Saturday, November 06, 2004

NEWS ROUNDUP

Brokaws question safety of nearby hunting Lawyers for "NBC Nightly News" anchorman Tom Brokaw want a judge to require the Montana Board of Outfitters to review a decision that allows a Wyoming outfitter to guide big-game hunting trips on land next to Brokaw's Montana ranch. "The complaint we have is safety, plain and simple," Clifford Edwards, a Billings attorney representing Brokaw, told District Judge Nels Swandal at a hearing Oct. 29. "Tom and (wife) Meredith are not anti-hunting - they are concerned for their safety." On Sept. 1, the Board of Outfitters granted Wyoming outfitter David Nelson's request to take as many as 10 hunters onto more than 2,500 acres of private land bordering the Brokaws' West Boulder Ranch during archery season, court records said....
Udall says environmental cause not lost Rep. Mark Udall said environmentalists will "have their hands full" over the next four years because of the re-election of President Bush, but he remains optimistic that many of their causes aren't lost. Udall, a Boulder-area Democrat whose 2nd District includes Summit and Eagle counties, said he suspects that Bush will continue to do in a second term what he did in the first - attempt to "undercut" numerous environmental laws....
Bush Victory Helps Clear Regulatory Landscape Big business used to hedge its bets on politicians, giving about the same amounts to each party. But no more. Many industries subject to environmental and health regulations bet big on a second term for President Bush and won. Forestry, mining and agriculture were among the industry sectors that gave the highest shares of campaign cash to Bush. Employees and political action committees of forest-product companies, for example, gave $4 to Bush for every $1 to Sen. John Kerry. For many leaders in these industries, betting on Bush was obvious: In its first four years, Bush's administration built a consistent record of simplifying, scrapping or scaling back enforcement of regulations that added to the cost of doing business....
Powerful current sweeps biologist away A massive search was launched Thursday morning for a 42-year-old U.S. Forest Service biologist who was swept away in a current while working on a lake near Ketchikan, officials said. According to officials, Sainz and two colleagues had been staying in a Forest Service cabin in the Bakewell Arm area, about 40 miles east of Ketchikan. On Thursday, the three federal workers rowed a small skiff with no motor across Bakewell Lake to retrieve some gear on the other side, said trooper Gary Webb. The skiff got caught in a strong current where the lake drains into a creek and the occupants decided to swim for shore because they knew the creek led to a 50-foot waterfall, Webb said. Two of the workers made it to land. They did not see what happened to Sainz, Webb said....
Mountain could receive protection from mining The Black Hills National Forest wants public input on a proposal to withdraw Inyan Kara Mountain in Crook County from hard-rock mining. Inyan Kara Mountain spans about 1,278 acres, 440 acres of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mountain is sacred to American Indians and it is also a site of significant historical and prehistoric cultural resources, according to the Forest Service. But the Wyoming Mining Association said it objects to any withdrawal of public lands for mining....
U.S. Fish and Wildlife rules could leave some hunters, farmers facing federal prosecution for 'baiting' Many farmers -- and hunters -- received a double dose of bad news last week when the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced it would be enforcing its provisions on baiting -- or using damaged crop lands to gain an advantage. According to US Fish and Wildlife regulations sportsmen would be in violation of federal baiting laws if they use frost damaged or other crops that did not reach maturity and have been manipulated. US Fish and Wildlife Service officials claim hunters are gaining an unfair advantage by using the 'baited' fields to harvest birds. Uncontrolled baiting, they feel, could have an adverse effect on the migratory bird populations in the flyway....
More remains found in Kanab Archaeologists collecting and documenting bones of ancient American Indians discovered by a sod farmer in Kanab have found two more sets of remains. The latest find increases the total to nine sets of remains. The Bureau of Land Management office over the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has been removing the bones as agents for the state, which has jurisdiction because the site is on private land. The bones, believed to be those of prehistoric Anasazi Indians, will be delivered to Salt Lake City later this month for further study before being turned over for reburial to a tribe claiming the remains....
Column: Building on decision for protecting the Front Montanans received welcome news in early October when the federal government temporarily halted proposals to drill a portion of public lands along the Rocky Mountain Front. As a business owner in Choteau, I appreciate the importance of protecting the Front to our local economy and good long-term jobs. Now the question is how to make the decision to halt drilling permanent while providing lasting benefits to those of us who live along the Front as well as all Montanans. In the near term, two steps can be taken: a swap or buy-out of existing leases combined with targeted economic development assistance for communities along the Front to help Montana families preserve their heritage and traditional way of life....
Editorial: Kyoto Ratification FOLLOWING RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin's long-awaited signature yesterday, the Kyoto Protocol on climate change will finally go into effect. Mr. Putin has not decided to ratify the treaty because his compatriots suddenly saw the light and decided to become environmentalists, although some will try to portray it that way. In fact, the Russians bargained hard, winning European endorsement for World Trade Organization membership in exchange for their signature. Moreover, Russia will gain financially from the treaty, because it is based on a requirement that signatories reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels. Russia's industrial output has collapsed since then, along with greenhouse gas emissions. No regulation, taxes or pollution controls are necessary. In this sense, Russia is not alone. Britain, which has pushed hard for ratification of the treaty, also stands to gain, thanks to the country's move away from coal. China and India, which ratified it, are not, as "developing countries," required to meet any emissions targets at all....
Measure 34 results have Oregon activists feeling blue, not green Now that the dust has settled over this year's election results, some Oregon environmentalists say they are left wondering whether the state is really as green as its national reputation. Voters soundly defeated a measure to place a quarter-million acres of state forest off-limits to logging, and approved one that could prompt dramatic changes in the state's vaunted land-use laws....
Hearst deal maintenance will cost $1.3M a year Adding 12 miles of Hearst Ranch coastline to the state parks system will cost as much as $1.3 million a year and require the hiring of seven new parks employees. Those figures were released Friday as state officials put the finishing touches on a $95 million deal to preserve the scenic ranch at San Simeon. The state Public Works Board met in Sacramento to vote on the deal but postponed its decision until Wednesday in order to review several changes to seven of the conservation documents. The changes are minor and the delay is not expected to kill the deal, said Stephen Hearst, who has been negotiating the historic deal for the Hearst Corp., which owns the San Francisco Chronicle and other media outlets....

