Friday, August 13, 2010

College National Finals Rodeo on TV

The CNFR will be played on ESPNU this weekend. Watch some of NMSU Rodeo’s top athletes compete for a national title. (Spoiler- Rodee Walraven & Johnny Salvo finish 3rd in the nation, Men’s team ends up 6th, Staci Stanbrough wins the prestigious Walt Garrison Award and was elected NIRA National Student President, Bo Simpson & JoDan Mirabal get no times but end up 9th & 11th respectively, fellow Grand Canyon Region coach CJ Aragon- Mesalands Comm. College was named 2010 NIRA Coach of the Year)

Tune in or DVR/TIVO the CNFR on ESPNU!


College Rodeo will be in the television spotlight this August. The best action from the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s premiere event, the College National Finals Rodeo, will be featured on ESPN U.

The college rodeo action begins airing on Friday, August 13th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

ESPN U will be airing two hours of collegiate rodeo competition from the 2010 College National Finals Rodeo, held in Casper, Wyoming, this past June.

The exciting action of the finals also includes interviews and features from the entire finals week and portions of the awards ceremony.

Hosting the ESPN U College Rodeo series are Boyd Polhamus and Bob Tallman, with Angie Burton interviewing the contestants on the arena floor. The Wyoming Division of Tourism is the presenting sponsor, with fellow supporters; Wrangler, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Copper Spring Ranch, Dodge, the Casper Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the ProEquine Group, including Cactus Ropes, Cactus Saddles, Fastback Ropes, and ProEquine.

College National Finals Rodeo on ESPNU

Show #1 - Premieres
Friday, August 13th, 8:00 p.m. ET

Show #2 - Premieres
Friday, August 13th, 9:00 p.m. ET

Additional airings of each show will air throughout the month of August.
Show #1 – Re-Air
Friday, August 13th 4:00 a.m. ET

Show #2 – Re-Air
Friday, August 13th 5:00 a.m. ET

Show #1 – Re-Air
Saturday, August 14th 10:00 a.m. ET

Show #2 – Re-Air
Saturday, August 14th 11:00 a.m. ET

Show #1 – Re-Air
Monday, August 16th, 8:00 a.m. ET

Show #2 – Re-Air
Monday, August 16th, 9:00 a.m. ET

The Real Environmental Disaster

...While publicly expressing deep concern about the impact on the Gulf states, Obama was apparently so preoccupied with loss of complete control that he also lost the competence to tackle the environmental challenges. As Gateway Pundit and others have pointed out: Obama accepted help from only five of 28 countries that offered aid. It took 53 days of gushing oil before the administration accepted help from the Dutch and British. It took 58 days to mobilize military personnel to the Gulf. Crude oil-sucking barges were shut down because of technical fire extinguisher regulations. The administration ignored oil containment-boom manufacturers that had miles of their product available in warehouses. Dredging for sand berms to block the oil from the Louisiana coast was forbidden for weeks. No skimmer boats were sent to Mississippi’s shore. Florida had to hire added skimmer boats because offederal inaction...Surely, the most shameful display of Obama’s eagerness to control all things was his mandate of a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf. The New York Times May 27 reported his plan to stop new deepwater drilling for six months, suspend exploratory drilling scheduled off Alaska this summer, and cancel a lease sale off Virginia’s coast. The Interior Department used the flimsy excuse that a moratorium was necessary because of uncertainties about the cause of the oil blowout and the need to write new drilling rules...More than three months after the April oil blowout, “Gulf states and the oil industry are still howling” over unnecessary economic harm, the Christian Science Monitor said July 27. The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee listened to testimony forecasting financial losses of $2.8 billion and moratorium-caused job losses exceeding 10,000. The in Louisiana reported that before the oil spill and the moratorium, 56 rigs were operating in the Gulf. By the end of July “there are only 12 active rigs. Most have “departed for the Congo and Egypt and more rigs may be leaving very soon…...more

Judge Martin Feldman wants to know more about offshore oil drilling ban

U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman has asked the federal government and Hornbeck Offshore Services, the Covington marine services company that has challenged the offshore oil drilling ban, for additional information to help him decide whether the government's July 12 moratorium is indeed a new policy, or whether it's the same policy that he struck down in June. In doing so, Feldman hopes to answer the question of whether the Hornbeck suit against Interior Secretary Ken Salazar should be dismissed as moot because the government rescinded the original May 28 moratorium that aroused Hornbeck's ire and replaced it with a new policy in July, or whether the Hornbeck suit should continue because the policy is essentially the same. "I'd like to see a comparison of the pre-May 28 information and the post-May 28 information that led to the July 12 directive," Feldman said, saying that he wanted to evaluate claims of whether there really is new evidence that blowout preventers don't work, that the industry is unprepared to stop deepwater blowouts and respond to spills, and that operators other than BP may also engage in unsafe drilling practices...more

Left in Limbo: Businesses Affected by Obama’s Drilling Ban Won’t Get BP Claims Money

As businesses along the Gulf Coast await the expiration of President Obama’s offshore drilling moratorium, they’re faced with a new hardship: Neither BP nor the Gulf Coast Claims Facility appear willing to pay for lost income resulting from the ban. Last week BP announced it was deferring all moratorium-related claims to Ken Feinberg, the Obama-appointed administrator of the $20 billion claims fund. That news came as a surprise to Feinberg, however. He maintains the moratorium claims are BP’s responsibility. “Those claims are not under Feinberg’s jurisdiction with the GCCF,” spokeswoman Amy Weiss told me. She referred questions to BP. But a spokesman for BP said the company is planning to transfer all outstanding claims to Feinberg, including those from businesses that cite the drilling ban. “There are claims in the system that are moratorium-related,” BP spokesman John Curry said. “The entire database will transition to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility when Feinberg gets it up and running.” The uncertainty — and apparent unwillingness of either BP or Feinberg to take responsibility — leaves businesses in the dark about their moratorium-related claims. Those businesses could be mom-and-pop stores that rely on the steady flow of customers working on rigs or suppliers of oilfield equipment. Each is affected by the moratorium in its own unique way...more

How BP may be paying out millions in oil spill compensation to fraudsters

BP could be paying millions in compensation to 'fake fishermen', it has been revealed. So far BP has paid $308million to those whose livelihood has been threatened by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But to receive compensation, fishermen must display a valid fishing licence - and applications for such licenses have spiked by nearly 60 per cent, despite most fishing grounds being closed by the disaster. Three people suspected of abusing the system have been arrested in the past week in the U.S. - but there are fears there could be many more such 'fraudsters' at work. One genuine fisherman even told reporters of being approached by two men who asked him to sign documents for them showing that they had worked for him...more

U.N. Chief Recommends Small Steps on Climate

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, said Monday that he doubted that member states would reach a new global climate change agreement in December at a conference in Mexico. Mr. Ban, who was the head cheerleader for reaching a deal during the 2009 conference in Copenhagen, suggested that a better approach might consist of small steps in separate fields that built toward wider consensus rather than aiming for one sweeping pact. “Climate change, I think, has been making progress, even though we have not reached such a point where we will have a globally agreed, comprehensive deal,” Mr. Ban said at a news conference. Preliminary negotiations toward some manner of document, involving all 192 member states, ended last week stuck on familiar problems — the working document doubling in size to 34 pages amid protracted wrangling over issues like commitments to cut emissions. There is one more round of talks, in China in October, before the December conference in CancĂșn...more

