Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Westerner's Radio Theater #018

Here's Gene Autry's Melody Ranch with a story about Aunt Martha.

Labor union quits alliance with greens over Keystone pipeline

The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) left the BlueGreen Alliance on Friday, citing a disagreement with the group’s members over the Keystone XL pipeline. LIUNA, a vocal Keystone supporter, took aim at other unions for opposing the project. “We’re repulsed by some of our supposed brothers and sisters lining up with job killers like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council to destroy the lives of working men and women,” LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan said in a statement. The BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of environmental groups and labor unions, confirmed LIUNA’s exit Friday afternoon...more

TransCanada considers new plans: Keystone pipeline may be built in stages in U.S. first

TransCanada Corp. is considering building U.S. portions of its Keystone XL pipeline and later seeking approval of an Alberta link to circumvent the Obama administration's rejection of the $7-billion project. There is no requirement for a presidential permit to lay pipe anywhere in the United States, provided the line doesn't extend across the border into Canada. On the table is a segment between the oversupplied oil storage hub of Cushing, Okla., and Gulf Coast refining centres in Texas, as well as a longer line from Montana to the Gulf Coast, executives said Thursday. "I think that clearly, with yesterday's decision, we are now open to amending or changing our plans to building this in segments," TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling told an investor conference in Whistler, B.C. "As we've said before, that's dependent on the interest of our shippers in doing that." Building an Oklahoma-to-Texas section alone would cost TransCanada $2 billion, said Girling, who told investors the company has already spent $1.9 billion on the Keystone XL project...more

Judge dismisses suit challenging Texas' concealed carry law

A federal judge in Lubbock on Thursday threw out the National Rifle Association's move to overturn a Texas law prohibiting 18- to 20-year-olds from carrying concealed handguns. In dismissing the case that had drawn national interest, U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings ruled that "Texas has identified a legitimate state interest — public safety — and passed legislation that is rationally related to addressing that issue." Under current law, Texans must be 21 or older to get a concealed-handgun permit. Members or veterans of the armed forces who are younger than 21 can also be licensed. The ruling was seen as a win for the state, gun control advocates and university groups — including two student-government groups at the University of Texas at Austin — who had argued that Texans younger than 21 should not be licensed to carry handguns. The case was filed by three Texans between 18 and 21 — Rebekah Jennings , Brennan Harmon and Andrew Payne — and the National Rifle Association, which argued that the Texas handgun licensing law was discriminatory and unconstitutional. In his decision, Cummings ruled that the Second Amendment — the right to bear arms — "does not confer a right that extends beyond the home." He noted that under current law, Texans can possess guns in their homes without a state license...more

Friday, January 20, 2012

Federal prosecutor cites Fifth in ‘Fast and Furious’ probe

The chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona has cited his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in refusing on Friday to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in its ongoing investigation into the failed “Fast and Furious” gunrunning operation. Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and committee chairman, said the prosecutor, Patrick J. Cunningham, had been subpoenaed by the committee to testify on Tuesday but his attorney notified the panel that Mr. Cunningham intended to exercise his right not to incriminate himself at his scheduled deposition. “The assertion of the Fifth Amendment by a senior Justice official is a significant indictment of the department’s integrity in Operation Fast and Furious,” Mr. Issa said. “The former head of the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] has previously told the committee that the Justice Department is managing its response to Operation Fast and Furious in a manner designed to protect its political appointees. “This is the first time anyone has asserted their Fifth Amendment right in this investigation and heightens concerns that the Justice Department’s motivation for refusing to hand over subpoenaed materials is a desire to shield responsible officials from criminal charges and other embarrassment,” he said...more

Obama Administration Says No to Oil, Yes to Biofuels

Two days after President Barack Obama blocked construction of a major oil pipeline, his administration is touting its efforts to expand domestic production of renewable energy. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Friday that his agency has approved a $25-million conditional loan guarantee to build a 55,000-square-foot biorefinery plant in Iowa. The Fiberight facility will produce cellulosic ethanol by converting municipal solid waste and other industrial pulps into "advanced biofuels," the news release said. The project is expected to create 38 jobs and save 16 jobs. By contrast, expansion of the Canada-Texas Keystone XL pipeline would create thousands of jobs; some estimates say as many as 20,000...more

Congress plots new moves to sidestep Obama on Keystone pipeline

Key Congressional leaders are determined to find a legislative end-run around President Barack Obama’s decision this week to kill the Keystone XL pipeline project. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, will begin hearings next week and has asked State Department Secretary Hillary Clinton to testify. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says all options are on the table including new legislation to make an end-run around the president to okay the $7 billion project that would create 20,000 new jobs and boost the country’s struggling economy. Republicans will also look at legislation already moving through the approval process to see whether language authorizing the pipeline can be attached, Boehner said. “I’ll just say this: this is not the end of the fight,” Boehner said. “Republicans in Congress will continue to push this because it’s good for our country and it’s good for our economy and it’s good for the American people, especially for those who are looking for work...more

Local Outfitter loses mule to wolf attack - Video

Early morning on January 14, 11 ½ miles outside of Joseph where the wind is blowing hard and cold on what is called “Divide”, another probable wolf predation investigation is happening yet again on private property. Wolf supporters have said in the past, that wolves would rather feed on their natural prey such as elk and deer, then going after livestock, companion animals and pets. There are an estimated 2,000 head of elk just over a butte from here. So far the Imnaha pack has killed 21 cows and calves according to ODFW, US Wildlife Services reports 30. But this time, the Imnaha pack did not chase down another cow or calf; they killed one of Steen Wilderness Adventures’ mules, owned by Shawn and Shelly Steen. The mule’s name was Annie, Shawn Steen said. “When I saw her even with what little was left of her body I knew exactly who it was.” Steen runs about 40 head of mules and horses on the Divide and can call every single one by name. “They are companion animals, and not just mules and horses,” he said...more

Here's a video produced by Wallowa Valley Online

A Math Lesson

Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Named One of 10 U.S. Species Most Threatened by Fossil Fuel Development

