Saturday, September 22, 2012

Deer doesn't dig Obama - video

It seemed a dastardly deed -- destroying the display of a devoted Democrat. The homeowners didn't determine who, not once but four times, deliberately devastated the yard sign that depicted their beloved president, front-yard decor which said they were supporters of the dashing Barack Obama. They decried the destruction. They didn't know how to deter the defamation -- a direct assault on their property. Was it the devil? Or simply a devious degenerate? So Tom Priem's wife, Beth, did some detective work, determined to discover the despicable destroyer. At daybreak Wednesday, with camera in hand and trusty dog, Charlie, by her side, she made a date to watch the drama unfold. Undaunted, she was dazzled to catch the thief dead-on, daring as dawn broke...more

The Westerner's Radio Theater #47

Today Ranch Radio brings you The Gene Autry Melody Ranch Show with the episode Johnny Bond Cowhand.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Utah lawmakers continue push for ownership as public lands war gains traction

Utah's public lands fight against the federal government is beginning to gather steam on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers were briefed Wednesday about efforts to establish a commission to help navigate policymakers through the fray. "It's kind of like eating an elephant," said Kathleen Clarke, director of the Public Lands Coordinating Office. "Where do you start?" Clarke said her office is working in consultation with a number of experts on the establishment of the commission, which would provide guidance and answers as the state moves forward its demands to have the government cede authority to Utah over the control of federal lands. "It has become very clear to us that this is not just a Utah battle," she told members of the Legislature's Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Interim Committee. "It's not just a Republican issue," Clarke added, pointing to the charge led by then-Utah Gov. Scott Matheson, a Democrat who was among the key players in an American West battle to influence more local control over environmental policies in the 1970s and ’80s. "I think (Matheson) was way ahead of his time," remarked Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, sponsor of last session's HB148, which is setting the stage for this newest fight. Utah's public policy makers are chafing against the federal government's continued control over an estimated two-thirds of the land in Utah. They assert that ownership locks up millions of dollars in potential revenue because of environmental regulations that hamstring the oil and gas industry, livestock grazing or even timber harvesting...more

Appalachia mine closures strain ministry centers

Ministries in Appalachia are bracing for a tough winter as hundreds of residents have been furloughed or lost their jobs because of cutbacks in coal production amid the nation's changing energy industry. A single employer, Arch Coal, laid off 750 workers across Appalachia in August. Other companies have been forced to idle employees or close operations. Added stress on an already economically depressed area has created a sense of urgency among a number of Baptist ministry centers...more More victim's of Obama's War On Coal.

Racing Economics Collide With Veterinarians’ Oath

Only after Bourbon Bandit broke a leg racing last November did his owner, Susan Kayne, learn the full extent of prescription drugs that veterinarians had given him at Belmont Park on Long Island. Until then, Ms. Kayne had believed that Bourbon Bandit was “sound and healthy,” because that is what her trainer told her, she said. But new veterinary bills arrived, showing that the horse had been treated regularly with clenbuterol, a widely abused medication for breathing problems that can build muscle by mimicking anabolic steroids. “If a horse is sound, why does it need all these drugs?” she asked. “I never gave consent.” Gene and Eileen Hartis said they, too, were shocked by their bill, from a California veterinarian, showing that in just over three months in 2010, their graded stakes winner, Princess Haya, had been given drugs for pain, soreness and swelling 34 times, as well as seven doses of clenbuterol. “It’s so contrary to our philosophy that we explained in length to our vet and trainer,” Mr. Hartis said. More than anyone in the sport, racetrack veterinarians are supposed to put the horse first, having taken an oath to protect “animal health and welfare.” Yet in the shed rows of America’s racetracks and at private training centers, racehorse veterinarians often live by a different code — unique in the veterinary community — one that emphasizes drugs to keep horses racing and winning rather than treating soreness or injury through rest or other less aggressive means, according to dozens of interviews and a review of medical and regulatory records. Only veterinarians can legally prescribe medicine, yet they often let trainers, who are paid to win races, make medical decisions, including which drugs to use. These veterinarians also have a powerful financial incentive to prescribe drugs: they are both doctor and drugstore, and so the more drugs they prescribe, the more money they make. Selling and administering drugs, in fact, accounts for most of their income...more