Global warming heats up a nuclear energy renaissance

Now, three decades later, Mr. Grecheck is overseeing plans to finally add a third reactor at Dominion Energy Inc.'s North Anna plant that could power up to 375,000 Virginia homes. The company is one of more than a dozen nationwide seeking licenses from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build and operate 22 new reactors. "This point" is the nuclear renaissance that Dominion, and the industry as a whole, seems to be enjoying. Global warming has energized the quest for clean, carbon-free energy that won't add to the greenhouse effect; and the BP oil spill has added to the distaste for fossil-fuel dependence. Public and political acceptance of nuclear power as a logical large-scale alternative to fossil fuel is higher than it has been in a generation. Once mainly associated with mishaps like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl – not to mention bumbling nuclear plant worker Homer Simpson – the energy source now has support from 62 percent of Americans, a Gallup Poll found in March. That's the highest since Gallup began asking about the topic in 1994. Even former foes like Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog and an alternative-energy crusader, and Mark Udall, a member of the Udall family Democratic political dynasty that has stewarded natural resources, are rethinking the nuclear energy option...more

Montana aims to settle lawsuit or remove, kill gray wolves

Montana's top wildlife official said Thursday if the state can't settle a lawsuit that has derailed this year's fall wolf hunt, it will press for authority to kill certain wolves to control their population. "The wolf is recovered; more than 500 wolves live in Montana," said Joe Maurier, director of Montana's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. "There is a place in Montana for them, but wolves have to be managed, just like other wildlife. Right now we can't do that." Maurier and other state wildlife officials said Montana wants to reduce its wolf population to about 450 animals, and is talking with federal officials, looking for the best and legal way to do it. "We're just trying to figure out what's the best course to take," said agency spokesman Ron Aasheim. "The playing field changes almost daily. ... We've got to find some way to manage wolves, period." Montana may appeal Molloy's ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Maurier said, but the state also wants to continue to try to settle the case with the 13 conservation groups that filed suit, including Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and Alliance for the Wild Rockies. If the state can't manage wolf packs in the state, wolves will continue to grow and affect ranchers and Montana's wildlife herds, he added. "It's disappointing, when FWP and the people of Montana have worked so hard and done everything we were asked to do, to see a legal technicality upend the intent of the Endangered Species Act, which is to recover a species," Maurier said...more

Obama panel boosts bid to put greenhouse gas emissions underground

An Obama Administration task force today reported that underground storage of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants is technically feasible, but there is little likelihood it will move forward without legislation to put a price on those emissions. Carbon capture and storage – or CCS – has long been heralded by scientists, environmentalists, and even some in the utility industry as perhaps the only real way to prevent climate change while still enabling the United States to continue burning its massive coal reserves in power plants. In February, President Obama ordered a comprehensive study of CCS by 14 federal agencies. Today's report offers fresh momentum not only to the effort to devise cost-effective CCS technologies but also to the push for climate-change legislation...more

Why Landowners Fight Wind And Solar Transmission Lines

But there’s another big problem I ran into when reporting the story in Montana. It turns out even siting transmission lines on private land is difficult — far more difficult than, say, siting a wind turbine. The reason is the way landowners are compensated — or not — for transmission. If a developer wants to put a wind turbine on a patch of private land, he offers to pay a per-acre fee and a percentage of the revenues produced by the turbine. Landowners jump at the chance; siting wind is not a problem in Montana, and ranchers across the state are eager to farm wind along with wheat and cattle. But when a developer wants to build a transmission line, he seeks approval under Montana’s Major Facilities Siting Act. If the project is approved, the state can condemn land if need be. The landowner is paid a one-time fee for the land under the wires, but the fee can be small — 80% to 90% of the land’s fair market value. After all, being able to threaten condemnation does a lot for one’s position at the negotiating table. This is simply not nearly enough to compensate owners for what the wires do to the value of their land, so they fight against it instead of for it. It’s a case of “not in my backyard” – at least at that price. It’s not an issue unique to Montana. This issues have come up in Oklahoma, Kansas and other windy states...more

ObamaCare is an Administrative Nightmare for American Family Farms

This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Adrian Smith, discusses how President Obama's new health care law negatively affects farmers, ranchers, and small businesses. Section 9006 of the law requires that all businesses file a 1099 with the Internal Revenue Service for every vendor with which it has more than $600 in transactions in a year. Rep. Smith explains that this would be an administrative nightmare for our nation's family farms, and prompted him to cosponsor H.R. 5141, the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act, which will repeal this new requirement. "Our nation’s farmers and ranchers could have a pile of paperwork in their near future, thanks to – of all things – the health care bill. "The health care law signed by President Obama requires farmers and ranchers to file a Form 1099 with the Internal Revenue Service for every vendor or contractor from which they purchase 600 hundred dollars or more in goods or services in a calendar year. "In other words, when a farmer or rancher spends $600 on feed corn, seeds, fertilizer, fuel, tractors or nearly every other expense, they will have to research and prepare a 1099 form for each and every purchase. "This will – quite frankly – prove to be an administrative nightmare for our nation’s family farms...more

Legislation introduced on pesticides and clean water

Today, Ranking Member Frank Lucas, along with six of his colleagues on the House Agriculture Committee, introduced a bill (H.R. 6087), which clarifies that the use of a pesticide consistent with its registration under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) should not be subject to a costly, redundant, and unnecessary permit process under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Since passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency has interpreted the act to exclude lawful pesticide applications regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) from National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. However, in January 2009, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that longstanding practice in The National Cotton Council of America, et al., v. United States Environmental Protection Agency. The court ruled the EPA did not have the authority under the CWA to exempt application of pesticides. Last year, Rep. Lucas joined several of his colleagues and supported a petition to the Supreme Court to hear the case, but the petition was rejected. Ranking Member Lucas' bill would make clear that producers who are in compliance with the requirements of FIFRA do not need to obtain Clean Water Act permits. "Instead of challenging the courts' misguided decision, the Obama administration has chosen to leave our farmers, ranchers, foresters, mosquito-control districts, and even States to face an enormous regulatory burden never intended by release

Go here to view the court case.

In Montana, a Fight Over Separation of Church and Fairgrounds

Leaders of a Christian organization are convinced a group of atheists were successful in getting annual fellowship services moved from the Missoula County Fair, but church organizers say they’re determined to make the best of their new location. Still, churchgoers who worship at the service resent that any group could get them relocated. Sunday morning church is a long-standing tradition at the Missoula County Fair, thanks to the Missoula Christian Network’s planning. But that tradition fell by the wayside this year after complaints from a national atheist group, which called the service “a violation of civil rights.”...more

Ohio Farmers Lean to Truce on Animals’ Close Quarters

Concessions by farmers in this state to sharply restrict the close confinement of hens, hogs and veal calves are the latest sign that so-called factory farming — a staple of modern agriculture that is seen by critics as inhumane and a threat to the environment and health — is on the verge of significant change. A recent agreement between farmers and animal rights activists here is a rare compromise in the bitter and growing debate over large-scale, intensive methods of producing eggs and meat, and may well push farmers in other states to give ground, experts say. The rising consumer preference for more “natural” and local products and concerns about pollution and antibiotic use in giant livestock operations are also driving change. The surprise truce in Ohio follows stronger limits imposed by California voters in 2008. Hoping to avoid a divisive November referendum that some farmers feared they would lose, Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio urged farm leaders to negotiate with opponents, led by the Humane Society of the United States. After secret negotiations, the sides agreed to bar new construction of egg farms that pack birds in cages, and to phase out the tight caging of pregnant sows within 15 years and of veal calves by 2017. Farmers in Ohio have accepted the agreement with chagrin, saying they sense that they must bend with the political and cultural winds...more

Picabo horse auction a gem of the Old West

The dust had no time to settle on the dirt road leading to the B-Bar-B Ranch in Picabo, as trucks pulling trailers one after another were traveling to rancher Katie Breckenridge's horse sale. Men, women and children gathered from all corners of the West to attend the sale on Saturday, July 31, which had not occurred since 2002. "Three years ago, I could see the horse-sale industry collapse," she said. "The number of people buying horses had dropped dramatically caused by the closing of slaughterhouses and the over-producing of horses for the number of buyers. And, the U.S. economy was collapsing." Breckenridge said the majority of horse owners make less than $50,000 a year and the market for selling horses has disappeared. In previous years, she said, people would come to B-Bar-B on their own to buy horses. She was able to sell most of her horses on private consignment at the ranch. "Every year, people would come to buy horses for roping, cow-horse events, top dressage and pleasure riding," she said. "I halter-break every horse," Breckenridge said. "I have 110 horses and breed all of them. I have created athletes." Breckenridge said she breeds her horses to have sound mind, solid bones and good footing for trail use. She wants to maintain the cow breed in them. She said the horse of the future is a cow horse that has been trending to be a smaller horse, but she has added speed to the bloodlines...more

Song Of The Day #379

Ranch Radio will close out our look at 1959 with two more tunes that made the top twenty: I Ain't Never by Webb Pierce and Life To Go by Stonewall Jackson.