The dunes sagebrush lizard, a small, rare lizard that lives only in Texas and New Mexico, was named one of 10 U.S. species most urgently threatened by fossil fuel development in a report released today by the Endangered Species Coalition. The report, called Fueling Extinction: How Dirty Energy Drives Wildlife to the Brink, highlights the top 10 U.S. species whose survival is most threatened by fossil fuels. The dunes sagebrush lizard is currently proposed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. “America’s outsized reliance on dirty and dangerous fuels is making it much harder to protect our most vulnerable wildlife,” said Mark Salvo with WildEarth Guardians. “We should not sacrifice our irreplaceable natural heritage in order to make the fossil fuels industry even wealthier.” The report highlights the 10 most endangered animals, plants, birds and fish at risk of extinction due to fossil fuel development, and shows how wildlife suffers displacement, loss of habitat and the threat of extinction from the development, storage and transportation of fossil fuels. Coalition members nominated candidates for inclusion in the report; submissions were then reviewed, judged and voted on by a panel of scientists. The report identifies the home range, conservation status, remaining population and specific threat facing each of the 10 finalists. The dunes sagebrush lizard occurs in slivers of shinnery oak-sand dune habitat within the Permian Basin, the largest onshore oil and gas field in the United States. The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the lizard under the Endangered Species Act in 2002, and WildEarth Guardians submitted an emergency petition for the species in 2008. Long threatened by fossil fuel development and other land uses, the species was finally proposed for an endangered listing by the Service in December 2010...Press Release 

New Mexico Land Grant Expands AF Training

The U.S. Air Force accepted a land gift offer from the State of New Mexico during a ceremony in Santa Fe Jan. 18, hosted by the New Mexico State Land Office. The 11,000-acre land gift, valued at approximately $3.2 million, will support the Joint Air Force Special Operations mission at Cannon Air Force Base. On June 23, 2008, the State of New Mexico and the Air Force entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that initiated the framework for gifting the land. The Air Force Real Property Agency, the 27th Special Operations Wing, the Air Force Special Operations Command, and Headquarters Air Force have worked with the State of New Mexico to receive this gift...more

DOJ: Sinaloa Cartel’s Influence Extends Well Beyond Border Into ‘Much’ of the U.S.

The Sinaloa criminal cartel uses its control of drug corridors on both sides of the Arizona-Mexico border to extend its influence well beyond the border area into “much of the United States,” according to the Department of Justice. U.S. prosecutors have described Sinaloa as “one of the largest narcotics trafficking organizations in the world.” A member of the cartel, who is facing federal charges in Chicago, claims that he was allowed to traffic tons of drugs into the United States under an immunity deal granted by the U.S. government in exchange for information on rival cartels – a deal allegedly linked to the aborted law enforcement operation known as “Fast and Furious.”  The DOJ’s 2011 analysis focuses on HIDTA regions in Arizona. “The Arizona HIDTA region is a major entry point for illicit drugs, particularly marijuana and heroin, transported from Mexico to the United States,” it states. “Approximately half of the marijuana smuggled from Mexico typically transits Arizona HIDTA counties. Seizure statistics indicate that Mexican traffickers are increasing marijuana and heroin smuggling from Mexico into the region. “The Sinaloa Cartel represents the greatest organized criminal drug threat in the Ari­zona HIDTA counties through its continued dominance over drug trafficking into and through the region.”...more 

Here are some excerpts from the report:

Mexican-based TCOs dominate the supply,
trafficking, and wholesale distribution of
most illicit drugs in the United States. Various
other TCOs operate throughout the country,
but none impacts the U.S. drug trade as significantly
as Mexican-based traffickers. Reasons
for Mexican organizations’ dominance include
their control of smuggling routes across the
U.S. Southwest Border and their capacity to
produce, transport, and/or distribute cocaine,
heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine.

The Southwest Border remains the primary
gateway for moving illicit drugs into
the United States. Most illicit drugs available in
the United States are smuggled overland
across the Southwest Border, although increased
border security appears to be forcing
traffickers to increase their use of alternative
methods such as noncommercial vessels and
ultralight aircraft.

Increasing cooperation among Sureños
gangsi in the Southwest Region, including
alliances within correctional facilities, will
increase their involvement in wholesale smuggling
and will help the southern Californiabased
La Eme prison gang solidify its influence
over most Sureños gangs in the border
region.43 Sureños gang members have migrated
from southern California to cities in Arizona,
New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas,
increasing cooperation among Sureños gang
members within and outside correctional
facilities in the Southwest. Such migration
will continue for the foreseeable future.
Sureños gang members, particularly those
from southern California, are also migrating to
other areas of the country, including locations
in the Great Lakes, Pacific, and West Central
Regions, in an apparent effort to expand their
drug distribution operations.

The primary gateway for illicit drug smuggling
to the United States is the Southwest
Border. Smugglers under the direction of
Mexican traffickers move most of the cocaine,
heroin, foreign-produced marijuana, and
foreign-produced methamphetamine available
in this country through, between, and around
land border crossings in Arizona, California,
New Mexico, and Texas (see Figure 1). Traffickers
use every other avenue imaginable—
air, sea, and the U.S.–Canada border—to
smuggle drugs into the United States, but the
volume moved across the U.S.–Mexico border
significantly exceeds that moved through all
other routes combined.

Mexican TCOs are increasingly avoiding
Southwest Border security by smuggling
illicit drugs using ultralight aircraft. Smuggling
via ultralights has increased since 2008,
with several hundred incidents reported in
FY2010.69 Most incidents occur in central
Arizona and western New Mexico.70 Loads
can exceed 100 kilograms and mainly involve

Violent infighting among rival Mexican
TCOs, at least partially attributable to
competition over control of lucrative crossing
points along the Southwest Border, is
occurring mainly on the Mexico side of the
border. Criminal activity such as kidnappings
and home invasion robberies directed
against individuals involved in drug trafficking
has been reported in some U.S. border
communities, but limitations on the data
make it difficult to assess whether such
activity is increasing. Despite an overall
decline in general violence from 2009 to
2010, incidents of violence directed against
U.S. law enforcement officers over the past
year increased in many areas along the
Southwest Border, apparently as a result of
heightened counterdrug operations.

