Friday, April 02, 2010

Feds halt fast-track drilling

The U.S. Department of the Interior moved to halt fast-track approvals for drilling across the Rocky Mountains in a legal settlement reached just hours before President Barack Obama's announcement Wednesday that his administration will open offshore oil and gas reserves to development. That suit was brought in Salt Lake City federal court in 2008 by the Wilderness Society and other conservation groups that challenged the Bush administration's interpretation of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which allowed federal land managers in some cases to issue fast-track drilling permits without a full environmental review. The U.S. attorney's office in Salt Lake City confirmed Wednesday that the settlement all but closes the loophole that approved nearly 7,000 oil and gas development projects from 2006 to 2008. Most of the fast-tracked projects were approved in Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. Bruce Pendery, an attorney for the Wyoming Outdoor Council, said that under the settlement, the Interior Department has agreed not to use fast-track permitting in areas with "extraordinary circumstances," such as places considered ecologically significant. In addition, the federal Bureau of Land Management will halt use of so-called categorical exclusions to approve oil and gas projects pending the release of new guidelines, said Melodie Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Salt Lake City...more

Since the feds settled, the enviros will get their attorneys fees and go sue someplace else.

Official asks for review of Forest Service's ban on nighttime helicopter water drops

Local Rep. Adam Schiff is calling for a congressional subcommittee to review the U.S. Forest Service's ban on using nighttime helicopter flights to fight wildfires. On Thursday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich praised Schiff's efforts while strongly criticizing the Forest Service's decision last August to keep helicopters grounded during the first hours of the Station Fire. "This issue is vital, absolutely vital for the people who live near the borders with the mountains and forest," Tony Bell, Antonovich's spokesman, said, adding the ban on night flights contributed to the Station Fire spreading to over 160,000 acres. Two firefighters died while fighting the Station Fire. Hillsides denuded by the fire triggered repeated mud slides this past winter that destroyed or damaged about 100 homes. And the county has spent more than $50 million on mudslide cleanup and storm preparations, Bell noted. Schiff, D-Pasadena, said in a news release Tuesday questions about the Forest Service's decision to keep helicopters on the ground as the Station Fire burned prompted him to call for the policy review. He asked the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies to include the review as part of its bill that includes funding for the Forest Service for 2011. Specifically, Schiff wants the subcommittee to look at whether the policy banning night flights should be repealed and how...more

Idaho wolf hunt draws to close

As the nation's first regulated public wolf hunt in decades drew to a close, Idaho wildlife managers credited sportsmen for helping stabilize a species that was growing rapidly across the Northern Rockies and lived up to its billing as an elusive, cunning target. Idaho's seven-month season ended at dusk Wednesday, with the tally showing hunters bagged 185 wolves, short of the 220-wolf limit set by the state last year. Already, wildlife officials in Idaho and Montana are making plans to expand quotas for next season and give hunters more advantages for tracking and killing a species that has been growing in Idaho by an average of 20 percent a year. Idaho officials praised the hunt Wednesday, claiming the way it was managed and the goals it achieved demonstrate that states can effectively and responsibly manage a species the federal government spent millions of dollars over the last 15 years restoring in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming...read more

Arguments heard over liability in bear attack which kills boy

An attorney for the family of a Utah boy killed by a black bear told the state Supreme Court on Wednesday that wildlife officials didn't do enough to warn them to steer clear of an area where the troublesome bear had been seen earlier. In a special session of the Utah Supreme Court at the University of Utah, state officials argued immunity on several fronts, including that the bears are a "natural condition" on public land, a distinction that shields the state from liability. A state judge last year dismissed a negligence suit filed against the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources by the family of Samuel Ives, the 11-year-old who was pulled out of his tent by a black bear in American Fork Canyon in 2007. The bear had caused problems in the same area earlier that day. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources called it a "level 3" nuisance bear -- considered the most dangerous -- and crews set out to find it and kill it. They weren't immediately successful but did clear the camp site of anything that might attract the bear again, state officials said. Ives' family arrived at the camp site later that day. The attack happened that night. Attorney Jonah Orlofsky, representing the family, told the court on Wednesday the state should have put up some kind of a warning there was a problem bear in the area. He also said the state should have asked the U.S. Forest Service, which owns the land, to close the site...more

Lone wild horse on Wildhorse Island gets company

He has - or at least had - a name, the last wild horse on Wildhorse Island, though no one remembers it. He also had ribs, and they were visible through his hide. It wasn't due to lack of food. "He's getting up there in years," explains Jerry Sawyer, who manages the seven state parks located around Flathead Lake for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. But it was a mild winter in northwestern Montana. The horse may have survived, Sawyer says. If he did, he's got a partner, a wild mustang transplanted to the island in December, and three to four more on the way later this spring. What's an island called Wildhorse, after all, without wild horses? The last horse standing on Flathead's largest island was the final surviving member of a group transplanted to the primitive state park in 1993...more

Song Of The Day #275

Ranch Radio is in need of a spelling lesson this morning, and none other than Ernest Tubb will provide it with his 1950 recording G-I-R-L Spells Trouble.

Tubb's stuff is widely available as you can see here.


The Krentz Tragedy - Murder on the Border

Note: Rancher and author Wilmeth attended Wednesday's meeting, and I asked him to share his observations and thoughts.

By Stephen L. Wilmeth

Apache, Arizona: On a wind swept flat outside of the two room school house at Apache, Arizona, more than 500 people gathered last night to discuss the consequences of the death of local rancher, Rob Krentz. Rob was murdered sometime before noon on Saturday, March 27, in a pasture on his ranch. The perpetrator was thought to be connected to one of the drug cartels who have found the Mexican border too easy to cross.

The Krentz family has been in the ranching business on the New Mexico/Arizona border in the southern Rodeo Valley for more than 100 years. Rob was remembered by friends who referred to him as Mr. Community and the man who would always be objective and fair minded in all matters and in all situations.

As area and national news crews videoed the proceedings, a panel of 10 speakers made recommendations to Gabrielle Gifford (D-Az) so that this murder is the last rather than the first of a series of such tragedies as drug related violence spreads onto American soil.

As Representative Gifford took notes, the remoteness of the place had to make an impression on those gathered. The Boot Heel of New Mexico and the adjacent mountains of southeastern Arizona have become a funnel for illegal activities. While the incidence of human smuggling has diminished, drug related smuggling has escalated. In this corridor in particular, drug related activity has increased dramatically. The rugged terrain and the north south orientation of the valleys extending south into Mexico have made this area one of the most heavily accessed routes of entry along the entire border.

"For the first time in their lives, they look at the immensity and grandeur of their surroundings with fear rather than hope."

Along with that activity, the threat of violence has increased. With Rob Krentz’ murder, the threat to the local community has been elevated to an entirely new level. Residents cheered as requests were made to give Border Patrol agents law enforcement authority rather than observation and interdiction authority only. Similar responses occurred when requests were made to introduce a United States military presence on the border. To those present, there was an undeniable concern that something terrible was amiss. Rob Krentz’ murder was not just the cartel intrusion into their lives, but a more insidious disconnect between the American government and the people it was elected to serve.

Ranchers Edward Elbrock and Bill McDonald both shared that they now question their insistence that their families remain on the land and in the business of ranching. The danger of the surroundings and the diminishment of the freedom to act and manage their businesses have affected their expectations for the future. For the first time in their lives, they look at the immensity and grandeur of their surroundings with fear rather than hope.

Rodeo business owner, Nancy Klute, made a decision not to attend the meeting. Her rationale was that the words had already been spoken too many times already. “This country is the only country in the world that can’t come to the decision to close its borders to protect its citizens when such protection is so desperately needed,” she said.

Following the death of Mr. Krentz it was hours before officials allowed the tracks of the murderer to be followed. When the trail was finally followed, local rancher and outfitter Warner Glenn assisted in the tracking. The trail went south 20 miles before the sign was so corrupted by other tracks of illegal aliens that it was lost within mere feet of the border itself. “The culprit was obviously no stranger to the art of accessing American territory,” Mr. Glenn said. He had elected to access the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge for his escape back to Mexico.

