Saturday, May 15, 2004


Who has a right to your property?

The reader assumes that property rights attached to ownership arise from the "payment to the community of its annual rental value."

Property rights do not arise from the "community" or from the government. The right to hold and use property is endowed by the Creator. Every member of every species has the right to claim, hold and use any land – until a more powerful competitor takes it. This is the undeniable law of nature.

For centuries, humans claimed, held and used land like all other animals – until a more powerful competitor took it. Over time, people devised ways to claim, hold and convey land without bloodshed. In most of the world, the patriarch, and later the king, was accepted as the owner of the land and entitled to dictate how it would be used and by whom....

Suburban Development Benefits Wildlife

A decade ago, who would have thought New Jersey would host a black bear hunt--the first in 33 years? Or that Virginia, whose population of bald eagles was once down to 32 breeding pairs, would have 329 known active bald eagle nests? Who would have expected Metropolitan Home magazine to be advising its readers about ornamental grasses to keep away white-tailed deer, now found in the millions around the country?

Such incidents illustrate a transformed America. This nation, often condemned for being crowded, paved over, and studded with nature-strangling shopping malls, is proving to be a haven for wild animals.

One interpretation of these events is that people are moving closer to wilderness and invading the territory of wild animals. But that is only a small part of the story. Wild animals increasingly find suburban life in the United States to be attractive.

The proliferation of wildlife should assure Americans that the claim that urban sprawl is wiping out wildlife is simply poppycock. Human settlement in the early twenty-first century may be sprawling and suburban--about half the people in this country live in suburbs--but it is more compatible with wildlife than most people think....

Wetlands Case Proves Need to Curtail Abuse

Federal officials had little evidence to go on, but that didn’t stop them from prosecuting John Rapanos for moving dirt around his Bay County, Michigan property. It’s a case that illustrates just how arbitrary — and perhaps unconstitutional — the regulation of “wetlands” has become.

The case dates to 1989, when the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) dispatched a rookie agent without a search warrant to inspect the Rapanos field. Months before the unannounced visit, Mr. Rapanos had contracted for the removal of trees and brush from his property.

The DNR ordered Mr. Rapanos to cease all work on the land, and referred the case to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Both agencies exercise authority over “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act, which makes no mention of “wetlands.”

In this case, the nearest “navigable” water is some 20 miles from the Rapanos land. Nonetheless, the feds filed charges against Mr. Rapanos for “polluting” the wetlands by leveling his soil....

The Greening of Higher Education

This May a conference in New York City titled Integrating Environmental Ethics into Environmental Studies: Ethics, Science, and Civic Responsibility will bring together faculty from higher education institutions to discuss how they can "incorporate an understanding of environmental ethics and values into their research and teaching". The conference sponsors -- the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, the Center for Humans and Nature, and the Environmental Conservation Education Program at New York University -- suggest that current environmental science courses in colleges and universities that combine scientific knowledge with an awareness of geographic, cultural, political and economic realities, have neglected the ethical dimensions of environmental issues. One of the conference objectives will be to develop "ecological citizenship" as a component of environmental science. Ecological citizenship, they propose, extends the idea of public engagement to obligate students to take an active interest in environmental issues.

Another project, Second Nature (also supported by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching), seeks to extend environmental ethics across the whole higher education curriculum. It describes its mission thus: to make the principles of environmental sustainability central to the curriculum of the nation's colleges and universities. Sustainability (not compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs) may mean different things to different people, but in practice it frequently means putting environmental concerns above human needs....

Sympathy for the Mosquito?

"Save Our Mosquitoes," isn't a plea one expects to see these days with the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus killing hundreds and making thousands of people sick. But someone posted that very appeal on a sign in Chargin Falls, Ohio. These "poor bugs" were indeed at risk as the town was debating whether to spray pesticides that year. Residents decided to show their mercy; they gave the mosquitoes a stay of execution. No spraying in 2002.

Discovered by an official from the local department of health, the sign shows how bizarre the debate about mosquito spraying has become. While it makes good sense for every community to consider all the facts about spraying, few of these debates have been focused on any rational discussion. Instead, debates have become subject to misinformation campaigns and hysteria.

Radical environmental activists have been leading the pack, making a host of unsupported claims about the risks associated with pesticides. While some might sympathize with plight of the mosquito, the anti-pesticide crowd has shown little concern for those humans suffering from the sometimes deadly, and often debilitating, virus transmitted by the bugs.

In the past, these groups have downplayed the risks by pointing out that the illness only kills the elderly, the sick, and children—as if that offered any comfort! However, it isn't even true. In 2003, the median age of those who died from the virus was 47 years with a range of 1 month to 99 years old....

Fresh Ideas for Salt Water Leave Some With Bad Taste

Samuel Taylor Coleridge framed the matter memorably in his "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" when he wrote: "Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink." Although the seas are home to many good things to eat, the salty brine making up so much of the Earth's surface has a major drawback. In a thirsty world, seawater is unfit for human consumption. But the idea of purifying salt water on a grand scale is less a dream than it was in years past.

As pointed out by the Heartland Institute, desalination has long been "technologically feasible." It also has been prohibitively expensive, but advances in technology are bringing costs down. In California, where water has long been a precious resource, a private-enterprise venture is converting salt water used as coolant at the Encina Power Station in San Diego County into fresh water. The project ultimately could provide 9 percent of the water used by county residents. Of course, the project has its critics.

The Sierra Club and other conservation groups have raised issues ranging from objections about putting the project in the hands of for-profit private enterprise to concerns about fish being sucked into the intake area. Mark Massara of the Sierra Club told Great Britain's Guardian newspaper that another concern is population growth. Solving Southern California's water crisis might accelerate development in an area that many consider overcrowded as it is....

Energy Bill Debate Confirms Trial Lawyer Influence

Among the most divisive issues in the current session of Congress is the energy bill, which failed last November in the face of a Democratic filibuster backed by a handful of Republican fiscal conservatives.

Although GOP opponents worried about unnecessary spending, Democrats targeted one of the legislation's few worthwhile provisions: limiting legal liability for producers of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota), who lobbied for increased subsidies for already heavily subsidized ethanol producers, offered to deliver the necessary Democratic votes for passage if the MTBE protection were removed.

MTBE is a fuel additive used for gasoline. Its sales took off after 1990, when Congress mandated the use of oxygenates in gasoline to reduce smog. At the time, legislators thought they were providing yet another preference for ethanol, one of the most economically pampered interests in Washington. But MTBE proved to be the superior product....

The Endangered Species Act: Bad for People, Bad for Wildlife

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 some 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. Farmers, ranchers, and other landowners who harbor endangered species on their property often lose the economic use of their land. In effect, they are punished for creating the very habitat endangered species need to survive.

Typical of the havoc the ESA has wreaked in rural America is the case of Ben Cone, Jr., whose father purchased 8,000 acres of timberless land on the Black River in North Carolina. Cone replanted the property with pines, carried out prescribed burns to control undergrowth, and selectively thinned his trees every few years to pay his property taxes and to turn a profit on his labor. Over time, his pines grew to such a height that they attracted the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, which brought him into direct conflict with the ESA....

Environmental Web Site Removes an Ad It Deems at Philosophical Odds

The banner advertisement from the Pacific Research Institute did not remain on the Web site of E/The Environmental Magazine for long. Posted a little before 9 a.m. on April 30, the notice was gone by 1:15 p.m.

The reason for the abrupt disappearance is that the institute receives money from the Sarah Scaife Foundation and the John M. Olin Foundation, groups whose conservative orientation is so pronounced that their names are anathema to many environmental groups. The magazine, published by the Earth Action Network, a nonprofit group, told the institute's advertising agency in an e-mail message that "the interests of those funding P.R.I. and their environmental policies are at odd with our criteria for accepting advertising.''

The online ad, and a now-canceled print advertisement scheduled for publication in the July-August edition, promoted a report sponsored by the institute and the American Enterprise Institute, another conservative organization, titled "Index of Leading Economic Indicators."....

Adolf Lomborg?

In the light of this well-established argument, what, then, are we to make of the recent extraordinary remarks of Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)? He compared Bjørn Lomborg, Danish statistician and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, to Adolf Hitler in an interview with Jyllandsposten, a leading Danish newspaper (published April 21).

Pachauri said, "What is the difference between Lomborg's view of humanity and Hitler's? You cannot treat people like cattle. You must respect the diversity of cultures on earth. Lomborg thinks of people like numbers. He thinks it would be cheaper just to evacuate people from the Maldives, rather than trying to prevent world sea levels from rising so that island groups like the Maldives or Tuvalu just disappear into the sea. But where's the respect for people in that? People have a right to live and die in the place where their forefathers have lived and died. If you were to accept Lomborg's way of thinking, then maybe what Hitler did was the right thing."