One Mexican State Bordering NM Was Deadlier Than All of Afghanistan Last Year

Organized crime-related deaths in one Mexican border state during the first nine months of 2011 exceed the number of Afghan civilians killed in roughly the same period in all of war-torn Afghanistan. According to the Mexican government, from January through September 2011 2,276 deaths were recorded in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, which borders Texas and New Mexico. A Nov. 2011 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report states that over nearly the same period – January through October 2011 – 2,177 civilians were killed in Afghanistan, where a U.S.-led war against the Taliban is underway. It did not provide a breakdown of responsibility for that period, but said that in 2010, 75 percent of civilian deaths were attributed to the Taliban and other “anti-government elements.” Per capita, a person was at least nine times more likely to be murdered in Chihuahua last year than in Afghanistan. (Chihuahua has 3,406,465 inhabitants, according to Mexico’s 2010 census; the CIA World Factbook reports that in July 2011 the estimated population of Afghanistan was 29,835,392.)..more

Mexican army raids 'torture house' in Border Town

The Mexican Army discovered evidence of a torture house in Nogales, Sonora this weekend. During a Sunday morning raid of the house, the Army found an electric cattle prod and a bloody wooden stick with nails sticking out, according to a story from El Imparcial newspaper. The residence is located in the Del Rosario neighborhood, located in northwest Nogales; a few miles from the Nogales border with Arizona. The Mexican Army also found several rifles, ammunition, two trucks and seven police-style uniforms during the raid, the newspaper says. link

Decoding the Murder Rituals of the Mexican Drug Trafficker

The killing of a Juarez policeman who was burned alive on a city street could signify a new escalation of “narco-horror,” with criminals committing ever more grotesque acts in order to intimidate their rivals -- and for fun. This article was inspired by a concrete act: the burning alive of a police officer in Ciudad Juarez in December. Why was this done? Why commit such a grotesque act? What kind of sense does this killing make, and what can it tell us? According to the current logic of Mexican President Felipe Calderon, the spiral of violence that is hitting Mexico (by the end of 2011 46,000 had died as a result of the militarization of the battle against drug trafficking organizations) are desperate actions of people who are losing the war. But today, with a narco-society that is increasingly urbanized, the new forms of killing are atrocious: cooking a victim until their meat and bones become soup, cutting them in pieces and burning them to ashes, decapitating them with saws or wooden knives, or crushing them under the hooves of cattle. Women are increasingly targeted, like in the case of political aide Adriana Ruiz, in Tijuana. She was kidnapped and tortured, a broomstick inserted into her anus and then, in response to her own pleas, killed. She was decapitated. Her crime was to be the girlfriend of an undercover soldier. The increasingly violent nature of these messages sent by drug traffickers tells us something...more

Napolitano: DHS Is Working with Mexico on ‘Special Interest Aliens’ Threat Along U.S.- Mexican Border

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Tuesday said her agency is working with Mexican officials on the threat posed by individuals from countries with terrorist links or “special interest aliens.’ Napolitano’s remarks came during a panel discussion in Washington about the global role of DHS in fighting terrorist threats to the United States, including efforts to stop threats abroad before they arrive at U.S. airports or seaports. asked the secretary about the threat posed by individuals linked to terrorist groups in countries such as Somalia and Yemen who might enter the U.S. from Canada or Mexico and how the DHS is tracking that threat. Napolitano said DHS is addressing that issue, “recognizing that there are many things that could transit these huge land borders that we have. “With respect to Mexico, we’ve been working very closely with them – there’s a whole category called SIAs – Special Interest Aliens is what it stands for,” Napolitano said, adding that DHS watches that category “very carefully...more

The Mexico drug war: Bodies for billions

There are kingpins with names like the Engineer, head-chopping hit men, dirty cops and double-dealing politicians. And, of course, there are users -- millions of them. But the Mexican drug war, at its core, is about two numbers: 48,000 and 39 billion. Over the past five years, nearly 48,000 people have been killed in suspected drug-related violence in Mexico, the country's federal attorney general announced this month. In the first three quarters of 2011, almost 13,000 people died. Cold and incomprehensible zeros, the death toll doesn't include the more than 5,000 people who have disappeared, according to Mexico's National Human Rights Commission. It doesn't account for the tens of thousands of children orphaned by the violence. The guilty live on both sides of the border. Street gangs with cartel ties are not only in Los Angeles and Dallas, but also in many smaller cities across the United States and much farther north of the Mexican border. Mexican cartels had a presence in 230 cities in the United States in 2008, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Its 2011 report shows that presence has grown to more than 1,000 U.S. cities. While the violence has remained mostly in Mexico, authorities in Arizona, Georgia, Texas, Alabama and other states have reportedly investigated abductions and killings suspected to be tied to cartels...more

Song Of The Day #754

Ranch Radio will stick with 1966 and here's a song for all you party goers this weekend: Jean Shepard with Many Happy Hangovers To You.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Under Obama, Oil and Gas Production on Federal Lands Is Down 40%

In his announcement rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline today, President Obama boasted that under his administration, “domestic oil and natural gas production is up.” Obama, of course, failed to mention that his administration can’t actually take any credit for the increase.
The vast majority of America’s new oil and gas production is happening on private lands in states like North Dakota, Alaska and Texas.
It’s not that Obama is devoid of responsibility. His administration oversees oil and gas production on federal lands by issuing leases. But when measuring oil and gas production in areas under Obama’s jurisdiction, the numbers tell a different story.
Citing publicly available federal data, the House Natural Resources Committee noted these figures:
  • Under the Obama administration, 2010 had the lowest number of onshore leases issued since 1984.
Despite the Obama administration’s restrictive policies for oil and gas production on federal lands, overall production still increased thanks to the pro-energy policies in states like North Dakota...more

Ken Salazar's plans for tourism in San Luis Valley generates protests

Two weeks ago, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar surfaced in Alamosa, surrounded by state leaders, to present the results of a federal study aimed at promoting tourism and conservation in the San Luis Valley. The National Park Service's study pushes for conservation easements, recreational trails and landmark designations for many of the area's cultural treasures -- but somebody forgot to check with the locals about some of the nominated sites. As it turns out, not everybody in the crosshairs of the NPS survey is enthused about having historic local structures, including the meeting place of a private religious society, included in tourist brochures promoting the so-called "American Latino Heritage." They question how the selections were made and the seeming rush to tout tourism and development at the risk of other cultural and economic priorities. The most vocal critics of the plan have been Arnold and Maria Valdez, longtime environmental and political activists who run a design and preservation consulting firm in the town of San Luis. Arnold, an heir of the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant and land use planner whose master's thesis deals with Hispanic vernacular architecture in the area, wrote a lengthy letter to NPS assistant regional director Greg Kendrick expressing his concern about how the survey was conducted. He also questioned its emphasis on conservation deals with large landowners -- including owners of the former Taylor Ranch, which was involved in a lengthy legal battle over local access rights. "The broader community is unaware of what is occurring," Valdez writes. "You are dealing with heirs of the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant who have been awarded historical use rights on the property by the Colorado Supreme Court and are preparing their own land use management plan." Valdez is offended that the NPS is considering making a tourist destination of the San Francisco Morada, a kind of penitente chapel, and ran a photo of the interior in its report. The religious society that uses the morada doesn't "under any circumstances permit pictures of the interior to be shown to the public," he notes. (The photo in question has since been removed from the report.)...more