He took full advantage of administrative obstacles that federal land agencies continue to place on the Border Patrol. The public comments at the gathering did not exempt the Border Patrol administration from blame, but the Border Patrol continues to be hamstrung by Department of Agriculture and Interior land management actions and internal policies. In various 2009 letters from USFW Regional Director, Benjamin Tuggle, the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector Chief was served notice that the Border Patrol henceforth would be given only conditional motorized access to the all important border access corridor that the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge south from the Krentz Ranch provides. Dr. Tuggle informed the Border Patrol that they would only be allowed motorized access if the immediate threat of life, health, and safety of humans was imminent and then only on administrative roads. Furthermore, each six months the necessary submittal of reports by the Border Patrol would be evaluated, and, if the actions of the Border Patrol did not comply with the order, USFW would suspend all motorized access by the Border Patrol.

Dr. Tuggle, with the stroke of a pen, imposed on the Border Patrol the full limitation and restriction of access that federally designated Wilderness imposes without any Congressional authority of Wilderness legislation. Such administrative action recklessly puts American citizenry at risk at all points north from areas like San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge. Innocent Americans like Rob Krentz have and will continue to pay the price for it.

Arizona Senatorial candidate, J.D. Hayworth, made it his priority to attend the Apache function. In closing the presentation portion of the public gathering, Mr. Hayworth reminded all that were gathered that the Constitution promises the American people their government would control their borders and protect them from a foreign invasion. The Constitution, however, is silent on the threat of a foreign invasion manifested by that same government. “It is time,” he said, “to make sure that the “First Defenders” are made the priority rather than the emphasis placed on the promotion of the “First Responders”.

By the time the first responders arrive it is too late. Rob Krentz is a victim of that growing American tragedy. Friends and colleagues can only hope that his death is the factor that will change the direction of the American government’s actions on the border. If his death doesn’t become that sign post, however, American freedom will be further diminished.

Giffords holds ranchers' meeting

"Listen to us. Take action. Don't turn away." Former rancher Pam DiPeso, of Pearce, said the feeling that it would take the death of someone before Washington showed any interest in curbing the tide of illegal border crossers and drug runners has haunted the folks living in the San Bernadino Valley and eastern edge of Cochise County all the way up to San Simon. "These people know what they're talking about. They deserve to be heard," DiPeso added. It was evident that these people were not going to let this death be glossed over or forgotten. Instead, they want to make his tragedy a jumping off point for a better and safer border policy that protects U.S. citizens on the front lines of the war no one talks about. One family was afraid to give their names. The fear of drug cartel retribution is paramount in their minds. One young woman holding her four-month old baby girl told of just such a circumstance. Her neighbor called the Border Patrol on drug runners and his horses were stolen. A local veterinarian who offers services in Mexico said he had found the stud horse that he had tended to over the years in a Sonoran pasture. But how do you serve such a vast area with limited resources? The community's answer was: Send down the National Guard with ammo in their guns. Keep the Border Patrol on the border not 20 miles away sitting on the side of the road. Install operating stations on the border. Put up communication towers. Add patrols by county deputies. Make the ranches and homes safe enough to raise a family...more

Luna Co. Sheriff calls meeting on border security

A meeting Wednesday on increasing border security included getting cell phone service in less-populated areas such as Southwest New Mexico. Luna County Sheriff Raymond Cobos called the meeting, held at the Mimbres Valley Learning Center to accommodate the 75 or so who attended, in response to the shooting death last Saturday of Arizona Rancher Robert Krentz, 58, on his ranch between Douglas and Apache. "We need cell phones," said James Johnson, "whose family farms in Southern Luna County. "We need to look at this as an issue of national security. We need to be able to cut through the bureaucratic red tape and get something done." The meeting was attended by area and regional law enforcement, government agency reps and ranchers and farmers. Xochitl Torres, of Sen. Tom Udall's office; Jake Rollow, of Sen. Jeff Bingman's office; and Ginette Magaöa, of Rep. Harry Teague's office, attended. They are aware of the cell phone absence, they said. "We've been looking at Broadband," Torres said of one option. Johnson raised the cell phone issue years ago, as ranchers, farmers and others met with area officials in a Border Security Task Force. Radios were supplied to help ranchers in outlying areas with emergency contacts. Those phones, some said Thursday, no longer work. Law enforcement personnel told ranchers and farmers to be vigilant, report what seems out of place, be aware of surroundings and, if possible, not to work alone outside in remote areas...more

Yes, I know what you're thinking about ranchers not working alone in remote areas.

The article quotes John Wheeler, New Mexico's Secretary of Homeland Security, as saying "In addition to the operation, one of the keys is the amount of dissemination of information. Knowledge is power." How profound. Of course, they had just requested cell towers so they could provide and receive information. I'm sure these poor Luna Co. locals didn't realize what a powerful tool that was until Secretary Wheeler told them. After all, they didn't use the word "dissemination".

Border Patrol Agent Urges Calm as Fears in Texas Town Rise

As Mexican drug cartels continue to frighten residents along both sides of the Rio Grande River, one Border Patrol Agent says a tiny Texas town can sleep easy. Border Patrol Agent Joe Romero was among several local law enforcement officials at a town hall meeting on Wednesday in Fort Hancock, a town of 1,700 roughly 50 miles southeast Ciudad Juarez, the epicenter of Mexico’s violent drug war. Romero said the meeting was held following the request of Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West to quell rising fears stemming from the possibility that violence in Mexico, particularly from El Sorvenir just across the Rio Grande, could enter the United States at any moment. “The residents are concerned,” Romero told FoxNews.com. “They want to know what’s happening.” Despite those assurances, other Fort Hancock officials say the situation is worsening. Mike Doyle, chief deputy sheriff of Hudspeth County, has said he’s received word that drug cartels have threatened to kill children in U.S. schools unless 5,000-peso ransoms are paid. And Fort Hancock Schools Superintendent Jose Franco has recently increased security and patrols around schools...more

GOP Lawmaker Calls for Hearing Into Border Security After Rancher's Murder

A Republican lawmaker is calling for a hearing into border security following the murder of a prominent Arizona rancher by an assailant authorities believe was an illegal immigrant. Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Operations subcommittee, told Fox News on Thursday that she would like to have a hearing as soon as Congress returns from its Easter recess to help border states whose pleas for federal assistance have so far gone unmet. Granger said the border fence that was under construction in the Southwest was not helpful. "What we need is sensors, we need more equipment to see who's coming across the border," she said. "We need more roads so that border control can stop them. We need more commitment frankly. We need commitment to make sure that our borders are safe and they're not right now with what's going on in Mexico."...more

Mexicans Facing Drug War Violence Could Seek Political Asylum in U.S.

The spreading violence of the drug wars along the Mexican border may have one unintended consequence. It could upend efforts to curb illegal immigrants by giving Mexican border-crossers a tool they never had before: a valid claim for political asylum. For decades, immigrants coming from Mexico were denied asylum because Mexico was a stable and relatively peaceful democracy. But that is changing now. Last week, at least 30 Mexicans from the town of El Porvenir walked to the border crossing post at Fort Hancock, Texas, and asked for political asylum. Ordinarily, their claim would be denied as groundless, and they would be turned back. Instead, they were taken to El Paso, where they expect to have their cases heard. No one doubts that they have a strong claim. Their town on the Mexican side of the border is under siege by one or more drug cartels battling for control of the key border crossing...more

Mexico asks more US cooperation on border violence

Mexican officials are responding to the decision of New Mexico's governor to send more National Guard troops to the border by calling for more cooperation with the U.S. on border violence. The Foreign Relations Department says Mexico respects the right of U.S. authorities to determine how to provide security along their side of the border, but adds that increased cooperation is the answer. The department's Thursday statement says U.S. officials should step up efforts to curb smuggling of weapons and cash into Mexico...more

I'm sure we'll do as good a job on weapons and cash as they've done on drugs and illegals.

