. The first involves federal land in Alaska, but the second affects access to federal land across the United States...Salmon Harbor land transfer clears Senate The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would transfer title to 69 acres of federal land located just south of the Umpqua River in Winchester Bay to Douglas County. The legislation from Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and Republican Sen. Gordon Smith would allow the county to use the property, now managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management, as a staging area for off-road vehicles. Having use of the property would allow the county to eliminate the current danger from vehicles that are unloaded on Salmon Harbor Drive and ridden on the paved road to the dunes...For those interested the bill is S.714, and you can view the legislation by entering the bill number here......Turkey tracks, The gobblers have been passing through Utah since Anasazi times Long before the famous pilgrim feast of 1621, residents of what would later be called southern Utah gathered in redrock canyons and ate their own turkey dinner. And while historians say turkeys were not on the menu of the first Thanksgiving celebration, archaeologists have physical evidence that Meleagris gallopavo merriami was part of the Anasazi diet as far back as 700. No word on side dishes of the time...Interior denies motion to stop CBM leasing A long legal battle continues over whether the Bureau of Land Management should lease federal minerals to coalbed methane gas developers under resource management plans that do not include analysis specific to coalbed methane development. Last week, the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) denied a motion by the Wyoming Outdoor Council for a stay on coalbed methane leasing in the BLM's Rawlins Field Office area. That means the BLM can continue to lease minerals to coalbed methane developers in the area...Officials say cedars were cut to stop forest fire Officials on the Nez Perce National Forest are defending tactics used to fight the Slim's fire last summer. They say that cutting old-growth cedar trees along Meadow Creek was necessary to keep firefighters safe and from spreading to Elk City in north-central Idaho. But environmental groups and the Nez Perce Tribe says cutting the 100 trees and carving a 30-foot-wide fire line around a portion of the fire was unnecessary. They say it destroyed habitat and the aesthetics along a popular hiking trail...Wasatch Overland race back on track Utah's oldest overland ski race has been granted a reprieve. The 27th annual edition of the Wasatch Overland will be held Jan. 24, said Charlie Sturgis of White Pine Touring Center, a race co-sponsor. The 7-mile race between Brighton and Park City was declared dead last month after a private landowner told organizers the family would no longer allow the race to pass through its property at the base of Thaynes Canyon. The landowner has since changed his mind, said Sturgis. The race had increased the number of cross country skiers, snowshoers and mountain bikers crossing the property...Column: This Land Is Your Land The West, Thomas Jefferson believed, was the key to the nation's democratic promise and its economic prowess. Its lands would nurture civic engagement and a prosperous citizenry for centuries. It's an alluring vision, one that drew me westward from the Midwest to the Rockies. It's a vision I practiced when I joined neighbors in Sheridan, Wyo., to build a historical park. It's a vision of democracy and conservation that Americans are reinvigorating and putting into practice on the BLM's public lands...Group protests Sawtooth grazing plan Groups against cattle grazing on public lands have appealed a decision by the Sawtooth National Forest to reduce grazing on two allotments. They say the agency's plan to reduce grazing on 100,000 acres by only one third isn't enough. Jon Marvel is founder of the Western Watersheds Project. He says the original management plan called for a reduction of nearly 50 percent in grazing...Overruns, delays plague Four Corners water project In a report full of self-blame, federal officials said Wednesday that inexperience, poor reviews and a lack of competition among bidders were behind $162 million in cost overruns on the Animas-La Plata water project in Colorado and New Mexico. The project was designed to supply water to the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian tribes to settle century-old water disputes in the Four Corners region. Congress in 2000 authorized a $338 million project that originally was supposed to be completed in 2007. But the cost of the project has ballooned to $500 million, with taxpayers picking up most of the tab. And officials said it could take at least another year to complete...Pickens' water plan is getting attention Nearly five years after Boone Pickens proposed shipping groundwater from northern Panhandle counties to thirsty Texas cities, the legendary Texas oilman still hasn't found a buyer. That could change soon, says an aide to Pickens. "I think we're within three to 12 months of a deal," says Bobby Stillwell, general counsel of Pickens' Mesa Water Co. After spending $29 million to buy water rights and study the economic, geological and environmental issues that the groundwater pumping proposal raised, Stillwell says Pickens and Mesa are more confident than ever about the plan...Farmers protest water compact A Carlsbad couple says they object to a proposed settlement of a lawsuit over water on the Pecos River. Carlsbad farmers Louise and Francis Tracy filed notice last week of their intent to object to the proposed agreement. The deal would settle a longstanding water rights adjudication lawsuit known as the Lewis case. The dispute has been in court since 1956. The settlement would establish the Carlsbad district's right to divert up to 125,200 acre-feet from the Pecos and Black rivers and require the Interstate Stream Commission to buy the land with water rights in the Pecos River Basin...NCBA, Industry Groups to Develop Alternative Labeling Program After considering possible damages the mandatory country-of-origin labeling law could have on producers and small businesses, Congress decided late last week to delay implementation for two years until October 2006. The current mandatory country-of-origin labeling law, included in the 2002 Farm Bill, is being discussed during formulation of the FY2004 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. “Many producers were concerned that these mandatory regulations could have a negative impact on their bottom line,” says National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President and Idaho cattle producer Eric Davis. “This action puts more control of the industry in the hands of producers, and is one of the key steps that our NCBA Board voted overwhelmingly to authorize.” The delay frees U.S. cattlemen from imminent implementation of the controversial mandatory law and sets the stage for the next steps in a national labeling program. Producer-members of NCBA will use this time to develop a voluntary program that promotes U.S. beef and enhances profitability for American cattle producers...The Most Famous Turkey in Texas Ruby Begonia, the most famous turkey in Texas, knows when to run and she knows when to hide. The running is done in early October during this town's annual Turkeyfest, a weekend of fun and games to revisit the days when DeWitt County's turkey ranches raised tens of thousands of toms and hens each year. Ruby is matched up in a block-long sprint against a rival bird called Paycheck - as in, "Nothing goes faster than a paycheck" - from Worthington, Minn. The prize for the winning town is the right to boast that it's the Turkey Capital of the World, at least until the next race...



