Friday, June 10, 2011

GM’s gas-tax fraud

Government Motors has become yet another mouthpiece for the Obama administration. General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson told the Detroit News Saturday that he wants a $1 per gallon hike in the gas tax. Consumers already facing nearly $4 a gallon prices at the pump aren’t going to be pleased to see that figure jump overnight to $5, but the left and its crony capitalist allies don’t care what the public thinks. Mr. Akerson wants to use the power of government to make buying a Chevy Volt, GM’s entry into the electric car market, more economically attractive. Such marketplace intervention is apparently needed because a mere 481 Volts were purchased last month, despite government subsidies and incentives worth thousands of dollars. By comparison, Ford sold 42,399 unsubsidized F-series pickup trucks over the same period. That’s almost one big gas-guzzler every minute. The bureaucratic class at the state and federal level wants you to think the opposite is the case. They perpetuate the myth that gas-tax revenues are dangerously low because everyone is driving a Prius or some kind of electric car. That’s the line government transportation officials have been peddling to justify proposals for per-mile taxes, converting the nation’s freeways into permanent toll roads and raising gas taxes. The claim doesn’t hold up to scrutiny...more

Utility giant AEP says it will close five coal plants to comply with EPA regs

Utility giant American Electric Power said Thursday that it will shut down five coal-fired power plants and spend billions of dollars to comply with a series of pending Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The company’s dramatic plan to comply with the regulations could give Republicans and moderate Democrats ammunition in their ongoing fight against EPA's efforts to impose new regulations aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants including mercury and arsenic. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) immediately pounced on AEP's announcement. “This is a perfect example of the EPA implementing rules and regulations without considering the devastating impact they may have on local economies and jobs,” Capito said. In a statement outlining its plan to comply with EPA's regulations, AEP said it would need to retire 6,000 megawatts of coal-fired power generation in the coming years. The company, one of the country’s largest electric utilities, estimated that it will cost between $6 billion and $8 billion in capital investments over the next decade to comply with the regulations in their current form. The costs of complying with the regulations will result in an increase in electricity prices of 10 to 35 percent and cost 600 jobs, AEP said. In total, AEP estimated it will have to close five coal-fired power plants by the end of 2014. Six additional plants would see major changes, including retiring some generating units, retrofitting equipment and switching to natural gas...more

The Hidden Cost of Ethanol Subsidies

There has been much talk in recent weeks about corn subsidies in Iowa: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty had the guts to suggest the elimination of the subsidies in the heart of the Corn Belt, and Sarah Palin has also mentioned an end to farm subsidies as well. It would seem corn is back on the radar after having fallen off after the 2008 election, when ethanol was no longer a convenient club with which to beat the Bush administration. Before that particular fight was over, however, former President George W. Bush had signed legislation which required 40 percent of the U.S. corn harvest to be slated for ethanol production, and for massive subsidies to make corn economically viable. We are now reaping the unintended consequences of those decisions. Accepting as fact that American farmers are the most productive in the world, and also accepting as fact that the agriculture sector is one of the few sectors of the economy which is performing well, we’re still faced with a problem. Coming off the third-highest corn harvest in U.S. history in 2010, the carryover (unsold corn still in the elevators) is a bare two weeks’ worth of grain at current and projected usage rates. This is precariously low, the lowest in modern history. The only time the carryover was lower was in the 1930s — during the height of the Dust Bowl...more

New hair style frustrates fishermen

An unusual fashion trend is really taking flight. Feather locks, or feather extensions for your hair, are all the rage, from Florida to Fresno. But these feathers weren't originally meant to be an accessory and they don't 'fly' with local fisherman. Feathers sold at Herb Bauer Sporting Goods in North Fresno are used for fly fishing. Fisherman normally tie flies to them and use them for bait, but lately they've been attracting customers looking for the latest hair accessory. The store's stock of rooster feathers has been sold out for weeks...more

Here is the KFSN video report:

Arizona Wallow Fire Threatening Power Supplies to New Mexico and Texas

Firefighters have battled through the night in an attempt to protect numerous Arizona mountain communities from the spreading Wallow fire that has forced thousands to evacuate and flee their homes. The fire has now become the second largest ever seen in Arizona, and is threatening electricity supplies as far away as Texas. The fire, which during Wednesday night was being reported as covering 607-square miles, is expected to reach power lines by early Friday. It is feared that if lines are damaged, hundreds of thousands in New Mexico and Texas would face rolling blackouts...more

Wallow Fire blazes across border into NM

The nearly 400,000-acre Wallow Fire crossed the Arizona-New Mexico border Wednesday, and forest officials on the Gila National Forest have a Type 1 Incident Management Team ready to attack. Sig Palm, acting public information officer on the fire, said the Type 1 Team is the largest, most experienced and highly trained team of firefighters. The core team consists of about 50 and they can oversee about 2,500 fire personnel, he said. The team is gearing up in Reserve and the surrounding area, and has already done some pre-treatment lines on some back roads in the area, he said...more

Commission suspends Mexican Wolf Reintroduction program

The New Mexico State Game Commission voted unanimously today to suspend the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction program in the state. "I would like to suspend it for a while, lets see how it lays out," said Commissioner Thomas "Dick" Salopek. "Both sides have been unhappy about the wolf recovery program. We have been keeping peace between all people. So, you know what, if both sides are unhappy, then let's suspend it and let the federal government do it. I am frustrated at both sides, especially with the federal government." The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department - following the requirements of the federal Endangered Species Act - looks for partners throughout the state to protect endangered species, like the Mexican wolf. The New Mexico State Game Commission has been a partner to protect the Mexican wolf since 1999. Today's regular meeting, which for the first time this year was in Las Cruces, sought to gather public opinion to help guide the state's wolf protection policy. About 50 Mexican wolves are spread over New Mexico and Arizona. Dan Williams, public information officer for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish - a partner in coordinating the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Program - said it was a "balanced" public comment session. "But we will no longer be participating in the Mexican Wolf reintroduction program," he said. "It's an argument that's been going on since 1999." June 30 will be last day the New Mexico Game and Fish Department participates in the program, he said...more

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Report Slams U.S. Nuclear Regulator

The U.S.'s top nuclear-power regulator "strategically" withheld information from his colleagues in an effort to stop work on a controversial proposed waste dump, according to a report by the agency's internal watchdog, a finding likely to inflame debate about how to handle the nation's nuclear waste. The June 6 report by Nuclear Regulatory Commission Inspector General Hubert T. Bell offers an unflattering portrait of the NRC and its leader, Gregory Jaczko, who is described as having a temper that makes it "difficult for people to work with him." At issue is a directive by Mr. Jaczko to agency staffers that effectively halted work on a key NRC report about a proposed waste repository at Nevada's Yucca Mountain. The inspector general alleges that Mr. Jaczko wasn't forthcoming with his fellow NRC commissioners about the implications of his directive. The report, which is expected to be circulated on Capitol Hill on Friday, finds no evidence that Mr. Jaczko broke any laws in moving to halt the NRC's work on Yucca Mountain—a point Mr. Jaczko stressed in a written statement responding to the report...more

Another example of "transparency" and "openness" by the Obama administration.

