Friday, February 18, 2011

Martinez among 7 Governors who ask Salazar to withdraw "Wild Lands" order

The seven Governors wrote to Interior Secretary Salazar to "express our extreme displeasure over both the policy and the process by which Secretarial Order 3310 (Order) was developed and issued."

The Governors said there were already laws in place to protect wild lands and that the new policy would create "de facto wilderness" which would impede "the multiple-uses our citizens currently have on BLM lands."

Stating develping the policy "without notification and comment from western states, ignores our authority through FLPMA, ignores existing state and federal partnerships, and does not respect the executive’s obligation to engage in formal rule making" the Governors insisted that Salazar "withdraw your Secretarial Order 3310."

The February 17 letter was signed by the Governors of Alaska, Arizona, Idah, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

Study Finds Renewable Portfolio Standard to Cost New Mexicans $2.3 billion Over Next 10 Years

New Mexico has a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that mandates that so-called "renewable" sources account for 10 percent of all power generated by 2011; 15 percent for 2015; and 20 percent for 2020 and thereafter. While environmentalists would have us believe that these government regulations will create jobs and spur economic growth, the real story is far different. According to a new study commissioned by the American Tradition Institute and the Rio Grande Foundation finds that New Mexicans will pay $2.3 billion more for electricity than they otherwise would because of the RPS. The new study can be found here. A "quick findings" page can be found here.

Bishop calls for end to BLM conservation system

Environmentalists and public-land users blasted a proposal Wednesday by a Utah congressman that would stop funding the National Landscape Conservation System, warning such a move would cut money for special lands such as Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and possibly close some areas to the public. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, proposed the prohibition on funding the system and says it would not close anything — just eliminate duplicative administration of lands that the Bureau of Land Management already administers. The Clinton administration created the system to protect sensitive lands managed by the BLM, but Bishop said it’s unneeded. “The NLCS has created an unnecessary, costly and confusing two-tiered system within the BLM that clouds the BLM’s historic mission,” Bishop said in a news release. Conservation groups assembled by the Conservation Lands Foundation in Durango, Colo., conducted a teleconference Wednesday to assail Bishop’s proposal, which he filed as an amendment to Congress’ continuing budget resolution...more

Federal Court Orders Obama Administration to Act on Stalled Deepwater Drilling Permits

Today, the Obama Administration’s de facto drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico was once again struck down in Federal Court. U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman granted a preliminary injunction requiring that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) act within 30 days on five pending permit applications from Ensco. “The court has now clearly found that the Obama Administration’s refusal to act on permits is causing irreparable harm to companies, families and people of the Gulf,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings. “The President’s de facto moratorium is destroying American jobs, hurting our economy and forcing businesses to move overseas. With gasoline prices rising, the Administration needs to resume American offshore energy production now. I hope the Administration heeds this ruling and acts swiftly to put people back to work.”

The ruling states:

“Perhaps it is reasonable for permit applicants to wait more than two weeks in a necessarily more closely regulated environment.  Delays of four months and more in the permitting process, however, are unreasonable, unacceptable and unjustified by the evidence before the court...The plaintiff’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico are threatened with endless disability.  It has already sent a rig to French Guiana; its contracts and skilled labor necessarily will follow…Beginning to process permit applications will restore normalcy to the Gulf region and repair the public’s faith in the administrative process.”

Press Release

Administration looking to ban mining near Grand Canyon

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is scheduled to release a Draft Environmental Impact Statement Friday that would ban new mining claims on one million acres near the Grand Canyon. The Northern Arizona Proposed Withdrawal Draft EIS is scheduled to be published in Friday's Federal Register, which begins the official 45-day comment period on the proposed withdrawal. The document was prepared by the Bureau of Land Management, which is acting as lead agency in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, other state and local agencies and in consultation with seven American Indian tribes. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar issued a federal order in July 2009 calling a two-year "Time-Out' from all new mining claims in the Arizona Strip near the Grand Canyon. The lands blocked from any new exploration and mining activity include 633,547 acres managed by the BLM and 360,002 acres of U.S. Forest Service lands. The acreage is believed to contain substantial uranium deposits...more

Montanans see their ideas in Obama outdoors initiative

"The same folks in different clothes," was how rancher Dusty Crary described the White House scene on Wednesday when President Barack Obama announced his America's Great Outdoors Initiative. Last June, Montana outdoors advocates and presidential Cabinet secretaries were swapping stories and barbecue on the Rolling Stone Ranch near Ovando, during the initiative's first national listening session. Eight months later, the Choteau rancher and fellow Montanan Denny Iverson went to Washington to see their ideas become the framework of a national policy. "We first had a get-together in the Interior Department and some chitchat with the secretary of agriculture and the secretary of interior, and Lisa Jackson of the EPA," Crary said in a phone interview from Washington. "Then we just walked over to the White House and got ushered through. Everybody just milled around in Green Room and Blue Room until the president came in." Crary got to stand next to Obama's podium as the president spoke about the initiative on Wednesday. In his address, Obama said grass-roots ideas were essential to good environmental stewardship. "I can't stress enough how that impresses me, that Washington is finally starting to get it," said Iverson, a Potomac rancher and logger who helps lead the Blackfoot Challenge. "They get out in the country and hear what people want, let us help and frame policy and funding so it works out there." They also met dozens of other outdoors enthusiasts, from inner-city Los Angeles to the Florida Everglades, who contributed to the America's Great Outdoors concepts...more

Montanans in the White House

Choteau-area rancher Dusty Crary stood beside President Barack Obama this week at the White House, watching over the president’s shoulder as he unveiled the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. Denny Iverson, a rancher along the Blackfoot River and member of the Blackfoot Challenge, had a front-row seat to the event too, as one of the people from throughout the nation who provided the roadmap that laid out the path to the initiative. “It was a great honor for Montana to have someone up on the stage,” Iverson said Thursday. “It could have been any one of us with the Crown of the Continent work, but we were glad to go. It was a lot of fun.” Work on the initiative started with a meeting last June at Jim Stone’s Blackfoot River ranch, which kicked off a series of 51 “listening tours” by government officials aimed at helping them figure out better ways to preserve the landscape and get people outdoors. “It’s about practical, commonsense ideas from the American people on how our natural, cultural and historic resources can help us be a more competitive, stronger and healthier nation,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “Together, we are adapting our conservation strategies to meet the challenges of today and empowering communities to protect and preserve our working lands and natural landscapes for generations to come.” At the White House on Wednesday, Obama signed the memorandum that outlines general goals the administration hopes to pursue in the next few years. Those include encouraging outdoor recreation by Americans; forming coalitions with states, local governments and the private sector; connecting wildlife migration corridors; and encouraging sustainable use of private land. More than 100,000 people offered suggestions on the initiative...more

