Friday, November 14, 2008

Obama Transition - Energy & Natural Resources Team Leaders

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Energy and Natural Resources Team Lead

David J. Hayes is a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Project’s Agency Review Working Group responsible for overseeing review of the energy and natural resources agencies.

Department of Agriculture Review Team Leads

Bart Chilton is currently a Commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Previously, he was the Chief of Staff and Vice President for Government Relations at the National Farmers Union and he was a Senior Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, where he worked primarily on agriculture and transportation policy.

Carole Jett recently left federal service after 33 years to participate on the Obama for America Presidential Campaign’s agriculture team in Indiana. Jett served as the Farm Bill Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with primary responsibility of conservation policy. Previously, she was the NRCS point person for the implementation of the Conservation Title of the 2002 Farm Bill, served on assignment as Congressional Staff with the House Agricultural Committee, and negotiated and co-authored the USDA-EPA strategy on Animal Feeding Operations. She recently launched Blackwood’s Group, LLC, a conservation policy consulting group.

Department of Energy Review Team Leads

Elgie Holstein was a Senior Energy Policy Advisor to the Obama for America Presidential Campaign. Under President Clinton, he was Assistant Secretary of Commerce for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Associate Director for Natural Resources, Energy and Science at the Office of Management & Budget; Chief of Staff at the Department of Energy; and Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the National Economic Council. He was also Director of State-Federal Relations for energy and environmental programs for the National Conference of State Legislatures, and worked as a congressional aide.

Elizabeth Montoya is currently a Consultant with Sealaska Corporation in Juneau Alaska where she is an expert in human resource management and strategic planning and advises the CEO and COO. Previously, she was Associate Director of Presidential Personnel in the White House, Deputy Chief of Staff at the Department of Energy, and Associate Director of Management and Administration at the Small Business Administration.

Sue Tierney is a Managing Principal and expert on economics, regulation and policy in the electric and gas industries at Analysis Group. She previously served as Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Energy, under President Clinton; Secretary of Environmental Affairs in Massachusetts under Governor Weld; and Commissioner at the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities under Governor Dukakis.

EPA Review Team Leads

Cecilia V. Estolano is the Chief Executive Officer of the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles. Prior to joining CRA/LA, Estolano practiced land use and environmental law at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. She has served as a Special Assistant to the City Attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, a Senior Policy Advisor to the Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a member of the California Coastal Commission.

Lisa Jackson was appointed in 2006 by Governor Jon Corzine to lead New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Her past experience includes management responsibilities at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Robert Sussman is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP). During the Clinton Administration, Sussman served as Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, where he played a leading role on Superfund, global warming, science policy and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

FERC Review Team Lead

Rose McKinney-James is the Managing Principal of Energy Works Consulting. Previously she served as the President and CEO of the Corporation for Solar Technology and Renewable Resources (CSTRR) and Chair of the Nevada Renewable Energy Task Force. Past positions also include Commissioner with the Nevada Public Service Commission, Director of the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, Chief of Staff for the City of Las Vegas and Project Manager for the Nevada Economic Development Corporation. McKinney-James serves on the Board of Directors of MGM-Mirage, Employers Insurance Group, Toyota Financial Savings Bank, the Energy Foundation, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and the Nature Conservancy. She is the Board Chair for Nevada Partners.

Department of the Interior Review Team Leads

Keith Harper is a partner and chairs the Native American Practice Group at Kilpatrick Stockton LLP. Before that, Keith was a litigator and head of the Washington office of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). Keith is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