Arizona Border Town Home to New Illegal Immigration Tactics

While the entire nation is talking about illegal immigration, the residents of McNeal, Arizona live with it daily. It's a big time problem. And, all three hundred people in McNeal (some say that number is inflated) seem to have a personal story about illegal immigrants and drug or human smugglers. "Just last week, three of them showed up at my back gate. It was three young men...they were from Mexico City," shared Richard Humphries. Stephanie Langham added, "We're dealing with drug wars, human trafficking wars...we're dealing with smuggling...all of this stuff!" "We probably see 30-40 (illegal immigrants) a day between Davis Road and here!" said John Brya, adding, "At least the ones you can see!" See? KGUN9 didn't know exactly what that the local store owner meant. But, we started to figure it all out when McNeal residents Sean and Stephanie Langham took us for a little walk. The couple met our KGUN9 reporter at an anti-SB1070 protest in Tucson and invited us to see what they say really goes on in their border town. "In this area this is where the coyotes are, the drop vehicles ... This is where you see the beginning of the drug smuggling. This isn't just about people trying to find jobs," said S&S Auto owner Sean Langham. A few steps further into the desert and under some desert brush we saw what everyone in town meant when they talked about the illegal immigrants and smugglers you could not see. That's because a lot hide in what appears to be a hole right in middle of the desert. But, the hole we were gaping into wasn't a hole. It was an underground stash house. And, it wasn't discovered by local cops or Border Patrol. "This was found by our children. That's who found it. I know there are a lot of mine shafts around here, but this is not a mine shaft," said Sean Langham. "I've never seen anything like this. This underground stash house has its own running water, its own electric box over here, and even its own address, # 475," recounted KGUN9 reporter Joel Waldman...more

See the KGUN-TV report at the link provided.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ag Secretary Vilsack: We Need an ‘All-Lands Approach’ to Managing Forests Threatened by Housing

In announcing today the latest in a series of extensive U.S. Forest Service reports about the threat to private forest land, Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack repeated his contention the country needs an “all-lands approach to managing our nation’s forests, whether they are national forests or under the stewardship of state or private entities.” The report, ”Private Forests, Public Benefits,” is part of a larger study called Forests on the Edge. The study uses geographic data to identify watersheds where private forests contribute the greatest amount of goods and services in terms of clean water, timber and wildlife habitat, as well as where these goods and services are most at risk from increased housing density, insects and disease, wildfire and air pollution...more

The USDA press release is here, and you can view the two reports mentioned here and here.

Property owners get ready, the Forest Service and your state forestry division will be planning your land's use for you.

Our View: Connections lost with Forest Service

Hello, Forest Service, can we talk? Apparently the answer is no if the questions are about last year's Station Fire, the largest forest fire in the history of Southern California. The brass at the Angeles National Forest headquarters in Arcadia refer all calls on that topic to Washington, D.C., from now on. That's as more people ask more questions, such as why weren't there more aircraft sent to douse the small outbreak sooner. And what can the Forest Service do differently to prevent the devastating wildfire and resultant mudslides from happening again? The Forest Service has provided fewer answers. In fact, it's clammed up. What does it have to hide? Plenty, especially after revelations spilled out last week that recordings of dispatch calls during the fire were withheld from federal investigators, who released a report on the Station Fire last November that many roundly criticized as incomplete and short-sighted. No wonder the Forest Service has retreated. But the reason for the PR shutdown is not just the questions regarding the response to the Station Fire. It is part of a disconnect from the land that has permeated the administration of Angeles Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron. Several former Forest Service employees, many who still live in the area and want to see the forest flourish, say that employees are afraid to criticize their boss. Many current employees did not participate with investigators for fear of reprisals, including getting fired. That is not the kind of management that should exist anywhere in the federal government. And it's not what we want to see in our forest...more

Interior Releases More of Leaked List of Potential National Monuments

The Interior Department has released the rest of a partially leaked document listing potential sites for new national monuments, but the move did nothing to quell Republican accusations that the Obama administration is plotting to lock up public lands. House Republicans in February received a leaked copy of pages 15 through 21 of a document that details 14 Western sites potentially eligible for national monuments designation under the Antiquities Act of 1906, a law that allows the president to create new monuments without congressional approval. The newly released pages of the document detail the Bureau of Land Management's goals for expanding its National Landscape Conservation System. The agency considers up to 140 million acres of land -- more than half of the 264 million acres it manages -- as "treasured lands," the document says. The document calls on the administration to first support legislative efforts for new conservation designations and turn to executive action "should the legislative process not prove fruitful." Such assurances did little to satisfy Bishop, who said the new details support his charges that the Obama administration is planning to block energy development across millions of acres of Western lands...more

Climate-Change Fight Shifting To Western US Coal Mines

Western U.S. coal producers are increasingly coming under fire by environmental groups that see a chance to fight climate change by curbing output from the nation's largest coal basin. For years environmentalists have lobbied for tougher limits on the emissions of heat-trapping gases blamed for climate change from power plants, vehicles and other direct sources. But the collapse of federal climate-change legislation in recent weeks and growth of coal exports to Asia is leading some groups to look past the smoke stacks and aim to quash emissions by stymieing production of fuel. The Powder River Basin, which underlies Wyoming and Montana, is one of the country's largest sources of fossil fuel, accounting for about 40% of U.S. coal output. Combustion of this coal in power plants accounts for about 13% of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions each year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Most of the basin's coal is mined through federal leases by the largest U.S. producers such as Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU) and Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (ANR). Groups including the Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians, a New Mexico-based environmental group, are challenging the legality of a series of new leases the Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, has begun issuing. They say the leases could open up as much as 5.8 billion tons of coal reserves for mining, ensuring the basin's dominance for years to come. The environmentalists claim the BLM isn't properly taking into account the impact of burning the coal on the climate...more

It's time rewrite the rules for endangered animals

I never thought I would hear myself say this, much less write it, but the Endangered Species Act needs an overhaul. It's not working as intended and shows no signs of improving. I'm not saying scrap it completely, but it's definitely time to reboot it. If it were a computer, it would crash doing simple math. EXHIBIT A: GRAY WOLF Idaho's wolf population has steadily grown since the predators were reintroduced and has far exceeded minimum recovery goals. Even after successful hunts in Idaho and Montana last year the population is about the same. But a judge ruled the animals are endangered according to the Endangered Species Act. There's plenty of blame to go around on that one. But when the wolf population is above recovery goals, still growing and migrating to other states yet still considered endangered, the act is clearly broken. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation came to the same conclusion...more

Taking the bite out of wolf reintroduction

Today Oregonians face the coming of the Canadian gray wolf -- an icon to some, a threat to others. Whatever the view, it's clear that wolves must be dealt with and the conflicts they create must be addressed. The Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan is currently up for review, and the Oregon Cattlemen's Association seeks reasonable adjustments to it. Many new issues have arisen since the plan's inception five years ago, but one thing remains constant: Ranchers have a great need to protect their livestock. OCA members seek the same types of management tools provided to ranchers in Idaho and other states that have experienced successful wolf reintroductions. They also seek a fair and equitable compensation plan that takes into account unconfirmed kills. Ranchers care deeply for their livestock. They fight tooth and nail to keep them alive every day from birth. It's difficult for a rancher to do nothing when a wolf is threatening his livestock. Wolves are prolific predators, hard to manage and not efficient killers like cougars, which keep bloodshed to a minimum and kill quickly. Wolves often leave their victims partially consumed before the animals finally die of blood loss or violent injuries...more