Wednesday, November 26, 2003


American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973
E-mail: or
Web Address:
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202-210-2357 – Fax: 202-543-7126 – E-mail:

15,000 Cabins In Jeopardy – Fire Terminations

Forest Service Testing New Cabin Elimination Fire Plan

If they are successful, the Forest Service will use fire to get rid of ranchers, miners, forestry and recreation users and all kinds of other people who use the forests for various purposes. This must not be allowed to happen.

Friday, November 28th is the Deadline for comments.

Don’t Allow Forest Service To Use Fire As A Tool For Removal Of Your Use

Your Calls and Comments Are Needed NOW!!

Call and fax Congressman David Drier immediately as well as Mark Rey, Under Secretary of Agriculture. Call and fax the others listed below. Drier must call Mr. Rey to ask for a 60 day extension to the comment period on the Angeles National Forest regarding the termination of the burned cabin permits as well as those that survived the fires.

The cabins that survived are being terminated too. These fires were on the North Fork San Gabriel Tract and San Dimas Canyon Tract in the Angeles National Forest where the Curve and William’s fires occurred in 2002. A lot more areas are in danger from fire terminations caused by the fires in 2003.

If the Forest Service is successful canceling these permits, thousands of other cabins, ranchers, miners and many other users nationwide will be in jeopardy. Please do your part today. Call today, Friday and every day next week.

The Forest Service is counting on the ranchers not supporting the cabinowners. Recreation users not supporting miners. People who want access not supporting other types of recreation users.

But everyone’s use of the National Forests is in jeopardy of this Cabin Elimination Fire Plan is allowed to go forward.

This must be an all for one and one for all effort.

*****Here’s what you must do now – you do not have much time.

-----1. CRITICAL – Send a one page or more letter stating your opposition to this plan as your official comments to: Marty Dumpis, District Ranger, San Gabriel River Ranger District, 110 N. Wabash Ave, Glendora, CA 91741. You may also send your comments by email to: Finally, you can fax your comments to: (626) 914-3790. If you wish to read the Environmental Assessment, go to: Send a copy of your comments to your Congressman and Congressman Drier at: Honorable _____, US House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.

-----2. Call the local Congressman, David Drier, to ask him to request a 60 day extension to the comment period from the Forest Service. This will extend it beyond the holidays. ****A request by the local congressman for a comment period extension is almost always honored by the Forest Service. You can call any Congressman at (202) 225-3121 -- the Capitol Switchboard. There is a temporary Free Number of (800) 648-3516.

The Capitol Switchboard will answer. Ask for Congressman Drier’s office. Then ask for the person who handles National Forests and cabin issues. If you are asked whether you are a constituent, tell him the truth, but tell him that what the Forest Service is doing will affect all cabinowners nationwide. Drier’s personal office number is (202) 225-2305. His fax number is (202) 225-7018. His local office in California can be called at (626) -852-26216. He can be faxed there at (626) 963-9842. Ask for Mark Harmsen.

Call all his numbers.

Ask for a commitment that Congressman Drier will request, in writing, a 60 day extension to the comment period from the Forest Service in Washington, DC. Permittees have no chance at the local level. They’ve already made up their minds. (The 30 day comment period ended November 28th, but do not worry about that. They are often extended.)

(A Note) The Forest Service is telling Congressman Drier’s staff that there is a new rule and they cannot extend the comment period. That is absolute nonsense. The Forest Service is not telling the truth. A request for a comment period extension from the local Congressman for is virtually always honored.

-----3. Call Mark Rey, Under Secretary for Natural Resources for the Department of Agriculture. His number is (202) 720-7173. He is where the buck stops on Forest Service issues.

-----4. Call your local Congressman at the above numbers. Ask him to request a 60 day extension from the Forest Service to the comment period for the Angeles National Forest in California.

-----5. Call and fax Senator Diane Feinstein at (202) 224-3841 or send her a fax at (202) 228-3954. These calls must be made immediately. Make the same request as above.

More background:

The Angeles National Forest plans a wholesale removal of forest homes and recreation residences in a national test to see if the US Forest Service can get away with eliminating cabins in every national forest using fire as the tool.

Every user in every National Forest should take action on this issue. It will ultimately affect you. Besides cabins, they’ll use fire as an excuse to close roads, terminate grazing permits, stop forestry activity, cut off access, prevent construction of phone lines, microwave towers and all terminate all kinds of other special use permits and uses.

Every forest user must rise up immediately to stop this attempt to rid the whole country of forest cabins. This is a test. If they get away with it, your use will surely be in jeopardy. The Forest Service is using sleight-of-hand tactics in the process.

In 2002 – 110 -- Recreation Residence cabins burned in the North Fork San Gabriel Tract and San Dimas Canyon Tract in the Curve and William’s fires in the Angeles National Forest outside of Los Angeles.

Since these cabins burned, many more have been lost to other fires in California and other states in 2003. The Forest Service announced in February, 2003, in their initial scoping letter, “the San Gabriel River Ranger District was considering rebuilding and re-permitting the destroyed and existing cabins.

At the time, the agency knew the cabins and their access roads were located in riparian zones. But they ignored that and got all the cabinowners to relax and let down their guard. As a result, in the first comment period, very few cabinowners responded to the poorly written and distributed notice. We believe the Forest Service deliberately wrote the notice make the permittees believe they had nothing to worry about.

Now the Forest Service has decided not to allow any of these cabinowners to rebuild and will terminate the cabins that survived the fire. The terminated cabins will be phased out over ten years. No in-lieu lots were found appropriate. As a result of receiving only a few comments, the Forest Service decided to get rid of all the cabins.