Advisory Group Recommends Multiple-use for Cedar Fields

A federal advisory group recommended Thursday that rock climbing and other recreational uses should continue to be allowed at Cedar Fields, a popular Power County public land site. The recommendation comes at the end of a long debate between recreationists fighting to maintain access to an area considered sacred to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will make the final decision next spring but the agency’s Resource Advisory Council is urging officials to maintain multiple-use. The group — members of the public recruited to advise on BLM decisions — is suggesting that the BLM enforce maintenance work once a year to help mitigate erosion. Recommendations include requiring rock climbers to camouflage all bolts within the next three years and planting perennial native species within one year in areas vegetation has eroded. In January, BLM archaeologists warned the advisory group that the site was showing signs of erosion due to increase foot traffic and recreational use. The site is given a historical preservation status because of its archaeological significance. However, that status can be stripped if the area becomes damaged and eroded from recreational use like fire pits, graffiti and foot traffic. For the past nine months, tribal members have voiced continual opposition to recreational use at Cedar Fields. Yvette Tuell, RAC member and American Indian representative, said that the tribal members were disap-pointed that the advisory group decided to allow multiple-use on the Cedar Fields site. “Just because you can have multiple-use on public lands, doesn’t mean you should have multiple-use,” she said...more

Gun Sales Hinge on Obama Re-Election

As Cabela's Inc. prepares the selection of guns it will sell for the holiday season and winter hunting, the outdoor-gear retailer has two plans: one if President Barack Obama is re-elected, and one if he isn't. The Sidney, Neb.-based retailer and other companies in the guns-and-ammo business say if Mr. Obama wins a second term they are preparing for a surge in sales—the same as they saw after he was elected in 2008—from buyers fearful the president would back policies to make buying a gun more difficult. If Republican challenger Mitt Romney wins, though, the chain plans to stock more items such as waterproof boots and camouflage hunting gear. Cabela's saw a 25% increase in new gun buyers right after the 2008 election, and continues to see strong sales, aided by an uptick in female and younger customers, according to Mr. Arterburn. Nearly 12 million background checks for gun sales took place in the U.S. this year through Aug. 31, up 56% from the same period in 2008, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Customers must undergo background checks before buying firearms from federally licensed sellers. Collections of federal excise taxes on the sale of new firearms and ammunition, a proxy for gun sales, rose to $453 million in 2009, a 45% jump from the year before. That's a significant surge compared with the average 6% annual increase reported by the Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau from 1993 to 2008...more

Gertrude Twiss Delk 1925-2012

Gertrude "Gertie" Twiss Delk,87,passed away at Gila Regional Medical Center on September 18, 2012, after a brief illness.
Memorial Service will be held at Baca's Funeral Chapels in Silver City Saturday September 22, 2012 at 2 o'clock in the afternoon with Pastor Ernie Vineyard officiating.
Cards may be sent to:

Gertie Delk Family
 POB 879
Messilla Park NM 88047

Gertie was born to Richard Michael Twiss and Gertrude Pole Twiss on August 7, 1925, in El Paso,Texas. When she was four years old,her family moved to Vanadium, where her father was the business manager at the Ground Hog Mine. The family remained in the area and she graduated from Hurley High in 1944. After graduation, she went to work for the Empire Zinc Mine. She met Forrest Delk at the Bayard Lions Club where he and his Gully Jumpers band were playing for a dance. They married on January 20, 1945, and moved to the family ranch below the Kneeling Nun, where they lived together for the next 51years. Life revolved around cow work, Forrest's dance music, and their family. After Forrest's death in 1996,Gertie remained on the ranch. She loved her home in Lampbright Canyon even though she had to deal with everything from rough¬ sometimes impassable-roads to a bear outside her bedroom window. Not long before her 8ih birthday, she had to kill a rattlesnake near her porch. Throughout her life, Gertie tended to the needs of her family. She was always there supporting them,whether tapping her foot at the edge of the dance floor, cheering at basketball games, or baking to raise money for FFA. Gertie was a wonderful cook and served many meals, whether at the table at home or on the tailgate when working cattle. Gertie was active in Copper Cowbells and the Mimbres Booster Club. She was interested in antiques and enjoyed collecting purple glass. She loved to crochet and spent many hours making afghans for her family. Gertie is survived by her children, son Joe Delk (Diane) of Las Cruces, NM, daughter Linda Cox (Harlie) of Faywood, NM, son Jimmy Delk (Suanne) of Deming, NM. She was affectionately known as "Gramma" to her seven grandchildren: Neal (Tandee) Delk of Melrose, NM, Mark (Stacey) Delk of Las Cruces, NM, Byron (Jaylene) Delk of Las Cruces, NM, Lori (Wes) Hudson of Red Oak, OK,Tricia (JoBonney) LeCompte of Perryton, TX,Jennifer (Will) Shafer of Deming,NM,and Amy (Nathan) Yost of Los Alamos, NM,and thirteen great-grandchildren. She is also survived by sister Mary Emerson of National City, CA,sister Pat Barker of Roswell, GA, sister-in-law Dee Johnson of Silver City,NM, and numerous nieces and nephews. Gertie was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Forrest, and granddaughter Stacy Cox.

