Saturday, December 02, 2006

Mortensen Wins Second Round Dan Mortensen's first order of business was to just hold on. Friday night at the National Finals Rodeo brought out the eliminator pen for saddle bronc horses, the toughest and trickiest to ride. The seven-time world champion from Billings did more than just hold on for the full eight seconds. Mortensen won the round and crept a little closer to history. Mortensen rode the Calgary Stampede horse, Knight Rider, for 87.5 points to earn $16,022. The money won pulled him within $3,700 of the world standings lead. Mortensen is tied with the legendary Casey Tibbs with six world saddle bronc titles apiece. "Any time you get by the first eliminator pen, it's good," said Mortensen, who also won the world all-around title in 1997. "I had never been on that horse before, but I had seen him a few times. "He jumped and kicked hard for a good five, six seconds, then turned back around. I was just glad to stay on him." The win comes after Mortensen posted a 74.5-point ride in Thursday's opening performance. "I hope so," said Mortensen of gathering momentum from Friday's winning ride. "I just have to take it one horse at a time. There are eight more rounds left and I just want to make eight more good rides."....
PRCA to govern barrel racing in '07 After some contentious back-and-forth negotiations, the PRCA has decided to be the governing body for women's barrel racing in 2007. The PRCA and the Women's Professional Rodeo Association had been in discussions for almost two years, but a compromise could not be reached. The PRCA board of directors eventually voted to form the Professional Women's Barrel Racing (PWBR). Barrel racers will have to be card-carrying members of the PWBR to be eligible to compete at the National Finals Rodeo in 2007. "After repeated attempts to resolve this issue, our board was given no choice," said Troy Ellerman, the PRCA commissioner in a press release. "We feel that this is a step in the right direction for the PRCA and women barrel racers everywhere to be treated equally and fairly across the board within the rodeo industry." In 2007, only PWBR events will count in the PRCA world standings. That will include the NFR and other PRCA championship competitions. Only women will be allowed to have a card in the new PWBR subsidiary, which will be run by a separate seven-member board that will work with the PRCA board of directors. Membership dues will mirror those of current PRCA members, which includes fees and insurance. Philipsburg's Carolynn Vietor, who was the WPRA president from 1996-2002, said in the release that the move was a long time in coming. "I have discussed this at length with the two commissioners that I served under and I felt that it was inevitable and knew it was coming," said Vietor. "In the years past, there were some issues that were not thoroughly addressed, or I think it would have happened before now. "I think we owe the PRCA everything and have always felt that way. It's their rodeo and their arena and we've been allowed to compete there."....


Friday's second-round

BAREBACK RIDING -- 1. Jess Davis, Payson, Utah, 86.0, $16,022; 2. Wes Stevenson, Kaufman, 80.0, $12,662; 3. Royce Ford, Briggsdale, Colo., 78.0, $8,140; 3. Ryan Gray, Cheney, Wash., 78.0, $8,140; 5. Will Lowe, Canyon, 77.5, $3,359; 5. Kelly Timberman, Mills, Wyo., 77.5, $3,359; 7. Heath Ford, Greeley, Colo., 77.0; 8. Cimmaron Gerke, Brighton, Colo., 76.5; 9. Tom McFarland, Wickenburg, Ariz., 75.5; 10. Chad Klein, Stephenville, 74.5; 11. Andy Martinez, Pavillion, Wyo., 74.0; 11. Bobby Mote, Culver, Ore., 74.0; 13. Paul Jones, Elko, Nev., 66.5. Aggregate: 1. Wes Stevenson, 169.0; 2. Jess Davis, 163.0; 3. Will Lowe, 162.5; 4. Andy Martinez, 158.5; 5. Royce Ford, 158.0; 6. Bobby Mote, 157.5; 7. Heath Ford, 157.0; 8. Ryan Gray, 156.0; 8. Kelly Timberman, 156.0; 10. Chad Klein, 153.5.

STEER WRESTLING -- 1. Shawn Greenfield, Lakeview, Ore., 3.7 seconds, $16,022; 2. Lee Graves, Calgary, Alberta, 4.1, $11,112; 2. Wade Sumpter, Fowler, Colo., 4.1, $11,112; 4. Jason Lahr, Emporia, Kan., 4.3, $6,719; 5. Stockton Graves, Newkirk, Okla., 4.6, $4,135; 6. Dean Gorsuch, Gering, Neb., 4.8, $2,584; 7. Linn Churchill, Valentine, Neb., 4.9; 8. Joey Bell Jr, Malakoff, 5.2; 9. Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore., 5.7; 10. Jason Miller, Lance Creek, Wyo., 6.0; 11. Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif., 7.0; 12. K.C. Jones, Decatur, 14.7. Aggregate: 1. Shawn Greenfield, 8.1; 2. Jason Lahr, 8.5; 3. Lee Graves, 8.6 4. Linn Churchill, 9.2; 5. Wade Sumpter, 9.4; 6. Joey Bell Jr, 9.5; 7. Dean Gorsuch, 9.7; 8. Trevor Knowles, 9.8; 8. Stockton Graves, 9.8; 10. Jason Miller, 10.3.

TEAM ROPING -- 1. Chad Masters, Clarksville, Tenn. and Allen Bach, Weatherford, 4.5 seconds, $16,022; 2. Garrett Tonozzi, Fruita, Colo. and Brady Minor, Ellensburg, Wash., 4.9, $12,662; 3. Trevor Brazile, Decatur and Rich Skelton, Llano, 5.8, $9,561; 4. Joe Beaver, Huntsville and Cole Bigbee, Stephenville, 8.1, $6,719; 5. Shain Sproul, Benson, Ariz. and Cory Petska, Lexington, Okla., 9.2, $4,135; 6. Matt Sherwood, Queen Creek, Ariz. and Walt Woodard, Stockton, Calif., 9.3, $2,584; 7. Matt Funk, Hermiston, Ore. and Bucky Campbell, Benton City, Wash., 9.9; 8. Travis Tryan, Billings, Mont. and Jhett Johnson, Casper, Wyo., 10.1; 8. Charly Crawford, Prineville, Ore. and Cody Hintz, Spring Creek, Nev., 10.1; 10. Speed Williams, De Leon and Clay O'Brien Cooper, Morgan Mill, 10.5. Aggregate: 1. Chad Masters and Allen Bach, 9.9; 2. Garrett Tonozzi and Brady Minor, 10.9; 3. Travis Tryan and Jhett Johnson, 14.4; 4. Speed Williams and Clay O'Brien Cooper, 15.4; 5. Matt Sherwood and Walt Woodard, 28.6; 6. Charly Crawford and Cody Hintz, 29.9; 7. Trevor Brazile and Rich Skelton, 30.3; 8. Matt Funk and Bucky Campbell, 30.4; 9. Clay Tryan and Patrick Smith, 34.3; 10. Colter Todd and Cesar de la Cruz, 35.9.

SADDLE BRONC RIDING -- 1. Dan Mortensen, Billings, Mont., 87.5, $16,022; 2. Bradley Harter, Weatherford, 84.0, $12,662; 3. Jeff Willert, Belvidere, S.D., 83.0, $9,561; 4. Rod Hay, Wildwood, Alberta, 81.0, $6,719; 5. JJ Elshere, Quinn, S.D., 75.0, $4,135; 6. Bobby Griswold, Geary, Okla., 70.0, $2,584; 7. Cody Wright, Milford, Utah, 69.0; 8. Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, S.D., 68.0. Aggregate: 1. Jeff Willert, 169.0; 2. Bradley Harter, 166.0; 3. Dan Mortensen, 162.0; 4. Rod Hay, 160.5; 5. Bobby Griswold, 152.0; 6. Chad Ferley, 149.0; 7. JJ Elshere, 146.0; 8. Billy Etbauer, 83.0; 9. Rusty Allen, 82.0; 10. Jesse Bail, 80.5.

TIE-DOWN ROPING -- 1. Cody Ohl, Hico, 7.2 seconds, $16,022; 2. Hunter Herrin, Apache, Okla., 7.6, $12,662; 3. Joe Beaver, Huntsville, 8.1, $9,561; 4. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, 8.3, $5,427; 4. Ryan Jarrett, Summerville, Ga., 8.3, $5,427; 6. Monty Lewis, Hereford, 8.8, $2,584; 7. Blair Burk, Durant, Okla., 9.4; 7. Cade Swor, Winnie, 9.4; 9. Jerome Schneeberger, Ponca City, Okla., 9.7; 10. Fred Whitfield, Hockley, 11.8. Aggregate: 1. Joe Beaver, 15.8; 2. Ryan Jarrett, 16.1; 3. Hunter Herrin, 17.0; 4. Cade Swor, 19.1; 5. Cody Ohl, 19.2; 6. Monty Lewis, 19.3; 7. Doug Pharr, 20.1; 8. Blair Burk, 21.5; 9. Jerome Schneeberger, 24.1; 10. Mike Johnson, 26.6.

BARREL RACING -- 1. Kelly Maben, Spur, 13.72 seconds, $16,022; 2. Shelly Anzick, Livingston, Mont., 13.95, $12,662; 3. Tammy Key, Ledbetter, 13.99, $9,561; 4. Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 14.01, $6,719; 5. Mary Burger, Pauls Valley, Okla., 14.04, $4,135; 6. Brandie Halls, Carpenter, Wyo., 14.05, $2,584; 7. Denise Adams, Lufkin, 14.06; 8. Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, 14.09; 9. Terra Bynum, Lubbock, 14.10; 10. Tana Poppino, Big Cabin, Okla., 14.12; 11. Codi Baucom, Carthage, N.C., 14.17; 12. Terri Kaye Kirkland, Billings, Mont., 14.32; 13. Layna Kight, Summerfield, Fla., 14.77; 14. Lindsay Sears, Nanton, , 19.18. Aggregate: 1. Shelly Anzick, 27.91; 2. Sherry Cervi, 28.12; 2. Denise Adams, 28.12; 4. Mary Burger, 28.13; 5. Tammy Key, 28.18; 6. Brandie Halls, 28.19; 7. Brittany Pozzi, 28.23; 8. Tana Poppino, 28.27; 9. Terra Bynum, 28.35; 10. Terri Kaye Kirkland, 28.39.