The Environmental Assessment said that both tracts had riparian zone issues. The Forest Service says this is in conflict with the Forest Plan. We believe the agency knew this before they even did the initial assessment. The agency made no attempt to mitigate the riparian issues as they have in numerous other forests. They made little or no effort to fully inform the cabin owners they were in jeopardy.

Because of Thanksgiving, it is more important than ever to make your calls and write your letter. Some people are traveling and others are distracted. So please do your part.

Send that one page letter opposing the removal of the cabins. Make that call to your Congressman and Congressman Drier as well as Under Secretary Rey. This is a big deal that will affect all users of the forests. Don’t let it happen.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Please forward this message as widely as possible.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003


Videotapes shed light on Terry Barton, Hayman Fire A pair of videotapes offer a never-before publicly seen look into the mind of one of the state's most infamous criminals. Terry Barton is currently serving time in a federal prison for starting the largest forest fire ever in Colorado. The former Forest Service worker is not expected out for at least another six to nine years. The videotapes were made shortly after the start of the Hayman Fire and feature Barton's story about how the fire started, in her own words...Forest chief sees new bill as chance to win public trust The Healthy Forests bill awaiting President Bush's signature is the Forest Service's "opportunity to build trust" with an ever-skeptical public, Chief Dale Bosworth said Monday. "If we are prudent in how we use the flexibility this legislation gives us, I think we can build more support for more work on the ground," Bosworth said in a telephone interview from his Washington, D.C., office...Offroading added to land battle list They came on four wheels and on two, hunting or just tooling around. They came to ride on roads and trails through vast swaths of public land in the West. And, unfortunately, some of them rode anywhere they wanted. The explosive popularity of "off-highway" vehicles - everything from four-wheelers to trail-bikes and souped-up jeeps - has left federal land managers scrambling to put new rules in place to protect natural resources...Column: Bush agenda is assault on Arizona wilderness Nearly 100 years ago, a Republican president - famous for his blustery speaking style and wire-rimmed spectacles - used the Antiquities Act to proclaim 18 culturally and naturally significant areas of the United States as national monuments. Many of these areas have been folded into the National Park System. In early October, the Supreme Court agreed with Theodore Roosevelt, that it is within the president's authority to use the Antiquities Act to save what remains of our great national heritage, and that President Clinton was within his power to proclaim five national monuments in Arizona...Editorial: A half-step to healthy forests The compromise forest-health legislation that emerged from the U.S. Senate last week won't stop future wildfires from threatening the West. But the final package is much more palatable than the original, one-sided measure Republicans railroaded through the House. The House had rejected amendments from Rep. Mark Udall, a Boulder Democrat, to require the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to concentrate on preventing huge fires in the wildland-urban interface. But the Senate embraced that idea and others that make the bill acceptable...Lawmakers approve $225 million for Calif. fire-related projects Lawmakers approved $225 million Tuesday for Southern California counties devastated by last month's wildfires. The money will go to prevent mudslides, remove trees killed by bark beetles and help farmers whose crops were destroyed in the flames...AUDUBON APPLAUDS BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO PROTECT AMERICA'S WATER Audubon today praised the 218 members of Congress from both parties who announced a broad-based effort to safeguard longstanding Clean Water Act protections from regulatory proposals to weaken this law. "Today's action by an unprecedented number of Members of Congress sends a strong message to the President and those in his administration seeking to weaken the laws protecting America's clean water that they will not allow this to happen," said Bob Perciasepe, Audubon chief operating officer. "Through a letter delivered to the White House today, our representatives, inspired by their constituents, have let the President know that Americans will not stand for any weakening of the Clean Water Act." A recently leaked draft rewrite of Clean Water Act rules reveals that federal agencies are actually considering a proposal to eliminate federal protections for many streams, wetlands, and other waters across the country - a move that would represent the most dramatic change in national clean water policy in 30 years...Refugium exceeds goal in raising endangered fish They are breeding hope in the waters of the Rio Grande Silvery Minnow Refugium. In less than a year, the breeding and rearing facility at the Albuquerque Biological Park has exceeded its first-year goal in growing the endangered minnows, from captured eggs, to be reintroduced to the river. The facility, which opened in June, estimates 10 times the expected number of minnows were bred - up to a half-million of the tiny fish...Rep. Pombo ruffles feathers While Pombo, a fourth-generation rancher from Tracy, has yet to leave the same kind of mark as previous chairmen of the House Resources Committee, he appears to be on his way as he concludes his first year in the seat. A leader of the anti-regulatory property rights movement that resonates so well on the farms and ranches of the interior West, Pombo once called for a "revolution" against environmental regulations, to place "ownership over servitude and freedom over slavery." For him, the chairmanship is the right place to be, and he's there at the right time...Column: Crimes Against Nature George W. Bush will go down in history as America's worst environmental president. In a ferocious three-year attack, the Bush administration has initiated more than 200 major rollbacks of America's environmental laws, weakening the protection of our country's air, water, public lands and wildlife. Cloaked in meticulously crafted language designed to deceive the public, the administration intends to eliminate the nation's most important environmental laws by the end of the year. Under the guidance of Republican pollster Frank Luntz, the Bush White House has actively hidden its anti-environmental program behind deceptive rhetoric, telegenic spokespeople, secrecy and the intimidation of scientists and bureaucrats. The Bush attack was not entirely unexpected...Federal listing could endanger sage grouse The federal government should be required to draft a recovery plan for potentially endangered or threatened species before placing them on the endangered species list, a state natural resources official said Monday. Greg Walcher, Colorado Department of Natural Resources director, said he's been in contact with federal officials and legislators about adjusting the Endangered Species Act. "Make them publish recovery goals before they put them on the list," Walcher said...Environmental limits on military training reduced President Bush signed a bill Monday that gives the Pentagon more leeway to sidestep wildlife-protection laws that military planners see as impediments to training. The changes allow the Navy to test sonar systems that may injure whales, dolphins and other protected marine mammals. They also give the Department of Defense more flexibility to run practice operations that may harm the habitat of endangered animals and plants on military installations. The environmental provisions of the bill represent a compromise in a long-running dispute over whether the Pentagon should have to abide by environmental laws at bases and training sites across the USA and in coastal waters...Second of eight wolves found dead was killed by automobile Necropsy results have been announced regarding the second of eight Mexican gray wolves found dead this year. The body of a wolf classified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as Male 857 was found Sept. 19 in the middle of a road near Willow Creek, in the northern part of the Gila National Forest. "He was confirmed to have been hit by a car," said Colleen Buchanan of the service's wolf-recovery program. "There were rumors he was shot, but it turns out that wasn't true."