Paso Robles cattleman visits Obama in White House

Kevin Kester, a rancher from Paso Robles, attended a meeting with President Barack Obama yesterday about preservation efforts. Kester is the president of the California Cattlemen's Association and represented California ranchers at the White House yesterday. He was there when Obama announced the release of a new report on America's Great Outdoors Initiative, the program the White House started last year to preserve open space and parks nationwide. "We talked to them about the great efforts cattlemen and ranchers are making to preserve the environment and keeping working spaces open across the nation," Kester said. But this is all happening at the same time Governor Brown is trying to take away benefits from California ranchers, and they say they can't keep their land open if Brown cuts funding for the Williamson Act...more

Governor's Wolf Statement Sparks Debate

The Governor's statement spurred both anger and jubilitation. Environmentalists are decrying it. Many ranchers and hunters say it's high time. Jeff Snavely is the cattle manager of a large ranch near Darby. The cattleman lost a cow dog to wolves. There have been sightings of wolves on the ranch. They travel through there. Snavely says, if a wolf "was threatening my way of life, my livestock, my dogs, I would protect my animals and the owner's livestock." He thinks Schweitzer made the right decision. Bob Clark from the Sierra Club calls it "political grandstanding." He says there's already a system in place to protect the rancher if it's verified cattle are killed by wolves. Clark says dogs kill more livestock than wolves...more

You can see the Governor's letter here.

Court: Pueblo Immune From Suits Over Land

A land dispute between Laguna Pueblo and a rancher prompted the New Mexico Court of Appeals to rule that tribal sovereignty shields tribes and pueblos from lawsuits involving lands they own outside their reservations. The dispute centers on a 640-acre property in the Mount Taylor foothills. Cibola County rancher Robert Armijo contends he bought the property in 1994 from the Cebolleta Land Grant and has a warranty deed to prove it. The Pueblo of Laguna claims the parcel is part of 8,300 acres the pueblo purchased in 2008 from Silver Dollar Ranch LLC. In a Dec. 6 opinion, the Appeals Court found a district court judge lacked jurisdiction to decide who owns the property because the pueblo enjoys immunity from lawsuits, even if the land is outside its boundaries. A legal concept called tribal sovereign immunity has long protected tribes and pueblos from lawsuits on tribal lands, which are held in trust by the U.S. Department of the Interior. An attorney representing Armijo said the Court of Appeals ruling extends tribal sovereign immunity to "fee lands" purchased on the open market by tribes and pueblos but not held in trust. "The decision is problematic," Belen attorney Tibo Chavez said. "Sovereign immunity elevates the tribes above constitutionally protected property rights." The ruling may forestall any type of legal claim related to off-reservation properties owned by tribes and pueblos, he said. "What if someone was injured on this land?" Chavez said. "Are there applications of negligence law that would apply?"...more

Forest Service wheels turn slow

The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly and the pine beetle devastation of the North Slope of the Uinta Mountains hasn’t jump started the U. S. Forest Service to mitigate the damages to the mountain range. The problems of the pine beetle forest kill were brought to the forefront at a meeting in Lyman last March when the Uinta County Coalition stepped forward to try to get some help in mitigating the problems on the North Slope. Cheryl Probert, Wasatch-Cache deputy forest supervisor from Salt Lake City, said the Forest Service had “prioritized” and developed an “integrated management plan” since another meeting last fall. She said the Forest Service had made some internal changes that did not require an “assessment.” She said these things included prioritizing the beetle-killed tree areas, working on the fuel reduction on areas adjacent to private property, cleaning dead trees from around campground, and trail areas, allowing the cutting of firewood from 100 to 300 feet along roadways and the spraying of live trees to protect them from the pine beetles. She reiterated numerous times; the Forest Service was hampered due to funding and staffing. Questions at the meeting indicated the public’s frustration with the devastation of the forest and the need for more pro-action. Fort Bridger rancher Ron Mcheli said he had asked about taking his Bobcat in to help get some of the dead timber and was told no. Rancher Karen Henry also questioned why people were stopped from using four-wheelers and trailers. She said these things would make it easier for the public to get their firewood. As for the value of the dead trees, it was stated the value declines with each passing year...more

Colorado: Beetles toppling 100,000 trees a day

Colorado can expect bigger, hotter wildfires that burn longer as trees killed by pine beetles tip over, foresters said Wednesday. The spruce beetle outbreak in southern Colorado nearly doubled in size last year to 208,000 acres, according to the 2010 Report on the Health of Colorado’s Forests. The outbreak is centered on the high-altitude forests north of Pagosa Springs. Farther north, pine beetles have torn through a 180-mile-by-140-mile swath of lodgepole pines, said Tony Dixon, the Forest Service’s deputy regional forester for the Rocky Mountains. The dead tree trunks left over after the multiple bug outbreaks are quickly becoming a prime concern for foresters. An estimated 100,000 dead trees fall in the pine beetle zone every day, Dixon said. A wildfire in the dead zone might be too dangerous to fight because firefighters might not be able to go into the area because of the hazard of falling trees, said State Forester Jeff Jahnke...more

NCBA strongly supports amendment to block funding to regulate dust

On Feb. 17, 2011 the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association sent a letter to first-term U.S. Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD) in support of her amendment to H.R. 1, a resolution to fund the federal government through the end of this fiscal year. Representative Noem’s amendment would block any funds from being used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to modify the national primary ambient air quality standard or the national secondary ambient air quality standard applicable to coarse particulate matter (dust). NCBA President Bill Donald said last summer EPA laid the foundation to regulate dust at the unprecedented level of 65-85 ug/m3, which is essentially twice as stringent as the current standard. He said if EPA moves forward with a proposed rule later this year, vast rural and agricultural areas of the West and Midwest would be put into nonattainment and farmers and ranchers could be fined for everyday activities ranging from tilling soil, moving cattle, driving on unpaved roads or planting and harvesting crops...more

USDA working on smart phone apps for farmers, ranchers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is developing apps for smart phones, now that its Object Modeling System (OMS) is operational. The OMS is a framework for making software applications that use the power of cloud computing to run science computer models. One day, as the USDA envisions it, a farmer shows a Natural Resources Conservation Service conservationist a sample of the soil carried off a field after a heavy rain and asks how much soil is being lost and what can be done about it. The conservationist picks up a smart cell phone for answers. The phone's Global Positioning System locates the field's coordinates and connects to the “Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation version service in the cloud to calculate soil erosion under various agricultural management practices. The answers return quickly, predicts the USDA, harnessing the power of the large data centers...more

Wonder how the Forest Service and BLM will use this. Will we be going back to a data center in Denver determining the carrying capacity on all grazing allotments? Anybody remember SVIM?