Lack of transmission lines keeps N.M. from meeting solar potential

Even as renewable power projects get a boost from the federal government, a lack of transmission lines prevents states such as New Mexico — where the sun shines more than 300 days a year — from converting the obvious potential into real watts that can charge smartphones and run air conditioners thousands of miles away. Aside from Phoenix, the nation’s sixth largest city, and Las Vegas, Nev., which glows around the clock, the region’s rural stretches — the ideal places for acres of solar panels — have few energy demands. And sending solar power from there to population centers isn’t as simple as loading coal into boxcars and shipping it cross country. “We have incredible renewable energy resources,” U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said during a visit earlier this year to a solar research lab in New Mexico. “The bad news is they’re where there are not many people. We need a distribution system that can accommodate that.” Transmission lines are key to developing the region’s solar resources. The problem is existing lines are maxing out, especially as the push intensifies to bring online more renewable energy. Building new lines can take years or even decades of cutting through a tangle of bureaucracy. Spanning some 200,000 miles, much of the nation’s existing transmission system is aging and will need replacement before 2030, according to preliminary findings of a new Department of Energy study on transmission congestion. In New Mexico, there were 18 utility-scale solar projects in the pipeline during the last fiscal year compared to none in 2010. But major transmission proposals that would crisscross the state are still in the permitting phase. Some progress has been made in the last two years, but the lofty goals set years ago by former Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson to develop megaprojects and make New Mexico the “solar capital” of the U.S. have yet to be realized. Part of it has to do with competition...more

Song Of The Day #935

Ranch Radio woke up hummin' this song, so here is Ernest Tubb and his 1966 recording of Another Story, Another Time, Another Place.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Study finds public land along Rocky Mountain Front is driver of growth

A new report by a Bozeman-based economic analysis firm says that communities along the Rocky Mountain Front have seen slow, steady growth with per-capita income and average earnings per job being 10 to 15 percent greater than elsewhere in Montana. The research paper by Headwaters Economics — which was commissioned by the Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front — also says future income and job growth can be experienced if residents and businesses take steps to preserve their natural resources. Chris Mehl, policy director for Headwaters, said that with telecommuting capabilities, many people can live just about anywhere they like, and many of those are flocking to areas where public lands create wide, open spaces. He added that as the baby boomers age, more and more are retiring to Western states. “We’re seeing people making location decisions based on the quality of life as well as on jobs,” Mehl said. “We found that higher protection of lands means greater populations and jobs.”...more Every study I've seen by Headwaters Economics reaches the same conclusion. So, all we need to do is make the entire West a federal protected area and per-capita income, job creation and economic growth will be out of sight!

Every study I've seen by Headwaters Economics reaches the same conclusion.  So, all we need to do is make the entire West a federal protected area and per-capita income, job creation and economic growth will be out of sight!  All those private land areas east if the Mississippi will be left in the dust, right?  Yes, I'm sure it will work.  After all, we have historical precedent.  For example, there's the Soviet Union...

Tortoises Manhandled for Solar Splits Environmentalists

The Ivanpah Solar Electricity Generating System
Construction of such large-scale green-energy projects has splintered environmental groups. When concern over global warming was at a peak, national organizations such as the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council threw their support behind industrial-scale wind and solar installations on public land. Now some smaller conservationist groups object to what they consider an environmentally destructive gold rush. “Of course we need to do solar, but it should go on rooftops or in appropriate places, not the pristine desert,” says April Sall, director of the Wildlands Conservancy in Oak Glen, California, operator of the state’s largest nonprofit preservation system. “We need to tackle warming -- but not forget that there are other things at stake.”  The Mojave solar project embodies the clash of environmental priorities. The $2.2 billion installation being built by closely held BrightSource Energy (BRSE) Inc. of Oakland, California, is designed to power 140,000 homes without emitting greenhouse gases. But it threatens the tortoises. That’s why the Western Watersheds Project conservationist group of Hailey, Idaho, sued to stop it in a Los Angeles U.S. court. (For an interactive graphic of the project, click here.)  The 120-year-old Sierra Club, which calls itself “America’s largest and most influential” environmental group, also lobbied for changes to the project’s design to protect the tortoises. Yet the 1.4 million-member organization chose not to try to block the plant, says Barbara Boyle, a Sierra green energy specialist. “Ultimately, we need to jump-start renewables to combat climate change, and large-scale solar has to play a big part in that,” Boyle says...more