The Skeptical Environmentalist's longest chapter is devoted to global warming. In it, Lomborg accepts the IPCC's scientific assessment reports as the basis of his analysis. What Pachauri apparently objects to is that Lomborg concludes that the Kyoto Protocol would do almost nothing to reduce the rate of global warming, but at enormous expense. For a fraction of the costs of Kyoto, many pressing environmental problems afflicting poor countries could be addressed....

Friday, May 14, 2004


Firefighter dies battling blaze in Osceola National Forest A Forest Service firefighter died while battling a blaze in the Osceola National Forest, officials said. Randy Henderson, a 42-year-old husband and father of two teenage girls, collapsed on the fire line Thursday during the initial response to the fire. The exact cause of death was unknown, Forest Service spokeswoman Denise Rains said.... Sheriff's report defends firestorm response In an exhaustive report released Friday, the Sheriff's Department details – and defends – its response to last fall's wildfires, an epic disaster that left the agency facing criticism from some victims. The blazes spawned a "series of events" that challenged the department "at a level incomparable to any in its 154-year history," according to the in-house analysis. The document provides a timeline of the department's reactions to the Cedar, Paradise and Otay fires, which collectively killed 16 people and leveled more than 3,200 structures in the San Diego region.... Sign-poster angered by elk calving closure Two popular hiking and biking trails south of Eagle-Vail -Stone and Whiskey creeks - have been closed for the next six weeks by the U.S. Forest Service because elk are calving in the area. But that's not sitting well with some users of the trails. They anonymously covered the Stone Creek trail closure posted by the Forest Service with a sign telling users to call or petition to have the trails open. So far the Forest Service switchboard in Minturn has received 20 calls. Problem is, regardless of the number of calls, the trails aren't going to be opened until June 30, when the elk are done calving and leave the area, Forest Service officials said.... Hiker shoots alleged attacker on remote trail A confrontation between a hiker and another man at a trailhead off Highway 87 near the Highway 260 turn off, left one man dead Tuesday evening. Coconino County Sheriff's Det. Scott Feagan said he cannot release specific details on the incident because of the ongoing investigation and deputies are still trying to notify next of kin. According to Feagan, a hiker coming out at the Pine Canyon trailhead, came across another man with two dogs. "It appears that a hiker and an individual came across each other," Feagan said. "The accusation by the hiker is that he was attacked by the individual and his two dogs.".... Environmental group challenges Forest Service job inventories An environmental advocacy group has renewed its push to discredit competitive sourcing efforts at the Forest Service by advancing a lawsuit claiming the agency has inconsistent standards for compiling lists of jobs eligible for outsourcing. In a brief filed late last month and pending before the U.S. District Court in Missoula, Mont., Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, a nonprofit group based in Eugene, Ore., argued that the Forest Service has a fragmented system for designating jobs as commercial or inherently governmental on 1998 Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act lists.... Panel presses administration to hire 3,000 temporary firefighters The House Appropriations Committee asked the Bush administration Friday to immediately reprogram $54 million in existing Forest Service funds to hire 3,000 temporary firefighters. "If these workers are not hired immediately, it is likely that your capability for initial attack on wildfires will be severely hindered," wrote Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Charles Taylor, R-N.C., and ranking member Norman Dicks, D-Wash., in a letter today to Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and Office of Management and Budget Director Josh Bolten. "Based on your own data, if even just a few fires escape initial attack and become large, there is an exponential increase in fire fighting suppression costs.".... Endangered Owl Now Threatened by Rival Species The northern spotted owl, whose protection under the Endangered Species Act since 1990 helped push logging of federal lands to near collapse, is faring worse now than it was five years ago, a new assessment has found. Spotted owl numbers have fallen by roughly half over the past decade in parts of Washington and Oregon's Warm Springs Reservation, and they have dwindled by nearly a quarter in sections of Oregon's Coast and Cascade ranges. In only a few areas are the owls holding their own. There are signs that a proliferation of barred owls may in places have become a greater factor in the spotted owl's demise than habitat destruction from logging. Barred owls are larger and more aggressive, pushing the spotted owls from their nesting areas.... Spotted Owl Groups Defined with Genetics New U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) science reaffirms, with strong genetic evidence, that the northern spotted owl is a separate subspecies from California and Mexican spotted owls. The same study also found no significant genetic differences between Mexican and California spotted owls. The study also confirms a zone of mixing between northern and California spotted owls in the Klamath region of southern Oregon, indicating a more northerly presence of California spotted owls than previously thought. Researchers found no evidence, however, for the presence of northern spotted owls in the traditional range of the California spotted owl.... Forest Service, Renzi get firefighting aircraft Some federal lawmakers said Thursday they'll try to get air tankers grounded by federal officials back in the air to fight wildfires. But others worked with the U.S. Forest Service to get fleets of smaller, replacement aircraft assigned to their districts. U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi, who represents Flagstaff, announced in a press release that "through cooperation with Forest Service officials," he secured a package of aircraft for northern Arizona. The replacements include four single-engine air tankers akin to crop dusters, two type II helicopters, two type I heavy-lift helicopters and one Army C-130 Hercules Tanker. The press release didn't say where the aircraft were coming from.... Alignment of mineral rights and surface ownership sought Senator Tony Stamas (R-Midland) along with Senator Bruce Patterson (R-Canton) and Senator Jim Barcia (D-Bay City) recently introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 35 which asks the Congress of the United States and the federal government to work with Michigan officials to align the ownership of mineral rights and surface rights on state and federal lands in Michigan and to express our intent to take actions to achieve this goal. It goes on to state that approximately 20 percent of Michigan land is owned by either the state or federal government and when the mineral rights are not owned by the same governmental body as the surface it "is cause for considerable litigation and frustration in Michigan. This frustration is felt by citizen groups, energy companies, local units of government and all consumers of gas and oil.".... 2002 report detailed air tanker danger Long before the nation's entire fleet of 33 large air tankers was grounded this week, experts warned that the aerial-firefighting system was being run on the cheap and would continue killing pilots in excessive and predictable numbers. Calling the annual death count deplorable, a blue-ribbon panel told the U.S. Forest Service nearly 1½ years ago that from 1958 to 2002, 136 aircrew members were killed - an average of three a year. "If ground firefighters had the same fatality rate, they would have suffered more than 200 on-the-job deaths per year," the panel wrote. "When 14 firefighters were killed in the 1994 Storm King Mountain tragedy, the incident triggered massive changes in ground firefighting strategies and practices to improve safety. "There has been no comparable government response to aerial firefighting fatalities.".... Forest officials say no to ski area After seven months of study, the U.S. Forest Service has concluded that the 54-year-old lodge atop Berthoud Pass needs to be demolished by the end of September and that another ski operation on the slopes will not be considered, officials said Thursday. The final assessment is to be released today.... Stocks of wild salmon retain legal protection In a reversal of expectations, the Bush administration handed conservationists a big victory yesterday by declaring its intention to continue to protect wild salmon under the Endangered Species Act. Development interests labeled the decision "ridiculous," saying that there are plenty of salmon produced in hatcheries, that hatchery salmon are just as good as wild salmon and that none of them needs legal protection. Environmentalists, though, have long crusaded to protect dwindling stocks of wild salmon, citing scientists' statements that hatchery-bred fish are not as fit genetically as their wild counterparts.... LETTER FROM NOAA ADMINISTRATOR CONRAD C. LAUTENBACHER CONCERNING PROPOSALS TO RENEW LISTINGS OF NORTHWEST SALMON AND PROPOSED HATCHERY POLICY CHANGES NOAA will shortly propose a renewed set of listings of salmon populations under ESA. Since 1991, the federal government has listed 26 species of salmon and steelhead in the Northwest and California for protection under ESA. In a lawsuit that followed these listings, a federal judge set aside the listing of Oregon Coast Coho salmon because NOAA failed to include closely-related hatchery fish in the listing decision. Since the same flaw was present in almost all of the other listing decisions, NOAA voluntarily agreed to reconsider all of our earlier listing decisions and to adjust our policy for considering hatchery fish in making those decisions – and NOAA will be asking the public to comment on both. NOAA’s decisions are driven by the science, which suggests benefits, risks, and uncertainties regarding salmon hatcheries. Simply put, some well-managed conservation hatcheries are fostering recovery of species, some hatcheries are having little or no effect, and some hatcheries potentially hinder recovery. After re-evaluating the listing of 26 species of salmon and steelhead, and considering the science on hatcheries, we have preliminarily determined to propose relisting at least 25 of the 26 species, with evaluation of the remaining species still underway. A final proposal will be completed in the next two weeks and the new hatchery policy will be only one factor for the evaluation still under way.... NYT Editorial: Saving Wild Salmon One of the great virtues of the Endangered Species Act — and the main reason for the bitter opposition the act has engendered over the years — is that in the interests of saving species, it requires the protection of the habitats where the species live. That usually means constraining human behavior in ways that help preserve a healthier environment all around. Humans themselves often come to appreciate that intervention, though not always. In the case of wild salmon, for instance, commercial interests have long resented the restrictions on logging, farming and development necessary to protect the fragile watersheds where salmon spawn. The Bush administration has now found a novel way around these inconveniences: a new policy on counting fish. Its practical effect would be to eliminate the distinction between wild salmon and hatchery salmon, which can be churned out by the millions. This sleight of hand would instantly make wild salmon populations look healthier than they actually are, giving the government a green light to lift legal