Heavy Metal Politics

President Obama's Keystone XL abdication (see above) is all too typical of his Administration's general hostility to domestic energy production. Only last week Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that he is banning new uranium mining on one million acres of federal land in northern Arizona. The 20-year withdrawal of these lands from "mineral entry" blocks access to hundreds of millions of pounds of the highest-grade uranium ore to be found in the country. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the northern Arizona parcels contain uranium that, mined to capacity, would generate enough electricity to power Los Angeles for 154 years. Expect the Obama campaign to tell its green funders how the Administration "saved the Grand Canyon" from corporate despoilers as the Presidential race heats up. What is surprising is the extent to which the mining ban seems to have been made without regard for the Interior Department's own conclusions about the potential environmental effects. According to the Bureau of Land Management's environmental impact statement on the withdrawal, mining would have "no direct impacts" on protected wilderness areas. The impact on drinking-water supply in the Colorado River was also found to be "negligible." We love the Grand Canyon as much as anyone, but protecting treasured landscapes is not incompatible with job creation and economic growth. Why bother with an environmental impact assessment if the decision was always going to be made for political reasons?...more

BLM to expand buffer around historic trails from a quarter-mile to 5 miles

The plan covers topics ranging from energy development to livestock grazing to sage grouse habitat in the 2.5 million acres in Fremont, Natrona, Hot Springs, Carbon and Sweetwater counties. But one of the most significant aspects of the plan deals with historic trails. Currently, as established in the 1987 plan, the trails have a quarter-mile buffer on each side to limit development. However, Yannone said more people now use the trails and there is a better understanding and appreciation for the trails’ views — instead of just the physical trails, or ruts, in the ground. The preferred plan for trail management calls for five miles on each side of the trails. The proposed buffer is seen by many people as the crux of the new trail management plan and has garnered criticism and praise. Fremont County commissioners think the buffers in the preferred alternative are too large. “We can’t live with that 10-mile impregnable barrier across our county,” commission Chairman Doug Thompson said, noting that there needs to be a way to create corridors and roads while still protecting the trail system. Thompson doesn’t want the historic trails to stymie future development or take away potential income from the county. He said disallowing structures and developments within several miles of the trails isn’t acceptable. “That’s very extreme,” Thompson said. Fences or energy development below the hills might not be seen from the trails and should still be allowed, he said. There also are public health issues, specifically snow fences, which might obstruct the views but are needed to ensure safety on highways...more

Sheep vs. bear, agency vs. agency

In many ways, the tale of Yellowstone's grizzly bears is one of remarkable success. When the species was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1975, there may have been as few as 136 of the bruins wandering in and around Yellowstone National Park. By 2006, there were more than 500, and in the spring of 2007, the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared the area's population officially recovered. Then in 2009, a federal judge ruled that the bears should remain protected given the number of threats they yet face. Still, their population has continued to expand outward. As grizzly bears turn up in habitat they haven't occupied in years, though, they've raised the specter that old human-bear conflicts will rise in number as well. To minimize the risk that those conflicts will include livestock predation, and to ease the way for grizzlies' and other contentious species' spread, the National Wildlife Federation and other groups have worked closely with the US Forest Service to retire all the sheep grazing allotments and some of the cattle allotments -- totaling more than 600,000 acres and millions of dollars in incentives to buy out willing ranchers -- on federal lands surrounding Yellowstone National Park. But there is a significant holdout, and it's not some stalwart rancher determined to stick it to the feds. It's the U.S. Agricultural Research Service's Sheep Experiment Station (USSES), based in Dubois, Idaho, which runs sheep on thousands of acres of high altitude grazing parcels in the Centennial Mountains on the Montana-Idaho border, smack dab in the middle of the so-called "High Divide."  Conservationists and federal wildlife officials say the area (map) is key to the grizzlies' long-term survival because it provides a path of mostly wild country connecting them and other dispersing Yellowstone wildlife to large chunks of prime habitat further north in Montana and Idaho. The bears have already begun to use it: At least five collared grizzlies have turned up on sheep station grazing lands alone in and around the Centennials since 2001...more

The Reasons Behind Obama’s Decision Rejecting the Keystone Pipeline

Republicans could hardly pick their jaws off the floor when word leaked Wednesday that the White House would deny a controversial oil pipeline. House Speaker John Boehner sat shocked while his aides distributed outraged statements. “President Obama is about to destroy tens of thousands of American jobs and sell American energy security to the Chinese,” said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck, referring to the oil Obama refused that may now be sold to China. “The president won’t stand up to his political base even to create American jobs. This is not the end of this fight,” Buck harrumphed. News of the Keystone pipeline denial was surprising for one main reason. The last-minute congressional compromise over the payroll tax in December included a provision that compelled Obama to make a decision on Keystone XL within 60 days. That would prevent him, Republicans believed, from running out the clock until December, when the issue would no longer affect the election. But when given two months, Obama only took one. A White House aide suggests that there was no point in waiting the full stretch for a decision that was fairly obvious. That’s not because Obama opposed the pipeline outright. As the candidate, Obama ran on a broad environmental agenda, including addressing climate change and shifting the nation toward a renewable energy economy. When the State Department offered provisional approval for the project and Obama hinted at lukewarm support last year, environmentalists freaked. Green groups organized repeated protests–the largest one garnered 5,000 people who encircled the White House–holding Obama to his campaign rhetoric against dirty energy.No, the primary reason for Obama’s rejection was because of the bed Republicans had made him, demanding a decision before the State Department could facilitate a full review of the pipeline’s environmental impacts. Nebraska became ground zero over the fight after environmental officials in the state highlighted concerns about ecological risks...more

