Saturday, March 05, 2005

NEWS ROUNDUP

Schweitzer predicts 'powder keg' season Plagued by continuing drought, a shortage of mountain snow and forests full of dry timber, Montana is a powder keg as the summer wildfire season approaches, Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Friday. Schweitzer has asked the Pentagon to return some of the 1,500 Montana National Guard troops and aircraft called to active duty because of Iraq. He is urging anyone with firefighting equipment to sign up with the U.S. Forest Service so they can be summoned quickly when help is needed on the fire lines. Schweitzer also plans to ask governors in Idaho and Washington, and provincial officials in Saskatchewan and Alberta to commit manpower and machines should the fires ignite as he expects. Such mutual aid will be critical, he said....
Northwest fears tinder-dry summer season Authorities are bracing for a seventh year of drought in Montana, where the mountains are so bare that peaks will need three times the usual snowfall between now and when the spring runoff begins just to reach average levels. In Idaho, snowpack is at about 50 percent of average with the lone bright spot - albeit a rather dim one - being Eastern Idaho at 75 percent of average. Parts of the state already have endured five straight years of drought. Conditions are even grimmer in Washington, where snowpack stands at just 16 percent of average in some places. Spokane saw the driest February since record-keeping started in 1881....
Activists make camp in old-growth forest marked for logging Environmentalists opposed to plans to log an old-growth forest reserve burned by the 2002 Biscuit fire have set up a camp to protest Bush administration policy. "This is the front line in a national struggle," Laurel Sutherlin, spokeswoman for the Oxygen Coalition, said yesterday. Members of the group were among a few dozen people who have been camping out where the road leading to the Fiddler timber sale crosses the Illinois River. "If the Forest Service allows a timber company to start logging in old-growth reserves for the first time ever, that's something people need to know that is happening," Sutherlin said....
Simplot wins OK to explore mining in a roadless area Just more than a year after federal officials asked Caribou-Targhee National Forest administrators to reconsider their decision, the U.S. Forest Service again granted permission for Simplot to explore the possibility of mining in an Inventoried Roadless Area near Georgetown. Greater Yellowstone Coalition spokesman Marv Hoyt said his group will appeal the decision. The exploration project, which involves extending Simplot's current Manning Creek Mining Lease to the south, includes building 14,850 feet of new road and reconstructing 2,000 feet of previously reclaimed road. Simplot plans to drill 25 exploratory holes and install two groundwater monitoring wells. According to the plan, the roads must be returned to their original land contours and revegetated after the exploration....
This year's water supply is looking scarce for Klamath farmers, fish Federal water managers say they hope to be able to give most Klamath Reclamation Project farmers their full ration of water this year. But conditions are looking a lot like the drought of 2001, when they had to cut off most farms to provide for threatened and endangered fish. The mountain snowpack that provides much of the region's water is 43 percent of normal, and streamflows from April through September are forecast to be 52 percent of normal into Upper Klamath Lake, the project's primary reservoir. A drought forced the bureau to shut off water to most of the project at the start of the 2001 irrigation season, though water was restored later in the year....
Agency will review pygmy rabbit status The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to decide by May 16 whether threats to the North American pygmy rabbit warrant a yearlong review that could lead to protection under the Endangered Species Act. The animal lives in the western half of Wyoming, particularly on the edges of deserts and in the Jack Morrow Hills area. The agreement came in a settlement of a U.S. District Court lawsuit by environmental groups that contended the Fish and Wildlife Service had refused to consider their petition for protection of the rabbit. The settlement was approved Thursday by Judge B. Lynn Winmill in Boise....
House committee tables measure to shoot cougars on sight A House committee has tabled a bill that would have allowed mountain lions to be shot on sight in New Mexico. The measure’s sponsor, Republican Representative Brian Moore of Clayton, says it would have allowed ranchers to protect their livestock by reducing the number of mountain lions in the state. Moore says the idea also would help the deer population. The measure would remove mountain lions or cougars from their status as regulated game animals and would leave them classified, along with coyotes, as vermin with no legal protection....
Five states and Albuquerque will work with EPA on haze analysis In the wake of a federal appeals court decision rejecting a government-approved program to improve air quality and visibility, five western states and Albuquerque, N.M., said Friday they would work with the government to repair problems with the program. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled last month that the states' program was based on Environmental Protection Agency methods that the court found inconsistent with the federal Clean Air Act three years ago. The program, in use in Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, Oregon and the city of Albuquerque, was challenged by the Alexandria, Va.-based Center for Energy and Economic Development, a coalition of coal, utility, rail and other companies....
State may join suit claiming park road The state wants to join with San Juan County in suing the federal government to gain ownership of an overgrown road that runs several miles into Canyonlands National Park. Utah's motion to intervene, filed Thursday, has been anticipated since last summer, when the state quietly informed the Bush administration it planned to sue to reopen 7 1/2 miles of the road to vehicle traffic. The state essentially wants to co-own the road with San Juan County, said Assistant Utah Attorney General Ralph Finlayson. The prospect alarms environmentalists and national park advocates, who fear the courts could set a bad precedent....
Editorial: Roan Plateau plans need a second look Reams of newly released information about the Roan Plateau should send the U.S. Bureau of Land Management back to the drawing board regarding plans to permit oil and gas drilling on the western Colorado landmark. The new data would likely intensify and expand the public debate. The BLM had the data on hand for some time but only recently made much of it available for public review. To give citizens time to study the documents, the BLM extended the public comment period on its Roan Plateau plan from March 4 to April 11. The Roan Plateau rises dramatically 3,000 feet above Interstate 70 near Rifle. The plateau's top, sides and base encompass about 127,000 acres, of which about 54,000 acres are privately owned. Of the 73,000 acres of public land, less than half have been used for drilling or other human development....
Column: False hopes in Arctic Refuge NORTH SLOPE OIL started flowing through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System in 1977. A decade later, Alaska claimed the pipeline would shut down by 2000 unless it developed the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain. We have debated how much oil might be there and its relevance to our energy needs ever since. To those who would keep the coastal plain wild, it does not matter how much oil is there; it should remain wild. Some places are too important for wild natural values to be developed. The American people support its protection by almost 2 to 1. Important as that debate is, it is irrelevant to the way in which industry actually produces Alaska North Slope oil. Even before The New York Times reported that ''major oil companies are largely uninterested in drilling in the refuge," observation of industry behavior should have confirmed that and more. Three related conclusions follow....
Rockhounds rush opal discovery Would-be opal prospectors and miners lined up 50-deep Friday morning to buy a 12-page report about an opal deposit in the Granite Mountains in Fremont County. At 11 a.m. Friday, the Wyoming Geological Survey in Laramie announced the location of a large opal deposit in central Wyoming. "We had 40 to 50 people lined up at the door before we started selling the report at 11 a.m.," said Nancy Elliott, the survey's sales manager. By mid-afternoon, she had sold at least 25 copies of the report....
Lake Powell exposing canyon sites It looks as if someone scooped a 100-foot dip from a brick of cinnamon ice cream. Steve Carothers aims his speedboat straight for this cavity in the canyon wall. At the last moment, he throttles back, and slowly we motor through its vaulted entrance. I look upward. An oval opening rings the top of this domed depression forming a gaping skylight in the overhead rock. What at first looked like a dimpled cave is actually a natural bridge in the Navajo sandstone. Five years ago, this site would have laid unseen, buried beneath the waters of Lake Powell. Now we float in its grandeur....
Irrigators consider forming public utility district to avoid power rate hike Klamath Reclamation Project irrigators hoping to avoid a steep increase in power rates are considering a number of options, including the possibility of forming a locally controlled public utility district. "The power rate change is not necessarily a done deal," said Lynn Long, chairman of the Klamath Water Users Association power committee. "We have a lot of cards yet to play." Farmers in the Klamath Project enjoy a deeply discounted rate of about half a center per kilowatt hour under a contract signed nearly 50 years ago with Pacific Power's predecessor, Copco....
Column: When bureaucrats control the country The Missouri legislators who approved a water law (HB 1433) in the waning moments of last year's session, no doubt, thought they were creating something to help protect clean water in a nine-county area. That's what they were told by reputable employees of the state agencies and influential lobbyists from environmental organizations. The new law created a nine-county district in which water policy would be developed and enforced by appointed - not elected - officials. None realized that the law they adopted was, in fact, an important step toward the implementation of a plan conceived more than 15 years ago by government officials and environmental organizations convened by, and systematically working through, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in Gland, Switzerland. The plan, generically known as "ecosystem management," is designed to manage natural resources on an "ecosystem" basis, rather than on the basis of arbitrarily drawn state and county political boundaries. Equally important, is the transfer of management authority from elected officials to appointed officials. The "watershed" is the primary building block of every ecosystem....
Law would fund research on cloud seeding Flying rainmakers have jump-started the clouds for nearly a half-century in a technology that melds science with a hefty infusion of luck. Now, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, representing a state still recovering from a decadelong drought, wants to accelerate man's efforts to harvest more moisture from the skies. This week, the Texas Republican introduced the Weather Modification Act to expand research and development of projects designed to wring extra rain and snow from the clouds or suppress devastating hailstorms. Similar to legislation Hutchison introduced in the previous session of Congress, the bill seeks to develop "a comprehensive and coordinated" national weather modification policy that would broaden research at the state and federal levels. It also calls for the creation of an 11-member advisory board to work with Congress....
Experts sure of 1 thing: It's dry here "It's been an astonishing winter," says Belgrade native Kelly Redmond, a climate scientist at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev. Not since the winter of 1940-41 has the West's weather been so sharply divided. The Southwest has been lashed by storm after storm, with flooding in Las Vegas, lush fields of wild flowers in Death Valley and pieces of California falling into the ocean. Meanwhile, south-central Montana and north-central Wyoming settled in as the driest area of the continental United States....
EPA Insider Nominated to Lead Agency President Bush reached into the ranks of the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday and nominated its acting administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, to head the office where he has worked for 24 years. Johnson, 53, a biologist and pathologist, would be the first scientist and first career EPA employee to head the agency, which was established in 1970 as the environmental movement took hold across the U.S. Johnson must be confirmed by the Senate and his selection drew initial support from some senators with strong environmental records, as well as others who closely follow such issues. But skeptics questioned whether Johnson would stand up to White House officials, who critics say favor industries' needs over protection of the nation's air, water and land....
Bill protects resident hunting preference U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., has joined a group of lawmakers seeking to ensure the right of Wyoming and other states to limit nonresident hunting and fishing licenses. Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials called the bill an important measure to preserve the state's right to regulate hunting within its borders. Enzi said Thursday he is cosponsoring the measure in the Senate along with Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Max Baucus, D-Mont.; Ted Stevens, R-Alaska; John Ensign, R-Nev.; and Ben Nelson, D-Neb. Enzi said in a press statement the bill was introduced in direct response to a recent court ruling in Arizona by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals....
Column: The tyranny of eminent domain On February 22nd, the future of property rights in America will be at stake, as the Supreme Court begins oral arguments in the case of Kelo v. New London. The central question at issue is: "should the government be able to use its power of eminent domain to seize property from one private party and transfer it to another?" The seven property owners on the side of Kelo are the last remaining of more than 70 families whose homes and businesses were targeted for demolition several years ago, by the city of New London, Connecticut, to make room for a 90-acre private development. The story of one of the owners, Susette Kelo, is representative. Kelo, a nurse, bought, and painstakingly restored a home, that initially was so run-down that she needed to cut her way to the front door with a hatchet. After she had achieved her dream home, she was informed in November 2000, by the local government that her home was condemned, and ordered to vacate within 90 days. She and the other owners remain in their homes only by the grace of a court order, which prevents eviction and demolition, until their appeals are exhausted. What justifies this treatment of Kelo and the other owners, who simply want to be free to live on their own property?....