'Research hunts' weighed for wolves

Wildlife officials in the Northern Rockies said Wednesday they are considering hunting gray wolves in the name of research to get around a recent court ruling that restored federal protections for the animals. Environmentalists derided the proposal, vowing to challenge in court any new plans for hunting the estimated 1,367 wolves in Idaho and Montana. Hunters in Idaho and Montana killed 258 wolves during hunts last fall — the first for wolves in the lower 48 states in decades. State officials said the hunts proved wolves can be hunted without driving the population to extinction. But the Aug. 5 ruling from U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy is likely to cancel or postpone wolf seasons scheduled to start next month in the two states. Still, the ruling left officials scrambling for new ways to control a predator responsible for increasing attacks on livestock and big game herds. Montana wolf program coordinator Carolyn Sime said one option under consideration was to apply for a federally permitted "research hunt" to better understand the impact of public hunting on wolf populations. In the absence of hunting, more than 1,200 wolves have been killed during the last 15 years by government agents and ranchers in response to livestock attacks. Sime said a research hunt could reveal if a regulated public harvest could accomplish the same task...more

Wolf Hunt Canceled, Debate Rages On

In a showdown between the federal courts and state government, a judge ruled that wolves in Montana and Idaho should be protected under the federal Endangered Species Act last week. The ruling effectively canceled planned hunts in the two states and baffled hunters and wildlife officials across the West. Thankfully, Montana wildlife officials are not giving up just yet. They announced a plan today to seek a special federal permit that would allow public wolf hunting despite the court order. But because of the large amount of red tape involved, even if the permit is granted it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to save the 2010 wolf hunt in either Montana or Idaho. Another option could be trying to downgrade wolves to threatened and then getting federal permission to hunt them. The ruling last week came shortly after Montana decided to more than double its wolf hunt quota from 75 to 186. Idaho had also decided to increase the number of wolves hunters could take in the 2010 season (both states had their first wolf hunt in decades last year). But as of right now, all of that counts for nothing and the wolf hunt is off the table...more

State of Texas Challenges Federal Government's Offshore Drilling Moratorium

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today filed a legal challenge to the Obama Administration’s offshore drilling moratorium. The State’s legal challenge charges the Administration with violating a federal law that requires the Secretary of Interior to consult with affected states before imposing an offshore drilling moratorium. Filed on behalf of the State of Texas, Governor Rick Perry and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, today’s legal action names the following defendants: the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI); DOI Secretary Kenneth Salazar; the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement – formerly known as the Minerals Management Service – and BOEM Director Michael Bromwich. “The federal government ignored the State of Texas and failed to comply with the law when the Secretary of the Interior unilaterally imposed the Administration’s offshore drilling ban,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Under federal law, affected states are guaranteed the right to participate in offshore drilling-related policy decisions, but the Obama Administration did not bother to communicate, coordinate or cooperate with Texas. Worse, the Secretary of the Interior failed to consider the economic consequences of his decision, which will cost the Texas economy millions of dollars – and threatens far too many hard-working Texans’ jobs.”...more

Moratorium and litigation
 may stall drilling for years

Will one-third of U.S. oil continue to be produced offshore? Political forces at play in the aftermath of BP's disastrous oil spill make it increasingly doubtful. Failure to consider the full effect of proposed laws and moratoria, as well as the operation of existing laws, could jeopardize thousands of jobs and further damage the Gulf Coast economy. The Deepwater Horizon accident, taking 11 lives and slowly impacting countless livelihoods, was shocking. BP's brown muck of oil, coating wildlife and marshes and once-pristine beaches, creates a powerful visual argument against future drilling. But this horrific incident contrasts with a decades-long history of safety. Since 1980, the largest spill from a blowout in federal waters besides the Deepwater Horizon was only 800 barrels. For every barrel produced, only .000001 was spilled. It is certainly possible to produce oil offshore with reliability and safety...more

Feds round up more than 100 mustangs along CA-NV border

Federal land managers have captured more than 100 wild horses a day after an appellate court refused to stop the mustang roundup along the California-Nevada border. The Bureau of Land Management District Manager Nancy Haug says 119 animals gathered Wednesday were reported to be in good health. The roundup of about 2,000 wild horses is expected to last at least a month. Horse protection advocates had sought an emergency injunction for the roundup. In Defense of Animals argued the horses have more legal right to the public range than the thousands of livestock grazing there. The BLM says the overpopulated mustang herds about 120 miles north of Reno are damaging public rangeland and threatening their own well being. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the advocates' request Tuesday night. AP

Horse Sanctuary Closer to Reality

Philanthropist and businesswoman Madeleine Pickens says she is one step closer to her dream of a sprawling sanctuary for wild horses to be built in northern Nevada. Pickens first told the I-Team about her plan for a sanctuary two years ago during an aerial tour of northern Nevada ranches. She hoped to buy a ranch with her own money, donate it to a non-profit foundation, then add public range creating an eco-tourism center in Elko County which could be home to thousands of already captured mustangs. Wednesday, Pickens confirmed she has signed a deal for ranch property up north. "I'm really excited. The check went out today. It got wire transferred. I'm purchasing a ranch and hopefully the BLM will co-operate, if not I guess I"ll just have to graze cows like everyone else. It would be a shame because my desire is not to be a cattle rancher," she added, "We are asking the government since they have removed these horses from the public land that they have a fiscal and moral responsibility to take care of these horses." Pickens says the combined property encompasses more than 900 square miles. Though she still needs the BLM to give its permission to use adjacent public range for horses instead of for cattle grazing...more

Chupacabra Ca-Ching

Once relegated to South Texas, the mythical chupacabra, or “goat sucker,” is migrating north. This spring, Runaway Bay, a town northwest of Fort Worth, made the chupacabra its official town mascot. That was after a groundskeeper at the municipal golf course found what mayor Robert Ryan describes as a “very strange-looking dead animal that was hairless with a long beak near the 14th hole.” “Apparently there was an understanding that it must be a chupacabra,” Ryan said. “At least that’s what went out in our press release.” El chupacabra didn’t always roam our state. The first reported sighting was in Puerto Rico in 1995, where the beast earned its nom de guerre for sucking the blood from livestock animals, its favorite flavor being goat. The sightings spread from there to Mexico and the rest of Latin America. Over the years it has been described as everything from a bug-eyed alien on two claw-like feet to a hairless blue-skinned mutated dog-like creature. No one loves a chupacabra. Or do they? The creature has the undeniable ability to make money for small towns across Texas. Call it the chupacabra stimulus. In Runaway Bay, the town’s Chamber of Commerce knew it was onto something good. The chamber commissioned golf shirts and T-shirts for sale. The shirt features the chupacabra holding a golf club, surrounded by a corona of fireworks. A local restaurant created the “legendary chupacabra burger.” The merchandise alone has already generated $4,000 for city coffers...more

Longhorn bulls, lightning rods, a floating coffin and a bird of paradise

When Zachary Taylor’s army marched from Corpus Christi to the Rio Grande in 1846, a soldier, out of boredom, shot at a longhorn bull. The bull charged the soldier, who ran into the column of troops for protection. The bull charged into their midst, shaking his horns and scattering several regiments. The feisty little bull came out on the other side of the column, unhurt, but he left a scattered army behind him. John Dunn wrote about another bull in “Perilous Trails of Texas.” A company of Rangers, camped near King Ranch, would build a bonfire on cold nights. Dunn noticed that after the men went to sleep an old bull would slip into camp and settle down by the fire. One night the bull got too close to the fire. He got burned and went ballistic, snorting and bellowing, and the Rangers, startled from sleep, fired their guns, thinking they were under attack. The bull scattered coals of the fire and some bedrolls went up in flames. Casualties were two wounded men, some burned blankets, a broken bridle bit, a broken wagon tongue, and a saddle shot full of holes. Dunn saw the scorched bull three miles from camp. He thought he must have been a sensible animal who learned from experience. He never came back to claim a warm spot by the fire...more


Fort Worth, Texas (August 10, 2010) - The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame is proud to announce Betty Dusek, Kay Gay, Temple Grandin, Joyce Gibson Roach and Hortense Ward as inductees to the Hall of Fame for 2010. All five women will be honored during the 35th annual Induction Luncheon Ceremony on October 28, 2010, at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas...