protections for more than two dozen endangered salmon species as well as the restrictions on commerce that developers and other members of President Bush's constituency find so annoying.... Judge voices doubts about Bush administration commitment to salmon A federal judge has voiced strong doubts about the government's financial commitment to protecting threatened salmon in the Columbia and Snake rivers from hydroelectric dams. Noting a lack of money secured for habitat restoration and other measures to make up for salmon killed or injured by dams, U.S. District Judge James Redden on Thursday gave the Bush administration six more months to revise its blueprint for salmon recovery in the Columbia Basin.... Committe wrestles with wolf numbers Hunted into extinction by 1946, wolves are about to be reintroduced in Oregon. But faced with a population of zero, officials are struggling with how many breeding pairs should determine whether the wolf gets lifted off the state's endangered species rolls. In the Rocky Mountains, a count of 10 breeding pairs or less secures the wolf's status as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. Once the gray wolves migrate into Oregon, just how many breeding pairs is enough remains a hotly debated question.... Gov. Martz urges caution in considering Canadian mine Gov. Judy Martz has urged Canadian officials to use caution as they consider a proposed mine and a coal-bed methane project that some say could harm water quality in Montana. In letters Thursday to British Columbia's premier and an international commission, Martz expressed her concern about a possible coal mine just north of Glacier National Park, and about possible extraction of coal-bed methane in southern British Columbia. Martz asked the International Joint Commission, which governs waterways flowing between the United States and Canada, to assess cumulative effects on water quality and water use. Her letter to Premier Gordon Campbell informed him of that request, and asked that British Columbia not approve permits until the commission findings are released.... Guinn meets with delegation to discuss wild horse problem Gov. Kenny Guinn is nominating Starr Valley veterinarian Boyd Spratling to be appointed to a national committee to address the wild horse overpopulation problems plaguing Nevada and other Western states. Elko County Commission Chairman Mike Nannini, Commissioner John Ellison and Assemblyman John Carpenter, R-Elko, met with the governor Wednesday morning in Carson City to discuss the wild horse issues threatening grazing allocations in Elko County.... Motion filed to return Mt. Emmons property to public Lawyers representing High Country Citizens Alliance, the Town of Crested Butte and Gunnison County have filed a motion in Denver district court for a preliminary injunction against the Bureau of Land Management’s April 2 decision to award a mining claim on Mt. Emmons to a multinational mining company. Their goal in seeking the preliminary injunction is to return the 155-acre Mt. Emmons property, already the subject of several lawsuits, to public ownership until litigation challenging the mining claim awarded to Phelps Dodge Corporation is settled, Flynn said.... Gov't Oil, Gas Leases Spark Rockies Battle The sage-covered hills near Mount Sopris are home to deer, elk, bears and cattle - and soon could be in the hands of an energy company. The Bureau of Land Management auctioned 70 parcels for oil and gas leasing this week, including national forest in western Colorado that is used by ranchers, cross-country skiers, hikers and hunters. The lease sale covering nearly 72,000 acres generated $6.6 million for the government. But it has also led to clashes between conservation groups and companies trying to tap the region's abundant resources as the Bush administration places increased emphasis on domestic fuel production.... Editorial: Noble end in sight It has been a worthy struggle, a struggle that has lasted nearly 90 years. And it's within the power of Congress to bring it to a noble end by returning 16,000 acres of land that were wrongly taken from the Colorado River Indian Tribes. Congress should do so. It must remedy an injustice against these tribes - Mohave, Chemehuevi, Hopi and Navajo. There is no dispute that these ancestral lands once were part of the reservation, established in 1865 and later modified in 1876. There also is no dispute that when the tribes refused to lease these lands to a private mining company, President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order in 1915 to strip the lands out of the reservation without compensation. And even the Department of Interior, which manages these federal lands, has advocated that they be returned to the tribes.... Martz says healthy forest work highlight of her administration She referred to the voluminous amount of work that went into planning for timber salvage on the Bitterroot National Forest after the 2000 fire season. That planning cost $1 million, she said, but only a small fraction of usable wood was salvaged from burned areas on federal forests. "The waste that stands out there, and we can't get on federal lands, is criminal," she said. Because of general obstructionism and red tape, "it's easier to let it all rot. That has to change," she said. "It is just criminal.".... Cut red-tape for logging plans, Schwarzenegger says Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to make it easier for timber companies to get approval for logging plans in exchange for a $10 million increase in logging fees. In exchange for imposing the higher fees, the state should cut its "overly burdensome" bureaucratic reviews of logging plans, mimicking the one- or two-page applications and brief one-stop reviews required by neighboring Oregon, the Republican governor said in his revised budget plan Thursday. California requires that detailed timber harvest plans be prepared by licensed foresters and other professionals. The typical plan runs 100 to 500 pages, costs $42,954, and waits 65 days for state approval - a delay that climbs to an average 85 days for logging plans along the environmentally sensitive northern coast.... Group calls for reform of mining law Hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land in Montana have been transferred to private companies or individuals through the workings of a 132-year-old mining law, according to a new study from the Environmental Working Group. About 400,000 acres have been sold for a maximum of $5 an acre, the group found. Another 246,000 acres have been claimed as mining land, which gives the claim holders "control" of the land, but not ownership. In 12 Western states, 5.6 million acres have been transferred to private ownership, according to EWG, which culled the information from a federal database.... Questions swim around Tribes' fish claims A $1 billion lawsuit filed against PacifiCorp by Native Americans left lingering questions in the Klamath Basin this week. Who really filed the claims? And who could be next to have a claim filed against them? The "Klamath Tribes of Oregon" were listed first among several plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland. But the Chiloquin-based Tribes have made no announcement about the suit, and reports have circulated that the tribal government does not support the claim.... Nez Perce water deal unveiled today Details of a water agreement reached in April by the Nez Perce Tribe, the state of Idaho, the federal government and irrigators will be announced today in Boise. Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Gov. Dirk Kempthorne are among the dignitaries who will outline the deal that still needs approval by Congress, the Legislature and tribal leaders by March 31, 2005, to be made final. The agreement will be announced at noon at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival amphitheater. Under the agreement, the tribe waives a portion of its water rights claims for a package of protections for salmon, benefits for the tribe and other actions by the state and federal government, according to earlier court appearances.... Cattlemen hope new brand board eases tension Gov. Mike Rounds announced Friday that he has appointed four new members to the South Dakota Brand Board, clearing the way for negotiations to resume with the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association on a new livestock brand inspection contract. Although the governor didn't pick any Stockgrowers Association nominees for the board, Stockgrowers President Ken Knuppe said he hoped to work with the new board to reach a contract agreement.... No mad cow tests at Texas firm in 2004 The U.S. Department of Agriculture did not test any cows for mad cow disease in the past seven months at the same Texas facility where federal testing policies for the deadly disorder were violated last month, United Press International has learned. The USDA also failed to test a single cow in 2002 at another Texas slaughterhouse that processes high-risk, downer cows, according to agency testing records obtained by UPI under the Freedom of Information Act. Downer cows are unable to stand or walk, which can be an indication of mad cow disease, as well as other disorders. USDA spokesman Jim Rogers told UPI the agency has not conducted any mad cow tests at Lone Star Beef Processors, in San Angelo, Texas, this fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1, 2003.... No borrowed car for this prom couple, they got a tractor Tyler Webster didn't want to take his prom date in the family car or any old rental. Webster and Becky Krusey cruised to West Middlesex High School's prom in a brand new, shiny red Massey Ferguson tractor he borrowed from his boss at farming implement dealership.... Honoring women of the Wild West The old cowboy movies celebrated some of the more colorful characters of the Wild West, but they also left out a few of the era's most fascinating figures. Hollywood never did get around to portraying the likes of Big Nose Kate, Aunt Clara Brown and Stagecoach Mary Fields. Old Cowtown Museum and the Wichita River Festival hope to rectify that oversight with Women of the West Fest, two days devoted to the distaff half of the West's pioneers.... WATER WARS To pioneer Idaho farmers, nothing was more precious than water to irrigate their fields. Without it, nothing would grow in southern Idaho’s desert lands. To defend his right to his fair share of the water, many a man armed himself and was prepared to fight for it. His livelihood and that of his family was at stake. Disputes over water sometimes led to violence, and occasionally even to murder. On Squaw Creek in May 1884, wealthy rancher Fred Huffman was shot and killed by A.G. Mason in a quarrel over water from a ditch the two shared. Following the shooting, Mason went to Idaho City, the county seat, to surrender and to plead self-defense. In Shoshone in 1889 two ranchers also had an altercation over water rights. Jack Campbell, county sheriff, arrested both men, thinking this would cool things down, and put them in a jail cell. When he returned a short time later he found that one of them had killed the other—a tragedy that certainly could have been prevented had he put them in separate cells.... Homesteader, miner embodied local color Historians have desert resident and homesteader Bill Keys being born in 1879 in two places. Some say he was born in Russia, and others say Nebraska. His name at birth was George Barth. The name change started when he was 19 and signing up with Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders. He gave his name as Bill Key. But the cavalry regiment had to do without his services after he fell ill and was hospitalized. Bill Keys started life in Russia or Nebraska, depending on which account you hear. After he recuperated, he headed west and took employment as a miner, cattleman and sheriff's deputy in the Arizona Territory. In 1906, he was in the area of Death Valley. That's where a prank got out of hand....