...Potential for Wind Energy on Federal Lands Nearly half of the 48 million acres of federal land in Nevada managed by the Bureau of Land Management shows potential for commercial wind production, Interior Department officials said. "Nevada has a huge potential for wind energy as well as the geothermal production that has already begun here," Assistant Interior Secretary Rebecca Watson said during a stop in Nevada last week. The Interior Department's BLM has launched a national review of the potential environmental effects of power-generating wind turbines so states can plan for potential operations. About 46 percent of BLM's land in Nevada show some potential for commercial wind energy, Watson said...Land law sparks concern More than 5,500 miles of back roads across national parks and other federal lands in California could be in peril if ownership is granted to counties and individuals under an obscure law, an environmental group said. The majority of those roads, according to a survey released today by the California Wilderness Coalition, are in San Bernardino County. They crisscross areas like the Mojave National Park, including 700 miles of congressionally designated wilderness areas that ban motorized vehicles. "This could essentially invalidate the protection of a national preserve," said Byron Kahr, a spokesman for the Davis-based coalition...Also see Off-road organizations, San Bernardino County, petition to own areas for more info...Wandering bull bison killed near Yellowstone A bull bison was shot and killed Tuesday outside Yellowstone National Park when government agents were unable to capture it or force it to stay within the park's boundaries. The bull had wandered out of Yellowstone at least a dozen times this fall, said Karen Cooper, a spokeswoman for the Montana Department of Livestock. "The bison would not stay within the park boundary," Cooper said...Editorial: Don't the feds have enough power? Tucked deep into this 1,100-page bill is a short provision granting the federal government sweeping new power to condemn private property. It's there at the request of Montana's Republican Sen. Conrad Burns. The provision allows the use of eminent domain to acquire rights of way for new powerlines. The ability to force landowners to accommodate powerlines already exists under state law, but the new provision means any landowner wishing to defend his rights will have to counter the indefatigable strength of the federal government. Lots of luck. The inspiration for this provision comes from plans to mine and burn coal from Montana's Otter Creek coal deposits, which the state acquired in a land exchange last year. Montana can't begin to use the amount of power that could be generated by all that coal, so prospective mining and power production hinges entirely on the ability to send electricity elsewhere via powerlines. Obviously, someone doubts the enthusiasm with which southeastern Montana ranchers will surrender land for powerlines serving people in distant cities. This is one of those little legislative gems you hear about all the time - something inserted into a bill, with little discussion, for a specific purpose, only to emerge as a big issue years later when bureaucrats decide to put their new powers to broader use...Editorial: Next time, guard our lands The just-deceased energy bill would have run roughshod over federal lands and ecosystems in the intermountain West. The fight about how and where to drill for oil and natural gas in the Rockies will be similar next year if new energy legislation is introduced, as congressional leaders have promised to do. On the vast majority of other federal lands that are available for energy development, the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management should have clear authority to require sensible environmental protection. It is not unreasonable to tell oil companies they can't drill on elk calving grounds when the animals are bearing their young, for example. It is perfectly legitimate to require the companies to follow strict rules preventing water and air pollution. Yet the recent energy bill would have eliminated many common-sense restrictions. Among other things, it would have ordered federal agencies to make energy production the top priority over all other public values. It further would have forced the agencies to cannibalize their wildlife and recreation staffs and budgets to fund a new, overarching mandate to speed up drilling permits. The bill also would have, in essence, eroded any real clout federal agencies have to make energy companies use slant, directional or horizontal drilling to protect sensitive areas. The technique involves putting drill rigs on areas where the land can be disturbed without environmental harm, then drilling under the surface at an angle to reach oil or gas that may underlie delicate ecosystems. The practice protects the environment while accessing energy reserves, and should be strongly encouraged...Ag groups upset by labeling delay Most - but not all - South Dakota agricultural groups are unhappy about a congressional agreement to delay country of origin labeling for meat and other food for two years. They say American exports of beef, particularly to Japan, could be imperiled unless country of origin labeling, or COOL, is allowed to go forward as required in the 2002 farm bill passed by Congress...90-year-old Texas rancher 'thankful' for still 'being able' When singer/songwriter Donnie Blanz wrote "You Just Can't See Him from the Road," he could easily have been talking about 90 year-old Texas rancher Elmer L. Maben. A Fayette County resident, Blanz wrote the song about "real" cowboys ... the ones who worked the land to make a living and weren't worried about "wearing designer jeans" or new boots, or having people watch and applaud his every move. Maben, an old-time cowboy, still wears his tight jeans, western shirts and boots ... and, always, his cowboy hat. His idea of a cowboy is just like Blanz's words that describe a "real" cowboy. Maben said he is thankful he is still able to be a part of his ranch, and as he works his cows, he doesn't need a cheering crowd, and you "just can't see him from the road," either...Horses, snakes and other wild tales The Native Americans have their legends kept down through the generations by story tellers. It's the job of a gifted tribe member to be the keeper of the stories and to pass them on to the next generation from the many generations that came before. Cowboys do much the same thing. Where the Native American storyteller will have a name like Grandmother Two Bears or Old Father Story Teller, the cowboy will simply be named Ben, Joe or Charlie. But if they were to be in a tribe somewhere, they might be named something like Cowboy Who Walks like Penguin. Old cowboys tend to be shorter than they were in their youth, a bit bowlegged and they waddle when they walk .The days of that long legged strolling stride left when arthritis set in every bone they ever bunged up in their lives. What they don't have left in athletic ability, they have maintained in humor and the passing of the legends...

