Saturday, April 24, 2004


Pacific Legal Foundation Releases Earth Day List of Top 5 “Human Costs” of Environmental Extremism

Pacific Legal Foundation today released its Earth Day List of Top 5 “Human Costs” of Environmental Extremism, providing factual and legal evidence that inflexible environmental laws and overregulation are dramatically impacting people’s lives and livelihoods every day, often for species protections that are illegal or unnecessary.

The top five human costs of environmental extremism are:

---Separating people from nature.
---Cutting people off from water to give to fish.
---Extinguishing hundreds of thousands of jobs.
---Diminishing the American dream of home ownership, and
---Blocking forest fire prevention that saves lives and homes.

“Organizations with an extreme view of environmental protection have violated the trust of the American people who care about our environment, but are not willing to stand by while human values are disregarded,” said M. David Stirling, Vice President of Pacific Legal Foundation. “This Earth Day, PLF is exposing how inflexible environmental laws and overregulation put species first and people last.”....

Mother Earth movement showing her age

Thursday (April 22) was the 34th annual "Earth Day" observance, and, like other progeny of a decade characterized by Robert Ringer's best-selling "Looking Out for No. 1," it is beginning to show its age.

Gallup's annual Earth Day Poll (was it printed on recycled paper?) found that the environment, which once ranked high on the list of concerns for millions of Americans, now resembles a baseball team that has fallen on hard times.

According to Gallup, environmental issues are next to last on a list of people's concerns, finishing just above race relations. Worse news for tree-huggers, 44 percent of those polled said economic concerns should take precedence over protection of the environment. That figure is up from 23 percent in 2000 and 19 percent in 1990....

Happy Earth Day? Thank Capitalism

Earth Day (April 22) is traditionally a day for the Left -- a celebration of government's ability to deliver the environmental goods and for threats about the parade of horribles that will descend upon us lest we rededicate ourselves to federal regulators and public land managers. This is unfortunate because it's businessmen -- not bureaucrats or environmental activists -- who deserve most of the credit for the environmental gains over the past century and who represent the best hope for a Greener tomorrow.

Indeed, we wouldn't even have environmentalists in our midst were it not for capitalism. Environmental amenities, after all, are luxury goods. America -- like much of the Third World today -- had no environmental movement to speak of until living standards rose sufficiently so that we could turn our attention from simply providing for food, shelter, and a reasonable education to higher "quality of life" issues. The richer you are, the more likely you are to be an environmentalist. And people wouldn't be rich without capitalism....

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Scientists tell us the Earth is 4-and-a-half billion years old, give or take a few hours. Earth Day, on the other hand, is 34 years old -- a newcomer in the cosmic scale of things. Yet every April 22, for the past 33 years, impassioned environmentalists come together to warn that our springtime days of spinning blithely through the galaxy are about to end.

Between hacky-sack games, enviro-moralists kick around the imminent apocalypse of global warming, brought on -- they're sure -- by the pollution of human industry and the mindless plunder of our shared heritage. This 34th Earth Day is likely to be no different.

But it ought to be.

Because the underlying scientific debate over climate change has shifted dramatically since last Earth Day. The most recent studies now cast major doubt on global warming itself -- the basis for all the gloom-and-doom predictions.

Specifically, two new arguments have emerged....

Elitist "Environmental Justice" Bad News for Minorities

Environmentalists like playing the race card, but they make a dreadful mistake.

They don't play with a full deck.

"Environmental justice" is a term green activists use to demonize businesses and complain that the government isn't doing enough to help minorities. Their premise is simple: They believe businesses are using political power to unfairly put polluting factories predominately in minority neighborhoods.

The problem: These green groups aren't helping minorities. In fact, the regulations that come as a result of their agenda cause harm.

A clean environment is important, but so are a job and a home. The environmentalist agenda is often pitted against the bread-and-butter issues facing most Americans. Even when green activists invoke compassion for downtrodden minorities, their policies perpetuate poverty....

Earth Day's Anti-Human Agenda

Earth Day dawns on us today, and with it a grave danger faces mankind. The danger is not from acid rain, global warming, smog, or the logging of rain forests, as environmentalists would have us believe. The danger to mankind is from environmentalism.

The fundamental goal of environmentalism is not clean air and clean water; rather, it is the demolition of technological/industrial civilization. Environmentalism's goal is not the advancement of human health, human happiness, and human life; rather, it is a subhuman world where "nature" is worshipped like the totem of some primitive religion.

In a nation founded on the pioneer spirit, environmentalists have made "development" an evil word. They inhibit or prohibit the development of Alaskan oil, offshore drilling, nuclear power--and every other practical form of energy. Housing, commerce, and jobs are sacrificed to spotted owls and snail darters. Medical research is sacrificed to the "rights" of mice. Logging is sacrificed to the "rights" of trees. No instance of the progress that brought man out of the cave is safe from the onslaught of those "protecting" the environment from man, whom they consider a rapist and despoiler by his very essence....

Our land or theirs?

The warm season approaches, Earth Day comes and goes, and major dailies in the West are advising readers on how to avoid deadly encounters with man-eating lions that might be lurking along suburban trails or near backyard swing sets.

"Jogging or cycling after dusk in the mountains is not advised, as that is near feeding time for the cougars," warns the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Clear low, scrubby vegetation on your property to remove hiding places for cougars, especially around children's play areas," advises the Orange County Register.

The Modesto Bee published the protocol for communicating with a predator that is pondering its lunch. "Running may stimulate a mountain lion's instinct to chase," says the Bee. "Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact."....

Down to Earth Day

Some holidays, such as Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, are a time for reflection. Others, like July 4th and Thanksgiving, are a time for celebration. This year, we ought to add Earth Day to the list of days to celebrate -- but only if we rename it Growth Day.

As in “economic growth.” Believe it or not, nothing’s better at cleaning up the environment and keeping it clean.

Many on the radical left dispute this, of course. Indeed, they fault the industrialized nations for allegedly endangering our planet. Yet the opposite is true. That’s why the major environmentalist movements are all based in Western countries, where people are wealthy enough to be concerned about the world around them -- and have the wherewithal to protect it. Our own country provides a perfect example....

Sustaining People and Planet: The Moral Challenge of the Twenty-first Century

The book of Genesis says human beings were given do- minion over the natural world. Scripture also teaches that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Ps 24:1). Thus, human society’s dominion over the earth is one of stewardship. We have a responsibility to ensure that the earth is managed properly on behalf of its only rightful owner, God. Wasting the earth’s resources is an unquestionable dereliction of our stewardship responsibilities. But this is only one of our obligations to God. Our overarching responsibility is to seek first God’s kingdom (Mt 6:33). In addition to maintaining the earth as good stewards, seeking the kingdom of God includes loving our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:39), meaning that we must be striving to search for the lost, heal the sick, shelter the homeless, protect the abused, and feed the hungry (Matt. 25:34-46). In the populous and affluent twenty-first century, sometimes being a proper steward of the planet seems to conflict with the command to love our neighbor. Many environmental activists appear to take this conflict as an axiomatic reality. But that is an error. The kingdom of God is never divided against itself. A quick look at environmental topics regarding overpopulation, high-yield farming, and industrial development is enough to demonstrate that it is not God’s call to stewardship and loving our neighbor that create undo strain on the environment, but rather certain activists’ vision of an environmental utopia that amounts to nothing less than erasing most humans from God’s earth....

Celebrate Earth Day!

Once again Earth Day has come around, traditionally a day of baleful prophecies. A better Earth Day activity would be review of the actual environmental record, which will lead to more upbeat activities.

Consider first the state of the air. As reported by the Environmental Protection Agency, aggregate emissions of air pollutants have declined 25 percent since 1970, notwithstanding increases of 40 percent in population, 43 percent in energy use, and 165 percent in real GDP.

Average vehicle emissions are declining ten percent per year. Since 1988 the annual number of days in the U.S. with adverse air-quality indices has declined by about 70 percent. Since 1976 concentrations of the six central air pollutants have declined between 28 and 98 percent....

On the Clean Water Act: Three That Got Away

The Supreme Court flunked a tough test on April 5. Instead of accepting three cases arising under the Clean Water Act, the court walked away from them. It was not the court's finest hour.

What happened? The three cases came from Maryland, Virginia and Michigan. In each of them the fundamental question was the same: Does Congress have dominion over roadside ditches and insignificant wetlands? The high court refused to say yes or no. It clammed up.

The cases were important. By refusing to hear them, the high court encourages the Corps of Engineers to pursue its unrelenting grab for power. The court's laconic orders of April 5 leave unresolved a tangential conflict among the federal circuits. Denial in the Maryland and Virginia cases will leave regrettable 4th Circuit opinions untouched. Denial in the Michigan case will have one highly personal consequence. It means that John Rapanos will go to prison....

Bring In The Clowns

More and more, radical activists are using Americans' dinner plates as launching pads for their agendas. So it should surprise no one that this Thursday's annual Earth Day affair is shaping up to be quite a culinary circus. Food scare artisans, animal liberation radicals, and organic food pushers are gathering under the Earth Day big top to peddle their pet causes. Consumers beware: their antics and dire warnings should be viewed for entertainment purposes only.