Thursday, May 13, 2004


Environmentalists make final bid to block energy leases The Pitkin County commissioners and a coalition of environmental groups made a desperate attempt Wednesday to prevent 1,560 acres of rugged forest land from being leased for natural gas development. The commissioners and the environmental coalition filed separate protests with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to try to remove the land in extreme western Pitkin County from being offered at an auction in Denver Thursday.... Guard Deployments Worry States With so many National Guard troops in Iraq, officials in some states are worried they could be caught short-handed if an emergency flares up at home. More Guard members are deployed now than have been since the Korean War, about a quarter of the 460,000 nationwide. Their more frequent and longer overseas deployments "absolutely" affect states' emergency response, said Chris Reynolds, a battalion fire chief in Tampa, Fla., who also teaches disaster management at American Military University.... Report finds other fires depleted resources to fight Biscuit fire A government review of the initial fight to stop the massive 2002 Biscuit fire found that delays in marshaling firefighting forces, mostly because of other fires burning around the West, allowed the blaze to grow to nearly 500,000 acres. "These delays were primarily due to the severe fire season — there were many higher priority fires within and outside the region," according to the report by the General Accounting Office released Wednesday. By the time highly experienced teams arrived, the fire had already grown from a few hundred acres to almost 200,000 acres, the review found.... Lawmakers Promise Return Of Firefighting Air Tankers Lawmakers said Thursday they'll try to get grounded air tankers back in the air to fight wildfires. "I don't think we have an adequate substitute out there," Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said at a hearing of the House Resources subcommittee on forests. Officials with the Forest Service and Interior Department testified they had no choice after the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the airworthiness of the big fixed-wing aircraft could not be ensured. One problem is the Federal Aviation Administration lacks the authority to inspect the former military tankers and certify them as airworthy for firefighting because the FAA deals with civilian -- not government -- flights. The Forest Service and the Interior Department are not equipped to carry out such inspections, officials said. Subcommittee chairman Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., pledged to meet Tuesday with the head of the FAA to resolve the problem. The FAA does inspect and certify many of the same aircraft for non-government purposes.... County looking to protect gas To protect gas development in Moffat County, residents have begun working with gas companies to complete a sage grouse management plan. The working group met with representatives from Tom Brown Inc. and Western Gas Resources Inc. last week to open a dialogue on management of the greater sage grouse, said Jeff Comstock, Moffat County Natural Resources Department director. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is conducting a study to determine whether the greater sage grouse requires protection under the Endangered Species Act. They're scheduled to make a decision by the end of the year. The county's sage grouse working group opposes a listing of the greater sage grouse. Indeed, the purpose of the plan is prevent the need for a greater sage grouse listing, said Jean Stetson, a member of the working group.... Court Enjoins Blue Rock Country Club Development A judicial panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today temporarily enjoined the grading of land for a golf course development known as the Blue Rock Country Club east of the City of Hayward, CA, on Walpert Ridge. The court agreed that the development’s proposed golf course may imperil endangered species and has scheduled oral arguments in the case. The housing aspect of the project includes 614 luxury homes proposed to be constructed over a 356-acre area. But what conservation groups opposed was a golf course sprawling nearly three quarters of a mile across Walpert Ridge, in prime open space and habitat for the imperiled Alameda whipsnake and the California red legged frog.... Bush Administration Refuses to Release Otero Mesa Development Documents Earthjustice filed suit in federal court in New Mexico today to acquire documents relating to the government’s plan to open unroaded wild areas of the Otero Mesa to oil and gas drilling. Representing New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, the public interest law firm filed its complaint after the US Fish and Wildlife Service failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted five months ago. The Bureau of Land Management submitted a biological assessment to the US Fish and Wildlife Service in April 2003 that identified likely negative impacts to the falcon from oil and gas development. Later that same year, under goading from the Bush administration, the BLM concluded that its proposed oil and gas development plan wouldn’t impact any federally protected species enough to warrant a formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service, as required by law.... Go here(pdf) to view the complaint....Water supply forecast down again for Northwest Water supply forecasts for the entire Columbia River Basin have been below normal this spring, pointing to a difficult summer ahead for electricity management and protection of threatened fish, energy planners were told Thursday. Runoff at six hydroelectric dams in the basin bottomed out at 63 percent of normal for January through July 2004, according to a forecast produced by the National Weather Service's River Forecast Center and presented to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.... Preble's mouse decision may not end the saga A decision next year on whether to remove federal protection for the Preble's meadow jumping mouse may not end the controversial environmental and economic saga surrounding the elusive critter, the regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service warned Thursday. Ralph Morgenweck said he is concerned Coloradans may believe the “game is over” for the Preble's because a recent scientific study found it was not a distinct subspecies from a mouse found in northern Wyoming and South Dakota, the Bear Lodge jumping mouse. Yes, Morganweck said, that finding could play a key role in the agency's decision - expected in late December or early 2005 - on whether the Preble's mouse should be removed from protection afforded by the Endangered Species Act. But there's a complication, once that could delay or prevent a ruling on the Preble's mouse protection that some critics say has cost highway builders, developers and landowners millions dollars. That's because Morgenweck said the federal agency is hearing “rumors” that environmentalists may soon ask that the Bear Lodge mouse itself be listed as a threatened species.... Chinook run appears 48 percent under forecast The spring chinook salmon run headed for the upper Columbia and Snake rivers appears to be 48 percent smaller than predicted. State, federal and tribal biologists have updated the forecast, downgrading it from a prediction of 360,700 in December to 189,200 adult chinook.... Column: Condors, Salmon and the Land One rides the summer thermals; the other glides through rivers and streams like a pale torpedo. They could not be more dissimilar, this big buzzard and the silvery fish, yet they have a great deal in common: Both are icons of the environmental movement, and both challenge us to deepen our understanding of the relationship between living creatures and the landscapes they inhabit. California condors and Pacific salmon both reached milestones in the past month. For the condors, still the rarest birds in North America despite a 20-year campaign to boost their numbers, the milestone was superficially a happyone: Three chicks hatched in the backcountry of Ventura County, Calif., the product of breeding by birds in the wild.... Pete Seeger's environmental sloop Clearwater designated historic The National Register of Historic Places on Thursday acquired a new member that sails the Hudson River, with an engine that will soon be fueled by soy oil. The 35-year-old sloop Clearwater, which helped inspire the nation's environmental movement, is now a waterborne classroom that teaches new generations about clean air and water. The 108-foot tall ship, made mostly of white oak, with a yellow pine deck, was constructed to fulfill folk singer Pete Seeger's 1968 pledge to "build a boat to save the river.".... Activists fight McCullough Peaks road plan Environmentalists are blasting a plan to manage motorized vehicles in the McCullough Peaks area east of Cody, calling it an unbalanced proposal that could ruin the fragile desert landscape. The Bureau of Land Management already allows cars, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and other vehicles on designated roads in the 120,000-acre travel management area. Under the plan, BLM officials hope to better tailor motorized vehicle use to individual roads and trails and determine which routes should be closed to such use.... Gas lease dispute The federal auction Thursday of 72,000 acres of Colorado land for oil and gas drilling came under a cloud, as activists led by U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette disputed most of the sale for the lands' wilderness values. Amid beefed-up security, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management auctioned 70 parcels at its Lakewood office. Companies forked over $6.62 million - the second-highest amount for a single auction in the BLM's Colorado history - for drilling rights to the natural gas-loaded areas in the Rocky Mountains.... SD expands aerial hunting Aerial hunting of coyotes that threaten livestock will be allowed on certain state-managed land under a decision by the state's Game, Fish & Parks Commission. The panel's vote last week opens up land owned or managed by the Office of School and Public Lands to aerial depredation hunting, which is allowed when coyotes or fox have attacked livestock or are a potential threat to do so.... Column: Celebrating 40 years of the Wilderness Act Wilderness, as the conservationist Aldo Leopold put it, is “the very stuff America is made of.” As pioneers settled our continent, their encounter with wilderness shaped our national character. Today, as Americans flock to our national forests, parks and other federal lands, many seek the wilderness, savoring its scenic splendors and a quiet that’s increasingly rare. Hikers and hunters, birders and anglers, families with kids and those like us, who are closing in on their 80s, find in wilderness the opportunity to reconnect with pioneer skills and relive our national history.... NM leases land to Texas wind farm company The New Mexico State Land Office has signed an agreement with a Texas wind farm company to lease 1,840 acres of state trust land to establish a wind power facility in Quay County. The wind farm will consist of 80 turbines, eight of which will be built on state land, which are predicted to produce 80 megawatts of power. Another 72 turbines will be located on private land. The Cielo project units will join 136 other turbines spread across Quay and De Baca counties that are part of the New Mexico Wind Energy Center, the third-largest wind power facility in the nation.... Missouri lows may hit record Spring runoff is so poor this year that flows on the Missouri River below Holter Dam could hit record lows this summer, officials say. And, if the water gets too warm on the blue ribbon trout stream between Holter Dam and Cascade, fishing will be restricted. That could happen as early as late July. "It was grim in April. It is grimmer now," said Steve Leathe, regional director of fisheries for Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department.... Signs point to judge allowing Green Mountain lawsuit The lawsuit concerning how Green Mountain Reservoir water was allocated during Colorado’s driest summer on record will likely be allowed to proceed, with intervention from the state. Western Colorado water providers sued the Bureau of Reclamation over how it assigned a shortage of water in Green Mountain in 2002; the shortage was caused by the drought and compounded by release restrictions to avoid aggravating the Heeney slide.... Globe Grows Darker as Sunshine Diminishes 10% to 37% n the second half of the 20th century, the world became, quite literally, a darker place. Defying expectation and easy explanation, hundreds of instruments around the world recorded a drop in sunshine reaching the surface of Earth, as much as 10 percent from the late 1950's to the early 90's, or 2 percent to 3 percent a decade. In some regions like Asia, the United States and Europe, the drop was even steeper. In Hong Kong, sunlight decreased 37 percent. No one is predicting that it may soon be night all day, and some scientists theorize that the skies have brightened in the last decade as the suspected cause of global dimming, air pollution, clears up in many parts of the world. Yet the dimming trend — noticed by a handful of scientists 20 years ago but dismissed then as unbelievable — is attracting wide attention. Research on dimming and its implications for weather, water supplies and agriculture will be presented next week in Montreal at a joint meeting of American and Canadian geological groups.... Dry Times: Cattlemen Start Selling Producers are starting to cull their herds after another dry spring leaves little in the way of grass or water for cattle in western South Dakota. Some areas in the south central part of the state are classified in extreme drought and Congress is considering giving producers some financial leeway if they have to sell cattle. The Fort Pierre Livestock Auction is adding a second day of auctions each week because of the increased volume, said manager Dennis Hanson.... Prosecutors probing cattle futures trade Federal prosecutors are looking into possible criminal violations by commodities traders who may have received advance knowledge about the first U.S. case of mad cow disease and used it to reap profits in the cattle futures market. The disclosure of an investigation by criminal authorities, being conducted in tandem with a previously known civil probe by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, was made by agency Chairman James Newsome on Thursday in testimony before the Senate Agriculture Committee.... Lowe to President Bush: Howdy, partner It's not very often that a rodeo cowboy will trade in his Resistol and Wranglers for a tie and sport coat. So when Will Lowe's wife suggested the world champion bareback rider update his wardrobe for a recent after-hours function, he began to grumble. I mean, you would think he was meeting the President or something. Exactly.... People who live at the end of dirt roads Do you really want to know what is wrong with American society today? Too many of our roads have been paved! There's not a problem in America today...crime, education, drugs, the divorce rate, that could not be improved with more dirt roads. Dirt roads build character. People who live at the end of dirt roads know that life is much more enjoyable when taken at a slower pace. They know that life can be dirty, boring and can jar you right down to your teeth at times. But they also have a greater appreciation for what's waiting at the end of the bumpy ride...their kids, a frisky dog and a loving spouse....
Salmon plan may add artificial twist to species protection