Oklahoma House panel passes livestock compromise bill

A House committee unanimously approved a measure Wednesday that sets up a panel to discuss who can perform new livestock medical procedures. The bill’s intent is to prevent disagreements between veterinarians and farmers and ranchers, such as the dispute involving equine dentists, commonly called horse teeth floaters. The measure was the result of several months of talks between the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and various ranchers and farmers, said Rep. Don Armes, who led a two-year struggle to allow equine dentists to practice in the state. As part of the negotiations, the state veterinary board withdrew its emergency rule that would have required equine dentists who get certified to post their certificates in clear view while working. Equine dentists file down horses’ teeth; because teeth in horses continue to grow, they should be filed down at least once a year. The board also dropped its emergency rule that would have discontinued livestock reproductive services as an animal husbandry act and placed it instead as a veterinary procedure. That would have meant only veterinarians could perform such procedures and would have jeopardized the operations of companies that help cattle producers with embryo transfers and breeding transfers. The Animal Technology Advisory Committee that would be established under HB 1310 would review advances in technology involving the care of livestock and make a recommendation to the state veterinary board whether each is a practice that should be handled only by veterinarians...more

Cowboy Dinner & Dance Feb. 19

Song Of The Day #510

Today Ranch Radio features Messing With My Mind from Randy Travis' first CD Storms of Life.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wilderness, Wild Lands, Stockman column and several medical appointments have kept me away. Back to full time blogging tomorrow.

Lawmaker seeks state control of federal land

A lawmaker told a Montana Senate committee Tuesday that he wants to give the state the power of eminent domain to take federal land within its borders. It’s one of several public lands issues being considered by legislative panels this week. About a third of the land in Montana is owned by federal agencies, and the state is often unable to benefit economically from the natural resources under that land, Republican Sen. Rowlie Hutton of Havre told the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee. He cited fears held by many Montanans that the federal government is seeking to remove land from development by either designating a national monument or through the Bureau of Land Management’s new “Wild Lands” designation, which allows the BLM to protect land for an indefinite period of time without congressional approval. Senate Bill 254 would give the state the ability to reclaim some of that land that’s been protected or being considered for protection and unlock it for resource development, Hutton said. “We’re allowing future legislatures in Montana to identify federally owned land in our state that could be put to better use,” Hutton said. Opponents of the proposal said the state’s ability to use eminent domain against the federal government is a long-shot legal theory at best — and unconstitutional at worst — but is unlikely to benefit Montana in any case. “The reason this is a novel approach and has never been tried before is because this is unconstitutional,” said Anne Hedges of the Montana Environmental Information Center. Hedges cited Article 4, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which says only Congress has the power to dispose of any territory or property belonging to the U.S...more

Montana Governor declares war on wolves

Check out this letter by Governor Brian Schweitzer:

February 16, 2011
The Honorable Ken Salazar
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Secretary Salazar:

    I write to you today regarding wolf management in Montana.
    While almost everyone acknowledges that the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf population is fully recovered, as the Governor of Montana I am profoundly frustrated by the lack of any actual results that recognize Montana's rights and responsibilities to manage its wildlife. Montana has for years done everything that has been asked: adopting a model wolf management plan; enacting enabling legislation; and adopting the necessary implementing rules. Our exemplary efforts have been ignored. I cannot continue to ignore the crying need for workable wolf management while Montana waits, and waits, and waits. Therefore, I am now going to take additional necessary steps to protect the interests of Montana's livestock producers and hunters to the extent that I can within my authorities as governor.
    First, for Montana's northwest endangered wolves (north of Interstate 90), any livestock producers who kill or harass a wolf attacking their livestock will not be prosecuted by Montana game wardens. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) wardens will be directed to exercise their prosecutorial discretion by not investigating or citing anyone protecting their livestock.
    Further, I am directing FWP to respond to any livestock depredation by removing whole packs that kill livestock, wherever this may occur.
    Still further, to protect the elk herds in Montana's Bitterroot Valley that have been most adversely affected by wolf predation, I am directing FWP, to the extent allowed by the Endangered Species Act, to cull these wolves by whole-pack removal to enable elk herds to recover.
    At this point, I can do nothing less and still maintain my commitment as Governor to uphold the rights of our citizens to protect their property and to continue to enjoy Montana's cherished wildlife heritage and traditions.

Brian Schweitzer

GOP budget bill lifts wolf protections

A Republican budget bill would strip gray wolves of Endangered Species Act protections across most of the Northern Rockies. A provision tucked into the continuing budget resolution directs Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to reissue a 2009 rule that took wolves off the endangered list in Montana, Idaho and parts of Oregon, Washington and Utah. Two prior attempts to lift protections for Northern Rockies' wolves were reversed by a federal judge in Montana. The measure introduced Friday shields the Interior Department from court challenge...more

Senators press Salazar to issue more offshore drilling permits

Nine US senators from coastal producing states, led by Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) and Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), filed a resolution urging US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to help get offshore oil and gas exploration workers back on the job by streamlining the federal government’s review process for deepwater and shallow water drilling permits. Mark Begich (D-Alas.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), and Roger F. Wicker (R-Miss.) co-sponsored the Feb. 16 resolution, which also asked that Salazar provide both groups of offshore drilling contractors with a sample application to be used as a template. The US Department of the Interior has issued fewer than 35 shallow water permits since that moratorium was lifted on May 28 and no new deepwater permits since that ban was lifted on Oct. 12, the resolution said...more

