Saturday, June 27, 2009

In Close Vote, House Passes Climate Bill

The House narrowly passed an ambitious climate bill yesterday that would establish national limits on greenhouse gases, create a complex trading system for emission permits and provide incentives to alter how individuals and corporations use energy. The bill passed 219 to 212 after a furious lobbying push by the White House and party leaders won over farm-state Democrats who had complained that it was too costly, and liberals who wondered if it was too watered down to work. Even after that effort, 44 Democrats voted against the legislation. The bill, if it became law, would lead to vast changes in the ways energy is made, sold and used in the United States -- putting new costs over time on electricity from fossil fuels and directing new billions to "clean" power from sources such as the wind and the sun. It would require U.S. emissions to decline 17 percent by 2020. To make that happen, the bill would create an economy that trades in greenhouse gases. Polluters would be required to buy "credits" to cover their emissions; Midwestern farmers, among others, could sell "offsets" for things they didn't emit; and Wall Street could turn those commodities into a new market...WPost

All three NM members voted YES.

Friday, June 26, 2009

EPA Sees Limited Renewable Energy Growth under Waxman-Markey

President Obama says the greenhouse-gas emissions cutting Waxman-Markey bill before Congress will “spark a clean energy transformation.” But a new analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency casts doubt on that claim. According to page 27 of the analysis, published Tuesday, the legislation, sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, would actually result in slightly less new renewable energy generation capacity by the year 2020 than if the U.S. continued on a business-as-usual path with no emissions caps. The reason for this, the EPA says, is twofold. First, the bill’s efficiency measures – such as those that requiring more efficient buildings and appliances - would reduce overall electricity demand “significantly.” Less demand means less need for new generation, including power from the wind, sun and biomass. The bill also won’t sufficiently drive up the price of dirty fossil fuels to encourage a big switch to renewables, the analysis says. (Here’s how that sounds in untranslated EPA-speak: “Allowances prices are not high enough to drive a significant amount of additional low or zero-carbon energy . . . in the shorter term.”)This isn’t quite consistent with White House talking points...WSJ

From Washington to Texas, Biodiesel Makers Sitting Idle

Imperium Renewables’ dream of profiting from peddling biodiesel while doing its part to save the planet has turned out to be just that: a dream. The two-year old biodiesel facility that was meant to be the cornerstone of the Seattle company’s renewable-energy empire hasn’t produced a drop of fuel since February. And it’s not the only one sitting idle. The 100 million-gallon-a-year plant – once the largest such facility in the U.S. – located in an isolated logging town on Washington’s coast now serves as a storage depot for biodiesel – and a symbol of America’s stalled biofuels industry. From the beginning it was a tall order for biodiesel makers to turn a penny. Even though petroleum prices skyrocketed last year, providing the rationale for a renewable alternative to diesel, the cost of agricultural feedstocks needed to make biodiesel also went through the roof, eating up profit margins. But Imperium chief executive John Plaza also places the blame on the U.S. politicians’ failure to create a market for the product. Ethanol enjoys a well-defined federal mandate, but the administration has been slow at enacting rules that would compel fuel blenders to take in more of the fuel. “We invested in building these facilities based on the efforts and legislation put forward by the government,” he says. Mr. Plaza’s comments underscore how the first wave of biodiesel producers – many of whom took on substantial debt to build commercial-scale facilities – anticipated a huge upturn in demand that never materialized...WSJ

Society is better off when entrepreneurs take risks to produce a new product for which there is sufficient demand to turn a profit.

Society is not better off when an entrepreneur produces a product so the government can "compel" us to purchase it. In fact, we are worse off. We end up with a shoddy product and a larger, more intrusive government.

Entrepreneurs of the second type we don't need. I hope more of them go bankrupt and the sooner the better.

Two Utilities Are Leaving Clean Coal Initiative

Two of the nation’s biggest coal-burning utilities said Thursday that they were withdrawing from a $2.4 billion project to demonstrate carbon capture and storage, and would instead pursue their own work in the field. The announcement by the utilities, Southern Company and American Electric Power, is a blow to the multinational consortium called the FutureGen Alliance. The group is seeking to build a $2.4 billion plant in Mattoon, Ill., that would convert coal to a fuel gas, capture the carbon dioxide and then burn the gas in a turbine to make electricity. Financing for the project was uncertain even before the announcement by the two utilities. The Bush administration had tried to kill FutureGen, saying it was too expensive. But the Obama administration said last week it would restore financing...NYTimes

Secretary Salazar Names Liz Birnbaum Director of the Minerals Management Service

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today appointed Liz Birnbaum, an attorney with two decades of Federal Government and private sector experience in energy and environmental policy, as Director of the Department’s Minerals Management Service. The appointment does not require Senate confirmation. “As a former Associate Solicitor here at Interior with extensive experience as counsel and staff director for congressional committees, Liz brings a number of strengths to this key position at Interior,” Secretary Salazar said. “Her in-depth knowledge of energy issues, natural resource policy and environmental law as well as her managerial expertise and work in coalition building will be especially important as we advance President Obama’s new energy frontier and lay the foundation for a clean energy economy.” At Interior, Birnbaum was Associate Solicitor for Minerals Resources from 2000 to 2001, supervising and managing a staff of attorneys that provided legal advice, developed regulations and conducted litigation on minerals issues for the Minerals Management Service, Bureau of Land Management and Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation. Before that she was a special assistant to the Interior Solicitor, from 1999 to 2000, overseeing legal policy on a range of natural resource issues, including mining law, public land management and hydropower licensing. From 1991 to 1999 she was counsel to the House Committee on Natural Resources, where she handled legislative and oversight activities for the Department of the Interior, U.S. Forest Service and electric power marketing administrations. From 1987 to 1991 she was counsel for the Water Resources Program of the National Wildlife Federation...PressRelease

Colorado Springs will take up fate of coyotes

To kill or not to kill. That is the question the Colorado Springs City Council will take up Monday when it discusses a proposed ordinance that would allow gun-toting residents to shoot and "exterminate" coyotes. The proposal was initiated by former Councilwoman Margaret Radford after a constituent approached her with concerns about aggressive coyotes and existing city laws that prevented him from using a firearm to kill the animals. "Radford indicated that she and others believe that coyotes are a physical danger and potential public health threat," according to a city memo. "It is this concern that led to the Colorado Springs Police Department being asked to investigate the proposed ordinance for coyote control." A spokesman for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the city of Colorado Springs doesn't have to be so trigger-happy...gazette

HT: Outdoor Pressroom

Deer have killed two dogs, injured several others in Helena

Two dogs have been killed by does in the last few weeks, prompting Helena Police Chief Troy McGee to warn residents. “Be careful. The does are really protective of their fawns right now,” McGee said. A dachshund was killed in its yard on the 600 block of Highland Street, he said. A 3-month-old Yorkshire terrier was stomped to death by a doe in a side yard on the 1600 block of Chestnut Street. McGee said it is believed the same deer that killed the Yorkie also broke a schnauzer’s jaw on the 1600 block of Walnut Street. That doe was put down by Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials, he said. McGee urges residents to use caution when walking their dogs and also when pets are in their yards...Missoulian

Border restrictions grow over VS outbreak in two US states

States are imposing border restrictions on stock from Texas and New Mexico as more cases of vesicular stomatitis (VS) are reported. Horses on a total of three sites in Texas and four premises in New Mexico are known to be infected VS, a painful blistering disease of livestock, such as horses, cattle, sheep, swine and deer. The symptoms mimick those of highly contagious foot and mouth disease. The viral disease appears spontaneously and sporadically in the southwestern United States and is thought to be transmitted by sand flies and black flies. Border restrictions are growing daily. At least 13 states have so far imposed an array of restrictions on livestock orginating from Texas. Canada has restrictions in place affecting both Texas and New Mexico livestocks. Authorities urge livestock owners to make appropriate checks before moving any livestock out of the two affected states...Horsetalk

EEE Horse Death Reported in Louisiana

Following the first confirmed case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) this year, Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, DVM, is reminding horse owners to vaccinate their horses. The affected horse died. Strain said Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Baton Rouge identified EEE as the cause of death from blood samples drawn from the horse. The horse was stabled in Rapides Parish. "Since there is no cure for Eastern equine encephalitis, I urge horse owners to vaccinate their animals," Strain said. "This is a very preventable disease, but often horse owners wait until it's too late. "Only rarely do horses recover from Eastern equine encephalitis," Strain said. "Even when an animal doesn't die, it is almost always brain damaged and is never usable again."...TheHorse

'Good ride' ends at stockyards: Final cattle sale marks passing of 92-year run

On a recent Sunday, Jim Woster felt the need to visit the Sioux Falls Stockyards and stand atop the rickety wooden catwalk that overlooks the mostly empty cattle pens. There were no cattle sales that day, he recalled, and the yards were quiet. "I just stood up there," said Woster, 68, who began working at the stockyards in 1962 and stayed for the next four decades. "If you ask me why I went down there on Sunday, I couldn't even tell you," he said. "But for 40 years, that's what I did. It was a way of life." Woster, now retired, was among the many stockyard workers, farmers and ranchers - and their children and grandchildren - who made final trips this month across the catwalk with the white peeling paint. The last cattle sale was Thursday, bringing to an end an era that began when the Sioux Falls Stockyards opened in 1917 and grew to become the focal point for livestock in this part of the country. Thursday's final cattle sale silenced the rumbling of trucks heading to market down East Rice Street and the sound of the auctioneer's rapid-fire salesmanship in the Cattle Arena. "Everything has its time," Woster said, pausing for a moment, "but it's a pretty special place."...ArgusLeader

Song Of The Day #071

I've always felt Anita Carter had one of the best female voices in country music. She was the youngest daughter of Mother Maybelle Carter. She, along with her sisters Helen and June, made up the Carter Sisters, in which Anita sang and played the upright bass.