Wild Horse, Wild Ride (Screen Media Films, PG)

Every year, the Bureau of Land Management removes thousands of mustangs, feral descendants of the domesticated horses imported by the Spanish conquistadors, from public lands in the United States. It’s a controversial program, but not the central subject of Wild Horse, Wild Ride; instead, the film focuses on a program to encourage more people to adopt some of these horses. That program is the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge, which sounds like a cheesy reality show but is actually a program in which 100 people each are assigned one of the mustangs, which they then try to tame over a three-month period. The culmination of the program is a competition in Fort Worth, Texas, after which time the horses will be offered at auction. Although the Fort Worth competition provides the narrative spine of this documentary, Directors Alex Dawson and Greg Gricus are at least as interested in the process as the goal, and in the lives of the trainers as in the progress of the horses...more

Hundreds of oil wells possible in eastern Wyo.

Hundreds of oil and gas wells could be drilled in the months ahead in an area spanning Converse County and part of Niobrara County in east-central Wyoming. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently completed three environmental studies for potential drilling in three areas that together cover almost 1,200 square miles. As many as 444 new oil and gas wells could be drilled, the Gillette News-Record reports. "Right now, the southern Powder River Basin is a hot spot in the country," geologist Bj Kristiansen said. "There are multiple hundreds of permits out there now."  The development could boost revenue for northeast Wyoming communities...more

Hidden EPA emails alleged

A free market think tank has accused an Environmental Protection Agency official of hiding communications with environmentalists from public disclosure. The Competitive Enterprise Institute of Washington, D.C., has filed a legal complaint seeking to compel the EPA to turn over emails sent and received by James Martin, a regional agency administrator. The institute believes Martin used a private email account to correspond with his former employer, the Environmental Defense Fund, in an attempt to avoid disclosing the messages under the Freedom of Information Act. Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the think tank, said this method of evading public scrutiny has reached "epidemic levels" throughout the Obama administration. "These are not the exception. This seems to be the rule," he said. "We're talking about a very widespread effort. They're running amok with this practice." The group has filed a complaint over Martin's emails and plans similar litigation related to another EPA official because it's concerned such hidden correspondence may influence the agency's decision-making. "We do have concerns generally about coordinating policy with environmental groups," Horner said...more

Texas Land Owners Express Concerns Over Border Security

Mexico's drug war was the topic of discussion during a visit to Beeville by State Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. The commissioner told farmers and ranchers that Texas doesn't have the manpower to protect its border with Mexico. A war is being waged on the other side of the border as drug cartels are killing anyone who gets in their way. Commissioner Staples said the smugglers aren't staying south of the border and they are crossing over by the thousands. Becoming a menace and danger to South Texas. "Drug cartels that are across the Texas border are chasing land owners off their property, they're intimidating ranchers and farmers," Staples said. Local rancher Tom Partlow said he just had a run in with drug smugglers on his property a couple of days ago. "We don't like it, we don't like trespassers, whether they're hunters or whatever," Partlow said. However, the man he found in his backyard wasn't a hunter, he was a drug runner. "This guy here was terrible looking, he almost look more animal than man. He was not a good person to have walking around your property," Partlow said. The biggest problem, Commissioner Staples said, is the lack of manpower the state of Texas has. In other border states, like California, Arizona and New Mexico, they have 14 Border Patrol agents per mile. In Texas, there are only six agents per mile...more

The EPA’s Latest Victims: 8 Coal Mines

The EPA added 8 new victims to it’s death toll today when Alpha Natural Resources announced that it would be closing 3 Virginia coal mines and 5 other mines in West Virginia and Pennsylvania resulting in the destruction of 1,200 more coal mining jobs. This is just the latest in a long and steady string of coal mining jobs lost due to the EPA’s War on Coal. These shutdowns are the result of radical environmentalist policy that has been supported by former Virginia Governor and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine and Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Bob Casey. The closings came as no surprise to Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson who predicted last March that the coal mining industry would fall prey to the out-of-control EPA. “All these EPA guidelines, rules and regulations are nothing more than an attempt to end coal production in the U.S.,” said Wilson. Unfortunately today’s announcement proves Wilson correct. And it shows that the EPA run by the radical-enviros is completely run amok...more