President of 'American Rivers' Nominated to Be Assistant Interior Secretary For Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Rebecca Wodder, who has led the American Rivers organization since 1995, and worked for The Wilderness Society before that, will be nominated by President Obama to serve as assistant Interior secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar praised the president's choice for a successor to Tom Strickland, who in February returned to the private sector from the job. Since 1995, Ms. Wodder has been president and chief executive officer of American Rivers, directing strategic, programmatic and financial operations. During her tenure there, she led efforts to help communities restore the health of their rivers through such innovative conservation measures as the creation of river trails, the removal of obsolete and dangerous dams, and the implementation of green infrastructure solutions to safeguard clean water...more

USA: A Net Exporter of Natural Gas?

Less than a decade ago, major American energy companies were investing billions in constructing new terminals for importing liquefied natural gas — the cooled, dense state of methane that makes it economical for it to be transported by ship. Today, some of those same companies are contemplating spending billions to retrofit those facilities in order to export LNG. What happened in the interim? Natural gas boomed in the U.S., thanks to major discoveries of unconventional gas deposits in shale rock and new extraction techniques. In 2011, the U.S. Energy Information Administration raised its estimate for “technically recoverable” natural gas reserves in the U.S. from 353,000 billion cubic feet to 827,000 billion cubic feet. At $4 for every million BTU, natural gas isn’t that much more expensive than coal, which trades at a little over $2 per million BTU but produces twice as much greenhouse gas and significantly more air pollution...more

Ten Years And Counting: Where’s The Global Warming?

Global greenhouse gas emissions have risen even faster during the past decade than predicted by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other international agencies. According to alarmist groups, this proves global warming is much worse than previously feared. The increase in emissions “should shock even the most jaded negotiators” at international climate talks currently taking place in Bonn, Germany, the UK Guardian reports. But there’s only one problem with this storyline; global temperatures have not increased at all during the past decade.  The evidence is powerful, straightforward, and damning. NASA satellite instruments precisely measuring global temperatures show absolutely no warming during the past the past 10 years. This is the case for the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, including the United States. This is the case for the Arctic, where the signs of human-caused global warming are supposed to be first and most powerfully felt. This is the case for global sea surface temperatures, which alarmists claim should be sucking up much of the predicted human-induced warming. This is the case for the planet as a whole...more

Utah, Alaska and Wyoming to pursue wild lands lawsuit

Utah officials said Tuesday that they will continue to pursue a lawsuit against the federal government over a public-lands policy withdrawn last week by the U.S. Interior Department. Also Tuesday, the governors in Alaska and Wyoming said they won't withdraw a request to join the lawsuit until the policy is formally rescinded by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Because the next steps for Interior officials seeking greater protections for public lands are unclear, the lawsuit needs to remain on the table, said Gov. Gary Herbert's spokeswoman, Ally Isom. Utah officials claim the policy hurts the state's economy and circumvents state efforts to determine what lands should be protected. "It's an ongoing conversation, but there's still uncertainty about the policy," Isom said. "There's still some hope based on the statements made by the federal officials ... but at this point, we are still pursuing it."...more

Feds give tentative approval for nearly 3,700 wells in eastern Utah natural gas field

Federal officials announced Thursday that drilling could soon begin on a natural gas project in eastern Utah that could include nearly 3,700 wells, create thousands of jobs and increase concerns about dangerous levels of air pollution. To alleviate the negative impacts on air quality in the Uinta Basin, Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. will have to significantly limit pollution emissions, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said during a conference call with reporters. The proposed emission standards, surface impacts and other regulations for the project in the Greater Natural Buttes area are included in a draft environmental impact study being published Friday in the Federal Register. Public comment on the proposal will be accepted for 45 days. If final approval is granted, Salazar said the project could yield 6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The impacted area covers about 250 square miles near the Colorado border, although it is estimated that only about 5 percent of that land will be disturbed...more

Justice Officials in 'Panic Mode' as Hearing Nears on Failed Anti-Gun Trafficking Program

Officials at the Department of Justice are in "panic mode," according to multiple sources, as word spreads that congressional testimony next week will paint a bleak and humiliating picture of Operation Fast and Furious, the botched undercover operation that left a trail of blood from Mexico to Washington, D.C. The operation was supposed to stem the flow of weapons from the U.S. to Mexico by allowing so-called straw buyers to purchase guns legally in the U.S. and later sell them in Mexico, usually to drug cartels. Instead, ATF documents show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms knowingly and deliberately flooded Mexico with assault rifles. Their intent was to expose the entire smuggling organization, from top to bottom, but the operation spun out of control and supervisors refused pleas from field agents to stop it. Only after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry died did ATF Agent John Dodson blow the whistle and expose the scandal. Mexican officials estimate 150 of their people have been shot by Fast and Furious guns. Police have recovered roughly 700 guns at crime scenes, 250 in the U.S. and the rest in Mexico, including five AK-47s found at a cartel warehouse in Juarez last month. A high-powered sniper rifle was used to shoot down a Mexican military helicopter. Two other Romanian-made AK-47s were found in a shoot-out that left 11 dead in the state of Jalisco three weeks ago. The guns were traced to the Lone Wolf Gun Store in Glendale, Ariz., and were sold only after the store employees were told to do so by the ATF...more

Cops: No sign illegal killed Steins man

Did illegal immigrants gun down a well-known businessman in cold blood? His family and investigators spoke about the murder near the Mexican border. They are shocked that someone shot and murdered the 68-year-old Tuesday in Hidalgo County. Border Patrol agents said Wednesday there is no evidence illegal immigrants were involved in the murder. No matter who killed him, the family is devastated. “He was a father and a husband and a grandfather,” Pamela Link said. Link and his wife recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Family members said they do not want Link's murder used for political gain or as a debating point on illegal immigration. Link's family also said it does not want his murder linked to last year's murder of a rancher just across the state line and closer to Mexico in Arizona. Investigators believe that killer was an illegal immigrant. Robert Krentz had just radioed his brother telling him he'd found an illegal immigrant on his land. Then he was dead...more

Here's the KRQE video report:

Cops: No sign illegal killed Steins man:

Song Of The Day #594

Today's song on Ranch Radio is Porter Wagoner's 1961 recording of My Name Is Mud.