She also had a career as a solo artist.

For real fans, you can't beat the 7 disc box set Appalachian Angel: Her Recordings 1950-1972

Today we have her 1951 duet with Hank Snow Down The Trail Of Achin' Hearts. This recording went to No.2 on the charts.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wilderness & Border Security - An Amendment To Interior Appropriations

Since I try to cover both land use designations and law enforcement issues, many readers of this blog are aware of the problems encountered by the Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies when trying to perform their duties in wilderness areas, wildlife refuges, etc. In other words, they are either denied access or the access granted is so restrictive it renders their efforts ineffective.

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) has filed the following amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill.

Insiders say the Rules Committee will block the amendment, preventing it from going to the House Floor.

Stay tuned.


At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert
the following:

1 SEC. lll. None of the funds made available under
2 this Act may be used to enforce the Wilderness Act (16
3 U.S.C. 1131 et seq) with respect to Department of Home-
land Security personnel.

EPA plan targets vast DDT deposit off Calif. coast

A plan to cap a vast, long-neglected deposit of the pesticide DDT on the ocean floor off Southern California got its first public airing Tuesday — nearly four decades after the poison was banned from use. The estimated $36 million proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls for a cover of sand and silt to be placed over the most contaminated part of the estimated 17-square-mile area declared a Superfund site in 1996. The cap won't clean the site, but it could reduce the health risks for people who eat fish caught off the Palos Verdes coast, said Mark Gold, executive director of the watchdog group Heal the Bay. "I think it's a huge development," he said. "We have the worst DDT hotspot in the entire U.S." From 1947 to 1971, the Montrose Chemical Corp. released more than 1,700 tons of the pesticide into Los Angeles sewers that emptied into the Pacific Ocean. Several other industries discharged PCBs into the sewer system. DDT was banned in 1972, but more than 110 tons of DDT remain in the contaminated sediment on the Palos Verdes shelf. In 2000, the now-defunct Montrose firm and three other chemical companies agreed to pay a total of $73 million to help restore the ocean environment off Palos Verdes, located southwest of the Port of Los Angeles...AP

Sen. Bingaman to Receive Conservation Award

Sen. Jeff Bingaman will be awarded today by an environmental group for his role in passing a bill in March that protected 2 million acres of wilderness. Bingaman, D-N.M., will receive the Ansel Adams Award from The Wilderness Society, according to a prepared statement from the nonprofit environmental group, founded in 1935 to protect wilderness. That legislation Bingaman helped pass preserved wilderness in nine states, designated more than 1,000 miles of wild and scenic rivers and protected places such as the Wyoming Range, according to The Wilderness Society. Bingaman helped designate as wilderness more than 17,000 acres in northern New Mexico's Sabinoso area. Sen. Tom Udall wrote the Sabinoso bill when he served in the House, and Bingaman included it in his package of public land bills that became law earlier this year, according to Udall's office. This month, Bingaman defended the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from an attempt to open the refuge to oil and gas development, according to the Wilderness Society. "Throughout his career, Sen. Bingaman has played an enormously important role in protecting our natural heritage for future generations," William H. Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society, said in the statement. The award is named for Adams, the photographer who was an outspoken advocate for wilderness and the environment until his death. "Guarding our public lands ensures that we protect our nation's natural, cultural and historical legacies," Bingaman said in the statement. "Being a Western senator, I am well aware of the importance of protecting our special places, so I am especially proud to receive this prestigious honor."...DailyTimes

Salazar plans Fresno meeting Sunday on ESA & water supplies

One person who may have enough juice to help flip on the federal water pumps in the delta plans to visit Fresno Sunday for a town hall meeting on drought. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, along with Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Mike Connor and members of the California Congressional delegation, will hold the meeting on Sunday from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at a location yet to be disclosed. Local growers have lobbied hard for the attention of federal officials to relax Endangered Species Act regulations to allow more water to flow through U.S. Bureau of Reclamation pumps to Valley farms. The last time Salazar was in the area was in April, when he took an aerial tour of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta with Gov. Schwarzenegger and announced $260 million in federal stimulus aid for drought related projects — a gesture derided by local farming advocates as hollow. Salazar in his position would be included in the so-called "God Squad," a committee of cabinet-level White House administrators who could decide if federal actions would be exempt from the Endangered Species Act. BusinessJournal

Electric Cars Will Not Decrease Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Says Federal Study

The stimulus law enacted in February promoted the purchase of plug-in electric cars by the federal government and the broader market, but a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released this month says that the use of plug-in electric vehicles will not by itself decrease greenhouse gas emissions. To do that, the report argues, the United States would have to switch from coal-burning plants to lower-emission sources to generate electricity such as nuclear power. “If you are using coal fired power plants and half the country’s electricity comes from coal powered plants, are you just trading one greenhouse gas emitter for another?” Mark Gaffigan, co-author of the GAO report and a specialist in energy issues told The report found that the adoption of plug-in cars could result in benefits, including reduced petroleum consumption and dependency. But it concedes that in regions of the country heavily reliant on coal for power generation, electric plug-in vehicles will not result in a decrease in green house gas emissions...CNSNews

Marmots plague Eastern Washington neighborhoods

Talk about an uninvited dinner guest. Diners at a restaurant in Prosser were startled Monday when a furry marmot wandered through the front door and settled into a corner. That was no surprise to city Administrator Charlie Bush, who says the big rodents have long been a problem in the central Washington wine town. "I know there's a lot of marmots in Prosser, there's no question," Bush told the Tri-City Herald. "They're happy marmots. They're fat, they're having a good time." Many species of marmots, including some known as woodchucks and groundhogs, are found across North America. They are closely related to ground squirrels and are among the largest of rodents, some reaching 30 pounds. The burrowing critters have long been a nuisance in this Yakima Valley city, where they dig through gardens, add unwanted mounds to yards and even chew through electrical wires...AP

Rodeo Is a Family Tradition

Yippee ki-yay time is here again. And for Rodeo de Santa Fe President Jim Butler, it couldn't have come soon enough. “We started planning for this thing a month after last year's rodeo — so we've been at it for a while,” he said. “This is a job that you have to love rodeo to do. It has to come from the heart.” Rodeo is more than that for the Butlers; it's in their blood. Jim's grandfather, Roy, was one of the founding fathers of the Rodeo de Santa Fe and, he said, while some may have doubted that the event would ever make it to its 10th anniversary — let alone its 60th — Jim, 48, said he always had faith. “I was at this rodeo since I was in diapers,” he said. “I saw my granddad work day and night to keep this thing going, so I knew what I had to do.” The recipe for the rodeo's longevity? That's simple, Butler said. “It's through the dedication of a lot of people that got us to 60 years,” he said. More specifically: Take one part marketing and word of mouth, add two parts hard work, then sprinkle in top-name riders such as this year's competitors, ropers Trevor Brazile and Joe Beaver, and rough stock riders Billy Etbauer and B.J. Schumacher, and there you have it. But, Butler added, over the years, a few more ingredients have been added to the mix — elements the founding fathers may not have envisioned. “Like I told the (Rodeo de Santa Fe board of directors), rodeo isn't rodeo anymore — it's entertainment,” Butler said. “I'd like nothing more than put together an old-fashion strictly rodeo. But you can't survive like that. “You've got to have your specialty acts that appeal to a broad range of people. In today's environment, where you have so much out there to do, it doesn't matter how good the competitors are. Your goal is to get butts in the seats to keep this thing going.”...AlbqJournal(subscription)

Snake-bitten chicken banned

CHINA has placed a ban on one of its most controversial foods after thousands of angry complaints. The popular dish of chicken bitten to death by poisonous snakes has been removed from restaurant menus in the south of the country. The odd dish — which is supposedly a detoxing meal — has provoked outrage among Chinese media. A video showing a cook holding a snake and forcing it to bite a live chicken until it dies has been circulated on the internet to the disgust of many. One blogger wrote online: "Not only is it cruel and blood-thirsty, but totally amoral." Another added: "It's disgusting and really cruel." Health authorities in Guangdong have already told restaurants to stop serving the dish saying: "Although nobody has been poisoned, this at the very least is an irregular way of slaughtering poultry." Guangdong has attracted criticism in the past for its local delicacies which include monkey brains scooped from a live animal...TheSun

I take it this wasn't on the menu of the local Kung Fu KFC.