Friday, March 04, 2005

NEWS ROUNDUP

Lockyer Suit Seeks to Save Sequoias State Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer filed a federal lawsuit Thursday to block a U.S. Forest Service plan to permit commercial logging in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. The suit, which follows a similar one filed in January by conservation groups, alleges that the Forest Service is violating protections granted in 2000 by President Clinton, when he established the 328,000-acre monument in the southern Sierra northeast of Bakersfield. Clinton's declaration barred timber production, saying that trees could be removed in the monument "only if clearly needed for ecological restoration and maintenance or public safety."....
Forest Service management under fire Angeles National Forest users criticized the U.S. Forest Service's management of the 650,000-acre wilderness at a lively and crowded public meeting Wednesday. More than 100 people turned out for a question-and-answer session with Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron. Over the past several years, a number of local Forest Service decisions have ruffled feathers. Closed roads, evacuation of cabin owners during the fire season and environmental damage in Rubio Canyon have brought a litany of complaints from hikers, cabin owners and environmental watchdogs....
Forest fires huge culprit in creating greenhouse gases Even if every Canadian met the government's "one-tonne challenge" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the whole effort could be wiped out by a few big forest fires, researchers say. In a bad year, forest fires in Canada can produce pollution equal to that generated by industry. The National Forest Strategy Coalition says such fires across the country can produce 150 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in a single year -- five times what the one-tonne challenge program would save. Just three fires that raged in British Columbia two summers ago pumped out 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide....
Enviros using fat argument in appeal Americans are getting fat. That's why we should close more roads on the Flathead National Forest, a local environmental group is claiming in its appeal of the West Side Reservoir salvage plan. This may be the first time the waistlines of Americans have ever entered into the discussion of a Forest Service appeal. "The Forest Service has missed a golden opportunity here to demonstrate that what is good for the bear is also good for human health," Keith Hammer, chairman of the Swan View Coalition, said. "While the South Fork bear population is declining, the American waistline is increasing. Implementing Amendment 19 would not only help secure grizzly bear habitat by limiting motorized vehicles, it would increase opportunities near Kalispell for folks to get the quiet exercise needed to lose weight and reduce stress."....
Federal officials to explain changes to lynx, water plans Federal forestry and agriculture officials have agreed to visit Colorado to explain their decision to change protections for water and the Canadian lynx in the White River National Forest management plan. The officials also have promised a further explanation to U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., who requested a meeting with the officials Wednesday to state his concerns about the Bush administration's December decision. Salazar said that at the meeting, Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture David Tenny and regional forester Rick Cables explained that they are trying to develop a regionwide "Rocky Mountain approach" to dealing with the lynx....
Coyote sightings in eastern U.S. The wily coyote, denizen of the West and bane of ranchers, has come to downtown Washington D.C. and the government wants to know where they are and what they're doing. "Don't leave out pet food at night," said National Park Service ranger Ken Ferebee. "And, you know, don't leave your pets out at night either." Coyotes were first seen late last year at the outer edges of Rock Creek Park, a natural hardwood forest of valleys and hillsides that runs in a narrow band through northwest Washington and its suburbs and borders Georgetown, Washington's most famous neighborhood, known for its historic elegance. But Ferebee spotted one recently near the embassy district, a stone's throw from Georgetown and about a 10-minute drive from the White House. The Park Service has received reports of four other sightings near the same spot....
Man Will Serve Time For Shooting Sea Lions A charter boat captain who shot at sea lions off Catalina Island last fall was sentenced Thursday to federal prison for two months. John Gary Woodrum, a 38-year-old Harbor City resident, was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service at a marine mammal rescue center in San Pedro. Woodrum pleaded guilty in January to a pair of misdemeanor counts of attempting to kill a marine mammal -- a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act....
State urged to close up to 8 elk feeding sites Environmentalists are asking Gov. Dave Freudenthal to consider phasing out as many as eight of Wyoming's 23 elk feedgrounds to help control diseases like brucellosis. The list submitted by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance and Wyoming Outdoor Council includes three feedgrounds in the Gros Ventre River drainage east of the National Elk Refuge near Jackson. Lloyd Dorsey, of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, said those three could be closed first under a pilot program. "We want to make sure the private livestock and private lands are taken care of," Dorsey said. A Brucellosis Task Force appointed by Freudenthal submitted recommendations including a controversial test-and-slaughter program at one feedground. Elk would be corralled and tested and the ones testing positive would be slaughtered....
Panther killed in fight after relocation Environmentalists are saying "I told you so" in the death of a young male Florida panther killed by another big cat after he was relocated. The Miccosukkee Indian Tribe had asked last May to move the 11-month-old panther after it began getting too close to Florida Everglades residents without showing any fear of humans. Conservationists warned tranquilizing the cat and moving it would place its life in danger from older bigger males. Male panthers are known to be territorial and will kill other panthers trying to invade their turf....
Wolf study relying on donations Yellowstone National Park is relying more heavily on private donations this year to keep its wolf program running without having to make cuts elsewhere. In the past, the high-profile wolf program has received most of its funding from federal dollars and rounded out its budget with donations from the nonprofit Yellowstone Park Foundation, according to park figures. But in 2004 and 2005, private money has paid for a majority of the work, which includes long-term wolf research, collaring and other studies looking for changes in the Yellowstone ecosystem since the reintroduction of wolves 10 years ago. The shift to reliance on private dollars is part of an effort to keep the wolf program viable and pay for other cultural and natural resource programs, said Tom Olliff, chief of Yellowstone's branch of natural resources....
Lawmakers back checkoff for parks Federal lawmakers reached across the political aisle this week to help fund national parks, introducing legislation that would let citizens earmark tax dollars for the cause. "This bill allows Americans to show their pride in America,'' said Tom Kiernan, president of the National Parks Conservation Association. The proposal, sponsored for the GOP by Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., and for Democrats by Rep. Brian Baird, R-Wash., is called the National Park Centennial Act of 2005. It aims to deliver money for maintaining and preserving the parks through 2016, the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. While states have in the past funded special projects through voluntary checkoffs on tax forms, the bill would mark the first time such an option was offered on federal tax returns. The money is needed, Kiernan said, to bolster financing for both backlogged maintenance and annual operation of parks....
Washoe residents question possible sale of federal land If there was a single question about a proposed federal bill to sell off public lands in Washoe County, local residents wanted to know where the water would come from to support private development. And conservationist Tina Nappe said residents already are paying steep water bills — and don’t need any more competition for water that could raise bills even higher. More than 200 people attended a town hall meeting Thursday night in Washoe County Commission chambers regarding a federal bill that could be similar to the Southern Nevada Public Land Act of 1998, which allows the federal government to auction public lands to private developers....
Limits on drilling called Utah bane Utah is losing the game when it comes to making money off vast natural gas reserves locked deep underground in the Uinta Basin, according to one Denver-based company. On Thursday, representatives of Bill Barrett Corp., an oil and natural gas exploration company, renewed their charge that restrictive federal land use policies and bureaucratic strangleholds are slowing drilling in Utah. The company's message comes as it prepares to file an application with the Bureau of Land Management to expand drilling operations in Nine Mile Canyon, an archaeological treasure trove of prehistoric rock art formations. Don Banks, a BLM Utah spokesman, said the bureau is expecting a full-field development proposal from Bill Barrett Corp., as early as today. The proposal will seek expanded drilling operations and removal of winter drilling restrictions. An environmental impact study of the proposal could take two years or longer to complete before a decision is made....
Water Fight in the Mojave quarrel over waterholes in the Mojave is pitting hunters against naturalists, the needs of game animals against those of federally protected wildlife, and is resurrecting decade-old differences over the purpose of a national preserve. Until recently, the dispute has been limited to mule deer and bighorn sheep hunters who favor the creation of more desert water sources and conservationists who argue that man-made waterholes draw predators that prey on the threatened California desert tortoise. Now, a high-ranking official in the U.S. Department of the Interior has intervened on behalf of hunters and demanded the uncapping of 12 plugged wells, an action that would reverse a long-standing water policy in the 1.6-million-acre Mojave National Preserve. That, in turn, prompted a lawsuit this week by two environmental groups that say the order is illegal. Ever since the preserve was created 11 years ago, the National Park Service, which manages it, has been working to buy out a handful of cattle ranches scattered through the preserve and cap wells that supplied water to livestock. Some of the buyout agreements, which were financed by the nonprofit National Park Foundation, called for the permanent capping of all ranch wells....