Otero County moves on Lincoln emergency fire plan

The Otero County Commission voted Tuesday to approve Dr. Lawrence D. Garrett to move forward on compiling a forest strategy plan to reduce the fire danger in the Lincoln National Forest. The approval was done during the county commission's work session. Commissioners are concerned about the 440,000 acres of forest within the county's boundaries. In an emergency meeting May 23, commissioners passed a resolution declaring an emergency in the county due to extreme drought, dangerous fire conditions and the Mayhill Fire. A full strategy plan could be completed between 60 and 90 days. Garrett said he would need a collective group of parties from Otero County and a group of scientists to guide the strategy plan. Commission Chairman Ronny Rardin said the plan would focus on the highest at-risk fire areas down to the lowest risk areas of the forest in Otero County. "We're not bound by the Forest Service with regulations," Rardin said. "We're going in an emergency state with companies. We want to make sure we're not going in and destroying the forest, but managing it."...more

In a press statement today Congressman Pearce

...praised the efforts of the Otero County Commission for voting on Tuesday to create an “Emergency Forest Plan” that could lead to the logging of trees in the county as early as this fall. On Tuesday, Otero County Commissioners Ronny Rardin, Tommy Herrell, and Susan Flores approved a proposal to create the plan and tell the federal government that the county intends to log approximately ten to twenty thousand acres near the community of Cloudcroft. “I commend the Otero County Commission for their efforts for responsible forest management,” Congressman Pearce said. “I thank Commissioners Rardin, Herrell, and Flores for putting the safety of New Mexicans first, and for choosing a course of responsible forest management...

Wallow fire burns through Greer, Arizona

HT: Wildfire Today

Obama says budget cuts would dishonor US history

President Barack Obama Wednesday argued that budget cuts that choke spending on clean energy and education would dishonor US history, previewing a 2012 campaign row with Republicans. Obama defended his plans to invest in the economy of the future after Republican candidates pounced on dismal economic data to argue the president was consumed by European-style anti-market policies that slowed growth...more

And some think what they teach in our public schools is not important...

A Million Electric Vehicles

Back in January, during his State of the Union speech, President Obama said that he wanted the U.S. to “become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road,” and he wanted it to happen by 2015. Given current sales of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, the president may hit his target . . . sometime in 2064. In May, U.S. sales for the much-hyped Volt totaled 481. The Leaf did better, with 1,142 units sold. That’s a grand total of 1,623 electric cars sold for the month. At that torrid rate, it will take about 639 months, or a bit more than 53 years, for domestic sales of electric vehicles to reach 1 million. Of course, none of this is surprising. Electric cars are the Next Big Thing, and they always will be. What is, ahem, shocking, is just how gullible the Obama administration, and much of the mainstream media, has been about the potential for electric cars to garner a significant share of the market. Why would consumers buy a Volt, which gets 40 miles per gallon on the highway and costs $40,000, when they can buy a Chevy Cruze, which sells for less than half that amount, is nearly identical in size, and gets 42 miles per gallon? The answer is, they wouldn’t. In May, General Motors sold 22,711 Cruzes. Put another way, for every Chevy shopper who chose the Volt, 47 others decided the Cruze was a better value...more

Florida law prohibiting doctors from asking gun questions brings lawsuit

A bill banning Florida physicians from asking patients about gun ownership, signed into law last week by Governor Rick Scott (R), has brought out more than the typical hue and cry from the anti-self defense crowd. On Monday, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, along with the Florida chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American College of Physicians, filed a lawsuit seeking to throw out the new law. While claiming the new law violates doctors’ First Amendment rights, the lawsuit hardly conceals its bias against gun rights. “By severely restricting such speech and the ability of physicians to practice such preventative medicine, the Florida statute could result in grievous harm to children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly,” according to the motion filed Monday in federal court in Miami. No mention is ever made, of course, of the “grievous harm” that is prevented because of lawful gun ownership. In fact, a wide range of studies show that self-defense uses of firearms dramatically outweigh accidents and the criminal misuse of guns. Doctors who discourage gun ownership actually make people less safe and more vulnerable to criminal attack. Furthermore, contrary to the Brady Center’s misinformation campaign, the new law does allow for doctors to discuss firearms ownership if relevant to a patient’s medical care or safety. “There’s nothing in the bill that would prevent a safety discussion about firearms like medical personnel would for swimming pools, chemicals or any other potential hazard,” said state Rep. Jason Brodeur, the bill’s sponsor. “The bill only states that medical personnel can’t ask about firearm ownership directly, record the answer or condition treatment upon the response.” Besides questions about gun ownership being inappropriate and none of a doctor’s business—and besides the fact that most doctor organizations are vehemently anti-Second Amendment—there are serious questions about how such information could be abused...more

Headless bodies found in Tamaulipas

The decapitated bodies of three men were found Tuesday on the highway between Reynosa and Mon-terrey, near the junction at Los Herreras, the news agency Reforma reported. The report of three bodies by the highway’s kilometer 98 was made at approxi-mately 8 a.m. Officials are investigating if the bodies pertain to three human heads that were found hours earlier in the municipality of Huala-huises. One of the bodies also had been dismembered. The bodies were wrapped in blankets and in black plastic bags. Forensic personnel and more than 50 federal police and military troops re-sponded to the scene. The manner in which po-lice and troops protected the bodies indicated that the victims could be police or troops, Reforma said. link
Running on a different schedule...will be posting 'em as I finde 'em for the rest of the day. Email recipients, expect a part II this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Kill a camel and claim a carbon credit

Killing a camel to earn a carbon credit may seem a curious way to tackle climate change, but one country is poised to allow investors to do precisely that. The camel culling plan is one of the first to arise under the Australian government’s new “carbon farming initiative”, a scheme that lets farmers or investors claim carbon credits if they can show they have cut greenhouse gas emissions. Such emissions are plentiful in Australia’s desert centre thanks to the region’s large population of feral camels, a legacy of the herds introduced in the 19th century to help settle the continent’s interior. More than 1m camels are now believed to be roaming across the Australian outback – one of the biggest camel populations in the world – and each emits methane, a greenhouse gas significantly more potent than carbon dioxide...more

I'm beginning to like this global warming stuff.

Have a Coors and a Camel cigarette, cock your Colt, kill a camel and then trade your carbon credits for some more Coors, Camels and cartridges. All in the name of climate change.

Yes Sir. Wouldn't be long before I'd be known as Camel Dundee!