The Consumers Union of the United States is affixing the Earth Day brand name to its ongoing campaign to promote organic-only eating. The group's "Eco-labels" website, designed to encourage food label-clutter, was funded in part by a grant from Ted Turner. His Turner Foundation has given generously to food fear-mongers including the Organic Consumers Association, Greenpeace, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Consumers Union also received $300,000 for its Eco-labels project from the Ford Foundation, another notorious green grant-making machine. Ford has given over $2 million (each) to Friends of the Earth and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is staking out its own ring in the Earth Day circus, with plans to distribute veggie burgers outside of Burger King restaurants. PETA's press releases claim vegetarianism can "save the Earth and all its inhabitants." Well, maybe not all inhabitants....

ELF LIKELY RESPONSIBLE FOR DEVELOPMENT FIRES IN SNOHOMISH WASHINGTON, CAUSES $1 MILLION IN DAMAGES 4/22/04 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

WASHINGTON - Through media reports, the ELF Press Office has been made aware of Earth Liberation Front actions against urban sprawl April 20th and 21st. Although the ELF Press Office has received no communications about these actions from the persons responsible, a note found at the site of one of the fires was signed "ELF" and reportedly contained statements condemning suburban developments. In the absence of other information, this note does indicate a claim of responsibility for the fires and fire attempts by ELF activists.

On Tuesday, April 20th, two homes were destroyed and attempts were made to burn two others at a housing development in the Snohomish area. Total damages were estimated at $1 million for the two houses burned to the ground.

As well, bottles of flammable liquid were found at two different housing development sites on Tuesday and Wednesday, and on at least one occasion a letter claiming responsibility was found.

This is the third action in 2004 known to have been the work of the Earth Liberation Front. Other occurences of ELF actions in response to the encroachment of luxury housing on wild space since include fires in San Diego, California (August 2003); Chico, California (June 2003); Macomb County, Michigan (June 2003), and Superior Township, Michigan (April 2003).

Although there has been no statement by ELF activists made public about the recent action in Snohomish, a communique sent after the fires in Macomb County read in part, "For too long, we, the people... have allowed our magnificent forests to be levelled and shipped off, our water to be poisoned and now, greed driven developers are trying to marginalize off the last green spaces and habitat of our unknown Edens." It is clear from past statements and recent actions of the ELF that urban sprawl has become a central issue in the struggle to protect the earth.

The Earth Liberation Front is an international underground organization that uses direct action in the form of economic sabotage to stop the destruction of the natural environment. Since 1997, the ELF in North America has caused over $100 million in damages to entities who profit from the destruction of life and the planet.

Any communications received by the ELF Press Office will be forwarded on to interested members of the press.

The Earth Liberation Front Press Office is an autonomous entity that serves to Publicize news and actions of the ELF, as reported through news media or by anonymous communications from the individuals involved in activities.


Contact: North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office

Dead Pines Pose Risk of Another 'Mega-Fire' Half of all the pine trees between Idyllwild and Lake Arrowhead are expected to be dead or dying from drought and bark beetle infestation by the fall, according to forest officials who have concluded that the risk of a massive fire is far greater than previously believed. Forest experts said the grim findings required a more aggressive campaign to thin forests and construct fuel breaks in and around Southern California's mountain resort communities, home to 80,000 people.... Dude ranches spin gold from Montana land Two were forged by ranch families looking to supplement their income and remain on the land. Two grew from families that chose to settle along Bridger and West Bridger creeks and turned to tourism to make ends meet. Each operation started on a shoestring with a build-it-yourself attitude. Each relies on family members to do what needs to be done — from wrangling dudes to cleaning cabins or cooking home-style meals.... Agencies hatch plans to protect wild salmon runs Proclaiming a "new era" in rebuilding Puget Sound's wild salmon runs, state, federal and tribal officials Friday unveiled more than 1,000 recommendations for reforming Washington's salmon hatchery system -- the world's largest. A panel of top fish scientists concluded it's possible to revamp how some hatcheries are run and close others so people can keep raising and eating hatchery-bred salmon without seeing them overwhelm protected wild runs.... Petition to list Sand Mt. butterfly irks Nevada off-roaders Conservationists petitioned the government on Friday to declare the Sand Mountain blue butterfly endangered, saying off-road vehicles at a Nevada sand dune are destroying its only known habitat. “It only involves about 1,000 acres of habitat, but it’s the only habitat left for this butterfly on the planet,” said Daniel Patterson, a desert ecologist at the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, Ariz.... Colombia Debt Swap Yields $10M for Tropical Forest Conservation Colombia unveiled today a debt-for-nature swap with the United States that will allow it to invest at least $10 million over the next 12 years to protect nearly 11 million acres of its tropical forests. Under the agreement, the U.S. Department of the Treasury will contribute $7 million to the deal, while Conservation International's (CI) Global Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will contribute an additional $1.4 million. The funds will go toward canceling part of Colombia's debt to the United States. In exchange, Colombia will invest at least $10 million to protect tropical forests in key areas of the Andes, the Caribbean coast and the Llanos, or plains, along the Orinoco River -- the world's third-largest river in terms of volume.... Sierra Club, Inc., The Best Directors Money Can Buy Never before has a candidate for the Board of Directors won with a stunning total of nearly 142,000 votes. And never before has so much money been spent on candidates for the Sierra Club Board. The Club can now boast the very best, new Directors that money can buy. We know that an expensive mailing was sent to about 550,000 members. Many Chapter newsletters nationwide carried a message supporting the Chosen 5--in violation of the Club's bylaws and the California law. The problem is that we don't know exactly how much money was spent. We do know that printing and postage to such large lists costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Despite many questions to those directly involved, no one seems to be willing to provide answers.... Provo River flow to increase for fish Conservation officials will begin artificially raising the flow of the Provo River this week to help an endangered fish spawn. Chris Keleher of the June Sucker Recovery Program said the artificial flows will begin almost immediately and last until about mid-June. "We'll monitor it, and if the river flow starts to drop as irrigators turn on, we'll adjust the flow to make sure it keeps the June sucker alive with as little water as we need to send down," he said.... Column: ESA needs to be friendlier to people In the 30 years since its enactment, the Endangered Species Act has emerged as one of the most powerful, and ineffective, environmental statutes on the books. Of the 1,260 species listed as "endangered" or "threatened" under the ESA, fewer than 30 have been taken off the list. And this is even worse than it looks. Some species were removed from the list because they became extinct; others, like the American alligator, were taken off because it was determined they were never endangered in the first place. These meager results, however, are not the worst aspect of the ESA. In rural America, far away from urban skyscrapers and suburban malls, the ESA has imposed severe land-use restrictions on property owners.... U.S. lands bring $11M in visit fees More than $11.3 million was collected in fees from people visiting federal lands in 2003, and 80 percent of that money was funneled back into the Bureau of Land Management, National Forest and National Park Service lands in Wyoming. Most of that money, $10.7 million, was collected on National Park Service lands, and Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., is pushing legislation to permanently continue the National Park Service's ability to charge entrance fees. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved Thomas' bill, SB1107, in February, but it has gotten caught up in a debate about imposing fees on people who visit other federal lands.... Column: Endangered Species Act can be saved by making it proactive Conservationists praise the ESA for saving creatures like the gray wolf, the California condor and the very symbol of our national pride, the bald eagle - all of which survive in the wild because of its protections. ESA critics decry what they see as an infringement of private property rights and burdensome federal regulations. Neither side concedes merit in the other's position, but neither has the political muscle to impose its will. Unable to break the stalemate, both sides have gone to court, forcing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to spend its scant resources on defending itself from lawsuits. Conservation, in the process, has suffered.... Grass-roots groups conserve land with trust Land trusts, mostly grass-roots groups, have popped up like wildflowers on a spring prairie. Their number nationwide increased 164 percent from 479 to 1,263 between 1985 and 2000, according to the Land Trust Coalition. The area protected by land trusts increased from 1.9 million acres to 6.2 million between 1990 and 2000, the coalition estimates. In Contra Costa and Alameda counties, Save Mount Diablo, Muir Heritage and Tri-Valley Conservancy land trusts have preserved some 12,800 acres or 20 square miles of fields, range land, marshes and vineyards in the last decade.... Bush Administration Stonewalling Public on Phantom Roads Conservationists sued the federal government late Thursday for continuing to withhold documents from the public concerning their supposedly open process for resolving claims to disputed dirt tracks across Utah and the rest of the West. The lawsuit, filed by Earthjustice on behalf of The Wilderness Society and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, challenges the Department of the Interior’s failure to release public information concerning jeep tracks and cattle paths claimed as constructed highways by Utah and other western state and county governments under the repealed Civil War-era law known as R.S. 2477.... Yakima Valley water supply drops Citing low rainfall and high snowmelt from warm temperatures, the Bureau of Reclamation has dropped its estimate of summer water supplies for many farmers in the Yakima Valley. The federal agency on Tuesday projected that junior water rights holders could get only 65 percent of a normal water supply. Junior water rights users account for more than half of the 460,000-acre Yakima Irrigation Project, which stretches from Kittitas County to Benton County. People who hold older, senior water rights will get a full supply of water this year, the agency estimated.... USDA: Wetlands increase at 131,400 acres U.S. farmers and ranchers have produced a net gain of more than 130,000 acres of wetlands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Thursday. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, in ceremonies associated with Earth Day, said most of the increases occurred in the Corn Belt and delta states where people have been participating with the Wetlands Reserve Program, Conservation Reserve Program and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.... Maasai head to Arizona to swap cattle lore Maasai warriors and Arizona cowboys appreciate many of the same things -- healthy cattle, roasted meat and the open plains -- so it's no wonder they struck up a friendship. A group of Maasai departed for Arizona on Wednesday to learn how to merge ancient Kenyan traditions with modern American agro-economics, reciprocation for a visit by a group of Arizona cowboys in 2002. Ranchers from the Douglas, Ariz.-based Malpai Borderlands Group will be showing off the conservation and economic benefits of open rangelands when Maasai from Kenya and Tanzania spend a week with them.... OCM says Judge Wrong to Throw out Pickett Verdict on Technicalities: Plaintiff’s Will Appeal The Organization for Competitive Markets today expressed extreme disappointment in the decision, released today, of Judge Lyle E. Strom to overturn the $1.28 billion jury verdict in the Pickett v. Tyson Fresh Meats trial. The order was based on technicalities, not the finding that captive supplies harm price. The attorneys for the 30,000 cattlemen plaintiffs have said that they will appeal the ruling. Judge Strom left intact the finding that captive supplies harmed all cash sellers of fed cattle to Tyson in the amount of nearly $1.3 billion. The Court also left intact the finding by the jury that the market for fed cattle is national. However, the Court found that there were legitimate business reasons for captive supply, specifically (1) that Tyson was guaranteed a consistent, reliable supply of cattle and (2) that Tyson needed captive supplies to meet the competition where other packers engaged in the practice.... Canada eases meat import rules The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Friday that it was changing import requirements to allow a wider range of meat and meat products to be imported from the United States. Canada had restricted imports of various American products after bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease, was detected in Washington state in December. The agency said that effective immediately, Canada will let U.S. exporters ship products from cattle younger than 30 months old, including boneless and bone-in beef.... TRAIL TALES: A conquistador's footprints People were living here in 1540 when an expedition led by Francisco VÝsquez de Coronado arrived in this part of New Mexico searching for fabled golden kingdoms with names such as Cibola and Quivira. Coronado, who turned 30 in 1540, was the governor of the Mexican province of New Galicia, northwest of Mexico City. On April 22, 1540, he set out from Old Mexico to scour what is now the American Southwest for fantastic treasures rumored to exist there.... Custer historians vs. L.A. Times While the Los Angeles Times was awarded five Pulitzer Prizes for its work in 2003, one of its editorials in that year, on May 17, headlined: "Custer Saga's Other Side," has evoked the headline: "L.A. Times Ignores Facts – and Rebuttal." The Advocate is published by lifelong historians like Bill Wells and Wayne Sarf, Ph.D. With other members of the Custer Battlefield Historical and Museum Association, they regularly contend with assorted "politically correct" efforts to distort what really happened at the Battle of Little Big Horn on June 25, 1876.... It's All Trew: Farm experiences prove animals not so helpless As my lifetime of animal experience passes in review, I distinctly remember begin trampled, tromped, kicked, pawed, butted, horned and stepped on countless times. My body has been bitten, punctured, scratched and skewered, requiring tetanus shots, antibiotics, stitches, bandages, trusses and casts in order to recover. My life has been endangered as I've been treed in mesquites, on top of pickups, gates and fence posts. My bones have been slammed against barns, truck bumpers, cactus and barbed wire fences, all while trying to help these so-called helpless creatures. Now, in the final quarter of life's game, with little playing time left, I look up at the scoreboard and see Helpless Animals 96, and Delbert Trew 2. In my opinion, anyone who calls animals "helpless" has never owned anything except a toothless, anemic, neutered Chihuahua....