BULL RIDING -- 1. Zeb Lanham, Sweet, Idaho, 94.5, $16,022; 2. B.J. Schumacher, Hillsboro, Wis., 93.5, $12,662; 3. Fred Boettcher, Rice Lake, Wis., 92.5, $9,561; 4. Dustin Elliott, North Platte, Neb., 89.5, $4,479; 4. Jarrod Craig, Hillsboro, 89.5, $4,479; 4. J.W. Harris, May, 89.5, $4,479; 7. Bobby Welsh, Gillette, Wyo., 89.0; 8. Jarrod Ford, Greeley, Colo., 87.0; 9. Wesley Silcox, Payson, Utah, 84.5. Aggregate: 1. B.J. Schumacher, 185.0; 2. Bobby Welsh, 179.0; 3. Dustin Elliott, 176.5; 4. Fred Boettcher, 176.0; 5. Zeb Lanham, 175.5; 6. J.W. Harris, 174.5; 7. Wesley Silcox, 173.0; 8. Jarrod Craig, 89.5; 9. Cooper Kanngiesser, 87.0; 9. Jarrod Ford, 87.0.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Cattle produce more global warming gases than cars Livestock-rearing generates more greenhouse gases than transportation according to a new report from the United Nations (U.N.), which adds that improved production methods could go a long way towards cutting emissions of gases reponsible for global warming. “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems,” said Henning Steinfeld, a senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official and lead author of the report. “Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.” The report, titled "Livestock’s Long Shadow–Environmental Issues and Options", notes that cattle-rearing is also a major source of land and water degradation. “The environmental costs per unit of livestock production must be cut by one half, just to avoid the level of damage worsening beyond its present level,” warns the report. "Livestock’s Long Shadow" estimates that livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of carbon dioxide, 65 percent of nitrous oxide, and 37 percent of methane produced from human-related activities. Both methane (23 times) and nitrous oxide (296 times) are considerably more potent greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. Livestock also generates 64 percent of human-related ammonia, which contributes to acid rain. The report notes that the contribution of livestock to global warming will likely increase in coming years as global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million ton from 1999/2001 levels to 465 million metric tons in 2050 and milk output is expect to jump from 580 to 1043 million metric tons. The report says that worldwide, the livestock sector is growing faster than any other agricultural sub-sector, providing livelihoods for about 1.3 billion people and contributing about 40 percent to global agricultural output....
Judge extends scope of 'roadless rule' A federal judge ruled that a Clinton-era ban on road construction in national forests applies to hundreds of oil and gas leases sold by the Bush administration. U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Laporte's ruling this week means that holders of more than 300 leases that permit oil and gas exploration in national forests cannot build roads to access those areas. Laporte's order follows her September ruling that reinstated the 2001 "roadless rule" that prohibits logging, mining and other development on 58.5 million acres of pristine wilderness in 38 states and Puerto Rico. On Wednesday, Laporte ruled in favor of the plaintiffs who argued that her ruling should apply to all actions taken since the roadless rule was issued in January 2001. The Bush administration had argued that it should only apply to actions taken after she reinstated the ruling in September. The oil and gas leases cover more than 340,000 acres in seven Western states, including 179,000 in Utah, 87,000 in Colorado and 55,000 in North Dakota....
Water in the West is a Big Issue, But Solutions Are Shrinking Americans are thirsty. We consume more water than in any other country, between 400 and 600 liters a day per person, or 69.3 gallons per household per day. As the number of people in the United States, and in particular the West, continues to rise, that means, even if personal use declines, our overall draw on water resources keeps on increasing. In the West, water is relatively scarce. Yet our habits are similar to those in places with plenty of water: the ubiquitous American Lifestyle drives consumption despite the limited amount we have to consume. This is because the price of water here is roughly equal to what it is elsewhere in the country, thanks to government subsidies, massive water projects and no real economic market for it. Water is a peculiar thing in that, even as we use it, we never use it up. It’s just moved and will return to a source through the natural water cycle. But the Rocky Mountain West isn’t in water’s main path along that cycle. Our landscape is an expansive, wide-open, semi-arid desert, broken up by islands of mountains that pull moisture from the sky and ribbons of rivers and streams that carry the water from up high down to the sea. Below the surface, water sits in natural reservoirs vast and small at an array of depths. Though we’ll never “run out,” there isn’t much water to work with, and distributing the water is expensive....
Counties submit road claims The Bureau of Land Management has begun accepting informal road ownership claims from several rural Utah counties, reflecting new guidelines developed following a landmark appeals court decision last year. A total of 12 requests for so-called "non-binding determinations" have thus far been submitted to the BLM by Kane, Wayne, San Juan and Juab counties. And local officials hope the new process will succeed where past attempts to resolve ownership disputes have failed. "We can't afford to litigate every road," Kane County Commissioner Mark Habbeshaw said this week. "You go into litigation, and you're talking about spending $100,000. We're looking for a better way, and we hope this is it." Under the new process, the BLM will unofficially recognize a county's road claim under Revised Statue 2477 - an old mining law that granted rights-of-way across federal land - provided the county proves 10 years continuous use of the road before 1976, the year Congress repealed the statute. That standard, which reflects Utah law, was put in place by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in 2005 that state statutes, not Interior Department policy, should determine the ownership of disputed roads....
BLM shake-up an issue for Cannon
As the Bureau of Land Management announced a cost-trimming management overhaul Thursday, one conservation agency appears to be growing in stature and scope, potentially presenting a problem in the eyes of Rep. Chris Cannon. The BLM's "Management for Excellence" strategy envisions consolidating some of the bureau's administrative functions from Washington and various Western cities to Denver. It is largely a cost-cutting move that will save the bureau about $2.5 million in the current budget year and more down the road. But in the midst of the pinch, the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) is being elevated and adding to its responsibilities. Currently, the NLCS manages wilderness areas, historic trails, wild and scenic rivers, national conservation and recreation areas, and national monuments, like the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Add to that, under the BLM reorganization, volunteer programs, environmental and heritage education, cooperative conservation, alternative-dispute resolution and customer surveys. Emy Lesofski, executive director of the Western Caucus, which Cannon chairs, said Cannon and Western Republicans like the idea of streamlining BLM, but the expansion of the BLM's conservation branch is unsettling to Cannon. "There's a little bit of concern that, if everything is falling under [NLCS], is it to the detriment of other BLM functions?" said Lesofski. "We want to make sure the multiple-use aspect of BLM is still a priority."....
Death Valley National Park Threatened by Damaging Off-Road Vehicle Use A broad coalition of conservation groups represented by Earthjustice is fighting to prevent extreme off-road use of a fragile stream in Death Valley National Park. The groups filed intervention papers yesterday in a federal court case that would open Surprise Canyon to off-road vehicles -- an action that would damage the canyon's unique character, including waterfalls, towering cottonwoods and lush willows. The original suit was filed last month by off-road interests who claim that the canyon's sheer walls and creek bed are a "constructed highway'' to which off-roaders have a right-of-way under a repealed, Civil War-era law known as R.S. 2477. "This is a law that was passed a year after Lincoln was assassinated and repealed 30 years ago, and its dead hand is still haunting the protection of our national parks," said Ted Zukoski, a Denver staff attorney with Earthjustice. "What they are attempting to do is to undermine protection of this miracle -- a river running through the desert." Although Utah "has really been the epicenter of this debate," Zukoski added, " the California desert is becoming another area where those seeking to undermine protection of wildlife habitat and wildlands are using this ancient law."....
White Pine threatens to oppose Nevada federal lands bill The White Pine County Commission is threatening to withhold its support for a federal lands bill that Nevada's senators have touted as an economic boost to the rural county. Commissioners have voted not to back the White Pine County Conservation, Recreation, and Development Act unless money is added to pay for a groundwater study in areas of the county targeted by a plan to pump water to Las Vegas. "We had to take a stand," Commissioner Gary Perea said Tuesday. "Right now, water is the most important issue in White Pine County." The bill, introduced in August, would authorize the Bureau of Land Management to auction up to 45,000 federal acres in White Pine County. Profits would be divided, with 5 percent going into the state education fund, 10 percent for White Pine law enforcement and transportation planning, and the rest for wilderness management in the county. U.S. Sens. Harry Reid, a Democrat, and John Ensign, a Republican, have touted the land sales as a way to spur growth and the economy in the rural county, where roughly 95 percent of land is under federal control....
Analysts shoot for more hoots A single feather holds the biography of a burrowing owl. The atoms inside can reveal its diet, its source of water, its birth place. Hoping to unlock the origins and migratory patterns of burrowing owls (so named because they nest in holes in the ground), Carol Finley and her colleagues have collected more than 1,000 owl feathers from military installations across the Southwest. This summer, more feather samples from owls at Cannon Air Force Base and other installations will be collected, according to Finley, natural resource manager at Kirtland Air Force Base at Albuquerque. Only about nine inches tall, burrowing owls are a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service species of concern. The classification precedes inclusion on the endangered species list. Finley and team, however, have a theory: The owls, rather than declining in number, may have become less migratory. “It has yet to be determined if (burrowing owls) are dying off,” Finley said, “or just moving to different locations, which is something that could be happening.” The study, funded by the Department of Defense, has rippling implications....
State is sued for not outlawing lead bullets No one is shooting at California condors, but hunters' bullets might be killing the birds anyway. On Thursday, a group of environmentalists sued the state of California, accusing it of allowing the nearly extinct California condor to be poisoned by lead bullets used in hunting. Condors are carrion birds, and they can ingest lead when they eat carcasses or gut piles that hunters leave behind. The suit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, asks the court to force the California Department of Fish and Game to ban lead bullets in condor habitats. It was filed by the Ventura-based Wishtoyo Foundation, three other environmental groups and several private individuals, some of them hunters. Since 1992, 127 condors have been released in California, and 46 have died, according to the lawsuit. The suit alleges that lead poisoning is responsible for many of the deaths....
Peregrine falcons swap mountains for city life Once-endangered peregrine falcons, which bred in record numbers this year in Virginia, have shifted their habitat to Hampton Roads. Most of the 22 known breeding pairs have made their way east from the mountains of western Virginia, said Bryan Watts, director of the College of William & Mary's Center for Conservation Biology. And about 100 fledgling falcons have been moved from nests in Tidewater and Richmond to Shenandoah National Park since 2000. But attempts to re-establish the peregrine falcon in the park and the sheer rock cliffs of Southwest Virginia have largely failed. "We were flabbergasted, really, to find all these natural cliff sites were empty," Mr. Watts said. "It was a bit disappointing." In Hampton Roads, they nest on bridges, high-rise buildings and ships in the James River Reserve Fleet....
Mount Soledad cross could be spared under appeals court ruling The Mount Soledad cross could be saved under an appellate panel ruling today to reverse a lower court's finding that the city of San Diego's proposed transfer of the cross to the federal government is unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal reversed an October 2005 ruling by San Diego Superior Court Judge Patricia Yim Cowett. Cowett ruled that Proposition A -- which allowed the city of San Diego to transfer the 29-foot cross and surrounding walls and plaques to the National Park Service so it could be designated a national war memorial -- was invalid and unenforceable. In a July 26, 2005, special election, 79 percent of San Diego voters cast ballots for Proposition A. City Attorney Michael Aguirre said the ruling was a "significant victory" for the city of San Diego, and may mark the "final chapter" in the legal challenges on the cross....
FDA Warns Horse Owners About Fumonisins in Horse Feed Each year, a number of horses die from eating corn or corn byproducts containing fumonisins. Fumonisins are a group of toxins produced by an endophytic mold found within the corn kernel. Typically, fumonisins are produced while the corn plant is growing in the field, but levels can also increase under improper storage conditions after harvest. Although more than ten types of fumonisins have been isolated and characterized, the most prevalent in contaminated corn is fumonisin B1 (FB1), which is believed to be the most toxic. The dangers from fumonisins are dose-related, and horses and rabbits are the most susceptible of the domestic species. Fumonisins can produce the serious neurological disease known as leukoencephalomalacia in horses. Most of the investigated cases of fumonisin poisoning in horses have involved corn screenings. For this reason, FDA recommends that corn screenings NOT be used in horse feed. Corn and feed containing corn also needs to be kept dry and protected from moisture when stored to prevent levels of fumonisins and other mold toxins from increasing. FDA recommends that corn and corn by-products used in horse feed should contain less than 5 parts per million (ppm) of fumonisins and comprise no more than 20 percent of the dry weight of the total ration....
Rodeo: Former champs position to repeat Luke Branquinho got off to a fast start in his first chance to defend his 2004 world steer wrestling title in the National Finals Rodeo. Branquinho, from Los Alamos, Calif., won the first round Thursday night with a 3.7-second run. He missed the second half of last season because a torn pectoral muscle. ''I walked around the arena before and they [other competitors] said [I would have] jitters, but I didn't feel any jitters,'' Branquinho said. ''I just felt I needed to go out there and take care of business and try to defend a world title that I didn't get a chance to defend last year.'' Trevor Knowles of Mount Vernon, Ore., and Gabe Ledoux of Kaplan, La., tied for second in the round with 4.1s....
Wrangler-National Finals Results


1. Wes Stevenson, Kaufman, Texas, 89.0 points on Classic Pro Rodeo, LTD.'s Wise Guy, $16,022.

2. Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas, 85.0, $12,662.