John Leshy is a professor of law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Previously he was Solicitor (General Counsel) of the U.S. Department of the Interior; Special Counsel to Chairman George Miller of the Resources Committee, U.S. House of Representatives; professor of law at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona; Associate Solicitor of Interior for Energy & Resources; and with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in California and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington.
Bingaman: Global warming on Congress' back burner Congress will not act until 2010 on a bill to limit the heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming despite President-elect Obama's declaration that he will move quickly to address climate change, the chairman of the Senate Energy Committee predicted Wednesday. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said that while every effort should be made to cap greenhouse gases, the economic crisis, the transition to a new administration and the complexity of setting up a nationwide market for carbon pollution permits preclude acting in 2009. "The reality is, it may take more than the first year to get it all done," Bingaman told a carbon markets conference here. Instead, he said, Congress is "ready to go" early next year on legislation to boost energy savings in buildings and transportation and to require utilities to produce more electricity from renewable sources like windmills and solar panels. Obama advisers and members of his transition team said this week that climate change remains a priority for the incoming President. Jason Grumet, a senior environmental adviser to the president-elect and on the short list for a position in the White House, predicted at the same conference Wednesday that it was going to be a "very, very busy 2009" on climate. Obama could begin to tackle global warming without Congress, by giving California permission to regulate global warming gases from motor vehicles and by issuing regulations under the existing Clean Air Act....
Gore says no to 'Climate Czar' role President-elect Barack Obama's transition team is flirting with creating a White House "Climate Czar," but climate change crusader Al Gore says he doesn't want the job. The Obama team declined to comment on such a post, even as environmentalists and power industry executives say it's being widely discussed inside the transition offices as a way to spur a clean energy industry, which Mr. Obama has promised will ween the U.S. from foreign oil and create millions of "green jobs." The obvious choice to lead the council is Mr. Gore, whose campaign to address climate change earned him the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. But the former vice president is taking a pass. "Former Vice President Gore does not intend to seek or accept any formal position in government," Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider said. "He feels very strong right now that the best thing for him to do is to build support for the bold changes that we have to make to solve the climate crisis."....
PacifiCorp, Feds, States sign Agreement in Principle to Remove Klamath Dams Today Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and PacifiCorp Chairman & CEO Greg Abel,, signed an Agreement in Principal (AIP) that defines the path to what would be the largest dam removal in US history. PacifiCorp, federal officials, and state agencies plan to work with local stakeholders including Tribes, irrigators, conservation groups, commercial fishermen, and local governments to reach a final agreement within months. The Agreement presumes that the removal of the lower four Klamath dams will begin in 2020. The signing of the AIP is welcome news to the Tribes, conservationists, commercial fishermen, farmers and ranchers who see dam removal as the missing element of the more comprehensive Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) released earlier this year. The KBRA includes a plan to reintroduce salmon to the Upper Basin, provide dependable irrigation deliveries to Project Farmers, a means to reconcile water rights disputes, and ensure affordable renewable power for farm and ranching communities. “We can remove dams, restore the fishery, and have prosperous farm communities all in the same basin,” asserted Yurok Chair person Maria Tripp. “We are proud to see PacifiCorp joining our effort to provide long term stability to all of the Klamath Basin’s diverse communities.”....Go here for the DOI press release and many more links.
Cowboy to chase off Bandelier cattle Stray cows are startling hikers and upsetting park rangers at Bandelier National Monument. So the park has hired a professional cowboy to round up the 15 to 20 errant bovines and get them out. The cowboy will herd the cattle up Falls Trail beginning Tuesday, and the trail will be closed to residents and visitors possibly through Nov. 21. "The cows are trampling our riparian vegetation and startling hikers along some of our trails," Superintendent Brad Traver said. Traver said staff had worked with the New Mexico State Livestock Board to resolve the wandering cow problem. "We are hoping this problem does not recur in the future. Having cattle anywhere in the park is a conflict with our mandates to protect park resources and provide for enjoyable hiking experiences. We have been repairing fences with the intention of keeping them out."....Can't have those cows "startling" hikers, no sir. Are they gonna get rid of everything that startles hikers? Better git rid of snakes and ugly park rangers too.
Shuttle to launch with UND AgCam today The blast-off party that University of North Dakota students and professors have been waiting for since 2001 is ready to start, good weather willing. A sophisticated camera system known as AgCam is set to be launched into space aboard the shuttle Endeavor, which is scheduled to take off from Florida at 6:55 p.m. Central time on Friday. The camera is to be mounted on the International Space Station. The camera is specially designed to transmit detailed pictures and information about the Earth. Its initial focus will be images of cropland to help farmers and ranchers manage land in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming....I'm sure this "spy in the sky" will always be used for friendly and productive purposes. And, one has to wonder how these poor, ignorant ag producers have survived all these years without a single satellite photo of their land. This also raises an interesting question: Can the government take a photo of your land without your permission? Do you own the land and thus images of it? Is there a trespass issue here?...I probably shouldn't think out loud like that.
Report probes outsourcing of timber-cutting contracts Is giving timber to private contractors in exchange for their work to improve the health of our nation's forests a good deal for the government? U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management data on "stewardship contracting" are not accurate or complete enough to tell, states a General Accounting Office report issued Thursday. The GAO examination follows extensive wildland fires fueled by tightly spaced trees, thick brush and adverse conditions like drought. The Forest Service and BLM say stewardship contracting helps prevent problems and saves money by having companies thin and improve forests in exchange for timber. Between fiscal years 2003 and '07, the agencies awarded 535 stewardship contracts. But neither agency's database is complete, accurate or collaborative enough to accurately assess their costs versus value, the GAO said. For example, the report states $14.1 million worth of timber was sold in the 2006 and 2007 fiscal years. While the BLM showed it received services valued around $10.5 million, the Forest Service didn't track the value of services it received in exchange....
Plum Creek says GAO wrong on road rules Plum Creek Timber Co. officials believe the Government Accountability Office is mistaken in questioning the company's right to turn hundreds of miles of forest roads into forest home driveways. In a Nov. 4 letter to Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Plum Creek attorney Steven Quarles argued the GAO misread several laws and policies governing road easements crossing public and private land. Tester has questioned the legality of private negotiations between Plum Creek and Agriculture Department Undersecretary Mark Rey involving thousands of company acres in western Montana. “The fact remains ... that the easements in question do give Plum Creek full use access whether or not the easement amendment is executed,” Quarles wrote. He acknowledged that the GAO “is generally correct that the Forest Service cannot convey more than it is authorized by law to convey,” but said the law the GAO depends on isn't as restrictive as the agency assumes. That law is the Federal Roads and Trails Act of 1964. Requests for comment from Plum Creek officials were not returned Wednesday. But in the letter, Quarles responded that the Plum Creek-Forest Service negotiations were “simply a clarification of an existing right” that didn't trigger any public participation, such as a National Environmental Policy Act review....
How Obama can start to save planet Third, as part of a comprehensive strategy on preparing public lands for climate change Obama could direct the Forest Service and BLM to manage the nation's older forests for their role in carbon absorption and wildlife protection. Old-growth forests from the California redwoods to Alaska's rainforests soak up more carbon than any forests on Earth -- chiefly through their massive tree trunks and rich soils. When these magnificent forests are cut down, much of that carbon goes up into the atmosphere where it contributes to global warming. Forest management should recognize the unique role these forests play as a lifeline to a stable climate and for cleansing our air and water. Fourth, water is becoming increasingly scarce in the West as climate change triggers longer and more frequent droughts and life-giving snowpack declines. Places like the Yakima and Columbia rivers support imperiled wild salmon runs, are used for agricultural irrigation and will undoubtedly get drier as the climate changes. We would welcome help in improving fish access and reducing the demand for dangerously over-allocated water across the West by providing federal assistance to farmers practicing sound water conservation....
USDA orders more scrutiny of bighorns The U.S. Forest Service has been ordered to work more closely with state fish and wildlife agencies before introducing any more bighorn sheep onto agency lands, a Bush administration official said Nov. 8 at the annual gathering of Idaho sheep producers. Mark Rey, USDA undersecretary for natural resources and the environment, said he issued a memorandum in September directing the Forest Service to suspend any further bighorn introductions onto agency lands unless the introductions were "consistent with and compliant with a federal-state wildlife plan" in the affected states. Rey's remarks came amid a long-running controversy in Idaho and other Western states concerning interactions between wild bighorn sheep and domestic flocks. Some environmental groups want the government to impose restrictions on domestic sheep grazing in areas where they may come into contact with bighorn sheep. Activists contend that bighorns are dying off in large part because they can contract pasteurella, a form of pneumonia, from domestic sheep. Rey acknowledged that there's some data to suggest a significant risk of disease transmission from domestic sheep to bighorn sheep. But he also said it's likely that some diseases are transmitted the other way around and that there isn't enough information about the health of bighorn sheep before they're released onto the national forests. "I've become increasingly concerned that there are inadequate assurances that the bighorns that are being moved around are themselves disease-free," he said....