America's New Dark Ages

Today's environmental movement has little to do with protecting the environment and everything to do with imposing a radical agenda to derail human progress, destroy free enterprise, and diminish individual liberty.

"Nuts," you say? Maybe you're not paying attention.

Item: A recent issue of The DeWeese Report shows a photo of a team of oxen. The Associated Press photo was taken at a demonstration to show the "ecological advantages of animal-driven farm equipment." Incredibly, the enviro-wackos seek to turn back human progress to the days of Daniel Boone by eliminating modern farm equipment such as tractors and return to days of the oxen cart. Just some fringe nuts with no credibility, you say? This demonstration was held at an AG Expo at Michigan State University with your tax dollars...


This fall Western environmental groups expected Vladimir Putin to give their cause its biggest victory in over a decade. Last month they looked forward to the Russian President’s announcement that Russia would soon sign the international agreement on global warming known as the Kyoto Protocol. It was therefore a shock when participants attending the World Climate Change Conference in Moscow heard Putin and his advisors denounce the agreement and marshal scientific and economic arguments against it. The environmentalists’ comeuppance in Moscow is the latest sign that their movement is in big trouble.

Kyoto is the movement’s Holy Grail. The agreement, signed by over 100 nations in Japan in 1997, requires industrialized countries to implement policies reducing so-called greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a model for U.N. bureaucrats and foundation-funded activists who want to regulate energy use on a global scale. However, to be legally binding, the treaty must be signed by at least 55 nations that account for at least 55 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. So far the 100 signatory nations account for only 44 percent. Because the Bush Administration rejects the treaty, that leaves Russia. With 14 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, its endorsement is critical...

The Air Up There - Is It Hotter?

If human activities are having a dramatic effect on globally-averaged temperature, then the temperature in the low atmosphere would be rising at a rate faster than at the Earth's surface. A flurry of recent studies continues to round out the picture and suggests that alarmism about catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is more hype than scientific fact.

The best analysis of air temperature over the last 25 years is based on measurements made from satellites and checked with information from weather balloons. That work, conducted by J. Christy and R. Spencer at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH), shows a small global warming trend. Even if the small trend were entirely human-caused -- an unlikely possibility because temperature exhibits many naturally-caused changes -- it contradicts the forecasts of extreme, human-made global warming...

Shenanigans at Greenpeace—And the Media Yawns

After a year in which financial improprieties gobbled up headlines like never before, it would stand to reason that a brewing scandal involving a major international organization, millions of dollars, and alleged tax evasion would receive similar treatment. But if that major international organization is famed environmental group Greenpeace, the media goes mute.

Two months ago, nonprofit watchdog Public Interest Watch (PIW) filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service alleging that Greenpeace has engaged in massive transfers of money between its many subgroups in order to skirt U.S. tax laws. PIW simultaneously issued a companion report, called “Green Peace, Dirty Money: Tax Violations in the World of Non-Profits,” which details how the environmental group transferred $24 million in tax-exempt contributions over a three-period to fund non-tax-exempt activities...

Killing Millions to 'Save' the Earth

...So, when I received a copy of Paul Driessen's book, Eco-Imperialism: Green Power ~ Black Death , the first thing I noticed was the familiar image on its cover. "In 2000, say World Health Organization and other studies, malaria infected over 300 million people. It killed nearly 2,000,000-most of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Over half of the victims are children, who die at the rate of two per minute or 3,000 per day."

In his introduction to Driessen's book, Niger Innis of the Congress of Racial Equality, says, "This book should have been written years ago." He's right, but it has taken years for the full picture of the evil perpetrated by those claiming they want to "save the Earth" to emerge.

Many of us who have struggled to demonstrate the moral depravity and corruption of the environmental movement have concentrated on various elements of it. Driessen's triumph has been to present the full picture.

Capturing the theme of Driessen's book, Innis says, "The movement imposes the views of mostly wealthy, comfortable Americans and Europeans on mostly poor, desperate Africans, Asians and Latin Americans. It violates these people's most basic human rights, denying them economic opportunities, the chance for better lives, the right to rid their countries of diseases that were vanquished long ago in Europe and the United States."...

This is by Laura Schneberger.

Bogus Buyouts and Transparent Tactics Not Supported by Real Ranchers

“Though environmentalists aren’t motivated by money, there are those who are”. Rangenet, a coalition of environmental extremists, patted themselves on the back for that one. Self-aggrandizing thinly veiled insults just wasn’t a good way to get positive attention from, much less the endorsement of federal lands ranchers for HB 3324 and HB 3337.

In an arrogant and condescending letter sent to New Mexico grazing organizations mid November 2001, the Center For Biological Diversity, members of Rangenet, an anti-rancher, environmental organization, insisted on meeting with ranchers in order to debate the merits of a federal buyout of grazing permits in the west.