Sen. Mary Landrieu supports Vitter hold on Fish and Wildlife nominee to spur drilling permits

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said Wednesday she approves of the hold Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has placed on the nomination of Daniel Ashe, President Barack Obama's nominee to head the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, until the Interior Department begins permitting deep water drilling. "I support Sen. Vitter's hold on the confirmation of a new director for the Fish and Wildlife Service until the Interior Department issues new deepwater permits. This is certainly a prerogative that senators have and one I have exercised in the past on this issue," said Landrieu, who last fall held the nomination of Jacob Lew to head the Office of Management and Budget for two months to protest the administration's moratorium on deepwater drilling and what she and other Louisiana lawmakers have come to call the de facto moratorium that followed. "Louisiana's congressional delegation will continue to apply pressure on the administration to end what amounts to an ongoing moratorium on oil and gas drilling that is costing Louisiana thousands of jobs, killing our economy in South Louisiana and is jeopardizing national security," Landrieu said...more

Grazing association, Forest Service at odds

The Forest Service is in the midst of deciding how it will manage the half-million acres of grasslands carved into 15 grazing pastures. The agency is taking the pastures three at a time and is putting out a management plan for the second batch of three. It sent out a scoping document last month and will take comments on it until Friday. In it, the agency proposes to restrict grazing to the average number of cow-calf pairs in the pastures during the past five to seven years. It plans a deeper cut of up to 20 percent below that average in one of the pastures closest to Montana. The goal, says project manager Libby Knotts, is to increase the amount of high structure grass preferred by sharp tailed grouse, a bellwether species in the grasslands. "High structure" is defined as having a visual obstruction reading of 3.5 inches or more...more

Interior to give oil shale a ‘fresh look’

The Interior Department pledged Tuesday to take a “fresh look” at oil shale regulations in the Intermountain West, though officials signaled that any new proposal could include far less land than approved under the previous administration. The review comes as part of a settlement by the Interior Department and environmental groups, which sued in the waning days of George W. Bush’s presidency against rules governing commercial leasing of public lands to extract the synthetic oil from sedimentary rock in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey said his agency may do further analysis of environmental effects, consider changing the Bush-era 5 percent royalty rate, and review how to dole out leases for commercial ventures seeking to unlock the oil...more

New US Forest Service book calls for new era of parks and wilderness management

The Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute in Missoula today announced the release of a groundbreaking new book, "Beyond Naturalness," which focuses on parks and wilderness management in an era of global change. The book provides a synthesis of current thinking, contributed by experts in this field and offers critical questions, tools and techniques for managing into the future. This book, subtitled Rethinking Park and Wilderness Stewardship in an Era of Rapid Change, will be the “game-changer of the first decade of the 21st century” says David Harmon, Director of the George Wright Society. The book challenges our perception of what “natural” means. The authors set out a variety of conservation approaches and identify a realm of future management strategies, providing “cutting-edge guidance to address pressing challenges in protected-area conservation,” according to Nikita Lopoukhine, Chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, World Commission on Protected Areas. The basic premise of Beyond Naturalness, and the very reason why it will spark critical thinking and thought-provoking debates across the nation, is the assertion that the traditional guiding concept for park and wilderness stewardship—preserving naturalness—is no longer the best option in today’s changing world. “The true value of Beyond Naturalness,” according to Dr. G. Sam Foster, Director of the Rocky Mountain Research Station, “is to move us beyond critiques of current wildland management philosophies and practices. Instead of focusing on what is no longer working, the authors offer a philosophical shift in thinking about natural processes and accompanying management options for the future designed to proactively tackle the challenges that threaten the core physical and spiritual character of these special places.” This book was collaboratively edited by U.S.D.A. Forest Service and University of Montana researchers, with contributing authors, representing leaders in this field, from the Forest Service; the National Park Service; the U.S. Geological Survey; The Wilderness Society; The Nature Conservancy; Parks Canada; the University of Alaska; the University of California, Santa Cruz; the University of Montana; the University of North Carolina; the University of Western Australia; and the University of Victoria, Canada.

Forest Service Press Release

Song Of The Day #509

Ranch Radio brings you Ernest Tubb's 1966 recording of There's No Room In My Heart.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bishop Lauds Proposal to Defund DOI Wild Lands Policy

As nationwide opposition to the U.S. Department of Interior’s (DOI) Wild Lands policy continues to grow, Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT) today praised the House Appropriations Committee for including a provision within the House Continuing Resolution (CR) that would cease all funding for Secretarial Order 3310, the DOI’s hasty new “Wild Lands” proposal which seeks to unilaterally designate what amounts to "de facto" wilderness areas on BLM lands. Bishop serves as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands and remains a stalwart advocate in Congress for public land users and communities and has helped lead efforts to reverse the Wild Lands policy since it was announced. “Cutting funding for the Wild Lands policy is an important first step as we seek to stop this Administration from tightening its heavy-handed bureaucratic stranglehold on public land communities and users across this country. I thank Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) for taking the lead on this provision and I look forward to fighting the Wild Lands policy all the way to its ultimate extinction,” said Congressman Bishop...Press Release

The specific provision regarding funding of Secretarial Order No. 3310 can be found in section 1778 of the House CR.

Glad to see they took my advice.

President’s $12.2 Billion 2012 Budget for Interior Focuses on Spending Discipline, Strategic Investments, and Vital Missions

President Obama’s fiscal year 2012 Budget request of $12.2 billion for the Department of the Interior reflects fiscal discipline, setting priorities and cutting worthy programs, while investing responsibly to sustain the national economic recovery and maintain Interior’s vital missions and strategic goals. The investments proposed in the 2012 Budget are balanced by reductions in other programs, recognizing the Nation’s need to live within its means to ensure a legacy of economic strength...Press Release

With all this fiscal discipline and the President's 5-year freeze on discretionary spending, how will the Great Outdoors Initiative fare? Never fear, the property-grabbing virus is alive and well:

The 2012 Budget calls for a landmark investment of $5.5 billion for Interior's AGO programs and requests full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) land acquisition and grant conservation programs. To support the America's Great Outdoors initiative, the Administration's Budget request for both Interior and the U.S. Forest Service totals $900 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the full amount of revenue generated each year from oil and gas development that is dedicated for land acquisition and conservation. Interior's 2012 Budget includes $375.0 million for Federal land acquisition, $200 million for an expanded LWCF State grants program including competitive grants, and $100 million for Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Grants. As part of the 2012 development process, the Department leveraged the activities of Interior’s bureaus and the Forest Service to coordinate land acquisition and conservation strategies to maximize conservation outcomes in geographic focal areas.