Janet Napolitano Lied

The Monday before Rob Krentz was killed, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, a former Arizona governor, made a speech claiming “significant progress” in controlling violence along the border. It was a lie. Ranchers in this remote area of the U.S.-Mexican border are few and far between, but they still maintain the Old West courtesies and respect for hard work and self reliance. But after 2000, the isolation turned the area into a favorite crossing for smugglers from the South. The smugglers are bold and well armed. They steal vehicles, invade ranch houses, trash the countryside, set fires, and bring all manner of contraband into the U.S. Ranch buildings that had been unlocked for generations were locked. Ranchers herding cattle went armed for the first time in 100 years. Repeated appeals to the state and federal government to do something to protect the area fell on deaf ears. Today, a new lawlessness has spread in the area...more

White House responds to Guard deployment call

After a second day of trying, KGUN9 News has finally obtained a response from the White House on Governor Brewer's request to send the National Guard to patrol Arizona's border. While not directly addressing the deployment question, the statement promised that the administration will continue "monitoring" the situation. On Wednesday KGUN9's Steve Nunez documented how Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has made five written requests for such a deployment over the last year and a half. The governor said none of those requests elicited a reply. Since the murder of prominent southeast Arizona rancher Robert Krentz on Saturday, many other politicians on both sides of the aisle, along with many ranchers and law enforcement officers, have echoed the governor's request. Nunez tried repeatedly to get a response from the White House to those calls on Wednesday. He spent the day being shuffled from one agency to the next and ended the day with a score of zero. On Thursday Nunez tried again, retracing his steps and asking the same questions of many of the same people. Among the questions 9 On Your Side wants to know: What is the President's stance on sending troops to the border? Why has his administration simply ignored the requests from Arizona's governor? What does the President have to say to Arizona citizens and politicians who are now renewing that call and asking for his help? By the end of the business day, Nunez was able to obtain this carefully worded statement from White House spokesman Adam Abrams: "The President is firmly committed to ensuring our borders are secure. It is why the Administration has taken important steps – including deploying additional law enforcement resources to reduce illegal flows across the border and supporting Mexico's efforts against drug trafficking organizations. We are carefully monitoring the situation and will continue to ensure that we are doing everything necessary to keep communities along the Southwest border safe." The statement sidestepped the question of why the administration has simply ignored Governor Brewer. Adams told KGUN9 News that the statement quoted above is all the White House will have to say on this issue for now...more

You can view the video report by the ABC news affiliate here.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Tres Amigas grid hub attracts more than renewables

Tres Amigas, proposed as energy "hub" to allow new sources of wind and solar power to move from remote areas of the U.S. Southwest to power-hungry cities, is attracting interest from nuclear and fossil-fueled generators as well, said Tres Amigas Chief Executive Phil Harris on Wednesday. To be built near Clovis, New Mexico, the Tres Amigas superstation will serve as a power hub, not only to only allow electricity to flow between the nation's three separate grids, but to improve the overall efficiency of the grid, Harris told attendees at the Gulf Coast Power Association conference in Houston. Likened to a highway rotary, Tres Amigas will allow multiple power transmission lines from the three U.S. grids to feed power into and out of the superstation through multiple alternating- and direct-current converters connected by DC superconducting cables...more

Violent Mexican gangs pose risk to Americans

The killings last month in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez of two U.S. citizens, including an employee at the city's U.S. Consulate, along with the slaying of an Arizona rancher, have fueled concerns among U.S. officials that Americans are becoming fair game for Mexican drug gangs seeking control of smuggling routes into the United States. For more than two years, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials have been warning that the dramatic rise in violence along the southwestern border could eventually target U.S. citizens and spread into this country. The violence posed what the officials called a "serious threat" to law enforcement officers, first responders and residents along the 1,951-mile border. The numbers bear out those concerns, according to the State Department: 79 U.S. citizens were killed last year in Mexico, up from 35 in 2007. In Juarez, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, 23 Americans were killed in 2009, compared with two in 2007. Last year, the Justice Department identified more than 200 U.S. cities in which Mexican drug cartels "maintain drug distribution networks or supply drugs to distributors" - up from 100 three years earlier. The department's National Drug Intelligence Center, in its 2010 drug threat assessment report, described the cartels as "the single greatest drug trafficking threat to the United States." It said Mexican gangs had established operations in every area of the United States and were expanding into more rural and suburban areas...more

From the same Washington Times article, here's Obama's reaction:

The White House said Mr. Obama was "deeply saddened and outraged" by the killings and had pledged to "continue to work with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his government to break the power of the drug-trafficking organizations that operate in Mexico and far too often target and kill the innocent."

And Hillary Clinton:

"These appalling assaults on members of our own State Department family are, sadly, part of a growing tragedy besetting many communities in Mexico," Mrs. Clinton said.

Looks like Obama and Clinton are more concerned about our relations with Mexico than they are in addressing border violence. Or worse, they seem to think the problem can be solved in Mexico. It can't. It can only be solved in the U.S., and it won't be solved here until we revisit the War On Drugs, my generation's Prohibition foolishness.

I also take note of Obama's arrogant comment about helping Mexico "to break the power of the drug-trafficking organizations that operate in Mexico." I guess we've done such an outstanding job of halting drug sales and consumption in the U.S. that we will share our expertise with Mexico. What a laugh.

States Boost Border Security as Pleas to Washington Go Unmet

Border states are looking to take matters into their own hands, boosting law enforcement to patrol for illegal immigrants while their pleas for federal assistance go unmet in the wake of the murder of a prominent Arizona rancher. Local authorities suspect Robert Krentz, found dead on his cattle ranch Saturday night, was killed by an illegal immigrant who fled back across the border into Mexico. Gov. Jan Brewer told Fox News on Wednesday that after repeatedly calling on the federal government to send in 250 National Guard troops, she hasn't ruled out making the call herself. "I can, and I haven't ruled that out," she said. Brewer has also offered state law enforcement help to the county where the killing occurred, while the Arizona Department of Public Safety and Department of Corrections are helping to coordinate the search for the suspect, according to her office. But Brewer stressed that Arizona cannot afford to sustain or maintain the additional National Guard presence. She said border security is a federal responsibility -- and she said the administration simply is not stepping up...more

Richardson Orders National Guard To Patrol Mexican Border

Gov. Bill Richardson, after meeting with top law enforcement officials Wednesday morning, ordered the National Guard to patrol the border with Mexico and ensure the safety of New Mexico citizens. Richardson ordered New Mexico National Guard Major General Kenny Montoya to send guardsmen to the border area. The guardsmen will work with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, which his coordinating the law enforcement presence along the border. A spokesman for the Guard, Lt. Col. Jamison Herrera, said the timeframe and scope of the work will determine how many soldiers will be activated. Herrera said the Guard's focus will be observation posts and using infrared tools that can detect body heat and movement during nighttime hours...read more

For additional coverage, including an interview with rancher Dudley Williams, go here.

Good move by the Guv, who's never hesitated to use his executive authority.

He does have a chink in his armor though. Richardson has endorsed the Bingaman wilderness bill. If S.1689 were to become law the NM National Guard would not be able to "patrol" as the Guv has directed, nor could they use the "infrared tools", on any of the lands designated as wilderness.

It is time our elected officials reconsider their support for this bill.

Rancher warns of growing border danger

John Ladd, who ranches on the east side of the San Pedro River and south of Highway 92, with his property along the border, said he was in Douglas on Sunday, meeting with other ranchers about the shooting death of friend Robert Krentz a day earlier. Saying the word of the death got around quickly in the tight-knit Cochise County ranching community, Ladd said it was some civilians who began tracking the suspected shooter and had him almost cornered before he fled back into Mexico. Saying Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever did a great job in handling the situation, Ladd said there are many unknowns which still need answering. He believes those answers will come out as the investigation continues. Ladd’s property is along the border, so he faces a slightly different situation from the ranchers who are in the eastern part of the county. Illegal immigrants constantly are crossing onto his property, but with the fence up, it has somewhat stemmed the flow, he said. Recently, he has seen more drugs coming onto his ranch and earlier this year his father, Jack, also a rancher, came across six illegal immigrants carrying drugs in backpacks, Ladd said. The Border Patrol responded quickly, which was important because his father could see armed men on the Mexican side of the border, the son said. On the other hand, in eastern Cochise County ranches are being used as a corridor by armed drug smugglers, the rancher said...more

Border lawmakers: Humanitarian aid just the start in fighting drug violence

Lawmakers from districts along the country’s southern border say America's recent push to increase developmental aid to Mexico is just the beginning of what’s needed to effectively thwart the country’s increasing levels of drug cartel violence. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently led a high-level delegation to Mexico in which she outlined a renewed push by the U.S. to bolster Mexico’s fight against the root causes of crime by backing more education, healthcare, and drug prevention programs. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), whose district sits along the U.S.-Mexico border and who is on the Homeland Security Committee, said that Clinton’s announcement was a good start but that the U.S. should also look at providing young adults, who may be especially strapped for money as the economy continues to roil, with jobs. “I think we need it,” said Cuellar of humanitarian aid to Mexico in an interview. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), whose district spans several hundred miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, also heralded the White House’s renewed push for civic aid to battle crime in Mexico, but said that more would be needed to fight the flow of guns from the U.S. over the border. “The training and refortifying the Mexican law enforcement effort helps, but also diverting some of that funding to healthcare and basic necessities along the border is also a very smart move,” he told The Hill. “Some have been saying that the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] should get more resources to be able to carry out that fight against controlling the flow of guns from here to there, and I hope that’s part of that strategy,” he said...more

I really didn't want to post this, but everyone needs to know how the people who control our government think.