Friday, November 05, 2004

LATE POST

Sorry the posting was late and incomplete, but Blogger had some servers down which kept me from publishing this am.
NEWS ROUNDUP

Ore. land rules thrown into doubt Oregon has been a national leader for more than 30 years in fighting urban sprawl and protecting forests and farmland from turning into houses as the population grows. And for all those years, there have been property owners who chafed at the idea that they couldn't use their land as they saw fit. That has all changed with passage Tuesday of Measure 37, which allows landowners to make claims against governments when land-use regulations reduce the value of their property. The measure also gives governments the option of waiving regulations instead of paying compensation, which would create a patchwork of development regulation around the state based on when a piece of property was acquired....
Open Space backers puzzled over ballot failure Initiative One sponsors spent over $1 million, gathered endorsements from the likes of former U.S. senator Jake Garn and ex-Brigham Young football coach LaVell Edwards and were projected to win big in several polls. Falling flat on their face wasn't part of the plan - but that is exactly what happened on election night. Despite all of the money, all the big-name backing and predictions of a double-digit victory, the open space ballot measure instead stumbled to a 10-point defeat (55-45), stunning supporters. The ballot measure, which called for a $150 million bond to purchase and preserve watersheds, wildlife habitat and ranch and farm land, was pummeled in rural Utah counties, often by more than a 2-to-1 margin. It didn't fare much better in urban Davis, Weber and Utah counties. But the real blow came in Salt Lake County, where the initiative wound up losing by nearly 1,000 votes. Only Summit and Grand counties endorsed it....
Disabled vet sues agencies over land-grab Jesse Hardy, the disabled vet who has battled government to stay on his Everglades-area land, has charged 13 officials in six state and federal agencies with multiple violations of law in a 43-page complaint filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court. Officials of the Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the South Florida Water Management District are named in the complaint. The complaint alleges "ongoing violations of federal law and the United States Constitution" during the eight years the agencies have been developing the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, or CERP, and "requests relief in the forms of declaratory judgment and injunctive relief." The complaint arises because the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has filed a petition to condemn 160 acres owned by Jesse Hardy. The DEP contends the land is necessary to complete the CERP. Hardy contends the state has failed to demonstrate how or why the land is needed, as is required by law....
Forest official resigns in wake of 2003 deaths The U.S. Forest Service firefighter in charge of battling a deadly blaze last year in the Salmon-Challis National Forest has resigned. Alan Hackett, incident commander for the fire near Cramer Creek that killed two wildland firefighters July 22, 2003, could not be reached for comment. In an interview Wednesday, Hackett's attorney, Aaron Thompson of Pocatello, confirmed that "an agreement has been reached" and that Hackett is no longer employed at the Salmon-Challis Forest. " I'm not at liberty to discuss details of the agreement at this point, but terms have been reached," Thompson said. Forest Service officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment....
Rancher sentenced to minimum in assault on federal officer Catron County rancher Kit Laney has been sentenced to the minimum of five months in federal custody after pleading guilty to assaulting or resisting a federal officer and obstruction of a court order. Kit Laney, 43, entered the pleas in September before state District Judge John Conway, who sentenced him last week. He will be given credit for time in jail awaiting trial, which means he will serve four months. Laney was arrested March 14 during a roundup of cattle belonging to him and his ex-wife, Sherry Farr, on the Gila National Forest. Authorities said Laney threatened to trample federal officers with his horse and tried to release impounded livestock....
Lawsuits target Pacific Lumber logging, 100-year plan An environmental group sued Pacific Lumber Co. in state court Thursday over several proposed timber cuts and its 100-year management plan, days after filing a federal suit also challenging the company's logging practices. The Environmental Protection Information Center said the timber harvests it wants to block include ancient redwood trees adjacent to Humboldt Redwoods State Park, along with clear-cutting of younger trees in the Van Duzen River watershed that the group contends has already been over logged. The Van Duzen flows into the Eel River, both of which are designated Wild and Scenic Rivers once known for their salmon runs....
Group blamed for Sand Dunes blaze will pay $695,000 A homeowners association faulted for a wildfire that raged through the Great Sand Dunes National Monument four years ago has agreed to pay the federal government $695,000. The National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service initially sought nearly $1 million from the Zapata Homeowners Association in a negligence lawsuit brought a year after the April 2000 fire. Investigators traced the blaze, which swept through 3,100 acres of private, state and federal land, to a burn pit operated by the Zapata subdivision, just south of the sand dunes and home to about 20 year- round residents....
Killing of grizzlies exceeds levels set by U.S. officials Grizzly bears continue to spill out of a core recovery area around Yellowstone National Park, pushing up the number of conflicts with people and, this year, causing more grizzlies to be killed than maximum levels set by federal managers. Although wildlife managers are concerned about the grizzly mortality, they also said it's a sign that the Yellowstone grizzly population is growing and expanding. "I think it's a symptom that the bucket's full," said John Emmerich of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department....
Discovery of rare plants could postpone land auction near Vegas The discovery of two rare plant species threatens to postpone a southern Nevada land auction in February and block plans to build thousands of homes in a swath of desert just north of Las Vegas, officials said. The Las Vegas City Council learned Wednesday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to conserve up to 12.5 square miles where a federal botanist reported finding Las Vegas buckwheat and Las Vegas bearpoppy during an August survey. Las Vegas bearpoppy is protected under state law as critically endangered. Las Vegas buckwheat is being proposed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act....
Canyon Resources looks at cyanide-free gold mining The day after Montana voters rejected Canyon Resources Corp.'s effort to repeal Montana's ban on cyanide leach mining, the company's president announced that the company is looking at cyanide-free methods of opening a large gold mine near Lincoln. Dick De Voto, president of Canyon, told investors in a conference call Wednesday that while he was disappointed with the decisive loss of Initiative 147, the company needed to move on. There are other ways to extract gold and silver from ore, he said, and Canyon was going to look at them....
Forest Service Displays Historic Photos Twenty-five historic photos dating from 1906 to 1951 are currently displayed at the reception area of the Gila National Forest's Supervisor's Office. In commemoration of "The Centennial: 100 years of the Forest Service (1905-2005)," Gila employees Annette Gomez and Andrea Martinez selected 25 of the 100 Gila photos to create a collage of black and white images. "The photos are really interesting and enjoyable to see considering how long ago they were taken," said Gomez. "They not only give us an appreciation of the rich history of the Gila but the people and local communities that used the forest. Some things have changed but others, like building a fire line, use of horses and mules for riding and packing in wilderness and hunting have not."....
Is Dugway's expansion an alien concept? Alien hunters and nerve agent contamination may be prompting Dugway Proving Ground to seek to expand its size. Officials at the Army base are closed-mouthed about why they want to acquire a huge swath of adjacent land, mostly under control of the Bureau of Land Management. They have not even spelled out how much they want. But they confirmed that the gigantic military reservation filed documents seeking approval for expansion studies. The amount of land under discussion ranges from 55 square miles to 145 square miles — and if the nearby Dugway Mountains are included, that increases by 25 square miles. One motive for acquiring land may be to keep Dugway's expected anti-terrorism training secret at a time when the base is coming under telephoto scrutiny by alien hunters....
Poll: Most favor tying new construction to water Most Arizonans want rural development blocked unless there is a proven water supply, according to a new statewide poll. And few of those holding that position -- including those in the rural areas -- are swayed by the possibility that such a ban might slow growth. The survey, conducted last month, shows that 61 percent of those asked want legislation to prevent construction in areas where it has not yet been proven there is an adequate water supply to support that development. Only 32 percent were opposed, with the balance unsure....
New Mexico Mounted Police: Frontier lawmen By the turn of the century, in 1901, it had been more than a half-century since Americans had occupied Santa Fe and yet statehood for New Mexico seemed to remain out of reach. The perception in the eastern U.S. seemed to be that the territory was a lawless place, rife with crime and criminals. To some extent, that perception was accurate. To the east and south, the Texas Rangers had evolved into a functional statewide law enforcement agency and many outlaws of the day moved elsewhere. In Arizona, the Ranger force was created in 1901, and soon criminals there looked for greener pastures. Colorado, a state since 1876, was not friendly to the lawless element. Right in the middle was New Mexico, a large, sparsely populated region with a thin patchwork of law enforcement officials, a place where cattle rustling in particular was rampant....

