Tuesday, September 27, 2005

NEWS ROUNDUP

Durango lawyer wins forest ruling A Durango lawyer has successfully overturned the part of the Bush administration's Healthy Forests Initiative that barred appeals by the public on small forest projects. Matt Kenna, representing the Western Environmental Law Center, had asked that the U.S. Forest Service be held in contempt for not enforcing a July order that applies to all forests nationwide. The judge declined to hold the Forest Service in contempt this time, but said he could in the future. On Friday the agency agreed to follow the July ruling. Kenna had argued the Healthy Forests Initiative violated the 1992 Appeals Reform Act, which allows the public to comment on and appeal all Forest Service projects. "The Forest Service is committed to fully and immediately complying with the judge's order," said Jim Maxwell, press officer for the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service. The Washington, D.C., office is drafting instructions that could be ready by today to specify which projects must allow public comment, Maxwell said. The judge said emergency acts dealing with wildfires or hurricanes are exempt, but he offered little guidance about what other projects might not require public appeal....
Bill aims to waive energy rules Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have Republicans in Congress again calling for relaxing environmental restrictions on energy development on public lands in the West. They say those restrictions get in the way of oil and gas companies providing energy to the public. So House Resources Committee chairman Richard Pombo on Monday proposed legislation eliminating many rules that energy companies have complained about. Pombo's legislation, scheduled for a committee vote Wednesday, is part of a multipronged GOP effort to cut back environmental regulation in the wake of the storms. Pombo's bill would allow the Interior Department to waive limitations on drilling - such as those protecting wildlife in winter - in the event of a "significant disruption" in supply. Not all the exemptions would require an emergency. The bill would approve the use of private workers paid by the gas industry to process permits for drilling on public lands and would bar appeals of drilling decisions by the BLM....
Family patriarch indicted on sexual assault charges A man who lived with his wife and 15 children inside Wrangell-St. Elias National Park - and engaged in a widely publicized feud with the park service - has been charged with numerous counts of sexual assault and incest. Alaska State Troopers searched Monday for Robert A. Hale, 64, who goes by the name Papa Pilgrim. "He could be anywhere," said agency spokesman Greg Wilkinson. Hale was indicted Thursday by a state grand jury on 30 felony counts, including 10 counts of sexual assault, one count of kidnapping, eight counts of incest, eight counts of coercion and three counts of assault. The indictment lists just one victim....
Judge won't stop killing of Calif. pigs Thousands of wild pigs on Santa Cruz Island can be destroyed, a federal judge ruled Monday, but a businessman pledged to continue his fight to save the animals. The National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy, which co-own the island, say the pigs must go because they're damaging archaeological sites and threatening native species like the endangered Santa Cruz Island fox. The pigs are descended from animals that ranchers brought to the island in the 1850s. Rick Feldman, a Santa Barbara businessman suing to stop the killings, said he would appeal federal Judge Dickran Tevrizian's decision to reject a preliminary injunction....
Editorial: Creatures cannot survive without habitat According to the chairman of the House Resources Committee, it's not the eagles, owls, minnows and lizards that stand in the way of development, profits and the paving of North America. No, indeed. It's just all those troublesome forests, rivers, prairies and deserts that the little critters insist on living in that stand in the way of the new Manifest Destiny. Thus the chairman, California Republican Richard Pombo, has crafted a major rewrite of the 32-year-old cornerstone of American environmentalism, the Endangered Species Act. It purports to call upon the federal government to come up with "species recovery plans" for identified flora and fauna while making it much, much easier for developers to have their way with the lands that those very species live on, under and above. Good politician that he is, Pombo makes his bill, already rammed through his committee and referred to the full House, sound like a workable compromise, the kind that might lead to the rescue of more endangered species without all those nasty and expensive lawsuits. The only problem is, it cannot work....
Editorial: 'No regulation without compensation' The law, now 30 years old, is badly in need of updating, though it won't happen without a fight, given the leverage the act gives green extremists bent on trampling private-property rights, dictating land-use policies and obstructing energy development. Even talking about reform can open one to accusations of being indifferent to the wanton slaughter of eagles, whales, bunnies and butterflies. But in spite of such risks, a few intrepid politicians are stepping forward to rein in the rogue law. And they will need all the support they can get. There are three or four changes we think are critical to an updated Endangered Species Act, starting with a strengthening of the science behind it. As people in Colorado learned the hard way, after the rodent formerly known as the Preble's meadow jumping mouse was exposed as a fraud, federal officials sometimes act to protect a species with only a vague idea about its true identity or status. About a third of the animals removed from the endangered species list over the years were on the list because of flawed science. Given the law's incredible power to impact property values, dictate development trends, limit access to public lands and hamper the economy, Americans deserve assurances that the law's regulate-first, worry-about-the-science-later approach is reversed. It's time to start compensating people when Endangered Species Act protections adversely impact their property values. Regulators and environmentalists hate this idea and are reluctant to relinquish their license to regulate at will, with little regard to how their actions are impacting people's lives. Paying compensation would not only be the fair and constitutional thing to do, since the Fifth Amendment requires that citizens be paid when government's actions deprive them of the full use of their property, but it would also underscore the fact that regulations come with a price tag, which someone must pay....