Column: Water Contracts Declare War on Fish The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced its decision to perpetuate California's fish and water problems for decades by beginning to sign contracts with about 200 water districts and water contractors in the Central Valley Project last week. Rather than heeding the pleas of fishermen, Indian tribes and environmental organizations to slow down the process so that the environmental impacts of these contracts could be properly reviewed with full public input, the Bush administration decided to proceed with a process that serves the Westlands Water District and other corporate water kings rather than the public trust. On February 25, The Bureau began signing contracts for 25 or 40 years, depending upon the contract type. The contracts will provide water for 3.7 million acres of farmland in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, including vast tracts of corporate farms on the San Joaquin's west side that never should have been farmed because of the damage caused to fish, wildlife and the environment....
House passes Nez Perce bill The Idaho House has passed three bills Wednesday supporting one of the largest water rights agreements in the West. House bills 152, 153 and 154 -- all supporting the proposed multimillion dollar agreement between the Nez Perce Tribe, the state and federal government -- passed with strong support after Rep. Dell Raybould told lawmakers that much of the opposition surrounding the agreement was based on wrong information. The bills now move to the Idaho Senate. "This is good for the state of Idaho. It's good for the citizens of the state of Idaho. And I believe this body has an obligation to uphold this agreement," Raybould said....
Column: Clear Skies, Healthy Forests If you don't trust the environmentalists, you may want to listen to the doctors. Mount Sinai Medical School has just released a study that, in its scientific way, indicts the Bush administration's mercury policy as not only harming children but (conservatives take note) damages the economy. The report calculates that the U.S. loses $8.7 billion annually in productivity, of which $1.3 billion is directly attributable to mercury emissions from U.S. power plants. The Mt. Sinai study was based not on wild conjecture but on mercury exposure data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It reports that from 300,000 to 600,000 American children are born every year with mercury levels associated with IQ loss. According to the report, "The resulting loss of intelligence causes diminished economic productivity that persists over the entire lifetime of these children. This lost productivity is the major cost of methylmercury toxicity…"....
Sun Storms Deplete Ozone Turns out the sun itself zaps the ozone that protects us from the sun. LiveScience is reporting that the record-setting string of solar storms around Halloween in 2003 (including an X28 flare) set off a cascade of events that depleted the ozone layer over the Arctic in early 2004. In a nutshell, more nitrogen was created, and an unusually strong vortex of high-speed winds aloft brought the nitrogen down, where it contributed to cutting ozone by 60 percent over the polar region. In January, the a European scientist warned residents of the far north to basically stay out of the sun. While chlorofluorocarbons are still blamed for ozone depletion, scientists said this study shows they don't properly account for the sun's impact.
Feds probe GOP team's link to lobbyist Interior Department officials are investigating whether the outgrowth of a Republican environmental group founded by Gale Norton before she became secretary of the Interior has been using its influence to help a Washington lobbyist sway the agency's decisions. The inquiry into the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy's activities comes in the wake of reports linking it to political donations solicited from Indian tribes by Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist now under criminal investigation and the subject of Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearings. The Arizona Republic reported Sunday that CREA was sent $175,000 by two Indian tribes at the urging of Abramoff. No accounting for the tribal donations has been found in public records required of advocacy groups, and CREA President Italia Federici would not comment on the whereabouts of the money. The Interior Department's Office of Inspector General is reviewing all dealings, communications and connections between department officials and members of CREA, a spokesman for Norton said Wednesday....
Column: Let's teach our kids the way of the land This month the United Nations officially begins the "Decade of Education for Sustainable Development." Most students would respond no, skeptical about the topic's relevance to their lives. Young people are educated to believe they are separate from and superior to the natural world. Yet this attitude is the root cause of our environmental problems. To change this attitude, the heart and spirit of each young person must be touched and become part of the education process. Engaging the heart and spirit is essential for students to feel their connection to nature, which creates the passion to live more sustainable lives. These ideas need to inform our educational mission. Among our primary tasks as citizens, teachers and students is constructing a new narrative for ourselves with a new set of dreams. Understanding and healing our separation from nature is the most critical part of this process....
Another blow to cotton subsidies Thursday the other shoe dropped on US cotton subsidies when a World Trade Organization (WTO) appeals panel upheld most of a ruling made last September that finds some cotton subsidies and export subsidies in violation of WTO rules. The WTO's Appellate Body upheld the September ruling that marketing loan payments and counter-cyclical payments to producers caused "significant price suppression" in the world market for upland cotton. It also found that the WTO panel, which issued the September ruling, did not use the wrong burden of proof when it found that "the United States' export credit guarantee programs are prohibited export subsidies." Technically, the new ruling applies mainly to cotton, but the subsidies it affects, marketing loan gains, loan deficiency payments and counter cyclical payments, apply to other farm program commodities such as corn and soybeans....
Hick-hop country? You're kidding, right? This year, Troy Coleman is 34, goes by the name ''Cowboy Troy'' and is attempting to become the first African-American superstar in country music since Charley Pride. Oh yes, and he's also trying to make it onto the country airwaves by rapping rather than singing. With country instruments backing his raps, Troy calls his style ''hick-hop.'' ''It made perfect sense to me,'' the Texas-bred Troy said of his genre-bending fusion. ''When you go into country bars, you'll see a band play 45 minutes of country music and then at the break the DJ will put on whatever rap or hip-hop is popular at the time. Cowboys and cowgirls pack the floor. It's not like I'm the only guy wearing a cowboy hat who likes rap music as much as I like country music.''....
Campfire CafĂ© Saddles Up with American Cowboy Magazine American Cowboy Magazine will feature articles, recipes and open fire tips and techniques from Johnny Nix during 2005-2006. The most widely read Western lifestyle magazine, featuring entertainment, the Arts, history, travel, cooking, music, fashion and rodeo – American Cowboy is the number one source for outstanding content that captures the spirit of the West. “The alliance with American Cowboy Magazine is a natural”, says executive producer, Pamela Alford. “There’s a little cowboy spirit in all of us and open fire cooking fits right in with the lifestyle American Cowboy represents.” Nix has inspired viewers to give this traditional cowboy way of cooking a try by introducing gourmet recipes and step-by-step instruction in weekly television programming for almost three years. His weekly demonstrations of this method of cooking as a recreational, family-oriented activity is catching the eye of organizations that promote healthy, outdoor pursuits. “We’d like to remind folks that are too busy to spend quality time with their kids that we all have to eat”, says Nix. “Might as well stoke up a campfire and cook some good food – never met a kid that didn’t like to poke in the fire.”....
Flickacat Wins Cutting's Top Prize Over 500 cutting horse enthusiasts made their way to Amarillo, Texas, last month for the 2004 National Cutting Horse Association's (NCHA) World Championship Finals. After 10 days of competition, 11 new World Champions were crowned. In the NCHA, riders compete throughout the year, hauling to cutting competitions across the country. Each top placing earns the contestant money, and the top 50 money earners are invited to the World Championship Finals. Whoever wins the most money in each division is crowned World Champion. In the Open competition, Chubby Turner of Weatherford, Texas, entered the Finals with a lock on the World Championship title. Riding Flickacat, who is owned by Dave and Georgia Husby, Turner had more than $75,000 in earnings in 2004 - $40,000 more than the second place horse. Turner traveled more than 35,000 miles last year to claim his title....

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Hage decision clarified

There has been much speculation and misunderstanding surrounding the Hage decision since it was issued and published by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, January 2002. Wayne Hage of Tonopah, Nevada filed his suit for a temporary takings in 1991 after the U.S. Forest Service confiscated his cattle in a paramilitary action, sold his cattle and kept the proceeds from the sale. The temporary taking affords Hage the ability to keep the ranch, but also to be paid for the period of time (11 years) the United States prevented him from making a living on his ranch.

The January, 2002 Final Decision and Finding of Fact was the third major decision published just in the property phase of the case. The dispute was, in part, over who actually owned the property rights within the allotments, (those lands the government called "public lands"). The Court first decided what property rights existed on the allotments and who owned them, before it would decide whether the government had temporarily taken the Hage's ranch operations, and what compensation was due him.