Thursday, November 04, 2004

NEWS ROUNDUP

Wolf poison raises alarms about its terrorism potential An odorless, colorless and tasteless poison used to kill coyotes and wolves in Western states is under review by the Department of Homeland Security for its potential as a terrorist weapon. The department's action is in response to a request by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., a member of Congress' Select Committee on Homeland Security. He urged Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge in an October letter to act immediately to halt manufacture and use of the poison, known as Compound 1080. The poison, sodium fluoroacetate, has no antidote and is described by the Environmental Protection Agency as "super toxic." One teaspoon could kill as many as 100 adults, DeFazio told Ridge....
West's Wildfires Linked to Global Warming The raging Western wildfires of recent years have often been blamed on management practices that promoted dense, overpacked forests. But a new study indicates global warming may be the main culprit. Challenging the conventional wisdom that today's severe wildfires are unnatural and unprecedented, researchers have found that parts of the West experienced destructive blazes during a warm, drought-plagued period in the Middle Ages. The linkage suggests that as the climate warms, damaging wildfires will continue to strike the West. "If we are just at the beginning of dramatic warming … we can simply expect larger, more severe fires," said Grant A. Meyer, a co-author of the study, published in today's journal Nature....
Voters refuse to relax mining restriction Reaffirming a decision they made six years ago, Montana voters Tuesday refused to relax an environmental restriction on mining as they decided one of the hottest measures on the state ballot. Voters upheld a ban on use of cyanide technology in new gold and silver mining, a ban the industry said symbolized hostility toward mining at a time when Montana needs its well-paying jobs. Supporters of the ban, passed by voters in 1998, said it's a shield against catastrophic water pollution from cyanide. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, voters rejected Initiative 147 by 58 percent to 42 percent....
Montana voters approve methane ordinance Voters in Rosebud County in southeast Montana have overwhelmingly approved a measure that would give the Rosebud Conservation District a say in regulating wastewater produced in tapping coalbed methane. Conservationists hailed its passage in Tuesday's election as important to helping protect agriculture in the region. The county election administrator said 2,104 voters favored the land-use ordinance and 521 opposed it, with all precincts reporting....
U.S. Wants No Warming Proposal The Bush administration has been working for months to keep an upcoming eight-nation report from endorsing broad policies aimed at curbing global warming, according to domestic and foreign participants, despite the group's conclusion that Arctic latitudes are facing historic increases in temperature, glacial melting and abrupt weather changes. State Department representatives have argued that the group, which has spent four years examining Arctic climate fluctuations, lacks the evidence to prepare detailed policy proposals. But several participants in the negotiations, all of whom requested anonymity for fear of derailing the Nov. 24 report, said officials from the eight nations and six indigenous tribes involved in the effort had ample science on which to draft policy....
Bison co-op files for Chapter 11 The financially-troubled North American Bison Cooperative of New Rockford, N.D., and its marketing subsidiary, the North American Provisioner of Denver filed for Chapter 11 reorganization under bankruptcy laws Monday. The co-op lists $8.5 million in assets and $24.5 million in liabilities, including $19.8 million in unsecured claims. The co-op, started in 1994, today has about 330 rancher members and employs about 26 people, down from a high of 70....
Column: Of mad cows and junk science MAD-COW DISEASE is way down on my worry list, and for two reasons. One is the number of Americans made sick by eating meat from a mad cow: zero. Two is the number of American cows ever found to have the disease: one, and it came from Canada. But then I pick up the November issue of Vanity Fair and there's this fiery article about U.S. beef safety. Mad-cow disease, Eric Schlosser writes, "confronts the United States with perhaps its most serious and complex food-safety threat."....
The Jewish rancher in Big Bend who loved trail drives There was a Jewish rancher, however, who left his mark on the Big Bend. His name was Mayer Halff, and, while he was a merchant, he was also a cowboy, a trail driver, a ranch owner and a devout member of Congregation Beth El in San Antonio. At one time his San Antonio firm, M. Halff and Brother, owned more than a million acres of Texas land, including the Circle Dot ranch near Marathon, the Quien Sabe south of Midland, the JM along the Pecos River and the Crouch in Frio County. His heirs still operate the Crouch as a hunting ranch....
What's your dog's name? It is an impressive thing to watch a real cow dog work, to see how the dog "eyes" the stock and plans his move and gets those cattle where he wants them. It is not just in moving cattle that a dog helps out. Many were the times that old Bear would keep an upset cow at bay or led off while we tended to the newborn calf. I have a lot of memories of Bear as one of the best hands on the place and as a friend. It's enjoyable to talk about your best dog, just as we like to remember our favorite car, and quietly wish we had it back....