If this doesn't make you want to kick the bums out, then nothing will.

Slain Arizona rancher mourned by friends, neighbors

One by one, southeastern Arizona ranchers took the microphone to mourn the loss of a friend and to castigate the U.S. government for failing to protect a fellow cattleman from border violence. For at least a decade, they said, politicians have vowed to secure America's borders and win the war on drugs. But none of the rhetoric prevented a gunman from shooting 58-year-old Robert Krentz while he was working on his legacy ranch. Four days after Krentz's murder, friends and neighbors vented their anger, fear and frustration Wednesday during a gathering called by the Arizona Cattle Growers' Association that included U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Border Patrol officials. The friends and neighbors decried political inaction, called for a National Guard buildup on the border and demanded that law-enforcement agents be given permission to use deadly force on immigrants and smugglers who attempt to escape. "Seal the border," said Don Kimble, a local rancher who moderated the discussion as a wind blustered outside a one-room schoolhouse. "Put the military on the border. If we can stop those people on the border, there won't be somebody coming 15 miles up here and shooting Rob Krentz." "Millions of people have quietly infiltrated this country," added Kelly Glenn, another rancher near the Arizona-New Mexico line. "Every border community has begged for help. . . . Our politicians need to not let Rob's death be in vain." One of the speakers, Louis Pope Jr., read a statement from the Krentz family condemning the murder and demanding action. "We hold no malice toward the Mexican people for this senseless act," he said, adding that relatives believe American politicians and Mexican leaders are accountable for failing to stop illegal immigration and smuggling. "We have paid the ultimate price for their negligence in credibly securing our border."...more

Rancher's killing draws citizens, officials

More than 350 people gathered outside a small schoolhouse Wednesday night to deliver suggestions to politicians and law enforcement officials about what needs to be done to restore safety to the area after the slaying of rancher Robert Krentz. The meeting was calm and orderly, but the frustration and anger felt by the community were evident as ranchers took the microphone. Community members said they've been warning government officials for years that something like this would happen, and that they were ignored. The most common demand from the community was for the government to send the National Guard or active military to the border. The Krentz family, through a statement, asked for active military to be sent to the border. Rancher Don Kimble drew huge applause when he told the officials that the military should not only come to the border but be allowed to use deadly force. But others urged calm. "We've all got a take a couple of deep breaths and not lose our cool," said Billy Darnell, a rancher and former sheriff in New Mexico. "And get this guy identified." The Krentz family asked that in honor of everything Krentz stood for, people work peacefully to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the country. The family said it holds no malice toward the people of Mexico but do for the politicians in both countries who allowed the situation to get this bad. Department of Homeland Security officials announced a $25,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the killer. Also, the Arizona Cattlemen's Association is offering a $15,000 reward. "That's enough to get anybody back from Mexico," rancher Gary Thrasher said...more

Rancher's murder prompts town hall in Apache

A crowd swarmed Apache Elementary School in the community of the same name in southeastern Arizona Wednesday, only a few miles from the state line, to mourn the murder of Robert Krentz. "This senseless act took the life of a man, a humanitarian who bore no ill will toward anyone," Krentz's brother-in-law Louis Pope read from a family statement. Mourning became a call to action. "Please don't let Rob's death be in vain," Peggy Davis said as she held a small child. Area ranchers and residents told Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords what they have seen in the area that they say is full of illegal traffic from Mexico. "Batteries from Mexico, all kinds of food, I found a cell phone. They're using these peaks to spot the Border Patrol," said Billy Darnell, a rancher and former Hidalgo County Sheriff. "I spend weeks at a time by myself on the ranch," Davis said. "And everything I do, everywhere I go, I have a firearm." And they gave their thoughts on what should change to make the area more secure...more

Video report on rancher meeting

Robert N. Krentz, Jr. June 3, 1951 - March 27, 2010

Robert N. Krentz, Jr., 58, left our world Saturday, March 28, 2010.

Rob was born June 3, 1951 in Douglas, Arizona. He attended elementary school in Apache, AZ, played football for the Douglas Bulldogs when they won the State Championship in 1968 and graduated from Douglas High in 1969.

After completing two years at Cochise College, Rob attended the U of A graduating with honors and a degree in Animal Science in 1975. Upon graduation he received a fellowship to Cornell University but chose instead to come home.

Rob returned to the family ranch where he worked for his father, Bob, and his uncles Stuart and Jules Krentz. He married his sweetheart, Susan Kimble in 1977, after which the family bought out the uncles and continued to build their dreams in partnership with Bob and brother, Phil Krentz. At the time of his parents’ death he shared the partnership with his sister Susan Pope.

Always active in his community, Rob served as President of the Cochise Graham Cattle Growers from 1993-94 and served on their Board of Directors. He also served as a Board member for the Arizona Cattle Growers from 1993 to 1994. Rob was currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Malpai Borderlands Group and President of the Whitewater Draw National Resource Conservation District. Rob was a kind and gentle man, a husband, brother, father, grandfather and good friend to all. He will be sorely missed.

He is survived by his wife, Susan, two sons, Andy (wife Amanda) of Las Cruces, NM and Frank Krentz, Douglas, AZ, daughter, daughter Kyle Gutierrez (husband Brandon) and two grandchildren Robert and Madyson Gutierrez of Green River, Wyoming, a sister, Susan Pope (husband Louie), brother Phil (wife Carrie), nephews Ed Pope (wife Kami and son Cole) of El Paso Texas, and Ben Krentz, niece Kathy Pope Hall (husband David Joe) of Atoka Oklahoma, and numerous other relatives of the Krentz and Kimble families.

Rob was preceded in death by his father Bob Krentz and mother Louse Kennedy Krentz.

A Rosary will be recited at St. Luke’s Catholic Church, Douglas, Arizona on Friday, April 10, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Saturday April 10, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. also at St. Luke’s Church. A Celebration of Rob’s Life will be held at the Gadsden Hotel following the services. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rob Krentz Memorial Fund: The Cowbelles: c/o Carol Riggs/ 4466 N. Brooks Road; Douglas, AZ 85608 or the ACGA’s Litigation Fund: c/o Patrick Brey 1401 N 24th St # 4; Phoenix, AZ 85008-4638.

Pallbearers are: Robbie Sproul, Bill Martin, John Zamar, Don Kimble, Gerry Bhomfalk and Frank Adams Honorary Pallbearers are: Dr. Roland Snure, Bill Snure, Clay Snure, Ben Snure, Billy Ben Snure, Tom Husted, John Robbins, Trey Reed, Fred Davis, Bill Wendt, Lynn Carchner, Zane Alba, Bob Boss, Gary Thrasher, Edward Elbrock, Don Steiman, Bill Kimble Sr., Bill Kimble Jr, Wes Kimble, Jon Kimble, Steve Kimble, Rob and Stevie Kimble, Jim Phippard, Dr. Stuart Strhal, Mark , Ethan and Cody Percell, Louie Pope, Ed Pope, Ralph Pope, Don Pope, Marshall Rice, Dick Rice, Bill and David White, David Jo Hall, Frank Krentz, Jess Gutierrez, Brandon Gutierrez, Brian Gutierrez, Doug Rogers, Homer Deen and Don, Steve Brooks, Dennis Brooks, Spencer Brooks, Randy Rice. Bryan Gutierrez and Gary McBride. Dr. Mike Krentz, Matt Krentz, Mark Brooks, Rich Wagner, and Andrew Rogers.