Groups sue BLM over air quality in N.M. Two environmental groups are suing the Bureau of Land Management, alleging that the federal agency has failed to curb ozone levels and safeguard air quality in northwestern New Mexico from oil and gas industry emissions. Dine CARE and WildEarth Guardians filed the lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Santa Fe. The groups contend the BLM -- which oversees oil and gas activities in the San Juan Basin, one of the largest natural gas fields in the nation -- is responsible for allowing ozone pollution in the region to rise to dangerous levels. ccording to the lawsuit, BLM allegedly violated federal environmental law by going forward with the leases without preparing environmental impact statements and without providing a timely opportunity for public involvement. The groups want the court to stop the BLM from executing the lease sales until the agency complies with the National Environmental Policy Act. The BLM said it has been working with the industry in an effort to minimize venting of gases and to control emissions from oil and gas equipment in the field. The agency also requires oil and gas companies to meet all current environmental requirements, including state air quality standards, when they apply for a drilling permit....
Who’ll clean up when the party’s over? In the shadow of a sandstone outcrop a few miles east of this northwestern New Mexico outpost, a life-and-death struggle is playing out in the hard desert soil. A few feet from a natural gas well known as Riddle #8S, delicate shoots of alabaster rice grass spring up from a swath of sandy loam. To the casual observer it's just another scraggly patch of bleached-out grass, but to Sherrie Landon, it's a biological triumph. "This looks good," says Landon, a reclamation specialist with the Bureau of Land Management's Farmington, N.M., field office. "The vegetation is coming back very well." The same can't be said for the dirt around a nearby older well, Riddle WH 3C. Here, only 50 yards away, the seeds didn't take. The lifeless, eroding hillside stands as a cruel reminder of the challenge of growing anything in the desert. The San Juan Basin is the nation's second-largest natural gas basin. Unfortunately, the West's most productive fossil fuel basins -- the San Juan, the Powder River on the Wyoming/Montana border, Colorado's Piceance and southeastern New Mexico's Permian -- share another distinction: They are some of the harshest and most biologically stubborn environments to reclaim after drilling. If it doesn't rain, or if it rains at the wrong time, a season of work can be wasted....
U.S. Blocks Chinese Milk Products Federal food safety officials yesterday began holding up shipments of food from China that contain milk or milk-derived ingredients in the largest effort to date to keep products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine from reaching U.S. consumers. The Food and Drug Administration is requiring importers of the halted shipments to test for the chemical, which is used to make plastic and fertilizer but has been added to human and animal food to boost protein readings. The types of products likely to be waylaid are cookies, candies, and other goods made with milk or milk powder. If an importer can prove his product is not tainted, FDA will release it, said Steve Solomon, the agency's deputy associate commissioner for compliance and policy. The agency also will step up its testing of products already on the market....
Cattle Producers and OCM file suit against JBS merger R-CALF USA, along with the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), today jointly filed litigation in the U.S. District Court – Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, against the proposed acquisition of National Beef Packing Co. (National Beef) by Brazilian-owned meatpacker JBS, already the world’s largest meatpacker. The U.S. Department of Justice – along with a total of 17 state attorneys general – also filed litigation against JBS in this matter. Like the Government suit the R-CALF USA/OCM lawsuit seeks to block JBS’ proposed acquisition of National Beef. The government’s lawsuit focuses primarily on the impacts on fat cattle and consumers. Our lawsuit further addresses the impacts on feeders and other cattle. Our lawsuit also explains how packers use captive supplies to leverage down prices and how this negatively impacts the price for all classes of cattle. We specifically explain that the effects of the merger are even more significant because of the Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding (Five Rivers) operations and the U.S. Premium Beef feeding arrangements that are included in the merger. “We believe our involvement will assist the government’s case because we can fully represent the views and competitive concerns of farmers, ranchers and feeders who are most affected by this merger,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard....
Awards are not old hat for competitive Strait A glimpse into what makes George Strait a winner on a streak lasting almost three decades came to Randy Carroll the night before nominees for the 2008 Country Music Association Awards were announced. The KJ97 radio personality was visiting with Strait on Sept. 9 at the For the Love of Kids and Harleys benefit at Cowboys Dance Hall, where the country music star was guest auctioneer. “We were talking about the CMA nominations coming out the next day, and I asked him, ‘This is just old hat for you, isn’t it?’” Carroll said. “And he said, ‘Heck, no. I want to be nominated and I want to win. I’m very competitive.’” That helps explain why, in a career full of milestones, the San Antonio resident continues to score more. Strait collected four awards at the CMAs on Wednesday (as artist and co-producer on both album of the year “Troubador” and single of the year “I Saw God Today”), giving him a record-breaking 22 CMA awards over his career. “I Saw God Today” became Strait’s 56th No. 1 country hit in April, furthering his record of more No. 1 hits than any other solo artist in all music genres....
From NFL Analyst to Horse Rancher--Terry Bradshaw Terry Bradshaw, the Pro football Hall of Famer who once slung footballs for the Pittsburgh Steelers feels just as comfortable raising horses on his ranch in southern Oklahoma. To prove it, he showed his own horse named Failure to Launch on Thursday during the American Quarter Horse World Show underway in Oklahoma City. Afterward, Bradshaw had to admit he was nervous about the debut. "It was fun and it's very stressful, but I am glad it's over and we got a third out of it. That's great!" It was an early-morning class for the sorrel gelding nicknamed 'Al' after the character that Bradshaw played in the movie 'Failure to Launch'. "Kinda like NASCAR. The biggest race is the first race and the super Bowl's the most important thing." Al was one of more than 3,400 entries from around the world. "I was excited about it but it was tough," he told KTOK's Tim Granahan. He also admitted the young horse was a challenge in the show ring. Bradshaw's horse ranch is near Thackerville.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Democrat takes lead in Alaska Senate race Just as Sen. Ted Stevens appeared ready to take his criminal record back to Congress — perhaps opening a door for Gov. Sarah Palin to replace him — his re-election bid faltered. Democrat Mark Begich, who trailed Stevens by more than 3,200 votes to start the day Wednesday, jumped to an 814-vote lead as state officials resumed their count of early and absentee ballots. The tally late Wednesday was 132,196 to 131,382, with an estimated 30,000 ballots remaining to be counted, some on Friday and some next week. Begich would be the first Democrat to win a Senate race in Alaska since the mid-1970s, and a victory would put his party one step closer to a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the Senate....
Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund started Musgrave attack early The effort to unseat Marilyn Musgrave began unusually early this year, when a national environmental group began airing TV ads attacking her more than four months before Election Day. As the ads began running, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund said it was committed to spending at least $500,000 to oust the three-term incumbent. By the time polls closed Tuesday, the group Musgrave denounced as "environmental extremists" had spent three times that much and she had suffered the worst loss of any Republican House incumbent in the nation. Federal Election Commission records show Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund's two political arms - a 527 group and a 501(c)4 group - spent about $1.6 million targeting Musgrave. That was the second-largest independent expenditure by a nonparty group in any House race in the country this year....
No New Energy Czar According to rumor, President-elect Barack Obama is considering the creation of an Energy Security Council inside the White House. The council, modeled after the National Security Council, would be headed by a National Energy Advisor who would manage the country's energy transformation to a low-carbon economy. This idea is reminiscent of the appointment of "energy czars" in past administrations. This concept of a National Energy Advisor plays a big role in a Center for American Progress (CAP) white paper, "Capturing the Energy Opportunity: Creating a Low-Carbon Economy." CAP president and former Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta, who co-authored the paper, is now a co-chair of the Obama transition team. A National Energy Advisor heading up an Energy Security Council is supposed to coordinate all Federal efforts at transforming our energy economy. But we've been down this path before. During the "energy crisis" of the 1970s, President Richard Nixon appointed William Simon "energy czar."....
Court rules for Navy in dispute over sonar, whales The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that military training trumps protecting whales in a dispute over the Navy's use of sonar in submarine-hunting exercises off the coast of southern California. Writing for the majority in the court's first decision of the term, Chief Justice John Roberts said the most serious possible injury to environmental groups would be harm to an unknown number of the marine mammals the groups study. "In contrast, forcing the Navy to deploy an inadequately trained anti-submarine force jeopardizes the safety of the fleet," the chief justice wrote. He said the overall public interest tips strongly in favor of the Navy. The Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental organizations had sued the Navy, winning restrictions in lower federal courts on sonar use. Joining Roberts' opinion were Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. The court did not deal with the merits of the claims put forward by the environmental groups. It said, rather, that federal courts abused their discretion by ordering the Navy to limit sonar use in some cases and to turn it off altogether in others....