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

NEWS ROUNDUP

Shooting ban under scrutiny The state Game, Fish & Parks Commission will again consider a rule lifting the state ban on shooting prairie dogs on federal land in Conata Basin, just south of Badlands National Park. However, even if the proposed rule is approved, the federal ban on shooting prairie dogs on the Buffalo Gap National Grassland in Conata Basin will remain in place, according to George Vandel, GF&P assistant wildlife director. The Nebraska National Forest, which administers the Buffalo Gap National Grassland in South Dakota, had indicated last summer that it intended to lift its prairie dog shooting ban. However, in a federal court settlement with environmental groups on Oct. 6, the U.S. Forest Service agreed to delay lifting its shooting ban until it completes an environmental impact statement....
Badlands poisoning may begin Preparations to poison prairie dogs in Conata Basin south of Badlands National Park could begin late this week, if the weather cooperates, according to a South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department official overseeing the poisoning effort. Private contractors hired by the state are nearly finished poisoning prairie dogs on private land and have made a good start poisoning on federal land in Custer and Fall River counties, according to Art Smith, GF&P wildlife damage management program administrator....
Column: Forest Conservation Act: More Duplicative Funding Any piece of legislation that unites in sponsorship key leading political figures of one party with a substantial amount of perceived partisan members of the other party should be viewed as fodder for scrutiny. And so it should be with the Tropical Forest Conservation Act, a 1998 measure trading financial assistance for conservation efforts that just received quiet reauthorization through 2007. Introduced in the House as H.R. 4654 and the Senate as S. 2787, the measure passed into Public Law 108-323 on Oct. 6, on the heels of support from more than 30 Republicans and Democrats, six of the latter of whom belong to the nearly socialist Congressional Progressive Caucus....
Group files against Forest Service A Utah environmental group has filed suit against the U.S. Forest Service, claiming the agency continues to ignore provisions of the National Forest Management Act as they relate to monitoring wildlife population trends. The Utah Environmental Congress last week filed a complaint in U.S. District Court against the Dixie, Manti-La Sal, Wasatch-Cache and Uinta National Forests. The suit alleges that each has failed to gather population trend data through their Management Indicator Species process, which measures the impacts of timber and road construction projects on wildlife and fish habitat....
Grizzlies' Rebound Endangers Bears as Towns Boom The 2-year-old bear may not realize it, but it only has one more chance. Twice already it has been caught: the first time rummaging through garbage in a back yard, the second a week later after an anxious resident reported the 400-pound male junior grizzly devouring apples close to a house on the outskirts of town. In the harsh world of bear management around here these days, if it gets caught again, it's finished....
Catch a pikeminnow, get paid This summer, it really paid to go fishing. Thomas Papst of West Linn, as an example, made $34,526. At about $8 a fish by the middle of summer. He was the top angler, turning in a total of 4,664 northern pikeminnow during the reward program that ran through the summer. In all, anglers checked in more than a quarter-million pikeminnow at one of 12 check stations on the Columbia and Snake rivers in Oregon and Washington. It's an annual effort to crop off adult pikeminnow, which are voracious predators on juvenile salmon and steelhead....
Agreement proposed in snake habitat Environmentalists are angry about - and residents are skeptical of - a tentative agreement that could allow work to resume at the Sanctuary, the Evesham development where construction was halted two years ago to protect endangered snakes. The proposed agreement between the Pinelands Commission and developer Iva Samost, announced Friday, would pave the way for completion of Georgia O'Keefe Way. About a half-mile of the road, which is supposed to curl inside the development like a horseshoe, connecting the northern and southern halves, is unfinished. The unpaved portion is lined by fences and bisected by culverts designed to allow timber rattlesnakes to cross safely beneath the road....
Altamont Pass wind farms targeted in bird deaths An environmental group filed a lawsuit Monday against wind farm operators in the Altamont Pass, alleging that two decades of continuing bird kills amounts to an unfair business practice. The lawsuit, brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, names most of the wind farm operators in the Altamont. The group wants the companies to set aside wildlife habitat as compensation for the deaths of thousands of birds in the blades of electricity-generating windmills. The lawsuit was filed in state court on the eve of today's election, because passage of Proposition 64 would limit private enforcement of California's unfair business competition laws....
Fears over mad-cow goat BRITISH scientists were yesterday playing down fears of a new "mad cow" epidemic after news that the fatal brain disease had jumped species for the first time and been diagnosed in a goat in France. Alarmed government officials have already agreed on a mass cull should the disease take hold in sheep or goats in Britain. Fear was also spreading among food safety chiefs and farmers throughout Europe. Scientists have long known there was a theoretical possibility of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, known as mad cow disease, affecting goats and sheep, but there has never been proof. The goat came to the attention of veterinary experts two years ago and laboratory tests were conducted. Brain cells from the goat were injected into mice by French scientists, and the mice went on to contract BSE....
Oregon tribes OK 42 words to replace offensive 'squaw' The word "squaw" has long been considered an offensive term for women by Native Americans. Yet that is the name of Squaw Creek, which traverses the ancestral land of the Warm Springs tribes. Now, after years of internal debate, the Warm Springs Tribal Council has approved a list of 42 words that could be used to rename the creek and other nearby squaw place names. The council of Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, comprising the Wasco, Paiute and Warm Springs tribes, passed a resolution last week accepting the translation of 15 of the 42 words into the three distinct languages of their people....
New Gallery Spurs Interest in the Cowboy Lifestyle The Cowboy Legacy Gallery will open this November at the Carefree Galleria in Carefree, Arizona. The gallery is an association of three well-known Western collectibles experts: Keith Seidel of Seidel's Saddlery, William Welch of Cowboy and The Lady, and Brian Lebel of Old West Antiques of Cody. Due to the recent influx of younger collectors, there are simply less and less authentic Western collectibles in the marketplace. Values are also being driven up by auction selling prices which the novice collector can not afford. The Cowboy Legacy Gallery, located in the Carefree Galleria, offers not only hard-to-get items, but a place to sit and visit, read and study in the library of books on the West and cowboy collectables....
Rodeo Insider The Professional Bull Riders' decision to make its World Finals carry more weight was the right choice. In recent years, a competitor could enter the championships with a big lead and have the world title pretty well sewn up. One revealing case was in 2000 when Chris Shivers won the title despite being thrown off four bulls at the five-round event. But the PBR made a controversial change for the 2004 World Finals that paid off by making its world title race more compelling. The PBR added three rounds and dramatically increased the amount of points a cowboy could earn for turning in the highest aggregate score after eight rounds....
Look out ... Hay wants his buckle back Rod Hay wants to have the championship buckle back on his mantel piece. After equalling a Canadian record by winning his seventh national saddle bronc crown in 2002, the Wildwood cowboy missed the majority of last year's CFR when he elected to go to the Pace Picante Pro Rodeo Classic in Dallas. Due to a scheduling conflict, Hay was forced to choose again this year between the lucrative Wrangler Tour Showdown and the CFR. This time, he's going to Rexall Place....