Tiny, Critically Endangered and Controversial Nevada Fish Experiences Dramatic Population Increase

First the good news: The world’s only population of the critically endangered Moapa dace (Moapa coriacea), a tiny fish endemic to the hot springs along a small stretch of Nevada’s Muddy River, has boomed this year. After a strange and still unexplained die-off in 2007 lowered the species’ population from 1,200 to 473 fish, its numbers have climbed nearly 150 percent to 1,181 today, according to the most recent count by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Most of that increase, which comes close to recovering the species to pre-2007 levels, has taken place in the past year. It’s a welcome success story for a fish that also nearly lost its sole habitat to fire in 2010. Now the bad news: The Moapa dace population still needs to increase by another 4,819 individuals before the species can be considered recovered and taken off the endangered species list. Meanwhile, the fish remains unpopular with nearby residents, who complain that protecting the species limits agricultural and community water usage, keeps people from enjoying some of the area hot springs, costs too much and is taking too long—all for a fish that isn’t eaten by humans and doesn’t serve as food for any other native species. The fish—which grows to a maximum of nine centimeters and only thrives in water temperatures of at least 30.5 degrees Celsius—could be found in 10 local hot springs in the 1930s. Today it can only be found in three springs along a three-kilometer stretch of the river...more

Unexplained die-off, loses habitat in fire and then makes a comeback right in the middle of the worst global warming the world's ever seen! 

Japan-U.S. smart grid project now live in New Mexico

A smart grid project that has been under development for over a year, created by a collaboration of Japanese and U.S. companies, is now live in New Mexico. The demonstration project promises to help solve some thorny problems with adding more renewable energy into the power grid. The network will test out solar power, energy storage and electric grid management and produce data and analyses over the next six months, said Japanese solar panel maker, Kyocera, which is taking part in the project. The project also involves the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities. NEDO itself is a group of government, research institutions and private tech companies such as Kyocera, Toshiba and Hitachi. The participants held a ceremony this week to kick off the operation of the $52 million project, which involves a micro-grid and a “smart house” demonstration in Los Alamos. The Japanese consortium also is working on a smart building project in a mixed-use community in Albuquerque called Mesa del Sol. NEDO and its affiliated Japanese companies decided to head to New Mexico to test smart grid technologies with the local utility in Los Alamos partly because Japanese utilities aren’t as flexible or able to act as quickly to accommodate the project, according to this 2011 presentation by the Los Alamos utility company. The Japanese companies also want to sell their technologies in the U.S. and take an active role in setting international technical standards for smart grid. The Los Alamos lab will help with data collection, management and modeling.The consortium conceived of the project a few years back and signed an agreement to carry it out in 2010...more

Song Of The Day #934

On Ranch Radio today is Hank Penny who tells us I'm Singing The Blues.

The tune was recorded in Hollywood on  October 8, 1945 and released as King 519.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Federal court hears appeal on Canyonlands park

The federal government said Wednesday it has control over highway access in national monuments even if no official notice was given, in a case that could affect highway rights of way on federal public land across the country. Aaron Avila, attorney for the U.S. Justice Department, told an appeals court panel Wednesday that the federal government had the right to close a disputed highway right of way in an ecologically sensitive streambed in Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah. He said no one objected when barriers were put up in the 1970s in parts of a canyon limiting access, even though there were other access roads. Government supporters said the case could affect thousands of highway rights of way across federal public land nationwide, including areas that have been protected from roads and off-road vehicle use for years. The National Park Service closed a stream in Canyonlands National Park to off-road vehicle use in 2005 because of water pollution, crushed vegetation, degraded wildlife habitat and other impacts. San Juan County and the state of Utah sued the Park Service, arguing the government could not close the streambed to four-wheel-drive vehicles because it was a county and state highway. The county says it maintained and improved the road for the public for decades before the park was established. The state also claims the road was used from the 1920s to run cattle and haul supplies to established cowboy camps and had been a road for visitors and uranium prospectors since at least 1954...more