Green Herring The Apollo Alliance, a coalition of environmentalists and labor unions, wants the federal government to spend $500 billion over 10 years to "build America's 21st century clean energy economy" and thereby "create more than five million high quality green-collar jobs." Barack Obama says he can accomplish the same goal for only $150 billion, which gives you a sense of how reliable these projections are. More fundamentally, both the Apollo Alliance and Obama, who has liberally borrowed from its ideas, mistakenly treat the manpower required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a measure of success, when it should be viewed as a cost to be minimized. Obama's "green jobs" rhetoric is part of his strategy to conceal the enormous expense associated with his plan to "transform our entire economy" and "build a new economy that is powered by clean and secure energy." Obama wants to "implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050." That is even more ambitious than the goal of a cap-and-trade bill that the Department of Energy estimates would cost between $444 billion and $1.3 trillion in reduced economic growth over two decades....
Property Rights Group Asks Members to Fight Crapo's Owyhee Bill A national private property rights group is urging its members to "deluge" Republican Sen. Mike Crapo's office with calls and e-mails asking him to back off of the Senate bill that would protect wilderness and public land ranchers in Owyhee County. But Fred Grant, president of another national private property group and one of the leaders of the collaborative group that negotiated Crapo's bill, says the American Land Rights Association's claims that Crapo has sold out private property rights "is not right or truthful." The association sent out an alert Monday urging its members to target Crapo for his efforts to gain votes for the Omnibus Public Lands Bill, a collection of 150 bills, including more than a half-dozen wilderness measures to protect more than 900,000 acres of wild land in Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Virginia and West Virginia. The lands group calls the omnibus bill a land grab and focused its opposition on the provision codifying the National Landscape Conservation System, 26 million acres of lands with special protection, including national monuments, managed by the Bureau of Land Management. "It will add dozens of new National Heritage Areas and Wilderness Areas that will eventually be a land-use control noose around the necks of local people and rural America," the lands group said in its alert. "For eight years, the ranchers and land owners in Owyhee County, many of whom have fought a lonely fight through the years, without noticeable support from the private property organizations now attacking Sen. Crapo, have worked to craft a bill that will add private land to the tax base of the county, protect their ranching rights and gain the largest comparable release of wilderness study area acres ever seen in any bill to reach a vote," Grant said....
Dorgan says Forest Service to scrub grassbank plan Sen. Byron Dorgan says the chief of the U.S. Forest Service has assured him the agency will scrub plans to manage a scenic badlands ranch in western North Dakota as a forage reserve without traditional grazing. Dorgan said Wednesday that he spoke with Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell, who told him that grazing rights on the Billings County land would continue. The Forest Service proposed last month that the 5,200-acre ranch and 18,000 acres of nearby federal grasslands be managed as a "grassbank" for area ranchers to use during times of drought, grass fires or when their own ranch lands need a rest. The Forest Service's Dakota Prairie Grasslands supervisor, Dave Pieper, said Wednesday that the agency will continue to take public comment on its grassbank plan until Nov. 24. He said he had not been ordered by agency bosses to halt the plan. "We're going to follow the law," Pieper said. "We are moving forward with the public process. It's just a proposal at this stage."....
Hunter survives bear attack after days of waiting for help t's a story of survival you just have to hear to believe. A bear attack in Kodiak left a hunter severely injured as he waited days for help to arrive. Matthew Sutton traveled all the way from Montana to Kodiak Island for a deer hunting trip, where it was on that trip he was mauled by a bear. Now he's finally out of the hospital and up on his feet. It started out as the trip of a lifetime. 32-year old Sutton and his buddy Bill Bush flew into Viekoda Bay in Kodiak for a deer-hunting trip. Matthew got one and was dragging back to camp, when a brown bear sow and her two cubs ambushed and attacked him. Sutton recalled, "At one point the bear had his paw on my chest and I could look up at it just me to you away [about 3 feet away] it was very terrifying, and I thought to myself, really this is it?" The bears were in fact after the deer carcass, but they took a few bites out of Sutton as well. One of the bears attacked him repeatedly in his belly, legs, arms, neck, and face. It attacked until he stayed on the ground and yelled to his friend who couldn't get there in time. So remote there were no cell phones, no transportation, no nothing. The two waited three days after the attack, with Matthew bleeding through his makeshift bandages for help to arrive....
"Lucky Billy": A grown-up profile of Billy the Kid There seem to be two ways to write a historical novel. One is to lay out all the facts before the reader, with a glossary, a guide to the book's dramatis personae, a chronology of the period's watershed events and other devices to help place the reader comfortably in the story's context. The other is to drop the reader into the midst of unfamiliar surroundings and let him experience them as their inhabitants experienced them — unpredictably, with the ultimate outcome unknown. John Vernon ("Peter Doyle," "The Last Canyon") adopts Method No. 2 in his new novel about Billy the Kid. He throws you in among a welter of changing names and shifting alliances as he plays with chronology and alternates point-of-view. From his complex layers of narrative, startling landscapes emerge — and so do startling characters. "Lucky Billy" is, among other things, a tale of free enterprise run amok. Set mostly in New Mexico in the late 1870s and early 1880s, it tells of a troubled youngster's entanglement in the Lincoln County War of 1878 — a small-town conflict between rival merchant-ranchers that escalated into a blood feud. Both trigger-happy sides, convinced they had the law behind them, wound up deputizing themselves and taking out warrants for the others' arrest....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vilsack possible ag chief? Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack gave up his own long shot presidential bid after just a few months, but he might just win a seat at the table after all. The prominent Iowa Democrat has appeared on almost every published list of possible appointees to be the next U.S. secretary of agriculture under Barack Obama. On Monday, a Washington Post report called him a "near shoo-in." If chosen, Vilsack would continue a long tradition of farm state governors being tapped for the position. Nebraska Republican Gov. Mike Johanns held the post and was succeeded by Ed Schafer, a former North Dakota Republican governor, in October 2007. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., said Vilsack would make an excellent choice for the job. "We're facing an energy crisis in our country today that continues to threaten the economy," Nelson said. "Agriculture is going to play a major role in this." Nelson, also a former governor, said Vilsack's experience as a governor and state legislator would give him insight into the challenges faced by the nation's farmers and ranchers....
Gov't wants to change course of forest experiments For more than a decade, the federal government has spent millions of dollars pumping elevated levels of carbon dioxide into small groups of trees to test how forests will respond to global warming in the next 50 years. Some scientists believe they are on the cusp of receiving key results from the time-consuming experiments. The U.S. Department of Energy, however, which is funding the project, has told the scientists to chop down the trees, collect the data and move on to new research. That plan has upset some researchers who have spent years trying to understand how forests may help stave off global warming, and who want to keep the project going for at least a couple of more years. Ronald Neilson, a U.S. Forest Service bio-climatologist in Corvallis, Ore., said the experiments should continue because they still have potential to answer key questions about how rainfall and fertility affect how much carbon a forest will store long-term — essential to understanding how forests may soften the blow of climate change. But the Energy Department, following the advice of a specially convened panel of experts, believes that chopping down the trees and digging up the soil will allow the first real measurements of how much carbon the leaves, branches, trunks and roots have been storing, said J. Michael Kuperberg, a program manager with the agency....
Forest Service Directives Distance Bicycling From Motorized Uses The U.S. Forest Service is taking important steps to differentiate mountain biking from motorized use. Fresh revisions to administrative directives include important new language clarifying bicycling as a non-motorized activity. This comes on the heels of a landmark internal memo on the same topic, announced at the IMBA World Summit in June. With more than 130,000 miles of trails, the Forest Service provides some of the best riding on both coasts, and nearly everywhere in between. "Mountain biking is incredibly popular in national forests and we believe it's appropriate to clarify the distinction between mountain biking and motorized use. Better policies will foster improved partnerships and riding experiences," says IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel. For several years, IMBA has asked the Forest Service to further document its mountain biking policies. While most national forests understand bicycling is a quiet, non-motorized activity, a few have implemented rules rendering bicycles akin to motorized travel. IMBA believes the new revisions to the Forest Service Handbook and Manual-the primary basis for control and management of agency programs-represent an important step in standardizing mountain biking management at the field level....
Like their cattle on BLM land, family of ranchers stands firm Don’t let the 1,000-pound weight difference fool you — burrowing desert tortoise and plodding cattle are both big grazers. They both eat tender new shoots of wildflowers and grasses. That’s why advocates for the tortoise say keeping cattle out of officially designated critical tortoise habitat, including parts of the proposed Gold Butte National Conservation Area, is so important. Try telling that to the Bundy family, organic-melon farmers and cattle ranchers who have been grazing herds on federal land in the area since the late 1800s. The Bundys, led by family patriarch Cliven Bundy, have been back and forth – and in and out of court – with the Bureau of Land Management over their cattle for a decade and a half, according to records obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Center for Biological Diversity. Bundy admits he has cattle roaming free on federal land. But he claims to have forage and access rights to land in the Gold Butte area and own range improvements there. According to BLM records that were part of the request, however, all of Bundy’s rights have been terminated. Bundy said that if the BLM attempts to remove the cattle he will contact the sheriff, and we could have an old-fashioned range war stand-off on our hands....