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

NEWS ROUNDUP

Scientists help maintain Devil’s Hole pupfish population For three decades, they’ve swum in the 92-degree spring water that biologists channeled from a crevice in the rocks above Lake Mohave to a concrete tank near Hoover Dam. Without much fanfare from the scientists behind this long-term project, the obscure, rectangular tank, smaller than a backyard swimming pool, has been holding a few handfuls of one of the rarest fish on Earth, the endangered Devil’s Hole pupfish....
Drought Unearths a Buried Treasure In the early 1960's, the nation's environmental movement cut its baby teeth on a fierce battle to stop construction of dams along the Colorado River. Two proposed dams were never built, but Glen Canyon dam, located in an unprotected area, was completed in 1963. Over the next 17 years, water backed up for 186 miles, forming Lake Powell and inundating Glen Canyon and hundreds of miles of side canyons. What Mr. Abbey and the Sierra Club couldn't or didn't do nature has now accomplished. A severe Western drought - some say the worst in 500 years - is shrinking Lake Powell at the rate of up to a foot every four days. Since 1999, the vast reservoir has lost more than 60 percent of its water. Glen Canyon is returning. It is open and viewable in much of its former glory. At the confluence of Coyote Creek and Escalante River, where boaters once motored by to see famous rock formations, backpackers now pick their way up a shallow river channel. Fifteen-foot high cottonwoods grow amid thickets of willow, gamble oak and tamarisk. Where fish thrived, mountain lions prowl. The change may be permanent....
Column: Wise Use in the White House, Pt. 3 With the Department of Interior also promoting recreational user fees, corporate sponsorship of park activities, and partnerships for bioprospecting in the parks, one can start to imagine Smokey Bear recast as ComCast Bear, Arches National Park as Golden Arches National Park, and hip ads promoting Yellowstone-washed jeans. Certainly the Wise Use vision of park management given over to private firms "with expertise in people moving such as Walt Disney" seems consistent with Gale Norton's vision. Despite her early portrayal by environmentalists as "James Watt in a skirt," Norton has shown far more political acumen than the man who once bragged of a commission on which he had a black, a woman, "two Jews and a cripple." "She makes Watt look like the one wearing a skirt," Jeff Ruch suggests with a grin. Though not the most gender-sensitive way of putting it, I get his point. Rather than openly attack environmental laws and wilderness protections, Norton has used the regulatory process to ease up on industry, and the administrative process to crack down on agency professionals who disagree with her....
Hellbenders fight extinction after nearly 150 million years The cold, oxygenated water of the White River's North Fork holds some of the last remaining members of an amphibian family that has roamed this planet for 150 million years. The hellbender salamander has survived dinosaurs, tectonic shifts and multiple ice ages - only to nearly disappear in the time it took for bell-bottom jeans to come back in style. "Back in the `70s, on a day like today, we'd have gotten 100 hellbenders," Solis said on this October day, "and today we got four." Solis, a graduate student at the University of Missouri at Rolla, is part of a biological SWAT team aimed at finding out what is hurting the hellbender. Armed with water sampling equipment, electronic tags, laboratory tests and plans for a captive breeding program, a coalition including state and federal agencies, universities and the St. Louis Zoo hopes to arrest the animal's slide into oblivion....
Endangered Species List Growing, Says Green Group The world's list of endangered species is growing at an alarming and unprecedented rate as governments pay less and less attention to green issues, a major global environmental body said on Tuesday. The World Conservation Union, which also goes under the acronym IUCN, said it would release a "red list" of more than 12,000 threatened species at the World Conservation Congress in Thailand, which starts on November 17....
Bears top killers of elk calves in study For the second year in a row, grizzly bears and black bears were responsible for a majority of elk calf deaths in a study group last spring and summer in Yellowstone National Park. Of the 44 calves that were monitored daily this year, 31 died. Of those, grizzly and black bears killed 18, coyotes killed four, wolves killed three and a golden eagle killed one. One was killed either by wolves or bears, two were killed by unknown predators and two died for reasons other than predators. In 2003 during the study's first year, bears killed 19 elk calves, wolves killed five, coyotes killed three, a mountain lion killed one and a wolverine killed one. Two were killed by wolves or bears....
Brothers' idea still rolling Xanterra researched the history of the Bombardier snowcoach and the history of the Bombardier company. Both go back to the winter of 1922 in the town of Valcourt in the Black River Valley of eastern Qu├ębec. Joseph-Armand Bombardier, a mechanically gifted 15-year-old, had taken apart the family car so often that his father bought an old Ford he thought beyond repair and gave it to him to keep him occupied. Bombardier and his younger brother Leopold began a secret project that occupied all of their spare time until New Year's Eve, when they unveiled a vehicle consisting of a frame with four skis, the Ford engine and a rear-mounted propeller. The boys took off across the snow, Leopold operating the engine while Joseph-Armand steered the front skis, on a 1-kilometer run. Afterwards, the boys' father made them dismantle the vehicle for fear they would hurt themselves, but it was the beginning of a long and fruitful career in over-snow transportation for Joseph-Armand Bombardier....