Betty Dusek
Vancourt, Texas

Part of the golden age of the all-girl rodeo, Betty Dusek aided in the early development of the Girls Rodeo Association as director of calf roping contests. Betty won several awards including world champion calf roping, team roping, flag racing and ribbon roping through the GRA. Betty is a long-time member of several organizations including, the 4-H Adult Leaders Association, Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association, American Quarter Horse Association, West Texas Barrel Racer Association, and Women's Pro Rodeo Association. Receiving her GRA Gold Card in 1985, Betty is an all-around champion, having won 14 titles.

Kay Gay
Terrell, Texas

Kay Gay is an important part of Texas rodeo history. From scheduling long-haul truckers for rodeo stock to serving as secretary to keeping time, she has filled most roles within the rodeo arena.For the Mesquite Championship Rodeo, among others, she coordinated the grand entry and opening ceremonies, carried the American flag and competed as a barrel racer. Her interest in the preservation of Western culture is evident through not only working with the Mesquite Rodeo and others, but also for taking charge of the Pivot Setters and Rodeo costumes at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Her work with the wardrobe often meant designing and even sewing costumes. Kay is generally acknowledged as being one who is encouraging and nurturing to all competitors, and her dedication to maintaining and promoting professional rodeo and our Western heritage is readily seen through her life's work.

Temple Grandin
Fort Collins, Colorado

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is a champion of the agriculture and livestock industry. Temple has published four books and well over 200 articles and essays on the subjects of animal welfare, livestock handling and other topics relevant to the livestock industry. Having designed the livestock facilities for six different countries, at least 30 percent of the handling done in North America is done through one of Temple's designs. She developed a system that causes the animal to feel minimal anxiety while providing greater safety and efficiency for the plant. Temple overcame double adversities of being female in a male-dominated industry and the challenges associated with being autistic. She has published on the subject of autism and speaks publicly to better inform others about the developmental disorder. Temple is currently a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University.

Joyce Roach
Keller, Texas

Joyce Gibson Roach is an author, teacher, cattle rancher and naturalist. Her writing credits include awards and prizes in non-fiction, short story, children's literature, and humorous prose, all of which focus on Texas and the Southwest. As adjunct professor of English at TCU, she taught the Western Novel and reintroduced Literature of the Southwest as a part of regional studies. She is a Fellow of Texas State Historical Association, Fellow of Texas Folklore Society, an elected member of the Texas Institute of Letters and Philosophical Society of Texas, and is national president of the Horned Lizard Conservation Society. "The Cowgirls," in print since 1978, is considered the foundational textabout women on horseback from ranch to arena. The family ranch, Crosswinds, is located in the Western Cross Timbers in Wise County, Texas, whereshe has established the Center for Western Cross Timbers Studies dedicated to communicating about and conserving the region.

Hortense Ward
(1872- 1944)

Known as a defender of women's rights and as the first woman admitted into the Texas Bar Association, Hortense broke barriers for women during the beginning of the 20th century. Five years after being admitted to the Texas bar, Hortense became the first woman from Texas, as well as the first woman below the Mason-Dixon Line admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Hortense was the president of the Houston Equal Suffrage Association, Chief Justice of the All-Woman Supreme Court and vice president of the Women Lawyers Association. She was also the first woman registered to vote in Harris County. In the 1920s, she publicly supported the campaign of Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson, the first woman governor of Texas. Hortense spearheaded the Married Woman's Property Rights law, which became known as the "Hortense Ward Act," and allowed married women in Texas to control their own property and earnings.


Song Of The Day #378

Here is the #5 song from 1959: Billy Bayou by Jim Reeves.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Maes beats McInnis

Poised for an improbable triumph, Republican Dan Maes took the stage just before midnight to declare victory over former Congressman Scott McInnis for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Maes — an unknown, underfinanced gubernatorial candidate who has never held public office — was ahead by more than 1 percentage point, leading McInnis 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent, with 93 percent of the vote counted. "I am confident I am your Republican candidate for governor," Maes told supporters at Lodo's Bar & Grill in Denver. The Denver Post called the race for Maes shortly after midnight...more

This is good news to the ranchers and others opposed to the expansion of Fort Carson's Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. McInnis was a prominent proponent of the expansion and had been critical of those opposing the expansion.

A good day for property rights.

Invasion of the Invasive Species! - Local biodiversity is increasing

Here’s a fact that I suspect most people don’t know: Wherever we humans have gone in the past two centuries, we have increased local and regional biodiversity. Biodiversity, in this case, is defined as increasing species richness. Yet, “the popular view [is] that diversity is decreasing at local scales,” Brown University biologist Dov Sax and University of California, Santa Barbara biologist Steven Gaines report [PDF]. Ample scientific evidence shows that this popular view is wrong, however. For example, more than 4,000 plant species introduced into North America during the past 400 years grow naturally here and now constitute nearly 20 percent of the continent’s vascular plant biodiversity. The fear among opponents of "invasive species" is the aggressive outsiders will cause a holocaust among the native plants. That might initially seem reasonable because there are a few species, like kudzu, purple loosestrife, and water hyacinth, that grow with alarming speed wherever they show up. But that doesn't mean other species are in danger. “There is no evidence that even a single long term resident species has been driven to extinction, or even extirpated within a single U.S. state, because of competition from an introduced plant species,” Macalester College biologist Mark Davis notes [PDF]. Yet this spurious threat of extinction persists as one of the chief reasons given for trying to prevent the introduction of exotic species. Meanwhile, there are plenty more examples in which local and regional species richness has been increasing...more

Wilderness ad campaign stirs lively debate

An advertising campaign by one group supporting the creation of federal wilderness in Do-a Ana County proved to be the elephant in the room Tuesday, at a meeting of the Advertising Federation of Las Cruces. The campaign and differing stances in the wilderness debate have created a wedge of sorts between two major business groups locally: the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce and the Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces. Leaders from both groups, as well as other supporters and opponents of the wilderness bill, were present at the monthly Advertising Federation meeting. Their assignment? To talk about the advertising and publicity strategies each has used so far to get its message to the public. It was about 45 minutes into the session before the Hispano Chamber's campaign, which includes an ongoing TV commercial on Comcast Cable, gained the spotlight. eting organizers played the commercial, which urges support for Senate Bill 1689, saying it will conserve the outdoors for future generations. Afterward, wilderness bill critics from the Greater Las Cruces Chamber and People for Preserving Our Western Heritage, a ranchers group opposed to creating wilderness, pressed Hispano Chamber representatives to reveal the source of funding behind the campaign...more

Cougars invade sheep ranch, kill five

Over the past two months, six cougars have attacked sheep on a Linn County ranch, killing five of them. Cathy Stepp and her son 12-year-old son, Colton, said they feel like they’ve been cast in a movie with their sheep as the “disposable” extras and cougars playing the elusive killers. “It’s kind of like being in a scary movie,” said Cathy. “You’re just very, very cautious, constantly.” Five of the six cougars have been killed by the county trapper. “You never know when something’s going to be laying on the hay pile or lurking around or whatever,” Cathy said. Colton is no longer allowed to play in the woods...more

Las Vegas Considers Hula-Hoop Ban

This is a city where tourists are welcome to wander certain streets with open bottles of alcohol, where the phone books contain hundreds of color page ads for "escorts" and where gambling is so ubiquitous that slot machines appear in most 7-Elevens. Yet the Las Vegas City Council is now zeroing in on halting a new public menace: Hula-Hoops. OK, not all Hula-Hooping. Specifically, city leaders later this month may ban the use of the usually plastic, hip-gyrating equipment on a five-block pedestrian mall known as the Fremont Street Experience in the city's downtown core because, they argue, their use obstructs traffic flow and causes public disruptions...more

Los Payasos at work again.