Brown Page Mortuary is in charge of arrangements, 364-3434

Song Of The Day #274

Because of the event I've been covering, Ranch Radio needs an upper. Louie Innis reminds me I may not have it so bad. After all, he doesn't have a pot to...well you just listen to his situation.

This selection is on the 26 track CD Hillbilly Bop 'n Boogie 1944-1956 from Ace records.



Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Obama to allow oil drilling off Virginia coast

In a reversal of a long-standing ban on most offshore drilling, President Barack Obama is allowing oil drilling 50 miles off Virginia's shorelines. At the same time, he is rejecting some new drilling sites that had been planned in Alaska. Obama's plan offers few concessions to environmentalists, who have been strident in their opposition to more oil platforms off the nation's shores. Hinted at for months, the plan modifies a ban that for more than 20 years has limited drilling along coastal areas other than the Gulf of Mexico. Obama was set to announce the new drilling policy Wednesday at Andrews air base in Maryland. White House officials pitched the changes as ways to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil and create jobs - both politically popular ideas - but the president's decisions also could help secure support for a climate change bill languishing in Congress. The president, joined by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, also was set to announce that proposed leases in Alaska's Bristol Bay would be canceled. The Interior Department also planned to reverse last year's decision to open up parts of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Instead, scientists would study the sites to see if they're suitable to future leases. Obama is allowing an expansion in Alaska's Cook Inlet to go forward. The plan also would leave in place the moratorium on drilling off the West Coast. In addition, the Interior Department has prepared a plan to add drilling platforms in the eastern Gulf of Mexico if Congress allows that moratorium to expire...more

Cap And Tax

Watch out when sweeping new legislation comes with a "bipartisan" label. Usually it's a bad, repackaged measure undeserving of passage. Case in point: the new energy bill. Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., are working feverishly to craft a "tripartisan" approach for a new cap-and-trade bill. The goal reportedly is to slash carbon emissions 17% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Unlike the past efforts, which relied on a one-size-fits-all approach, this one will have separate caps on carbon output for manufacturers and utilities. It also boosts offshore drilling and nuclear power. Even business groups, notably the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have made favorable noises about the bill. But don't be fooled. This will be another massive tax on consumers and industry. Industry foes, of course, will be bought off with rebates, subsidies, protectionist rules and other goodies. You'll be left holding the bag...more

Forest Service OKs Wyoming oil well study

U.S. Forest Service officials have decided not to fast-track the drilling of a single, exploratory well on the Shoshone National Forest using a controversial categorical exclusion rule. Instead, the agency decided Monday it will prepare a more thorough environmental assessment to analyze the Scott Well No. 2 project. Environmentalists and some area residents have opposed the drilling plan for what they say would be the only functioning oil well inside the nation's first national forest. The categorical exclusion rule was used extensively during the Bush era to bypass painstaking environmental reviews for thousands of oil and gas drilling permits in Wyoming and across the West. Wind River District Ranger Rick Metzger said the agency had initially proposed utilizing a categorical exclusion for the project last fall. He said Forest Service officials decided to prepare the environmental assessment to "ensure" the issues and concerns brought forward during the scoping period and at an early February meeting were fully analyzed...more

Judge blocks mine beneath Cabinet Mtn. wilderness

A federal judge on Monday blocked a proposal to dig a major new mine beneath a remote Montana wilderness area that boasts grizzly bears, rare trout — and huge reserves of silver and copper. Mining companies have eyed the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness south of Libby for more than three decades. Development has been stalled by lawsuits from environmentalists. Monday's ruling from U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy says the U.S. Forest Service must reconsider its 2003 approval of a proposal by Revett Minerals to mine up to 10,000 tons of ore day from the Cabinets. Molloy also ruled against the mine in 2005, when he struck down a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biological opinion of the project. Revett CEO John Shanahan said the ruling will delay work scheduled to start this spring. But he said the Spokane, Wash., company remains committed to the mine, which could employ up to 300 people. "We're in this for the long haul," Shanahan said. Molloy did not immediately provide the grounds for his ruling. Plaintiffs in the case had argued the Forest Service underestimated the potential environmental damage a mine would cause...more

Cat trackers sniff out the truth

For Colorado mountain lion AM06, every day is like "The Truman Show" for felines — the authorities are always watching. A satellite signal snaps his exact location every three hours as he wanders his 230-square-mile territory from Nederland to Lyons. If he stalks cattle or a beloved pet in the exurban foothills above Boulder, he may be lured, trapped and shot with high-velocity beanbags to scare him away for good. DNA samples of AM06 sit on file in a state Division of Wildlife building, and if AM06 becomes a proud father, wildlife agents will probably tag and follow the scampering kittens. Halfway through a six-year study of cougars in the suburbs — the elk-eating kind, not the bar-hopping divorcees — AM06 is a well-known quantity. At any given moment, researcher Mat Alldredge can print out a terrain map showing the prowling puma's every move for an entire month. What they've learned is that most lions are not long for this world...more

Toad is a telltale for impending quakes: scientists

For ages, mankind has craved a tool that can provide early warning of that terrifying moment when the earth begins to shake. But if a scientific paper published on Wednesday is confirmed, we may at last have found one. The best hope yet of an earthquake predictor could lie in a small, brown, knobbly amphibian, it suggests. The male common toad (Bufo bufo) gave five days' warning of the earthquake that ravaged the town of L'Aquila in central Italy on April 6, 2009, killing more than 300 people and displacing 40,000 others, the study says... By March 28, more than 90 male toads had mustered for the spawning season, but two days later, their numbers suddenly fell, Grant reports. By April 1 -- five days before the quake -- 96 percent of the males had fled...more

It apparently scared the "you know what" out of them.

Song Of The Day #273

Ranch Radio needs to hear something that will get him out of his funk this morning.

Hank Snow can do that with his 1952 recording of The Gal Who Invented Kissing.

Snow's stuff is widely available. This particular tune is on the 20 track CD The Essential Hank Snow.


Fox news & local tv video coverage of Krentz murder

Fox News



KVOA



KVOA



TV 3

Many ranchers will be cautious

People who live and work along the U.S.-Mexican border in Cochise County plan to be more cautious as a result of the shooting death of a rancher near Douglas over the weekend. Bill Odle, who lives along Border Road next to the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, said he and his wife, Ellen Logue, are trying to be more aware of the illegal immigrants who cross their property. Glenn Spencer, who owns property across the river from Odle, said he is “taking extra precautions.” He did not want to elaborate, except to say that “we are deploying some additional technology.” Richard Hodges, a rancher near Bisbee Junction, said he has been concerned for a long time about Americans getting killed by drug smugglers. Now, when Hodges goes into his pasture, he said he plans to look up on the hill for spotters, and when he gets on top of ridges, he will stop and see if anybody is around him. “Almost all of the drug runners now are armed. Virtually every one of them is armed,” he said. “It used to be that they didn’t bring weapons into the United States. And then you started seeing an armed escort that went with the drug runners. Now, either everyone is packing a weapon or they have the armed escort with them.”...more

This is not Afghanistan or The Balkans, this is and has been happening in the USA. What a shame.