Elk numbers too high in Theodore Roosevelt park Elk are flourishing at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in numbers too great for their habitat and park officials say hundreds of the animals may have to be shot to bring the population down in coming years. Park service officials have started studying a strategy for managing the park's elk. The process could take several years and will include public meetings around the state. There are more than 600 elk in the park, but wildlife managers have said the land can only handle about 360. The National Park Service has transferred the animals to other states in the past to keep the population down, but fears about chronic wasting disease have halted the practice....
US to Release Draft Colo. Natural Gas Drilling Plan The U.S. government expects to release a draft management plan next week that will detail its plan for natural gas drilling in an environmentally sensitive area in western Colorado known as the Roan Plateau. The Bush administration has marked the Rocky Mountains as an area where it wants to see more oil and gas development to lessen domestic reliance on imported energy, but environmental groups have been fighting the plans in a number of Western states. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management anticipates its draft management plan for the area to be released the week of Nov 8., Duane Spencer, Bureau of Land Management branch chief of fluid minerals, said on Friday. The public will then have an opportunity to comment on the report....
Americans Set to Vote on $4 Billion in New Open Space Funding; LandVote.org will Document Land Conservation Ballot Measures In Tuesday's elections, voters in over 140 communities in 24 states will decide ballot measures to create nearly $25 billion in new public funding, including $4.3 billion specifically to protect land for parks and open space, according to the Trust for Public Land (TPL). TPL will monitor and release results as soon as they are available on Wednesday, November 3. Since 1998, 824 conservation ballot measures have passed in 44 states, raising $22 billion in funding for land conservation -- a rate of passage of approximately 77 percent. In the last presidential election year of 2000, 174 ballot measures passed (an 83 percent passage rate), creating $7.5 billion in funding for land conservation....
New Energy Map Addresses Energy Development Issues in the West Global Energy Decisions (Global Energy) has released a new wall map portraying the energy development issues in the West by clearly defining the production, transmission, consumption and land-use patterns in this critical region. The 2004 Energy Resources, Infrastructure and Federal Lands of the West wall map is unique in that it brings together data showing: oil & gas wells, pipelines, power plants transmission lines and public lands....
Saving fewer fish The crew of federal employees waded Thursday along the A Canal, now empty after the end of another irrigation season in the Klamath Reclamation Project. Equipped with electric wands and dip nets, they were looking for endangered suckers stranded in the canal. The "sucker salvage" has become an annual rite of autumn for the Bureau, which is required to avoid killing the fish that are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act....
Do lead bullets continue to be a hazard after they land? There were 20 million metric tons of lead bullets fired in the United States in the 20th century. Is that lead having an environmental impact? Not at or near the U.S. Forest Service firing range near Blacksburg, Va., according to research by Virginia Tech geological scientists. Donald Rimstidt, a professor in the Department of Geosciences, College of Science at Virginia Tech will report the conclusions of a five-year study at the 116th national meeting of the Geological Sciences of America in Denver Nov. 7-10. There are 9,000 nonmilitary shooting ranges and a lot of military ones in the United States. Some 60,000 metric tons of lead are expended by shooting. (a metric ton or "long ton" is 2,200 lbs.). "So there is lead shot and bullets everywhere," Rimstidt said....
Magazine Calls for National Day of the Cowboy In a move to help rally what it considers some long-overdue recognition, a national magazine is calling on Americans to create a National Day of the Cowboy, to honor that enduring symbol of American courage, chivalry, and can-do spirit. Through the end of this year and into 2005, the magazine is soliciting reader feedback on this matter and sharing their thoughts through its pages. A page of such comments appears in the November/December American Cowboy Magazine, which is due to reach newsstands Nov. 2. More than a quarter-million Americans read the magazine every issue. Meanwhile, the public is invited to explore the issue on a webpage devoted exclusively to this topic. To access it, go to http://cowboyday.cowboy.com....
On The Edge Of Common Sense: Vote or forever hold your peace Sept. 11 radicals attack United States. President Gore treats attack as a crime, not a war. Sends special forces and CIA to find Osama bin Laden, a light version of Homeland Security is established. Neither Afghanistan or Iraq are invaded. Saddam Hussein still rules Iraq. The Taliban still rules Afghanistan. Osama is still in the loose, Libya, North Korea and Iran pose a nuclear threat. The world is a dangerous place. 2004 election pits President Gore against John McCain. So, if you are a U.S. citizen who cares but has been turned off by the acrimony that pervades the 2004 presidential campaign, or you think Washington, D.C., is just politics as usual, take a deep breath and vote. Regardless, we're all part of the mess and all part of the solution. And if you don't care, don't vote. Just don't expect me to listen to your gripes....