In the effort to rebuild the Northwest's iconic salmon runs, the Bush administration has outlined a plan in which artificially produced fish, turned out by the hundreds of millions each year, could help decide whether salmon require continued federal protection.

This is a tectonic shift in the nation's approach to preventing wildlife from going extinct -- and may have broad implications for the future of the Endangered Species Act.

The proposal specifically addresses only Pacific salmon. But in making it, the Bush administration raises wider questions about standards for other endangered species. If hatchery fish can count toward reducing extinction risk, what about zoo populations? What combination of genes and rearing does it take to make an artificially produced animal the same as its wild kin? What, finally, does it mean to be wild or natural?

As copies of the draft policy spread by fax machine and e-mail in recent days, some scientists and environmental advocates said the plan could set a clear precedent allowing federal authorities to declare a wildlife population recovered even if its survival depends in part on continued artificial production....

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Fed fire funding burns hole in pockets Federal land managers are burning through firefighting money at a record pace while making untimely decisions that could dramatically hinder crews' ability to control catastrophic blazes this summer, members of a Senate panel said. "Fire spending seems to be out of control," Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., told officials from the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Interior at a hearing Tuesday. The wildfires of 2003 cost taxpayers more per acre to fight than any other season in history, Domenici said, but the 3.9 million acres burned were the fewest since 1922. The agencies are counting some 2003 fire suppression costs against their 2004 operational budgets, continuing a pattern of "fire-borrowing" that Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, said has pulled $2.7 billion from other nonfire accounts in the past five years. The practice also is forcing the cancellation of $540 million in public land improvement projects that had been appropriated by Congress. "That money was programmed across the agencies to be put on the ground and it never got there," said Craig.... Governor leads fight to restore air tankers Fire officials throughout the West were scrambling Tuesday to fill a gaping hole in their wildfire arsenal: the loss of 33 air tankers used to drop fire retardant and water on growing wildfires. "The timing of this is unbelievable," lamented Gov. Janet Napolitano. Arizona firefighters had used two of the now-grounded tankers as recently as Saturday to fight back a wildfire in Buckeye. As if to underscore the poor timing of the tanker announcement, the first fire restrictions of the season were issued Tuesday by the Tonto National Forest, northeast of Phoenix.... Regrowth at the mercy of the drought Six months ago, the worst wildfires in California history charred a 40-mile swath from Highland to the Los Angeles County line, leaving behind a moonscape of scorched slopes, blackened soil and skeletal twigs. Today, many of those same slopes are bathed in a sea of green. Wild cucumber vines weave across the still-sooty ground and delicate tendrils of chemise sprout from charred stumps. The manzanita, chemise, mountain mahogany, knob cone pines, deer brush and grasses that cover the hillsides have adapted to live with fire. Some even rely on fire for their germination.... Environmentalists Want Beetle Protected Environmentalists want emergency federal protection for the Casey's June beetle, one of the rarest insects in the world that lives on only 600 acres south of the city and is threatened by the desert building boom. In a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity listed two building projects already under way in beetle habitat and five more in development. They want emergency protection under the Endangered Species Act.... Salamander habitat proposal draws opponents A string of speakers Tuesday pleaded for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect people's habitat for housing, jobs and farming, not only the home of a blunt-nosed amphibian labeled as endangered in northern Santa Barbara County. Citing both religion and research, the hearing drew dozens of people during afternoon and evening sessions to comment on the proposal to designate 14,000 acres locally as critical habitat for the California tiger salamander.... Studying the Lamprey: They're Elusive Little Suckers Swollen with as many as 100,000 tiny eggs, the 2-foot-long lamprey soon would be released to continue its journey toward spawning grounds farther upstream. Conservation groups contend the lamprey has dwindled perilously low in number in the Columbia River and across the West Coast. Fossil records trace the lamprey as far back as any fish, including the prehistoric sturgeon. "They pre-date salmon," Le said. "They're kind of like sturgeon, in a way. They've never changed.".... The World's Largest Democratic Environmental Forum to Assemble in Thailand in November 2004 How can our planet meet the needs of growing populations and expanding markets without sacrificing nature? This question will be at the heart of the debate at the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress, which will open on 17 November in Bangkok, Thailand, under the theme: "People and Nature - only one world". The Congress is the governing body of IUCN - The World Conservation Union. It is held every four years and represents the world's largest democratic environmental forum where governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) jointly establish conservation priorities, guide the Union's policy and approve its Programme. IUCN's six specialist Commissions draw on the expertise of some 12,000 of the world's leading scientists, practitioners, economists, lawyers, and educators.... U.N. Looks at Endangered Species List Namibia has requested permission to loosen a global ban on ivory sales, Japan wants to ease restrictions on trade in whales, and Australia is seeking protection for the great white shark, a United Nations body said Wednesday. The proposals are among more than 50 submitted to the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, ahead of a conference later this year. Every two years, CITES reviews the global list of endangered species, which offers varying degrees of protection to some 30,000 plant and animal species.... Dry, dying orange grove is home to endangered kangaroo rat A dispute with wildlife officials over clearing land for a proposed sports park has left 100 acres northeast of the city ripe for a major fire. The dry, dying orange grove is the result of the latest clash between federal efforts to protect the endangered kangaroo rat and local concerns about reducing the threat of wildfires. The city wants to use bulldozers to remove the dried vegetation.... National Park Service Gagging On Its Own Talking Points Doing damage control on recent embarrassing disclosures, the National Park Service has directed its superintendents to obtain prior approval before they depart from "talking points" provided to them on controversial issues, according to internal emails released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Following revelations that park superintendents were supposed to mask budget cutbacks by calling them "service level adjustments," the National Park Service Headquarters (Washington Office or WASO) and regional offices have been issuing scripts or "talking points" that park superintendents must follow in communicating with the media.... Animal Overpasses, Tunnels Offering Roadkill Remedy Scientists and highway planners are now working to help get wildlife and motorists to their destinations. From salamander tunnels in Massachusetts to cougar corridors in southern California, the ecopassages that run under and above roads are allowing animals to cross roads and highways safely. "These ecopassages can be extremely useful, so that wildlife can avoid human conflicts," said Jodi Hilty of the U.S.-based Wildlife Conservation Society. Animals that migrate can also use make use of these passages when busy roads interrupt the animals' routes, she said. Hilty has studied ecopassages in California's oak woodlands.... Healing the fire-scarred Henry Mountains One of last year's biggest range fires could turn into one of this summer's biggest reclamation efforts. The Nature Conservancy has joined forces with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as part of an all-volunteer effort to stabilize fragile hillsides and begin reviving the fire-scarred, rugged slopes of the Henry Mountains near Hanksville. Last week, rehabilitation teams began spreading native seed, clearing out dead trees, planting ponderosa pine and building a series of dams to stabilize banks in the fire-ravaged areas of the Henry Mountains.... Logging helicopter crashes, killing one A helicopter pilot died Wednesday when the aircraft's rotor blades struck a tree, the authorities said. The pilot was James Ladd, 41, of Erowal Bay, New South Wales, Australia. He had worked at Superior Helicopter of Grants Pass for a year and had over 9,700 flight hours in helicopters. Ladd was removing timber from the Bear Pen timber sale on Bureau of Land Management property 14 miles northwest of Glendale. He was flying a Kaman Kmax K-1200 lift helicopter.... Conservation groups to tie up BLM leases with protests The government will auction leases covering more than 73,000 acres in energy-rich western Colorado this week, but environmental protests could tie up half the land for months. The Bureau of Land Management will offer the leases Thursday on land some say should be left alone. Conservationists plan to protest leasing 32 of the 73 parcels, land either in a wilderness bill proposed by Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., or in roadless forest. Protests trigger an automatic review by BLM and can ultimately be appealed to the Interior Board of Lands Appeal in Washington, D.C. No lease is issued until the matter is resolved.... BLM agrees with church's proposals The faithful who hope to trace the footprints of their families in large numbers along the historic Mormon Trail in central Wyoming appear to have the blessing of the federal government. A preferred plan drafted by Bureau of Land Management officials for managing the popular handcart trekking program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would allow for a higher number of trekkers than any other plan considered.... Gore Warns of 'Climate Emergency' While Promoting Disaster Film Former Vice President Al Gore warned of a "climate emergency" on Tuesday as he joined forces with political activists from to promote a Hollywood disaster film that shows global warming creating an ice age and causing massive destruction. The Day After Tomorrow , a 20th Century Fox production set for release on Memorial Day, stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quaid. The $125-million movie will offer "a rare opportunity to have a national conversation about what truly should be seen as a global climate emergency," Gore told reporters.... Bob Cox: Cowboy, lawman, fighting Seabee As a young cowboy, Bob Cox became familiar with the territory between Willcox and Mexico. Through the years, he went on to use his knowledge as a lawman in the area, and later served his country in three wars. His father, Andrew Cox, was a blacksmith from San Antonio, Texas, who led the family out of Texas looking for work during the Great Depression. "Dad used mule teams to grade the roads (for the railroad). He shod the mules. When work would play out in one place he'd find another" Cox said.... Blazing the trail On a cold, wet morning just outside Vernon, representatives from Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas met at the old Doan's Crossing on the North Texas prairie near the Red River. A marker was placed in the rain-softened ground to show the route of the old Western Trail, one of the country's major cattle trails. Seven million head of horses and cattle went up the trail from Texas, roughly between 1876 and 1893....

Jailed Rancher Is Freed After Roping In Renegade Cattle

The wide open life of cattle ranching is something Wally Klump has known for almost 71 years in his life east of Willcox, Arizona. It’s a life far different from this past year he just spent in prison, after he refused to remove his cattle from an area the Bureau of Land Management said he had to leave.
"I was real surprised to be put in jail for just saying no to the judge,” Klump said.
"The court repeatedly reminded Mr. Klump that the keys to the prison door were in his pocket and that he would be released any time that he decided to comply with the court’s orders," said Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Guerin, who handled the prosecution of Wally Klump.
Wally Klump agreed to corral his cattle so that he could get out of jail. He still said he had every right to use that land, but Guerin said Klump wasn’t abiding by the Bureau of Land Management's rules.
"Mr. Klump hasn’t been able to establish any right to graze on federal lands since 1991, and there have been lawsuits about this issue,” Guerin said.
Guerin said Klump threatened anyone who tried to move his cattle.
"He believed that the Second Ammendment permitted him to bear arms against government employees who were tyrants in his opinion because the federal government cannot own land. (And he believes) that gave him the right to bear arms against those employees of the government,” Guerin said.
"I'm not going to answer that (question about threatening government employees with the Second Ammendment) because people will take it the wrong way. (They can take it) anyway they want to take it,” Klump said.
But now the cattle are fenced in, and the prosecution rests.
"I would say the government is cautiously optimistic,” Guerin said.
But Klump said an even larger issue is still on the horizon.
"(This dispute) has nothing to do with cattle or land. It’s a means for a cause, and, here again I go, Liberty and Freedom, private ownership by that individual who does the work,” Klump said.
Klump will graze his cattle on land available to him, and said he has no plans to return the cattle to the area in dispute.


Wayne Klump left a message on my machine.

Wally Klump is out of jail. He agreed to move his cattle. The BLM agreed to drop the accumulating trespass charges.

I'm glad Wally is out of jail. The rest saddens me. Guess he didn't win anything. Guess he lost all the way around.

Lost more than his cattle. The sadness just creeps into your bones and stays there. The hopelessness..........

The Laney's....the Forest Service....

Can't even keep the agencies it the BLM or the Forest Service??? They are all beginning to sound alike..the stories all sound alike...The Klumps..the Laney's...the Hage's..the Dann's...

A quote that I like: "I don't believe in conspiracy's. Doesn't mean the S.O.B.'s ain't out to get me."

No, we can't give up. No, we can't weaken. But taking a moment for the like taking a moment for grief at a funeral. Not a person, thank you God, not a person..but a right...we lose a right here and we lose a right amounts to a death in the family. Even though, I am taking pause to grieve another just makes me grit my teeth....