Bill McKibben, the man who crushed the Keystone XL pipeline

On November 6, 2011, Bill McKibben arrived at Washington, D.C.’s, Lafayette Park to protest the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, designed to carry oil 1,700 miles from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. McKibben, a Vermont writer and environmentalist, had been one of 1,252 people arrested in front of the White House in August and September, protesting the same pipeline. He’d spent two nights in the district’s Central Cell Block, and now was back with thousands more people and a bold new plan. “We can’t literally occupy the White House,” McKibben had told his fellow protesters, “so the next best thing is to surround it.” And that’s what they would do, encircle the White House in a “giant hug” to remind President Obama of his campaign promise to “end the tyranny of oil.” McKibben wasn’t sure how many people he would need to “hug” the White House, though, and was worried that he wouldn’t have enough. It turns out he had plenty. At least 12,000, actually, making it the largest protest ever for an environmental cause outside the White House. The protesters circled the White House several times and in some places stood five deep...more

New guidebook provides framework for managing US forests in face of climate change

Resource managers at the nation's 155 national forests now have a set of science-based guidelines to help them manage their landscapes for resilience to climate change. Developed by the Forest Service's western research stations, the four-part framework details a practical and credible management approach, grounded in strong partnerships between local resource managers and scientists, that will help national forests meet their management mandate. The guidelines are published in Responding to Climate Change on National Forests: A Guidebook for Developing Adaptation Options, a new report published by the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station. "This guide lays out an important foundation and provides useful, real-life examples to help managers and citizens build their climate-smart adaptive capacity," said David Cleaves, the Forest Service's climate change advisor. "It will be an important source for practices and tools for enhancing the future of our Nation's forests. The guidebook is available online at and in print by request. Printed copies can be requested by emailing or calling (503) 261-1211 and referencing "PNW-GTR-855."  Press Release

Audubon Wins a Round on Spotted Owl

The federal government withheld from the Audubon Society documents about government efforts to conserve the northern spotted owl, a federal judge found. The Audubon Society sued the National Resource Conservation Service in September 2010, for its failure to produce documents in a safe-harbor agreement between the agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Oregon Department of Forestry. The NRCS released 17 documents to Audubon, but withheld 28, claiming they were exempted by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act (FCEA). Audubon appealed, then sued in Federal Court. The agency claimed the documents were exempt from disclosure because they deal with "agricultural producers" on private forest lands at issue, and the timber produced on those lands are "agricultural commodities." Hernandez disagreed, and denied the NRCS motion for partial summary judgment. "Because Congress has failed to expressly define 'agricultural' or 'agricultural commodities' as used in § 8791 of the FCEA, I find that plaintiff's argument is more persuasive," Hernandez wrote. "Because the FCEA makes a distinction between 'agriculture' and terms related to forests, I find that wood, timber, and forest products are not agricultural commodities under the FCEA."...more

Alaska sled dog race cancelled because of ttoo much snow

The Copper Basin 300 sled dog race is the latest victim of Alaska’s weird winter weather pattern as race officials canceled the event Sunday morning, less than a day after the race started. The race came to a halt when a section of trail was deemed impassible. A statement by race marshal Greg Parvin said the trail between Meier’s Lake and Sourdough had unusually deep snow conditions, with high winds and bitter cold. Two Rivers musher Allen Moore, who was one of the race leaders, told his handlers that the trail got bad about 12 miles out of Meiers Lake and snowmachines were getting stuck in attempts to break a trail for the race. Meier’s Lake is about 75 miles into the race route. Temperatures were consistently 45 to 50 below zero, according to race officials. Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Copper Basin 300 canceled because of impassible trail conditions...more

Off-Road Enthusiasts Concerned About NM Land Deal

The New Mexico Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance has filed a protest with federal land managers over a proposed land trade with a northern New Mexico pueblo. The group says trading up to 3,200 acres of the El Palacio OHV Area to Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo would splice up an area that has been used for recreation for more than two decades. The plan was revealed in an environmental impact statement for resource management that was recently prepared by the Bureau of Land Management's Taos office. The alliance contends that the draft environmental impact statement addressed only an exchange of 600 acres. The land in question includes El Palacio's parking area, the main access routes to the trails and BLM-approved trails that are used for the annual Rattlesnake 100 motorcycle and ATV race. AP

Indian Trust Official, Ray Joseph, Exits Interior

After raising concerns about the U.S. Department of the Interior’s management of trust funds, a high-ranking official focused on Indian affairs at the U.S. Department of Interior exited his position in December, Indian Country Today Media Network has learned. Questions have also been raised internally about his leadership. The official, Ray Joseph, had served as Principal Deputy Special Trustee at the department’s Office of the Special Trustee (OST) for American Indians since January 2011. In that position, he was responsible for overseeing the financial management of Indian funds held in trust by the federal government. “Principal Deputy Special Trustee Ray Joseph has decided to pursue other opportunities outside of the Department,” said Adam Fetcher, press secretary for the department. “Ms. Michele Singer will serve as acting Principal Deputy Special Trustee.” Singer has worked in the department for more than 10 years in various capacities, including in the Solicitor’s Office and the Office of the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, as well as the Office of the Special Trustee. Fetcher would not say whether Joseph was encouraged to move on due to management-related issues. ICTMN has been unable to reach Joseph for this report. A public memorandum issued December 8, 2011 by Interior’s Office of the Inspector General to David Hayes, deputy secretary of the department, offers insight on management concerns raised by Joseph before his exit...more

Song Of The Day #753

Ranch Radio has another one from 1966:  Jim Reeves and Blue Side of Lonesome.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Breaking News: Obama administration to reject Keystone pipeline

The Obama administration will announce this afternoon it is rejecting a Canadian firm’s application for a permit to build and operate a massive oil pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border, according to sources who have been briefed on the matter. However the administration will allow TransCanada to reapply after it develops an alternate route through the sensitive habitat of Nebraska’s Sandhills. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns will make the announcement, which comes in response to a congressionally-mandated deadline of Feb. 21 for action on the proposed Keystone pipeline. WPost

Everglades Snake Situation Prompts Federal Import Ban of Burmese Pythons and Three Other Snakes