Better hope you are not in one of those geographic focal areas. I could say more but this is a family publication.

Senate Bill Extends Tax Breaks for Donated Land

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have introduced legislation that would permanently extend income tax relief for ranchers, farmers and other landowners who donate agricultural land for conservation. The Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act of 2011 would permanently extend an increase in the maximum tax deduction for charitable contributions of conservation easements from 30 percent to 50 percent of adjusted gross income. The bill would further help farmers and ranchers by permanently extending the current law allowing a charitable deduction for up to 100 percent of AGI for their donations of conservation easements. Any unused deduction can be carried forward for up to 15 years. “This bill rewards ranchers and farmers in Montana and across the country who want to conserve our land and preserve open space for their kids and grandkids,” Baucus said in a statement. “...more

Judge Considers $2 Million Award in Bear Attack

A federal judge in Salt Lake City, Utah, is considering whether to award $2 million to the family of an 11-year-old Pleasant Grove boy killed by a bear at an American Fork Canyon campsite in 2007. U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball took the case under advisement after a five-day trial, the Deseret News reported. His ruling could take months. During the trial, lawyers for Samuel Ives' family argued the U.S. Forest Service was negligent for failing to close the campground after a bear confronted another camper there earlier in the day. They say the agency should have closed the site until the bear was killed. "This is a simple case of duties, of breaches of those duties and the harm caused by the breach of those duties," said Allen Young, an attorney for the family. But attorneys for the Forest Service maintained there was no way to definitively know whether Samuel was killed by the same bear involved in the earlier incident. "The plaintiffs have undeniably suffered a tragic loss in their lives, but the United States is not responsible for that loss," said Jeffrey Nelson, an attorney for the Forest Service. Whether it was the same bear was not the point, Young countered, because the family never would have gone to the campground had it known there was a bear threat...more

Stopping Wolves From Killing Livestock: Could It Be As Simple as an Electrified Flag Line?

None of the many tools for deterring predators from killing livestock is able to claim it’s the proverbial “silver bullet” for the job, yet an innovative combination of two such tools has generated some encouraging results. Dubbed “turbofladry,” it consists of flapping flags tied on a wire fence and the electric fence itself, which delivers a stinging zap to anyone (human, predator or livestock) foolish enough to touch a charged wire. Fladry, an east European term, is simply a string of closely spaced strips of flapping cloth. Hunters have used strings of fladry to block unsuspecting wolves, then driven the wolves into a fladry bottleneck, where gunners were waiting. Incredibly, wolves won’t cross a fladry line to escape, even when they are desperate to do so. For three summers, Lava Lake Land and Livestock, which grazes sheep on the Sawtooth and Salmon-Challis National Forests, made use of turbofladry and experienced only one lost sheep to wolves. And that sheep wasn’t inside the turbofladry fence. With more than 6,000 sheep, Lava Lake runs one of the largest sheep outfits in the region on more than 800,000 acres of private and public land. A few summers prior, wolves killed 25 sheep on one of their grazing allotments...more

Greg Walden: EPA rule could shrink your farm 90%

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) today took aim at new regulations that threaten Oregon’s farmers, ranchers, and foresters. He singled out the Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposed rules on three pesticides used to protect crops like onions, cherries, potatoes, hops, and beets, and to manage mosquitoes. The results are potential new buffer zones where chemical applications would be banned—depending on the circumstances, anywhere from 100 to 1,000 feet along bodies of water or intermittent streams. On the House floor, Rep. Walden displayed an aerial map of a field in Oregon that could be impacted. In one potential example, a 108-acre field with an intermittent stream on both sides and a voluntary 60-foot buffer put in place by the farmer (which removes 10 acres from production) could be subject to additional new buffer zones ranging from 100 to 1,000 feet. • A 500 foot buffer would limit production on 52.5 acres • A 1,000 foot buffer would remove 90 acres from meaningful production. The new rules could very realistically turn this 108-acre farm into a 10-acre farm, dragging its $21,000 income down to just $1,500...more

Judge clears way for Yellowstone bison slaughter

A federal judge on Monday denied a request from environmentalists to halt the execution of buffalo at Yellowstone National Park, a ruling that clears the way for hundreds of buffalo to be shipped to slaughter. More than 500 buffalo, or bison, have been corralled in recent weeks in the park after their search for food caused them to wander from the park into Montana, where ranchers fear the bison will transmit brucellosis to cows. The disease can cause cows to miscarry their young. Federal and state agencies - including Yellowstone and Montana Department of Livestock - that oversee the nation's last purebred herd of wild bison had planned to kill straying bison when conservation groups sued to stop the slaughter...more

Is the West Running Out of Bison … Again?

According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American beef industry slaughters about 91,000 head of cattle every day, just a fraction of the nearly 27 billion pounds of beef that we as a country consume annually. By comparison, only about 70,000 bison will be slaughtered in the U.S. this year, out of a herd that’s estimated at just over 202,000 head. The good news for buffalo ranchers is that figure has more than doubled since 2002. The bad news? As bison products have become more and more popular with U.S. shoppers and diners (thanks to those ever-present buffalo burgers) demand for the meat has started to outstrip supply. “Right now, we figure that we’re undersupplying the market by about 20 percent,” says Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association based in Westminster, Colorado, “and that gap is widening.” The problem, he says, can be boiled down to three converging forces: a renewed interest in healthy meats, a new consumer focus on sustainable foods, and the simple fact that bison tastes better than a lot of meat eaters ever really expected it to. The growing industry just wasn’t prepared to meet the recent explosion in the demand and has been stuck playing catch-up...more

Song Of The Day #508

After scanning through the Obama proposed budget Ranch Radio needs some relief. What to do? George Jones knows how to get it and he shares it with us in his tune Relief Is Just A Swallow Away.

You won't find the song in the President's budget but you will in the 48 track, 2 CD collection Cup Of Loneliness: The Classic Mercury Years.