Dammitt, we may lose one...but we are getting tougher as a breed, instead of getting weaker. As supporters, we stiffen our backbones, we get more determined. The next fight? The next one...we are better educated and we are meaner..we get more determined not to lose another round. This is where we will win and the government will lose. Because we have something to lose and something to win and they have nothing. They have a job. We have a life.

It's times like these that it is hard to remember, the government is us. We the people...and we the people have let a few dictate the many.

In the big picture, I realize for the ranching community to come together and fight together, we had to lose a few. We had to feel the pain, in order to stand up and be counted. We had to read the story's. We had to look across the country and see baby calves with their tails up in the air, bucking down the trails behind their mama' think..oh God, what if it was me? Dear Lord in Heaven, what if I am next? This is what we had to have..the fear...the sadness..the despair.

There is a lot of things that spur citizens into action. Despair. Anger. Righteous Outrage. The joy of taking up a cause. Nothing spawns action like fear.

In l988, I went with a German friend back to Germany. One night her father, after having some wine, went into a tirade in German (he didn't speak English - I certainly don't speak German), he wanted his daughter to translate. She didn't want to translate. I told her, go ahead. I am a guest in this man's house. I want to hear him. He started out saying that he was a member of the SS. A very young man then, a very old man when I was his guest. He spoke of the pride of being in the SS. He wanted me to understand...the United States was wrong in declaring war. Those people were enemies of the government. He spoke long and hard about the reasons...ended up crying and saying...I just took orders...I just took orders..we all took orders. Your country wants us all dead....and because we took the orders of our country. We had to take orders or die. I don't remember his words...translated...but I do remember the look of despair on his face, while he was trying to get me to understand, they either took orders or died.

We don't have this in our country. Not yet. We have to remember those agents...those agents have a job and they are brain washed. Brain washed to the point of not having any common sense. The people of America who have the most gumption...they aren't government employees for the most part. People with gumption are self-employed citizens who pay taxes out the nose. Taxes that support the family's of government employees. Sorry, I can't put it any nicer. The thing to remember, is that those people have jobs. To excel or even keep their jobs, they have to follow orders. Hate the agency. Hate the laws or regulations that we, as ranchers, in our years of compliancy allowed to come into play, but don't hate the people.

It's us, babe, that either put this into action or allowed it to do so. Every time we say, "Somebody should do something about this..." Somebody is us. Either we handle it or we allow the government to handle it. Everytime you turn a government agency loose on a problem...we lose. Plain and simple.

Be very careful who you vote for. Do they want the government to fix it or do they want to change the laws? This is not the same thing. You need to understand the difference and you need to know who knows the difference.

Most of us have never been bucked off. I personally have never rode anything beyond the second jump that bucked, with the exception of a kid horse one time. It hurts to hit the ground. It knocks the air out of you and there is a moment of wondering if you will ever again breathe or ever again move. (I got bucked off this last summer for a reminder). I justified this by saying...."It wasn't his fault, he got in wire." That's true. But the truth is...I rode him into wire, not paying attention.

Not paying attention is what got us into government wire (red tape). My fault or the horses? My fault or the governments?

Two choices. Either sell the horse or train him better.

Two choices. Either move to another country or make this one better. Another country would be where?

Grabbing the horse and kicking him in the belly for doing what came natural does one thing. Makes us feel better. Changes the horse? By being kicked in the belly 10 minutes later? (Took me awhile to get up). Not likely.

There is the thought that if we personally sue the employees, they will become so scared they won't do it again. I am not against that thought totally and even see some merits in that action...but remember you are only kicking the belly. The rest of the horse is still there. The belly is a long ways from their brain. The employee is a long ways from the agency. So they loose an employee..the world is full of possible employees.

People with knowledge tell me a horse's brain is the size of a walnut. What can a horse know? Let me tell you, I've been outsmarted by cows, horses, kids and government employees. The fact they have a brain the size of a walnut doesn't help my pride any.

The point I am trying desperately to make is. We either caused this wreck or allowed it to happen. and I are going to unravel it and get it right. Get it right or loose it all. One person, one case can't do it. It's been too long in the making. We'll have to fight and fight and fight. If we loose one. Then don't sell the horse. Get back on. Get tough or walk home.