Recent published articles have indicated the only property rights awarded Hage in this ruling were vested water rights and forage, confined to within 50 feet on each side of his 1866 irrigation ditches.

To end this controversy and confusion among the Hage supporters, I offer this challenge: I'm willing to pay anyone $1,000.00 if they can show me where Judge Smith ruled that Hage's forage rights were confined to 50 feet on each side of his irrigation ditches. In addition, and with all due respect and affection, I'm willing to go anywhere and appear in any setting, to openly discuss and debate these decisions with those who've published conflicting opinions. If one should doubt my offer, those who know me, know I keep my promises. This is a promise.

The fact is that the 1866 ditches on the Hage ranch comprise only .001 percent of the water sources of the ranch. If the interpretation that Hage was awarded the minuscule amount of forage were correct, Hage would have, long ago, folded his tent and left Pine Creek Ranch to the government. Instead, the reality is that, based on the proper interpretation of the ruling, Hage's cattle are now grazing on the allotments, previously forbidden by the U.S. Government, without a grazing permit.

How could this happen in this climate of strict regulatory controls?....
MAD COW DISEASE

U.S. Senate votes to keep Canadian cattle out of United States The Senate voted Thursday to overturn the Bush administration's decision to allow Canadian cattle into the country again nearly two years after they were banned because of mad cow disease. The White House said Bush would veto the measure if it ever reaches his desk, warning that continuing to refuse Canadian beef would damage efforts to persuade other countries to buy U.S. beef. The Senate's 52-46 vote was to reject the Agriculture Department's decision to begin resuming imports of Canadian cows under 30 months of age beginning next week. A similar measure has been introduced in the House, but leaders there have scheduled no vote on it. "They've got mad-cow disease," said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. "Now the question is, should we run the risk of opening our border to livestock imports from Canada, when the evidence demonstrates clearly they're not enforcing their regulations to reduce the risk to them and to us?"....
Johann’s To Lobby House To Allow Canada Cattle Imports Johanns said he was "disappointed" with the Senate vote and warned that it "undermines the U.S. efforts to promote science-based regulations, complicates U.S. negotiations to reopen foreign markets to U.S. beef and would perpetuate the economic disruption of the beef and cattle industry." The resolution, a means by which Congress can reject regulatory rules made by federal agencies as provided for in the 1996 Congressional Review Act, must also be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by U.S. President George W. Bush to go into effect and cancel the USDA rule. The White House confirmed Bush would veto the measure, and warned that continuing to refuse Canadian beef would damage efforts to persuade other countries to buy U.S. beef, The Associated Press reported Thursday. U.S. industry groups such as the Food Products Association and the American Meat Institute have denounced the Senate action....
Canadian Ranchers See Politics in Ruling Some ranchers in Western Canada believe the decision by a U.S. federal judge to block indefinitely the resumption of their cattle crossing into the United States is another example of American protectionism as well as botched politics by their own leaders. Their anger was compounded Thursday when the U.S. Senate voted to overturn the Bush administration's decision to lift a ban next Monday. The ban was imposed on Canadian cattle nearly two years ago because of fears over mad cow disease. Danny Rosehill of the Olds Auction Mart in Calgary said U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull's ruling Wednesday was not only biased in favor of cattlemen in Montana, but indicative of the increasingly testy relations between the world's largest trading partners....
Length of CAN border delay unclear A federal judge in Montana temporarily blocked the Bush administration's plan to reopen the border to young Canadian cattle on Monday. The length of the delay isn't clear. U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull in Billings, Mont., granted the request for a preliminary injunction brought by a ranchers group that argued the reopening would expose their cattle -- and U.S. consumers -- to mad-cow disease, the fatal brain wasting ailment diagnosed in four Canadian-born cattle over the past 22 months. Judge Cebull, who tangled with the U.S. Department of Agriculture last year over its plan to allow certain cuts of Canadian beef back into the U.S., ordered federal lawyers and the ranchers' group -- R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America -- to agree within 10 days on a date for a hearing on whether he should issue a permanent injunction against the plan for importing live animals. Judge Cebull's ruling is a blow to the Bush administration's attempt to create a new international standard for doing business with countries that have a low incidence of mad-cow disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Until recently, the U.S., like most nations, simply shut its borders to infected countries. The Bush administration's attitude changed when the December 2003 discovery of an infected Holstein dairy cow in Washington state prompted scores of countries to ban U.S. beef , extinguishing a $3 billion annual export market for U.S. meatpackers. By accepting cattle under the age of 30 months from Canada, the U.S. government is trying to show countries such as Japan and South Korea that it is safe for them to import U.S. beef again. Mad-cow disease, which primarily afflicts cattle that are several years old, is hard to detect in cattle under the age of 30 months....
Canada May Boost Cattle-Rancher Aid After U.S. Ruling Canada may boost subsidies for the country's struggling cattle ranchers after a U.S. court decided against lifting restrictions on cattle exports, Finance Minister Ralph Goodale said. The government ``will need to assess'' whether the C$1.5 billion ($1.2 billion) paid to ranchers since the May 2003 discovery of an Alberta animal infected with mad cow disease is enough, Goodale told reporters in Halifax, Nova Scotia, today, according to his spokesman, John Embury....
Canadian cattle pose no new health risk to American beef consumers: experts Keeping Canadian cows from crossing the 49th parallel won't safeguard U.S. beef consumers from the human form of mad cow disease, experts on prion diseases say. ``I do not feel that there is a rational health reason to prohibit the import of Canadian cattle to the U.S.,'' Canadian prion expert Dr. Neil Cashman said Thursday as hurdles continued to mount to the reopening of the American border. ``The movement of the U.S. and Canadian herds across the border and the similarities in feeding practices of the two countries prior to and after 1997 make the risk of BSE the same in both countries _ which is extremely low, but not zero.'' Dr. Jean-Philippe Deslys, a prion expert from France, shares Cashman's view that the risk associated with Canadian beef is indistinguishable from that of American beef. ``The two countries are considered at the same level of risk,'' said Deslys, a research scientist and expert adviser to the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. ``It's logical to open the frontier.''....
'Keep U.S. Beef Safe!' The Ranchers-Cattlemen's Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) urged consumers today to tell their grocery store managers, butchers, mayors, governors, members of Congress and local health officials: `Keep U.S. Beef Safe.' This call-for-action is part of a nationwide campaign to stop federal officials from dropping crucial food safety protections for imported beef, specifically from Canada. Four cases of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, a deadly disease also known as mad cow, have been identified in Canadian cattle since May 2003. "The United States has the safest beef in the world, and we want to keep it that way. Even with increased testing we have yet to find one single native case of BSE in U.S. born and raised cattle. For this reason, we are urging consumers to speak out: `Keep U.S. Beef Safe,'" wrote Leo McDonnell, Jr., President of R-CALF USA, in a letter to every Member of Congress, Governor, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities....
Financiers sell Creekstone The majority financial owner of Creekstone Farms Premium Beef has sold its interest to a private investment company that will help Creekstone grow and position itself better in the marketplace, the two companies said. The sale occurs as Creekstone continues a year-long battle with the Agriculture Department to allow the company to test all the animals it slaughters for mad-cow disease. Creekstone officials contend that if the company were allowed to test, it would regain business with Japan, which has imposed a ban on American beef imports since December 2003, when a case of mad -cow disease was discovered in Washington state. "We will continue to aggressively pursue to BSE test (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow)," Pentz said, "regardless of whether overseas markets are open or shut."....
NEWS ROUNDUP