Got to wonder though, was this eaten by their female disc and hammer throwers?

Sagebrush plants warn their neighbors of danger

Ever heard some sagebrush shout, Look out? New research says plants like the brush common in eastern Oregon can warn their clones of impending danger. The study suggests plants have a more complex system of communication than we tend to think, even if we're not sure how they "talk" to one another. The study published in Ecology Letters found that the plants communicate to their genetically identical neighbors about predators like grasshoppers, perhaps be emitting chemical cues into the air. "Plants are capable of responding to complex cues that involve multiple stimuli," Richard Karban of the Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis. "Plants not only respond to reliable cues in their environments but also produce cues that communicate with other plants and with other organisms, such as pollinators, seed disperses, herbivores and enemies of those herbivores." Oregonian

I saw some of those "sagebrush sentries" yesterday. Sharon was heading out to the garden and I could hear them screaming clear up to the house.

Believe me, I know how they felt. I've experienced that same gut-wrenching fear when she came walking toward me with that hoe in her hands.

How Green Is a Nudist Vacation?

With summer upon us, how many green vacationers’ fancies will turn to thoughts of nudism? Going without clothes on beaches and other vacation spots is commonly called naturism — a description that implies helping the planet, as some practitioners claim to be doing. Spending more time with nothing on stems waste and pollution in all sorts of ways, according to an article by Kathy Blanchard on The Naturist Society’s Web site. “Living more hours naked each day results in a dramatic drop in my laundry, which in turn reduces my water and energy use (along with my related bills),” Ms. Blanchard wrote. “It also reduces the amount of soap I release, in my case, into the Puget Sound.” She also advocates naturist holidays — staying close to home wherever possible, to cut down on fuel usage — but sometimes traveling to places where it is possible to leave the car behind and backpack or paddle naked into the wild...NYTimes

I think I've spotted a new source of income for our beleaguered ranchers.

El Rancho Nudo is on it's way.

Just don't tell the lady with the hoe in her hands.

Song Of The Day #070

Will you help me find a song?

When I was in high school or maybe a little older I had an LP with a fiddle breakdown on it named Look Sharp Be Sharp. It was based on the Gillete razor blade jingle that I would hear on Friday Night Fights.

I think it was on a Rural Rhythm LP, a cheap record label from whom I used to mail order albums.

Anyway, I just loved that fiddle breakdown. I think it was the only song on the LP that I liked.

I don't remember the fiddle player or the band (I'm pretty sure it was a bluegrass LP).

So, if you know the the band or where I can obtain this fiddle breakdown, please let me know. I will be forever greatful.

The first item is one of the old Gillette tv adds, followed by the look sharp march.

The second item is Look Sharp Be Sharp done up dixieland style, which comes a little closer to how the fiddle breakdown sounded.

Less Than 24 Percent of Guns Seized by Mexican Authorities in 2008 Were Traced Back to U.S.

Less than 24 percent of the guns seized last year by Mexican authorities, mostly from drug trafficking organizations, were traced back to the United States, according to data released in a report by the Government Accountability Office. Of the 30,000 guns seized by Mexican authorities in 2008, only 7,200, or approximately 24 percent, were submitted to the U.S. for tracing. Of those 7,200 firearms, 6,700 (or about 22 percent) were actually determined to have originated in the United States. The country of origin for the remaining 22,800 guns seized by Mexico that were not traced cannot be known. In addition, reported on April 2 that, according to an ATF spokesperson, the bureau does not actually count, acquire, inspect and warehouse the weapons confiscated in Mexico, but relies on the Mexican government to submit information on the guns such as the serial number, make, and model for e-tracing. Jess Ford, the GAO’s director of international affairs and trade, told that the calculations in the report about he flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico are based on the guns submitted for tracing during the observation period...CNSNews

Is the REAL ID revival bill, "PASS ID" a national ID?

With the move in the Senate to revive our moribund national ID law, the REAL ID Act, under the name “PASS ID,” it’s important to look at whether we’re still dealing with a national ID law. My assessment is that we are. First, PASS ID is modeled directly on REAL ID. The structure and major provisions of the two bills are the same. Just like REAL ID, PASS ID sets national standards for identity cards and drivers’ licenses, withholding federal recognition if they are not met. There is no precise definition of a national identification card or system, of course, but its elements are relatively easy to identify. First, it is national. That is, it is intended to be used throughout the country, and to be nationally uniform in its key elements. REAL ID and PASS ID have the exact same purpose - to create a nationally uniform identity system. Second, its possession or use is either practically or legally required. A card or system that is one of many options for proving identity or other information is not a national ID if people can decline to use it and still easily access goods, services, or infrastructure. But if law or regulation make it very difficult to avoid carrying or using a card, this presses it into the national ID category...CATO

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spy Satellite Program Is Eliminated

The Obama administration is planning to eliminate a spy satellite program at the Department of Homeland Security that had produced concerns about domestic spying, officials said. The program would have given state and local law enforcement officials access to high-resolution imagery from spy satellites to aid them in disaster relief efforts, bolster border security and help secure major events like the Super Bowl. The program, the National Applications Office, was first proposed two years ago by the Bush administration but had not yet begun operations. Civil libertarians and some influential lawmakers had criticized it. Officials said the homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, ordered a review of the program shortly after she was confirmed. The decision to close the office was first reported by The Associated Press. NYTimes

FBI Arrests Blogger for Allegedly Threatening Judges

A New Jersey man described as an Internet radio talk show host and blogger was arrested for allegedly threatening to kill three U.S. Appeals Court judges in Chicago who earlier this month upheld a law banning handguns. Hal Turner, 47, of North Bergen was arrested by U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents at his home today, according to a statement issued by Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. In the days after the judges’ June 2 decision to uphold a lower court’s dismissal of a National Rifle Association lawsuit challenging the ban, Turner posted on his Web site their names, photographs, phone numbers and work addresses, together with a picture of the courthouse delineating stanchions he called “anti-truck bomb barriers,” according to Fitzgerald. “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges deserve to be killed,” Turner allegedly said in one Web site posting, according to Fitzgerald. Threatening to kill a federal judge is punishable by as many as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the prosecutor said...Bloomberg

Climate Bill Set for Vote After Deal Is Reached

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a vote Friday on a sprawling climate-change bill, signaling the Democratic leadership's confidence that it can overcome objections from Farm Belt Democrats. Opponents and supporters of landmark climate legislation are ramping up their public-relations campaigns ahead of the planned vote. The Obama administration is pushing the measure as a job-creator, while critics, including many Republicans, are portraying the bill as an energy tax that could slow the economy. The legislation, co-sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D., Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.), had stalled last week because of opposition from Farm Belt Democrats concerned their states will face heavier costs under the proposed law to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. Discussions were still continuing Tuesday. Josh Syrjamaki, chief of staff for one of those Democrats, Minnesota Rep. Timothy Walz, said his boss hadn't yet given his support for the bill because he hadn't yet seen details of a deal. Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi, said in an email late Monday evening: "There are some issues still under discussion, but we are confident we can resolve them by the time the bill goes to the floor on Friday."...WSJ

Agreement on Energy Bill Reached by Peterson, Waxman

A major obstacle of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 appears to have been removed, as House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., announced that he and Energy Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., have reached an agreement that works for agriculture and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. "The climate change bill will include a strong agriculture offset program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will allow farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners to participate fully in a market-based carbon offset program," said Peterson. "This agreement also addresses concerns about international indirect land use provisions that unfairly restricted U.S. biofuels producers and exempts agriculture and forestry from the definition of a capped sector." It has been thought by many that a favorable vote on the legislation was unlikely until an agreement was reached by Peterson and Waxman...FarmFutures