Welda McKinley Grider

Tuesday, May 11, 2004


Groups' appeal says road plan bad for bears The Lolo, Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle national forests are not taking seriously their obligation to protect grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak and Selkirk ecosystems, environmentalists said in an administrative appeal filed Monday. A new access management plan for the forests closes far too few roads - and roads kill grizzly bears, said the complaint filed by seven environmental groups led by the Missoula-based Alliance for the Wild Rockies. Grizzly bear populations in the Cabinet-Yaak and Selkirk ecosystems number only about 30-40 animals, so few that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared them warranted for listing as endangered species in 1999.... Military planes to be used to fight forest fires Firefighting agencies will use as many as eight military C-130 planes along with water-carrying helicopters and fixed-wing planes akin to crop-dusters, officials said. It will cost anywhere from $26 million to $40 million to replace the big tankers, including costs to terminate the existing contracts, which had been signed though the 2004 fire season, said Mark Rey, the Agriculture undersecretary who directs forest policy.... Forest Service investigates paintball play More than a dozen lean-to's, wooden barricades and a plastic fence have been erected in about an acre of forest land along the Peaks Trail south of Frisco. Dozens of trees have been marred with paint marks, and hundreds of uncharged paint balls lay on the forest floor in the area. A small table has also been stored in the area. According to Ken Waugh, district recreation staff officer with the Dillon Ranger District, playing paintball is illegal on national forest land.... Oregon biz leaders back roadless-area protections Some of the biggest names in Oregon's corporate world joined with local manufacturers of outdoor equipment Tuesday to call on the Bush Administration to uphold protections for National Forest roadless areas. Nike, Adidas, Salomon, Columbia Sportswear, and seven other outdoor recreation businesses headquartered in Oregon spoke of the importance of wild roadless forests to their customers and their businesses. Paul Kelly, Nike's Global Director of Public Affairs announced, "As a company committed to environmental stewardship and innovation, Nike supports the 2001 Roadless Rule and believes that it is fundamental to maintaining the integrity of some of our country's most beautiful natural areas for the outdoor athletes and enthusiasts of today, and for generations to come.".... Conservation Groups Sue to Protect California Spotted Owl The Center for Biological Diversity and four other groups, represented by Earthjustice, filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today for wrongfully denying protection for the California spotted owl under the federal Endangered Species Act. The suit challenges the Fish and Wildlife Service’s February 10, 2003 decision denying protection for the owl, which was in response to a petition filed by the groups. The owl, which inhabits old growth forests in the Sierra Nevada, is threatened by logging on Forest Service and private lands.... USDA Announces Interim Final Rule for Grassland Reserve Program Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced the release of an interim final rule to implement the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill. The GRP helps landowners restore and protect grassland, rangeland, pastureland, shrubland and certain other lands and provides assistance for rehabilitating grasslands. By issuing an interim final rule with request for public comments, USDA can conduct a program sign-up and implementation this fiscal year, according to the rule. USDA will consider all comments received during a 60-day public comment period in developing a final GRP rule.... Analysis shows Northern spotted owl still declining The latest five-year update on the Northern spotted owl shows the threatened bird is declining faster than ever. The study appears to be a blow to timber industry efforts to loosen restrictions on national forest logging in Washington, Oregon and Northern California to protect fish and wildlife habitat. The study follows another report that found the threatened marbled murrelet in decline. While owl numbers from 1998 to 2003 held steady or declined only slightly in most of the study areas in Oregon and California, they declined so fast in Washington that the population as a whole fell by 4.1 percent, the study found.... Environmentalists seek stronger scrub jay status Just a few birds can halt a fleet of bulldozers, but environmentalists still want more protection for the Florida scrub jay. They hope to slow the destruction of the birds' habitat by forcing the federal government to dub them "endangered." Four environmental groups, led by the Sierra Club, sued to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to change the scrub jay's listing from "threatened," its less-critical status since 1987.... Column: Salmon recovery efforts must be based on science The Pacific Northwest faces a new threat to the long-term survival of our wild salmon runs: environmental policy decisions based on federal politics, not science. The Bush administration proposes in a draft policy to count millions of hatchery fish as part of West Coast wild salmon runs, when in fact they are very different animals. The administration is all but saying that hatchery fish production can make up for land use and industrial actions that destroy salmon habitat and harm water quality for people. The administration is wrong.... Peregrines nest on San Francisco building They've raised families in suburban counties surrounding San Francisco Bay, and nested on the Bay Bridge. Now, peregrine falcons have moved downtown. For the first time in perhaps decades, peregrines have successfully nested on a San Francisco building - the headquarters of utility company PG&E. Two 4-week-old nestlings have been sighted.... State to revisit plover habitat plan Facing increasing criticism from coastal communities, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department said it is reconsidering a plan to restrict public access to 57 miles of state beaches for the protection of threatened populations of Western snowy plovers. Michelle Michaud, a natural resource manager for OPRD, said the state has received a "mixed bag" of comments regarding its proposal to expand beach restrictions for the threatened shorebird. But Michaud added that the majority of the public was concerned about losing access and recreational opportunities on miles of state lands.... Endangered Species Act reconsidered Republicans have introduced at least four bills in the U.S. House or Senate to reform the Endangered Species Act in the current legislative session. And in the last six months, the Bush administration has made two internal decisions, and is considering a third, that change the act. The new slate of legislation differs from other efforts to change the law. Republican legislators now speak of improving the act for the sake of animals, rather than for defending the rights of property owners.... Wolf case becomes battle of which court A territorial dispute of sorts has arisen in the case of four tranquilized wolves, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist and his assistant and criminal charges of trespassing and littering levied against the two. An order of removal has already switched the venue in the case of the State of Wyoming v. Michael Jimenez, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wolf manager, from Park County to U.S. District Court in Cheyenne. Federal employees are permitted to take state charges filed against them into a federal courtroom. Wes Livingston, a Cody resident who helped Jimenez with wolf-collaring operations, is also entitled to this protection, said attorney Mike Messenger. Though Livingston was arraigned in Park County on Tuesday, Messenger indicated that he was waiting for a federal judge to ship Livingston's case to Cheyenne and that the paperwork could arrive "any minute." But Park County Attorney Brian Skoric plans to challenge the order today.... State Rangeland Database Discussed Ranchers helping each other set fire to their land might sound a bit odd, but popularity of this concept is growing. Ranchers are organizing Prescribed Burning Associations to make prescribed fire a