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the ban Tuesday on Burmese pythons, which has become one of the most notorious invasive species in U.S. history, as well as yellow anacondas and northern and southern African pythons. “It does us no good to put in these billions of dollars in investments in the Everglades only to have these giant constrictor snakes come in and undo the good that we are doing,” said Salazar, who was joined by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and a captive 13-foot Burmese python. “The action we’re taking today is a milestone in the protection of the Everglades.” Salazar added that the new ban would take effect within about 60 days and make it illegal to import the snakes or transport them across state lines. Despite the government’s efforts to protect the Everglades from the four nonnative snake types, some conservationists said an additional five other species that were recommended to be banned should have been included on the list. As previously reported, Pythons have become a growing problem in Florida’s revered swampland as they consume native wildlife and compete with native predators. Biologists say most pythons in the Everglades are thought to have been released there by their owners once they realized that the “pets” can grow from just a foot to 12 feet long within their first two years of life. One was found last October to have just consumed an adult deer...more

Cattle Rustling Is An Expensive Problem

With our tough economy a crime from the old west is staging a big comeback. Cattle rustling can be very profitable for the bad guys. They can steal cattle and then sell them at auction in a matter of hours. We talked with a Special Ranger of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association who says it's relatively easy to capture the animals. John Cummings says they can then be sold at full value. In most cases the rustlers will watch a rancher to figure out when he's feeding his animals. When they know the cattle will be congregated in a specific area, they return at night and haul the livestock away. Then they'll travel to an auction that isn't in the immediate area to sell them. But most travel less than 150-miles before they make the sale...more

USDA pushing water quality credit trading

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a funding opportunity that will bring states, USDA and other stakeholders together to enhance the effectiveness of water quality credit trading. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is providing up to $10 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) for these projects, with up to $5 million focused on water quality credit trading in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Proposals for projects are due March 2, 2012. "For the first time USDA has offered funding specifically for water quality trading. We want to help states and other partners develop robust and meaningful markets," Vilsack said. "Our goal is to demonstrate that markets are a cost-effective way to improve water quality in places like the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and agricultural producers are critical to the function of these markets." Water quality credit trading is a market-based approach to lowering the costs of reducing pollution, and has the potential to engage more farmers and ranchers in water quality improvement efforts through the implementation of more conservation practices on agricultural lands. Through water quality credit trading, a producer who implements conservation practices to reduce water quality pollutants can also benefit by generating water quality market credits that could be sold in an open market, which would reduce the costs of implementing and maintaining the conservation practices...more

Establishment of Everglades Headwaters NWR and Conservation Area

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – January 18, 2012 -

As part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today accepted the first donation of land in south-central Florida to officially establish the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area – conserving one of the last remaining grassland and longleaf pine savanna landscapes in eastern North America.

The new refuge and conservation area – the 556th unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System – is being established with the support of local ranchers, farmers and landowners who are working cooperatively with Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conserve the wildlife values on their lands while retaining their right to raise livestock or crops, an approach championed by the Obama administration.

If fully realized, the refuge and conservation area will span 150,000 acres north of Lake Okeechobee. Two-thirds of the acreage, or 100,000 acres, will be protected through conservation easements purchased from willing sellers. With easements, private landowners retain ownership of their land, as well as the ability to continue farming or ranching the land. The easements would ensure the land could not be subdivided or developed.

“This is an outstanding example of the 21st century approach to conservation envisioned by President Obama when he unveiled his America’s Great Outdoors initiative last year,” Salazar said. “Working in close partnership with landowners, we are taking a major step to safeguard the long-term health of the Everglades in the Kissimmee Valley, while ensuring the area’s ranching and farming heritage and economy remain strong. Just as we have done in Kansas, Montana and the Dakotas, our locally-driven, cooperative approach to conserving the Everglades Headwaters will help grow a robust outdoor recreation economy for central Florida, while preserving ranchers’ rights to live off the land.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), which manages the National Wildlife Refuge System, is working closely with ranchers and other private landowners, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other state agencies, conservation organizations, users’ groups, Native American tribes and federal agencies in the creation of the new refuge and conservation area.

“We are inspired by the excellent conservation opportunities that exist here as a result of the efforts of our ranching community to protect working lands across generations," said Service Director Dan Ashe. “The extraordinary vision of our many partners will help protect significant wildlife species while supporting a way of life that is vital to our citizens. This effort will restore wetlands in the headwaters area, preserve working ranches, and support a healthy environment for central and south Florida, as well as increase opportunities to hunt, fish, hike, bird watch, and learn about the importance of this landscape.”

The establishment of the new refuge and conservation area is one of a series of conservation projects under the Obama administration to work locally with landowners, conservation stakeholders, and state, tribal and local governments to conserve vital habitat on working landscapes. These include:

  • The million-acre Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area in Kansas – the first new unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System authorized under the Obama administration, which will help maintain the integrity of tallgrass prairie wildlife habitat, stream water quality and the agricultural heritage of the Flint Hills;

  • The proposed Dakota Grassland Conservation Area, which will conserve prairie landscapes, wildlife resources and working lands in the Prairie Pothole Region, an area that supports more than half of the nation's migratory waterfowl; and

  • The successful community-based conservation initiatives taking place in the Crown of the Continent, a vast and intact landscape that includes portions of northwestern Montana as well as British Columbia and Alberta.

The Everglades, which receives water from the Kissimmee River Valley, will benefit from the conservation and restoration of its headwaters through enhanced water quality, quantity and storage.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service held six public meetings in 2011 to gather input on the proposal; collected written comments; and met with representatives of local, state and federal agencies, as well as Native American tribes.

Salazar announced the Service’s intent to evaluate this area in January 2011 and proposed to establish the new refuge and conservation area last September. During 2011, the Service received more than 40,000 comments on the proposal, the overwhelming majority of which expressed support.

Additional details on the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area are available here.