I received a query today and the answer is YES, I will take requests.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ag Secretary ‘Not Worried’ About Effects of Ethanol Subsidy

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says he welcomes the extension of the energy policy requiring the extension of tax credits and protective tariffs of corn ethanol and is not worried in the long term about the U.S. economy’s capacity to produce corn for food, fuel, feed, and exports because of it. “I’m certainly not worried in the long term about our capacity to produce enough corn to meet our food and feed needs as well as our fuel needs,” Secretary Vilsack said Wednesday in a news conference with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Energy Secretary Steven Chu held in the Department of the Interior building. Vilsack said he is not worried about the inflationary effect that the ethanol subsidy might have on food prices...more

Even if he was worried he wouldn't tell us. Obama needs to carry Iowa, Vilsack's home state.

Baucus, Tester Introduce Legislation To Put Montana Back In Control Of Wolves

Montana’s U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester introduced legislation today to delist the Northern Rocky Mountain population of the gray wolves in Montana and Idaho from the endangered species list and return those wolves to state management. The Senators also sent a letter today to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar again urging quick action to approve Montana’s application to hunt wolves in the West Fork of the Bitterroot. This application is in conjunction with the Senators’ request to hold a state-wide gray wolf hunt. The Baucus-Tester bill would restore management practices as they were before the 2010 court ruling that resulted in the return of the gray wolf to Federal management under the Endangered Species Act. Before that court decision, a Fish and Wildlife Service Rule had delisted those portions of the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf population in Montana and Idaho and put the states in charge of managing wolves. Today’s bill codifies that rule, returning the wolf once again to state management and taking it off the endangered species list. The rule also delists gray wolves in portions of Utah, Washington and Oregon...more

Asbill wants feds to quit seizing cattle

The federal government has been called many things, with the latest being "cattle rustlers." Sen. Vernon Asbill, R-Carlsbad, has introduced legislation that would prevent the federal government from seizing cattle on federal leased land when the rancher's lease is revoked as a result of a dispute between a federal agency and the lease holder. Senate Bill 13 requires that livestock shipped or driven out of district - or out of state - be inspected by a state brand inspector. The inspector must make a complete inspection record that will remain on file for three years. Livestock may not change hands prior to issuance of the brand inspector's certificate. The bill also addresses the circumstance of livestock seized by the federal government. It prevents a state brand inspector from issuing a brand inspection certificate for livestock seized by federal land managers unless the owner consents, the owner is unknown, or the federal government has obtained a court order from a court of competent jurisdiction. According to the Office of the Courts, "A court of competent jurisdiction is simply a court that has jurisdiction to hear the claim brought before it." "The federal government will not able to seize livestock on federally leased land in New Mexico," Asbill said. "This so-called cattle rustling by the feds will not happen in New Mexico. The feds will have to abide by this new law and stop the confiscation of livestock without permission...more

USFS being sued over logging at Lake Tahoe

Environmentalists are suing the U.S. Forest Service to try to block logging at Lake Tahoe that the agency says is needed to help guard against another wildfire like the one that destroyed 250 homes three years ago. In addition to removing downed logs that hamper firefighting efforts, the Forest Service says the Angora project will help speed regeneration of the forest and restore wildlife habitat across about half of the 3,000 acres that burned on the southwest edge of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., in June 2007. But the Earth Island Institute and Center for Biological Diversity say the logging would do more harm than good. They say the project would do little to reduce fire threats but would disrupt the natural regeneration of the forest and eliminate about 70 percent of the last suitable habitat for the rare black-backed woodpecker across the entire 230 square miles of the national forest surrounding Lake Tahoe...more

Republicans oppose meatpacking industry reforms

The Obama administration's effort to overhaul antitrust rules for the meatpacking industry with the toughest regulations since the Packers and Stockyards Act was passed 90 years ago has run into strong opposition from Republicans. The reforms, which would redraw the balance of power between meat companies and the farmers and ranchers who raise animals for them, have been one of the administration's signature efforts in addressing the growing concentration of corporate power in agriculture. The new rules have faced resistance since they were proposed in June, but with Republicans in control of the House of Representatives after the November election, critics of the overhaul have powerful new allies, including the new chairman of the House Agriculture Committee...more

Beef from cattle that froze to death is donated

A rancher who had six head of cattle freeze to death in a pond is donating the beef to Safari's Interactive Animal Sanctuary. Curtis Smith told the Tulsa World that four cows and two calves froze after walking into the pond on his ranch in Morris on Tuesday. Smith says between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds of beef were cut into 100 pound pieces for the animal sanctuary in Broken Arrow. The sanctuary includes large cats such as lions, tigers and cougars in addition to wolves. Sanctuary founder Lori Ensign says the cats and wolves eat about 5,000 pounds of meat per month. AP

Life in the Old Pueblo: Kino helped shape region's economy, ranching lifestyle

Nearly 300 years after his death, Father Eusebio Francisco Kino's impact on Arizona has not been forgotten. In addition to founding almost two dozen missions and converting thousands of Native Americans to Christianity, Kino brought about major changes in area's lifestyle and economics. Kino was born in 1645 with the last name of Chini in what is now northern Italy but was then part of the Austrian Empire. After a serious illness, Kino joined the Society of Jesus, hoping to become a missionary in China. While waiting for his assignment, the young Jesuit taught mathematics at the University of Ingolstadt, where he became an expert in astronomy and map making. Kino first arrived in northern Sonora in 1687 and made his first visit to what is now Arizona in 1691, stopping near what is now Tumacacori. In addition to religion, Kino brought metal tools and European fruits and grains to Arizona, including citrus trees and wheat. The latter was valuable because it resisted the cold and could be harvested late in the year when native corn, beans and squash were not available. The winter food supply was no longer quite so sparse. But most important of all, the Jesuit from Segno became one of the first and largest cattle ranchers in northern Mexico and southern Arizona. He also trained dozens of Native Americans to become the first cowboys in the area. As early as 1692, Kino's cowboys drove more than 1,500 head of cattle to San Xavier del Bac. More than likely, their descendants are still ranching in the same area today...more