Reward offered as ranchers arm themselves in wake of murder

Southern Arizona ranchers are arming themselves as tensions along the border grow and calls for a U.S. National Guard presence intensify. This stems from the murder of a well-loved Arizona rancher who was shot on his family's 35,000-acre ranch near Douglas over the weekend. Police suspect it was the doing of an illegal border crosser. Lynn Kartchner, who sells guns, tells 3TV, “I sold one of these, a Lugar 357.” He says he is busier than ever selling guns to ranchers afraid for their lives. Kartchner explains, “We had four people in today buying handguns for their wives.” Frustrated ranchers who feel under siege on their own land are reeling from the death of long-time rancher Robert Krentz who was shot and killed by a suspected illegal immigrant...more

NM rancher concerned with border safety, video report

State police, sheriff's departments and federal agents have stepped up their patrols along the U.S.'s border with Mexico, but residents in the region are still concerned about safety. On Saturday, an Arizona rancher was murdered near the state line and New Mexico's boot heel. Like many farmers and ranchers living along the border, James Johnson has warned for years that lives were in danger. "My father was held up at gunpoint in '91. And it's always been in the back of our minds that another tragedy could happen," Johnson said. "We're here 24 hours a day. You know, these border patrol guys, they come to work and they are gone in 10 hours." A collection of low steel pipes is all there is to the border with Mexico. It's easily penetrated by drug smugglers, aliens and other ne'er-do-wells. "State game and fish has a lot of problems with some of the fencing designs because of wildlife moving back and forth. At what time do we say, you know what, National Security is more important than wildlife," Johnson said...more

Here is the KRQE video report by Bob Martin

Politicians Respond, I Comment

US hands over equipment to Mexico for border security Amidst national strife over illegal immigration and local outrage over the murder of a prominent a Southern Arizona rancher, an historic agreement Tuesday between the United States and Mexico. "It's through the Merit Initiative that the United States and Mexico governments have come together to collaborate and cooperate," said U.S. Consul General John Breidenstine, speaking outside U.S. Border Patrol headquarters, Tucson Sector. To that end, the Department of Homeland Security transferred ten ATVs, four motorcycles, 50 global positioning units and an assortment of tactical equipment today to Mexico's Secretariat of Public Safety. "What happens in Mexico has a significant impact on what happens in the United States and vice versa," Consul Breidenstine said...more

Breidenstine makes me want to puke. If I never again hear a government official use the words "collaborate" and "cooperate" it will be a blessing.

As for Bredenstine's "What happens in Mexico has a significant impact on what happens in the United States", we need a new policy:

WHAT HAPPENS IN MEXICO STAYS IN MEXICO.


McCain: Call National Guard for border Sen. John McCain wants to call in the cavalry to defend Arizona from illegal immigrants
crossing the border from Mexico—and to shore up his own right flank. McCain asked the Obama administration Monday to send National Guard troops to the border after a prominent Arizona rancher was found shot to death on his own property. "I am asking you and the administration to immediately reconsider your position and send National Guard troops to our southern border region," McCain wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano...

Talk about your John(ny) Come Lately. McCain has had years to address this problem, but he was too busy promoting immigration reform.

Richardson orders more law enforcement to Mexico border Governor Bill Richardson ordered more law enforcement officers to the New Mexico-Mexico border today, following the killing of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz. In 2005, Richardson declared a state of emergency in border areas to provide more law enforcement funding for the border area in New Mexico. In 2006, President George W. Bush ordered national guard troops to the border to stem the flow of immigrants flowing into the United States from the U.S.-Mexico border. At that time, Richardson was critical of using National Guardsmen to patrol the border. “Our guardsmen are tired, they’ve been in Afghanistan and Iraq. I need our National Guard for forest fires,” New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said to ABC News in 2006. Last year, however, Richardson asked for funding, along with the other border governors, for additional National Guard troops on the United States-Mexico border...

Guard on the border under Bush - bad.
Guard on the border under Obama - good.

It's just this kind of politics that prevents a solution. Anyway, Richardson has been too busy issuing drivers licenses to illegals.

Yesterday I posted N.M. Delegation Urges Enhanced Border Patrol Presence in State's 'Boot Heel'

Currently, Senators Bingaman & Udall have no credibility on border security. Bingaman has introduced legislation, with Udall as cosponsor, to create 400 square miles of wilderness at or near the border. No motorized vehicles or mechanical equipment allowed. No vehicles, no electronic or communications equipment; nada for the Border Patrol. On the one hand they want increased BP presence, while on the other hand they chop them off at the knees. I don't believe New Mexicans are going to buy their little political dance this time around.

Rancher's Murder Exposes Deadly Gaps in Border Policing Former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, reacting to the murder of a well-known Arizona rancher by an assailant authorities believe was an illegal immigrant, said violence on the border has spiraled out of control and the federal government seems powerless to stop it. "The violence on the border is ... getting worse all the time," he said. "This is just a horrible manifestation of it." A satellite photo from U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows a gap in the border fence near Krentz's ranch in southeastern Arizona. Tancredo said a small gap in the fence could be manageable, because border agents could "funnel" illegal immigrants into a small area and arrest them. But he said the gap by Krentz's estate is too big and law enforcers aren't working hard enough to catch people crossing over. "There is not going to be any effective barrier on that border because there is no desire to stop illegal immigration," he said. "They're not using any human resources effectively." Plus, Tancredo said, most of the fencing that is in place is not strong enough. It's either a single fence or, as Tancredo's Rocky Mountain Foundation noted, a short barrier meant to stop vehicles. "It doesn't stop people," said Charles Heatherley, executive director of the foundation...

Never been a fan of Tancredo, but he's making more sense than most on this incident.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

White House outdoors conference to urge conservation, quell rumors

Championing President Barack Obama's conservation vision for the 21st century, the White House Conference on America's Outdoors will be held in Washington next month. Hundreds of environmentalists, sportsmen and outdoors professionals will be on hand Friday April 16 to help leaders re-instill America's need to stay connected with nature. To some, Obama has made strides, pulling the plug on several oil-drilling leases issued under President George W. Bush. According to documents, the Interior Department may be securing land for future sites of national parks and monuments. The measure has come with heavy criticism from Republicans and U.S. oil and gas companies. Democrats claim new parks and monuments would not be declared without careful planning and public input. The April 16 conference also is said to include information to dispel rumors that the federal government is planning to freeze land, preventing it from being developed and impose significant restrictions on recreational fishing and hunting. The White House has denied that such plans have been in the works...more

The following is an excerpt from the March 29 issue of Public Lands News (sub.req.).

Instead of immediately laying out a set of concrete proposals the administration said it would first listen to interest groups and the American people. Said Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, “The conference is a great chance to learn about these efforts, start a new dialogue about conservation in America, and find ways to further the work that is already going on in cities and towns, counties and states throughout the country.”

If and when the initiative is fleshed out, insiders believe it could include:

* the designation of a number of national monuments on BLM land,
* full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund,
* revitalization of the National Park System in time for its 100th Anniversary in 2016,
* an omnibus public lands and parks bill (as is in the works now in Congress), or
* all of the above.

The source of the billions of dollars to accomplish such ambitious goals will be most controversial and has not been identified publicly. However, Salazar has said in a dozen Congressional hearings that he has his eye on offshore oil and gas royalties. And, perhaps, on a sharp increase in onshore oil and gas royalties...

The Obama administration chose Friday afternoon – the burial ground for unpopular announcements – to reveal its plans for an America’s Great Outdoors initiative.

Hosting the White House conference will be Salazar, Secretary of
Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Nancy Sutley.

Perhaps the administration wanted to downplay the announcement because of the furor caused by an internal Interior Department review of possible BLM monument designations. The monuments controversy was touched off February 18 by the release by House Republicans of an Interior Department document that suggested the administration was evaluating 14 BLM-managed areas as possible national monuments...

Guv approves use of eminent domain to take federal land

Fed up with federal ownership of more than half the land in Utah, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert on Saturday authorized the use of eminent domain to take some of the U.S. government's most valuable parcels. Herbert signed a pair of bills into law that supporters hope will trigger a flood of similar legislation throughout the West, where lawmakers contend that federal ownership restricts economic development in an energy-rich part of the country. Governments use eminent domain to take private property for public use. The goal is to spark a U.S. Supreme Court battle that legislators' own attorneys acknowledge has little chance of success. But Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and other Republicans say the case is still worth fighting, since the state could reap millions of dollars for state schools each year if it wins. More than 60 percent of Utah is owned by the U.S. government, and policy makers here have long complained that federal ownership hinders their ability to generate tax revenue and adequately fund public schools. Initially, the state would target three areas for the use of eminent domain, including the Kaiparowits plateau in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which is home to large coal reserves...more

Elk reproduction woes tied to wolves

After hours of watching Yellowstone elk herds through a spotting scope, Scott Creel noticed a few interesting things. When wolves appeared, the elk turned skittish. They spent more time on alert – heads in the air, ears pricked – and less time eating. They also left prime winter range to take cover in forested areas, where less food was available. Even when wolves were nearly two miles away, the vigilant behavior persisted, said Creel, a Montana State University ecology professor. Creel and fellow researchers linked the altered elk behavior to lower calf production. As their body fat drops, cow elk have difficulty staying pregnant through winter. They grow emaciated and abort, the research concluded. The work helps answer questions about low elk calf numbers in some herds in Yellowstone National Park, said Creel, the lead author of a study that appeared last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It indicates that wolves affect elk populations in subtle but important ways beyond direct kills, he said...more