Rangenet’s reasoning for the buyout legislation relates to a sad state of affairs that had arisen, due to the actions of their own members. Judicious use of junk science and the ability to file unlimited lawsuits at taxpayer expense has allowed the Center for Biological Diversity to make a name for itself as one of the most litigious groups in the nation. The group is responsible for the filing of over 85 lawsuits demanding the listing of a plethora of endangered species and then new suits designed to revoke grazing rights to protect those species. Only a fraction of those suits have been resolved. The staggering cost of those suits has been passed down to the taxpayer, meanwhile, federal agencies are backed up in lawsuits and unable to focus on land management while defending themselves from the CBD and other Rangenet members and using funding to shell out court costs. The CBD, along with many others, actually believes it’s own propaganda. Excerpts from the original CBD buyout letter included daisies like this one. “I do not need to remind you of the unfortunate conflict that has arisen between environmental protection groups, agencies and the public lands section of the ranching industry as a result of the necessity for endangered species protection.” “ We have done our best to develop a proposal that is fiscally sound (in terms of long term taxpayer savings on the grazing program), environmentally optimal as well as equitable and fair to permitees.” Ignoring the fact that the taxpayer is currently not only saddled with the bill for their legal actions, whether it be won lost or settled, but will also be saddled with the 60 billion dollars for the buyout. The Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental groups involved in Rangenet have not only created the problem but come up with the miraculous solution and in doing so have created a taxpayer subsidized industry all their own.

The fact is, permitee’s across the west own water and forage rights on federal land. If indeed a few people endorse the plan or actually end up selling their livestock permits to the government, IE taxpayer, what becomes of those forsaken rights and what kind of precedent is set. At a buyout cost of about 2000 dollars a head, the cost to taxpayers would be a staggering sixty billion dollars. Still the private rights associated with those lands aren’t even addressed, will the rancher be allowed to access them for use or sale in the future as they aren’t listed for purchase in the buyout.

Fixing What Isn’t Broken

Rangenet refers repeatedly to preserving our Natural heritage, “The reality is that no-one in the environmental community really wants to see ranchers lose their shirts because our precious natural heritage needs protection. Our focus is on protecting our natural heritage and not on ranching.” As one old rancher pointed out after reading those lines, our natural heritage will not be saved by removing businesses on federal lands for the sake of a few dubiously endangered creatures, it is just the opposite. Protecting our heritage, natural and national, means maintaining the ability to preserve life liberty and a pursuit of happiness and along with it, a passion for freedom.

While Rangenet publicly professes concern for the future of ranchers, privately their viewpoint is much different and many of their sattelite organizations are not as kind. "Grazing just doesn't belong in the Southwest. Yes, we are destroying a way of life that goes back 100 years. But it's a way of life that is one of the most destructive in our country. Ranching is one of the most nihilistic life styles this planet has ever seen. It should end. Good riddance."

Rancher Support?

Even though the majority of western ranchers adamantly did not and still do not support the buyout proposal, Rangenet was half right when they said, “Though environmentalists aren’t motivated by money, there are those who are”. It wasn’t hard to find a few motivated souls to lend them enough credibility to find congressional support to write the legislation. Finding a way to line pockets was the key to finding endorsers to the buyout scheme many of the current endorsers make more money in real estate than livestock sales and will benefit financially from the environmentally insane, subdivision of private commensurate property associated with the soon to be retired, allotments. Only a few of the supporters actually make a living ranching and those few have grown desperate over the years that the environmentalists stranglehold over the land management agencies has allowed their operations to deteriorate.

The Scheme

Realistically it is unlikely congress will ever appropriate funding for the buyout plan even if the legislation is passed. The law could very likely be passed and put in place and not one single dollar bill would ever make it into a ranchers hands.

Even though the sale of the permit is said to be voluntary, the legislation forces a permit waiver to the government prior to the retirement of the allotment. Normally ranchers voluntarily waive their permits in transfer procedures to another entity whether heirs or a new buyer. If you sell your ranch you must “waive” the permit back to the Secretary so that it can be transferred to the new buyer. If you die, your estate must “waive” it so it can be transferred to your heirs. Language in the buyout bill simply allows the agency to retire any waived permit voluntarily or not.

The Real Numbers

Rangenet chooses to recognize only 2% of beef as being raised on federal lands allowing them to come up with a 3.2 billion dollar buyout figure. Their numbers are simply not accurate.

There are about 6 million cows in 11 states in the west. Of those, at least 3 million are pastured on federal lands permits, a full 20% of our nations beef is raised in western states, 10% of that on federal lands. The private range is usually connected to the public range and one cannot exist without the other.

Looking at it another way, 50% of total beef produced in the western part of the country is produced on federal lands and is vital to the economic makeup of communities adjacent to federal lands. Beef production energizes the economy of the west from sales, by circulating dollars and contributing to local tax bases. In 1995, cash receipts from the marketing of cattle in 11 of the western states totaled $7.3 billion and beef prices weren’t top dollar back then. The claim that federal lands grazing costs the public more than it makes is simply not true. The loss of infrastructure associated with the loss of federal allotment access would cost the federal government or the taxpayer untold billions.

Who Really Pays?

Rangenet and their supporters have a totally unrealistic goal, they have absolutely failed to recognize that what they call small, marginal ranches, contribute tremendously to local communities. What they are asking ranchers to do is to abandon those communities in order to endorse a scheme that will likely serve to shoot themselves in the foot. The real costs to the taxpayer are the intense and prolonged lawsuits leveled against federal land management agencies. Suits meant to destroy production on these lands and in some cases even contribute to the destruction of the land itself. The unseen cost of the buyout scheme is the destruction of the local infrastructure that will happen in the wake of retired ranches. Rangenet truly believes waving a few phantom taxpayer greenbacks around will make up for all the harm caused in their wake of their actions.