Barn door reflects rancher's love

Last spring, Hoyt resident Marlene Putnam decided the fading mural on the barn door at her quarter horse ranch needed to be replaced. The man who had done the mural had died, so she began searching for another artist who could design and create a large-scaled painting of that nature. Cynthia Martin came to mind. "I saw her silo work in a magazine," Putnam, who owns Putnam Quarter Horse Ranch with her husband, Duane, said. Martin, of Onaga, is known for the mural she painted in the mid-1990s on a 30-foot silo at the Western Resources Oregon Trail Nature Park near Belvue. The mural is a combination of three scenes: settlers traveling the Oregon Trail, Plains Indians on a bison hunt and Kansas wildlife. Putnam contacted Martin and commissioned the artist to paint the door of the 110-year-old barn. "It cost me a horse to get the painting," Putnam said...more

Produce prices skyrocket with freeze in Mexico, Southwest

Get ready to pay double or even triple the price for fresh produce in the coming weeks after the worst freeze in 60 years damaged and wiped out entire crops in northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S. The problem started less than a week ago, when our nation was focusing on the Superbowl and sheets of ice falling from Texas Stadium. Farmers throughout northern Mexico and the Southwest experienced unprecedented crop losses. Now devastation that seemed so far away, is hitting us in the pocketbooks...more

Song Of The Day #507

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here is Tommy Hill's Nashville String Band performing Cherokee Swing.

The tune is on their Starday LP The Swingin' Sound of Country Music.

Political Catch Pen

Sara Palin has hired a Chief of Staff, one Michael Glassner who was on Bob Dole's staff and whom she met when he was working on the McCain campaign. This should doom any Presidential aspirations she may have.

Politico covers Gary Johnson trying to differentiate himself from Ron Paul in Gov. No distances self from Dr. No and the Daily Caller has Gary Johnson: Paul-Johnson ticket ‘not a political reality at all’.

Here's an interview with Andrew Ian Dodge, Olympia Snowe's primary challenger.

New D.C. order: Rookies rule CPAC

At 'tea party' urging, Republicans deepen spending cuts says the LATimes

Tea Party Express targets anti-Obamacare Republicans and this columnist doesn't think that is very smart.

John Whitesides writes Tea Party makes a quick mark in Congress.

The Washington Times reports that if she should run Giffords is seen as shoo-in for Kyl’s seat.

USA Today says Tea Party flexes muscle at conservative conference.

YAF kicks out Ron Paul reports Politico.

Donald Trump Wows Conservatives at CPAC reports Newsmax and Roger Stone writes Why The GOP Nomination Process Could Benefit Donald Trump.

Winners and losers from the Conservative Political Action Conference as analyzed by the Washington Post

Conservatism is back -- and this time it's serious says the Washington Examiner.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Ring, ring ... cowboy calling
 by Julie Carter

In the aftermath of the bitter cold and heavy snowfall at the ranch, relationship "moments" often result in the proverbial "cussing a blue streak" to hilarity that knows no bounds. 

Locking the classic ranch couple up together for days on end is rarely the picture of marital harmony. 

Frozen water lines, livestock drinkers with a foot of ice to be broken, vehicles that won't start or stay running and drifts filling every road going anywhere to do anything keep moods teetering on the brink of the dark side.

Cabin fever only intensifies the powerful desire to choke the life out of anything moves, breathes or speaks.

The flatbed pickup stuck smack in the middle of the road for two days was a testimony to the situation. Buried in snow as high as the bed of the truck, it begs the question, "Why would anyone just drive off into a drift like that?"

His wife is quite clear about the answer. "Three days in the house with me is why."
One wife took up fiddle lessons during her housebound winter. If he gets on her nerves hanging around the house with irritating suggestions, such as mentioning that the kitchen tile she installed needed realigned, she simply begins practicing her scales on the fiddle with the greatest enthusiasm.

Another cowboy's wife wrote this missive. "We have cabin fever, too. Jack does everything in "overkill" mode. Just like he puts two chains on every gate, he also wraps every pipe within miles in enough insulation to make polar bears sweat. 

However, the drain from the washing machine escaped him. I washed this morning, flooded the utility room. So I put the clean clothes in the dryer and shut the utility room door. It will dry out and be dry for years before he ever goes in there."

A ranch bride reporting in from the frozen outback of the county said her phone stayed busy. Ring, ring ... It was a call from the Boss man. 

"That was the story all day yesterday," she said. " 'Bring a battery, bring a truck, come drive,' or 'Help, I'm stuck again.' Just got another call first thing this morning. What now?"

What she heard on the other end of the phone was, "Help, I am locked in the pump house and, well, the door knob fell off again and I can't get out!"

Without a pause her mind flashed to things she shouldn't say, "He should have fixed that darn door a very long time ago, and maybe put siding on the pump house so the water doesn't freeze up." 

She pondered her options. "Do I go let him out, or not?" 

After two days without water, he had finally gotten everything thawed and his bride was back in the running water business. However, the temperatures were still dropping below zero at dark, so that night at bedtime she ask if he thought they should leave some water dripping, "just in case."

Almost offended, he declared, "Of course not. I have everything where it will not freeze up."
You can guess how that went. By morning his statement proved to be wrong but no one was mentioning it, mostly.

Because she was snowed in at the ranch and out from her job in town, she was not surprised when, one more time, she heard the phone. "Ring, ring ...."

"What?" she answered, knowing where this was headed.

"Oh, you're home," the Boss said to her.

"Hello? I am answering the phone, aren't I?" 

"Oh, well run down the road quick and shut that gate going into the Smith Place. I'm coming up the road with cows and don't want them to dive off through that gate into that pasture. Use the feed truck. It's parked right out front."

She sighed. The feed truck, the one you can't get out of without rolling down the window with great difficulty to get to the outside door handle because the inside one no longer exists. He did say "quick" so she jumped in her car, thinking at the moment it was a best choice. It wasn't.
As she trudged back to the house, leaving her car in the drift where it was stuck, her thoughts wandered to her Mary Kay consultant. "I need to ask her how long that new Masque Hydrant Aux Fruitas will take to renew my frozen complexion."

Ring, ring ....

Julie can be reached for comment at or simply by "Ring, ring ..."