Demand for locally produced meat overwhelms slaughterhouses

Erica Zimmerman and her husband spent months pasture-raising pigs on their farm here, but when the time came to take them to slaughter, an overbooked facility canceled their appointment. After several days they found an opening, but their experience highlights a growing problem for small farmers here and across the nation: too few slaughterhouses to meet the growing demand for locally raised meat. In what could be a major setback for America’s local-food movement, championed by so-called locavores, independent farmers around the country say they are forced to make slaughter appointments before animals are born and to drive hundreds of miles to facilities, adding to their costs and causing stress to livestock. As a result, they are scaling back on plans to expand their farms because local processors cannot handle any more animals. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the number of slaughterhouses nationwide declined to 809 in 2008 from 1,211 in 1992, while the number of small farmers has increased by 108,000 in the past five years. Fewer slaughterhouses to process local meat means less of it in butcher shops, grocery stores and restaurants...more

Song Of The Day #272

Ranch Radio is in the mood for some traditional bluegrass. So today's tunes are I'm Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open from 1955 and Randy Lynn Rag from 1956, both performed by Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mtn. Boys.

You can see their available recordings by going here.


Cochise ranch area outraged by killing

Neighbor ranchers of the slain Robert Krentz say they had been warning U.S. officials for years that somebody would be killed if they didn't gain control of this dangerous smuggling corridor where armed burglaries have become a daily occurrence. Now, they're demanding immediate action. Krentz, a longtime rancher, was shot and killed Saturday in Cochise County, by a likely southbound smuggler, who authorities believe escaped into Mexico. "The Mexican outlaws have total control, and it's going to get worse," said Ed Ashurst, whose 53,000-acre ranch is just east of the Krentz ranch. "There is going to be more bloodshed." On Monday, in reaction to the killing, Gov. Jan Brewer reiterated a March 2009 request to send 250 additional National Guard soldiers to Arizona's border. Rancher Dean Nelson said the National Guard should have already been called. "If the government doesn't call out the Guard, they don't care about us," Nelson said. But Ashurst said the National Guard won't improve safety unless its personnel are given the green light to shoot at smugglers. Ranchers in the unincorporated community of Apache, about 25 miles northeast of Douglas, say they'll now be more vigilant when they encounter illegal immigrants. Ashurst, Nelson and Mortensen described Krentz as a good man who didn't have enemies...more

Arizona reacts to murder of Douglas rancher

For the KOLD-TV video report on this trajedy, go here.

Also available at their website is a 2005 interview with Rob Krentz.

Bootheel murder spurs call for greater USBP presence

New Mexico's congressional delegation is asking for stepped up immigration enforcement in the state's Bootheel region, following the weekend murder of a respected southeastern Arizona rancher. Longtime rancher Robert Krentz, 58, was shot and killed Saturday as he made the rounds on his ranch checking cattle water supplies. While authorities have yet to say for certain the crime was tied to a drug trafficker, those close to Krentz suspect the connection. The shooting, still under investigation, has stirred rumors and heightened fears among residents of the southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico region, which often perceives itself as one community. Several residents say they feel their concerns expressed to federal elected officials and administrators about rampant drug trafficking and increasingly brazen immigrant-related crimes are falling on deaf ears. Robert Hall, sheriff of Hidalgo County, which covers the state's Bootheel, said he believes Krentz's murder is another indication that the extreme drug-related violence in Mexico is reaching the United States. "It's spilling over to here; this is a good example," said Hall, who has been sheriff since 2003. "These cartels tell these people: 'You get this stuff through one way or another.'" Gee, too, said more-hardened criminals seem to be involved in the drug trade these days. Less-experienced drug haulers get jobs hauling marijuana, while the top-notch haulers are assigned loads of cocaine. And he said they use the ruggedness of the area - two mountain ranges line the valley - to their advantage. "They're in a hurry to get back and get another load," he said. "These guys are hiking like Navy Seals and Army Rangers, and the cost of failure is high. If they lose their load, they can end up chopped up in pieces down in Mexico."...more

Border Patrol Officers Avert "Booby Traps" In NM, Seize Drugs

Border Patrol agents encountered "booby traps" in southern New Mexico and foiled 14 attempts to smuggle approximately 2,900 pounds of narcotics in separate seizures. The busy weekend was ominous as Border Patrol Agents assigned to the Lordsburg Station made 10 different seizures, including the significant seizure of 477 pounds of marijuana. Agents in Lordsburg utilized the latest enforcement technology to watch a group of drug smugglers as they walked north near Rodeo, NM. After responding to the area, Agents came upon 11 abandoned burlap backpacks full of narcotics, weighing 477 pounds. The total amount of the load is estimated to be valued at more than $382,000. The smugglers who carried the burlap sacks apparently absconded back into Mexico. This seizure was followed by nine other attempts to smuggle a total of 2,270 pounds of marijuana in various locations in New Mexico. The value of those loads is approximately $1,820,000. Meanwhile, Agents from Deming Station had their hands full dealing with suspected smugglers after they appeared to have set barbwire "booby traps" in roadways along the border. Regardless of the terror tactic, agents still managed to thwart three attempts to smuggle narcotics into the United States in that area. The traps that were found contained a suspended strand of barbwire stretched approximately four feet above the ground, across a dirt road, where agents routinely ride all-terrain vehicle's (ATV's)...more

NM Delegation's Response

N.M. Delegation Urges Enhanced Border Patrol Presence in State's 'Boot Heel'

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, along with Representative Harry Teague, today pressed the Department of Homeland Security to step-up the Border Patrol’s presence in New Mexico’s boot heel. The area is about 10 miles from an Arizona ranch where a rancher was killed over the weekend.

The New Mexico lawmakers pointed out that the number of Border Patrol agents stationed along our borders has reached a record high of 20,000, which has helped strengthen security along the U.S.-Mexico border. Additionally, DHS is constructing a new Border Patrol station in Lordsburg.

But as drug trafficking gangs continue to threaten security in the U.S.-Mexico border region, the New Mexico lawmakers urged DHS to take further security steps. In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Bingaman, Udall and Teague urged the establishment of a Border Patrol forward operating base in the boot heel. Forward operating bases are outposts that allow agents to patrol closer to the international border.

The lawmakers letter to Napolitano follows:

We are writing to urge the Department of Homeland Security to establish a Border Patrol Forward Operating Base (FOB) in the New Mexico boot heel. We strongly believe that this step would greatly enhance our security posture and help ensure the safety of border residents.

Although the Border Patrol force strength is now at a record 20,000 agents and the apprehension rate along the southern border is at the lowest level since the 1970s, it is clear that more still needs to be done to fully secure our nation’s borders. Just this last weekend, a rancher was murdered at his ranch in Arizona just across the New Mexico state line after he encountered a person on his property. While the specifics of this terrible incident are still being investigated, we are deeply concerned about the security threats border ranchers are facing and believe it is critical that DHS enhance its capabilities in this region.

The new Lordsburg Border Patrol station will significantly increase the capacity of the station to house and maintain additional agents in the area; however, establishing a FOB in the boot heel would allow agents to spend considerably more time patrolling in closer proximity to the actual border. The Lordsburg station is situated along the I-10 corridor and Border Patrol agents spend an unnecessary amount of their time driving back and forth to patrol areas within the boot heel. Locating a FOB in this area would reduce agent response times and enhance our ability to fight drug traffickers and apprehend individuals illegally crossing the border. For these reasons, we ask that DHS promptly begin the process of creating a Forward Operating Base in the Hidalgo County boot heel.

Thank you for your attention to this issue and for your leadership in working to secure our nation’s borders. We look forward to your response.



Harry Teague Calls for White House Summit on Border Violence

Note: This letter was sent after the murder of two Americans in Mexico, and prior to the killing of the Arizona rancher in the U.S.

Washington, DC - Saturday, Congressman Harry Teague announced that he is calling on President Barack Obama to convene a bipartisan White House summit focused on stemming the drug violence that has plagued the U.S. border with Mexico. The meeting would aim to build a policy to address this crisis, ensure that the violence does not spill over into the United States, and help us get back to work building our border economies.