Thursday, April 22, 2004


Old-growth Logging Sparks Controversy on Earth Day These sales are being cut just days after new Bush Administration rule changes go into effect that make it easier to log mature and old-growth forests. Under new rules, federal agencies are no longer required to conduct wildlife and plant survey for rare species in old-growth forests. It is now up to volunteer citizen surveyors to locate and document rare and threatened wildlife and plants in these forests. Citizens surveying the Blue River Face Timber Sale found what is possibly the largest known population of the rare old-growth specklebelly lichen in the Pacific Northwest. Under previous rules, the Forest Service would have been required to protect this rare habitat. Under the new rules, logging can now proceed in areas where rare species are found. Forest activists are not taking the rule changes and subsequent logging lightly.... Forest Service seeks input on need for drought policy for grazing Environmentalists say allowing cattle to graze in drought-stricken forests causes enormous damage. The U.S. Forest Service is trying to find out if other groups agree. The Southwestern Region of the Forest Service is asking a cross-section of groups whether it should come up with a regional drought policy. The groups that are being asked to comment range from cattlemen to environmentalists like Forest Guardians.... Wide-ranging deal cut on Feather River Resource agencies and recreation and conservation groups have reached an agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. that promises to enhance fish and wildlife habitat and increase recreational opportunities in the upper Feather River area of Plumas County. The landmark accord, scheduled to be signed today, defies the adage that water is for fighting over.... Protections for Wildlife Criticized One was a blue butterfly found in only one meadow in the Angeles National Forest near Wrightwood. Another was a rare fish in a spring at the California-Nevada border. Both are among 114 species that have become extinct since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, in most cases because of lengthy delays in gaining protection, according to a study released Wednesday by an environmental group. The Center for Biological Diversity reviewed 20 years' worth of government and academic records tracking the disappearance of species, including delicate plants and fruits, little-known turtles, birds and other animals.... Go here(pdf) to see the CBD report.... Wyo. Sues U.S. Over Wolf-Plan Rejection Wyoming sued the government Thursday over its rejection of the state's wolf management plan. In a complaint filed in federal court, the state accused the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of exceeding its authority, ignoring science and violating the Federal Procedures Act in rejecting the Wyoming plan. "The (agency) disregarded the best scientific and commercial data available ... and rejected the Wyoming plan based on political considerations, fear of litigation by environmental groups, and speculation regarding Montana and Idaho adopting plans similar to the Wyoming plan," the state argued.... Newspaper ads decry Alaska wolf-kill program Defenders of Wildlife is running advertisements in the nation's biggest newspapers decrying a program where wolves in Alaska are being shot from airplanes. In large letters, the full-page ads in The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times say: "Stop the Aerial Killing of Wolves in Alaska!".... Sounding the Alarm Even some Republicans are starting to sound the alarm on Bush's environmental record. One of them is Russell Train, one of the major players in the creation of both federal environmental policies and agencies under Nixon, and the second ever EPA chief, and is still active in environmental causes. Train has written a memoir, Politics, Pollution and Pandas, a fascinating memoir of his experiences as an environmentalist, which, on top of his government service, included a stint as head the World Wildlife Fund.... Editorial: Indefensible pollution LAST YEAR the Defense Department succeeded in using Congress's wartime deference to the military to win waivers for its training operations from the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammals Protection Act. This year the Pentagon wants to go even further by having its training ranges exempted from laws governing air pollution, munitions disposal, and toxic wastes. Members of Congress, which held a hearing on the Pentagon's request yesterday, should say no.... Bush Administration Commits to Increasing Wetlands Nationwide President Bush celebrated Earth Day 2004 by announcing an aggressive new national goal to achieve an overall increase America's wetlands each year. The President's goal is to restore, improve and protect at least three million additional acres of wetlands over the next five years. "The Bush Administration is committed to enhancing America's valuable wetlands and will continue to provide regulatory protection," said EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt. "We will partner with federal, state, local, and private entities to meet the President's goal of increasing the quantity and quality of wetlands nationwide.".... Norton's visit to Yosemite overshadowed by court ruling Interior Secretary Gale Norton's Earth Day visit to Yosemite National Park was overshadowed Thursday by a court ruling earlier this week that halted plans to protect the Merced River that were opposed by some environmental groups. Norton said the Bush Administration was considering its options after Tuesday's ruling by a federal appeals court halted seven major projects already under way. The plan was drawn up by the Clinton administration.... Experts Study Ancient Boat Found in Idaho Archeologists and divers are studying what may be an ancient dugout canoe found submerged under 40 feet of water in Lake Pend Oreille. Matthew Russell, an underwater archaeologist with the National Park Service headquartered in Santa Fe, N.M., said it may take several weeks to determine the canoe's age and origin.... Man admits selling bad seed to BLM A Utah man has admitted selling bad seed to the federal Bureau of Land Management, which planned to use the seed to help rehabilitate areas scorched by wildfire. Boyd Goble, a 65-year-old retired teacher from Gunnison, pleaded guilty Tuesday to 25 federal felony counts for providing 155,000 pounds of falsely labeled fourwing saltbush seed to the BLM. Charges against his son, Jeffrey Goble, will be dismissed, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Mackey.... Feds support giving Ariz. land to tribe The Bush administration on Wednesday said it supports Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva's controversial bill to return 16,000 acres in Arizona that straddle Interstate 10 to the Colorado River Indian Tribes' reservation. The 25-square-mile parcel about 175 miles west of Phoenix near Quartzsite and the California-Arizona line was removed from the reservation by President Wilson 86 years ago amid tribal disputes with miners and cattlemen.... The Green Difference As President Bush and John Kerry circle each other warily in the early days of the presidential campaign, focusing mainly on war and economic recovery, there's another issue that could make the key difference in a close race. It's the environment. There are dramatic differences in tone and approach between the presumptive candidates here. As a result, the issue is more politically significant than it has been since former Interior Secretary James Watt's pyrotechnic presence early in the Reagan administration 20 years ago.... Biologist watches pronghorn trek; Migration estimated to be 6,000 years old With spring in bloom, hundreds of pronghorn in western Wyoming are now wandering north toward Grand Teton National Park, completing a seasonal migration that's at least 6,000 years old and the longest for any land-roaming mammal between Argentina and Canada. The journey isn't easy. The 300-mile round trip includes mountain passes and three bottlenecks where the trail squeezes into narrow passageways among cliffs, roads and rivers. The ancient ritual - which begins with a trip south in September and a return trek in April - helps ensure that the pronghorn escape starvation and the deep snows of winter.... Environmentalists want four species added to endangered list A lawsuit has been filed by environmental groups seeking to have four small invertebrate animals that live in the Pecos River basin of New Mexico and Texas designated endangered species. The lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and Forest Guardians was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Interior Secretary Gale Norton.... Earth Day Is Cause for Celebration The ninth annual Index of Leading Environmental Indicators, released today by the Pacific Research Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, shows that the environment continues to be America's single greatest policy success. Environmental quality has improved so much, in fact, that it is nearly impossible to paint a grim, gloom-and-doom picture anymore.... Go here for the report....Column: On Earth Day, Don’t Forget the Victims of Environmentalism “Repent!” That’s the message of Earth Day, according to many in the environmental movement. They see it as a quasi-religious occasion when we should all confess and convert because of our sins against Mother Nature. But the real need for repentance is from the environmentalists themselves: or at least from the zealots who push alarmism and regulatory overkill. Too many environmentalist campaigns have ended up harming humans without appreciably helping the environment.... Column: Celebrate Earth Day! Once again Earth Day has come around, traditionally a day of baleful prophecies. A better Earth Day activity would be review of the actual environmental record, which will lead to more upbeat activities. Consider first the state of the air. As reported by the Environmental Protection Agency, aggregate emissions of air pollutants have declined 25 percent since 1970, notwithstanding increases of 40 percent in population, 43 percent in energy use, and 165 percent in real GDP.... Column: Who lost Earth Day? Groups debate legacy of environmental policies Earth Day is dying, some conservative environmentalists say, as a result of liberal politics run amok. But the Sierra Club blames President Bush for the holiday's mixed legacy. "Earth Day committed suicide because of its policies," said Norris McDonald, president of the African-American Environmentalist Association. "It just lost its mind." McDonald and other speakers at a gathering of conservative environmentalists on the annual Earth Day celebration blamed the Kyoto protocol, bans on DDT and "radical" environmentalists for keeping the Third World poor in "cycle of death.".... Now Greens Want to Ban Diapers As environmentalists celebrate the 34th annual Earth Day, some in the green movement are now advocating "diaper-free" babies to help save the planet. Citing concerns about plastic disposable diapers clogging landfills and the amount of washing and detergents that cloth diapers require, many environmentalists are taking a page from tribal cultures and seeking to eliminate the use of the baby diapers altogether....