safe, ecologically-friendly tool for managing rangelands, said Dr. Mort Kothmann, rangeland scientist with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. The Edwards Plateau Prescribed Burning Association, organized in 1997, was the first landowner coop. Since then, new chapters have been forming across the state, and in Oklahoma and Colorado. Interest is also building in New Mexico.... Battles brew over land rights Investors in a central Utah company are the largest beneficiaries of a 132-year-old federal mining law that sells mining rights to prospectors for as little as 84 cents an acre, according to data compiled by an environmental group. The records also reflect an ongoing battle between Crippled Horse Investments, a Texas corporation, and the federal government. Crippled Horse is suing the government, trying to force the transfer of more than 23,000 acres in Uintah County near the Colorado border for oil shale mining, despite a moratorium on transfers that has been in place since 1994. The company is scheduled to go before U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene on Friday. At issue is the 1872 Mining Act, a landmark piece of homestead legislation, passed by Congress to encourage starry-eyed prospectors to develop the frontier.... TPL Receives "Four Cs" Award for NM Work In recognition of their outstanding collaborative efforts to protect beautiful landscapes in Northern New Mexico, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) presented the prestigious Four Cs Award to the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national non-profit land conservation organization. The award was presented during a ceremony Friday, May 7, at the Orilla Verde Recreation Area near Taos. BLM Director Kathleen Clarke presented the award on behalf of the BLM.... Rancher fighting feds relents Luther "Wally" Klump, the Willcox rancher who spent a year in prison defying a federal court order to move his cattle off public land, was freed Tuesday after he agreed to round up the herd and not shoot government agents. "I'm ready to remove my cows from the Simmons Peak allotment and withdraw my Second Amendment mandate," Klump wrote in a surrender note to U.S. District Court Judge John Roll.... Sierra Club Endorses Kerry for President The Sierra Club -- the nation's oldest, largest and most influential environmental group -- today endorsed Sen. John Kerry for President of the United States, citing his outstanding leadership in safe-guarding America's air, water and public lands. "John Kerry will provide the environmental leadership that has been sorely missing in the Bush White House," said Sierra Club President Larry Fahn. "His commitment to environmental progress stands in stark contrast to the Bush administration's all-out assault on the environment and its record of putting polluting corporations before the American public's health and safety.... Climate Change Gets a Hollywood Makeover It is just another digitally enhanced disaster movie, but campaigners hope "The Day After Tomorrow," a climate change Armageddon blockbuster, will have a lasting special effect on respect for the planet. 20th Century Fox's $125 million film opens in cinemas worldwide on May 28. Riding on its coat tails is an army of environmentalists hoping it will win new recruits to their cause.... Global Warming Ignites Tempers, Even in a Movie Any studio that makes a $125 million movie about global warming is courting controversy. But 20th Century Fox does not seem to have fully anticipated the political firestorm being whipped up by its film "The Day After Tomorrow." Environmental advocates are using the film's release, scheduled for May 28, as an opening to slam the Bush administration, whose global warming policies they oppose. Industry groups in Washington are lobbying on Capitol Hill to make sure the film does not help passage of a bill limiting carbon-dioxide emissions, which many scientists say contribute to global warming. Meanwhile on Tuesday Fox sparred with celebrity advocates who complained that they had been disinvited to the movie's premiere, only to be reinvited later in the day.... Tribes seeking $1 billion The Klamath Tribes are seeking at least $1 billion in compensation for the loss of salmon runs in the Upper Klamath Basin. An attorney for the Chiloquin-based Tribes said he filed a suit this morning in U.S. District Court in Portland against PacifiCorp, which operates a series of hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. Plaintiffs in the suit include the Klamath Tribes, several individual tribal members, and Klamath Claims Committee, a little-known entity that dates to the termination of the tribes in the 1950s.... Fallow land traded for water The Metropolitan Water District approved an agreement Tuesday in which Riverside and Imperial county farmers would be paid to take land out of production so irrigation water could be diverted to urban users in Southern California coastal communities. The 35-year agreement, which will have a startup cost of $100 million, calls for farmers in the Palo Verde Irrigation District to receive steady payments for rotating their crops and making the water from the Colorado River available to 18 million customers from Ventura County to the Mexican border.... Sand, Sagebrush and Spearfishing in the N.M. Desert Fishermen love to tell tall tales but the one about spearfishing in the desert plains of New Mexico is true. Among the white sands, sagebrush and sandstone cliffs, a group of doggedly determined divers earlier this month held what they billed as one of the few spearfishing competitions in the world at the Elephant Butte Lake reservoir -- right in the desert. "People don't believe there's spearfishing in the desert, but there is and it's a very active sport in the state," said desert sportsman Jim Summers, who organized the competition. The reservoir, New Mexico's largest man-made lake, is in a basin region just west of what is called Jornada Del Muerto (the Path of the Dead).... Fishing deal lets ranchers say no to developers' bait Seven miles of prime trout fishing streams that carve through Park County ranchland have been opened to the public this week in an unprecedented deal that open-space advocates say will ultimately save 13,000 acres in danger of being developed. The deal allows anglers who enjoy flyfishing to sign up, pay a fee ranging from $25 to $50 and spend the day along a stream on one of six private ranches. A part of that cash goes to the ranch owner, giving them an income source so they do not have to sell when the developers come knocking. But the best part, anglers say, is that it opens up more fishing access in a state that is losing streams to subdivisions and private-land grabs.... Groups Lash Out at USDA Conservation Plan An Agriculture Department plan to pay farmers and ranchers to protect and improve natural resources will freeze out most potential participants, critics of the plan said Tuesday. Critics said the department was not doing what Congress had wanted with the Conservation Security Program, which would provide money and technical assistance for environmentally friendly land management practices. The program should be open to producers who are eligible, not only to the limited number that USDA proposes, they said.... USDA orders silence on mad cow in Texas The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued an order instructing its inspectors in Texas, where federal mad cow disease testing policies recently were violated, not to talk about the cattle disorder with outside parties, United Press International has learned. The order, sent May 6 by e-mail from the USDA's Dallas district office, was issued in the wake of the April 27 case at Lone Star Beef in San Angelo, in which a cow displaying signs of a brain disorder was not tested for mad cow disease despite a federal policy to screen all such animals.... Continuing Will’s roping legacy Will Rogers used the rope to underline a style of humor that was to become his trademark, his son Will Jr. wrote in the forward to “Will Rogers Rope Tricks” by Frank Dean, rodeo trick roper and author. Frank Dean’s legacy is helping to perpetuate the memory of Will Rogers and the role trick roping played in his career and his life. The Wild West Arts Club Frank Dean-Will Rogers Award was presented to a Mexican charro at International Convention in Las Vegas. Funds left to Will Rogers Heritage Inc. in Dean’s will are used for WWAC trick roping prizes and awards....