Cow whisperer aims to improve livestock handling

The herd of lowing cows parted like a wave before Curt Pate, who rode straight up to the bull and let him know who was in charge without making a sound. Pate, a 49-year-old Montana cowboy who consulted on the 1998 Robert Redford film "The Horse Whisperer," switched his focus to cows about five years ago and has been traveling the country teaching ranchers to think like cattle and use low-stress methods of handling livestock. At the moment, his work is sponsored by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, which is eager to counter bad publicity generated by a widely seen, secretly recorded video of cows on an Ohio dairy farm being beaten and prodded with pitchforks. "It makes me ill," Pate said. "I really can't stand it. If you care about animals, you just can't stand those things." He said his goal is to teach modern ranchers traditional livestock handling methods used 100 years ago. Back then, there were fewer corrals and fences, and a ranch manager didn't spend as much time on a computer as with livestock. When he confronted the bull, Pate was demonstrating how to steer it away from the agitated females and into an empty pasture without upsetting it or getting the cows even more excited...more

I wonder if there is a market for my skills - I'm a wife whisperer.

U.S. farm group wants crackdown on meatpackers

A grass-roots group of U.S. farmers and ranchers on Tuesday called for tighter government oversight of beef and poultry companies, charging that corporate monopolies are unfairly squeezing independent producers. The outcry is aimed at rallying support for the Agriculture Department's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), which is completing a new rule aimed at promoting fairness in the marketing of livestock and poultry. GIPSA published the rule in June and a comment period expires Nov 22. Competition in the U.S. meat industry is also getting the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice which is holding a forum on industry antitrust concerns in Colorado on Aug. 27. The group of farmers and ranchers meeting in Omaha this week are working to rally support for the GIPSA rule and to beat back an intense lobbying effort by the corporate meat companies and organizations working to weaken regulation...more

USMEF, NCBA Applaud Mexico's Elimination Of Anti-dumping Duties

In a decision announced today, Mexico’s Ministry of the Economy has eliminated anti-dumping duties that have been imposed on imports of U.S. beef for the past ten years. The Ministry's resolution goes into effect tomorrow (Aug. 11, 2010) and eliminates the duties effective April 29, 2010. U.S. beef arriving at Mexico's border starting tomorrow should enter the market duty-free. Companies that have paid duties since April 29 are entitled to a refund of all duties paid. The U.S. beef industry has been seeking resolution of this issue for many years. With full support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) have led a coalition of U.S. beef industry interests seeking elimination of the duties, which ranged from 3 cents to 29 cents per pound. The duties applied to about half of U.S. beef production, which steared some U.S. companies away from Mexico's market...more

Judge dismisses lawsuit over Geronimo's remains

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by descendants of Apache warrior Geronimo that claimed his remains were stolen in 1918 by a student secret society at Yale University. The lawsuit was filed last year in Washington, D.C., by 20 descendants who want to rebury Geronimo near his New Mexico birthplace. It claimed Skull and Bones members took remains from a burial plot at Fort Sill, Okla., where Geronimo died in 1909. Judge Richard Roberts last month granted a Justice Department motion to dismiss, saying the plaintiffs failed to establish that the government waived its right not to be sued. He also dismissed the lawsuit against Yale and the society, saying the plaintiffs cited a law that only applies to Native American cultural items excavated or discovered after 1990. Skull and Bones is not affiliated with Yale. AP

Baxter Black: The horse gets the last laugh

The owner told Warren that Della had a reputation of being hard to show. She was an 18-year-old mare whose foals were sought after for the cutting genes she passed down. He had been offered $50,000 for her but declined. He wanted her shod. Since Warren did the shoeing, he was chosen to confront her. Horses have individual eccentricities. Some are cinchy, some don't like their ears touched, their bean cleaned, mane combed or feet messed with. Della did not abide any touching of her legs above the hocks. An odd quirk, probably the result of some past experience, but it was no odder than people who refuse to wear orange, politicians who can't give a straight answer or cowboys who insist on going outside to tinkle. To do the job meant Warren had to put himself in harm's way to hammer new iron on her feet. To aid in restraint, the owner administered a healthy dose of Acepromazine tranquilizer, and they confined her in a 12-by-12-foot stall. Even then, with the owner on the head and Warren pushing the hip against the wall, she fought it all the way. But our boys are stubborn. They hung on as Della made three circles backward around the stall dragging them like two lion cubs trying to take down an injured gnu. They finally got her cranked into a corner so Warren could delicately reach down and handle the hoof. The tranquilizer finally took the wind out of her sails and one side was done. The procedure was repeated in the other direction including the backward whirlpooling and the job was finished. Hallelujah. But eventually the next time came around...more

Song Of The Day #377

Ranch Radio will take a look at 1959 for the rest of this week.

We'll start with the #1 and #2 songs in 1959 - Battle of New Orleans by Johnny Horton and Three Bells by The Browns.

Ranchers report smuggler scouts on the border area hilltops

One of the more interesting aspects of the battle to secure our borders is the tactics of the drug and people smugglers operating across the line. I have talked to many ranchers who run cattle near the border and on the cartel smuggling corridors on US public lands north of the border to the outskirts of Tucson. I hear the same story over and over….the smugglers have scouts all over the place on tops of hills and mountains watching what is going on and communicating with the coyotes down in the canyons when to move and when to hide from the Border Patrol. The smugglers are avoiding roads and staying in canyons and washes where the Border Patrol can only go on foot or on horseback. The BP is mostly concentrated in vehicles on the road system. Aid workers looking to assist undocumented entrants in trouble confirm the road avoidance strategy of illegal entrants and smugglers. The cowboys are seeing the scouts constantly. According to the ranchers, the scouts are camping on this high points for days at a time. The cowboys are trying to avoid getting in the crossfire between the smugglers, bandits and others running around the back country with guns. They see the scouts, they go the other way. One rancher, whose family has been down here since the 1850’s, described the situation is being similar to the Apache War…with the smuggler scouts using the exact same observation sites the Apaches did 150 years ago...more

ICE expands its jail print program all along border

Immigration officials announced Tuesday that all 24 counties along the Southwest border are now part of a federal program designed to run fingerprint-based immigration history checks on suspects booked into local jails. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement program, dubbed Secure Communities, debuted in Harris County's jails in October 2008. Since then, the program has expanded to 544 jurisdictions and is scheduled to be used across the country by 2013. Since its launch, the program has helped remove more than 34,600 illegal immigrants convicted of crimes, including more than 9,800 classified as "aggravated felons," ICE officials said...more

FBI - Public Corruption: A Few Bad Apples

In the surveillance footage taken hours before his arrest, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Michael Gilliland can be seen nonchalantly waving a car through his lane at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego. He was knowingly allowing illegal aliens across the border, and he would do this several more times throughout the evening. His actions that night would earn him nearly the equivalent of his annual salary—and eventually a five-year prison term. Gilliland, a former U.S. Marine and veteran Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer with 16 years of experience, has been in jail since 2007. But his case continues to illustrate the pervasive problem of corruption along the Southwest border and the damage that can occur when officials betray the public's trust. Of our 700 agents assigned to public corruption investigations nationwide, approximately 120 of them are located in the Southwest region. We work closely with many federal agencies, including CBP and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The result has been more than 400 public corruption cases originating from the Southwest region—and in the past fiscal year more than 100 arrests and about 130 state and federal cases prosecuted. We have 12 border corruption task forces in the Southwest, which consist of many state and local law enforcement agencies as well as our federal partners. Recently, we established a National Border Corruption Task Force at FBI Headquarters to coordinate the activities of all regional operations...more