Feds cut back habitat for snowy plover The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday announced that West Coast beach-front critical habitat for the threatened western snowy plover will be cut back by nearly 40 percent, continuing a Bush administration policy of reducing habitat protections for threatened and endangered species to reduce economic losses. The bulk of the cutbacks came from beaches in California on Monterey Bay, Morro Bay and the San Diego Bay island city of Coronado, where a report had estimated that protecting nesting areas from development and human contact would cost nearly $200 million over the next 20 years due primarily to limiting recreation. "The economic analyses are playing an increasingly significant role in determinations of critical habitat," said Fish and Wildlife spokesman Al Donner in Sacramento, Calif. "That's triggered by court decisions that have directed us to do more rigorous economic reviews of proposed critical habitat and their impacts."....
Area under habitat conservation plans could soar Timber companies, developers, local governments and others are seeking federal permission to nearly triple the 37 million acres that fall under the nation's controversial and underfunded habitat conservation program. Of the 433 pending plans listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, most are in the West and South, where development and timber-cutting most frequently collide with endangered species, records obtained by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer show. In the Pacific Northwest, more than two dozen habitat plans are officially under review, according to Fish and Wildlife records released under the Freedom of Information Act. One of the largest is a 9.1 million-acre deal in Washington that would shield much of the state's private timber industry from prosecution for harming salmon, steelhead, bull trout and 47 other kinds of fish. Approval of the 50-year "Forests and Fish" deal is expected later this year....
Author sets out to discover the real Timothy Treadwell The short, heartless version of the story was simply: "The Doofus Dies." At least, that's how some Alaskans saw it, says Nick Jans, the Juneau-based author of a new book, "The Grizzly Maze," about Timothy Treadwell's fatal obsession with Alaska's huge coastal brown bears. Two years ago, he might not have argued, knowing only the earliest details of how a big grizzly had just killed Treadwell and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, in a bear-haunted thicket of Katmai National Park. Treadwell, it was thought, had only himself to blame, having invited such danger by fashioning himself as a "bear whisperer" who could walk within a few feet of a lounging Katmai brown bear, turn his back and calmly smile into his camcorder. He gave the bears names like Booble and Mr. Chocolate. Sometimes he touched them with his hand....
Ranchers try to save livestock from flood Cattlemen on boats, barges and horseback Monday tried to save what's left of their herds after floods unleashed by Hurricane Rita in coastal parishes from Lafourche to Cameron. Their counterparts in St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes - two areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina less than a month before – watched as Rita swept away cattle that survived the first storm. Ranchers across coastal Louisiana badly need trucks, hay and a place to house the surviving rescued cattle, said Bob Felknor, director of Louisiana Cattlemen's Association....
Lawyers fight over exhuming millionaire's body Lawyers are scheduled to argue Thursday before the Texas Supreme Court whether to exhume the body of rancher John G. Kenedy Jr. for DNA tests to determine if the supposedly sterile millionaire fathered a daughter with a maid. At issue is an inheritance estimated between $500 million and $1 billion - including a 400,000-acre, oil-rich ranch near Kingsville - left to two charities. In the lawsuit, Dr. Ray Fernandez and his mother Ann Fernandez claim Kenedy had at least one out-of-wedlock child with Maria Rowland Goates, Ann's mother. Judge Guy Herman had ordered Kenedy's remains exhumed after preliminary genetic testing appeared to support the Fernandezes' claim. But lawyers for the John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation and the John G. Kenedy Jr. Charitable Trust appealed, saying Kenedy's estate was legally settled years ago....
Synthetic saddlery Like most every Wyoming rancher, Tom Harrower has an interest in saddles. The difference between Harrower and other ranchers is his particular interest in plastic saddles. That's right, plastic saddles. A native of Kemmerer, Harrower manages the family ranching operations. A 1965 graduate of Western College of Auctioneering in Billings, Mont., he has rubbed shoulders with thousands of buyers and sellers. Over the past 40 years he began developing an appreciation for unusual horse-related items. That interest evolved from his ranching background and hands-on experience with saddle horses, draft horses, buggy horses and several pairs of oxen. Along the way Harrower became seriously interested in plastic saddles and equipment made in Lusk and in Scottsbluff, Neb. For the past four years, he has researched, documented and compiled the history of the All Western Plastic Co....
The Vaquero way The presiding spirits of this rodeo, known as the Carmel Valley Ranchers' Days, are the brothers Bill and Tom Dorrance, inventors of what is often called natural horsemanship. The Dorrances are legendary in this part of the world. Bill, who died in 1999, and Tom, who died in 2003, left a legacy that has helped transform the relationship between people and horses. While popular culture has given due attention to "horse-whispering" — thanks mostly to the Robert Redford movie — the Dorrances' story is a California story, little known outside horse circles. BILL and Tom Dorrance grew up in eastern Oregon. Born in 1906, Bill was older by four years. They came from a family of ranchers and were surrounded by horses and cattle all their lives. In the 1930s they settled in California, where they found themselves exposed to the vaquero tradition — a way of working with horses that brings into play not just horsemanship but roping and rawhide braiding. The Dorrances came to value the vaquero approach, which is as much a philosophy as a methodology. "Listen to the horse," Tom would famously say. "Try to find out what the horse is trying to tell you." On the ranch, the brothers needed quiet horses that were cooperative and capable of acting as partners in the endless work of finding, moving, herding, separating and tending to cows, calves and bulls....
It's All Trew: You can't get some things off some people's minds We often quote my father, J. T. Trew, who used to say, "I'll go anywhere you want to take me just so we get back home by dark-thirty." When we suggested flying somewhere, Mother was ready to climb on board but Dad would say, "Y'all go on and enjoy yourselves. I don't plan on getting any higher off the ground than the stirrups on a tall horse." Bill Moore, a longtime friend from the Clarendon/Goodnight area, was a good cowman, fun to be around and a good conversationalist, that is if you were willing to talk about cows. Start with any subject from politics, war, weather, pretty ladies or the price of eggs in China and by the third sentence Bill would be back on cows. We tried every gambit we could think of to keep the conversation on other subjects, all to no avail. When with Bill, we talked cows....

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

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The Westerner said...

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