3 environmental laws targeted The Bush administration is asking Congress to amend three environmental laws to reduce their impact on military ranges after failing to win the changes last year. Administration officials circulated among federal agencies their proposed language for changing the laws in a Jan. 6 document obtained by The Associated Press. The language calls for the same changes that stalled in Congress last year. Defense Department officials want the Clean Air Act amended so that any additional air pollution from training exercises wouldn't have to be counted for three years in the state plans for meeting federal air quality standards. The document says that under the current law "it is becoming increasingly difficult to base military aircraft near developed areas." Other changes sought are in the Superfund and the Solid Waste Disposal Act. The Pentagon opposes having to remove unexploded ordnance from its operational ranges. It also wants to delay cleanups until after contamination spreads beyond military boundaries....
Column: The State of Oregon vs. Mike Roselle When it comes to civil liberties, most people will remember 9/11 and the Patriot Act. But if you are a treehugger, you will probably remember when the federal government, and some states, started taking the gloves off back in the mid-eighties. The commencement was a series of laws passed to target a perceived eco-terrorist threat, following the widely publicized sawmill accident in Sonoma County where a young mill worker was injured. A spike in a tree caused a saw blade to snap and hit the worker. It was no matter that the spike was placed by an enraged local landowner and not by any of the activists trying to protect the last old-growth Redwoods on the Pacific Coast. The national news media cranked up the story that eco-terrorists were everywhere planning violence and a series of new laws were passed to deter them from wreaking havoc on the beleaguered timber industry. Most of these new laws didn't distinguish much between property destruction, peaceful protest and acts of civil disobedience. Within a decade, every western state would have laws making it an offense, subject to imprisonment, to halt, impede, hinder, obstruct or delay a timber sale....
Ranchers want wolves recaptured Local ranchers, fearful that their livestock are in danger, are looking to the Socorro County Commission for support in removing a pair of Mexican wolves from the San Mateo and Magdalena Mountain area back to the designated recovery area. Arch "Buck" Wilson, who owns a cattle ranch in western Socorro County, near Magdalena, asked the commission Tuesday to consider the possibilities of helping area ranchers in getting the pair of wolves, dubbed the San Mateo pact, removed from the area. Colleen Buchanan, a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service involved with the Mexican wolf reintroduction program, said the San Mateo pact, a male and female, had found their way to that area in Socorro and Catron counties on their own. "They showed up in January 2004 and we recaptured them in August 2004 because they were outside the recovery area," Buchanan said. "We returned them to the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, Apache Stigrevas and the Gila National Forest in Arizona and New Mexico, but the pact has found their way back," she said....
Suit filed over list excluding rare flies A wildlife group has sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over failing to list 12 species of Hawaiian picture-wing flies as endangered, saying the agency should have placed the insects on the list more than three years ago. The service first proposed protection of the Hawaiian picture-wings on Jan. 17, 2001. Under the Endangered Species Act, the government had one year to place them on the Endangered Species List and to designate critical habitat for the Hawaiian picture-wings, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. In the lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., the center says the service violated the act by failing to list the 12 species of Hawaiian picture-wings....
State's top forester downplays Bush influence in White River The top U.S. Forest Service official in Colorado is downplaying controversial changes that the Bush administration made to the White River National Forest Plan. Regional Forester Rick Cables claimed the changes won't weaken protections for lynx and water quality as some critics contend. Instead, the changes ordered by U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary David Tenny bring the White River National Forest's management practices into compliance with broader federal policies, Cables said during a recent visit to the Roaring Fork Valley. Tenny's decisions - called a "discretionary review" in federal bureaucracy parlance - weren't unprecedented. Other officials in his post have made changes to forest plans, according to Cables....
Caviar scheme leads to three arrests Charges have been filed against three people accused of running an illegal caviar-manufacturing operation, authorities said today. The three, all immigrants from former Soviet-bloc countries, were indicted on charges of felony racketeering and unlawfully possessing and selling white sturgeon, said Sgt. Jeff Samuels, who heads the special investigations unit of the state police Fish and Wildlife Division. The Usoltseffs are accused of illegally buying sturgeon from tribal fishermen in the Columbia River and turning the roe into caviar. The trade was brokered by Grigoryan, who is a limousine driver in the Portland metropolitan area, Samuels said....
Domenici: Delay protection of bird Sometimes, the circle of life will make you dizzy. Sen. Pete Domenici fears federal action to protect the endangered Southwestern willow flycatcher will snag efforts to rid New Mexico of two invasive species of plants that drain millions of gallons of water from the environment. So the Albuquerque Republican is asking the Bush administration to delay habitat protections for the flycatcher, which nests in the salt cedar and Russian olive trees that have taken over the bosque along the middle Rio Grande. At a meeting of his Energy Committee on Tuesday, Domenici urged Interior Secretary Gale Norton to seek a delay in a looming regulation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that could limit federal cleanup actions along most of the middle Rio Grande....
Column: Non-Profit or Big Business Why, then, is the National Conservation Resource Service (NCRS), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), giving $10.7 million dollars out of farm bill funds to a multi-billion dollar "non-profit" agency to make swampland out of rich farmland. This land has been farmed for the past 80 years. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) bought 7,775 acres from Wilder Corporation in 2000 for $18.45 million. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife has since purchased 712 of those acres from the conservancy. The Fish and Wildlife Service owns 2,200 acres adjacent to the conservancy's holdings. This purchase known as "Emiquon" is one of the largest wetland restoration projects in the United States. TNC is often called the "real estate agent for the government."....
BLM seeks emergency ban on Vermillion vehicle traffic Off-highway vehicle damage in the Vermillion Cliffs and Trail Canyon areas on the Utah-Arizona border is prompting the Bureau of Land Management to put emergency OHV restrictions into place - perhaps as soon as next month. Rex Smart, manager of the BLM's Kanab Field Office, said Wednesday that because of documented damage in Trail Canyon and adjacent Hogs Canyon, a combination of route designations and area closures will be put into effect as soon as a final order is drafted and can be sent off to Washington for publication in the Federal Register. That process could take anywhere from three to eight weeks....
BLM scraps plans for expanded enforcement powers in Nevada The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will not seek expanded authority for its rangers to enforce some state laws on federal land in Nevada, a bureau official said. Instead, the agency will work with individual counties to establish law enforcement agreements. "As we meet with each one, we'll decide what works best for that county," said Jo Simpson, a BLM spokeswoman in Reno. Increased visitation and law enforcement problems at areas like Sand Mountain outside Fallon and Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas prompted the BLM last spring to seek expanded authority....
Richardson Addresses Environmental Concern New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said Wednesday that governors should be allowed to protect environmentally sensitive federal land in their states against oil and gas drilling. Richardson, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, said the Bush administration already has a precedent for such a move: a proposed forest protection plan that would leave it to governors to designate what federal forests should remain roadless. Under Richardson's proposal, a final decision on a governor's petition still would be up to the Interior Department....
GOP sets push to drill for oil in refuge A Senate showdown over an Alaska wildlife refuge is expected within weeks as Republicans plan to use a budget measure to overcome strong opposition to allowing oil drilling in the protected area. It will be the first big environmental issue facing the new Congress. Republican leaders indicated Tuesday that they plan to press the issue of drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as part of a so-called budget reconciliation process, which cannot be subject to a Democratic filibuster - a tactic that has blocked the refuge's development in the past. Given the wider GOP majority in the Senate, Republicans said they think they have the best chance yet to open the presumably oil-rich but environmentally sensitive Alaska refuge to oil drilling, which has been one of President Bush's top energy priorities....
Column: You don’t need a motor to experience Yellowstone While I disagree with Interior Secretary Gale Norton’s agenda for Yellowstone National Park, I have to admire her political smarts. She showed great form during her recent snowmobile and snow coach tour of the park this winter. Secretary Norton charmed reporters with her grit, gamely bouncing through sub-zero temperatures on a three-hour snowmobile excursion, and her wit, as she pointed to rising steam from one of the park’s many geysers and quipped, "It’s not all that different from Washington. I mean, look at all the hot air around here." But the best example of her political savvy came in the way she stacked the deck in her framing of the debate over snowmobiles in the park. In addition to her snowmobile tour, Norton took a short ride in a snow coach, the other motorized option for getting inside the park. Afterwards, she said to an Associated Press reporter, "This is a much more ordinary kind of experience." Then, with an unenthusiastic shrug, she added, "It’s not as special as a snowmobile."....
Water leasing sparks worries: Farmers say environ pact targets them And it's largely for that reason some farmers are upset. They say they've become targeted as the responsible party for Rio Grande water conservation efforts. Environmental groups - including the Sierra Club and Forest Guardians - and the city of Albuquerque last week announced an agreement that, among other things, provides money to compensate anybody who leases his or her water rights for environmental uses. Those with water rights encompass cities, developers and farmers. But it's the farmers who fear their water is in the cross hairs. "If you're going to lease water today, you're going to get it from agriculture," said John Carangelo, who farms 60 acres just north of Socorro. "All of the water in the state of New Mexico is fully appropriated. The people using the water are using it - using it for very, very good purposes: to feed you."....
Kennedy blasts Bush on environment, applauds Schwarzenegger While conservationist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. used a legislative hearing to label the Bush administration the worst in U.S. history on environmental issues, he also praised the record of his cousin's husband, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Accusing the White House of rolling back more than 400 regulations and policies that he believes has damaged the environment, Kennedy praised California lawmakers Wednesday for stepping into the void and holding the line on pollution controls....
Judge keeps border closed A federal judge ordered that the U.S. northern border remain closed to Canadian cattle imports Wednesday, after a lawyer for a livestock group said it would be insane to resume imports with so many unanswered questions about mad-cow disease. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had planned to open the border to fuller trade beginning Monday. U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull granted a temporary court order preventing that. R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America had asked Cebull to keep the USDA from implementing a plan to allow some live cattle and expanded beef imports from Canada until the merits of its lawsuit against the government are heard. Cebull ordered attorneys for both sides Wednesday to prepare for a trial in that case. Canadian Trade Minister Jim Peterson said he was disappointed, and "we'll do everything we can to fight it out."....
States moving to keep mad cow investigations secret When rumor of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak among Kansas cattle hit the commodities trading floor in Chicago three years ago, prices plummeted. The rumor was proved false the following day, but it was too late: The beef industry lost an estimated $50 million as skittish investors looked to other commodities, and agriculture officials spent weeks assuring consumers the food supply was safe. With that in mind - and with recent concerns over mad-cow disease at home and in Canada - lawmakers around the country are working on ways to keep livestock disease investigations secret until absolutely necessary....
Western Writers of America joins the National Festival of the West Western Writers of America joins the National Festival of the West at Rawhide, March 17-20, in celebration of the literature of the American West. More than 25 WWA members who write history, novels, short stories, screenplays, children’s books, poetry and music will be on hand to talk about their craft and sign books. "The Western is America’s epic," says Rita Cleary, president of Western Writers of America and author of novels such as "River Walk" and "Charbonneau’s Gold." Cleary will give a presentation about the Lewis & Clark expedition. Other WWA members will talk about issues such as Western justice, Women of the West, American Heroes and Western films and documentaries. They will also present workshops on a variety of writing topics including screenplays, novels, developing characters, and getting your book published....
Prairie Coal Great Plains travelers learned very quickly to gather wood for fuel when they found it. Leather and canvas hammocks, called coosies, were often fastened to the undersides of wagons, and into these firewood was placed and transported. During stops near water courses which had trees, wood was harvested for the next few days of travel. What little wood was located was quickly used up by the first few waves of migrants. With no wood the newcomers quickly resorted to adopting alternative sources of fuels, including corn cobs, braided grasses (called “cats”), and even the woody stalks of sunflowers. For the most part, these had severe limitations--they were inefficient since they burned quickly and gave off little heat, and were considered stopgap measures until something better came along. In time, the use of cobs and grass and stalks faded away and the settlers and travelers moved on to yet another source of fuel, one that was relatively efficient, one that existed in abundance, and one that was to sustain them in their time of need for many years--dried buffalo dung. As with the previous methods, the dung burned somewhat more rapidly than wood, but unlike grass, stalks, and corn cobs it burned hot, evenly, and clean. To the surprise and amazement of many housewives, there was no odor associated with the dried dung. Gradually, the other choices were discarded and buffalo dung became the fuel of choice for the plains settlers for many years....