3. Andy Martinez, Pavillion, Wyo., 84.5, $9,561.

4. Bobby Mote, Culver, Ore., 83.5, $6,719.

5. Chris Harris, Itasca, Texas, 82.5, $4,135.

6 (tie). Royce Ford, Briggsdale, Colo., and Heath Ford, Greeley, Colo., 80.0, $1,292.

8 (tie). Forest Bramwell, Pagosa Springs, Colo., and Chad Klein, Stephenville, Texas, 79.0.

10. Kelly Timberman, Mills, Wyo., 78.5. 11. Ryan Gray, Cheney, Wash., 78.0.

12. Jess Davis, Payson, Utah, 77.0.

13 (tie). Paul Jones, Elko, Nev., and Tom McFarland, Wickenburg, Ariz., 71.5.

15. Cimmaron Gerke, Brighton, Colo., 63.0.

Steer Wrestling

1. Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif., 3.7 seconds, $16,022.

2 (tie). Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore., and Gabe Ledoux, Kaplan, La., 4.1, $11,112.

4. Jason Lahr, Emporia, Kan., 4.2, $6,719.

5 (tie). Jason Miller, Lance Creek, Wyo., Linn Churchill, Valentine, Neb., and Joey Bell Jr., Malakoff, Texas, 4.3, $2,240.

8. Shawn Greenfield, Lakeview, Ore., 4.4.

9. Lee Graves, Canada, 4.5. 10. Dean Gorsuch, Gering, Neb., 4.9.

11. K.C. Jones, Decatur, Texas, 5.0.

12. (tie) Dru Melvin, Tryon, Neb., 5.2. Stockton Graves, Newkirk, Okla., 5.2.

14. Wade Sumpter, Fowler, Colo., 5.3.

15. Ronnie Fields, Oklahoma City, Okla., 5.5.

Team Roping

1. Travis Tryan, Billings, Mont./Jhett Johnson, Casper, Wyo., 4.3 seconds, $16,022.

2. Speed Williams, De Leon, Texas/Clay O'Brien Cooper, Morgan Mill, Texas, 4.9, $12,662.

3. David Key, Caldwell, Texas/Kory Koontz, Sudan, Texas, 5.0, $9,561.

4. Chad Masters, Clarksville, Tenn./Allen Bach, Weatherford, Texas, 5.4, $6,719.

5. Garrett Tonozzi, Fruita, Colo./Brady Minor, Ellensburg, Wash., 6.0, $4,135.

6. Nick Sartain, Alva, Okla./Shannon Frascht, Alva, Okla., 9.4, $2,584.

7. Clay Tryan, Billings, Mont./Patrick Smith, Midland, Texas, 9.9.

8. Colter Todd, Marana, Ariz./Cesar de la Cruz, Tucson, Ariz., 16.4.

9. Matt Sherwood, Queen Creek, /Walt Woodard, Stockton, Calif., 19.3.

10. Charly Crawford, Prineville, Ore./Cody Hintz, Spring Creek, Nev., 19.8.

11. Matt Funk, Hermiston, Ore./Bucky Campbell, Benton City, Wash., 20.5.

12. Jay Adams, Logandale, Nev./Randon Adams, Logandale, Nev., 22.0.

13. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas/Rich Skelton, Llano, Texas, 24.5.

14 (tie). Joe Beaver, Huntsville, Texas/Cole Bigbee, Stephenville, Texas, and Shain Sproul, Benson, Ariz./Cory Petska, Lexington, Okla., NT.

Saddle Bronc Riding

1. Jeff Willert, Belvidere, S.D., 86.0 points on Burch Rodeo Co.'s Tokyo Massage, $16,022.

2. Billy Etbauer, Edmond, Okla., 83.0, $12,662.

3 (tie). Rusty Allen, Lehi, Utah, Bradley Harter, Weatherford, Texas, and Bobby Griswold, Geary, Okla., 82.0, $6,805.

6. Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, S.D., 81.0, $2,584.

7. Jesse Bail, Camp Crook, S.D., 80.5.

8 (tie). Rod Hay, Wildwood, Canada, Cody Martin, Smackover, and Glen O'Neill, Canada, 79.5.

11 (tie). Cody DeMoss, Heflin, La., and Bryce Miller, Buffalo, S.D., 78.0.

13. Dan Mortensen, Billings, Mont., 74.5. 14. JJ Elshere, Quinn, S.D., 71.0.

15. Cody Wright, Milford, Utah, 0.0.

Tie-Down Roping

1. Joe Beaver, Huntsville, Texas, 7.7 seconds, $16,022.

2. Ryan Jarrett, Summerville, Ga., 7.8, $12,662.

3. Mike Johnson, Henryetta, Okla., 7.9, $9,561.

4. Doug Pharr, Resaca, Ga., 8.2, $6,719.

5. Matt Shiozawa, Chubbuck, Idaho, 8.6, $4,135.

6. Hunter Herrin, Apache, Okla., 9.4, $2,584.

7. Cade Swor, Winnie, Texas, 9.7.

8 (tie). Clint Robinson, Spanish Fork, Utah, 10.5. Monty Lewis, Hereford, Texas, 10.5. 10. Cody Ohl, Hico, Texas, 12.0.

11. Blair Burk, Durant, Okla., 12.1.

12. Jerome Schneeberger, Ponca City, Okla., 14.4.

13. Scott Kormos, Teague, Texas, 18.6.

14. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas, 19.5. 15. Fred Whitfield, Hockley, Texas, NT.

Barrel Racing

1. Shelly Anzick, Livingston, Mont., 13.96 seconds, $16,022.

2. Kelly Kaminski, Bellville, Texas, 13.99, $12,662.

3. Denise Adams, Lufkin, Texas, 14.06, $9,561.

4. Terri Kaye Kirkland, Billings, Mont., 14.07, $6,719.

5. Mary Burger, Pauls Valley, Okla., 14.09, $4,135.

6. Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 14.11, $2,584.

7 (tie). Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas, and Brandie Halls, Carpenter, Wyo., 14.14. 9. Tana Poppino, Big Cabin, Okla., 14.15.

10. Tammy Key, Ledbetter, Texas, 14.19.

11. Terra Bynum, Lubbock, Texas, 14.25.

12. Codi Baucom, Carthage, N.C., 14.29.

13. Kelly Maben, Spur, Texas, 18.99.

14. Lindsay Sears, Nanton, 19.25.

15. Layna Kight, Summerfield, Fla., 19.48.

Bull Riding

1. B.J. Schumacher, Hillsboro, Wis., 91.5 points on Southwick, Robertson and Wilson's Texas, $16,022.

2. Bobby Welsh, Gillette, Wyo., 90.0, $12,662.

3. Wesley Silcox, Payson, Utah, 88.5, $9,561.

4 (tie). Dustin Elliott, North Platte, Neb., and Cooper Kanngiesser, Zenda, Kan., 87.0, $5,427.

6. Matt Austin, Wills Point, Texas, 86.5, $2,584.

7. J.W. Harris, May, Texas, 85.0.

8. Fred Boettcher, Rice Lake, Wis., 83.5.

9. Zeb Lanham, Sweet, Idaho, 81.0.

10. Sonny Murphy, Herriman, Utah, 80.5.

11 (tie). D.J. Domangue, San Angelo, Texas, Steve Woolsey, Payson, Utah, J.C. Bean, Goldendale, Wash., Jarrod Craig, Hillsboro, Texas and Jarrod Ford, Greeley, Colo., 0.0.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