On the Wild Border, A Revival of Nature

Between the United States and Mexico, where the Continental Divide bisects the deserts of Chihuahua and Sonora, lies one of the most vital wildlife corridors in the hemisphere. This is a big, unpeopled place, dominated by sprawling cattle ranches, home to lions, beavers, coyotes -- and plenty of dope smugglers. There is the rare black hawk and 400 species of bee. Within miles of each other, you might see parrots and bison, and also trash piles left by wandering migrants trying to cross over the international frontier. The Mexican government wants to reintroduce the gray wolf in the corridor in a project similar to the one that brought wolves back to Yellowstone National Park. Scientists have found jaguar here, and also drug runners with AK-47s leading a forced march of men carrying bales of marijuana. Austin, 67, is a well-to-do artist from the Upper East Side of New York who moved to the Southwest desert 25 years ago with her husband, Josiah, a Dallas investor. The couple bought a ranch in Arizona, then two more in Mexico. To recharge wetlands and revive rivers, the Austins and their ranch hands, with bulldozers, have erected thousands of low rock dams along the creek beds in Mexico, which usually run dry before the summer monsoons bring water back to the Sonoran desert all at once. "What we're doing is what nature would do if we weren't here," she said. The Austins are part of a growing movement of eco-ranchers along the border. The best known is the Malpai Borderlands Group along the Arizona-New Mexico state line, a coalition of landowners, scientists, environmentalists and the government working to protect endangered wildlife and endangered ranchers. Austin is beginning to organize a similar group in Mexico...WPost

U.S. Chamber Calls for Transparency on EPA's Endangerment Finding

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to exhibit transparency in moving forward with a rulemaking on regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, warning of the unprecedented cost to American businesses and families. Simultaneously, the Chamber petitioned the EPA for an "on the record" formal hearing, before a neutral party, to openly review the data the agency is using to justify its endangerment proposal. "The administration has imposed strict requirements for transparency in the regulatory process, however, in this case EPA has been anything but," said William Kovacs, the Chamber's senior vice president of Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs. "This regulation could impose the most significant cost on Americans than any other government program in history, yet on the key scientific data required to make the finding-specifically, the link between greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and so-called 'endangerment' of public health or welfare-EPA plays fast and loose with the facts." "In the endangerment proposal, EPA routinely ignores relevant, credible scientific information that contradicts its findings, including information generated by EPA's own staff," continued Kovacs. "If they're going to move forward with their regulatory cascade to regulate almost every aspect of the economy from lawn mowers to large churches and ranchers with over 25 cows, then they need to be open and transparent about the justification and impacts."...PressRelease

Justices Say Waste Can Be Dumped in Lake

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Clean Water Act does not prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from allowing mining waste to be dumped into rivers, streams and other waters. In a 6-to-3 decision that drew fierce criticism from environmentalists, the court said the Corps of Engineers had the authority to grant Coeur Alaska Inc., a gold mining company, permission to dump the waste known as slurry into Lower Slate Lake, north of Juneau. “We conclude that the corps was the appropriate agency to issue the permit and that the permit is lawful,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority. The corps permit, issued in 2005, said that 4.5 million tons of waste from the Kensington mine could be dumped into the lake even though it would obliterate life in its waters. The corps found that disposing of it there was less environmentally damaging than other options. Environmental advocacy organizations sued, saying the Bush administration was violating 30 years of tradition under the Clean Water Act in which such waste was regulated under the much more stringent standards of the federal Environment Protection Agency. In 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, agreed and invalidated the permit. The Supreme Court overturned that decision Monday in Coeur Alaska Inc. v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, No. 07-984, saying there was nothing in the Clean Water Act that prevented the corps from making the decision...NYTimes

Senator: U.S. needs 100 more nuclear power plants

Sen. Bob Bennett says the path to a clean energy future isn't by capping and trading carbon emissions, but by building, building, building. Bennett said Monday the nation needs to construct 100 new nuclear reactors by 2030 -- doubling the nation's current number of 104 plants -- if it is serious about slashing carbon emissions while still producing enough electricity to keep up with American needs. Bennett also brought together three other Republican senators and pro-nuclear energy witnesses to argue for constructing new nuke plants. "It's been my experience and my position...that one of the driving forces behind America's economic growth has been our access to cheap energy," Bennett said at a Republican-only hearing on energy development he organized. "If we're going to survive in the kind of economy we want, we need to have access to cheap energy." That means, Bennett says, reviving the idea of building new nuclear reactors, a move the United States hasn't made since 1977. He wasn't alone in that thought...SaltLakeTribune

Ranchers Attempt to Hold Off Army's Expansion in Colorado

The U.S. Army owns nearly 10 million acres of land across the U.S., and it wants more in remote southeastern Colorado, which it says is ideal for intense combat training. The problem is that much of that prairie is owned by ranchers who have run cattle across the plains for generations. And they have balked at turning over their rangeland to Uncle Sam. For three years now, local ranchers have battled the Army to a standstill, blocking a planned expansion of the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site, just north of the New Mexico border. That fight is reaching a crescendo, with the ranchers pushing Congress to permanently block the Army from expanding, potentially through eminent-domain claims. The ranchers have opened a second front with a federal lawsuit filed last year that aims to force the Army to do more environmental-impact studies before intensifying training drills on land it already owns. The current training site, created in the early 1980s, covers about 370 square miles and includes six rail spurs, a landing strip that can handle four C-130 aircraft at a time, and room to maneuver as many as 10,000 soldiers through live-fire drills with tanks and armored vehicles. But to support its modern fighting force, the Army says it needs nearly triple the space -- 1,025 square miles -- so brigade combat teams can practice defensive maneuvers, battalions can coordinate mock attacks with air support and special forces can drill in a separate zone. Southeast Colorado is considered ideal because it is convenient to several Army bases; the terrain simulates Middle East war zones; and it is so remote that troops can test night-vision gear without interference from city lights, according to a 2004 analysis prepared by Army officials at Fort Carson, some 120 miles to the north. That same analysis urged the Army to try to buy as much as seven million acres in an area that is now home to 17,000 residents. But an Army spokesman said that plan was never adopted by headquarters; the goal, he said, is to buy 418,000 acres to expand the maneuver site. The first phase calls for a 100,000-acre acquisition...WSJ

U.S. loans $8 billion to Ford, Nissan for green vehicles

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu presented Ford Motor Co. with $5.9 billion in loans today to help the automaker develop and manufacture a new generation of fuel-efficient vehicles. "The American innovation machine, when it revs up, is the greatest in the world," he said during a press conference here. "Today, we're putting that engine into gear." Chu also announced a $1.6 billion loan to Japan's Nissan Motor Co. to produce electric vehicles and batteries in Tennessee and a $465 million loan to California's Tesla Motors to produce a cheaper version of its electric vehicle, as well as powertrain components for Daimler AG...DetroitNews

Stimulus dollars to fund stimulus publicity signs

After U.S. taxpayers shelled out $1.1 trillion on stimulus legislation this year, the government plans to use stimulus money to post $300 signs next to each project hyping the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act...WND

The Politically Superior Ones are adept at self-promotion, using your money of course.

Can you think of something else to put on these signs?

Daryl Hannah, NASA scientist arrested at W.Va. protest

Actress Daryl Hannah, NASA scientist James Hansen and more than two dozen other mountaintop removal mining opponents have been arrested during a protest in southern West Virginia. State Police said about 30 people were charged Tuesday afternoon after they blocked State Route 3 near a Massey Energy subsidiary's coal processing plant in Raleigh County. They were among several hundred protesters who held a rally outside an elementary school that sits about 300 feet away from the plant's coal storage silo. After the rally, the crowd marched quietly to the plant and attempted to enter the property. They were blocked by several hundred coal miners chanting "Massey." Hannah, Hansen, former Rep. Ken Hechler and 27 others then sat on the road and were arrested on misdemeanor charges of obstruction and impeding traffic. AP

Washing machine that uses one cup of water

An environmentally-friendly washing machine developed in Britain that uses only one cup of water to clean clothes could be on sale next year. The appliance, which could save billions of litres of water a year, has been developed at the University of Leeds. It uses less than 10 per cent of the water of conventional machines and 30 per cent less energy by replacing most of the water with thousands of tiny reusable plastic beads to attract and absorb dirt under humid conditions. Xeros, the company behind the technology, will start selling the machine to commercial customers such as hotels and dry cleaners before taking the idea to ordinary household consumers...Telegraph

Consumers Say They Want Healthy, but Aren't Buying It

A note to food marketers: Consumers who say they want healthy options are unlikely to actually order off the healthy menu. "There's definitely a dichotomy between what people say they want and what they actually do when it comes to healthy restaurant eating," Maria Caranfa, a registered dietitian and director at Mintel Menu Insights, said in a statement. "Over eight in 10 adults told us it's very or somewhat important to them to eat healthy, but when it comes to dining out, most people are really looking for taste, texture and experience." According to Mintel, price was also a deterrent in selecting better-for-you meals. As cash-strapped consumers tighten their belts, they're choosing cheap and tasty comfort food. Mintel found that only one in five consumers rank a food's health attributes as an important factor when choosing dinner. But 77% of them thought about "taste," and 44% considered "hunger satisfaction." And a particular problem for restaurants: While roughly 75% of those surveyed said they would like to see more healthy options, only 51% order from those selections...AdvertisingAge

Imagine that: Price, taste and fulfillment influence a consumer's choice.