Monday, November 01, 2004

NEWS ROUNDUP

Environmentalists seek more habitat protection for grizzlies The grizzly bear population will not recover unless more habitat is preserved outside of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, an environmentalist said. True recovery would involve preserving wildlife-movement corridors so that grizzlies in Wyoming could connect with Canadian bears, she said, adding that Yellowstone's grizzly population is not genetically diverse enough to sustain itself. Willcox praised the U.S. Forest Service for proposing uniform habitat standards for grizzly bears across six national forests surrounding the park. The Forest Service is proposing to amend management plans for the forest to include habitat standards, a nuisance bear standard and monitoring requirements for grizzlies....
Grizzly deaths concern managers This week is a big one for grizzly bears. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team meets in Billings, Mont., Thursday and Friday to talk about this year's bear deaths and future issues for the animals. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission meets in Torrington at the same time to talk about where to allow grizzlies in the state. Both meetings come on the heels of a year when the number of female grizzlies killed has spiked, leaving some questioning current management practices to prevent bear deaths....
Editorial: The wilderness battle AS THE most densely populated region in the United States, the East needs the solitude and recreation provided by National Forest wilderness areas, which are kept free of chainsaws and all-terrain vehicles. But, unlike the West, the East has few large forests unbroken by roads, which disqualify them from wilderness designation. To make sure that at least some woods in the East would get this high level of protection, Congress in 1975 set less pristine standards for the East's wooded areas, such as the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire and Maine and the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. But for this law to achieve its purpose, US Forest Service officials have to embrace its spirit. Unfortunately, there is a bias among many Forest Service officials in favor of logging and road-building and against wilderness protection. President Clinton tried to ensure a bigger base of wilderness-eligible land with his Roadless Rule, which banned roads for logging and other uses on 58 million acres. Senator John Kerry supports the rule, but President Bush has sought to undo it....
Snow delays removal of memorial in Uintas The group of Salt Lake City policemen who placed a memorial plaque on Kings Peak will have to wait until summer to remove it. Heavy snow has made the 12-mile route to the summit impassible. Members of the Salt Lake City Police Department placed a 14-pound plaque on the mountain on Sept. 11 to honor James Cawley, a police detective and Marine reservist who died in Iraq. But the police were later told by the U.S. Forest Service that the plaque violated wilderness laws. Kings Peak is part of the High Uintas Wilderness Area....
Elk numbers too high in N.D. park Elk are flourishing at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in numbers too great for their habitat and park officials say hundreds of the animals may have to be shot to bring the population down in coming years. Park service officials have started studying a strategy for managing the park's elk. The process could take several years and will include public meetings around the state. "This is not something we take lightly," said Valerie Naylor, the park's superintendent. There are more than 600 elk in the park, but wildlife managers have said the land can only handle about 360....
Do politics decide environmental court cases? Lawyers for the Utah Environmental Congress were surprised when they read that President Bush had a say in U.S. District Judge Dee Benson's ruling against their attempt to stop a coal-mining operation in the Manti-La Sal National Forest. Benson ruled in July that not allowing the mining company to remove 1.9 million tons of coal from the East Fork Box Canyon tract would mean the loss of electricity to 1.5 million citizens for a year. "This is especially adverse to the public's interest in light of the president's energy policy that elevated the public interest in energy resources," Benson wrote in support of the federal Bureau of Land Management....
Ruby Hill gold mine planned for Eureka Barrick Gold Corp. is moving forward with the reopening of the Ruby Hill gold mine at Eureka and intends to begin work next month on a new power plant in Western Nevada. The decision to proceed with the East Archimedes Project at Ruby Hill comes as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management continues preparation of a supplemental environmental impact statement for the project....
What some thought would never happen: CUP on last lap After four decades, the Central Utah Project has reached the beginning of the end. The long quest to move water from the Uinta Mountains to the growing population of the Wasatch Front has entered the final phase with last month's release of an environmental impact statement for a new series of water pipelines that will deliver an additional 60,000 acre-feet of water annually to Salt Lake and Utah counties from Strawberry Reservoir. The project, called the "Utah Lake Drainage Basin Water Delivery System" has been approved by the major local water agencies. Barring unforeseen complications - the study is now being reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency - federal and state water officials expect to receive a final record of decision and congressional approval by the end of the year....
Wyo groups want cattle cleared The case began in July when brucellosis was detected in fluid samples taken from two cows from the Edwards herd. The animals were part of an auction in Pierre, S.D. Agriculture officials in Wyoming became suspicious of the test results even before ruling out brucellosis in any of the 2,500-plus cattle that might have had contact with the two cows here. Many of those animals were tested a second time -- including the Edwards herd -- and still no signs of brucellosis have been found. More puzzling is the fact that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has long considered the free-ranging elk in northeast Wyoming to be brucellosis free....
Rare white rattler finds home It's one in a million. Chris and Denise Alverson, co-owners of New Earth, a private reptile collection, have secured a prized white rattlesnake. The Rapid City couple said their snake is a rarity in the wild - a one in a million find. "It isn't an albino," Chris Alverson said. "It's grayish, off-white color with blue eyes." Alverson, 26, said the snake has no patterned markings on its back like other rattlesnakes. "This is the very first one I've seen caught in the wild," he said....
New Research Casting Early Texas Rangers In A Much Darker Light Back east, for social cachet there is nothing like an ancestor on the Mayflower. In Texas, it is a Texas Ranger in the family tree. Here at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, a shrine to the frontier lawmen who set Lone Star hearts aflutter, some of the most avid visitors come in search of connections to the men who won the West and, it was said, would charge hell with a bucket of water and quell riots single-handedly. But Southern Methodist University in Dallas says new historical accounts are casting the long-revered outlaw and Indian fighters in a decidedly darker light....
Pictures of the past: Old photos share tribe history Though the haunting black-and-white pictures of them dressed in full traditional regalia seem, to most, a reminder of a bygone era to Northern Arapaho tribal members, the images of the people, with surnames like Goes In Lodge, Shavehead, Monroe and Bell, are not nearly so far removed. Many today on the Wind River Indian Reservation sign checks and paperwork with those very names. Thanks to an international effort, 30 long-lost images of the tribe's people now are just as geographically close to the Northern Arapaho Tribe as they are culturally, and through the photos a colorful tale of friendship, travel and show business has been retold....
Cruising El Camino Real El Camino Real, the King's Highway, the Old San Antonio Road. On its various routes, it stretched from the Rio Grande to the state's far eastern boundaries. It followed the paths of buffalo and American Indians, of missionaries and soldiers, entrepreneurs and travelers and dreamers of all types. Formally known as El Camino Real de los Tejas, its twists and turns revealed not only a changing land, but the faces and spirits of its soul. The first highway to cross at least part of Texas, the trail is a network of routes totaling almost 2,600 miles from just below Eagle Pass through San Antonio to Natchitoches, La., a corridor of about 550 miles....