First Obligation

The livestock industry has a plan of its own for legislation to fund the purchase of permitted interests, but only in the event that it is in the best interest of the local public to retire an allotment from grazing and only at the highest and best value of the ranch. So many people have been crushed under the heels of environmental tactics, yet nowhere in HB 3324 and HB 3337 is mention made of paying restitution for the damage already done to small ranchers. Until checks are cut for the ranchers that have suffered at their hands in the past, the industry will not listen anything they have to say. It takes good faith to earn trust and so far there is no evidence of that. Many of the groups that make up Rangenet are to this very minute, actively fighting ranchers who rely on forest allotments filing lawsuits and forcing people out of business every day. When sitting around the table discussing this proposal and crafting draft legislation did Rangenet worry and fret over the future of ranchers? Highly unlikely, what they did was to strategize on how best to destabilize the industry in the west. Dividing the industry on the buyout argument was a certain way to do just that. Those of us who succumb and endorse this scheme will merely sell out neighbors who do not. Those of us who wish to remain on our ranches will merely be subject to further instability in the form of litigation.

Hard choices in hard times but one thing that sustains us in this uncharted territory is our ability to see beyond our own noses and realize it is not in our best interest to sell out our children’s future to social engineering t HB 3324 and Representative Grijalva of Arizona introduced HB 3337actics of the environmental movement.

Here is the previously posted column by County Commissioner Crosby Allen.

Economics don't pan out for grazing buyout

In case you have not yet seen this bill, here is a little insight on HR 3324, the "Voluntary Grazing Buyout Act."

This act would cause the appropriation of your tax dollars, by the federal government, to buy grazing permits from ranchers. These grazing areas would then be placed in non-grazing status and would no longer be used for grazing of any livestock.

The appropriation would be for $100 million, which would take approximately 571,000 animal unit months (AUMs) of grazing off BLM and national forestland.

If one rancher in the western states has a permit for 300 cow/calf pairs, for four months of summer grazing, this would equate to about 1,200 AUMs. Using this example, this taxpayer-funded buyout would remove about 475 ranchers from the ranges in the western states in one year.

Without public land grazing, these ranches will not be able to support the same number of cattle that they can with the public land grazing. The ranches that sell their grazing permits will be forced to do the following: 1) cease cattle production; 2) drastically reduce the number of cattle they are currently running; or, 3) subdivide their privately owned ranchlands to replace the income lost from their annual cattle sales (unless they are already wealthy).

Here's what this means to you. You are going to pay the cost of your own community's economic funeral.

As an example, let's say we have a typical rancher who runs 300 head of mother cows. Using central Wyoming as the location for the operation, the rancher would run about four months on BLM-managed land. While the cattle were summering on the BLM, the rancher would be irrigating and haying his base property (privately owned) in preparation for keeping the cattle on the private property for the remaining eight months of the year.

At first the cattle would graze the pasture when they come home; then, when the pasture snows under or runs out, the hay would be fed to the animals until the next grazing season, when the cattle would be turned back out on the BLM managed land and the annual cycle would begin anew.

Now, let's say this same rancher takes the buyout and sells his BLM grazing permit. He would sell his 1,200 AUMs (300 pair x 4 months) for $175 per AUM, which would equal $210,000.

Most of this amount would most likely go to pay off his bills and maybe buy a new pickup, which would be a short-term injection into the local economy. However, the long-term effect will be devastating to the local economy.

You see, while the public ground under the BLM grazing permit supported 1200 AUMs, the base property (privately owned by the rancher) would have to support about 2400 AUMs which would require at least 100 head of mother cows be sold, as the remaining operation would not longer be able to support 300 pairs without the public grazing permit.

When the rancher was fully stocked at 300 pair, he would sell about 285 calves weighing 475 lbs each at a price of $425 totaling $121,125. Now that he has sold his grazing permit, he can only run about 200 pair (actually less than that, but for simplification of math we'll use 200). Now, after the buyout, he will sell about 190 calves at 475 lbs each at a price of $425 totaling $80,750. This is a difference of $40,375.

Now let's use University of Wyoming figures that estimate that one dollar will turn over in a community six times before it falls out of local circulation. When we multiply the $40,375 by six, we see that $242,250, approximately one-quarter of a million dollars, is lost from the local economy each and every year thereafter.

This example illustrates the negative economic impact to a local economy from just one rancher selling his grazing permit back to the government. The total effect from HR 3324, the "Voluntary Grazing Buyout Act," would be over $115 million that would come out of local western economies in just one year, and these economies would suffer this loss directly every year after that.

In other words, the feds will use $100 million (of your tax dollars) to cause your local western economies to suffer an approximate loss of $115 million this year and every year after.

If you know someone who works at a bank, sells gasoline or diesel, sells clothing, sells ranch and cattle supplies or equipment, works in or owns a restaurant or a grocery store, is or works for a veterinarian, drives a cattle truck or works at the livestock auction barn, then you know someone who is going to take a direct economic hit from this "buyout."

You, as a citizen making your living in one of the western states, your family and your friends, will suffer the indirect economic hit resulting from the lack of this economic activity occurring from the grazing of livestock on public lands.

This buyout is an agenda being driven by people who want all cattle off all public land. Guess what, Phase Two of their agenda is to drive all cattle off all private land.

I hope this sheds some light on this simple but critically important issue. If you feel it's important, maybe you ought to share your thoughts with your friends, neighbors, and elected officials. This example uses conservative, average numbers and is simplified for the purposes of illustration. An exact accounting and use of actual costs of production and actual market values would show the actual negative economic impact to local economies to significantly higher.

The previously posted comments by Doc Lane.

Buyout Language finally shows intent!

The Grazing Buyout that has been talked about and pushed by the Whitney family and the Center for Biological Diversity has now been introduced as two different bills in Congress. Representative Shays of Connecticut introduced HB 3324 and Representative Grijalva of Arizona introduced HB 3337. The language is slightly different in the two bills BUT the important impact of both bills is exactly the same.

In this article I would like to walk you through the impact if ether of the bills is passed. If you want to see the actual bill language you can get a copy on the Internet at http// web site. I will use Mr. Shays’ bill (HB 3324) as an example because it is the most comprehensive, but the provisions that will cause the problems cited here are in both bills.