Global Warming to Mitt

With respect to our friend Hugh Hewitt, I think Michael Walsh’s column gets to the big problem with Mitt. It’s not that he’s a glib, finger-in-the-windy opportunist of no fixed principles; it’s worse than that: He has a weird knack for reaching into the icebox to pull out the conventional wisdom when it’s five years past its sell-by date.
He embraced the governmentalization of health care not in the 1970s but at exactly the moment when, at home and abroad, the reality of the impact of Third Party universalism was plain to everybody who thought seriously about this issue.  Now he’s come out in favor of global warming not when it was actually happening (over a decade ago) but two years after the peer-review hit the fan in East Anglia, Copenhagen, and at the IPCC...more

Former Interior secretary calls out Obama on the environment

President Obama has failed to answer Republican attacks on environmental safeguards "forcefully and persuasively" and to articulate his own vision for conserving American wilderness and water, former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt charged Tuesday. Babbitt, who served under President Clinton, said in an interview that he would lay out his concerns about the Republican environmental agenda and the Obama administration's response in a speech in Washington on Wednesday. It's rare for a political figure of Babbitt's stature to reproach publicly a sitting president of his own party. But Obama has faced blunt criticism from old allies on a range of issues after compromising with Republicans who control the House. Babbitt is giving voice to disappointment among many environmental advocates. Since the midterm elections, the administration has delayed or weakened several regulations bitterly opposed by congressional Republicans and business lobbyists, and given credence to the GOP contention that regulations — especially environmental ones — stifle growth. More recently, Babbitt said, the administration has acquiesced to riders that conservatives placed on the interim budget, including one that took the gray wolf off the endangered species list in several states and another that gutted a program meant to reduce overfishing. Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, warned that Obama's inaction could cost him in 2012. "Unless there's a change in his policies, he will likely face very damp enthusiasm from young voters and a significant portion of the base that wants him to stand up to polluters," Brune said. "I definitely think there are many progressive donors in general and environmental donors in particular whose enthusiasm won't be what it was in 2008."...more

And the response will be? National Monuments in 2012. Stroke of the debate, no legislation needed.

Montana AG says climate lawsuit should be rejected

The attorney general's office asked the Montana Supreme Court on Monday to reject a climate lawsuit that seeks to force regulation of greenhouse gases, as a group of conservative state lawmakers said they want to intervene in the case. The developments followed a lawsuit, among other legal actions, filed last month by environmental groups in Montana and other states as part of a plan to force government intervention on climate change. Their goal is to have the atmosphere declared a "public trust" deserving special protection. The attorney general's court filing agreed with the Republicans that the lawsuit should not be granted original jurisdiction with the high court. It argued that the issues should be debated at the Legislature, under agency oversight or perhaps though a lawsuit filed at the district court level...more

Judge tosses TRO request over helicopter bison hazing

A federal court judge in Helena has denied a request for a temporary restraining order that would have prohibited the state of Montana from using helicopters to haze bison back into Yellowstone National Park because the tactic allegedly scares grizzly bears. In his order issued Monday, U.S. District Court Senior Judge Charles Lovell wrote that plaintiff Alliance for the Wild Rockies failed to name the state of Montana in the lawsuit filed earlier this year against the U.S. Forest Service. Lovell adds that the motion for the restraining order “is itself without merit” because the state possesses sufficient legal authority under its police powers to address brucellosis-infested bison. Lovell, who has long overseen the legal debate over Yellowstone’s bison, added that the state has its own reasons for hazing them. “Plaintiff is absolutely wrong to argue that there is only an economic consideration vis-à-vis the balancing of the interests of the parties,” Lovell wrote in his five-page order. “There is a tremendously significant issue as to the health and welfare of the citizens of the state of Montana and another important issue as to the preservation of the Yellowsone bison herd. “One underlying purpose of the helicopter hazing is to spare Yellowstone bison from lethal removal by the state of Montana.”...more

Tipton hones in on Pinon Canyon

Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., is asking Army officials to conduct several public hearings when they ask the federal Bureau of Land Management for official permission to continue using property within the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site for training. The Army request isn't unexpected and BLM approval is almost a certainty, but Tipton's call for multiple public hearings signals that the Republican congressman for the 3rd Congressional District is staying focused on the Pinon Canyon dispute — a five-year-old battle between the Army and the Southeastern Colorado ranchers who oppose the Pentagon's efforts to expand the 238,000-acre training range. Last month, Tipton was under close scrutiny when the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction approved a 2012 budget plan, which left out a yearly moratorium that forbids the Army from spending any money to expand Pinon Canyon. The funding ban has been a major roadblock to the Army since 2008. Simply put, BLM controls 2,500 acres within Pinon Canyon and the subsurface mineral rights to 130,000 more acres. When the training range northeast of Trinidad was first created in the early 1980s, the Army obtained permission to override those BLM claims in order to use the land. That permission expires this year, but a 15-year renewal is fully expected. Even so, the Army is required to conduct a public hearing as part of that process...more

Ranchers struggle to survive wildfires

As the Murphy and Horseshoe 2 fires run out of countryside to burn, the recovery is already starting. What has not been reported in the urban media is the devastating inmpact the fires have had on southern Arizona’s ranching community. One rancher in Santa Cruz County had lost 13,000 acres of his grazing lands so far between 2 fires…and the damage is not over. Other Santa Cruz ranchers lost closer to 100% of their grazing lands. There is a long list of ranchers over in Cochise County on the east side of the Chiricahua Mountains that also lost all or major portions of their grazing lands in the Horseshoe 2 fire. The first order of business in the ranchlands was to get the cattle out of harm’s way as the fires raged across the countryside. As far as I’ve heard this was pretty successful. But now the grass is gone and there won’t be any feed available on the range until August at best...more

Cordelia (Cordy) Carolyn Cowan 1925-2011

Long time Arizona/New Mexico rancher, Cordelia  (Cordy) Carolyn Cowan, 86, peacefully passed away on June 7, 2011, at her daughter Flossie’s home in Albuquerque. She was born January 1, 1925 to Marguerite and Ben Robertson in Deming. Cordy met William (Bill) R. Cowan in high school in Douglas and were married on December 14, 1943.  They lived in McNeal where they raised Quarter Horses and began the Southwest’s first Brahman herd in 1948.  Cordy owned her own ranch at Cloverdale NM.  In 1967 Bill and Cordy moved the headquarters to New Mexico and lived there till 2001 when they moved to Tucson. In 2009 Cordy moved to Albuquerque.

She was a Charter Member of the Cochise College Foundation board, president and remained on the board for 30 years.  She was instrumental in the establishment, funding, and continuation of the Cochise College rodeo program.  It is difficult to separate Cordy’s accomplishments from Bill’s because they were such a team for 63 years. As a couple they were inducted into the Hidalgo County Hall of Fame with Cordy being the first woman inductee.  She and Bill raised the National Champion at the Houston Livestock Show.  Their ranch was once highlighted by Paul Harvey. Along with two other couples, they bought two barracks in Ft. Huachuca, brought them to McNeal to become the Ladies Aid Center.