Press Release

Nation howls against predator status

As the clock struck midnight on Friday, pens were capped across the nation as the Fish and Wildlife Service closed the public comment period on a proposal to remove grey wolves from the federal endangered species list in Wyoming. This is one of the last steps in moving the fate of grey wolves into hands of Wyoming residents and something the State has been working toward since the first wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone more than 20 years ago.  A college student in South Dakota posted the final comment close to the deadline and it read as a philosophical warning against “tampering with mother nature.” This foreboding sentiment is nothing new, yet unique among a random sampling of the more than 6,500 public comments submitted to the hosting site,  A thorough review of the comments is yet to be compiled, but a majority of comments JH Weekly reviewed claimed origin from out-of-state, highlighting national awareness of an issue monitored by many outside Wyoming. many of the reviewed comments: “Removing endangered species protections from wolves in Wyoming while the state’s current management plan is in place would be disastrous for the wolf population. Wolves should have more protective, trophy game status across all of Wyoming.” One comment left by a cattle rancher from Shawnee, Wyo., offered support of the delisting but also sought to regain a more favorable public image for herself and fellow ranchers. “Please understand that [predatory status] does not mean the citizens of Wyoming want to shoot every wolf on sight,” she wrote. “I am a rancher and I do not currently shoot every coyote, fox or other predator on sight. I respect the wildlife and their environment and do not destroy wildlife simply because they are on my place.” Despite this plea for understating, the image of trigger happy Wyomingites is something already entrenched in the minds of many worldwide, according to Ted Kerasote. Kerasote, an author and conservationist based in Kelly, Wyo., is known for his non-fiction writings on hunting ethics, wildlife and domestic dogs. A longtime follower of the state’s battle against wolf reintroduction, Kerasote said in an interview that he regularly receives calls and letters from fans around the world, confused and concerned as to what Wyoming plans to do with wolves within its boarders...more

Do More Regulations Equal Less Safety?

    American business must comply with a lot of rules.  One of the chief rationales for many regulations is safety, and, as Congress expands regulators' mandates, regulators concentrate on writing highly detailed and specific rules to cover perceived gaps in the law.  For the sake of protecting the health and safety of workers and consumers, the federal government accepts the significant drag regulatory compliance puts on the U.S. economy and the burden it places on all businesses.  Psychology, economics and organizational science, however, suggest that too many regulations may make society less safe, says the Mercatus Center.
  • Increased regulation often leads to reduced compliance, whereby businesses feel that they cannot possibly keep up with the number of rules and therefore give up all efforts entirely.
  • Heavy regulation also stifles safety innovation -- businesses spend so much energy and time attempting to abide by commanded rules that they do not create their own, firm-specific regulations that may be more needed.
  • Regulation also causes uncertainty as corporations are more hesitant to invest due to a lack of knowledge regarding the future regulatory landscape.
    This first point of reduced compliance makes clear sense: businesses become so clouded with the number of rules by which they must comply that they often fail to adequately obey the most important ones.  Minor rules that attempt to address small problems consume a disproportionate amount of time and often cause compliance failure in other areas.  Furthermore, a plethora of minor regulations of minimal impact often cast a negative light on all regulations, even those of particular importance.
    That regulation will reduce firm-specific safety standards is also a significant problem.  Nationwide or even industry-wide regulations usually fail to take into account corporation idiosyncrasies.  Thus, even if all regulations are obeyed, there remains significant room for improvement in safety.  However, an exhaustive regulatory atmosphere often dampens efforts to create a more comprehensive system of rules.
    Businesses hesitate to invest and make drastic changes in their production or line of work when they are uncertain about extraneous factors such as regulation.  Managers often cite regulations as one of the greatest factors in their decisions not to hire, and this hesitation causes economic paralysis.

Source: "Do More Regulations Equal Less Safety?" Mercatus Center, December 2011.
For text:

The Destruction of Our Wildlife - Viewer Discretion

Encana asks EPA to suspend Wyoming fracking comment period

The owner of a central Wyoming gas field where federal regulators suggested a link between a drilling technique and groundwater pollution asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday to suspend public comment on the draft report. Gov. Matt Mead, meanwhile, was back in Cheyenne on Monday after making a secret trip to Pavillion last week to talk to locals about their well water. Encana officials say the EPA hasn't been sufficiently clear about which specific questions and topics the comments from the public, the company and government agencies are supposed to cover. The company also is seeking more of the data that went into preparing the document and has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get it. "For us to be able to comment on the draft study to the extent that we want to and feel is appropriate, we need to have the full information and data that we requested. We feel that is very important to us to get a full response," Encana spokesman Doug Hock said. EPA officials said they were reviewing the letter. A group representing landowners in the Pavillion area objected to Encana's push to suspend the public comment period amid the company's efforts to fault publicly much of EPA's methodology and draft findings...more

Why won't EPA release the data they used for the draft report?  Did the company really have to file a FOIA to get data?  Another example of Obama's transparency.

Mark Levin: You Cannot Have This EPA and a Constitution

Mark Levin says America cannot at the same time have a Constitution and an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that is doing what the EPA is doing today. Levin made the observation in an interview with about his new book, “Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America.”Modern American liberals, who are Utopias, Levin said, aim to erode the separation of powers built into the U.S. Constitution so that a “relative handful of masterminds” can tell everybody else what to do. “This erosion has been going on for about a hundred years,” said Levin. “It’s at a much faster pace right now and there’s a reason for this--because you can’t have constitutionalism and utopianism.”...more

Here's the video:

EPA Regulation of Fuel Economy: Congressional Intent or Climate Coup?

In May 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a rule setting standards for motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. By creating these standards, EPA is implicitly regulating fuel economy. Because the rule also obligates EPA to regulate greenhouse gases from stationary sources, the agency is now determining national policy on climate change. EPA has asserted that it is simply implementing the Clean Air Act. But the Clean Air Act was neither designed nor intended to regulate greenhouse gases, and it provides no authority to regulate fuel economy. Last year, Congress declined to give EPA explicit authority to regulate greenhouse gases when Senate leaders abandoned cap-and-trade legislation. A key selling point for the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill was that it would exempt greenhouse gases from regulation under several Clean Air Act programs.2 If instead of introducing a cap-and-trade bill, Reps. Waxman and Markey had introduced legislation authorizing EPA to do exactly what it is doing now—regulate greenhouse gases through the Clean Air Act as it sees fit—the bill would have been rejected. The notion that Congress gave EPA such authority in 1970, almost two decades before global warming emerged as a public concern, and five years before Congress enacted the first fuel economy statute, defies common sense...more
The Westerner will be late today. They're coming to repair my wheelchair this morning and I have a Dr.'s appointment this afternoon, so will be posting them as I find them for the rest of the day.