On Gold Butte, a tug of war between access, protection To get close to the copper-colored rocks of Gold Butte and the 1,000-year-old petroglyphs etched on them, it takes not only four-wheel drive, but a sturdy set of hiking shoes. And that’s the way Gold Butte enthusiasts want to keep it. Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, who visited Gold Butte for the first time in August, introduced legislation in late September to make the back country near Mesquite a national conservation and wilderness area. Her spokesman said the visit to what locals call “the Red Rock of Mesquite” won her over. Republican Congressman Jon Porter’s staffers shopped the proposal around for months to the rural communities near Gold Butte that are part of his district. While they did that, they asked the Nevada Wilderness Project and Friends of Gold Butte to keep private the pitch for a 360,000-acre conservation area that would include 220,000 acres of strictly protected wilderness. Then, after the town advisory board in Bunkerville said it opposed the proposal, Porter’s office abandoned it....
Group appeals Forest Service oil and gas decision Western conservationists want the U.S. Forest Service to reconsider a decision they say opens up tens of thousands of acres to oil and gas development in a northern New Mexico forest. The Santa Fe National Forest amended its land and resource management plan in August to give forest officials more guidelines for dealing with oil and gas exploration and development on forest land that borders the San Juan Basin, one of the largest natural gas fields in the nation. Forest Supervisor Dan Jiron said his decision doesn't authorize any ground-disturbing oil and gas activities, but it spells out stipulations such as prohibiting surface disturbance on steep slopes and in roadless areas that must be followed if the Bureau of Land Management were to issue leases in the area. WildEarth Guardians claims the decision clears the way for the BLM to lease more than 113,000 additional acres of the forest and with any lease comes a right for an oil or gas company to develop that lease....
Federal officers arrest scofflaws by the dozens Federal law-enforcement officers cracked down on scofflaws, rounding up about 60 people in Lake and Marion counties who failed to pay fines or show up in court as directed. "We're just trying to get the word out that we're serious about what happens in the forest," said Officer James Willett of the U.S. Forest Service. The arrestees, including 25 people who live in Lake County, had been charged with a variety of crimes committed on federal lands, including drug possession and mud-bogging. Some offenders had as many as six outstanding tickets, Willett said. Some arrestees immediately paid fines, but others were transported to Ocala, where they faced federal Magistrate Gary R. Jones. Forest Service spokeswoman Heather Callahan said last week's roundup was a joint effort with the U.S. Marshal Service and the Lake and Marion sheriff's offices.
Arizona Game and Fish Department Announces Wolf Reintroduction Near Sedona Arizona In order to meet ongoing Mexican wolf reintroduction project objectives, a pair of wolves will soon be placed in a temporary holding pen in preparation for their release in eastern Arizona. Arizona Game and Fish Department officials say the wolves will be moved to the pen site, located near Middle Mountain on the Apache National Forest in northern Greenlee County, during the third week of November. The pair, called the Moonshine Pack, consists of a male and female wolf. The male was born in 2006 and has extensive experience in the wild. Project biologists captured it this past spring after it became ensnared in a leg-hold trap which was lawfully set by a trapper in New Mexico. The female was born in 2003 at the Minnesota Zoo, a participant in the Mexican wolf captive breeding program. Both wolves, especially the female, have genetic characteristics that will enhance the free-ranging wolf population currently in the wild. They have bonded since being placed together in captivity in March....
Timber industry asks court to enforce Species Act The timber industry and environmental groups find themselves in the strange position of agreeing that the Bush administration failed to follow the Endangered Species Act when it developed a plan to boost logging on federal lands in Western Oregon. The American Forest Resource Council is afraid that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's failure to go through formal consultation with federal scientists over the potential harm to northern spotted owls and salmon will "derail" the Western Oregon Plan Revision, said Tom Partin, president of the timber industry group. The industry group filed a recent motion asking the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to uphold a 2003 agreement with the Bush administration that calls for increasing logging on 2.6 million acres of BLM lands in Western Oregon. Deadline for the plan is Dec. 31, just weeks before the Bush administration leaves office. The motion argues that failing to do the formal consultation will ultimately lead to a court ruling blocking the plan, making it unlikely for BLM to meet the deadline for completion set in the 2003 agreement....
'Lead bullets' warning is just crazy talk The wealthiest animal rights organization in the country, the Humane Society of the United States, is again asking for a nationwide ban on lead-shot ammunition. The bad part here is the venom spewed by Andrew Page, the senior director of the Wildlife Abuse Campaign for HSUS. "Extremist hunters have long contaminated watersheds and habitat, dooming animals to slow and painful deaths," he said. "Now that hunters know their actions are directly putting themselves and other people at risk, there are no more excuses to use the ammo that just keeps on killing." A little education is called for Page and his ilk, who say you should avoid eating venison killed by lead bullets. Well, you can't kill venison. You kill deer. Once the deer is down and you field-dress it, skin it, cut, wrap and label the meat, it becomes venison....
Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland If you are looking for a different read on this country and not wanting to rely on FOX News pundits or CNN experts, then Red State Rebels might be what you need. Co-editor of the excellent online news site CounterPunch, Jeffrey St. Clair has teamed up with Joshua Frank (the author of Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Re-elect George W. Bush) to bring us a fabulous collection of essays that demolishes the checkerboard world of Red States and Blue States. The focus of this collection is on the lively grassroots activism that is currently taking place in what are generally deemed Red States, but by no means does this book suggest that this grassroots activism is connected to the Democratic Party. In fact, there are numerous stories shared in Red State Rebels of grassroots resistance in GOP territory that is also in opposition to the Democrats. In one essay by St. Clair entitled "The Origin of Western Greens," the co-editor states that during the Clinton years there was tremendous erosion of environmental standards, including....
Economic downturn leaves horses abandoned Tough economic times, the high price of hay, a glut of horses and a lack of market for the animals are all reasons for the upsurge in horses being neglected and abandoned. In a single incident last month in Fremont County, one horse had to be killed and three others were sent to an animal rescue center due to malnutrition and neglect. At the time, Fremont County Sheriff Ralph Davis told Standard Journal reporter Joseph Law that his office understands the plight of some animal owners caught in an economic crunch because of the high price of hay. But he said it's reasonable to expect people to feed and take care of their animals. In Lemhi County, the Bureau of Land Management recently had a report of a private party dumping horses' remains on public land. A client in Utah told Sugar City horse dealer Max Palmer that horses have been found abandoned at churches on Sunday morning in his Utah community. And in Nevada, Palmer's colleagues have seen horses still with halters on abandoned to run with wild herds on public land. For horse owners feeling an economic crunch who want to sell, the options are slim. And selling old, unbreakable, unusable and disabled horses, an option once available to horse owners, is closed. All horse slaughterhouses in the U.S. have been closed. While slaughterhouses that supply horsemeat to European and Asian markets still are operating in Canada and Mexico, the cost of shipping the horses to slaughter is more than the price people get for the horses -- if there is a market at all....Thank the animal rights industry and the US Congress.
Cache Valley has growing unwanted horse problem Cache County equine experts say a growing population of unwanted horses has become a major issue across the Cache valley. University of Utah Extension veterinarian Kerry Rood said the closing of several horse processing facilities has left more animals abandoned and abused. A dip in the economy has also forced some families to choose between feeding themselves or the horse. USU’s equine facility manager Rebecca Lewis used to take the animals in. But these days Lewis says “nay” more often than “yay.” The facility’s capacity is 30 horses, but Lewis is currently boarding a fluctuating 33 to 35 daily. Five horses are for sale a “rock-bottom” prices, she said. Each year some horses are abandoned on Bureau of Land Management parcels. Rood said owners mistakenly think the animals will easily adapt and join a band of other horses. That’s a “pipe dream,” said Rood. Most animals found by the BLM are low in body weight because they’ve been unable to find adequate food....ditto
NM chile industry on downward trend Trouble is growing for New Mexico's chile industry. The prized crops are well-known around the world, but New Mexico chile is on a quiet yet quick slide in the global marketplace. At its peak just a few years ago, chile packed a half billion dollar impact into New Mexico's economy. Now, it's only about half as much. Five thousand full time workers have swindled away to three thousand as farmers have cut back chile acreage by two thirds. Chile industry leaders told a legislative hearing Tuesday afternoon that it's all because of new players in the game. 'The cost of labor is significantly higher than countries such as China and India or Central and South American countries. We can't compete with them and the chile industry, frankly, is still a labor intensive industry," said Dino Cervantes of the New Mexico Chile Association....
Trainer eyes Dec. 14 run for Peppers Pride Peppers Pride has notched her 18th straight victory and now trainer Joel Marr is looking to the next race. Marr says the five-year-old New Mexico thoroughbred will run December 14th in the $125,000 New Mexico Racing Commission Handicap at Sunland Park. She’ll be seeking her 19th victory in 19 career starts. Marr says it could be her last race. He says owner Joe Allen is considering whether to run the 5-year-old again next year or place her into a breeding program. Marr says no decisions have been made.