 Cordy is survived by her daughters Ruth Evelyn Cowan Giles (Bob) of Sierra Vista, AZ; Marguerite Vensel  and Flossie Holly both of Albuquerque, New Mexico;  four grandchildren, five great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Letters, mementos, and photos can be emailed to  to be posted on . Type in Cordy Cowan.  Tributes can also be posted directly to the website. In lieu of donations Cordy requested that you tell your family you love them take them  to dinner, buy your friend a flower, attend a meeting protecting private property rights, fill out an organ donation card or do a good deed for your fellow man.

A joint celebration of life for both Bill and Cordy will be held Monday June 27, 10AM St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Douglas where they were married.  Reception to follow at the Douglas Country Club.  (Motels Best Western  520-364-5000 / Travel Motel 520-364-8434)

Well water woes reflect NM dought conditions

One of Leonard and Evelyn Wallin’s ranches east of San Jon recently ran out of well water. “Well it’s been real weak for the last two or three years but it finally just quit. We had some well drillers come in and they drilled five holes but we never did find any water so we had to just pull out and leave it,” she said. “I think we’re going to quit because it’s so expensive. We thought maybe we’d wait until next year and try again.” The ranchers now have to haul water from another well to keep their thirsty cattle going. Evelyn said they haul water two or three times every week, which is a gasoline expense they would rather not deal with, but the cost and uncertainty of drilling more wells in hopes of finding water is not an attractive option, either. She said she is not the only one with this problem. “Everybody’s had trouble out here with shot wells. We’ve all known for years that they’re not as strong as they used to be.” According to Tim Farmer, district supervisor with the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, drilling wells can be a risky venture, especially in times of drought. Farmer said this year marks a decided return to a drought cycle the region has been experiencing since the district office opened in October 2008. He said last year’s moisture patterns had raised his hopes that maybe the drought was slowly subsiding, but he has dashed that hope now, and when rain doesn’t fall, wells have a hard time replenishing...more

Two die in bizarre crash involving bear

A young Ottawa woman and her friend were killed Monday night in a bizarre collision involving two vehicles and a bear on Highway 148 in the Pontiac. Police say a vehicle travelling eastbound near Luskville, Que. hit the 300-pound black bear at about 10:30 Monday night, sending the animal into the opposite lane. The bear was then struck by an on-coming car, sending the animal through the windshield and out the back window. "Add the weight of the bear, about a 300-pound bear, plus the speed of the vehicle, it's a deadly impact," said Const. Martin Fournel, spokesperson for MRC-des-Collines-de-l'Outaouais. The two occupants of the first car escaped injury. However, two people in the second vehicle were killed instantly -- those victims have been identified as a 25-year-old female driver from Ottawa and her friend, 40-year-old Steven Leon from Gatineau, who was riding in the back seat. The bear was also killed. The woman's boyfriend, a 28-year-old man from the Pontiac-area, was sitting in the front passenger seat at the time of the collision. He was taken to hospital in Hull to be treated for not life-threatening upper body injuries...more

Song Of The Day #593

The tune on Ranch Radio today is Jimmy Dean's 1961 recording of I Won't Go Hunting With You Jake.

Mexican cartels now using ‘tanks’

For the drug cartel boss who has everything, the latest piece of military hardware is the “narco tank.” Today’s competitive crime mafias in Mexico are no longer satisfied with bazookas, rocket-propelled grenades or land mines. The Mexican military has discovered that gangsters south of Texas are building armored assault vehicles, with gun turrets, inch-thick armor plates, firing ports and bulletproof glass. The Mexican media and military call the assault vehicles “monstruos,” monster trucks. In Mexico, their appearance on the Internet has gone viral. On the front page of Reforma, a national daily newspaper, a photograph Monday of a monster truck was accompanied by the headline: “And this doesn’t look like a war?” The Mexican army announced Sunday night that a military convoy on routine patrol raided a warehouse in Camargo, Tamaulipas, across the border from Rio Grande City, Tex., and seized two dump trucks that had been rigged with steel plates to protect gunmen. The monsters look like a cross between a handmade assault vehicle used by a Somali warlord and something out of a post-apocalyptic “Mad Max” movie. Complete with battering rams...more

Gunmen Kill 11 at Drug Rehab Center in northern Mexico

Two gunmen stormed into a drug rehabilitation center in the northern city of Torreon on Tuesday, killing 11 people and wounding two. The Attorney General's Office in Coahuila state said the motive for the attack or the gang responsible were not clear yet. Drug cartels are known to use rehab centers to recruit addicts, leading rival gangs to attack the centers. Dozens of people have died in shootings at centers across Mexico. The worst incident left 19 people dead in Chihuahua city last summer. Other attacks at drug centers have taken place in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, and in the northern state of Durango. Both areas have been plagued with violence since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against drug cartels when he took office in December 2006. More than 35,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence across Mexico since then. Recently, grisly discoveries of mass graves have horrified Mexicans. The Mexican government said Tuesday that it has unearthed 429 bodies since April from a series of clandestine graves in the northern states of Durango and Tamaulipas...more

Hard to draw line on Mexico border drug violence

Hard-bitten surveyors and astronomers worked six years to map a boundary across America's desolate Southwest after the U.S. victory in the Mexican-American war of 1848. Nothing was at first what it seemed. Landmarks shimmered in the distance and disappeared like desert mirages. Boundary rivers shifted course with seasonal flooding. Facts on the ground continued to change. Today, facts of a different sort remain just as elusive along the border in the deepening political disagreement over just how much of Mexico's drug violence is spilling into the Lone Star State. The central question — Is the border secure? — lies at the heart of an open-ended political stalemate over comprehensive immigration reform. Facts are in such dispute and perceptions so different that public testimonies and political potshots tell a tale of two borders. The dispute flared anew last week when Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco, R-San Antonio, introduced legislation in the GOP-led House that would require the Department of Homeland Security to provide "an accurate definition of the term 'cross-border violence' " in order to "improve the safety, security and operational control" of the U.S.-Mexico border. Canseco, whose district includes 800 miles of the border, said his proposal was designed "to force the federal government to acknowledge the reality faced by my constituents every day who live and work along the border." Federal law enforcement agencies rely on a narrow, interagency yardstick. It excludes trafficker-on-trafficker attacks, extortion and kidnapping to focus instead on violence that "entails deliberate, planned attacks by the cartels on U.S. assets, including civilian, military or law enforcement officials, innocent U.S. citizens or physical institutions such as government buildings, consulates, or businesses," according to congressional researchers. By that measure, spillover violence remains "relatively small." Yet some Texas law enforcement officials define it more broadly to include crimes that need only be linked to Mexican cartels. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, has traced at least 22 homicides, 24 assaults, 15 shootings and five kidnappings in Texas over the last 16 months "directly" to Mexican cartels...more