New look at world's forests shows many are expanding For years, environmentalists have been raising the alarm about deforestation. But even as forests continue to shrink in some nations, others grow — and new research suggests the planet may now be nearing the transition to a greater sum of forests. A new formula to measure forest cover, developed by researchers at The Rockefeller University and the University of Helsinki, in collaboration with scientists in China, Scotland and the U.S., suggests that an increasing number of countries and regions are transitioning from deforestation to afforestation, raising hopes for a turning point for the world as a whole. The novel approach, published this week in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looks beyond simply how much of a nation's area is covered by trees and considers the volume of timber, biomass and captured carbon within the area. It produces an encouraging picture of Earth's forest situation and may change the way governments size up their woodland resources in the future. “Instead of a skinhead Earth, we may enjoy a great restoration of forests in the 21st century,” says study co-author Jesse Ausubel, director of The Rockefeller University's Program for the Human Environment. The formula, known as “Forest Identity,” considers both area and the density of trees per hectare to determine the volume of a country’s “growing stock”: trees large enough to be considered timber. Applying the formula to data collected by the United Nations and released last year, the researchers found that, amid widespread concerns about deforestation, growing stock has expanded over the past 15 years in 22 of the world's 50 countries with most forest cover....
Report: Conservation efforts offset land lost to sprawl Growing efforts to save privately owned farms, ranches and forests from industrial and residential development now preserve about as much open space each year as is lost to sprawl, according to a report out Thursday. The National Land Trust Census, conducted every five years by an umbrella organization for land conservation groups, says private land under protective trusts and easements now total 37 million acres, a 54% increase from the last count in 2000. Conservation of private land from 2000 to 2005 averaged 2.6 million acres a year — about half the size of New Jersey, according to the Land Trust Alliance, which represents 1,200 of the USA's 1,667 local, state and national land trusts. This means additional land protected each year exceeds the 2.2 million acres that the Agriculture Department has estimated is converted annually to "developed land." The biggest acreage is in conservation easements, legal pacts between landowners and trusts or government agencies that permanently limit the land's use. The land census says easements have risen 148% since the last count. Land conservation increased in all regions, especially in the West, which has 43% of the private land conserved since 2000 by local and state trusts....
Study downplays link between beetles, fire The infestation of tree-killing bugs sweeping through millions of acres of forests in the West might help prevent wildfires rather than fuel them as feared, according to a new study. The outbreak of beetles that burrow under the bark, eventually killing the tree, might reduce wildfire risk by naturally thinning forests, according to the report released Tuesday by researchers from Colorado State University, the University of Colorado and the University of Idaho. "We are suggesting that the supposed fire risk is probably overblown," said Bill Romme, professor of fire ecology at Colorado State and the lead researcher. "It's possible the insects are doing the forest thinning that we would never be able to afford." An expert with the U.S. Forest Service criticized the report as "selective science," saying it appears to advocate a hands-off approach to managing forests....
Audit: Let more fires burn A federal audit says the U.S. Forest Service should let more wildfires burn and demand that state and local governments pick up a bigger share of firefighting costs that regularly top $1 billion a year. The audit released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's inspector general said protecting private property where cities meet forests, known as the wildland-urban interface, is the major factor driving up Forest Service firefighting costs. They exceeded $1 billion in three of the past six years. The report, which was requested by the Forest Service, said that by picking up so much of the cost of fighting wildfires, the Forest Service was taking away incentives homeowners would have to take responsibility for protecting their homes in the woods. State and local governments should bear more of the costs because they control construction in the wildland-urban interface, the audit said. The audit said Forest Service policy calls for giving equal consideration to putting out fires and letting them burn to reduce buildups of brush and small trees, but outside pressure to put out fires and a lack of trained personnel make it difficult to choose to let fires burn. It noted that only 2 percent of wildfires were allowed to burn from 1998 through 2005....
Case aims at split-estate limits A Heart Mountain landowner is seeking to test the limits of Wyoming's split-estate law with a challenge brought before the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission this month. The matter is widely seen as a test case that could eventually expand the financial requirements for energy companies guaranteeing remediation and could change how landowners are compensated for loss of land value when minerals are extracted. Jim Dager, the owner of a 2,000-acre ranch where Windsor Energy has a permit to drill for natural gas, has asked the commission to set a reclamation bond based on impact to his land beyond the immediate drilling site. Dager purchased the land early this year, but mineral rights under much of the property are held by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which has issued a permit to Windsor to drill an exploratory gas well. The split-estate law requires that landowners and energy companies work to reach a surface-use agreement, and if none is struck, the energy company must post a bond to cover the cost of remediating the land after operations are complete....
Endangered goby may get 10,000-acre designated habitat The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed designating more than 10,000 acres for the recovery of the tidewater goby, a small, brackish-water fish that once flourished in San Francisco Bay but is no longer found there. The endangered goby inhabits some creeks and estuarine areas along California's coast, including Marin, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, which are included in the recovery plan. The gray-brownfish rarely exceeds 2 inches in length and prefers slow-moving estuaries or tidal creeks with silt or sand bottoms. It has been driven to perilously low numbers over the course of several decades as a result of water diversions and sedimentation of estuaries and streams from development and cattle grazing. Predation by larger fish and crayfish and displacement by non-native gobies -- which have invaded West Coast estuaries via ship ballast water -- also are considered likely causes of the goby's decline....
Remains in Yellowstone go to tribes The long journey of a human skull found in the 1880s, and stored for years at Yellowstone National Park, may soon come to an end. Park officials hope in coming months to return the skull to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation. The transfer is part of a nationwide effort over the past 15 years to identify American Indian artifacts being held by federal agencies and return them to tribes. A sheepherder found the skull at his camp northeast of Logan, near Three Forks, according to park records. W.H. Everson of Bozeman, Mont., obtained it in 1886 and later sold it to Sen. F.C. Walcott and George Pratt, who donated it to Yellowstone in 1930. The park held onto the skull until a 1990 law required the Park Service and other agencies to begin looking for American Indian artifacts in their collections....
Parks seek to stem visitor slide As the National Park Service begins planning for its 100th birthday in 2016, the venerable agency has reason to wonder who will show up. By the service's own reckoning, visits to national parks have been on a downward slide for 10 years. Overnight stays fell 20 percent between 1995 and 2005, and tent camping and backcountry camping each decreased nearly 24 percent during the same period. Visits are down at almost all national parks, even at Yosemite, notorious for summertime crowds and traffic jams. Meanwhile, most the 390 properties in the park system are begging for business. Typically, families with children recede from the parks in the fall. Now, the retirees who traditionally take their place in the fall and winter are choosing to go elsewhere. Last year, 568,000 vacationers went to Yosemite in July, nearly 20 percent fewer than in the same month in 1995. In January, there were 94,000 visitors, about 30 percent fewer than in January 1995. Agency officials admit that national parks are doing a poor job attracting two large constituencies -- young people and minorities -- causing concerns about the parks' continued appeal to a changing population....
Bill would allow guns in national parks Gun-rights advocates are scrambling in and around Congress to get a gun ban in national parks revoked, before the newly elected Democratic majority takes power in Congress in January. The bill was introduced by Sen. George Allen, R-Va., on Nov. 16. The measure would overturn the near total ban on personal firearms in national parks, allowing citizens to carry guns which are in compliance with federal law and state laws in which the parks are located. The bill does not distinguish between National Park Service properties that are urban, such as Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia, and remote wilderness such as Denali National Park in Alaska. The bill has been read twice and sent to the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee. In Wyoming, guns -- especially long guns or rifles -- were first banned in Yellowstone National Park by the U.S. Army in the 1870s as a way to confront the wildlife poaching problem. In the 1930s, the Park Service banned weapons, traps and nets -- again as a move to thwart poachers....
Along border, hunters become hunted 'm surprised it hadn't happened sooner, hunters being attacked or kidnapped along the border. The news that Laredo businessman Librado Piña Jr., his son and three other men were kidnapped Sunday from Piña's ranch just across the border in Coahuila was shocking in the brazen way the attack was carried out. Less surprising was the fact that it happened. According to news reports from Laredo, Piña, his son Librado Piña III, David Mueller of Roscoe, plus Fidel Rodriguez Cerdan and Marco Ortiz were taken hostage by a group of heavily armed men at the ranch Sunday night. As many as 50 armed men stormed the ranch and held the victims at gunpoint while they ransacked the house and stole vehicles, furniture, deer mounts and guns. Mueller and Cerdan, a businessman from Monterrey, were freed Wednesday, authorities said. Ortiz works as a cook at Piña's hunting ranch, Coahuila state prosecutor Jesus Torres said. There had been no previous threats to the ranch or to the family, according to family members. However, the violence and frequent bloodshed that have wracked the area around Laredo and Nuevo Laredo may have spilled over into the hunting community....
Store keeps the cowboy spirit alive Baughman's Western Outfitters might not be the first place fashionistas flock to when seeking the latest trends, but store owner Rory Janes is ready for them either way. Janes, who comes from a family of clothing store owners, knows his fashion trends surprisingly well. But that doesn't mean Baughman's, which celebrated 125 years of business this fall, looks like a clone of Nordstrom or Macy's. The downtown store contains an entire room of cowboy boots, a whole wall of jeans, a single $1,200 Stetson hat and a display horse named "Charley" to greet you at the front door. "For a store like this to survive in the downtown area, it had to be very specialized," said Janes, who began working in his family's store in the mid-1970s. Now carrying mostly Western wear along with some work clothes and other cowboy-themed novelties, Baughman's has become a store of choice for local ranchers and rodeo buffs, along with the casual shopper looking for a Wild West accessory to add to the wardrobe....
Wickenburg kids ‘write' high in the saddle
Poetry is far from dead if the kids in Wickenburg are any example; and what's even more impressive is that these same kids are helping to keep the tradition of western cowboy poetry alive. In its fourth year, Wickenburg's innovative “Cowkids' Poetry Contest” reaches out to over 1200 area students in elementary, middle school and high school. The program, which takes place during the months of September and October, is organized by the Desert Caballeros Western Museum as part of the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce's Cowboy Christmas Poetry Gathering. Now a tradition in its own right, the cowboy poetry program begins with poets and culture presenters actually spending time with all 1200 students, sharing not only poems with them, but the lore and history of the West. This year, Aguila, Morristown and Vulture Peak Middle School students were even visited on horseback by cowboy entertainer Gary Sprague who brought along his horse to encourage the kids to not only ride horses, but to write about them....
Cattle caller It's auction day at this little slice of Americana outside Hanford where Darin Clagg holds forth like a high priest in the church of cattledom. Clagg is wearing his auction finery, including the belt buckle he won in the International Auctioneer Championships at the Calgary Stampede in 1997. Despite the growth of auctions online and on some satellite TV channels, scenes like this, though played out around the nation in a diminishing number of auction yards, are not about to be erased any time soon. It's an ingrained part of the cattle business. And the central San Joaquin Valley is known for producing some of the best auctioneers in the business. He is sure to be rooting for Clagg when the auctioneer competes in June in Springfield, Mo., for yet another title -- this one at the World Livestock Auctioneer Championships. In the world competition, auctioneers are rated on vocal clarity, bid-catching, voice quality and how well they keep things going. If Clagg wins, he will succeed David Macedo of Tulare, the reigning world champion and a recently elected third-term member of the Tulare City Council. It appears folks are nearly as successful at growing livestock auctioneers around these parts -- the center of the nation's dairy industry -- as they are growing beef and dairy cattle. Martella says Macedo and Clagg are the state's best....
Tough shearer liked to roust Manassa at dawn Dallas Henry Smith, who died at age 92 on Sunday in Manassa, spent most of his life in the vicinity of the pocket-sized southern Colorado town, inspiring affection and exasperation with his contrary ways. For decades, he amused himself in the early morning by loading his hound dogs into the bed of his old pickup truck and driving into Manassa, encouraging the dogs to howl. As every dog within earshot retorted, lights flicked on in darkened homes. Angry human voices made the cacophony even worse. "I always knew when Granddad was in town," Smith's granddaughter Lorena Peterson said affectionately. Back in Manassa, Smith married Florence Irene Vandiver and became an accomplished sheep shearer. Even with hand clippers, he earned a reputation for shearing between 150 and 180 sheep a day. His personal best was 204 sheep in one day, a stunning pace using hand clippers. His prowess as a shearer earned him an exemption from serving in World War II. Decades of shearing sheep left Smith lean and muscular, with explosive reflexes. Smith took pride in his reputation as a tough guy unafraid to settle an argument with fists as well as words. Few men fought him more than once....
Ford wrestles different opponents In preparation for his first trip as a competitor to the National Finals Rodeo, Heath Ford went back to something he knew -- the wrestling room. Ford has spent a good portion of the past month working out with the wrestling team of his alma mater, Platte Valley High School in Kersey, Colo. In Ford's mind, there was no better way to prepare for the tough competition he'll face in the bareback competition. "It's an individual thing, you know?" Ford, a former rodeo competitor at Central Wyoming College and the University of Wyoming, said Wednesday via cell phone from Las Vegas. "You rely on your own work ethic, and you get out of it what you put into it." Ford qualified in 13th position for his first NFR, which starts today at the Thomas & Mack Center. However, Ford has been to the world's richest rodeo before -- mostly to watch his family. His cousin Royce is also a bareback rider and is currently fourth in the world standings; his brother Jarrod qualified for the NFR in bull riding; his dad, Glen, was an NFR bareback qualifier; and his uncle, Bruce, was a five-time world bareback champion. "I guess I've been kind of spoiled, since my family has been here so many times," Ford said. "I've been through this before."....
PRCA tour moving toward playoffs The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's Wrangler tour format will receive a major facelift for the 2007 season. Sources said the tour is expected to consist of 24 rodeos, and contestants can compete in a maximum of 18. The tour will go to a playoff system, starting with the mid-August Caldwell Night Rodeo in Idaho. The top 36 contestants in seven events determined by money earned during the first 7 ½ months of the tour will qualify for Caldwell, the beginning of the playoffs. Sources said the field will be cut to the top 24 who will advance to Puyallup, Wash., in early September, where the field will be cut to 12 for Omaha, Neb., at the end of September. The field at Omaha will be cut to the top eight who will advance to the tour championship, the Texas Stampede, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Nov. 9-11. All of the playoff rodeos will be televised. The PRCA is still trying to complete the schedule for the first 7 ½ months of the tour. Another change the PRCA has already announced is that the 2007 rodeo season will be reduced by six weeks to the last day of September. All rodeos that start Oct. 1 or later will count toward 2008 money. The two events excluded from the cutoff are the Dodge Extreme Bulls final in Indianapolis and the Texas Stampede in Dallas. Also, the PRCA has limited the number of rodeos contestants can enter for the season at 70 for all events....