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

NEWS ROUNDUP

More wolves, prey animals killed in '04, agents say The number of sheep and cattle killed by wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains continued to increase in 2004 - as did the number of wolves killed by government agents. The annual wolf report, released Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, also showed that the growth of the wolf population in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming is starting to slow down. Last year in Montana, investigators confirmed that wolves killed 91 sheep and 35 cows, the most recorded since a record of depredations began. The number of cattle killed in Wyoming jumped from 34 to 75 last year. In response, government agents took an aggressive tack against problem wolves. Last year, 85 were killed, including 39 in Montana and 29 in Wyoming. Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental group that pays ranchers for losses to wolves, paid out more than $138,000 in 2004, a record for the 17-year-old program....
Tussle over mustangs and desert habitat Wild horses, those defining icons of America's myth of the West, have always symbolized freedom and the frontier. But ranchers see them as competitors for grazing cattle across millions of acres of arid range - "hoofed locusts," as John Muir once said about sheep. And like the cougars and bears that have been showing up in residential areas, they're also competing with humans for habitat. Recently slipped into a federal appropriations bill by Sen. Conrad Burns (R) of Montana, and signed by President Bush, was a measure allowing the slaughter and export of horse meat from thousands of animals used to running free. Horse lovers are trying to get the measure reversed....
Lawmaker proposes higher penalties for killing grizzlies A Missoula Democrat wants to quadruple the penalty for illegally killing grizzly bears, saying without stricter penalties, the practice could delay their delisting as a threatened species. Currently under state law, anyone who illegally kills or captures a grizzly or an endangered species must reimburse the state $2,000 for each animal. Rep. Gail Gutsche is proposing the state raise the penalty for grizzlies to $8,000, the same as illegally taking an elk with six points on one antler. House Bill 514 spells out that grizzlies in the Yellowstone ecosystem have achieved the recovery goals set by the U.S. Fish and Game Service and the agency intends to delist them by this year....
Yellowstone's Heroine Wolves This year, 2005, marks the tenth anniversary of the restoration of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. In 1995, amidst heated controversy, 14 gray wolves were captured in Canada and transported to Yellowstone to beget a new population. At that time, no wolves had roamed the park for close to 70 years. They had been extirpated under a federally-mandated predator control program designed to make the West safe for livestock and to appease deer and elk hunters. This anniversary celebrates a new beginning both for humanity and for wolves. Therefore, the time seems fitting to pay homage to the three females—known simply as Five, Nine, and Fourteen—who began the first packs in Yellowstone, packs that continue to anchor the park’s wolf population to this day....
Artificial Watering Threatens Mojave Wildlife; Political Appointees at Interior Vetoed Park Objections A top political appointee of the Bush Administration has overruled the National Park Service and ordered it to allow the installation of artificial water systems in California’s Mojave National Preserve. Contending that the artificial water sources are illegal and will harm the native wildlife, Public Employees For Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Center for Biological Diversity today filed suit to stop the plan. Paul Hoffman, a former Dick Cheney aide serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, intervened to quash Park Service objections about adding more artificial water sources (called “guzzlers”). Hoffman, who has no biological training and spent the ten years prior to his appointment by President Bush at the Cody Wyoming Chamber of Commerce, contends guzzlers enhance “coyote and varmint hunting” on the Preserve, according to one of his emails....
Western governors ask Congress to change Endangered Species Act Governors from several western states are urging Congress to revamp the Endangered Species Act, calling for stronger scientific reviews and more involvement from states and private landowners. The Western Governors' Association, which represents governors from 18 western states and three U.S.-flag islands in the Pacific, made recommendations to "update and modernize" the 30-year-old act in a letter released Tuesday. The suggestions closely resemble recommendations outlined in February by four leading Republicans in the House and Senate seeking to rewrite the act, which has prompted opposition from environmental groups....
As a Matter of Fact, Money Does Grow on Trees For more than a century, the people who run America's extractive industries—logging, mining, and fossil-fuel drilling—have offered one answer. Conservationists and the environmental movement have offered another. Developers have touted job creation and the connection between industrial exploitation and economic vitality. Environmentalists have grounded their appeals in ecological science and the value of wilderness to the human soul. Always at odds, locked in ideological opposition, the two sides, it seems, have long been speaking different languages. Currently, with tens of millions of acres on the line and developers enjoying a stiff political tailwind blowing out of Washington, D.C., the mutual incomprehension has become nearly absolute. The environment reflects the red-state/blue-state divide and plays out in vitriolic debate....
Feds selling 21 acres in downtown Sedona The federal government next Monday will auction 21 acres of land in the heart of Sedona's shopping district. The property has been home to the Forest Service's Sedona Ranger District office. David Hasse with the U.S. General Services Administration says inquiries about the property have come from all over the United States. The opening bid for the larger Parcel A is set at $1.5 million. Parcel B will start at $1 million.
Guinn opposes land sales plan Gov. Kenny Guinn said Tuesday that he opposes a Bush administration plan to divert federal land sales profits from Nevada to the federal treasury. The Republican governor’s remarks came just a day after he said he would leave the fight over the land sales to others. Land sale revenues currently stay in the state, under a formula dedicating 5 percent of auction receipts for schools, 10 percent for water infrastructure and most of the remaining 85 percent for environmentally sensitive lands including Lake Tahoe....
Lyon County Lands Bill comes to a standstill It may take longer than anticipated for the Lyon County Lands Bill to be signed into law, as United States Senator Harry Reid has recently requested that a resolution of the Walker Lake mediation be included in the Lyon County Lands Congressional Bill. The county lands bill, drafted by county commissioners, Bureau of Land Management officials and Nevada state legislators, would accelerate the process of BLM and private land exchanges, and would allow for the sale and auction of disposable BLM lands within Lyon County, with portions of sale proceeds going to fund various construction projects within the county....
Natives Pan Plan to Open Alaska Area to Drilling Citing threats to caribou, geese and other wildlife, Alaska Native leaders have called for the Bush administration to scrap its plan to allow oil drilling in an Arctic area long protected from development. The North Slope Borough, the local government for the mostly Inupiat Eskimo district along Alaska's Arctic coastline, and the Association of Village Council Presidents, representing Yupik Eskimos from southwestern Alaska, are criticizing the administration's plan to open up the Teshekpuk Lake area to oil development. The lake and its surroundings, part of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, are slated to be leased for oil exploration under a plan issued in January by the Bureau of Land Management....
Wild horses from Nevada come to Wyo A Centennial man is the first in the country to buy wild horses under a new federal program allowing for their sale, and he intends to let them live out their lives on the open range. Ron Hawkins and his group, Wild Horses Wyoming, bought 200 mares from a Nevada facility for $50 each -- for a total of $10,000. The new law, signed in December, allows wild horses more than 10 years old -- or those unsuccessfully offered for adoption three times -- to be sold. Critics have feared selling the horses considered by many as symbols of the American West would mean slaughter....