Wednesday, April 21, 2004


California Logging Drops Sharply Logging in California has decreased more than 60 percent over the last 15 years, even as the fast-growing state consumes more imported timber, state records show. The number of board feet harvested last year was 1.66 billion, down from 4.67 billion in 1988. Logging has declined particularly on California public lands because of environmental concerns, including protection of endangered species.... U.S. anti-logging activist seeks refugee status in Canada to avoid extradition Tre Arrow, one of the FBIs most wanted fugitives for his alleged role in the 2001 firebombing of logging and cement trucks in Oregon, launched an appeal Wednesday to remain in Canada as a refugee and avoid extradition, Canadian officials said. Obtaining refugee status would prevent authorities from extraditing Tre Arrow to the United States. The refugee appeal hearing was held behind closed doors, said government lawyer Jim Murray.... Tribes seek federal lands access to keep threats off reservations California Indian leaders told lawmakers Wednesday that they want the ability to cut trees, shore up hillsides and undertake other projects on nearby federal lands in order to keep disasters like wildfires and mudslides off their reservations. Legislation introduced in the wake of last fall's devastating Southern California wildfires, which burned parts of 11 Indian reservations, would allow tribes nationwide to do that. The Tribal Forest Protection Act, which has bipartisan support in the House and the Senate, would let tribes apply to the federal government for contracts to work on U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management property near their reservations.... Column: The all-terrain vehicle industry's advertising too often promotes unethical and environmentally harmful use of its products Today, given the revelations in this report on all-terrain vehicle advertising, it appears that we need to once again "take 'em to the woodshed." Some of the paid messages in ATV advertising today are worse than those old Range Rover ads. Adding insult to injury, many of the scenes promoting joyous destruction carry the Tread Lightly! logo. "TL," born in the U.S. Forest Service, was designed to reduce damage to wild America — damage primarily caused by unethical and destructive use of off-road vehicles of all types....Go here(pdf) to view the Isaac Walton League report.... Stephens' kangaroo rat could be removed from endangered species list The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed Wednesday to review whether the Stephens' kangaroo rat, a bane of farmers in parts of Southern California, should remain on the endangered species list. The Riverside County Farm Bureau petitioned the agency for the removal of the rat, a medium-sized, broad-faced burrow dweller that lives primarily in western Riverside County and parts of San Diego and San Bernardino counties. The rat's habitat can be damaged by many agricultural uses, including overgrazing.... Water districts sue over federal deal Central Valley water districts Tuesday sued the federal government for $500 million over complaints that the government broke promises to deliver water from New Melones Reservoir. By coming to the little-known but deep-pocketed U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the water districts and their San Joaquin County allies hope for a financial solution to a problem that has vexed them for more than a decade. The city of Stockton, San Joaquin County, the Stockton East Water District and Central San Joaquin Water Conservation District all contend the federal Bureau of Reclamation was obliged to deliver certain amounts of New Melones water. The local agencies estimate they spent $65 million building tunnels and aqueducts in anticipation of the reservoir water.... Walden issues Earth Day message on forest health The causes of these fires aren't complicated. A century of fire suppression coupled with a near abandonment of responsible thinning practices in our forests has resulted in unnatural catastrophic fires in the West and across much of the United States. The build-up of hazardous fuels has produced fires that ignite faster, burn hotter and spread more quickly than anything we've ever seen. And more often than not, when federal land managers attempt to thin overstocked forests, their efforts are met with legal appeals and injunctions by those who oppose any and all human activity on public lands, no matter how well intentioned.... Sportsmen Join Kerry Campaign Effort to Make Conservation a National Priority As a lifelong sportsmen, John Kerry has long known the importance of clean water, abundant habit and sound wildlife management for America's hunters and anglers. Today in Louisiana, John Kerry talked about the importance of conservation to America's sportsmen and announced the formation of Sportsmen for Kerry, a new effort by hunters and fishermen across America to join Kerry in fighting for rich habitats and abundant wildlife.... Anti-Migrant Slate Rejected by Sierra Club A bitter battle that exposed deep divisions over the direction of America's conservation movement reached culmination with the announcement Wednesday that Sierra Club members had overwhelmingly rejected a campaign by immigration control advocates to control the venerable environmental group. In what was termed the largest voter turnout in the Sierra Club's 112-year history, more than 22% of the group's 757,000 members cast ballots to select its governing board. The votes, which were submitted by members in March and April, were tallied Wednesday. The members elected a slate backed by the club's leaders and which received more than 110,000 votes apiece....