Wilmeth's West

The Border Conflict Continues
Manipulation of a Predetermined Result
 An addendum in the Investigation of the Death of Brian Terry
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

     From Peck Canyon to Skeleton Canyon, the First Mexican Revolution of the 21st Century is being waged on American soil.  Residents with duties, responsibilities, and investments on those lands are crying for federal intervention in the cross border conflict while the environmental community is defiantly reminding Americans that there are issues more important than national security. 
     The problem is Americans are losing patience with the argument that suggests education and debate are the keys to success in the outcome of the conflict.  Civility and the selected use of words may be discussion topics, but they will not defeat the human and drug smuggling trade route expansion efforts of the cartels.  Recognition of the barbaric character of this war can no longer be prefaced by idealism and social theory. 
     Over the last six months, Americans have been reminded of the implications of wrong doing by American firearms dealerships that are purported to be doing business with suppliers to the cartels.  In that process, there is the suggestion that American citizens were complicit in the expansion of the problem. 
     In a Washington Post article of February 1, another suggestion emerged that contradicted the broad based stroke of guilt painted by the administration about such wrongdoing.  Evidence has emerged from multiple sources that it may have been the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) that arranged for the purchase and transportation into cartel hands the gun that killed Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
    In fact, there were several guns in the sale that could have resulted in the murder of Mr. Terry.  If this proves to be accurate, those guns were purchased in Glendale, Arizona in a transaction coordinated by ATF.  The intent of the action was to introduce the guns into a controlled investigation with the intent to crack a border weapons smuggling operation. 
     The investigation will proceed.  It is hopeful that the full truth of what happened in the tragic death of Agent Terry will be revealed, the culprits prosecuted and punished, and Mr. Terry’s family be allowed to find closure.  What remains, though, is the disturbing suggestion that this and similar operations have resulted in hundreds of guns being moved into Mexico and into the hands of cartel operatives.
     Nonexistent Results
    While the war rages, scrutiny of any measure of success by the Mexican government has continued, but positive results are not forthcoming.  In fact, the opposite appears to be true.
"...but the greater offenders in the conflict that took Brian Terry’s life may never be challenged.  ATF would never have run that operation if the human and drug smuggling corridors on the Arizona border didn’t exist.”
     In a report issued February 8, Fox News’ Steve Harrigan reiterated that Juarez was more frightening than other war torn cities of the world from which he has reported.  He also described other villages along the Rio Grande ravaged by the conflict.  Whole communities exist without police protection and declining infrastructure.  What is more worrisome is that the cartels no longer demonstrate any measure of restraint.  Women and children are treated no differently from men in acts of violence and brutality.
     The fear that the Mexican government is incapable of substantive progress in the war is giving way to the fear that the government is supporting one of the major cartels.  Could it be that the Mexican government is orchestrating a war on the cartels on the basis of appearances?  Is the real goal to appear to be doing everything possible to end the violence, but to do so only with the intent that nothing actually changes?  In any case, if the Calderon government doesn’t make inroads soon, their actions will be judged on their merit.  If there isn’t improvement, they will be judged appropriately as inept or they will be judged as complicit in the ongoing chaos.
     Manipulation of Predetermined Results
     The Border Patrol has a truism that, if a predetermined result is forced into a criminal investigation rather than following the facts objectively, tragedy can happen.  Is that what actually happened in the ATF operation?  The question begs investigation.
     In fact, the suggestion of manipulation of predetermined results may be at the heart of the entire border conflict.  Without question, the diverging agendas of the federal land agencies have contributed to the existence and expansion of the human and drug smuggling corridors of southern Arizona.  The corridors have become major trade routes for delivering drugs and human contraband into sovereign American territory.  They, in turn, have become major points of contention in the drug war.  The cartels are defending and expanding those routes with barbaric ferocity.
     The environmental agenda has long been presented to the American public as a philosophy of protection.  It has also been presented on the basis of scientific discovery, but pure objectivity of science is being exposed in degrees of corruption in too many quarters.  Once corrupted, the offending body loses hope for automatic credibility.  It is no longer granted without qualification. 
     Manipulation of predetermined results may have caused the death of Agent Brian Terry.  What is yet to be determined, though, is which agency is the greater offender.  Is it ATF, or is it the land agencies that have for years contributed to the expansion of the smuggling corridors?  Both have demonstrated that they have manipulated an outcome . . . the former for the preservation of a budget . . . and the latter for the expansion of the environmental agenda.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico.  “The likelihood of any border gun smuggling kingpin being arrested is not good.  ATF is going to be questioned and they may suffer the loss of their historic identity, but the greater offenders in the conflict that took Brian Terry’s life may never be challenged.  ATF would never have run that operation if the human and drug smuggling corridors on the Arizona border didn’t exist.”

The Westerner:  If you are not familiar with this issue see Is there a cover-up on Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder? and Senator links gun buy to border agent's death  For background on the enviro's and the corridors see Wilmeth's Environmentalism Trumps National Security.

Government Files Opening Brief in Hage v. US Appeal

After requesting two extensions from the US Court of Appeals DC Circuit, the Department of Justice has finally filed their opening brief in their appeal of the Hage v. United States takings case.

In June of 2008, the US Court of Federal Claims issued a landmark decision for property rights when they ruled in favor of deceased ranchers, Wayne and Jean Hage.  The Hages had argued the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management had taken their private property through physical and regulatory takings.  They filed their case in 1991 after weathering 13 years of unprecedented regulatory harassment on the Nevada ranch.

The court ruled they owned the water that flowed from the federal lands to their private lands, the ditch rights of way and fifty feet on either side as they crossed the federal lands, and all range improvements on their federal grazing allotments.  It was the first federal lands grazing case ever filed in the Claims Court, and it resulted in a marvelous victory for western landowners.

The Government's opening brief argues, among other issues, that the Forest Service’s actions were “an unintended consequence of government regulatory action.”

Ladd Bedford, lead Attorney for the Hages and Attorney at Hanson Bridgett in San Franscisco stated "The government did not forthrightly and honestly present the record to the court and disingenuously presents the facts and evidence that only supports its truncated and misleading theories. The law is that a factual finding made by the judge will be overturned if there is clear error and there is no evidence in the record to support such finding.  There is plenty of evidence to support each of the judge's findings attacked by the government and our brief and appendix will cover all that evidence.  In short, I am confident that we can strongly support the decision of Judge Smith."

American Stewards of Liberty

Song Of The Day #506

Ranch Radio's Gospel tune this Sunday morning is Shores of Jordan by Merle Haggard.

The song is on his 10 track CD Cabin In The Hills on Hag Records and has been re-released by Madacy 2 Label Group.

The original was released in 1999 and the re-release was issued in 2001.