A bit of Brush history... The history of Brush throughout the 20th century was always closely associated with the cattle and livestock industry. Because of this, Brush came to be known as Cattletown, U.S.A. From its earliest beginnings, even before the turn of the century, ranching, livestock feeding and marketing were big factors in the economy, and livestock was by far the biggest industry for Brush. Near the turn of the century shortly after the huge cattle drives were concluded, Brush became an important shipping point for livestock on the rail lines. Ranchers would bring their animals to the stockyards in town where they were then loaded onto rail cars and shipped by rail to the packing plants in the Midwest, in Sioux City, Omaha, St. Louis, Chicago, and other points. A small business known as the Brush Livestock Commission Company was organized by the railroad, and in 1937 Ted Rediess, together with several other associates, bought the Company and in time it became the largest sale barn in Colorado. The Company brought together livestock sellers and buyers, and over a period of 50 years hundreds of thousands of cattle were run through the sales pavilion. During this period several cattle feed lots were built in the vicinity, the largest of which was probably the Boxer-Weisbart yard located just northwest of town with a capacity of more than 25,000 head....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama looks to undo Utah drilling decisions President-elect Barack Obama could move quickly once in office to halt oil and gas drilling near national parks in Utah, Obama's top transition adviser said Sunday. But it's unclear whether Obama would be able to reverse the Bush administration's decision to hand out leases to about 360,000 acres of federal land in Utah; the leases, some of which lie near Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Dinosaur National Monument, are scheduled to go on sale a month before Obama is sworn in. John Podesta, co-chairman of Obama's transition team, said on Fox News Sunday that the president-elect is looking at several ways to overturn some Bush administration actions, and Podesta singled out the sale of Bureau of Land Management parcels in Utah. The Bush administration wants "to have oil and gas drilling in some of the most sensitive, fragile lands in Utah that they're going to try to do right as they - walking out the door," Podesta said. "I think that's a mistake."....
Colo. landowners urge action on easements Frustrated landowners want the state to call a time out on conservation easements and fix problems they say were created by laws that encouraged donation of the easements without a procedure to track and stop abuses. “The state misjudged how many landowners were so poor that they would take such a small share of the value in cash if they could just keep farming and ranching,” said Jim Butcher, a Pueblo subdivision developer. “And that those farmers and ranchers needed the cash so bad they would hire all those experts at great expense to comply with all the state and federal tax laws.” Butcher was just one speaker in a parade of woeful tales that have grown from conservation easement audits by the Internal Revenue Service and Colorado Department of Revenue in recent years. Both state and federal laws allow tax credits for the development value of a property that a landowner passes up when donating a conservation easement. Colorado allows the tax credits to be sold....
BLM aims to tame cost of caring for wild horses To protect Utah rangelands from overgrazing, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management removes 300 to 400 wild horses and burros a year, but it is able to adopt out only 250 of them. The agency will not destroy the rest for fear of public outcry — so it cares for escalating numbers of them in captivity. The U.S. Government Accountability Office said Monday such practices throughout the West have reached a crisis point, where BLM officials now manage "almost the same number of animals off the range as they do in the wild." It says the agency must either destroy or sell for slaughter thousands of the horses in captivity — or run out of money to care for horses in the wild, where neglect could increase horse deaths from effects of drought or starvation. "BLM decided not to destroy excess unadoptable animals (beginning in 1982) ... because of public dismay," when it killed 47 horses the previous year, said the GAO, a research arm of Congress. Because of that, the BLM now cares for just over 30,000 wild horses and burros in captivity. The GAO said the BLM manages about 33,100 horses and burros in the wild in the West — or just a bit more than it now has in captivity....
NIMBY: Nukes In My Backyard Al Gore says the same fervor that elected Obama president can be used to save the planet. Actually, a new type of nuclear power plant the size of a garden shed might do the trick. In a Sunday New York Times op-ed, Gore called for "an emergency rescue of human civilization from the imminent and rapidly growing threat posed by the climate crisis." To that end, he proposed "a commitment to producing 100% of our electricity from carbon-free sources within 10 years." Oddly, Gore does not mention nuclear power, a source from which we already get 20% of our electricity and from which we could get more, thanks in part to the development of a new type of power plant that compares roughly to the evolution from the room-size vacuum-tube computers of the 1950s to today's laptops. Using technology developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and licensed from the U.S. government, New Mexico-based Hyperion Power Generation Inc., has taken its first orders for miniature nuclear power plants that could literally fit in your backyard. The module produces about 70 megawatts of thermal energy or 27 megawatts of electricity via steam turbine, enough to power about 20,000 American-style houses. The units are factory-sealed, can be delivered by truck and are buried underground. Like a car battery, there are no moving parts and no danger of a Chernobyl-type event. The module uses very low enriched materials that remain sealed for the five- to seven-year life of the module. It's also terrorist-proof....
Documentary explores Southwest water issues Los Angeles filmmaker Jim Thebaut has made documentaries about a contract mafia killer, death row and the Cold War. In his most recent project, he took on the Southwest's growing water problems. "We need to change the way we do things, change our culture," Thebaut said. "We waste energy, we waste water. We need to restore an ethic of conservation." Thebaut will talk about Running Dry in the American Southwest on Tuesday at The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Thebaut directed, wrote and produced the film, which is narrated by Jane Seymour. It explores water issues in the dry landscapes of the Navajo and Hopi reservations, in glittering Las Vegas, Nev., and in Washington, D.C. New Mexico's U.S. senators, Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici, are featured in the film....
More officials join against JBS purchase of National Beef Four more state attorneys general have joined the Department of Justice lawsuit seeking to block the purchase of National Beef Packing Co. by JBS S.A. Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America — R-CALF USA — said Arizona, Connecticut, New Mexico and Mississippi attorneys general have joined in the lawsuit filed in Chicago by the Justice Department last month. There were 13 attorneys general in the original suit, including Colorado. JBS S.A. is the parent company of JBS Swift & Co. of Greeley. Earlier this year, it announced it intended to buy National Beef, the fourth largest meatpacker in the U.S., along with the Smithfield Foods beef division and Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding. The purchase of Smithfield and Five Rivers was completed soon after the lawsuit was filed Oct. 20....
PETA Wants to Lease Giant Tex Randall Statue for Anti-Leather Campaign This morning, PETA dispatched a letter to Danny Byrd, owner of the 47-foot-tall, 8,000-plus-pound Tex Randall statue in Canyon, Texas, offering to lease the imposing piece of Americana in order to save it from being torn down by the property owners or moved out of Canyon. Although Byrd owns the statue--as well as the nearby Wrong Way Diner--he doesn't own the land that the statue sits on and isn't eager to part with the reported $50,000 needed to move it to his diner. PETA's plans? To hang a sign on Tex reading, "For Cows' Sake, Give Leather the Boot!"--making him the world's most recognizable cow-friendly cowboy. "It's a lofty goal, but we hope that by saving Tex Randall we can help save cows' hides," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "This old icon could have a new purpose--as the world's tallest cow-defending cowboy--and PETA hopes Byrd will take us up on our offer."
Comanche: Legendary War Horse Up until World War II, there was a market for horses in America in the form of U.S. Army remounts. Before mechanized transportation was put into use, which gradually and finally replaced the horse, many western ranchers supplemented or even built their business by supplying the government with cavalry horses. These were of a different type than those needed for draft purposes in the Army, especially in the American West of the 1870’s and 1880’s. In the vase frontline of the “Indian Wars”, the cavalry had need of tough, sturdy, horses that could carry troopers long distanced on poor feed and stand under small arms and artillery fire, among many other hardships and conditions contrary to equine instinct. At the time, the Army was fighting some of the best lightly mounted cavalry the world has ever seen – Apache, Comanche, Kiowa, Sioux, and others. Not since Ghenghis Khan and his troops had the horse been used so effectively in battle. Someone, probably not in the higher levels of brass, realized that horses from the western frontier would be best suited for the troopers on the western frontier. So bands of mustangs were rounded up and sold to the Army as cavalry remounts. Around 1868, a sorrel colt was in with a bunch of mustangs from Texas that were purchased by General Custer’s brother for the cavalry. After being broken and trained, the 6 year old gelding was assigned to Sgt. Keogh of the 7th Cavalry, Troop I. This mustang proved his worth in the western campaigns, even receiving wounds in battle. Somewhere along the way, Keogh named his mount Comanche, perhaps in honor of the enemy’s courage and strength, which Keogh was well acquainted with....
It's All Trew: Pear preserves always worth the work Each year in late September or early October, if Mother Nature allows, the Trews "put up pear preserves." As long as I can remember this annual routine has taken place. This year two sons and wives joined us around the big kitchen table, knives and pans at ready and all peeled and sliced pears for hours. We stayed focused and serious except when we were laughing. Our family "get-togethers" tend to get a little silly after a while, and the monotony of peeling pears doesn't help. Since pears are slick and hard to hold, shrapnel flies in all directions. Basically, to the unlearned, making pear preserves includes peeling the fruit, cutting out all bad places and bruises. Next, slice the meat into small slivers eliminating the core. The slices are then soaked in a pan for six to eight hours with two parts pears to one part sugar. Last, cook until "they look just right" turning a light brown and becoming sort of clear. Then place in sterilized jars with lids. After cooling the pears contract and the lid pops in, signaling the jar is sealed. My wife, Ruth, says, "the most satisfying sound in a country woman's life is when after a hard day's work canning, the lids start to pop and the count comes out right."....