A real shocker to the Politically Superior Ones.

Alligators Found In Rio Grande

KFOX has a picture proving alligators live in the Rio Grande. The Texas Game Warden Ray Spears said they are just east of Fort Hancock in Hudspeth County and there isn't just one or two of them. “There were approximately six alligators that were observed, three of them that were in the 2-to 4-foot range, and about three of them in the 5-to 6-foot range,” Spears said. Spears said people have nothing to fear with these alligators especially since they are in a rural area. He believes someone dropped them off in the area. There is a chance the alligators could reproduce, but the warden said they will be monitoring the alligators to make sure there is no present danger. KFOX-TV

Grasshoppers invading central Utah

Grasshoppers, when leaping on Tony Atherley's front door, make a "pop" like the sound of cooking popcorn. Atherley has been hearing thousands of pops since June 1, when the grasshoppers infested his Pine Canyon neighborhood, about four miles northeast of Tooele. One neighborhood child is so afraid of the swarms of grasshoppers outside her bedroom window that she sleeps away from home. Atherley's 4-year-old daughter was so scared when the grasshoppers first arrived that she asked her parents to carry her into the house. Swarms of grasshoppers infest Utah agricultural lands in 10-year cycles, and by all accounts, the summer of 2009 is the beginning of another cycle in central Utah — the Uintah Basin and Sanpepte, Millard, Sevier and Tooele counties. For the next few summers, the grasshopper population will increase until it peaks, said Clint Burfitt, an entomologist with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Shortly after the grasshopper population peaks, they get infected with a deadly fungus, and the population quickly drops off. The cycle will begin again in seven years...DeseretNews

Council seeks ordinance that doesn't conflict with grazing rights

The Fernley City Council is seeking common ground between cattle ranchers who graze their livestock in grazing allotments on Bureau of Land Management areas and property owners who live near those grazing areas. Both Councilmen Cal Eilrich and Don Parsons expressed concerns about the city's existing livestock at large ordinance due to the state of Nevada being designated a "fence out state," meaning that property owners who own land adjacent to open grazing range land must erect a fence to keep the livestock off their property. In April, residents who live in the Fernley Highlands complained that cattle owned by Dellis Bone were damaging their property, fences, landscaping and a host of other items. According to City Parks Director Keith Penner's staff report, "The cattle belong to the current holder of the Truckee-Virginia Allotment sold by the Bureau of Land management to Mr. Dellis Bone," he also reported about 44 square miles of BLM property used as grazing land is within the city limits...RenoGazetteJournal

Trent Loos Ag Talk Dominates Gala

Communication between America’s farmers and those not in the farming community, as well as the importance of raising future generations of hard-working rural farmers, were emphasized by featured speaker Trent Loos at the 2009 Beef and Wine Gala. Loos, a radio and television personality of the programs “Loos Tales” and “Loos Tales TV,” used humor, touching stories and audience interaction to entertain those attending the gala , held at the Riverfront Event Center in downtown Yankton Tuesday. He said his quest for the past nine years has been to share the stories of the people and places in rural America while emphasizing the importance of domestic food supply as a means of national security. “If we do not have someone tending to the land and the animals and the natural resources and the food, pharmaceuticals and fuel, then mankind will cease to exist,” he said. A current problem in the United State, Loos said, is trying to communicate the business of the agricultural industry to those not in it. Remembering to change the agricultural language and lingo when speaking to a non-farming individual is key to communication, he said. “Many times, we don’t even communicate in a language that people outside of our small rural communities will understand,” said Loos, who is a Nebraska rancher. “And then we say, ‘Why is it people don’t understand us?’”...YanktonPress

Two black buffaloes are born on North Fork farm

According to Native American culture, white buffaloes are considered to be sacred signs of spiritual importance. That association most likely had to do with their rarity; the National Bison Association estimates that only one out of every 10 million buffalo are born white. But very little is known about their polar opposites on the color spectrum: the black buffalo. Pat Jamieson, the outdoor recreation planner for the National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge in Moiese, Montana, said that is most likely due to the fact that black buffaloes are even rarer than their albino-looking counterparts. And Eva Fearn of the Wildlife Conservation Society Institute at the Bronx Zoo explained that black buffalo are so unusual that there are no tangible statistics that document their birth rate. So, it is easy to imagine Edwin Tuccio’s surprise when, a few weeks ago, he discovered that two black bison were born on his 250-acre North Quarter Farm in Riverhead...27east

Editor of American Cowboy to accept award

Jesse Mullins, editor-in-chief of American Cowboy magazine, will accept the Ogden Pioneer Days Spirit of the West Award next month. American Cowboy, a Western lifestyle magazine, initiated the National Day of the American Cowboy campaign in 2004 to generate public awareness and support for the passage of a permanent holiday honoring the cowboy. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives has approved a resolution each year proclaiming the fourth Saturday of July as a day to commemorate cowboy and Western heritage, as well as to honor working cowboys and ranchers, Western musicians and artists, cowboy poets, and others who continue to contribute to that culture. Mullins, of Abilene, Texas, was a reporter and freelance writer in the early years of his career. He has been editor-in-chief of America Cowboy since its inception 15 years ago...DeseretNews

Song Of The Day #069

Many may not be aware of what an accomplished mandolin player Jethro Burns was. Yes that same Jethro of Homer & Jethro fame.

Here he is doing Nola. It's available, along with 21 other tunes on his The Puritan Sessions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Environmentalists baffled by Obama's strategy

As a candidate for president, Barack Obama wooed environmentalists with a promise to "support and defend" pristine national forest land from road building and other development that had been pushed by the George W. Bush administration. But five months into Obama's presidency, the new administration is actively opposing those protections on about 60 million acres of federal woodlands in a case being considered by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The roadless issue is one of several instances of the administration defending in court environmental policies that it once vowed to end. Its position has been a disappointment to environmentalists who had hoped for decisive action in rolling back Bush-era policies. Administration officials say that in some cases, they are defending the policies to prevent the courts from settling the issues -- a prospect that would restrict the government's ability to set the environmental agenda. They say the task of setting policy is better left to government agencies and legislators. Still, the strategy has puzzled some environmentalists because the administration has used the courts to backpedal from Bush policies in some areas, including spotted owl protection, energy efficiency standards and hazardous-waste burning...LATimes

Army Corps of Engineers takes on bold task: Moving flood-prone Ky. town to higher ground

The trucks have come again to haul away soaked sofas and waterlogged mattresses. Cars that weren't moved soon enough have been towed away, their engines and interiors fouled. The 600 people who remain in this once-bustling coal town are used to it. Martin has flooded no fewer than 37 times since 1862 — four in the past decade alone. Soon, they hope, the trucks will come to move their town to higher ground. The mammoth undertaking has been in the works for the past decade and will take another 10 years and $100 million to complete. The Army Corps of Engineers plans to save Martin by raising its businesses and homes out of the reach of the stream that has wreaked so much havoc over the years. Already, contractors have carved out a flat spot on a mountainside overlooking downtown that is large enough to accommodate key government structures, including the fire department, city hall, post office, and the only school in town. The aging buildings, weakened by the intermittent soakings, won't be moved to the new site. Instead, they'll be razed and replaced with new ones...AP

HT: Paul Gessing

Coalition petitioning UN for Glacier Park protections

Glacier National Park and its neighbor to the north are endangered by mining proposals, and the international community must intervene to protect the region's natural and cultural heritage. That's the message being delivered this week by tribal leaders, community organizers, business interests and conservationists, whose concerns will be aired at the 33rd annual meeting of the United Nations World Heritage Committee. “Our petition,” said Will Hammerquist, “asks the World Heritage Committee to hear the concerns of local communities and indigenous peoples by recognizing the threat these projects pose to a globally significant ecosystem.” Hammerquist works for the National Parks Conservation Association, which joined a dozen other groups in petitioning for the endangered status. Glacier, along with adjacent Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, was named a World Heritage Site in 1995, by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. At the time, UNESCO recognized the region for its “outstanding universal value.” As two of the 157 signatories to the World Heritage treaty, Hammerquist said, both the United States and Canada accepted certain conservation obligations. But Canada has failed to meet those, he said, by moving ahead with controversial coal and coalbed methane energy development plans in southeastern British Columbia, on the borders of the parks...Missoulian