Oregon Man Gets $2M Settlement For False Bombing Arrest The federal government has agreed to pay Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield $2 million to settle part of the lawsuit he filed because of his mistaken arrest by FBI agents after the 2004 Madrid terrorist bombings, Mayfield's attorney and U.S. officials said Wednesday. Mayfield was arrested here in May 2004 on the basis of a fingerprint, found on a bag of detonators in Madrid, that was incorrectly matched to Mayfield after the March 11, 2004 train bombings that killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,500. He was jailed on a material witness warrant and released two weeks later. The FBI acknowledged the fingerprint was not his and apologized to him. Mayfield, a convert to Islam, charged in his lawsuit he was arrested because of his faith and that searches of his Portland area home and office violated his constitutional rights. The FBI's admission that the arrest was a mistake embarrassed the agency, forced the FBI to improve its fingerprint analysis procedures, and, on the part of Mayfield and others, prompted charges that the government targeted a Muslim convert. The settlement allows for Mayfield to pursue claims that parts of the USA Patriot Act are unconsitutional....
Apology Note The United States of America apologizes to Mr. Brandon Mayfield and his family for the suffering caused by the FBI's misidentification of Mr. Mayfield's fingerprint and the resulting investigation of Mr. Mayfield, including his arrest as a material witness in connection with the 2004 Madrid train bombings and the execution of search warrants and other court orders in the Mayfield family home and in Mr. Mayfield's law office. The United States acknowledges that the investigation and arrest were deeply upsetting to Mr. Mayfield, to Mrs. Mayfield, and to their three young children, and the United States regrets that it mistakenly linked Mr. Mayfield to this terrorist attack. The FBI has implemented a number of measures in an effort to ensure that what happened to Mr. Mayfield and the Mayfield family does not happen again.
Judge Strikes Down Bush on Terror Groups A federal judge struck down President Bush's authority to designate groups as terrorists, saying his post-Sept. 11 executive order was unconstitutional and vague. Some parts of the Sept. 24, 2001 order tagging 27 groups and individuals as "specially designated global terrorists" were too vague and could impinge on First Amendment rights of free association, U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins said. The order gave the president "unfettered discretion" to label groups without giving them a way to challenge the designations, she said in a Nov. 21 ruling that was made public Tuesday. The judge, who two years ago invalidated portions of the U.S. Patriot Act, rejected several sections of Bush's Executive Order 13224 and enjoined the government from blocking the assets of two foreign groups. However, she let stand sections that would penalize those who provide "services" to designated terrorist groups. She said such services would include the humanitarian aid and rights training proposed by the plaintiffs....