Mexico drug gangs hang rival members from city bridges

They are the gruesome images that are testament to the trouble that has hit one Mexican city which has become a flashpoint for the war on drugs. Two young men, cut down in the prime of their life, were left hanging from a pedestrian bridge as warring drugs cartels continue to fight in Monterrey. One of the men was was missing a foot and had been stripped down to just his underwear while the other's clothes were splattered with blood. Their bodies were discovered early yesterday morning and both had placards that said: 'This happened to them for supporting the CDG [Gulf cartel].' The manufacturing city where they were found has changed dramatically over the last four years. With a population of 4million people, it has gone from being a model for developing economies to a symbol of Mexico's drug war chaos...more

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Hidalgo County man shot to death

Larry Link, the owner of Steins Ghost Town, was found shot to death early Tuesday morning on Summit Road in Hidalgo County. State Police Public Information Officer Maj. Scott Weaver said they currently have no suspects and the investigation is ongoing. reported that Link, 68, was shot by an undocumented immigrant on his land, but that has not been verified by State Police or the Hidalgo County Sheriff. Hidalgo County Commissioner Ed Kerr said there is undocumented immigrant and drug activity in the area where Link was killed. "Last summer in August, I found five bundles of marijuana on my ranch land about 50 feet from the freeway. That can't be more than eight or 10 miles from Larry's," he said. "They were scattered about. One was under the billboard, one was beside the fence. Illegals with empty backpacks had dropped their load. I-10 is, obviously, a connecting point. We're getting a lot of traffic, more than what we've seen in the past couple of years. They have ultra-light planes flying out of Mexico and dropping off bundles and then illegals walking and picking them up." Hidalgo County Commissioner Richard Chaires said Link bought insurance from him for many years, since he moved to Steins from Phoenix to get away from the hustle and bustle there. "He was the type of gentleman always had a smile on his face," Chaires said. "He was happy-go-lucky. He's going to be truly missed. He was an asset to the community."...more

BREAKING: Hidalgo County homicide under investigation

New Mexico State Police confirmed Tuesday that they are investigating a homicide in Hidalgo County. Larry Link, the owner of Steins Ghost Town, was found shot to death early Tuesday morning on Summit Road in Hidalgo County. State Police Public Information Officer Maj. Scott Weaver said that they currently have no suspects and the investigation is ongoing. Rumors have been flying that Link, 68, was shot by an illegal alien on his land but that information was not verified by State Police or the Hidalgo County Sheriff. Check back for updates as they become available, and look for full coverage in print and online Wednesday. link

BREAKING: New Mexico rancher Larry Link murdered by illegal alien

Hidalgo County Sheriff Department has confirmed that New Mexico rancher, Larry Link, was murdered earlier today on his property. Sources are reporting that the rancher was responding to an alleged- illegal alien on his property at Stein’s Ghost Town when the he was gunned-down. The murder took place on the southwest side of the state near the Arizona border on Interstate 10 at mile marker three. The Hidalgo Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the scene, only to find the rancher had already died. A Sheriff Department spokesperson said the investigation has been turned over to the New Mexico State Police, who are not releasing any further details...more

Interior Department wants a new logo

Gas prices remain around $4 a gallon, thousands of people have lost their jobs in the energy industry and the U.S. border with Mexico remains as porous as Swiss cheese. So what are some folks at the U.S. Department of Interior doing today? Well, they're looking for a department logo that is "both elegant (simple) and meaningful." Oh, and don't forget, it also has to "appeal to both our internal and external audiences." It is vital, however, that it be understood this new logo will not replace the department's present seal, which is just to the right here, but will instead be used in addition. As if those requirements aren't complicated enough, the DOI folks helpfully provided this additional guidance: "More specifically, the logo must appeal to the 70,000 employees of Interior, as well as (in alphabetical order) cattlemen/ranchers, coal miners, conservationists, farmers, fishermen, historians, hunters, Native Americans & tribal entities, offshore oil and gas producers, recreation enthusiasts (boaters, hikers, campers) and others. We recognize that this is a lengthy list and include it for a sense of the breadth and scale of our missions."

I'm sure my readers will have some excellent suggestions!  The winner gets $1,000. Find out more here.  Share your ideas with The Westerner.

Below is DOI's seal.  I remember we created quite a storm during the Reagan administration when we changed the buffalo to face right.

Wolf wars: Can man and predator coexist in the West?

As ranchers in one of the most rugged corners of the northern Rockies, Jon and Debbie Robinett have had to cope with their share of animals preying on cattle. Coyotes and mountain lions prowl unfettered in the pristine Dunoir Valley, where snow-shod peaks jut defiantly into the Wyoming sky and where life hasn't changed that much since Jon's great-grandfather herded livestock here – like him, from the sling of a saddle – 130 years ago. But two other formidable species, largely erased by Jon's forebears, are now making a carefully orchestrated comeback. First it was grizzly bears that started arriving shortly after the Robinetts were hired to run the Diamond G Ranch in 1989. The bruins struck with increasing regularity, the result of federal protection enabling them to expand beyond the oases of nearby Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. In response, the Robinetts bought a pair of "bear dogs" – Great Pyrenees – to protect the herd. It worked for a while, virtually eliminating cattle deaths. But then another visitor reappeared after a 60-year absence – gray wolves, offspring of animals transplanted into the Yellowstone ecosystem in 1995. A pack of wolves attacked one of their horses, then killed the bear dogs, before turning on a pet border collie, leaving it dead literally on the back porch. On top of that, wolves were taking 50 to 60 calves annually...more

Editorial: A fishy reversal on "wild lands" policy

The Obama administration's about-face on a policy that would allow temporary protection of pristine federally owned land is disappointing, particularly here in Colorado, where residents so clearly value wilderness. In a memo Wednesday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said his agency would not designate U.S. Bureau of Land Management lands as "wild lands," which would safeguard them while lawmakers mull whether to permanently protect them. The move ostensibly was due to Republican maneuvers to cut the program's funding. But surely there was more at work. In times of high gas prices, the policy could have been a political liability as President Obama sought re-election. We have to wonder whether the 180-degree turn has anything to do with wooing voters in important Western states during next year's presidential election. It would be easy for opponents to craft an ad, pointing sourly to $4-a-gallon gasoline, and accusing the Obama administration of obstructing energy development. Backtracking on the wild lands policy neutralizes that criticism, and gets rid of a pesky lawsuit. Unfortunately, it also leaves many beautiful places without protection...more

No, the Denver Post is wrong. Everything the Obama Interior Dept. does is based on "science."