Song Of The Day #752

As Ranch Radio meanders around the sixties, here's Buck Owens and his 1966 recording of Waitin' In Your Welfare Line.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Neal Allen Trammell 1959-2012

From: Randy Matheney Sent: Sunday, January 15, 2012 10:39 AM Subject: Trammell Obituary

Hello everyone -

We have lost one of our finest friends in team roping, Neal Trammell and we have also lost his wonderful mother, Evelyn Trammell.  A combined memorial service will be held on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 11:00 AM at the covered arena in Tularosa (BLT Farm).  A potluck lunch will immediately follow the service.   Brisket for the lunch is being provided by Greg Hughes and family and being prepared by friends of the Trammell's.  Side dishes and desserts will be appreciated. 

Directions to the arena -

51 Sioux Trl, Tularosa NM - From US 54/70 turn W on Radio Rd (by Shell), turn S (left) on Riata Rd cross the RR tracks, Turn Right on Pecos then Right on Sioux Trl   Arena entrance on the right.
Thank you.
Neal Allen Trammell
Neal Allen Trammell, 52, of Tularosa, passed away, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012, in Tularosa.
He was born Sept. 8, 1959, in Alamogordo to Bill and Evelyn Trammell.
He is survived by his loving wife and soul-mate of 30 years, Cricket Trammell of the family home; his children, Shamarie Schumacher and husband Jeremy of Hereford, Texas, Ty Trammell and wife Brooke of Tijeras and Tel Trammell and wife Shyanne of Tularosa; two grandchildren, Jett and Kashlee Schumacher; father, Bill Trammell; and numerous family members and friends.
Memorial services will be held at 11 am, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. at BLT Farms covered arena; 51 Sioux Trail; west Tularosa with Pastor Robert G. Smith officiating.
The memorial service will be a shared service with his mother, Evelyn Trammell.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the charity of your choice .
The Trammell family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Hamilton-O'Dell Funeral Home to direct the funeral services. To sign the online register book, please visit

NY Governor's ex-wife Kerry Kennedy 'making $40 MILLION by advocating for rainforests'

Activist Kerry Kennedy apparently has more than just a humanitarian interest in the outcome of the trial over the environmental damages caused to Ecuadorian rain forests. It was revealed today that Ms Kennedy, who is the ex-wife of Governor Andrew Cuomo and former president John F. Kennedy's niece, has a financial stake in the contentious legal battle. Local courts recently ordered Chevron to pay $18billion in damages-which the company is now appealing- and if the decision is upheld, $40million of that money could go straight to Ms Kennedy. The New York Post reports that Ms Kennedy, 52, was hired to put a well-known face on the issue, and she has publicly campaigned for the cause by appearing on CNN and writing an op-ed piece for The Huffington Post. The budget of the legal team also says that she was due to receive $10,000 per month in 2010 and $40,000 to cover additional expenses. She is also allotted a 0.25 per cent stake in the financial outcome of the court case. That means that if the recent demand that the company pay $18billion is upheld, Ms Kennedy will be walking away with $40million. In addition to using her Kennedy name, the legal team was clear that they hoped that her close ties to New York politics would help their fight against Chevron...more

Title should have said "may make", but still...$160,000 per year to care about the rainforest...and I thought these nitwits actually believed this stuff.

Scientists want climate change in young minds

Climate change subscribers say the fight against global warming will require younger soldiers. On Monday, the National Center for Science Education, a nonprofit group that denounces intelligent design and supports an evolution-only curriculum in the classroom, will expand its mission. The organization of scientists, anthropologists and others is turning its attention to climate change, and it will mount an aggressive effort to teach the nation’s schoolchildren that climate change is real and is being driven by human activity. “If you say it’s man-made, you must be implying some solutions. [Climate change] is taught to promote a particular political point of view, and that’s the problem,” said Kathleen Porter-Magee, senior director of the High Quality Standards Program at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington-based conservative education think tank. Ms. Porter-Magee said such efforts essentially amount to “the politicization of curriculum.”...more

Its time everyone realize your local public school is in reality a government school and becoming more "politicized" every day.  The urban brand is on our land.

Project to pour water into volcano to make power

Geothermal energy developers plan to pump 24 million gallons of water into the side of a dormant volcano in Central Oregon this summer to demonstrate new technology they hope will give a boost to a green energy sector that has yet to live up to its promise. They hope the water comes back to the surface fast enough and hot enough to create cheap, clean electricity that isn’t dependent on sunny skies or stiff breezes — without shaking the earth and rattling the nerves of nearby residents. Renewable energy has been held back by cheap natural gas, weak demand for power and waning political concern over global warming. Efforts to use the earth’s heat to generate power, known as geothermal energy, have been further hampered by technical problems and worries that tapping it can cause earthquakes. Even so, the federal government, Google and other investors are interested enough to bet $43 million on the Oregon project. They are helping AltaRock Energy, Inc. of Seattle and Davenport Newberry Holdings LLC of Stamford, Conn., demonstrate whether the next level in geothermal power development can work on the flanks of Newberrry Volcano, located about 20 miles south of Bend, Ore. “We know the heat is there,” said Susan Petty, president of AltaRock. “The big issue is can we circulate enough water through the system to make it economic.”...more

Should We Move Creatures Threatened by Climate Change?

This might sound like a good Samaritan no-brainer, the critter equivalent of helping an old lady cross the street. Yet relocating animals would be a major departure from the last half-century of conservation practice in the United States. The 1964 Wilderness Act was based on the idea that the way to preserve biodiversity is to set aside tracts of land, step aside, and let nature take its course. That approach is insufficient in light of climate change, says Alex Camacho, a University of California-Irvine law professor studying assisted migration. "Our conservation laws are based on static ideas about nature," he says, "not landscapes that are rapidly changing because of something humans did." Research on assisted migration is so new that there isn't yet evidence of whether it works. But clearly it would be complicated and expensive. In order to move mammals, you'd have to trap and transport enough individuals to start a new population. In the case of the Karners, the process would involve breeding the butterflies in a lab and carefully moving them elsewhere—then planting plenty of purple lupine, the larvae's sole food source. Transplanting an ecosystem can be risky, as history shows. In the late 1800s, the USDA famously encouraged farmers to use kudzu, a vine imported from Japan, to control soil erosion. Farmers and gardeners have cursed the prolific weed ever since. Hellmann doesn't believe that relocating species threatened by climate change is a panacea. "It's just not realistic to think you're going to be able to move all the creepy-crawlies that no one cares about," she says. But for even a few plants or animals, "it could be huge."...more