Monday, November 10, 2008

UN Official Hopes for U.S. Role in Climate Change The head of the U.N.'s climate change body said Friday he hopes the United States will take a more active role in fighting global warming once Barack Obama becomes president. "With President-elect Obama, my hope is that the U.S. can take on a leadership role and help to move the negotiations forward," said Yvo de Boer, executive director of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. DeBoer spoke in a news conference at a U.N.-sponsored climate change conference in China's capital. The two-day meeting will discuss technology transfers between nations and comes before a U.N. conference set for early December in Poland, where countries will begin negotiations for a climate change accord to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012....
The Climate for Change by Al Gore THE inspiring and transformative choice by the American people to elect Barack Obama as our 44th president lays the foundation for another fateful choice that he — and we — must make this January to begin an emergency rescue of human civilization from the imminent and rapidly growing threat posed by the climate crisis. Here’s what we can do — now: we can make an immediate and large strategic investment to put people to work replacing 19th-century energy technologies that depend on dangerous and expensive carbon-based fuels with 21st-century technologies that use fuel that is free forever: the sun, the wind and the natural heat of the earth. What follows is a five-part plan to repower America with a commitment to producing 100 percent of our electricity from carbon-free sources within 10 years. It is a plan that would simultaneously move us toward solutions to the climate crisis and the economic crisis — and create millions of new jobs that cannot be outsourced. First, the new president and the new Congress should offer large-scale investment in incentives for the construction of concentrated solar thermal plants in the Southwestern deserts, wind farms in the corridor stretching from Texas to the Dakotas and advanced plants in geothermal hot spots that could produce large amounts of electricity. Second, we should begin the planning and construction of a unified national smart grid for the transport of renewable electricity from the rural places where it is mostly generated to the cities where it is mostly used....