Sunday, October 31, 2004

OPINION/COMMENTARY

History Repeats Itself

Kyoto cannot come into effect until the number of ratifiers includes those who account for 55 percent of the carbon dioxide generated by those countries listed in an Annex to the Protocol. This seems sensible, until we understand how limited that group is. It does not include developing countries like China, India and other high growth economies in East Asia which today account for over 40 percent of the carbon dioxide generated by human activity. Since they are the world's fastest growing producers of carbon dioxide, that share is steadily increasing. So this Protocol is triggered when countries who at best account for 30 percent of the world's human-generated CO2 accede. Russia has triggered this threshold. It is obvious that if only a minority of producers of CO2 cut back, overall, global emissions will continue to increase.
OPINION/COMMENTARY

Missing in Action

In a US election campaign that has seen the presidential candidates attack each other with great ferocity over issues as diverse as national security, retirement pensions and their attitudes to gay marriage, one issue has been prominent only by its absence. The environment was mentioned only in passing in the Presidential debates and has been raised on the campaign trail rarely. What explains the absence of an issue that was so prominent during the last election cycle? First is that, for Americans, the environment is way down their list of priorities. The attacks of 11 September 2001, the subsequent American involvement in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the associated economic downturn have all pushed the environment away from the forefront of America’s collective mind.This was confirmed by a Missing In Action poll organized by the Gallup organization for Earth Day, America’s national day of environmental awareness, which celebrated its 34th anniversary this year. It found that Americans placed the environment 11th out of 12 major issues in terms of importance to them....
OPINION/COMMENTARY

Teresa's Favorite Green Groups Using Contributions for Anti-Bush Attacks

Teresa Heinz Kerry’s sizable financial contributions to liberal environmental groups are turning into negative campaign attacks by these very groups in battleground states just days before the election. From her position as a board member on several charitable trusts, she is responsible for having directly or indirectly distributed more than $10 million dollars to League of Conservation Voters (LCV), National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) and several other liberal environmental groups. The LCV is running $3 million of attack ads in Florida and the NWF just published an attack “report” on some battleground states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania critical of President Bush’s record on mercury....
OPINION/COMMENTARY

Group 'a front' for PETA

It's not surprising that the misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is against messages that tout the healthfulness of milk ("Dairy study touts calcium as the 'next big thin' in dieting," Oct. 10). PCRM is an animal rights group, not a "doctors" organization. More than 95 percent of its members never went to medical school. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has already steered over $1.3 million to this deceptive front group. PCRM's president is also president of The PETA Foundation. Both groups oppose eating meat and drinking milk because they believe a cow's life is worth the same as a human being's....
OPINION COMMENTARY

The Sons of Kyoto: Renewable Energy and Amendment 37

As Colorado households and businesses struggle to pay ever-increasing energy costs, Colorado voters get another chance to self-inflict another increase. Although not quite dead yet, the Kyoto Protocol is in intensive care and on life-support. President George W. Bush announced in 2001, the United States was not going to be a party to the protocol. Bush felt the Kyoto Protocol amounted to nothing more than an “energy tax” on the U.S. and other industrialized countries. The intent of the Kyoto Protocol was to slow the effects of “global warming” by encouraging the development of renewable energy and discouraging the use of hydro–carbon fuels. Many scientists and other environmental experts argue that the effect of these measures would be miniscule and that technological advances could have a greater impact. With the United States out of the Kyoto Accord, environmentalists and other proponents decided they could accomplish the same goals by implementing pieces of the plan on a state-by-state basis. This piecemeal approach soon became known as “sons of Kyoto.” So far sixteen states have, either through legislation or initiative, adopted similar plans....