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Supreme Court to hear case on global warming The Supreme Court will take up its first-ever case on global warming Wednesday as it hears arguments from states and environmentalists seeking federal regulation of motor-vehicle emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency contends that the problem of carbon dioxide emissions and other so-called greenhouse gases is too big and falls beyond its statutory mandate. The court's work on the case will focus on the scope of the federal Clean Air Act rather than the debate over emissions' impact on the climate. However, the justices' ruling could shape the U.S. government's role in a pressing issue of the day and ultimately affect whether automakers will be required to build cleaner-running cars and trucks. As the Bush administration has resisted forcing industries to control the greenhouse gases that the National Academy of Sciences and numerous scientific groups say cause global warming, California and 10 other states have made plans to enforce their own regulations for tailpipe emissions. The case could have ramifications for those states because the authority to regulate emissions, even on the state level, derives from the Clean Air Act. The case's significance is reflected in the more than 20 "friend of the court" briefs filed from a range of industry groups, scientists, and conservation and recreation interests....
Sides debate status of grizzlies Here in what's been called America's Serengeti, park visitors say they still find fresh tracks of the grizzly bear in snowy valleys, a sign that the West's largest land carnivore has benefited from one of the greatest species-recovery programs since that of the bald eagle. But ever since the federal government indicated about a year ago that it wanted to remove Yellowstone's 600-plus grizzlies from the threatened species list by early 2007, a debate has been going on about whether the apex predator is genuinely ready to lose its protected status or whether this is a case of politics at work. Already, advocates for keeping the bear protected are predicting lawsuits that could tie up the government's effort in court. Other conservationists and federal officials say the Endangered Species Act has worked for the grizzlies in America's first national park, where the bear was listed as threatened in 1975 when its population fell to 136. In the early 1970s, many bears were killed partly because of poorly managed garbage sites. Grizzlies elsewhere in the lower 48 states still would be listed as threatened, officials said. One possible consequence of delisting of the grizzlies in and around Yellowstone would be state-regulated trophy hunts in the three states outside Yellowstone and the easing of restrictions on killing "nuisance" bears on private property, activists say....
Baucus seeks public lands meetings Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is asking the U.S. Forest Service to hold meetings in Montana on possible cutbacks that could result in the closure of campgrounds, picnic areas and other recreational facilities. By the end of 2007, each of 155 national forests and 20 grasslands must complete a recreation-site facility master plan evaluating recreation facilities on their condition, frequency of use and how they fit in the forest's recreation focus. Federal officials have said they are weighing the value of each of roughly 15,000 campgrounds, trailheads with bathrooms and other developed recreation sites in the 193 million acres under the agency's authority against the costs of maintaining them. Montana's Forest Service land contains 1,500 campgrounds, according to Baucus' office....
Study: Sleds can stress wildlife, but guides help Snowmobile guides in Yellowstone have reduced the frequency and severity of wildlife conflicts with winter visitors, according to a draft environmental study for winter travel in the world’s first national park. However, snowmobiles did disturb the majority of animals studied, including bison, elk, coyotes and swans. Bald eagles show the most frequent response to snowmobiles, either flying away or showing “vigilance” in the presence of the machines more than 83 percent of the time. The wildlife study is part of a draft environmental impact statement released Nov. 20 for a technical review by officials in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Forest Service. Teton County is a collaborating agency that will be allowed to comment before Dec. 22. The study includes Grand Teton National Park. Conservationists, snowmobile advocates and gateway communities are keenly watching the National Park Service as it studies options for winter use and seeks public input....
Gov. Risch touts Idaho's roadless plan Gov. Jim Risch plans to present his petition to manage Idaho's 9.3 million acres of roadless U.S. Forest Service land on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.. The plan has been praised by the timber industry as sensible even as environmentalists say it would open great swaths of pristine forest to destructive development. Risch planned to defend his 69-page plan before the Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee that advises Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns on such petitions. Johanns oversees the Forest Service. The governor aims to ban road-building on about 3 million acres, while allowing some development on the rest, including roads for timber harvests aimed at removing beetle-killed trees some fear boost the danger of big wildfires....
Proposed legislation would leave mountain bikers out of wilderness From the Fourth of July Lake trail, mountain bikers catch some of the widest views of the comb-like peaks of the Boulder-White Cloud mountains, but only if they can take their eyes off the wrist-twisting shale as the trail cuts across the picturesque Alpine basin. Yet, to the dismay of fat-tire aficionados, bikes would be barred from Fourth of July and 85 miles of other nearby singletrack — the narrow, challenging trails prized by hard-core riders — under a bill gaining steam in Congress. The Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act, sponsored by Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, pegs 492 square miles near the famed Sun Valley Resort as federally designated wilderness. It's a vexing paradox for the International Mountain Bike Association, whose mission largely is to preserve trails in wild areas across the country. Since the 1980s, the legal definition of wilderness has prohibited mechanized transportation such as snowmobiles, all terrain vehicles and — inexplicably to some — mountain bikes. So now, the association finds itself battling wilderness bills and tangling with conservationists in Idaho, California, Montana and the corridors of Congress....
A lot of U.S. oil, gas is off limits About half of the oil and more than a quarter of the natural gas inventoried on 99 million acres of federal land are off limits to drilling because of significant environmental and other restrictions, the government said Tuesday in a new report the energy industry sought as part of a campaign to win access to it. Only 3 percent of the oil and 13 percent of gas under federal lands is accessible under standard lease terms requiring only basic protections for the environment and cultural resources, according to the new survey released Tuesday. Technically, the study was ordered by Congress. But the industry wanted it to help make a point. Another 46 percent of the oil and 60 percent of the gas "may be developed subject to additional restrictions including no surface occupancy" or bans during part of the year to protect animal habitat or sensitive terrain, the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management said in the report. While not technically off limits, oil and gas companies have contended that those restrictions often make actual development difficult or impossible. In the new inventory, the amount of oil considered accessible without limit declined by about two-thirds from 2.2 billion barrels to 743 million barrels. Accessible natural gas was cut by about the same proportion -- from 87 trillion cubic feet to 25 trillion cubic feet. But environmentalists, who had used a 2003 study to argue against drilling in sensitive wild areas, said they feared the new study would make it appear industry has less access than it does....go here(pdf)to view the report.
Coal mine planned near Bryce Canyon The federal Bureau of Land Management is about to begin an environmental impact study on a proposed surface coal mine just south of the Kane County town of Alton but also fairly close to Bryce Canyon National Park. That location is likely to spark a "jobs vs. environmental protection" debate as the BLM's Kanab Office considers the Coal Hollow Mine proposal submitted by Alton Coal Development LLC, a small company based in Huntington, Emery County. "The proximity to the national park puts this one way up on our radar screen," said Stephen Bloch, staff attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. The mine is projected to create about 50 jobs in Alton, a livestock and ranching community of 134 residents, according to the 2000 census. Its median household income that year was $30,833, with 23.8 percent of the population living below the poverty line. The proposed mine would yield about 2 million tons of coal annually. The coal would be trucked from the mine site, about three miles south of Alton, up U.S. Highway 89 to State Route 20 and then down Interstate 15 to a coal loadout facility west of Cedar City. About 190 truck trips are anticipated each weekday....
DOE seeks land for Yucca Mountain railroad studies The Department of Energy wants access to 208,000 acres of public land for studies of two possible rail routes to the proposed nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain. DOE officials have filed an application with the Bureau of Land Management to withdraw 139,391 acres of land in a mile-wide corridor running 130 miles from Hawthorne to Goldfield, the so-called Mina route. It also has asked permission to withdraw an additional 68,646 acres of public land along portions of the Caliente route, BLM spokesman Doran Sanchez said Monday. The land withdrawals would allow the department to move forward with environmental studies of the rail routes to the proposed nuclear repository 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The Mina corridor has gained favor among some government officials as possibly a less expensive and less complicated than a $2 billion rail line that would run from Caliente in eastern Nevada. But critics say the Mina corridor could expose more communities, including downtown Reno, to nuclear waste shipments....
U.S. offers orca rescue plan Federal fisheries officials Tuesday unveiled their plan to rescue Puget Sound's embattled orcas but said they won't protect some waters environmentalists consider important to the killer whales: the Sound's shoreline, Hood Canal and the Pacific Coast. In its recovery plan, the National Marine Fisheries Service voiced "considerable uncertainty" about which of many threats to orcas should get the most attention. Are toxic chemicals most important? Reduced runs of the whales' favorite food, Chinook salmon? Effects such as engine noise from whale watchers and other boats? Property rights advocates dismissed the whole exercise as unnecessary. Environmentalists said that while they're glad to see the government moving to help orcas, federal policymakers aren't going far enough. They advocate more concrete and immediate actions to save the whales. "On toxics, they seem very reluctant to propose action because they want to study it more," said Kathy Fletcher, president of the environmental group People for Puget Sound. "It would be nice to see a lot more action-oriented commitment."....
Oceans' early demise disputed The sky isn't falling and the fish will still be around in mid-century, according to fishermen and critics of a recent article that forecast a bleak future for the fishing industry. The article, published Nov. 3 in the magazine Science, predicted the collapse of all of the world's fisheries by 2048, based on declining fish harvest numbers and other research. It also sparked a firestorm of controversy, generating headlines nationwide in newspapers and news magazines, spinning off into an elaborately illustrated feature in Time magazine. Among critics like Ray Hilborn, a peer review scientist at the University of Washington, the article was "probably the most absurd prediction that's ever appeared in a scientific journal regarding fisheries." Hilborn called the Science article findings "silly," but also worried that they "will become completely accepted in the ecological community. They have no skepticism." But the researchers who wrote the Science story - including two from Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, Calif., - are sticking to their findings. At the core of the controversy is what critics call the growing "enviro-sensationalism" trend of environmental news, said Steve Ralston, senior fishery biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Office in Santa Cruz. He referred to the growing number of similar reports as "an increasing `Chicken Little' response."....
EPA Will Allow Some Pesticide Use In Water Without Permit The agricultural chemicals industry says it welcomes a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency that will allow pesticides to be applied by farmers, ranchers, and public health officials over and near bodies of water without first obtaining a permit under the Clean Water Act. But pesticide manufacturers also maintain that the scope of the final rule, issued on Nov. 21, should be broader. "EPA's action clarifies two important situations where a permit will not be needed before applying pesticides, but it only applies to aquatic uses and forest canopy applications of pesticides," says Jay J. Vroom, president and chief executive officer of CropLife America, an industry trade group. Under the new regulation, pesticides can be applied directly into water or sprayed nearby without a pollution permit if the application is needed to control aquatic weeds, mosquitoes, or other pests. EPA says the measure clarifies that permits issued under the Clean Water Act are not required so long as the pesticides are sprayed in compliance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the federal statute governing the registration and application of pesticides. "This clean water rule strengthens and streamlines efforts of public health officials and communities to control pests and invasive species while maintaining important environmental safeguards," says Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA's assistant administrator for water. Vroom says the rule removes some ambiguity in the permit question for public health officials and a few other pesticide users and partially closes the door on lawsuits that could arise from this gray area governing pesticide use....
Professor attempts to uncover Brown Mountain mystery A mystery that has eluded Boone researchers for centuries may soon be solved. Long before the establishment of Appalachian State University, reports existed of mysterious lights appearing in the vicinity of the Linville Gorge, known as the Brown Mountain Lights. Astronomy and physics professor Dr. Dan B. Caton said the lights appear at completely random intervals and 90 to 95 percent of the occurrences can be explained. But Caton isn’t interested in those; instead, he is making it his goal to study the other 5 percent – the occurrences that science has tried to explain, but has not been able to. Observers of the lights have reported them to appear as bright, glowing orbs above Table Rock, Linville Gorge and Brown Mountain. Caton said they have been reported in every color, and sometimes last for a few hours. Caton received an e-mail from someone who saw the lights from a distance of eight feet in a parking area. Caton’s idea to research the Brown Mountain Lights is in the form of a web-cam, which he has already procured through university funding. Caton received permission from the U.S. Forest Service to place the web-cam on a pulpit at the Wiseman’s View overlook off the Blue Ridge Parkway....Whether he solves this or not, it resulted in a great song, "The Mystery of The Brown Mountain Lights".
Equine Therapy Plays an Important Role in Young Adult Drug Rehab Horses are playing an important role in young adult drug rehab. In its continuing development of providing excellence in addiction treatment, Gatehouse Academy has successfully launched Equine-Assisted Therapy as a regular component of its comprehensive addiction treatment. Gatehouse Academy is a leader in the field of young adult drug and alcohol rehabilitation. "Animal-assisted psychotherapy has a long history in the therapeutic community, especially in hospice and geriatric work," said Dr. Don Durham, Clinical Director of Gatehouse Therapeutic Health Services. Equine-assisted therapy, a more recent development, is in many ways a natural outgrowth of the animal-assisted human services field, colored by the new-but-old influence of the cowboy horse whisperers. Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EGALA) is perhaps the best organized body that grants certification as an Equine-Assisted Psychotherapist. "Three of our master's level professional staff are also certified as equine therapists," Durham added. The program originated from "... our founders' instinctive awareness of the mental health benefits of cultivating relationships with horses." Durham continued, "A therapeutic use of these sensitive and intuitive animals was a natural development. Their instinctive response to the feelings and often hidden agenda of people provides an honest feedback loop for clients to take a look at what's really going on within themselves."....
Rodeo Royalty f Ben Londo’s game were football, he’d be as famous as Reggie Bush, the former USC running back who won last year’s Heisman Trophy as the country’s best college football player. More famous, actually. Londo, a Cal Poly senior, has won his rugged sport’s equivalent of the Heisman for two years in a row, and is intent on winning it again this season. And all Reggie Bush had to worry about was the occasional 250-pound human being coming hard at him. Londo was the all-around champion at the National College Rodeo Finals in 2005 and 2006, but the dun horse with the white face patch seemed unimpressed. Londo, an easygoing 22-year-old construction management major and dean’s list student from Milton-Freewater, Ore., could serve as the exemplar of college rodeo, which, though largely unfamiliar to urban and suburban America, has been a mainstay on agriculturally oriented campuses since the 1930s. Nowadays, 140 junior and four-year colleges belong to the sport’s sanctioning body, the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Cal Poly’s program, of which Londo is the inspirational leader, is one of the nation’s best, "in the top five," said Branquinho....
WORLD RODEO CHAMP PATRICK SMITH OF MIDLAND TRIES TO ROPE SECOND TITLE There's plenty of differences for Midland roper Patrick Smith as he approaches this year's edition of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. He will be missing his trusted horse Jaws, which could pose a problem in the smaller ring at the Thomas and Mack Center. He and his partner Clay Tryan of Billings, Mont., don't lead in the money as they did a year ago en route to a world title, which brings us to the most obvious difference. He's the world champion. "It is a cool thing to know (you already have a world championship)," Smith said this week heading into the 10-day NFR, which is set to begin Thursday and run through Dec. 9. "We are grateful to have one under our belt. All the others will be icing on the cake." There is a certain amount of pressure, Smith said, for a rodeo performer to win a first world title. Winning a world championship is the premier honor in the sport and puts cowboys in select company. Once the first is captured a certain amount of pressure is off. Once completed, he said, you can worry about roping, making money and adding to the buckle collection....
YO ADRIANO! It was only fitting that St. Gregory Catholic School would celebrate its designation as a Blue Ribbon school with a world champion. Adriano Moraes, three-time world champion professional bull rider, addressed students and parents Tuesday as the school continued a weeklong set of events noting its naming as a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School. After a video presentation of Moraes' latest championship feat in Las Vegas, the Brazilian turned Tylerite spoke of his faith, family, and profession. "God is No. 1 and He is followed by family and nature," Moraes said to the attentive students. "God creates all things and He teaches us to respect family and nature, which includes all the animals." Moraes respects animals, especially the bulls he rides, one of which weighed up to 2,200 pounds. He came through with another world title just three weeks ago in Las Vegas., thus becoming the first three-time winner of the Profession Bull Riders and the oldest at age 36....
Rodeo cowboy follows dream to championships Call it superstitious, a personality quirk, a jinx or anything that comes to mind, but Matt Sherwood stood behind his long-ago decision to never attend his first National Finals Rodeo until he earned it. Similar to hockey's unwritten rule of not touching the Stanley Cup until winning an NHL title, Sherwood, a lifelong rodeo cowboy who lives in Queen Creek, held to it. "I always thought that I would never just go watch," Sherwood said. "I didn't think it would feel right. I don't remember when I decided it, but it was early in my career. I figured the only way I'd go is to earn it." That he has. Sherwood, 37, enters the 2006 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo atop the money list as the header in team roping. His partner, Walt Woodard, of Stockton, Calif., leads the way as the heeler. Together they hope to leave the 10-day competition, which gets under way Thursday in Las Vegas, as world champions. "It's super gratifying to compete against the best in the world in your sport," Sherwood said. "I have (an $8,000) lead going in, but any one of us can win it. If I come out of this on top and say I am a world champion, then I will be overcome with emotion." Each year, the top 15 contestants in team roping and seven other events qualify for the national finals based on money leaders in the Pro Rodeo Cowboy's World Standings....
Bulldogger Gorsuch heads to second NFR Before steer wrestler Dean Gorsuch left for RodeoHouston last year, he and his wife Bekah had talked about what might happen if he did well. "If we done good in Houston, we were going to seriously think about (going pro)," Gorsuch said. "We weren't really planning on winning or anything." Gorsuch fared just fine, turfing his steer in 4 seconds and winning Houston. He later quit his pipeline welding job at Kinder Morgan and started bulldogging full time. The decision paid off. Gorsuch enters his second NFR in the No. 1 position, but he's still reminded about choosing steers over pipes. "After Houston, me and my wife talked, and we decided to do it," said Gorsuch, whose decision was made even harder by the birth of his son, Taydon. "It was a decision between us, and she's been great about everything. "But it was a pretty hard deal right away. My boy was born just a few weeks before I left for Houston." Gorsuch finished ninth at the 2005 NFR and finished with almost $119,000 on the season. He enters this year's NFR with more than $111,000 and leads second-place Shawn Greenfield by more than $20,000....
Alleged Boot Burglar Busted After High-speed Chase In Richmond
Richmond police rounded up an apparent boot rustler early this morning, just a half-hour after Rosenberg police were called to investigate a break-in at Gabby’s Western Wear Fashions. Angel Vasquez, 26, of Richmond, was arrested by Richmond police officers after a high-speed chase at about 12:48 a.m., and charged with evading arrest in a motor vehicle. According to police reports, when officers were able to stop the black Mazda Vasquez was driving, they found the car was filled with numerous pairs of cowboy boots, with price tags attached to them. Aware of the burglary at Gabby’s, Richmond police turned Vasquez over to the Rosenberg Police Department. The incident began just after midnight, when Rosenberg Police Officer Richard Hooper was called to Gabby’s, at 3926 Ave. H, to investigate a burglary....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ALERT - S 3711 - Lame Duck Land Grab!

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association

PO Box 400, Battle Ground, WA 98604
(360) 687-3087 – Fax: (360) 687-2973

Web Address:
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE - Washington, DC 20003 -- (202) 329-3574

The "Lame Duck" Congress is returning to session next week.
HIT THE ALARM BELLS – private property will be under attack!