Tuesday, April 20, 2004


Agile fishers' future shaky Fishers, seldom-seen animals about the size of a large house cat, once ranged throughout the old-growth forests of the Northwest. Despite their name, they don't fish. The primarily nocturnal animals eat a variety of medium-sized forest prey, such as rabbits, hare, grouse and squirrels. They're best known for their ability to kill porcupines. "They're definitely the most effective predator for porcupines," said Keith Aubry, a fisher expert and wildlife biologist with the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station in Olympia. But the agile, tree-climbing carnivores are in trouble.... GAO rejects union appeals in job competitions Federal employee unions and workers lost a precedent-setting effort to contest the outcomes of public-private job competitions before the General Accounting Office. However, Comptroller General David Walker urged Congress to resurrect proposals from last year to extend such privileges to federal workers. GAO April 19 denied several protests filed by the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) and the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), determining that federal employees and their representatives are ineligible to appeal competitive-sourcing decisions outside of their agencies. The NFFE protest was filed by Forest Service workers in California over a competition awarded to SERCO Management Services Inc. for vehicle maintenance.... Enviros promise renewed fight over Gallatin logging plans The Gallatin National Forest is renewing efforts to move ahead with logging northeast of Gardiner, and environmental groups say they will continue to fight the proposal. “We’re committed to not let it drop,” said Hank Rate of the Gardiner-based Bear Creek Council. Sarah Johnson of the Native Ecosystems Council said it also plans an appeal. Forest officials have spent five years on environmental studies, treer counts and court battles over the proposed Darroch Eagle sale.... D.C. hearings on fee demo bills set Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Ohio - who authored the bill creating the program - is pushing to expand the fee demonstration structure and make it permanent. Regula's bill, which would require recreationists to buy a public lands "passport" for all land managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation, is being debated in Congress. Rep. George Radanovich, R-Calif., chairman of the House public lands subcommittee, plans a legislative hearing on House Resolution 3283 for May 6.... State unveils sage grouse management plan Hoping not to get "bit in the backside" by a federal endangered species listing, the state of Montana on Tuesday released its own plan for conserving sage grouse. Regionwide, the sage grouse populations are down by 86 percent, the victim of widespread loss of sagebrush grasslands to all manner of development. But by FWP's estimation, sage grouse are scattered across 27 million acres of sagebrush grassland in Montana, and inhabit 39 of 56 counties.... Authorities kill destructive Wyoming grizzly A grizzly bear with a penchant for breaking and entering - and for leaving the scene before being captured - was caught and killed in northwest Wyoming last week. It was the first grizzly this year to be euthanized for problem behavior. Wyoming Game and Fish officials caught the 5-year-old bear just after he broke windows and damaged two buildings along Highway 212 near the Montana border. The 400-pound male had gotten into buildings in years past but slipped away after game officials put up traps to catch him.... Coalition wants farming to stop on KF refuges Some see the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges as half-full of water. A coalition of conservation groups released a report about the six Basin refuges last week, hoping to draw attention to what they say is the unspoken part of the Klamath water situation.... Taking on the Pentagon Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar on Monday assailed Bush administration and Department of Defense efforts to exempt the military from the nation's keystone environmental laws. Releasing the Pentagon from the tapestry of ecological protections could hobble cleanup work at several current and former military sites in Colorado, Salazar said, including the former Lowry Bombing and Gunnery Range, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal and the Pueblo Chemical Depot. "From my perspective, it is just bad national policy to exempt the nation's biggest polluter, the federal government, from the same environmental laws that states, local governments and private industries must comply with," said Salazar, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.... States Pan Pentagon's Enviro Plans The attorneys general of 39 states urged Congress Monday to reject a U.S. military request for exemptions from environmental laws. Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar said there is no evidence that the three requested changes would aid training or the movement of tanks and weapons, as the military claims.... Feds to conduct review of protected bull trout The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday it is conducting a 5-year review of bull trout, which are protected as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The 5-year review, as required for all listed species under the ESA, will assess the best available information on how bull trout have fared since they were listed for protection across their range in the lower 48 states in 1999. This will include analyses of population data and threats to the species.... Bush policies anger hunters, anglers When hunting and fishing enthusiasts gathered at President Bush's ranch last week to talk about protecting wild places that are dear to outdoorsmen, Scott Stouder wasn't among them. And that's probably just as well, since this coordinator for the 135,000-member Trout Unlimited might have given Bush a piece of his mind. Stouder has a solid history of voting Republican - for Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush Sr. and George W. But this year, he says, "I would vote for John Kerry. The things this administration is doing to our public lands are inexcusable.".... Endangered rat threatens park Plan A didn't pan out. Plan B doesn't look so hot. Redlands may be running out of options in its efforts to build a softball and soccer complex. Redlands officials have hit a major snag in their efforts to appease federal wildlife officials and provide adequate habitat for an endangered kangaroo rat, required for the Redlands Sports Park to proceed.... Colorado cutthroat won't be listed Federal officials won't consider the Colorado River cutthroat trout for listing under the Endangered Species Act, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials announced Tuesday. USFWS officials concluded that a petition to list the Colorado River cutthroat trout as threatened or endangered under the ESA did not provide substantial biological information to indicate a listing is warranted.... Appeals court blocks Yosemite Valley plan A federal appeals court on Tuesday blocked a federal plan for Yosemite Valley, heeding critics who said the plan had more to do with development than restoration in the national park. Included in the $441 million plan is a project to replace employee housing, lodging and campsites destroyed when the Merced River crested its banks in 1997, said Greg Adair, founder and co-director of Friends of Yosemite Valley. That project is already under way, but will be put on hold by Tuesday's court ruling, he said. It will take at least a year to redraft the plan and hold proper public hearings, estimated Adair, whose organization sued and won the order along with Mariposans for Environmentally Responsible Growth.... Craters of the Moon decision appealed A Hailey-based environmental group has filed an appeal against the Bureau of Land Management for its alleged decision to permit increased livestock grazing in the Laidlaw Park area of Craters of the Moon National Monument. The action, filed by Western Watersheds Project with the Department of the Interior's Office of Hearings and Appeals, follows a decision by BLM Shoshone Field Office Manager Bill Baker to allow livestock to graze at levels greater than recent averages on public lands the group said are already degraded by grazing.... Interior Dept, Nat'l Park Service Sued For Revoking Pro-Life Groups' Permit A legal group filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the federal government for revoking a permit issued to pro-life groups to display pro-life signs in the nation's capital this weekend, to counter an upcoming pro-abortion march.... Jailed rancher won't budge over grazing A year in prison didn't change Wally Klump's mind about running his cattle on federal land. So the 71-year-old Willcox rancher, who spent most of his life rounding up steers and riding fences under Arizona skies, was ordered to remain behind bars Monday by U.S. District Judge John Roll. Klump has not been convicted of any crime, but he is being held in contempt of court because he refuses to remove his cows from Simmons Peak Allotment, a chunk of Dos Cabezas Mountains owned by the Bureau of Land Management.... Rancher ordered to move cattle from tortoise habitat In a move to protect desert tortoises, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management ordered a Mojave Desert rancher to remove her cattle from a part of her allotment where the threatened reptiles are active. Anthony Chavez, a BLM rangeland management specialist, said Tuesday that 45 to 50 cattle belonging to Cathey Smith have been in and wandering near an off-limits area since March 14. Smith of Hinkley didn't immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. Chavez said part of the problem is that the cattle are calving and she doesn't want to move them while they are giving birth.... National Environmental Groups Launch Campaign to Defeat President Bush Leading members of the national environmental community today formally launched at a press conference rally the "Environmental Victory Project," an unprecedented grassroots effort with the singular goal of defeating President George W. Bush and electing John Kerry in November. The Environmental Victory Project (EVP) coalition includes the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, Friends of the Earth Action and the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). This is a unique coalition that demonstrates the extent of the political coordination inside the environmental community in 2004 and the unity of purpose among environmentalists in the effort to defeat George Bush. The Environmental Victory Project will target four battleground states -- Florida, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin.... Black Canyon suit to go forward A lawsuit challenging the federal government's right to sacrifice national park resources to aid state economic development will proceed in federal court after a ruling last week. U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer of Wyoming rejected a request by the Interior Department and the state of Colorado to dismiss a suit challenging a federal decision to abandon a valuable water right in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.... Feds: No motor access to gold mine The owner of a gold mine inside the Kalmiopsis Wilderness on the Siskiyou National Forest has lost one court battle over his right to drive to his property, but is continuing his fight. The U.S. Forest Service recently agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by environmentalists by withdrawing their 1998 decision granting Carl Alleman of Selma motorized access to the land. After Alleman refused the terms of a special use permit granting him eight motor vehicle trips per year to his property, located 12 miles inside the wilderness boundary, the Forest Service felt it had better use for its money than to defend its decision to give him access, Illinois Valley District Ranger Pam Bode said Tuesday. Alleman said he is awaiting the outcome of his own lawsuit against the Forest Service. It claims The Wilderness Act and the 1866 Mining Act both grant him the right to drive to his 60 acres in southwestern Oregon's Klamath Mountains. He had been planning to turn the property into a wilderness resort, but since the forest burned in the 2002 Biscuit fire, he said he wants to mine the gold.... Black Activists Condemn Elitist "Earth Day" Elitist environmental activists observing "Earth Day" on April 22 are promoting a regulatory agenda hostile to minority ambitions for economic and social advancement. Members of the African-American leadership network Project 21 prefer an alternative environmental justice agenda that ensures human welfare is not sacrificed to meet regulatory goals. "Most people in our country favor things such as clean air that are raised on Earth Day. However, I believe that Earth Day has changed into an opportunity for socialists and others with interests in slowing down our economy to suppress the resource development, exploration and production that our country needs to maintain our quality of life," said Project 21's Ak'Bar Shabazz. Policies advocated by the environmentalist establishment show little regard for the economic priorities of the average American, and can be even harder on poor and minority citizens.... Court Upholds Tribal Power It Once Denied The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Indian tribes have the authority to prosecute members of other tribes for crimes committed on their reservations. And because tribes act as sovereign nations in such prosecutions, the court said, ordinary principles of double jeopardy do not apply and do not bar the federal government from bringing a subsequent prosecution for the same offense. The 7-to-2 decision was welcomed by Indian tribes, which in a 1990 Supreme Court decision lost the authority to enforce their criminal laws against members of other tribes. Congress promptly amended the Indian Civil Rights Act to restore that power. The case on Monday required the Supreme Court to decide both the nature and the validity of the Congressional action.... 'Indian Country' rulings create jurisdiction questions U.S. Attorney David Iglesias said a series of conflicting court decisions have created "prosecution-free zones" on thousands of acres in New Mexico. In cases from Taos, Pojoaque and Santa Clara pueblos, criminal charges have been dismissed or are stalled as judges wrestle with whether private land that was formerly within pueblo boundaries legally constitutes "Indian Country.".... Column: "Ole Man River" is endangered The mighty Mississippi made the news all across the nation when it appeared on the American Rivers "Ten Most Endangered Rivers" list. By the amount of publicity this list receives, we would assume important alarming information is alerting us to serious conditions on our nation's rivers. Apparently the criteria for this list is in what "the listers" consider endangers a river. The Mississippi River was placed on this list, not because it is too muddy or polluted, but because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommended two new locks and dams and a plan to remodel some of the current antiquated locks and dams along the river.... Fed water policy flayed While world and U.S. leaders seem focused like a laser on oil, key Western senators howled Tuesday that the Bush administration is not paying enough attention — or cash — to water in the parched Mountain West. They complained in a hearing that the administration's proposed 2005 budget for federal water agencies is $180 million short of needs for reasonable ongoing operation — even while the area is in drought. Worse, they said it does not seek any new dams or long-term development to keep ahead of growing needs in the West.... April rains reduce Mexico water debt to Texas A single week of April rains significantly reduced Mexico's Rio Grande water debt to the United States, but some U.S. farmers and officials remained skeptical of Mexico's intentions to pay what it owes. Rain from the week ending April 10 brought at least 143,000 acre feet of water into the two binational reservoirs along the Rio Grande, officials said Tuesday. About one-third of that water went toward Mexico's debt, bringing it to about 920,000 acre feet.... Water wars theme of Wyo film As a kid, Bill Dahlin used to deliver the local newspaper by horseback. Now the Sheridan, Wyo., businessman is bankrolling and producing the first Western movie to be shot in Wyoming in many years. Casting for "Thicker Than Water" starts Saturday at Sheridan Community College. "It's a contemporary Western with old West genre or flavor," Dahlin said. "It has the good guys, the bad guys, the fair lady and the family dynamics. It kind of skims around water rights, as well.".... Japan rejects U.S. argument on cattle testing Japan has rejected arguments in a U.S. trade report that testing of all slaughtered cattle is not necessary to protect against mad cow disease, and will retain its ban on imports of U.S. beef until such testing is done, government officials said Wednesday.... Records contradict USDA's mad cow decision The agency recently had said animals that young are not old enough to test positive for mad cow, even if they were infected, and used that as the basis for blocking Creekstone Farms, of Arkansas City, Kan., proposal to voluntarily test all its cattle -- nearly all of which were under the age of 30 months -- for mad cow disease. However, the USDA's mad cow testing records for 2002 and 2003, which were obtained by United Press International, show the federal agency tested 2,051 animals -- and possibly more -- from the past two years that were under the age of 30 months.... Cows "Mad as Hell" After Learning of Deportation to US Outraged cattle formed a barrier across the Trans-Canada Highway near Medicine Hat, Alberta today, to protest a US decision to lift the ban on imported beef from Canada. Traffic was backed up from the BC to Alberta borders while angry drivers were heard yelling "shoot the bastards, over loud mooing." A spokesperson for the angry animals stated the cattle felt it was too early to lift the ban on imports and believed more cases of BSE were likely to appear. Another major concern of the bovine demonstrators was the very likelihood of "certain death and being eaten"when the border ban is lifted....