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Montana Landowners brace for eminent domain fight over MATL power line

Tonbridge Power Inc. of Toronto, Canada, values the land, too, which is owned by Salois' 83-year-old mother, Shirley. The company plans to erect 90-foot-tall poles on the property as part of a 215-mile transmission line for electricity it is building from Lethbridge, Alberta, to Great Falls. The company has filed a condemnation complaint on the Salois land to gain access it says is needed for the greater good, but Larry Salois is digging in his heels. He disputes the claim that the project is in the public interest, and he isn't sure whether Tonbridge, which is a for-profit private company based in a foreign country, even has the right to condemn the land. "I'm going to do my best to keep 'em outside of the fence for as long as I can," Salois said. MATL is one of several large transmission lines being built statewide to meet growing demand from developers that want to tap Montana's renowned winds. They then want to send the green energy to larger markets across the West, fueled by federal stimulus funds and state tax breaks for renewable-energy projects. But producing wind energy, as opposed to using fossil fuels, also has big impacts, including the need for towering poles and power lines across private property to get the electricity from where it's produced to where it's used, Opper said...more

The article also says:

The DOE announced in January that it was providing up to $30 billion in loan guarantees nationwide for renewable-energy projects, including $2 billion in loans for transmission projects. Tonbridge received a $161 million loan from that funding to help construct MATL...

The feds are subsidizing the condemnation of private property all in the name of renewable energy. Market forces aren't producing this outcome, government policy is.

Another property-grabbing virus set loose by the DC Deep Thinkers.

Montana, Idaho consider wolf-control options with hunts shut down

Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks commissioners had just finished their meeting Thursday afternoon when the wolf returned to their door. The commissioners ordered FWP director Joe Maurier to appeal the ruling and look for other ways to reduce the state's wolf population - since the ruling canceled Montana's wolf hunting season. But fast decisions at the top may not translate into action in the woods this fall. "We're not going to sit on the sidelines," Sime said. "It looks like Idaho is pursuing their most readily available course, and we're pursuing options that are a better fit for Montana. Clearly the spotlight's on Wyoming right now. Wyoming has put a speed bump there in terms of Montana managing its own wildlife." Idaho plans to manage wolves under what's called the 10/J rule of the Endangered Species Act. That allows the state and private individuals to shoot wolves that threaten livestock or contribute to declines in big-game herds. "We have good estimates of the wolf population," Unsworth said. "We will make an estimation of the number of wolves we would like to reduce and move forward. We're put in a position of more active management, although we would have preferred to use hunters." That includes a near-term effort to reduce wolf numbers in Idaho's Lolo area from the current 75 to 100 animals down to 20 or 30 this year. Idaho's Lolo hunting districts cover 1.5 million acres roughly between the St. Joe River and the Lochsa River west of Montana's Lolo Pass. Idaho Fish and Game spokesman Neils Nokkentved said the state wanted to hold wolves in that area to the lower number for at least five years. The original plan was to use public hunters to do the killing. Now the state will apply for federal 10/J permission using government hunters...more

The Fiery Touch

Wildfire arson has become an increasingly serious problem as the wildland-urban interface expands. In California, fire authorities have traced 7 to 12 percent of wildfires in recent years to arsonists. The picture varies depending on the locale, but extrapolating from California, arson likely accounts for 10,000 to 12,000 wildfires a year nationwide. In California alone in the past 10 years, 13 people have died in wildfires that were either confirmed or suspected arson. But wildfire arson convictions don't come easily. Typically the crime scene is empty country; witnesses are few or nonexistent. The arsonist may be long gone by the time the flames spring to life, and the simple ignition devices are often destroyed; a single match is enough to start a blaze in light grass. Evidence is also often obliterated by firefighters hosing water, digging fireline and driving fire engines. And the wildland arsonist's motives are harder to fathom than those of his urban counterparts, who often ignite buildings simply to collect insurance or to kill a particular person. As wildfires occur more often in the wildland-urban interface, the penalties for arson have ratcheted upward. Until Oyler, the most notorious wildfire arsonist was probably Terry Lynn Barton, a seasonal Forest Service employee whose duties ironically included spotting smoke. Barton touched off Colorado's 2002 Hayman Fire, which burned a state record of 138,000 acres, destroying 133 homes and 466 other structures, and causing the evacuation of 8,000 people...more

Sierra Club files pipeline appeal

The Sierra Club announced Friday it has filed an appeal with the Interior Land Board of Appeals over El Paso Corp.’s Ruby Pipeline. The appeal is against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s approval of rights of way for the 680-mile pipeline that extends from Wyoming to Oregon. The Sierra Club is proposing an alternate route along existing roads, railroads and utility corridors that David Hornbeck, chairman of the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club, said would add 55 miles to the route. “The Sierra Club doesn’t oppose the pipeline as such and is proposing a better route,” he said Friday. “We think our alternative is better.”...more

I guess they didn't get any money.

Pinnacles National Monument might become national park

Pinnacles National Monument, a landscape of massive spires and sheer-walled canyons east of Salinas Valley, would become California's newest national park under legislation introduced in Congress recently. Pinnacles now gets about 165,000 visitors a year who are drawn by the condors, caves, challenging rock climbs and spectacular wildflowers. Elevating it to a national park "will draw even more visitors to this spectacular piece of California's natural and cultural heritage," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), author of the bill. Boxer's bill would also boost the area of officially designated wilderness in the monument from 16,000 acres to 19,000. The National Wilderness Preservation System is the nation's strongest form of public land protection...more

Massive Iceberg in Greenland

An ice island four times the size of Manhattan has broken off from the Petermann Glacier in Greenland, the largest calving of an iceberg in the Arctic since 1962. The iceberg covers at least 100 square miles and is roughly 700 feet thick — about half the height of the Empire State Building. University of Delaware ocean scientist Andreas Muenchow said that so much freshwater is stored in the massive iceberg that it could keep all U.S. public tap water flowing for four months and could sustain the flow of the Hudson and Delaware rivers for two years. Muenchow said it is unclear whether this massive calving event is related to rising air temperatures in Greenland and the Arctic, but another researcher said that the calving was probably hastened by rising sea and air temperatures in northern Greenland...more

Supersized power hub in southeastern N.M. to link 3 major U.S. grids

Phil Harris is masterminding an electricity superhighway — a facility near Clovis that will connect the nation's three main power grids for the first time. The Tres Amigas Superstation will link the Western Interconnection, Eastern Interconnection and Texas Interconnection at a point in southeastern New Mexico. It also will provide the transmission capacity that power managers say is needed to handle the renewable energy expected from new solar and wind sources. The hub will allow energy to flow between the grids via superconductor cables in underground pipelines and AC/DC converters. The multifacility project will be built on 22.5 square miles of land leased from the New Mexico State Land Office. The superstation will be built in 500-megawatt units. Harris hopes to commence construction on the first one next year. The projected cost for the first phase is about $600 million. Eventually, Tres Amigas will have the capacity to move as much as 30 gigawatts of power between the three grids...more

Scientists find new evidence of genetically modified plants in the wild

Scientists currently performing field research in North Dakota have discovered the first evidence of established populations of genetically modified plants in the wild. Meredith G. Schafer from the University of Arkansas and colleagues from North Dakota State University, California State University, Fresno and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established transects of land along 5,400 km of interstate, state and county roads in North Dakota from which they collected, photographed and tested 406 canola plants. The results—which were recorded in early July and are set to be presented at ESA's Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh—provide strong evidence that transgenic plants have established populations outside of agricultural fields in the U.S. Of the 406 plants collected, 347 (86%) tested positive for CP4 EPSPS protein (confers tolerance to glyphosate herbicide) or PAT protein (confers tolerance to glufosinate herbicide). "There were also two instances of multiple transgenes in single individuals," said one of the study's coauthors Cynthia Sagers, University of Arkansas. "Varieties with multiple transgenic traits have not yet been released commercially, so this finding suggests that feral populations are reproducing and have become established outside of cultivation. These observations have important implications for the ecology and management of native and weedy species, as well as for the management of biotech products in the U.S."...more