"There is no easy solution to the violence that has resulted in thousands of drug and gang-related deaths in these border communities. Nor is there a simple way to make absolutely sure that we can prevent the chaos from spilling over into this country," Congressman Harry Teague writes in the letter. “However, we believe that the only way to begin to address the violence at our border and protect our country is to organize a concerted and comprehensive effort that addresses every cause of the violence and every threat posed to the American people."

This past week, Congressman Teague, Vice-Chair of the U.S. House Border Caucus, and several other members of the Caucus met with Mexican Ambassador, Arturo Sarukhán, this week to discuss recent events, including the murders of two American citizens in Ciudad Juarez last week.

The full text of the letter is below:

March 19th, 2010

Dear Mr. President:

The recent murders of two American citizens and a Mexican national connected to the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez serve as a tragic reminder of the potential threat posed to our nation by the tidal wave of violence that has inundated Mexico’s northern border region. Over the past three years, as the violence has raged in Mexico, legitimate economic activity has deteriorated, the fabric of society has been torn apart, and an estimated 15,000 people have been murdered, often brutally so. Thus far, the violence has largely been limited to Mexican territory. However, it is reasonable to question how long such a level of violence, dysfunction, and disorder can be sustained on one side of our 2,000 mile border without millions of Americans eventually feeling its effect.

According to the 2008 National Drug Threat Assessment, “the Southwest Border Region is the most significant national-level storage, transportation, and transshipment area for illicit drug shipments that are destined for drug markets throughout the United States.” Further, “the region is the principal arrival zone for most drugs smuggled into the Unites States,” and “Mexican [drug trafficking organizations] have developed sophisticated and expansive drug transportation networks extending from the Southwest Border to all regions of the United States.” Given the penetration into American territory that Mexican drug cartels have achieved and the cartels’ investments in U.S. drug shipment networks, we must take seriously the possibility that Mexican drug violence could spill over into American communities.

There is no easy solution to the violence that has ripped apart Mexican communities and left thousands dead. Nor is there a simple way to make absolutely sure that we can prevent the chaos from spilling over into this country. However, we believe that the only way to begin to address the violence at our border and protect our country is to organize a concerted and comprehensive effort that addresses every cause of the violence and every threat posed to the American people.

Therefore, we request that you organize a White House Summit to address the threat of Mexican drug violence. Such a Summit can provide the basis for a policy blueprint to address this crisis so we can ensure that the violence does not spill over into the United States and get back to work growing our border economies.

Thank you for your service to this nation.

Sincerely,

Harry Teague
Member of Congress

Krentz Family: Homeland Heroes

It's not as if "political leaders" had not been forewarned of the danger.

Tom Tancredo
wrote about the Krentz family 7 years ago:

I would like to bring to your attention a group of people whom I would like to include in what I am now calling the Homeland Heroes. These are folks whose daily lives confront them with incredible stresses and challenges far different than what their business had initially provided them.

They started out ranching, and that is a difficult task in and of itself. But, after generations in that particular industry and living in the same area on the border of Mexico, living in Arizona, many of the people who reside there are now living in what, I think, can be accurately described as a war zone. Every week I have been bringing to the U.S. House of Representatives the names and pictures of those people that I want to induct into this Homeland Heroes Hall of Fame.

Tonight, I want to talk about Rob and Sue Krentz, who own and operate a ranch located on the far southeastern corner of Arizona, about 12 miles north of the U.S./Mexico border and 25 miles northeast of the city of Douglas. They are third-generation ranchers. This ranch has been in their family since 1907.

Rob and Susie Krentz have three children they raised on that ranch. Their two sons, Andrew and Frank, attend New Mexico State University, and their daughter, Kyle, is a high school senior.

The Krentz family story is similar in many ways to the experiences of hundreds of other ranchers in this border region. Yet, to them and their children it, is unique and it is personal and dreadful in the impact it has had on their lives and the future viability of their way of life as ranchers.

Just one tiny statistic begins to tell the story of what these folks face every single day. In the month of November, 2002, in the Tucson Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol, which includes Cochise County, where the Krentz ranch is located, the Border Patrol appre- hended 23,000 border crossers.

That was in the month of November. It is anybody's guess as to how many people actually come across, but many, many people would suggest that the ratio is just about maybe one in five, and that is a very conservative estimate, that, for every one person we apprehend on the border, at least five get through. Again, I think it is closer to one in ten, but I will accept even this very, very conservative estimate, that, for every one we get at the border apprehended, five go by them.

This means that, in just the month of November near this ranch and over their property, when we had 23,000 apprehended, using the conservative estimate of one to five, it meant that 115,000 people crossed the border illegally. We are just talking about one little chunk of the border, the Tucson Sector.

That means that, if we project that out over the course of a year, 1,300,000 people come across that border in that sector. I guarantee that is a conservative estimate, but let us use it. Every month, approximately one million three hundred thousand people are coming across that border and coming across the lands of the people that live there, including the Krentz family.

I had the opportunity to spend some time down there just a few weeks ago, and I can attest to the fact that, on any given evening, one can watch dozens and dozens of illegal aliens trespassing across the land. The Krentz family will call the U.S. Border Patrol to come and intercept them. Sometimes the Border Patrol will come; sometimes they will not.

Mr. Krentz estimates that, over the past 5 years, his family has suffered a loss of at least $300,000 a year due to cut fences, stolen and damaged vehicles and farm equip- ment, and damage to the rangeland itself. This is very, very delicate land. It is desert land--something that has to be conserved and protected. When there are 1,300,000 trespassers coming across the land every year, it is not being conserved and protected. The land is being destroyed.

The Krentz ranch has 1,000 head of cattle. The continual movement of people across that domain constantly disturbs the livestock, impacting their own value, and sometimes somethings happen that are even worse. In February of last year, for instance, a calf was butchered by illegal alien trespassers. Two men responsible were caught. They were tried. They were found guilty. They served a total of 51 days in jail. They were also or- dered to pay $200 in restitution to the Krentz ranch. The Krentz ranch has not seen a cent of that money; and, of course, our best guess is they will not because these people have been released. They either came back into the population up here in the U.S.A. or returned to Mexico.

These losses, which are estimated in the neighborhood of $300,000, include damage to and disease-producing microorganisms in the water tanks and waterlines on their ranch. The family and their employees cannot drink out of the water tanks any longer because of the disease that happens to be in the water on the land--disease brought in by illegal alien trespassers--and the damage done by purposeful, deliberate vandalism on the part of the trespassers.

The estimated value of the water that has been lost on their property to date is $4 million. In June of 2002, the Krentz brothers discovered two separate instances of damaged waterlines. Illegal aliens had broken the two-inch PBC waterline in order to get drinking water. The Krentz ranch waterline runs for 40 miles and is one of the best gravity-flow waterlines in the State of Arizona. Because of these two breaks in the long pipeline, several hundred thousand gallons of precious water were wasted.

The Krentz family continually has to deal with threats, physical threats, from illegal border crossers. Recently, a family member came upon a group of 39 trespassers and was threatened by them, when he asked them to turn around and get off his land. He returned home, called the Border Patrol, and they did come and apprehend them. But we both know what happens is they put them into a revolving door near the border and, in a few days or in a few hours, many times they are coming right back across the border.

The Krentz family members are not vigilantes. They do not try to apprehend illegal aliens by force. They do not carry arms for their own protection. They will always call the Border Patrol when they observe trespassers. They and the other ranchers are trying to follow the law and work with the Border Patrol, and all they want from their own government is to enforce the law as well as to protect them and their property, and that is what we owe them. They are only asking the minimum from their own government, that it protect their lives and property from people coming across the border illegally. The Krentz family members are asking the government to protect them from this invasion by illegal aliens.

And there are no two ways about it. "Invasion" is an appropriate word to use to describe what is happening on our borders, especially on our southern border. It is an invasion, and the Krentz family and other ranchers on land near and adjacent to the border are asking their government to protect them from that invasion.

I want to salute Rob and Susie Krentz and Phil and Carrie Krentz as homeland heroes who are bearing the brunt of an invasion of over a million illegal aliens crossing our southern border. We need to understand their plight. We have a moral obligation to do something about it.