I guess that includes political science.

Editorial: Wilderness reversal welcome

The Obama administration made the right call in reversing its plan to have millions of acres in the West protected as federal wilderness. The December announcement angered many in the West who oppose such an arbitrary decision. It would have reversed a Bush-era policy that allowed some development of wildlands. Western governors had filed suit against that plan, announced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Congress, with strong Republican support, had not allocated funding or approval for the administration to implement the wilderness designations. In essence, the budget had blocked Salazar’s plan. Instead, Salazar and the Obama administration will work with Congress to craft recommendations for what lands should be protected and what lands could be used for development. Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee and Utah Rep. Rob Bishop praised the administration for its new stance. And we agree with their positive sentiments. When it comes to wilderness designation in the West, where so much of the land is wild, Congress and the administration must work together. The attempt by the Obama administration late last year to circumvent Congress’ role in wilderness policy was an example of overreach by the Executive Branch. We are glad that Salazar and the administration understand that...more

Editorial: Don't relax on wildlands

It's cheering to see that sometimes Washington will listen to the people -- and heed their demands. Last week, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a turnabout on a controversial order that gave the Bureau of Land Management the power to designate millions of acres of federal land as "wildlands" that could be considered for designation as wilderness areas. Potentially, that could have made wide swaths of Utah off-limits to development. So what happens now with the federal lands? Salazar says his agency will work with Congress and other stakeholders to list areas that might merit the wilderness tag. That's a more reasonable stance. Environmentalists may howl, but now it's possible to work out solutions. Utahns do not want to desecrate the beautiful landscape around us. People here value nature. They are, however, realistic about using nature's mineral wealth. If nothing else, the latest economic news should remind us all how badly the nation needs to use all its assets -- energy especially. And energy development brings good-paying jobs to Utah. The process of figuring this out has begun. San Juan, Piute and Emery counties are looking at how to work with Congress to allow development in some areas while limiting it in others. That, too, is appropriate. Local residents know the most about the land. They will also suffer the most if aesthetically valuable land were to be abused. At the same time, Americans will not benefit by withholding the riches under our feet from the marketplace. Development is appropriate in many places. Utah leaders must keep the pressure on. The same forces that have hampered the use of the wealth lying beneath our feet won't rest; neither should we...more

Environmental Protection (Or Propaganda?) Agency

If Federal Register notices, press releases and activist campaigns assured progress, the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rules for 84 power plant pollutants would usher in vastly improved environmental quality and human health. Unfortunately, the opposite is likelier. EPA's immediate target is older electrical generating units (EGUs), most of which have substantially reduced emissions to safe levels but still release more pollutants than modern plants. However, its broader agenda is to use air pollution and carbon dioxide restrictions to impose President Obama's goals of requiring "zero" emissions, "bankrupting" coal companies, causing electricity rates to "skyrocket" and effecting a "fundamental transformation" of the U.S. energy system and economy — regardless of what Congress may do or the American economy may require. This raises vital questions that thus far have received scant attention. How many older plants can be retrofitted to meet the new criteria? How many will simply be shuttered? Can coal, gas and nuclear replacements get the necessary permits, survive legal challenges and protests, and be built in time to replace the lost baseload electricity: potentially 2,290-3,950 megawatts in Illinois alone? Can intermittent wind and solar energy make a meaningful contribution or be built in time?...more

The green killer: Scores of protected golden eagles dying after colliding with wind turbines

California's attempts to switch to green energy have inadvertently put the survival of the state’s golden eagles at risk. Scores of the protected birds have been dying each year after colliding with the blades of about 5,000 wind turbines. Now the drive for renewable power sources, such as wind and the sun, being promoted by President Obama and state Governor Jerry Brown has raised fears that the number of newborn golden eagles may not be able to keep pace with the number of turbine fatalities. The death count along the ridgelines of the Bay Area’s Altamount Pass Wind Resource Area has averaged 67 a year for three decades. The 200ft high turbines, which have been operating since the 1980s, lie in the heart of the grassy canyons that are home to one of the highest densities of nesting golden eagles in the US. ‘It would take 167 pairs of local nesting golden eagles to produce enough young to compensate for their mortality rate related to wind energy production,’ field biologist Doug Bell, manager of East Bay Regional Park District's wildlife programme, told the Los Angeles Times. ‘We only have 60 pairs,’ he added...more

Prominent Americans Urge President Obama to Protect Grand Canyon Now

An ad this week in the New York Times  features an open letter from 50 statesmen, scholars and conservation leaders urging a 20-year extension of a one-million-acre mining buffer around Grand Canyon National Park. The list of signers includes Theodore Roosevelt IV, actors Edward Norton and Robert Redford, film director Ken Burns, World Bank science adviser Thomas Lovejoy, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa -- all calling on President Obama to protect the park from new uranium mining claims near its boundaries. The administration is expected to make a decision on the issue this release

New Mexicans will be proud to learn we have two of the "prominent" signatories: Bill Richardson and Jim Baca. Aren't you just brimming with pride?

Are wild horses native to US? BLM view challenged

American history textbooks teach generation after generation that the wild horses roaming the Western plains originated as a result of the European explorers and settlers who first ventured across the ocean and into the frontier. But that theory is being challenged more strongly than ever before at archaeological digs, university labs and federal courtrooms as horse protection advocates battle the U.S. government over roundups of thousands of mustangs they say have not only a legal right but a native claim to the rangeland. The group In Defense of Animals and others are pressing a case in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that maintains wild horses roamed the West about 1.5 million years ago and didn't disappear until as recently as 7,600 years ago. More importantly, they say, a growing stockpile of DNA evidence shows conclusively that today's horses are genetically linked to those ancient ancestors. The new way of thinking could carry significant ramifications across hundreds millions of acres in the West where the U.S. Bureau of Land Management divides up livestock grazing allotments based partly on the belief the horses are no more native to those lands than are the cattle brought to North America centuries ago...more

Good Fences Make Bad Neighbors

Donald Trump is locked in a dispute with a Scottish couple who refuse to sell their home to make way for a golf course. To pressure the homeowners, Trump built a fence around their house and sent them a bill for half of the construction costs. Can your neighbor force you to pay for a fence you don't want? Yes, in some places. Fence laws originated with disputes over livestock, which may wander off their owner's land and cause damage. Judges and legislators have developed three different schemes for allocating the costs of restraining animals. Countries or states with "fence-in" systems require ranchers to build and pay for fences to keep their cattle on their land. "Fence-out" regimes allow livestock to go where they please, and impose the cost of fencing on neighbors who don't want animals on their property. Lastly, a few Solomonic legislatures have split the difference, forcing neighbors to share the cost of a fence, even if one of them doesn't want it. Scotland has technically been a cost-sharing country since the March Dykes Act of 1661, which requires neighbors to share the costs of "building, ditching, and planting the dyke which parteth their inheritance." Few Scots invoke the hoary statute these days, so it's not clear whether Trump will be successful. While the clear trend in the United States is toward the fence-in requirement, there are still a number of holdouts. New Mexico, for example, is a fence-out state (PDF)...more

Song Of The Day #592

Ranch Radio is playing a request this morning, Little Bird by Jerry Jeff Walker. This is the live version of the tune since the listener wrote, "I heard him play it last at a bar on the beach on a caye off the coast of Belize...".