Richardson urged to support coal waste reform in the state

New Mexico advocacy groups are urging Gov. Bill Richardson to support what they call strong, federal regulations that would govern the disposal of toxic leftovers from burning coal for electricity. Thirteen groups have sent the governor a letter asking him to protect New Mexicans from the millions of tons of coal combustion waste that are produced each year by coal-fired power plants in northwestern New Mexico. Their plea comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency develops the first-ever national rules for the disposal and management of coal ash as a special waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The agency is considering two options, one of which calls for state or federal permit programs and direct federal enforcement. The groups seeking Richardson's support say New Mexico is among the top 10 producers of coal combustion waste. A total of about 3.6 million tons is produced annually by the Four Corners Power Plant, the nearby San Juan Generating Station and the Escalante Generating Station near Prewitt, Lorimier said. Pat Vincent-Collawn, president and chief executive of PNM Resources, the parent company of utility Public Service Co. of New Mexico, told The Associated Press on Monday that the EPA proposals could impact coal ash disposal costs for the Four Corners and San Juan plants, depending on how the waste is ultimately classified. PNM has a stake in each plant. Vincent-Collawn could not immediately provide a dollar figure but said it would be "pretty significant."...more

Group Seeks Stiffer Anti-Soring Rules

A group of equine welfare advocates want the USDA to adopt new regulations designed to beef-up enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) of 1970 at Tennessee Walking Horse exhibitions. The act forbids soring, the deliberate injury to a horse's legs to achieve an exaggerated "big lick" gait. In a legal petition filed on August 4, The Humane Society of the Untied States, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, American Horse Protection Association, Friends of Sound Horses and former Maryland Sen. Joseph Tidings, original sponsor of the HPA legislation, asked the USDA to permanently ban repeat HPA violators and horses scarred by soring from competing in future shows. The petition also asks the agency to require Horse Industry Organizations (HIOs) to adopt minimum HPA violation penalties, and to decertify HIOs that chronically refuse to comply with USDA rules. USDA Horse Protection Coordinator Rachel Cezar, DVM, said the agency is reviewing the petition...more

Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter

Our earliest ancestors ate their food raw — fruit, leaves, maybe some nuts. When they ventured down onto land, they added things like underground tubers, roots and berries. It wasn't a very high-calorie diet, so to get the energy you needed, you had to eat a lot and have a big gut to digest it all. But having a big gut has its drawbacks. "You can't have a large brain and big guts at the same time," explains Leslie Aiello, an anthropologist and director of the Wenner-Gren Foundation in New York City, which funds research on evolution. Digestion, she says, was the energy-hog of our primate ancestor's body. The brain was the poor stepsister who got the leftovers. Until, that is, we discovered meat. "What we think is that this dietary change around 2.3 million years ago was one of the major significant factors in the evolution of our own species," Aiello says. Meat is packed with lots of calories and fat. Our brain — which uses about 20 times as much energy as the equivalent amount of muscle — piped up and said, "Please, sir, I want some more." As we got more, our guts shrank because we didn't need a giant vegetable processor any more. Our bodies could spend more energy on other things like building a bigger brain. Sorry, vegetarians, but eating meat apparently made our ancestors smarter — smart enough to make better tools, which in turn led to other changes, says Aiello...more

Song Of The Day #376

Today is Sweet Sharon's birthday, so Ranch Radio dedicates this song to her. The tune is Right On The Money by Alan Jackson.

Love you Darlin'.

Monday, August 09, 2010

USDA plans to require ID for interstate livestock

Federal officials looking to head off livestock disease outbreaks are drafting regulations that would require farmers to identify animals that move across state lines. The aim is to reduce illness and deaths by making it easier for officials to trace brucellosis, tuberculosis and other diseases to a particular group of animals, location and time. The regulations are being drafted six months after the U.S. Department of Agriculture dropped an unpopular voluntary program meant to trace livestock movement, and they are expected to be implemented in 2013. "A voluntary system has not worked so far, and that's why the USDA has gone back to the drawing board and created a system that relies much more strongly on compulsory or mandatory identification instead of voluntary," said Marty Zaluski, the Montana state veterinarian and a member of the USDA working group drafting the new rule. Last year, more than 19 million of the nation's 30 million beef cows and 9 million dairy cows crossed state lines. Data from 2006 and 2007 show that only 28% of the nation's adult cattle had any form of official identification that would allow them to be tracked, said David Morris of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. States will have authority to decide how to track livestock moving within their own borders, but they will be accountable to the federal government for the system they choose...more

Nothing voluntary ever satisfies a government agency. It takes too much work. They prefer to just point to a rule and say do this or don't do that. Much easier.

Marijuana a growing problem in Oregon forests

Unlike domestic pot operations of years past, many of the plantations now growing on federal land are operated by Mexican drug-trafficking organizations who are well-financed and well-armed, the sheriffs said. "The longer it goes on, the harder it will be for us to overcome," Winters told Walden. "They are better funded than us ... There are more of them than there are of us." In fact, the U.S. Department of Justice's National Drug Intelligence Center's 2010 national drug threat assessment released in February reported that the number of plants removed from public land grew more than 300 percent from 2004 to 2008, primarily from pot gardens operated by Mexican drug cartels. The pot growers favor public land because of its remoteness and because it can't be seized or traced to an owner, the report said...more

Seems any productive use of federal lands is either illegal, or the legal uses are being slowly constricted and eliminated.

Mendocino public land at center of pot war

Mendocino County officials say they're determined to take back public lands from armed marijuana growers, with or without declaring a state of emergency requested by concerned citizens earlier this week. “I've had it. We're going to get the illegal growers out of the national forest,” said Mendocino County Supervisor John Pinches. Sheriff Tom Allman said he's already working on a plan for a large-scale attack on the illegal growers in the Mendocino National Forest. Armed pot growers are keeping hikers, hunters, fishermen, equestrians and cattle ranchers from utilizing land that belongs to the public, county residents said. People who live near and use the forest land are demanding that something be done. On Tuesday, they called on supervisors to declare a state of emergency and bring in the National Guard to help clear the forest of dangerous intruders. “It's an armed invasion of American soil,” said Ann Marie Bauer, a fifth generation rancher in Round Valley. Suspected pot growers have fired over her head to scare her away while she was moving cattle on forest land the family leases. She said she is afraid to retrieve a group of cattle that is grazing down a trail where she knows marijuana has been growing. The gun-toting invaders, many of them Mexican nationals, are cultivating massive amounts of marijuana on public land for Mexican cartels, law authorities contend...more

There's an easy way to stop this. Make these guys do a NEPA analysis of their operation and they will give up and go away.

Officials: Wolf kills 100-pound dog in Utah

A wolf attacked and killed a dog that was guarding sheep near the Wyoming border, the Utah Department of Agriculture confirmed Wednesday. The wolf killed the dog a week ago on private lands in the Chalk Creek area east of Coalville, Department of Agriculture spokesman Larry Lewis said. Lewis said the 100-pound Great Pyrenees was no match for the wolf, which injured a second guard dog in the same attack. The other dog was missing for several days but turned up Wednesday nursing injuries from the attack, he said. Wildlife officers were able to confirm the wolf kill by collecting fur from the scene, and a livestock herder reported that he saw a wolf limping away from the attack, Lewis said. The wolf is still on the loose. An effort to trap it was unsuccessful. Lewis said he couldn't identify the sheep herder or landowner because they don't want publicity that could draw tourists or vigilantes to their ranch. Government trappers, meanwhile, confirmed another report that one or two wolves killed a 350-pound calf earlier this week near Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area, 15 miles east of Hyrum in Cache County. The calf's mother was found dead for unknown reasons — there was no evidence it was attacked by a wolf, Lewis said. The trappers determined it was a wolf kill from the condition of the calf carcass, said Kevin Bunnell, mammals program coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources...more