Undocumented Immigrants Recruited to Grow Marijuana in National Park Sequoia National Park authorities have found at least 40 marijuana fields in the last two years. Last year, five undocumented Mexican immigrants were arrested in one of the fields, according to a National Park Service investigator who did not want to be identified. "About 95 percent of the people who grow marijuana in this park are illegal aliens," the agent said. "The illegals just work in the fields but the people who really run them are first and second generation Mexican Americans who recruit these illegals, promising them $15,000 cash and sometimes more to grow marijuana for just four months," he said....
Politics pits Montana coal against Wyo coal Political horse trading over the President Bush's "Clear Skies" initiative reportedly includes an emission credits deal for a Montana coal producer in order to woo a Montana senator into voting for the measure, according to the National Journal. Such a deal could potentially give the Montana mine a competitive advantage over Wyoming coal producers. According to the National Journal and other reports, the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, James Inhofe, R-Okla., offered nearly 11,000 in sulfur dioxide emission credits for the Absaloka mine in Big Horn County, Mont. The committee has been in intense negotiations in recent weeks as Inhofe fights to gain enough support for the bill....
Soil fertility's fall from graze On a dusty day along Colorado's Front Range, you can still blame Western cattle for some of the grit in your eyes and grime in your hair. Grazing tosses Western soils to the wind, a process that devastates the fertility of land that's already marginal, according to a new report. "The interesting thing is that in this study, we looked at sites where grazing stopped 30 years ago, and we still see the effect," said author Jason Neff, a University of Colorado ecologist. Today, in many desert canyonlands and plateaus of Utah and western Colorado, dark crusts of microscopic organisms normally hold soils in place, Neff said. But cow hooves can loosen that biological glue, the ecologist and his U.S. Geological Survey colleagues report in the current issue of the journal Ecological Applications....
Judge allows salmon fishermen to intervene in irrigators' lawsuit A federal judge has allowed a group of California salmon fishermen to intervene in a lawsuit brought by Klamath Basin irrigators seeking $100 million from the government for cutting off water in 2001 to help fish. U.S. District Judge Francis M. Allegra ruled Monday that the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations had an economic interest in the allocation of water to the Klamath River, because salmon that the fishermen catch spawn there, and fishermen cannot depend on the government to fully represent their point of view. "In the court's view, the PCFFA possesses a legally protectable interest involving the water of the Klamath Basin that is 'related to the property or transaction' at issue, one that lies in maintaining access to that water and ensuring that it is allocated in a fashion that promotes its fishing interests," the judge wrote. The judge refused to allow six environmental groups to intervene in the case along with the fishermen....
Summer water shortages possible in parts of Oregon February was one of Oregon's fourth-driest ever, and low snowpacks may lead to higher Northwest energy prices. While a couple of wet spring months could make a difference, long-range forecasts are for at least a dry March. Snow levels, meanwhile, continue to drop across much of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Washington is down the furthest, with a statewide snowpack at 27 percent of normal. Oregon is at 35 percent. Rain and snow accumulation usually peak in April and determine water available for river runoff until autumn rains begin....
Column: The pirates of eminent domain Beginning his oral argument in Kelo v. City of New London, the Connecticut eminent-domain case the Supreme Court took up last week, Scott Bullock of the Institute for Justice puts the stakes bluntly: "Every home, church, or corner store would produce more jobs and tax revenue if it were a Costco or a shopping mall," he says. If state and local governments can force a property owner to surrender his land so it can be given to a new owner who will put it to more lucrative use, no home or shop in America will ever be safe again. That's just what New London wants to do to Bullock's clients, the seven remaining homeowners in the city's working-class section of Fort Trumbull. When Pfizer, the big pharmaceutical firm, announced in 1998 that it would build a $300 million research facility nearby, the city decided to raze Fort Trumbull's modest homes and shops so they could be replaced with more expensive properties: offices, upscale condos, a luxury hotel. Its master plan called for turning the land over to a private developer, in the expectation that it would "complement the facility that Pfizer was planning to build, create jobs, [and] increase tax and other revenues."....
Government branded-beef plan passes An innovative plan to stamp a state-government seal of approval on quality beef products from cattle raised and monitored in South Dakota passed its final legislative test Tuesday. A bill approved unanimously by the state House would start the South Dakota Certified Beef Program. Only meat from South Dakota cattle would qualify for an official state trademark or seal. The purpose of the branded-beef program is to improve cattle prices in South Dakota by getting premium prices for steaks, roasts and hamburger sold at home and abroad with a state trademark. "Only beef that is fed its entire life in South Dakota is entitled to be labeled as South Dakota Certified Beef," said Rep. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center....
Column: Which dog are you? President Bush has proposed a 5%, across-the-board, cut in the farm program. The response to this proposal interests me greatly. Frequently, I've heard, "Doesn't he know who got him elected?" "Has he forgotten the red and blue map?" We, in agriculture, represent only 1.5% of the nation's population so I'm sure we didn't single-handedly assure his re-election. Furthermore, one of the reasons he was elected is because he told us he believed in smaller government. Now that he has proposed a smaller government that affects farmers, we are not happy with it. As long as I have been old enough to understand what a government subsidy is, I have heard everyone in the ag community talk about wanting to get rid of it. Farmers go to the coffee shop and brag about how much their wheat yielded or how big their calves were. I don't remember a single person bragging about how much they got from the government in commodity payments....
Cow urine touted as cure-all in India Alongside life-size posters of Hindu nationalist leaders, Indian political activists can now buy lotions, potions and pills to cure anything from cancer to hysteria to piles — all made from cow urine or dung. A new goratna (cow products) stall at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) souvenir shop is rapidly outselling dry political tracts, badges, flags and saffron-and-green plastic wall clocks with the face of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. “You won’t believe how quickly some of the products sold out,” says Manoj Kumar, who runs the souvenir shop along with his brother, Sanjeev, at the BJP headquarters in a plush central New Delhi neighborhood. “The constipation medicine is a hot seller.” But the biggest seller is a “multi-utility pill” that claims to cure anything from diabetes to piles to “ladies’ diseases.” “It’s a miraculous cure” the container declares. A month’s supply costs a little over $1. Another cure-all is Sanjivani Ark, a liquid medicine that battles cancer, hysteria, and irregular periods, among other things. In addition to medicines, the goratna products range from cow dung toothpaste, to detergents, a skin-whitening cream, baldness and obesity cures, soap and a cow urine “antiseptic aftershave.”....
It's All Trew: Horse tanks used to serve more than just the horses From time to time we receive questions from readers asking about the origins of old-time sayings or descriptions. Usually the term is one commonly used but never questioned as to why. The Johnson family of Mobeetie asked why old water tanks were called horse tanks when all types of livestock drank from the contents? Why not cow tank or hog tank? Why don't we examine the history and evolution of water storage containers down through time. Cisterns capturing rain water from the roofs and hand-dug water wells were the first water containers and used buckets on ropes and hand activated pumps to bring the water to the surface. These underground water storage tanks were cheap to build and easy to maintain....