Monday, June 06, 2011

Laura Bush calls for national parks in the oceans

Our first national park was named not after a mountain or forest but for a mighty river: Yellowstone. For centuries the world's waters have connected us. Explorers, traders, scientists and fishermen have traveled our oceans and rivers in search of new resources and a greater understanding of the world. This Wednesday, as we mark World Oceans Day, we must intensify our efforts to better understand, manage and conserve our waters and marine habitats if they are to remain a vibrant source of life for future generations. We are at risk of permanently losing vital marine resources and harming our quality of life. Overfishing and degrading our ocean waters damages the habitats needed to sustain diverse marine populations. Fortunately, Yellowstone offers a blueprint for protecting our oceans. In the early 1970s, the U.S. established a modest program to conserve some of its most important marine areas, called the National Marine Sanctuary System. In June 2006 and again in January 2009, the U.S. expanded the concept of parkland and wilderness preserves in the sea when President Bush designated four marine national monuments in the Pacific Ocean. These four monuments cover more than 330,000 square miles and add up to the largest fully protected marine area in the world, larger than all of our national parks and wildlife refuges combined. They support vast numbers of fish, breathtakingly beautiful coral habitat, and a remarkable abundance of sharks—often seen as markers of an ecosystem's health...more

This is a first for me: sharks as an indicator or keystone species.

Somebody tell Obama about this and maybe he'll leave our domestic lands alone when he pulls out that Antiquities Act pen.

Range Fires Ignite Dispute

American cattle producers from Texas to Tennessee ship their herds each summer to the Flint Hills region of Kansas, where the animals bulk up on grass before they're dispatched to feedlots and then slaughtered. Ranchers help prime the sprawling pastures by torching them to burn out prairie brush, clearing the way for stands of big bluestem and other grasses that are cheap cattle feed. But the springtime fires also send up smoke that's tipping heartland cities into violations of clean-air regulations, the federal government says. Now the Environmental Protection Agency is threatening to restrain the Kansas range fires if ranchers' don't do so voluntarily, perhaps by burning only when wind doesn't blow the smoke over cities. The EPA's crackdown is kicking up a political storm in cattle country—a potential harbinger of high-stakes fights elsewhere as the agency prepares this summer to announce tougher clean-air standards nationwide.

A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself

The rapid growth in farm output that defined the late 20th century has slowed to the point that it is failing to keep up with the demand for food, driven by population increases and rising affluence in once-poor countries. Consumption of the four staples that supply most human calories — wheat, rice, corn and soybeans — has outstripped production for much of the past decade, drawing once-large stockpiles down to worrisome levels. The imbalance between supply and demand has resulted in two huge spikes in international grain prices since 2007, with some grains more than doubling in cost. Those price jumps, though felt only moderately in the West, have worsened hunger for tens of millions of poor people, destabilizing politics in scores of countries, from Mexico to Uzbekistan to Yemen. The Haitian government was ousted in 2008 amid food riots, and anger over high prices has played a role in the recent Arab uprisings. Now, the latest scientific research suggests that a previously discounted factor is helping to destabilize the food system: climate change. Many of the failed harvests of the past decade were a consequence of weather disasters, like floods in the United States, drought in Australia and blistering heat waves in Europe and Russia. Scientists believe some, though not all, of those events were caused or worsened by human-induced global warming...more

The Electric Car Albatross

Consider the Nissan Leaf. On a full charge, Nissan touts a a 100 mile range. It doesn’t tout what the range will fall to when it’s 16 degrees outside and the capacity of the Leaf’s battery declines by “up to” 20-30 percent, which it will as all batteries do when it is very cold out. Now add the additional load on the battery to power things like the heater/fan – and the lights, which you will probably need when it’s dark outside. There are other forms of loading, too. Passengers and Stuff. So, let’s say the real-word range of a car like the Leaf is 60-ish miles under less-than ideal conditions. That is, in the real world. At least with a gas-fueled car, you can refill the tank in a few minutes and be back on your way. But when the Leaf runs out of juice, you’re not only looking at an hour or more downtime to induce a partial charge (a full charge takes several hours) you’ll need to locate one of the special 220V charging stations the Leaf requires. This EV does not just plug into any household 110V outlet. The 220V stations is faster – if you can find one. Electric cars like the Leaf and Volt come with luxury car MSRPs – until Uncle Sam transfers about 20 percent onto the backs of you and me. The Volt’s MSRP is $40,280. The Leaf’s MSRP is $32,780. What lunatic would pay BMW/Lexus money for either of these things? So, enter Uncle – who is very generous with other people’s money. “Buy” a new Volt or Leaf or one of the other electric Turduckens now available and he will send you a check for $2,500-$7,500 depending on the model. Nissan even advertises the actual cost of its car After Uncle ($32,780 less $7,500) to make the thing seem more appealing...more

See that preppy or professor driving that electric car? You are not only paying for your ride, you are also paying to subsidize his.

The dose makes the poison

Paracelsus’ point was any chemical can be harmless or even beneficial at low concentrations, but poisonous at higher levels. Regulators would be well advised to remember this concept. Too much of anything usually ends up with bad results. The Environmental Protection Agency serves a vital mission in ensuring the safety of the air we breathe and the water we drink. Regulations from the EPA in the right dosage help protect our nation’s precious natural resources. However, there is growing concern across the countryside that EPA is going too far. Many fear that EPA, in its zeal, will further cripple an already fragile economy. A heavier dose of EPA regulations could well poison America’s prosperity. And when prosperity suffers, so does the ability to protect natural resources. The EPA’s reach has expanded significantly during the current administration. The agency’s budget is more than $10 billion — the highest it’s ever been — and the EPA employs more than 17,000 people nationwide. America’s farmers and ranchers fear the EPA’s complex maze of rules and regulations will drive up their costs and make it more difficult to compete in a global marketplace. The EPA has introduced massive new air and water regulations that will do little to help the environment but will create a paperwork nightmare for farmers and ranchers...more

Song Of The Day #591

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio so let's kick off the week with Welcome To Tom's Place by Tom Corbett.