This is NOT the newly elected members who just won on November 7, they will be sworn into office in a few weeks, in early January.

These are the final days of the current Congress, the one that was elected two years ago and is now finishing up a few issues.

It is called a "Lame Duck" session because many of these Congressmen and Senators have retired or been defeated, and will be out of office in just a few weeks. Also, since the next election is two years away, many members feel that their constituents are not looking, not paying attention.


Lame Duck sessions are notorious for passing truly terrible legislation in the dark of night. This is true now also because of Senate bill number S 3711, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. This proposes a trust fund – GUARANTEED MONEY EVERY YEAR – to seize private land.

THIS THREAT to private property rights remains at large in this upcoming Lame Duck session. "S 3711" the Land Acquisition Trust Fund proposes to create a new trust fund. It will hand over millions of taxpayer dollars to state governments and leftwing environmental outfits to grab private land EVERY YEAR – GUARANTEED. That’s why it is called a trust fund.

S 3711 is a sneaky bill that starts small, then will eventually build up to a monster. It proposes to hold aside for land grabs "ONLY" about ten or fifteen million dollars per year. However, once the trust fund is created, supporters then hope to change other laws to feed more and more money into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund every year.

If S 3711 is approved, it will start off at about ten million dollars per year, but will build up to about $450 million dollars per year. This is the stated goal of the Land Grab’s main sponsors (see below).

S 3711 is supported by the Land Grab Media, Land Grab Congress, and even a leading Land Grab presidential candidate!

The New York Times, which proudly boasts its support for leftwing extremist environmental projects, endorsed S 3711 on October 23. United States Senator and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who needs support from enviros to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, voted for S 3711 on August 1. And Senator "Liberal Lamar" Alexander, who consistently attacks private property rights and seeks taxpayer financing for his preservationist allies, is the primary advocate for S 3711.


S 3711 has passed the Senate, and now sits in the House of Representatives. It might be scheduled for a vote at any time. Lame Duck sessions are unpredictable and chaotic, anything can happen.

The first two weeks of December, from approximately Monday December 4 to Friday December 15 will be the final days of the current, soon to end session of Congress, called the 109th Congress. This is the danger zone when S3711 might be brought up for a vote.


BELOW are the key members of the Lame Duck session who will have a say on S 3711. Remember, this is the member of congress you have had for the past two or more years, not anyone new who might have just been elected.

S 3711, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, passed the Senate a few months ago. The action is now in the House of Representatives. It is in the House that this ripoff of the American taxpayer and land grab will be decided.

Please contact ALL of these House members listed below, in particular if you live in their state.

PLEASE tell them NO TO S 3711. Ask for a commitment, ask them to vote NO on S 3711.

Here are a few reasons:

There should not be a special fund set aside for land grabs! With a huge budget deficit, it is crazy to set aside guaranteed money for land acquisition! Grabbing land should not have a higher priority than education, health care and national defense!

Government agencies already own nearly 40% of America! How much is enough???

Environmental groups should not have their own guaranteed annual honeypot of money, they should have to compete with all the other needs that the federal government has.

Trust funds never seem to get smaller, only bigger.

The time for action is NOW. Decisions are being made NOW, as you read this, on what to do with S 3711.

HERE are the House members who will decide the fate of S 3711, whether to bring it up for a vote or bury it. Whether to vote yes or no.

Please tell them you DO NOT support guaranteed free handouts to environmentalists and to VOTE NO on S 3711. Contact ALL of them, ESPECIALLY if you live in their district or ANYWHERE in their home state.

You can call any one of them at the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121.

Rep. Hastert (Illinois), Speaker of the House
Rep. Boehner (Ohio), Majority Leader of the House
Rep. Pelosi (Calif), Minority Leader of the House (remember, the Democrats don’t take the majority until January, it is still the old Republican leadership)
Rep. Blunt (Missouri), Majority Whip of the House
Rep. Hoyer (Maryland), Minority Whip
Rep. Barton (Texas), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee
Rep. Dingell (Michigan), ranking member of the committee
Rep. Pombo (Calif), Chairman of the Resources Committee
Rep. Rahall (W.V.), ranking member of the committee

Also, your own member of Congress, regardless of who it is. This is a controversial bill and ANY member might be convinced to vote either way if they hear from enough people and especially constituents.

ALSO, these key members:

Rep. Duncan (Tenn.)
Rep. Calvert (Calif.)
Rep. Cubin (Wyo)
Rep. Radanovich (Calif)
Rep. Cannon (Utah)
Rep. Walden (Oregon)
Rep. Flake (Ariz)
Rep. Pearce (N.M.)
Rep. Pallone (N.J.)
Rep. Miller (Calif.)
Rep. Markey (Mass.)

Please make sure to forward this message as widely as possible.