Rainbows have permit this year – allegedly

Not in Sublette County – this time they are congregating in central New Mexico, and this time they have a permit. Every year, members of the Rainbow Family of Living Light drive, bike, walk and hitchhike to the North American gathering during the first week of July. This year’s gathering is being held near the quiet ranch town of Cuba, N.M., elevation 6,906, population 800. The Forest Service (FS) estimates 600 Rainbows have already arrived in the Santa Fe National Forest. Last year, many Sublette County residents complained when a U.S. Department of Agriculture official allowed the Rainbows to stage a gathering without a permit. But this year things have changed, according to FS Public Information Officer Lawrence Lujan. “We are following our Forest Service policy to require a commercial use permit for 75 participants and above,” Lujan said. “And (the Rainbows) have secured a permit.” Lujan said his agency was informed of the site selection less than three weeks ago. The signed non-commercial permit was issued on June 13. Lujan refused to name the permit holder, saying the information was being withheld to protect the individual’s privacy. Last year, FS representatives met with Sublette County residents and Rainbow Family members two weeks prior to the gathering. Aside from the permit issue, residents were indignant to learn the Rainbows’ site interfered with a Boy Scout Order of the Arrow project in the same location. The Scouts had planned their project many months in advance while the Rainbows made their site selection in the second week of June without consulting the FS...Examiner

120 citations, seven arrests at Rainbow gathering

The U.S. Attorney's Office agreed to reduce fines and drop criminal liability charges filed Monday against more than 50 people attending the annual Rainbow Family gathering in the Santa Fe National Forest near Cuba, N.M., according to one of the pro bono attorneys representing the defendants. Since June 14, Forest Service law-enforcement officers reported 320 incidents at the Rainbow gathering, including seven arrests and 120 notices of violation for offenses ranging from drug possession to not wearing seat belts, according to Forest Service spokesman Lawrence Lujan. The rest were warnings. Some of the people arrested were local residents from nearby communities, however, and not Rainbow gatherers, according to Albuquerque attorney John McCall, who represented some of the defendants. "We had some local ranchers who were driving their trucks, chasing down their cows, an open (alcohol) container between their knees and not wearing their seat belts," McCall said. An estimated 1,500 people were already camped in the Parque Venado east of Cuba by Monday afternoon, with more arriving daily. Between 10,000 and 12,000 people are expected for the main Rainbow Family gathering July 1-7...NewMexican

The Forest Service has rules against open containers, not using seat belts, and riding in the back of a truck? I thought maybe these federal employees were cross-commisioned, but the charges were handled in federal magistrate court by the U.S. Attorney, so they must be federal infractions.

Prosecutors say NV water officials aware of fraud

A northern Nevada irrigation district official under indictment on federal fraud charges conceded he knew water deliveries to farmers were being falsified, a federal prosecutor and government agent said in court documents. David Overvold, a project manager for the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, acknowledged to investigators that the practice “has been going on for a while,” and he did nothing to stop it, court records show. But Overvold maintained he never directly ordered any employees to “write-off” water, according to Robert Eric May, a special agent for the U.S. Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General. Overvold, the district’s lawyer, Lyman McConnell and two irrigation district employees – John Baker and Shelby Cecil – were named in a 10-count indictment handed up in December 2008 by a federal grand jury in Reno. Cecil since has died. Federal prosecutors accuse them of carrying out a scheme from 2000-05 to alter water delivery data to earn special “efficiency credits” that would entitle the district to more water and reduce a court-ordered water debt owed to the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe...AP

Garfield County officials want to take a closer look at Rulison nuclear blast site

Garfield County officials believe the best way to gauge the Rulison nuclear blast site's potential danger is to get in close and drill, inside the half-mile boundary set by the U.S. Department of Energy as the closest that drilling should be allowed. But the DOE has yet to respond to the idea, which was first suggested to a federal official more than a year ago. The Rulison blast site is where, in 1969, the U.S. Department of Energy detonated a 43-kiloton atomic device at a depth of 8,426 feet in an effort to free up deeply buried fields of natural gas and oil. The blast, which took place about 30 miles west of Glenwood Springs, was hailed as a potential peaceful use for nuclear energy. The blast produced less gas than expected when it fractured the sandstone formations, though, and the gas that was produced was unusable because it was radioactive, and the contamination could not be removed. The Garfield County commissioners, along with several Colorado congressmen, recently asked the DOE to determine how close drillers can come safely to the radioactive cavern created by the blast...PostIndependent

BLM sets wild horse roundup

Federal officials are planning a massive roundup of nearly 1,000 wild horse later this year in an effort to reduce populations on Wyoming rangelands, according to Bureau of Land Management officials. The agency's Rawlins and Lander field offices are proposing to gather approximately 948 horses from five different herd management areas that are collectively known as the Red Desert Complex, BLM wild horse and burro specialist Melanie Gilbert said in a scoping notice. The complex includes the Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain, Green Mountain, Stewart Creek and Lost Creek herd management areas. Officials said the gathering operations will include helicopter drive trapping, which utilizes a helicopter and on-the-ground wranglers to herd wild horses into a temporary trap. Gathering is scheduled to start on or about Oct. 1, according to plans. The project may also utilize a fertility control vaccine...StarTribune

Planet Saver

The Nature Conservancy's mission is to protect the Earth's biodiversity by conserving essential land and water. The group has safeguarded more than 119 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers. The organization, founded in 1951 as the Ecologists Union, is based in Washington. It employs approximately 3,500 people and has programs in all 50 states plus Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and Africa. The nonprofit group has an operating budget of $450 million derived mostly from contributions and income from endowments. The conservancy boasts more than 1 million members. The conservancy's approach has been to establish legal protection for specific lands and waters of biological diversity. Strategies include securing legal title and using conservation easements, land registries and public-land designations. Helping to develop conservation-friendly public policies and market incentives, such as debt-for-nature swaps or payments for ecosystem services, is also on the legal team's plate. The team includes 48 attorneys among a staff of 115. The organization has invested primarily in in-house counsel; only 25 percent of the legal work goes

EPA Climate Change Ruling Would be a Stimulus for Lawyers--And No One Else

A formal government proclamation that greenhouse gases are a threat to public health and welfare, and are thus subject to the Clean Air Act, is a dream come true for plaintiffs' lawyers and litigious professional activists. Up to now, litigation has thus far, thankfully, played a minor role in addressing climate change. Courts have largely rebuffed lawsuits by state attorneys general alleging that greenhouse gas emitters were a "public nuisance." (A $400 million nuisance and conspiracy suit filed against 23 energy companies by an entire Alaskan village remains undecided.) But the slow drip of climate change lawsuits is about to become a deluge, drowning the judiciary and thousands of businesses, in a tsunami of litigation. Swiss Re, a leading insurance company, recently opined that global warming suits will explode and expand faster than asbestos litigation. The EPA's endangerment finding will be cited in countless class actions and other suits alleging that productive economic activity caused health problems or led to damaging heat, flooding, drought, wildfires, or the spread of pathogens. The EPA's proposal makes no effort to quantify the risk of any of these potential outcomes of global warming, or to specify a direct health effect from them. This won't, of course, stop creative plaintiffs' lawyers from using EPA's finding to sow fear or prevent judges and juries from favorably noting the government determination in liability suits. Just as with asbestos liability, exposure to climate change litigation will be spread throughout the economy, with the small scale rancher or farmer, the corner restaurant, and the community nonprofit hospital bearing the brunt of the burden...USNews

Video: He's Barack Obama 2:06

Checkout how easily he cures global warming. The last minute is a jib jab commercial.