First Problem – The selling point for supporting the “buyout” is it is completely voluntary. If you don’t want to participate you don’t have to.

Well in both bills you will be forced to lose your permit no matter what over time. The language is in Section 4

(a) (a) WAIVER OF EXISTING GRAZING PERMIT OR LEASE- A Permittee or lessee may waive to the Secretary (defined as Agriculture, Interior, Defense and Energy. In other words all grazing leases on all federal lands) at any time, a valid existing grazing permit or lease authorizing livestock grazing on Federal lands.

This sounds ok, except you MUST voluntarily waive you permit in order to transfer it to ANYONE. If you sell your ranch you must “waive” the permit back to the Secretary so that it can be transferred to the new buyer. If you die, your estate must “waive” it so it can be transferred to your heirs. IN OTHER WORDS ALL PERMITS ARE “WAIVED” IN THE COURSE OF NORMAL BUSINESS AT SOME POINT.

Same Section 4

( b ) CANCELLATION OF WAIVED GRAZING PERMIT OR LEASE- The Secretary shall cancel grazing permits and leases waived under this section and permanently retire the associated allotments from domestic livestock grazing use notwithstanding any other provision of law.

Ok, now you sold the permit to the person who wanted to buy your ranch. You go to the local BLM or Forest Service office and “Waive” your permit back to the Secretary so it can be transferred to your buyer. SORRY, THE LAW STATES “ THE SECRETARY SHALL CANCEL …PERMITS WAIVED UNDER THIS SECTION AND PERMINATELY RETIRE THE ASSOCIATED ALLOTMENTS FROM DOMESTIC LIVESTOCK GRAZING.

I understand you are going to say it doesn’t apply to your allotment and permit because you didn’t “waive” it under Section 4 (a), you waived it to sell it to someone else. Where in 4 (a) does it say “only for voluntary permanent retirement of the allotment with compensation”? So as each permit is sold or passed on to heirs throughout the U. S. the grazing is removed PERMENTLY. The permits will have zero value because no one can ever own them but you and you won’t live forever. Very soon there will be no livestock grazing on federal land anywhere in the United States.

What happens in states like Arizona that have intermingled land throughout the state and almost all ranches depend in part on federal land as part of the ranch unit? Without the federal part they cannot ranch, it is not economically possible.

Second Problem

In Mr. Shays HB3324 the last of Section 4 acknowledge that funds to pay for the “voluntary buyout” may not be available.

Remember, appropriation of funds has to be done through Congress and NO one is guaranteeing this will be funded.

Ask yourself this question: Why would the Center for Biological Diversity want to, or Congress be willing to, pay you if this bill passes? Once the bill is signed into law, appropriating the money must be done, writing the regulations (which say “If you ever had a warning letter from the agency you don’t qualify”) and then starting to retire permits, NOT BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO RETIRE THEM BUT BECAUSE THE LAW SAYS THEY HAVE TO!!! You can waive your permit but the law does NOT say the Government has to pay you!!

The previously posted comments of Sue Krentz.

1. If it is public land...and we have no title to it...THEN HOW CAN WE SELL...WHAT WE DO NOT OWN...Big secret...we do have title to the land..and the minute they offered us money...gave our rights VALUE..

2. If it is public lands..and the public is entitle to use it...then how can this group lock it up for ever ....I thought it was public lands...funny how the definition changes..

3. The money should not come from the tax payers..make the rich NGO'S PAY ..BUT I AM NOT FOR IT..

4. This is a destruction of small communities...

5. The fact that the buy out will affect the ranchers in the west..will have a devastating affect on the county, state and nation...

6. This will affect the low income and rancher workers as they will not understand that this means a loss of their jobs Mr. Grijlava is supporting the loss of jobs to his people.

7. this will drive the cost of living up..and punish low income, single mothers and minorities....

This is a destruction of the freedoms our country was founded on....

And the previously posted letter by Cynthia P. Coping.

Please oppose the Shays-Grijalva bill, HR 3324, which proposes to buy the ranchers off their federal permits. The bill has several flaws.

The first flaw is the bill attempts to impose socialism onto a capitalist nation. It does not stand alone, but is part of a a comprehensive effort by socialists such as Shays and Grijalva to remove capitalism from public land, remove people from rural land, to nationalize all privately held rural land, and to eventually transfer all means of production from private enterprise to government. The bill furthers the attempts by socialists in Congress to bring America economically to her knees and become increasingly dependent on imports and vulnerable to foreign economic conditions. It is a recipe for a stagnant economic base, more commonly known as socialism.

The second flaw in the bill is its fraudulent assumptions. Ranching is not by nature harmful to the environment; most of the harmful "overgrazing" historically occurred prior to 1925. Today, modern scientific studies have shown that well-managed grazing actually benefits the ecosystem and can even improve water tables. Please consult with range management experts from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. They have scientific data; the people behind Shays-Grijalva--Range Net and their tax-code abusing ilk-- have only deceit and demonizing rhetoric to support their arguments.

An additional flaw in the bill is that it bestows the lessee with new rights of ownership--to decide whether the lease will continue or not. This bill's illustrative analogy would be a bill to allow a home renter to decide whether a house should be demolished or not. This decision is not the right of the lessee but the owner. Our federal grazing land belongs to all Americans. If the lessee is ready to quit ranching, the lease should go up for bid. We should not grant a lessee an unprecedented right to sole control over the future of any parcel of federal land. What would he have done to earn it, other than cut a sweet deal for himself at the expense of every other American?

Please continue the capitalist system. No socialist nation ever enjoyed the benefits capitalism and God gave America. You cannot point to a single prosperous socialist nation. They are all poor.

I've posted the text to H.R. 3324, which you can view by going to my archives for 10/21/03.