National preserve management draws fire The Valles Caldera is singular, too, in another way. Purchased six years ago for $101 million by the federal government, the 89,000-acre former cattle ranch -- with its meadows, pine forests, hot springs, streams, volcanic domes and huge elk herds -- is managed not by a federal agency, but by a board of trustees appointed largely by the president. The board's daunting task: protect the land's natural and cultural resources, provide recreational opportunities, operate it as a working ranch, and be financially self-sufficient by 2015. It's an experiment in the way public lands are managed -- only the Presidio in San Francisco, the military base-turned-park, has a similar governance -- and one that is now under fire from the same conservation groups that urged the government to buy the land in the first place. The Valles Caldera Coalition accuses the nine-member board of poor management, of dragging its feet on crucial long-term planning, and of being unresponsive to a public hungering for input and access. The coalition says an event on a Saturday in late August was "the tip of the mismanagement iceberg." The Valles Caldera was opened to the general public for a first-ever, free drive-through. More than 3,700 visitors in 1,400-plus vehicles clogged the preserve's narrow, muddy roads, and hundreds more vehicles were shut out when the overwhelming traffic problems forced organizers to close the gate early. The trust "could not properly design a relatively simple drive-through event," the coalition complained in a recent letter to U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M. Critics also say the board isn't allowing its professional staff enough leeway. Former New Mexico Land Commissioner Ray Powell quit as the trust's executive director in 2005 -- after less than a year on the job -- saying it wasn't a policy-making position....
Cougar attacks livestock near White Swan Yakama tribal authorities are asking the public to report any cougar sightings following a suspected attack on livestock last week in the White Swan area. A tribal wildlife expert Monday confirmed a rancher's report that a horse was killed and another mauled sometime Wednesday night in a pasture off Hawk Road. The rancher, Steven Gardner, said he discovered the dead horse on Thanksgiving morning. Gardner said the horse, a 2-year-old filly named Major Sugar Fix, was part of a herd of 13 horses. He said the way the filly died suggested a large predator was responsible. The filly's skull was crushed, he said, and the abdomen torn open. An older mare also was injured. The attack was a first for Gardner, who has lived in the area for 60 years and raises registered quarter horses as well as cattle....
Earthshakers: the Top 100 Green Campaigners of All Time From the woman who raised the alarm over the profligate use of pesticides to the doctor who discovered that chimney sweeps in 18th century London were dying because of their exposure to soot, the government's Environment Agency has named the scientists, campaigners, writers, economists and naturalists who, in its view, have done the most to save the planet. To help celebrate its tenth anniversary, a panel of experts listed its 100 greatest eco-heroes of all time. And it does mean all time: St Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) is there, as is Siddartha Gautama Buddha, who died in 483BC. Top of the list is Rachel Carson, a US scientist whose 1962 book, Silent Spring, is credited by many with kick-starting the modern environmental movement. Her account of the damage caused by the unrestrained industrial use of pesticides provoked controversy and fury in equal measures. Barbara Young, the Environment Agency's chief executive, said: "She started many of us off on the road to environmental protection." At number two is the maverick economist EF Schumacher, a German national rescued from an internment camp in the English countryside by John Keynes, who went on to achieve worldwide fame with his green-tinged economic vision....
Will Surprise Canyon remain off limits to off-road drivers? Five years after it was temporarily closed to off-road enthusiasts who winched their vehicles up its limestone waterfalls, a coveted canyon on Death Valley National Park's western edge has been reclaimed by nature's hand. Thick willow groves have erased nearly all traces of the washed-out road that once pointed extreme sportsmen to the ruins of a onetime silver boom town. Bighorn sheep appear with greater frequency, conservationists note, and the endangered Inyo California towhee has returned. But the battle for Surprise Canyon, home of the longest year-round stream in the Panamint Range, has revved up a notch: More than 100 four-wheel-drive aficionados determined to see their prized run reopened have filed a lawsuit in federal court that is being closely watched throughout the West. The claim relies on a Civil War-era mining law that allowed counties and states to lay routes over federal land. Although the statute, known as RS 2477, was repealed three decades ago, routes established before then were allowed under a grandfather clause. A gravel toll road in Surprise Canyon that fell into public hands before succumbing to flooding is such a route, the lawsuit contends. Since the Surprise Canyon suit was filed in late August, Inyo and San Bernardino counties have filed separate RS 2477 federal court claims that assert local control over 18 other routes. Six environmental groups are seeking to intervene in the Surprise Canyon case, hoping to see the canyon permanently closed and to weigh in on the antiquated statute....
New BLM report may alter drilling debate Federal land managers will issue a long-awaited report today detailing how much of the country's onshore oil and gas are available for drilling -- data that could shape the debate over land-use restrictions on energy companies seeking access to prized reserves. The report comes three years after a study commissioned by a 2000 energy bill found that more than 80 percent of the reserves is already available for development. That assessment was popular with environmentalists, who use it to argue that the industry does not need special breaks to get access oil and gas under federal lands, some of it locked beneath pristine Rocky Mountain wild lands. But energy companies said the earlier study didn't tell the full story, and they lobbied for an updated tally, which was mandated by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Environmentalists and industry advocates expect the new inventory to show that energy companies face more restrictions than the Bureau of Land Management previously reported. The updated study examines a wider geographic area, including regions east of the Mississippi River and a northern Alaska basin that includes the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, said Matt Spangler, a BLM spokesman. Lawmakers have battled for 25 years over whether to tap vast oil reserves on the 19 million-acre Alaska refuge. The new study also considers the effect of conditions placed on drilling permits, such as restrictions on wintertime drilling to protect elk and deer....
Editorial - Drilling Utah: BLM too quick to sell oil, gas permits The Bureau of Land Management, taking its cue from the Bush administration's determination to pillage the West's open spaces to quench the nation's thirst for energy, has put 336,000 acres of Utah public land on the auction block for oil and gas drilling. Leases put up for bid last week on 256 parcels include areas that do not belong on any map of drilling sites. They are near the Golden Spike National Monument, outside Arches National Park and in the Book Cliffs on the West Tavaputs Plataeu - places with unique value because of their scenic and archaeological characteristics, their pristine air and history. The BLM has pulled back permits to drill inside Wilderness Inventory Areas, set aside by the Clinton administration for their worth to Americans as wilderness, but only because a court ruling forbade the sales. U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ruled in August that the agency had ignored federal environmental laws and its own findings that those wilderness-quality lands deserve to be protected. Had the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance not sued over the WIAs, those lands, too, would have been opened to energy companies to build roads, operate heavy equipment and drill, despite the ill effects such development would have on wildlife, clean air and water, viewsheds and recreation. County and state officials have teamed up with BLM officials and the energy industry to expedite drilling throughout Utah and the West. More drilling permits than ever before are being sold, often without thorough environmental assessments....
Bioprospecting: Mining Our National Parks One Gene at a Time The National Park Service (NPS) is quietly taking public comment through Dec. 15 on a proposal to allow private companies to "bioprospect" in our national parks -- to commercially mine, not the mineral riches of a park, but the genetic resources of plants, animals, and microorganisms in territories specifically set aside for stewardship in the public trust. The proposal is contained in a Sept. 15, 2006, court-ordered Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), an outgrowth of a lawsuit over a similar 1997 proposal at Yellowstone National Park during the Clinton administration. Steady privatization has been under way at the Park Service for more than 20 years, but the requirement that the NPS actually study the effects of bioprospecting seemed to shelve this particular bad idea. And then, magically, seven years later, the EIS appears, laying out three options that would cover not just Yellowstone but all parks....
Escaped elk may be hybrid One elk that escaped from an Idaho game farm near the Wyoming border may be a red deer hybrid, according to preliminary test results. That elk tested positive as having red deer genetics in two of three tests, according to Idaho Department of Agriculture spokesman Wayne Hoffman. Genetic and disease test results for the other escaped domestic elk in have come back with negative results. Hoffman said what’s confusing is that the elk in question has paperwork in which it is certified as a pure-blood elk. “They both can’t be correct,” he said, referring to genetic test results and the certification that came from the state of Minnesota, by way of Colorado. Idaho agriculture and wildlife agency staff and hunters with permits for the region went gunning this fall for up to 160 domesticated elk that escaped in August from the Chief Joseph hunting preserve near Tetonia, not far from the Wyoming border and Yellowstone National Park. The widely voiced concern at that time was that the escaped game farm elk might spread disease or breed with wild elk, passing on undesirable genetic traits. Idaho Department of Fish and Game spokesman Niels Nokkentved said he’s been told that 36 of Rammell’s elk have been killed, with another 61 captured and in quarantine....
Tribe using beach access as leverage The small Quileute Indian reservation sits on a shoreline of storm-tossed driftwood and pebble beaches, with dramatic views of rock formations rising out of the Pacific Ocean. But the same ocean that crashes daily on these beaches could roll ashore and sweep away the tribe's lower village in a tsunami. That fear is stoking the fire under a long-simmering boundary battle between the Quileute Tribe and the National Park Service. The tribe has closed public access to one beach, and threatens to close another if members don't get additional land on higher ground. The tribe has offered a land swap – it will hand over eight acres of disputed land at Rialto Beach and reopen access to Second Beach if the park cedes – or buys for the tribe – enough land to more than double the size of the reservation. The reservation is bounded on one side by the ocean and three sides by Olympic National Park. The tribe wants to move its school, senior center, tribal offices and some housing to higher ground as well as expand its reservation to build more housing developments....
States seek OK to kill sea lions The states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho on Monday asked the federal government for permission to kill sea lions eating salmon and steelhead at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. "Lethal removal is a management method we prefer not to use, but one that may be necessary to restore balance to the Columbia River ecosystem where threatened and endangered stocks of salmon and steelhead are being preyed on by a healthy and growing population of California sea lions," Guy Norman, a regional director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in a statement. Fish and wildlife agencies from the three states joined to formally seek permission to use lethal force under terms of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The request does not include Stellar sea lions, which are protected by the Endangered Species Act. The request will be considered by a task force of state and federal agencies, tribes, scientists, and conservation and fishing groups in a review process that could take several years. Meanwhile, a bill is pending in Congress to quickly give permits to kill problem sea lions to the states and Indian tribes....
Freudenthal signs Platte River agreement Gov. Dave Freudenthal on Monday signed a three-state agreement that helps guide the use of Platte River water while protecting endangered species. "I've signed the agreement reluctantly," Freudenthal said in a statement. "There are no good choices in this area, but it seems to me that the only hope rests in the Platte River recovery program." Wyoming was the last of the three states to sign the Platte River Cooperative Agreement. The governors of Nebraska and Colorado had signed earlier. The plan is designed to help guide Platte River Basin entities in complying with the Endangered Species Act while retaining their access to federal water, land or funding. The goal is to improve the river and protect habitat for native birds and fish....
Lawyers: Deal changes water law A recent legal review of the multistate Platte River Recovery Implementation Program’s components indicates the pact could mean a departure from how Wyoming’s water law has been administered. The analysis, undertaken by Karen Budd Falen and Hertha Lund of the Budd-Falen Law Offices, said the program changes current water law from that of prior appropriation to one in which federally protected species in Nebraska would have the first right to Wyoming’s water. Budd Falen and Lund maintain that the program takes water from the historic prior appropriation system into a whole new realm -- one in which a three-state governance committee will oversee water issues, “giving away state control of Wyoming water.” According to the legal analysis, “The program changes the current water law of prior appropriation to one in which Endangered Species Act-listed species in Nebraska have the first right to Wyoming’s water.” The attorneys maintain that the program will become a mandate overlay on all state water issues....
Expect litigation, water user group says The state's decision to enter an agreement with Colorado and Nebraska over Platte River Basin water will almost certainly result in litigation, the spokesman for a Wyoming water users group said. Joe Glode, president of the Upper North Platte Water Users Association, said the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program offers no assurances that his members' water rights will be protected. The agreement, which is not yet final, requires Wyoming to guarantee 34,000 acre feet of space in Pathfinder Reservoir for downstream wildlife habitat in Nebraska. It allocates another 20,000 acre feet of space for discretionary use in Wyoming. Nebraska and Colorado also are contributing water and money to enhance habitat for the whooping crane, piping plover, least tern and pallid sturgeon in Nebraska. Glode is concerned that the water users he represents upstream from Pathfinder Reservoir will lose out in dry years because they have no place to store water. “You've created two new water rights in the state of Wyoming for which there's no additional water,” said Glode, who lives in Saratoga....
Fence plan alarms landowners Ranching magnate Bill Moody's vast holdings spread across three Texas counties and include 35 miles of frontage along the Rio Grande, where thousands of illegal immigrants and smugglers have crossed from Mexico into the USA. They have worn paths through Moody's pastures, cut his fences and stolen some of his cattle. From his perch on the front lines of the battle against illegal immigration, Moody would seem to be the type of person who would embrace the federal government's most provocative effort to stop illegals from entering this country: a plan to build 700 miles of fence along the 2,100-mile Southwest border, including Moody's land. Instead, Moody is a powerful voice in a growing alliance of border landowners and local law enforcement officials who oppose a fence. Most everyone here agrees that more border security is needed to curb illegal immigration. Ranchers such as Moody and Dob Cunningham, who has a 700-acre spread north of here with 2 miles of river frontage, say they often give Border Patrol agents access to their land to help the agents track down illegals. Like many ranchers and local law enforcement officers, Cunningham believes the U.S. government should focus on hiring more and better-trained Border Patrol agents rather than erecting the proposed double-walled barrier. He fears the fence would deny him access to the Rio Grande's waters that are a lifeline for his cattle and for the migrating wildlife sought by hunters who lease parts of his ranch. Cunningham also isn't happy about the possibility of having to give up a strip of his land along the river to the U.S. government for fence construction....
U.S. tries again to increase cattle imports from Canada The Agriculture Department is trying again to increase cattle and beef imports from Canada, reviving a plan that had stalled amid evidence that Canada's safeguards against mad cow disease were not working. The plan was on hold while authorities weighed the risk of importing older Canadian cattle, which carry a higher risk of having mad cow disease than younger animals. On Friday, the department quietly sent its plan back to the White House for final consideration. At issue is a ban on using cattle remains in cattle feed, the primary firewall against the spread of mad cow disease. The only known way for cattle to get the disease is by eating feed containing diseased cattle tissue, a practice largely outlawed in Canada and the United States in 1997. In July, Canada discovered an infected cow born in 2002, five years after the ban went into effect. The cow's age _ younger than previously infected animals _ suggests a shorter incubation period for the brain wasting disease, meaning it could have gotten a bigger dose of infection than other Canadian cases. Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials have maintained that the incubation period in the cow was still within a normal range of three to eight years. Canada's feed ban is even stricter than the feed ban in the U.S., which is under pressure from McDonald's and other food companies to strengthen its defenses. About 12 percent of the nation's beef is imported from other countries. Canada, accounting for nearly a quarter of those imports, shipped $1.2 billion worth of beef and veal to U.S. markets last year....
FDA readies cloning policy A pending decision by the Food and Drug Administration could allow the sale of meat and milk from cloned animals. It may solve a long-standing frustration for ranchers who can't now reproduce their best steers, but it doesn't mean you'll find a cloneburger any time soon at the local bar and grill. The FDA expects to release a draft of the new regulations by year's end. Repeated studies by the agency "show that the meat and milk from cattle clones and their offspring are as safe as that from conventionally bred animals," the FDA said. Despite those studies, some modern Luddite groups oppose any cloning of agricultural products. But farmers have actually practiced "reproductive cloning" for thousands of years by using cuttings from plants to grow genetically identical offspring. Strawberries and some grasses even clone themselves naturally by sending out runners. Only in recent years, however, has cloning technology reached the point where it can be used for cattle and other mammals. Still, at a price of about $20,000 per animal, cloning is far too expensive to be used to put food on your table. Instead, it will be used to reproduce breeding animals with highly desirable traits....
U.S. wheat industry plans legal attack on AWB
The U.S. wheat industry is considering taking legal action against AWB Ltd. and its monopoly grip on Australia's wheat exports after an inquiry found that AWB had misled the United Nations over payments to secure wheat deals in Iraq. The Australian government inquiry, published on Monday, found that AWB broke United Nations oil-for-food sanctions against Iraq with the payment of $222 million in kickbacks to the government of Saddam Hussein between 1999 and 2003. U.S. Wheat Associates, which represents United States wheat exporters who have long complained that AWB's monopoly inhibits competition, said on Tuesday that AWB's subsidiary in the United States could be liable under U.S. law. "The funds that came from the oil-for-food programme moved through U.S. banks," Alan Tracy, president of U.S. Wheat Associates, told ABC radio. "There are a lot of connections here and possible violations of U.S. law." Mark Samson, the U.S. group's vice president for South Asia, told Reuters from Singapore that the U.S. wheat industry was concerned about AWB's utilisation of U.S. credit programmes....
On The Edge of Common Sense - Bear picture S ammi is one of those children for which parents have great expectations but a healthy dose of apprehension. In other words, her self-confidence was bound to get her into trouble now and then. As a 13-year-old ranch kid, she could rope and ride, do the chores, cook, read, shoot and take care of herself like most kids reared up in a country raisin.' The family was overnighting at one of the line camps on the forest. Sammi and her girlfriend had gone down to the creek to fish. She had been to the same camp many times and was aware of the wildlife precautions. Signs had been posted warning of bears in the area and her mother had reiterated the message to her. Knee-deep in the creek, the girls soon became absorbed in girl talk as they walked downstream, nonchalantly casting and reeling as they chattered like squirrels about boys, teachers, music, clothes, volleyball, boys, teachers, music, clothes, volleyball, boys, teachers, music, etc. Suddenly Sammi screamed! "Run!" she shouted. "There's a bear!"....