New Wind Incentive Good for Landowners

A new federal wind incentive signed into law will make it more feasible for farmers and ranchers to own wind turbines instead, says Cole Gustafson, NDSU biofuels economist. The law allows allows U.S. taxpayers to deduct 30% of the cost for installing new wind energy systems through the year 2016 or obtain a 30 percent direct grant if the project is completed by 2012. Landowners who participate have to give up the production tax credit, which has been a major catalyst for wind development. Last year, the PTC provided a .021 cent per kilowatt-hour tax credit for electricity produced by a wind tower for 10 years after it was placed in service. However, many landowners didn't have sufficient income to utilize fully the PTCs that were generated. Therefore, landowners typically partnered with high-income external investors who could claim all of the credits during the 10- year project life. This source of investment capital was commonly referred to as "tax equity" financing. The new legislation provides commercial businesses (including farmers and ranchers) the opportunity to receive this incentive in the form of an immediate investment tax credit or grant. These commercial businesses no longer will have to search for external tax equity partners. Rural small businesses and agricultural producers can receive the grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Energy for America Program. DakotaFarmer

News Conference to address seizure of Herman Schumacher's home by Tyson Fresh Meats

Directed by a court order obtained by Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. (Tyson), the U.S. Marshals Service on June 11, 2009, posted a “No Trespassing” sign and “Warning” on the front door of the home of South Dakota rancher and cattle feeder Herman Schumacher. Tyson obtained a judgment against Schumacher because Schumacher tried to protect his fellow cattle producers by stopping Tyson from violating the Packers and Stockyards Act. A federal jury unanimously sided with Schumacher, but then a three-judge panel for the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (8th Circuit) overturned the jury’s decision. So, in a bizarre twist, Schumacher must now pay Tyson $15,881.38 or Tyson will use the U.S. judicial system to finalize the seizure of Schumacher’s home. “This retaliatory action against Schumacher, who courageously did what USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) was supposed to do but refused to do, is an extreme injustice,” said R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry. “We cannot sit back and allow Tyson to intimidate U.S. cattle producers and destroy our markets. R-CALF USA is sponsoring this news conference to help protect Schumacher’s property against Tyson’s advances, as well as to highlight the urgent need to end – once and for all – the market-manipulating practices of the four largest packers who together control approximately 88 percent of the U.S. fed cattle market.”...OpEdNews

HSUS Shows Its True Colors

The newest blog manifesto by Wayne Pacelle, animal-savior-in-chief at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), is just a reminder that HSUS has more in common with PETA than with your local animal shelter. Pacelle writes: Gourmet magazine is reporting that people are reducing to some degree their consumption of meat products. Given the inordinately high per capita consumption of animal products in America, this is good news for animals, the environment, and public health. The HSUS is a big tent organization, and we support people who want to switch to more humanely raised animal products, reduce the amount of meat in their diets, or try a vegetarian lifestyle—but the reduction of meat consumption is one of the best things we can do for the planet given how unsustainable the current levels of factory farming are. For a so-called “humane society,” HSUS sure seems concerned with what you eat. Pacelle's 'Go Veg' blog posts make it easy to see beyond his group's feel-good name: HSUS’s real agenda has precious little to do with helping shelter animals and a lot to do with advancing the fringe goals of animal-rights activists...CFCF

Canadian scientists breeding cows that burp less

Canadian scientists are breeding a special type of cow designed to burp less, a breakthrough that could reduce a big source of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. Cows are responsible for nearly three-quarters of total methane emissions, according to Environment Canada. Most of the gas comes from bovine burps, which are 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Stephen Moore, a professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, is examining the genes responsible for methane produced from a cow's four stomachs in order to breed more efficient, environmentally friendly cows. The professor of agricultural, food and nutritional science completed primary tests using traditional techniques to breed efficient animals that produce 25 percent less methane than less efficient animals...Reuters

Song Of The Day #068

The Radio Ranch is running late this morning, but we'll put up a song by The Arizona Yodeler, Kenny Roberts.

The tune is The Yodel Polka, recorded in 1952 and available on his CD Jumpin' & Yodelin'.

I'll tell you more about Roberts at a later date.

TSA's express security grounded

More than 250,000 frequent fliers who pay $200 a year to speed through airport security lines lost that privilege Monday when a company that runs the expedited lines went out of business. Verified Identity Pass, which operates its Clear program in 18 airports, said Monday that it would shut operations at every airport by 2 a.m. ET today. The program started at Orlando International Airport in 2005 and grew to major hubs such as Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco and Washington Dulles. A statement on Verified's website said the company "had been unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations." There was no information about whether enrollees would get refunds. The announcement is a huge blow to lengthy efforts by travel groups and Congress to ease airport screening for "trusted travelers" who clear a background check...USAToday

GAO Cites Gun Sales to Those on Watch List

People named on the government's terrorism watch list have successfully purchased firearms hundreds of times since 2004, government investigators reported yesterday. In one case, a known or suspected terrorist was able to obtain an explosives license, the Government Accountability Office reported. U.S. lawmakers requested the audit to show how people on the watch list can be stopped from boarding airplanes but not from buying guns. Under federal law, licensed firearms dealers must request an FBI background check for each buyer but cannot legally stop a purchase solely because someone is on the watch list. The study found that people on the list purchased firearms 865 times in 963 attempts over a five-year period ending in February. Those who were denied gun purchases were disqualified for other reasons, such as a felony conviction, a drug violation or being an illegal immigrant...WPost

Homeland Security drone patrolling Northern NY

A monitor inside an operations trailer shows a close-up view of a boat skimming across the water on Lake Ontario. The image was taken from an unmanned aircraft more than three miles away. A Predator B Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) has been temporarily based at Fort Drum since early June in an experiment by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office. The Department of Homeland Security is using the extensive restricted air space over Fort Drum to test whether the drone could be a good fit along this stretch of the northern border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has five of the aircraft but so far none of them based permanently in the Northeast. The Predator will operate out of Fort Drum for about three weeks for testing and training, and to evaluate its use to law enforcement. John Stanton, director of CPB's Office of Air and Marine, said state, provincial and local law enforcement agencies were quick to take up the offer of added surveillance of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. "So while we were flying, we were asked by our partner law enforcement agencies if we would be kind enough to be on the lookout for suspicious activities," Stanton said...NewsWatch50

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Mexico has 1st case of Vesicular Stomatitis

June 22, 2009

Vesicular Stomatitis-Equine

USDA has just notified New Mexico that a horse in De Baca county has been confirmed as positive for the New Jersey strain of Vesicular Stomatitis. The premises has been under quarantine since June 18, 2009. No other horses have been exhibiting signs. At this time there are no other investigations.

New Mexico has along history of this disease, Veterinarians around the state are well versed in reporting the disease. New Mexico will follow USDA guidelines as given in VS memo 555.17, May 30 2007. .

Every effort will be made to assure that no animals exhibiting symptoms will be allowed to move. Sale Barns, Race Track and Event Veterinarians will be on notice to exercise due diligence.

Dave Fly, D.V.M.
State Veterinarian
New Mexico

Food safety bill clarified

A COMPREHENSIVE bill to reform the Food & Drug Administration's authority on food safety cleared the House Energy & Commerce Committee on a voice vote last Wednesday, and it now heads to the House floor for action. The bill was praised by Democrats and Republicans alike. They noted the committee's leadership worked with both sides of the aisle and stakeholders to forge compromises that drew bipartisan support. Many called it a "model" of bipartisan collaboration for dealing with politically sensitive issues. The committee vote came on a new 133-page version of the bill, which, as unveiled June 17, is a substitute for previous versions. The substitute included compromises that were agreed upon in the wake of an early-June markup of the bill in the health subcommittee. In what was a major issue, the bill survived an attempt to add language that would ban the subtherapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock production. That amendment was offered by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.) to give voice to the issue, but she withdrew it without pressing for a vote. House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D., Cal.) pledged to support future action on antimicrobial resistance but praised Schakowsky for withdrawing the amendment from the food safety bill, noting that "it is contentious, and a compromise could not be reached for this markup." Waxman's committee expects to take up a comprehensive bill to reform FDA's authority on drugs and medical devices later this year. An animal health industry insider told Feedstuffs any bill that deals with FDA's authorities is a potential target for the inclusion of amendments that attempt to ban the subtherapeutic use of livestock antibiotics. That could include the current bill on health care reform that is moving in the Senate...Feedstuffs

Conservation wave builds in the West

Craning his neck to see over the small airplane's instrument panel, Ron Gardiner points out the path Spanish explorers had to take around the deep crevasse that cuts through the center of northern New Mexico. To the west of the famous Rio Grande gorge and its towering basalt cliffs is a broad plateau of sagebrush, native grass and remnants of the ancient volcanoes that helped form this rugged landscape. Herds of elk, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and golden eagles call it home. "This is one of the last undeveloped tracts in the Southwest," said Gardiner, a water policy consultant who is among those who have been spearheading the decades-old effort to protect the area. The push to set aside nearly 370 square miles as the El Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area is part of a new wave of congressional proposals aimed at protecting more than 34 million acres of public land across the West...AP

New Scientific Assessment Predicts Massive Droughts For New Mexico

Today, 13 government science agencies issued the most definitive scientific assessment to date of the impacts of global warming on the United States and reinforced the urgency of acting now to reduce pollution. The story the report tells for New Mexico is one of more extreme heat waves, more drought, reduced snowpack in winter and river flows in summer, if global warming pollution levels are not dramatically and rapidly cut. According to Environment New Mexico, the report also tells another story – one of the opportunity to avert disaster by converting to a clean energy economy. The report found that global warming has already raised average temperatures in New Mexico, and that recent warming in the Southwest is among the most rapid in the nation. If global warming pollution continues under the report’s high emissions scenario, scientists expect New Mexico to experience the following impacts: - Massive droughts, which will have a catastrophic effect on agriculture - Extreme heat waves - Reduced snowpack, which will have a devastating effect on the ski industry...LocalDialogue

New Forest Service chief vows quick spending of stimulus money

New Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell says he will move quickly to ensure that his agency spends its $1.15 billion share of federal economic stimulus funding. The Forest Service has spent $643 million of its stimulus money so far, including $228 million in projects announced this month to repair forest roads and bridges in 31 states. Tidwell said even more projects should be approved in coming weeks...AP

Whew, I was so afraid they wouldn't get it all spent.