Over-Hyping of Green
I have been studying and teaching weather and climate for more than 50 years and have been making real-time seasonal hurricane forecasts for a quarter-century. I and many of my colleagues with comparable experience do not believe that CO2 gas emissions are anywhere near the threat to global climate as the environmental and liberal media groups have led us to believe. Most people are not aware of how flimsy are the physical arguments behind the human-induced warming scenarios. There has yet to be a really open and honest scientific dialogue on this topic among our country’s most experienced weather and climate experts. Most knowledgeable global warming skeptics have been ignored and/or their motives questioned. Many have been falsely tagged as tools of the fossil fuel industry--reminding me a bit of the McCarthy period. By contrast, those harping the loudest on the dangers of CO2, such as Al Gore, typically have little real understanding or experience in how the atmosphere and ocean really function. The global climate model (GCM) simulations by large U.S. and foreign government laboratories and universities on which so much of the warming science scenarios are based have basic flaws. These global models are not able to correctly model the globe’s small-scale precipitation processes. They have incorrectly parameterized the rain processes in their models to give an unrealistically warming influence from CO2 increases. These GCMs also do not properly model the globe’s deep ocean circulation, which appears to be the primary driving mechanism for most of the global temperature increases that have been observed. Most GCMs indicate that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 towards the end of the twenty-first century will lead to global warming of 2-5ºC. My best estimate of global warming for a doubling of CO2 is about 0.3-0.5ºC, 5-10 times less than the models estimate....
Internet revolution that elected Obama could save Earth: Gore Former US vice president Al Gore said an Internet revolution carrying Barack Obama to the White House should now focus its power on stopping Earth's climate crisis. The one-time presidential contender turned environmental champion told Web 2.0 Summit goers in San Francisco Friday that technology has provided tools to save the planet while creating jobs and stimulating the crippled economy. "The young people who have been inspired by Barack Obama's campaign and the movement that powered Barack Obama's campaign want a purpose," Gore said. "One of the reasons we were all thrilled Tuesday night is it was pretty obvious this was a collectively intelligent decision." The Internet's critical role in Democrat Obama's victory in the presidential race against Republican John McCain was a "great blow for victory" in addressing a "democracy crisis" stifling action against climate change, Gore said....
Corn ethanol, a poor solution More corn can be seen growing in NE Colorado than before the federally funded incentives and mandates for growing, and for making ethanol. This corporate welfare program is a good example of how not to solve the very real problem of achieving energy independence. Analyses of the various issues involved in using corn-derived ethanol fuel for transportation just do not make ecological, financial or logical sense. The amount of coal, oil, and natural gas energy required to make corn ethanol is more than the energy contained in the ethanol. Because most of this additional energy is sourced from fossil fuels, burning ethanol instead of gasoline actually releases 1.7 times more carbon dioxide for a comparable number of vehicle miles traveled. This is a startling finding and so the reader is encouraged to more deeply research the issue. An in-depth corn ethanol paper may be viewed on the Independence Institute Website. The Federal and Colorado taxpayer funded subsidies for making corn ethanol are about $1.05 for the equivalent energy contained in a gallon of gasoline. If tax-paying consumers had a choice, they may well prefer that the dollar of subsidy be directly applied to their price of gasoline at the pump....
Proposed Road in Refuge Raises Fears About Drilling This isolated outpost, where grizzly bears outnumber people and the one-page phone book is dubbed "the yellow page," is fast emerging as a flash point in the nation's debate over drilling. A plan to construct about 20 miles of road, half of which would be in the wilderness of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, has turned into a heated battle between area residents, who say they need better access to the airport here, and environmentalists, who suspect, without concrete evidence, that the oil industry is secretly behind the effort. In a state still recovering from the bruising fight over opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration, all eyes have turned to Congress, which is expected to vote during a lame-duck session this month on a land swap that would open the way for road construction. But residents who live on the other side of the refuge, across an inlet, in the 800-person village of King Cove simply point to the wreckage of small planes that failed to reach their narrow gravel airstrip and now litter Mount Dutton, a dormant volcano. "Go up and look at that graveyard," said Herman "Buddy" Bendixen, 83, an Aleut elder and lifelong resident. "They got sick and couldn't get out."....
Elk droppings may have sickened kids Elk droppings in the Evergreen area contain the same strain of E. coli bacteria that sickened eight children in three mountain counties, state health officials reported today. Lab testing confirmed a genetic match between the bacteria. Health officials suspected elk droppings as a potential source of the exposure. It's not known how the elk were infected. Elk droppings can be found virtually everywhere around Evergreen, including near homes and schools. For that reason, health officials issued warnings to students to not eat on athletic fields and to wash their hands after being outside. The cases began appearing in July, with the last one reported Oct. 22. The children, ages 4 to 12, do not attend the same school, although all live in or have visited the Evergreen area....
Two grizzlies drown; another death under investigation Authorities learned of three additional grizzly bear deaths in 2008 that won't be counted against the mortality quota for the threatened bear in northwestern Montana because they were natural or occurred outside of the official recovery zone. In one case, a young male was shot this past spring on the Milk River six miles south of the Canadian border on the eastern edge of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, more than 10 miles outside of the grizzly recovery zone. n that case, a rancher driving a four-wheeler came up on a bear eating a cow that previously died and told authorities he shot the animal after the bear charged, but the case is under investigation to see if it was a case of self-defense, Carney said. Two other bears drowned. One was a cub crossing the Swan River in the spring. The other bear, a yearling, drowned in May in a high-flowing irrigation ditch near the Teton River....
Public lands management of particular concern to Cowboy State A U.S. president can often have a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of Cowboy State residents. And a president's cabinet has more direct sway in Wyoming, in some respects, than in most other states. Nearly half of Wyoming -- about 47,000 square miles of it -- is owned and managed by the federal government. Only four states in the nation, all of them in the West, have a higher percentage of their landmasses owned by Uncle Sam. The way that national parks, forests and other public lands are managed here has implications for individual residents, groups and industries. Among those who can be directly affected by a president's land management policies are ranchers, oil and gas drillers, miners, hunters, fishers, outdoors enthusiasts, loggers, sawmill operators and conservationists. So, what does an incoming Barack Obama administration signal about the way Wyoming's public lands will be managed? All interested parties seem to agree there will be a shift -- and perhaps a big one -- from the approach of the Bush administration. But fewer agree on what the ultimate effects of that shift will be....