Monday, April 19, 2004


Law enforcement dogs a vital force in the Forest Service Had the suspect surrendered fast enough, the dog could have been stopped in his tracks by a single-word command. However, after a short struggle, the now subdued assailant raises his hands and United States Forest Service officer Kayla Jaquith calls her dog off. Quick, the plush-haired German shepherd K-9, lets go of his prey and makes a wide circle around the suspect. Quick keeps his dark brown eyes on the suspect and anyone else near the scene, all the while alert for other potential dangers.... Battle Over Rock Rights For a number of extreme athletes, Cave Rock is considered an ideal place to test themselves, but for the Washo Tribe of California and Nevada near Lake Tahoe the area is among the group's most sacred places and they don't want it desecrated by rock climbers. "All we're asking for is some consideration of our history and interest in things we love and want to take care of and pass on to our children," said Brian Wallace, Washo Tribal chairman. In 1999, the Forest Service limited recreational climbing at Cave Rock and prohibited placement of any additional climbing irons to protect the site. But climbers call the site one of the country's premier climbing spots and said the land should be free for everyone's use.... USFS seeks Hispanic workers Just weeks before fire season, 500 U.S. Forest Service firefighter positions in California sit vacant as the regional office supervising the state's national forests continues its hiring freeze and prepares to hold urban job fairs aimed at Hispanic job seekers. The freeze began April 5, the same day Regional Forester Jack Blackwell received a harsh letter detailing the Forest Service's "severe lack of progress" in boosting the number of Hispanics in its ranks.... Four lynx hit the wild In a high mountain meadow ringed by spruce and an occasional aspen north of Pagosa Springs, four lynx set foot in the wilds for the first time Sunday since they were trapped in Canada several months ago. The lynx - a pair of 5-year-old males from British Columbia and 1- and 4-year-old females from Quebec - are among 37 lynx scheduled to be released in Colorado this spring. The species, found in most high Colorado forests in the late 1800s, was last seen in state in the 1970s.... BLM aims to replant weed-infested rangeland The Bureau of Land Management hopes to replant 25 million acres of public rangeland infested with cheatgrass, a non-native, invasive weed that is altering the range´s natural fire cycle and damaging wildlife habitat. As part of the Great Basin Restoration Initiative, the BLM is working with the U.S. Forest Service´s Rocky Mountain Research Station in Boise to propagate native seeds that have largely been unavailable for range rehabilitation.... Officials hail U.S. Supreme Court's refusal as victory for downstream states The U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear an appeal on the management of the Missouri River is a victory for downstream states that could affect the way the battle progresses from here, Nebraska officials said. On Monday, the high court refused to intervene on a 2003 decision by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had to abide by the 1944 Flood Control Act. The ruling directed the corps to maintain levels high enough downstream for navigation and give lower priority to recreation and fish and wildlife. Montana and the Dakotas appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, opposing the corps' release of water from their reservoirs to provide relief for down-river barge traffic from Sioux City, Iowa, to St. Louis.... Officials say predator control program boosts waterfowl nesting success The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this year is continuing a predator trapping program aimed at boosting waterfowl nesting success. Ten 23,000-acre sites in North Dakota are being managed for predators this year. The effort that involves removing such animals as skunks, raccoons and fox has doubled and in some cases tripled or even quadrupled nesting success in some areas in the past, said Roger Hollevoet, a Fish and Wildlife spokesman in Devils Lake.... Interior official defends wilderness policy Scarlett pointed to steps that the Interior Department has taken to implement Secretary Gale Norton's land-use policy, which Scarlett touted as a tool that enables the Bureau of Land Management to negotiate land disputes at the local level as opposed to dictating solutions. The policy reaffirms that only Congress can create a wilderness area, but the BLM can inventory areas for wilderness qualities. It grew out of a lawsuit settlement in April 2003 between the Bush administration and former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt in which Norton agreed to rescind orders from the Clinton administration that gave interim wilderness or similar protections to about 6 million acres of BLM holdings.... Judge upholds establishment of Grand Staircase monument A federal judge on Monday affirmed President Clinton's establishment of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, rejecting claims that the president had overstepped his bounds. U.S. District Judge Dee Benson dismissed a 1997 lawsuit brought by an association of Utah counties that claimed the president had violated provisions of the 1906 Antiquities Act in creating the monument in southern Utah.... Environment lags in poll of concerns Green seems to be fading: Gallup's annual Earth Day poll has found that the environment is near the bottom of the nation's concerns, outranking only worries about race relations. Thirty-five percent of Americans fret over the quality of the environment, according to the poll of 1,005 randomly selected adults conducted March 8-11 and released yesterday. It is "not a pressing concern," said Gallup Organization analyst Lydia Saad. The poll has a margin of error of three percentage points.... Interior secretary calls for blueprint for protecting Lake Mead More money and planning are needed to protect the water, recreation and environmental benefits Lake Mead provides to southern Nevada and the surrounding region, federal and local officials said Monday. Interior Secretary Gale Norton toured the shrinking Colorado River reservoir east of fast-growing Las Vegas and said the area needs a blueprint to balance tourism, nature and growth.... The Tragedy Of Tar Creek To get a better view of the situation, John Sparkman guns his flame-red truck up a massive pile of gravel. From the summit, a lifeless brown wasteland stretches to the horizon, like a scene from a science-fiction movie. Mountains of mine tailings, some as tall as 13-story buildings, others as wide as four football fields, loom over streets, homes, churches and schools. Dust, laced with lead, cadmium and other poisonous metals, blows off the man-made hills and 800 acres of dry settling ponds. "It gets in your teeth," says Sparkman, head of a local citizens' group. "It cakes in your ears and hair. It's like we've been environmentally raped.".... Rodeo bulls may have illegally crossed border Two federal agencies and the Montana Department of Livestock are looking into why bulls that had been on the roster at a rodeo in Taber, Alberta, on May 23, 2003, appeared later that summer at events in Montana and other states, including rodeos held July 11 in Butte and July 24 in Helena. The animals are quarantined at Greg Kesler's Helena-area ranch. Kesler operates a rodeo stock supply business with his brother, Duane Kesler, of McGrath, Alberta.... Sunnyside farmer rebuilds herd after mad cow disease A Sunnyside cattleman whose herd of calves was slaughtered following the discovery of mad cow disease in Washington state has begun to rebuild his herd. In January, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials loaded up Sergio Madrigal's 449 calves and hauled them away to slaughter. One calf in the herd was believed to have been an offspring of a Mabton dairy cow that was identified with mad cow disease on Dec. 23.... Mad cow testing issue divides cattle industry If government regulators allow Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to test all its cattle for mad cow disease, it would start a "domino effect" resulting in other countries and domestic consumers insisting on 100 percent testing, a competitor said Monday. Steve Hunt, chief executive officer of Kansas City-based U.S. Premium Beef, said that the cost to the industry would be nearly $1 billion a year - a cost that the industry cannot expect consumers to cover.... EPA threatens to snuff prairie fires In the Flint Hills, burning pastures is an essential rite of spring that assures fresh grass for fattening cattle. But now state health officials want ranchers to restrict the time-honored practice, saying it contributes to Kansas City air pollution. Those who depend on the grazing lushness brought by the annual burns say they can't understand the fuss being raised by the bureaucrats.... NCBA blasts Creekstone mad cow testing plan Jan Lyons, president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), said any private industry steps to conduct 100 percent testing "can disrupt negotiations that are ongoing right now with Japan." USDA and NCBA have argued that Japan's demand for testing all 35 million cattle slaughtered each year in the United States is not necessary as most cattle are under 30-months and not old enough to be affected by the disease.... USDA Says Won't Pay Whole Cost of Animal ID System The U.S. government may pay about one-third the estimated $550 million cost to set up an animal identification system, an Agriculture Department official said on Monday, providing the first outline of the Bush administration's financial commitment to the program. Chief economist Keith Collins also said he believed USDA was close to gaining White House approval to dip into emergency funding so it can launch the nationwide ID plan this year.... FDA may significantly widen mad cow proposal The Food and Drug Administration said on Monday that its proposed regulations to prevent mad cow disease in the U.S. food and animal feed supply could be widened significantly from what was initially announced three months ago. Sundlof said the FDA was considering expanding its initial announcement and widening the materials banned from poultry and swine feed to include brains, spinal cord and other central nervous system tissue from cattle aged 30 months and older....