I wonder how much is being spent on range improvements?

Salazar Names Sylvia V. Baca Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today named Sylvia V. Baca, a senior public and private sector manager in energy and environmental policy and programs, as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. The appointment does not require Senate confirmation. From 1995 to 2001, Baca served as the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the Department of the Interior, where she was the principal policy advisor to the Secretary of the Interior for environmentally responsible stewardship of public lands and resources. She was responsible for the development of national policy and management direction of the Bureau of Land Management, Minerals Management Service and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. Baca held several senior positions in New Mexico government, including director of Finance and Management for the City of Albuquerque, Senior Fiscal Analyst with the Legislative Finance Committee and director of the New Mexico Minority and Small-Business Development program...PressRelease

$3.4 million stimulus project to protect turtles called wasteful

Biologist Matt Aresco has been carrying a big burden for years. He's made it his mission to save thousands of turtles from near-certain death on one of the worst turtle-killing highways in America, U.S. Route 27 just north of Tallahassee, Florida. But what sounds unreal to some in Washington is the solution to the turtle trouble: $3.4 million in federal stimulus money to build a series of walls and tunnels under the highway so the turtles and other creatures don't have to take on the cars and trucks roaring overhead. U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, highlighted the turtle crossing in a blistering report on what he called the 100 worst projects in the stimulus bill. "They are wasteful projects, and most of us don't want to steal money from our grandkids to do something that's really stupid right now," he said...CNN

West Virginia names coal as its official state rock

The black bear, the Golden Delicious apple, and Monongahela silt loam now have a new member in their ranks. Last week, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin signed a House of Delegates resolution adding coal to the list of official state symbols. The resolution, which was introduced by 46 sponsors and passed by a vote of 96 to 0, notes that the coal industry is an “integral part of the economic and social fabric of the state” and that “Bituminous Coal is hereby designated and declared to be the official state rock.” The resolution makes no mention of coal’s other varieties – lignite, anthracite, and graphite – suggesting that they will continue to be classified by the state as nonofficial rocks...brightgreenblog

Arraignment Set in Mustang Cruelty Case

The operator of a Nebraska training ranch and sanctuary for Bureau of Land Management mustangs and burros has waived his right to preliminary hearing and will be arraigned on more than 100 animal cruelty counts in Morrill County District Court on July 14. Jason Meduna, operator of the 3-Strikes Ranch in Alliance, Neb., is charged with 149 counts of class 4 felony animal abandonment and cruel animal neglect resulting in injury or death. The charges stem from authorities' seizure of 211 allegedly emaciated mustangs, burros, and mules from the ranch, along with the discovery of an additional 74 carcasses. Each charge penalties of up to 5 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines...TheHorse

Farmer Brown Fights Back

To all appearances, green special interests are on a roll. They have managed to get committed environmentalists appointed to key congressional committees and regulatory positions. They have a president in the White House who agrees on the broad contours of their agenda. They have already won increased fuel economy regulations, restrictions on drilling for oil and gas in the West, and billions of dollars of subsidies for wind and solar power. But their hot streak may soon run into some trouble. Why? Because they have provoked the most powerful special interest in congressional history: farmers. These are the same folks who once convinced Congress to pay them to grow nothing. Now they are holding hostage legislation to fight so-called climate change. Farmers in developing countries are clear-cutting rain forests to make room for arable land to grow crops and meet global demand. According to many scientists, these land-use changes result in massive emissions of greenhouse gases. Environmentalists campaigned to include these "indirect" emissions in the Environmental Protection Agency's calculation of ethanol's "lifecycle emissions." It's an important distinction, because in 2007, Congress also imposed a requirement that most new ethanol production should produce 20 percent less "lifecycle" greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline. If such emissions are taken into account, much of the ethanol produced from corn could fail to meet Congress's requirements. Farm special interests lobbied fiercely against including indirect emissions, arguing that the science was inexact. The environmentalists prevailed. In early May of this year, the EPA announced it would include the controversial emissions in its calculation of ethanol's lifecycle emissions. Now the farm lobby is hitting back. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Colin Peterson exploded in a hearing in late May, declaring the EPA is going to "kill" the ethanol industry...CEI

A Bluegrass Debutante, A High School Graduate

In the past three weeks, Sarah Jarosz has hit some big milestones. She turned 18. She graduated from high school. And her debut album, Song Up in Her Head, got reviewed in Rolling Stone, where she was dubbed "a contemporary-bluegrass prodigy." Jarosz has been playing mandolin since she was 10. In the years since, she's also picked up banjo and guitar, and become a songwriter. "A lot of the songs on my CD — there's a lot of questions in the lyrics," she says. "And I think that's reflective of my age and the curiosity that I have about everything." She gave a few brief demonstrations of her songs, plus a cover of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy." Jarosz also spoke with host Guy Raz about balancing a career in music and being a teenager. "Many times it would feel as if there were two lives going on," she says. "But sometimes they would coincide with each other — in calculus class." NPR

Family keeps digging for centuries-old truth

The small band of travelers rode north on the Natchez Trace, winding through the Tennessee wilderness en route to Washington, D.C. Leading them was Meriwether Lewis, who just three years earlier had helped blaze a trail to the Pacific Ocean, cementing his fame and power in a young America. On this journey in October 1809, Lewis' heart was heavy with problems. He was sick and in financial straits. The task of completing his Lewis and Clark Expedition journals weighed on the 35-year-old explorer, as did the politics of the day. He and a pair of servants stopped at a two-room inn made of logs, on the trace about 60 miles from Nashville. Hours after they settled in, two shots rang out in the night. By morning, Lewis was dead, and a 200-year mystery was born: Did he take his own life, or did thieves or political enemies murder him? Lewis' modern-day relatives have spent years seeking permission from a reluctant federal government to remove his body from its Tennessee grave, examine it and answer the question once and for all. Now they're pushing even harder — hiring a publicist, launching a Web site and opening new lines of dialogue with the National Park Service, the agency that would permit the exhumation...Tennessean

Santa Maria Valley schoolhouse has roots dating back to 1875

Wanting to build a school closer to home in order keep their children from making the long trek to the Pleasant Valley School, the residents of the western part of town formed the Agricola School District in 1875. L.W. Blosser was chairman of the first board of trustees, while William Laird Adam served as secretary. The first recorded minutes, dated July 1, 1891, show that the board employed S.B. Schauer to teach a four-month term at a salary of $65 per month. Eloise F. Lawrence was offered the job of teaching the following five-month term for $60 per month, but when she learned that janitorial and librarian services were a part of her job, she turned the offer down. Sophia Fauntleroy took the job and remained at school for the rest of the year. When an addition to the school was built in September of 1898 at a cost of $410, trustees Chaffin and Adam personally assumed the lumber bill in the amount of $92.60 as a gift to the school district. Disbursements during the 1894-95 year showed a $10 payment for two cords of wood, and an $11 payment for the hauling of 44 barrels of water...Santa MariaTimes

Song Of The Day #067

Most are familiar with Johnny Horton hits generated after he signed with Columbia Records in 1955. First came his "honky tonk" era, with hits like Honky Tonk Man, and then his "historical" era, with hits like The Battle Of New Orleans.

Some may not know that prior to 1955 he recorded on Abbot and then Mercury records, and they were great pure country recordings. Today's selection on Ranch Radio is one of those early recordings, Betty Lorraine from 1952. It's available on the 4 CD box set The Early Years.