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

NEWS ROUNDUP

Standing his ground - Jesse Hardy Once, the land under Jesse Hardy's feet was an underwater reef, and nobody owned it and nobody wanted it. It was harsh, unlovely land, miles from anything, with rocky ground, slash pines, swamp cabbage and sand gnat swarms so thick he had to hold his breath. No electricity or sewer or water. Hardy built a shed, then a house. Dug a well. For 30 years, nobody bothered him. Now they won't leave him alone. The state wants to buy Hardy's property for its $8-billion Everglades restoration project, which, in theory, would flood his land and everything around it. But first, Hardy has to get out of the way, and he is not inclined to go....
Governor seeks species law changes The Endangered Species Act should be renewed by Congress but with changes that give states more say in how and which species are protected and delisted, Gov. Dave Freudenthal said. Freudenthal presented his recommendations for improving the act to the National Governors Association's natural resources committee in Washington, D.C., on Monday. His recommendations include: # Allowing delisting in a state if a protected species is doing well there, regardless of the species' status in other states. # Allocating more federal mineral royalties to states to help develop habitat and programs dealing with endangered species. # Providing more money to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for recovery and delisting efforts. # Allowing state game and fish agencies to participate in selecting the scientists who review scientific evidence for listing and delisting species. # Allowing states to participate in the process of listing and delisting species, although states would not have a say in the final decision....
Evidence shows lynx in Bridger-Teton Biologists on the Bridger-Teton National Forest confirmed the presence of the threatened Canada lynx in February after it was thought the animal was extirpated from the area. Four samples of hair and scat found on the Buffalo Ranger District of the forest -- areas around Moran -- concluded the presence of at least one lynx. Nathan D. Berg, president and project biologist for Endeavor Wildlife Research -- a coalition of scientists -- said evidence suggests there are at least two animals in the area. "We know from stride -- how many inches each track is from the other track -- that we have at least two individuals," he said. "DNA only confirms one, but based on our track measurements we have at least two."....
Forest Service Allowed Timber Industry To Rewrite Sierra Plan The U.S. Forest Service allowed the timber industry to rewrite a comprehensive plan for managing 11 national forests in California, according to a legal claim made today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). PEER is filing to intervene in a California Forestry Association lawsuit that seeks to triple the annual timber harvest from national forests in the Sierra Nevada – an increased rate of logging that the Bush Administration is also seeking through an administrative route by its rewrite of the Sierra management plan. PEER is acting to prevent the Bush Administration and the timber industry from cementing in the higher logging levels through a settlement of the industry suit brought against the Forest Service in Washington, D.C. PEER contends that, despite the suggestion of a disagreement implied by a lawsuit, the industry and the Bush Administration actually agree with each other and that a friendly settlement of the suit would insulate their deal from legal challenges brought by conservation groups....
A creek croaks Not even torrential rain may save one of the best and most accessible trout streams in Southern California from drying up this year under a new water management plan that could be approved this month The plan would protect an amphibian and return a creek to its natural state. For decades, fly-fishers have worked the shady reaches of Piru Creek, a 50-mile waterway between Pyramid Lake and Lake Piru north of Castaic. Continuous releases of cool water upstream during summer keep riverbanks lush and fishing holes deep and ensure a steady supply of stocked trout. As long as the tap continues to run, the stream stays cool — warm water kills trout — and doesn't dry up as it would naturally. But the California Department of Water Resources is poised to reduce the summertime stream flow from Pyramid Lake by as much as 80% — a level scientists and anglers acknowledge will dry up parts of Piru Creek and kill many trout. Agency officials say current flows benefit bullfrogs, which eat the endangered southwestern arroyo toad. The plan could go into effect March 15....
Low stocks mean fishing cutbacks Fisheries managers say ocean salmon fishing seasons for Northern California and Oregon face sharp cutbacks this year to protect low projected returns of Klamath River wild chinook, a perennial weak spot in efforts to rebuild West Coast salmon runs. Federal fishery managers for the West Coast — who are meeting in Sacramento, Calif., next week — will also have to wrestle with forecasts of low returns of hatchery coho from the Columbia River and Oregon Coast, which are likely to prompt sharp cutbacks for recreational fishermen off Oregon and Washington. Overall, seasons are likely to be good between San Francisco and Monterey, Calif., a little tighter than last year off Washington, and a lot tighter between Fort Bragg, Calif., and Newport, Ore., said Chuck Tracy, salmon staffer for the Pacific Fishery Management Council, which sets ocean salmon seasons....
Disclosure of opal mine may trigger rush to Wyo. The discovery of a 34-pound opal in central Wyoming could trigger an old-fashioned mineral rush this week. On Friday, the Wyoming State Geological Survey will publicly release the location of an enormous opal deposit found near Riverton in central Wyoming, probably one of the biggest opal formations in the country, said Dan Hausel, a state geologist. The giant opal is a common type, not particularly valuable itself, experts said. But its discovery raises the possibility that the deposit hosts substantial amounts of fiery orange opal and the precious iridescent variety. Geologists already have seen traces of these more valuable types....
Report: Road network harms wildlife A sprawling network of roads supporting oil and gas development in the Upper Green River Valley of western Wyoming is harming wildlife, according to a new report issued Monday by The Wilderness Society. Roads in the gas-rich, 50,000-acre Jonah field and the 200,000-acre Pinedale Anticline gas field are already encroaching on core crucial winter range, endangering wildlife and fragmenting habitat, the report concludes. The report encourages the Bureau of Land Management to adopt measures to close and reclaim unnecessary roads and regulate remaining and future roads so that profitable natural gas extraction and healthy wildlife populations can coexist in the Upper Green River Valley, the group says....Go here to read the report....
Arizona ruling worries states A successful court challenge to Arizona regulations limiting the number of nonresidents who could hunt big game in the state is sending a ripple of concern through the West, where many states -- including Wyoming -- have similar rules. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out Arizona's 10 percent cap on nonresident big-game licenses. Nevada's nonresident caps also are being contested, and sportsmen and officials across the West are watching the shakeout warily....
Off-road alliance favors designated riding areas Almost 200 people, including Victor Valley residents and recreational riders, attended a two-day conference over the weekend to discuss the problem of illegal off-road vehicle use. The conference, sponsored by the Alliance for Responsible Recreation, exemplifies problems High Desert residents are being confronted with more frequently as off-road vehicle use increases. Invasions of private property, destruction of desert habitat, noise and dust pollution were all discussed. In the coming months legislation at the county and state levels could be introduced to confine off-road vehicles to designated areas, conferees learned....
Editorial: Big fight? Not this time Alaskans know all too well how bitter political warfare can break out when environmental concerns collide with economic interests. And that's what could have happened when researchers began discovering that fragile, ecologically significant corals and sponges in parts of Alaska's oceans were being chewed up by the bottom-fishing industry. Those coral gardens are the ocean equivalent of old-growth forest. The long-lived corals provide rich habitat for fish. Once disturbed, corals take decades upon decades to grow back. It is exactly the kind of essential fish habitat that is supposed to be identified and protected, thanks to a federal law passed in the mid-1990s with strong backing from Alaska's U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and U.S. Rep. Don Young....
Manure Rules Said Not Protecting Water A federal appeals court has ruled that new federal clean-water regulations aren't protecting the nation's waters from the manure pollution of large farms. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said Monday it agreed with environmentalists who claimed in lawsuits that the rules failed to provide meaningful review of plans developed by the farms to limit the pollution. The appeals court said the rules imposed in February 2003 by the Environmental Protection Agency were arbitrary and capricious and did "nothing to ensure" that each large farm was complying with requirements to control the pollution....
Anti-Sprawl Laws, Property Rights Collide in Oregon The nation's strongest laws against sprawl are beginning to buckle here in Oregon under pressure from an even stronger, voter-approved law that trumps growth restrictions with property rights. In a collision between two radically different visions of how cities should grow, claims under Oregon's new law are pitting neighbor against neighbor, rattling real estate values, unnerving bankers and spooking politicians. The law compels the government to pay cash to longtime property owners when land-use restrictions reduce the value of their property -- or, if the government can't pay, to allow owners to develop their land as they see fit. Because there is virtually no local or state money to pay landowners, Measure 37 is starting to unravel smart-growth laws that have defined living patterns, set land prices and protected open space in this state for more than three decades....
The mild and mostly wooly history of keeping warm No one knows who figured out how to shear sheep, spin the fleece into thread or yarn, and weave (or knit) it into woolen garments. But by 1900 BC, wool was big business in Ur, in what is modern-day Iraq. The earliest surviving woolen textile - found in a Danish bog - dates to 1500 BC. And while synthetic fleece may be lighter and more fashionable today, wool is still used widely. Why? Because wool fibers are kinky. Wool fibers are naturally wavy. The kinks form tiny air pockets in wool fleece, yarn, thread, and felt (wool fibers compressed into a thick cloth). The air pockets keep the air from moving. Since it can't move, it can't carry heat away from the body. The heat stays in, and the person wearing wool stays warm. Wool is also coated with lanolin, a fat that repels water....
Beef rule heading to court A last-ditch effort to keep the U.S. border closed to Canadian live cattle under 30 months of age and beef will play out in federal district court in Billings Wednesday. A request for an injunction against the U.S. Department of Agriculture from implementing its "final rule" on the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or "mad cow" disease, in the Canadian cattle herd will be heard from 8 a.m. to noon before federal Judge Richard Cebull. R-CALF, a national cattlemen's group based in Billings, seeks the injunction until its lawsuit against USDA's final rule can be heard. "The way I see it happening is the judge will grant a temporary restraining order before Friday," said Leo McDonnell Jr., president of R-CALF. "Then there will be a hearing on the injunction request about mid-March. "That will be the full-blown deal with all the witnesses," he said....
Site of Old Gilley's Honky-Tonk to Be a School A quarter-century after Gilley's Club became the world's most famous honky-tonk, local school officials plan to turn the site into a middle school. The Pasadena Independent School District bought the nearly 15-acre site where the club - which with its mechanical bull ride became an international tourist draw after it was featured in the 1980 movie "Urban Cowboy" - once stood in this Houston suburb. The club, named after country singer Mickey Gilley, shut down in 1989 after Gilley and partner Sherwood Cryer feuded over how to run the place. A fire destroyed it soon after....
Crossing the state by horse The boys wore baseball caps, the girls wore halter tops and every other cowboy seemed to carry a cell phone, but the Florida Cracker Trail Ride kept faith with tradition. After a long day on horseback, recreating an old cattle drive across the state, young riders broke out their rawhide whips. They knew how to use them. Psst … whoosh … crack! That startling sound, like a pistol shot, is what gave the Florida cowboy his name. It echoed across the 120-mile trail this week from rural Manatee County to downtown Fort Pierce....
Jon Roeser is the 2005 World's Greatest Horseman Very Smart Remedy (Smart Little Lena x Remedys Response) carried Jon Roeser to the 2005 World's Greatest Horseman title on Saturday night. The cow work competition of the World's Greatest Horseman was the finale performance of the 2005 Bayer Legend™ Celebration of Champions at the Lone Star Arena in Stephenville, Texas. Roeser has ridden the stallion, which is owned by Anne Reynolds of King Hill, Idaho, since he was a 2-year-old. The LeGrand, California trainer has seen phenomenal success with the young stallion, having won the National Reined Cow Horse Association Derby two years in a row and the Hackamore Classic. "I was really happy with him," Roeser said of Very Smart Remedy. "He's a phenomenal horse, just a great horse. He's one of those once-in-a-lifetime individuals that can dominate events like he has and I feel fortunate to have been able to ride him."....
Monsieur Moore Monsieur Moore, a northeast Oklahoman who died at age 94 just one mile from where he was born, is seen by many as the embodiment of a true pioneer. A founder, president and board member of the American Quarter Horse Association, Moore also was involved in other areas of equine activity and in many aspects of life in Washington County, Oklahoma, from his birth, Sept. 18, 1903, to his death, April 4, 1994. The official start of AQHA is alleged to have taken place March 15, 1940, during the Fort Worth Livestock Show. However, a lot of thought went into it before that date. "The Quarter Horse association was really founded under a tree on the campus of Oklahoma State University (Oklahoma A&M, as it was known at that time) in 1940," asserts Moore's daughter, Marilyn Moore Tate....
Ranch Horse Rotations Cowboys working a big ranch are delegated a string of horses from the company cavvy or remuda. The March 2005 feature "Pacing the Ranch Horse" discusses the strategy cowboys use to keep their strings healthy and sound. Here, we'll discuss the types of horses in a string and how cowboys rotate mounts. Cowboys and buckaroos on big ranches draw their horse strings (usually eight horses) from large cavviatas (remudas). The cavviata might include 100 rideable horses, and among those there might be 20 horses under 4 years of age, 20 5- to 8-year-old up-and-coming bridle/hackamore horses, and 20 excellent 8- to 14-year-old bridle horses. The remaining 40 head are 6 to 14 years old and considered good using horses or primary circle horses....
The Voice of Rodeo The gritty voice of rodeo announcer Bob Tallman, 57, can energize an audience simply with the turn of a phrase or by sharing a heartwarming story. After 35 years on the job, he has a voice that’s as familiar to rodeo fans as a pair of well-worn boots. “He’s the greatest announcer that ever lived,” says rodeo producer Bob Thain of Alturas, Calif. “He’s just got a God-given talent.” Tallman, of Weatherford, Texas (pop. 19,800), is on the road 270 days a year announcing everything from small, two-day events to the National Finals Rodeo (NFR), held each December in Las Vegas....