Ag Official Discusses Laney

A top Agriculture Department official visited New Mexico on Monday to meet with livestock industry leaders in hopes of toning down the rhetoric sparked by the federal roundup of rancher Kit Laney's cattle.

Laney and his ex-wife, Sherry Farr, were grazing cattle on the Diamond Bar allotment of the Gila National Forest without a permit. Last month, the Forest Service removed more than 400 head of their cattle for sale at auction.

Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey said he met with the livestock industry in hopes of easing conflicts and persuading ranchers that "we're not a bunch of lying scoundrels and horse thieves."

"The Laney situation is unfortunate because it is defining a broader conflict in a very unhelpful way," Rey said. "I'm most concerned it not become the defining moment for the livestock industry or the Forest Service or the other forest users in New Mexico."

Caren Cowan, executive secretary of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, called Rey's visit "a sign of progress."

Cost of compliance

What is the price of freedom? How many Americans have died to protect our rights?

Yet we have an additional price to pay to protect our right, as a rancher, to convert natural resources into value-added products.

For Kit Laney of New Mexico, part of the price was 25 days in jail without bail. I fear we take many of our rights for granted. Without the intestinal fortitude of a few like Laney, one can only wonder how quickly all of our rights will evaporate.

The Laneys have been ranching this land since 1883. The Gila Wilderness Area was established in 1924. In 1985, Laneys purchased adjacent property called the Diamond Bar. In 1996, Kit Laney refused to purchase a permit after the Forest Service said he had to reduce his herd size. Laney said he couldn't make a living with fewer cattle.

In 1998, the Laneys argued to the Tenth Circuit Court that they should be declared the legal owners of the 145,580-acre Diamond Bar allotment under Territorial law since their predecessors obtained the vested right to water and grazing in the 1880s. In 1999, the Tenth Circuit denied their argument and prohibited the Laneys from grazing the allotments because their grazing permits had expired.

On March 14, 2004, Laney went to the grazing site after hearing that his cattle were being mistreated. He was aware that the Forest Service had hired independent contractors to impound his cattle. Laney ended up in jail and was held without bond for fear that he would return to the grazing site to interrupt the government's seizure of his cattle.

The Catron County Commission has backed Laney, citing the loss of more than 25,000 head of cattle in the county in the past 10 years. This federally mandated herd reduction cost the county more than $1 million in lost revenue. The commission said the Forest Service reneged on numerous written promises and agreements made with ranch families.

As cattlemen, we all agree that natural resources should be managed properly. We want to have our voices heard within the confines of the law rather than by operating illegally. But shouldn't that work both ways? Does the government have a right to operate outside the law?

Cattle were impounded and sold at auction in Guymon, Okla. These cattle came from a brand area. There are strict laws governing transport of livestock out of a brand area. How can the livestock board in New Mexico grant authorization for the sale of undocumented animals outside state lines?

The most disconcerting issue involves harassment by the government of individuals related to the Laneys. In a letter to Phyllis K. Fong, U.S. Department of Agriculture Inspector General, U.S. Congressman Stevan Pearce says, "One allegation that needs investigation is that the private contractor hired to do the roundup actually removed 14 head of horses from private deeded land that neither Forest Service personnel nor the contractor had permission to enter. Forest Service personnel have demanded $650 per horse to return them to the rightful owners. This allegation is troubling enough in its own right, but the fact that there have been numerous other complaints, including harassment of Laney relatives and other ranchers, questionable or illegal road closures and requirement of permits for individuals to enter private property adds to the perception that a concerted effort is being made to drive law abiding New Mexicans from their homes and livelihoods."

What is the real cost of compliance? Do we know with whom we are dealing? The government's goal, driven by special interest groups, appears to be restricting ranchers from grazing public lands.

"We want to put the squeeze on ranchers to get off the land.," says John Horning, the coordinator of the Forest Guardians' anti-grazing campaign. "If some ranchers go out of business along the way, so be it."

That statement was tied to a recent court decision by a federal judge who stated that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management must release the names of banks and the consolidated amount of loans those banks have made to ranchers who are using BLM grazing permits as collateral.

Human beings were given the cranial matter to make decisions regarding the best utilization of resources that will also preserve them for generations. The mere fact that the Laney Ranch can sustain an operation for 121 years until a higher power intervenes should mean something. Do American citizens realize that this isn't about one family trying to continue some long-held tradition? It is about a nation that is losing the freedom to make sound decisions about natural resources essential for providing the necessities of life. Instead of granting control to people like Kit Laney, whose livelihood depends on good stewardship, we are forced to turn the management over to bureaucrats who have nothing to lose if their grandiose theories are proven wrong.

Editor's note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation farmer who wants to bridge the gap from agriculture producers and consumers. In addition to this column, he can be heard daily on his radio program by the same name. Trent can be reached via his website at or e-mail at

Sunday, April 18, 2004


Tiffany's, small town clash over mine It's a long way from Tiffany & Co.'s store in Manhattan to the northwest Montana community of Libby, a humble timber and mining town where houses sell for less than some of the glamorous jeweler's engagement rings. Yet Tiffany's and Libby are oddly linked. They're opponents across a geographic and cultural divide in a dispute over a proposed copper and silver mine in Montana's remote Cabinet Mountains. Despite its reliance on metals and minerals, Tiffany's has sided with people opposing the mine.... Weed 25 million acres, anyone? Botanists attempt to replant range Imagine weeding 25 million acres of open range. That's a garden plot of about 39,000 square miles, nearly the size of Kentucky. Out of about 75 million acres of public rangeland in five Western states including Idaho, about 25 million acres are infested with cheatgrass, said Mike Pellant, coordinator of the Bureau of Land Management's efforts to restore native range habitat in the Great Basin. "The way I look at it, the job security is good," he said. But the good news, Pellant said, has been that people are pulling together to meet the challenge. Cheatgrass, also called June grass, is a non-native, invasive weed imported to the West more than a century ago that has taken over and altered the range's natural fire cycle.... Animal-rights issue is not keeping tourists away Facing a new Alaska program to hunt wolves from airplanes, the animal-rights group Friends of Animals is trying to revive its successful pressure tactic of a decade ago and persuade vacationers to boycott the state this summer. But tourism officials say this time the plea seems to be falling mostly on deaf ears. "It seems for once Outsiders don't care how we do it in Alaska," said Eric Downey, vice president of marketing for Denali Lodges. While tourism officials with the state's largest trade groups say they've received hundreds of e-mails and letters from people who say they're canceling plans for Alaska vacations, they say there is little evidence of the protest in summer bookings.... 'Safe harbors' cut Gordian knot of species conflict But private property is vital for more than half the 1,265 U.S. species listed under the Endangered Species Act, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service. To untie that knot and promote conservation on nonfederal land, the government created "safe-harbor agreements" in the mid-1990s. Former Interior Secretary and Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt promoted them heavily. They've also been favored by the Bush administration. Safe harbors inject some flexibility into the strict Endangered Species Act, which makes it a federal crime to kill, hurt, harass or even pursue a listed creature.... Did frog cost refuge chief his job? The Chiricahua leopard frog may have cost Wayne Shifflett his job as manager of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, south of Three Points. Shifflett's lawyer, Skip Donau, said Friday that Shifflett was put on administrative leave in January by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because of allegations he illegally moved leopard frogs. Donau said Shifflett moved the frogs to save them because the tank they were living in threatened to dry up. Donau would reveal little else about the case, but said Shifflett has still not been charged with any crime. "What he did was in the highest tradition of wildlife management," Donau said.... Ranchers helping leopard frog - a species on the spot In one celebrated case of voluntary conservation, the Magoffin ranching family hauled 1,000 gallons of water per week - in a truck without brakes - to save frogs in a tank of theirs that was drying up in the mid-1990s. But other ranchers here in the southeast corner of Arizona say they were afraid to follow suit because of a paradox of endangered-species policy: If you improve habitat for a listed species, your livelihood may be the one threatened if the area is recolonized or the critters die. Seeking to promote conservation on private lands, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is about to offer a deal to ranchers on 1 million acres in Arizona and New Mexico. Under the so-called safe-harbor agreement, ranchers who accept or attract frogs will be immune from added regulations if frogs arrive or subsequently die off.... Farming family grapples with conservation's impact On a wedge of fertile valley floor just a stone's throw from Interstate 5, the Phillips family farm rolls out the red carpet for wildlife. Owl nesting platforms and raptor perches dot the Phillips vineyards. Wood-duck boxes offer fowl a safe haven near the river. The family grows fruits, flowers and vegetables organically, relying on nature rather than pesticides. But brothers Michael and David Phillips still fret about their county's fledgling habitat conservation plan, which seeks to permanently preserve thousands of acres for rare animals and plants.... Ex-professor's wildlife trial begins Tucked away on a winding country road, the LSU Idlewood Experimental Station is distinguished by its lush rolling hills, thick pine forests and a stillness broken only occasionally by the sounds of rushing wind or lowing cattle. Beginning today, however, the facility is expected to become one of many key subjects in an unusual federal criminal trial in Baton Rouge that will be anything but serene. Mark Johnson, a former tenured wildlife professor and nationally known researcher at Idlewood, stands accused of violating the Lacey Act, one of the oldest and most comprehensive wildlife laws on the books -- as well as wire fraud and tampering with witnesses.... Grizzlies in southwest Alberta awake to roadkill feast Hungry after months of winter slumber, grizzlies in southwestern Alberta are waking up to find a feast of deer and elk roadkill. For the sixth year in a row, staff from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Parks Canada and Volker Stevin Ltd., have teamed up to drop the carcasses of animals killed during the winter on highways near Waterton Lakes National Park into the backcountry where they can be found by grizzlies as they emerge from their dens.... Weapons Moving Out, Wildlife Moving In Ernie Maurer was 20 in the summer of 1942 when the United States Army took his family's farm, along with dozens of others, to create the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, a 27-square-mile chemical weapons complex that became notorious for the deep scars of pollution that were left on the land. On Saturday Mr. Maurer was back, watching as an Army official signed over title on nearly 5,000 acres of arsenal land to the federal Fish and Wildlife Service to create America's newest national wildlife refuge. Mr. Maurer, now 82, pointed to where he picnicked as a child, and where the bomb factories once stood. "It's quite amazing the way things developed," he said.... Column: A land grab unmatched in U.S. history Who owns our national public lands? The nearby local communities? Americans who come to see and enjoy "their" lands, or those who never visit them but still cherish the concept? Businesses that would make money off their rich resources? Whatever administration is in power? You? Me? And who makes the decisions for these public lands? Professional land managers with specialized training or political appointees who may want to benefit party donors? Should decisions be made to gain energy resources, or to protect our lands as a legacy for future generations? No one is making new land, and we're certainly filling up that which we have. When it's gone, there's no replacement.... In Big Sur, war waged over land and lifestyle In Big Sur, they're calling the process "Pac-Man National Park," the bite-by-bite acquisition of private land by government agencies and land trusts. The idea of placing what is arguably the most beautiful stretch of coastline on earth into public hands might seem a good thing to the 4 million people who visit Big Sur each year. But for many Big Sur residents, it signals the destruction of a community that existed before California was a state. And, with the California Coastal Commission and Monterey County making it ever more difficult to develop private land, they say there is often no option but to feed it to the Pac-Man machine.... Seasonal driving limit stirs beach-use debate The family is among an estimated 2.5 million visitors expected to hit Ocean Shores beaches this year. Many drive to the tiny town specifically to enjoy the ocean views by cruising the beaches -- in cars, trucks and mopeds. Beach driving has become an economic boon for local businesses, city officials say. But the popular activity is controversial, and some environmentalists and vacation homeowners would like to see it banned.... GAO to scrutinize Klamath water bank The U.S. General Accounting Office is launching an inquiry into a water account created for the Klamath River in 2002 by buying millions of dollars of water from farmers to send downstream for salmon. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation water bank project reportedly bought $4 million of water in 2003 -- and has more than $4 million available to buy even more water this year -- from farmers along the central California-Oregon border. The billions of gallons of water is intended to improve conditions for threatened salmon in the lower Klamath River.... Rural neighbors growing divided over fencing North Coast -- Good fences are making for some pretty upset neighbors in the rural areas of the North Coast. Neighboring landowners have long split the costs for fences that separate their properties. At least that's been the "handshake" agreement for the past 100 years, according to Walter Fitzhugh, a Cambria native who runs cattle on the family ranch on Santa Rosa Creek Road.... Alternative energy industry a potential bonanza for West While Western governors were in Albuquerque this past week debating the energy future of the West, a few miles away you could see the future in Ft. Sumner, where electricity is generated from the wind while cows graze under the giant wind turbines scattered across the landscape. On the edge of a remote mesa east of Albuquerque, 136 wind turbines have injected new life into this small ranching community, where local residents struggled for years through drought and financial hard times, dogged by constant worry of losing their herds and maybe even their lands. But with the completion of the New Mexico Wind Energy Center last fall, the ranchers can see a way forward.... 'Hoppers expected to swarm the West So far, there's little indication those kinds of conditions will come to the region's rescue this spring. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor run by the University of Nebraska, most of the Western United States - from Southern California to western Wisconsin - is in some stage of drought. Many experts predict the drought - and, therefore, grasshoppers - will worsen through the growing season. A U.S. Department of Agriculture map predicting grasshopper infestations for 2004 shows that nearly all of western Nebraska is expected to see a plague of at least 15 grasshoppers per square yard. The map also predicts such levels from central Texas into its panhandle and parts of Nevada, Montana, Oregon and South Dakota.... Panel to weigh limits on cougar hunt In Arizona, every day is mountain lion hunting season. And in most parts of the state, all mountain lions, from cuddly kittens to gangly adults, are fair game. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission today will consider a proposal to take the baby mountain lions and their mothers out of the hunt. A conservation group, while lauding the proposed change, wants the commission to go further.... U.S. accepts more Canadian beef The United States has decided to lift remaining import restrictions on Canadian beef from younger animals, effective Monday. Industry observers say the move may signal the Americans' intention to reopen the border to live cattle. The new rules will allow processors to ship products that include ground beef and bone-in cuts. That could mean an additional $170 million in annual sales.... Senator Hutchison hopes to kill COOL Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison stopped in Amarillo on Saturday to assure her supporters she was doing her best to save cattle raisers and feeders and the state from spending a lot of money. Hutchison spent about an hour at Texas Cattle Feeders Association making her way around a room of well-wishers, chatting about some of the issues she's working on.... Females garner top honors on final day of NCHA Super Stakes It was women's night out Sunday at the conclusion of the 19-day-long National Cutting Horse Association's Super Stakes Classic at Will Rogers Coliseum. Cara Barry, a 22-year-old from Byron, Ill., and Mary Jo Milner, a grandmother from Southlake, took top honors in the male-dominated sport. Both horses they were riding were also females.... Dimmit County cowboy speaks of colorful life Pond has lived a colorful life of cattle punching, range riding and storytelling, but the most noteworthy fact about him does not appear on any resume. "I'm one-armed," he said. "People don't believe this, that a one-armed man could accomplish the things I have in my life, and I did it all by myself." During five decades of working cattle and managing ranches in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, Pond did about everything a cowboy could do. From the very ordinary, like treating screw-worm infestations and burning prickly pear, on up a few notches to breaking his neck on a bad horse and putting a rifle to a man's throat.... On The Edge Of Common Sense: U.S. record around the world a proud one Citizens are free to protest in France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovakia, Poland, Japan, Germany, South Korea and Iraq. Those citizens owe their freedom to America's military might and the aid of our allies du jour....