Gigalopolises: Urban Land Area May Triple by 2030

More than half of the world's expected nine billion people will live in giant urban expanses by 2030 as cities and their hinterlands occupy an additional 1.2 million square kilometers, thereby tripling in size. That's an additional 1.35 billion people living in cities, suggesting that urban areas that currently occupy roughly 3 percent of the planet's surface will continue to expand. By comparison, urban areas increased by just 58,000 square kilometers between 1970 and 2000. In new work published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, urban environment researcher Karen Seto of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and her colleagues first divided the global land area into discrete parcels and, using predicted gross domestic product growth, population growth and urban land area cover in 2000, they projected which parcels had a high or low probability of succumbing to citification over the next few decades. Using that model, 1.2 million square kilometers of land have probabilities higher than 75 percent of becoming citified and nearly six million square kilometers have some probability of going urban. "More than half of the urban land cover on the planet by 2030 has yet to be built," Seto explains. "The expansion of urban areas will have a direct impact on biodiversity hot spots."...more

Laying the groundwork for a planner's paradise.

According to Seto, we evil humans "encroach", urban expansion is "haphazard" and we "need to be more deliberate as a society" in what we want urban places to become.  Seto says we have a "window of opportunity"  and those opportunities should be "consciously and systematically seized."

All that shouts out for one thing:  Government Control.

Government plans may satisfy the control freaks and allow academia to run their little experiments, but they rarely, if ever, obtain the goals which were the rationale for the plans in the first place.

See Randal O'Toole's Why Government Planning Always Fails and his book The Best-Laid Plans: How Government Planning Harms Your Quality of Life, Your Pocketbook, and Your Future .

Salazar creates Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar established a conservation area in the San Luis Valley on Friday after billionaire Louis Bacon committed to protect more of his vast landholdings in southern Colorado. Salazar said the designation of the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area marked a “glorious day for our nation, for the state of Colorado, for the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. … It is the spirit of Louis Bacon which allows us today to say that the southern Rockies are in fact a landscape of national significance and one that will be protected for generations to come.” Bacon, a hedge fund manager, is adding a conservation easement to protect nearly 77,000 acres of his 81,400-acre Trinchera Ranch from development. He announced plans in June to add a perpetual conservation easement on his 90,000-acre Blanca Ranch if the federal government moved ahead with plans to create a new 5 million-acre conservation corridor in Colorado and New Mexico. The Blanca Ranch easement is expected to be finalized later this year and, with the Trinchera land just south, will represent the largest easement donation ever to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It creates “a contiguous mosaic of privately held and publicly protected lands that will stay in perpetuity in creating one of the longest migratory wildlife corridors in America,” stretching from the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve to New Mexico, Bacon said...more

Wyoming could move or kill bighorns

A state lawmaker wants the option to remove a small herd of bighorn sheep from U.S. Forest Service lands in southeastern Wyoming if necessary to protect local sheep ranchers. Sen. Larry Hicks, a Baggs Republican, says he hopes it won't be necessary to remove about 40 bighorns from the Encampment River canyon in Carbon County. Hicks plans to ask a legislative committee later this month to endorse his proposal in case it's needed. The Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, a Laramie conservation group, is pushing a lawsuit against the Forest Service challenging its decision to allow continued domestic sheep grazing in the area. The group says domestic sheep could pass diseases to the bighorns. Ranchers in Idaho are challenging a Forest Service decision to cut domestic sheep grazing to protect bighorns there. AP

Read more here:

Why are the Woolgrowers Litigating the Payette Sheep Decision 2 Years Later?

With little hope that they will prevail in Idaho District Court people are asking why the Idaho Wool Growers Association, American Sheep Industry Association, Public Lands Council, and sheep ranchers from Wyoming and Colorado have begun litigation now.  According to the latest gossip, the woolgrowers hope for a Romney Administration in 2013. The woolgrowers think that, if they file litigation now, they might be able to get a new administration to force the US Forest Service to settle the litigation in their favor once Romney is in office. Why, other than out of sheer desperation, are the woolgrowers bringing this litigation if this is the case?  It is clear that the woolgrowers want to reverse or contain the Payette Decision to just the Payette National Forest.  Woolgrowers are concerned that the science and process used to close sheep grazing on the Payette National Forest will be used to protect bighorn sheep that are threatened by disease across the West.  They feel entitled to graze their sheep everywhere they currently do despite a clear threat to bighorn sheep on public lands...more

Hunter recalls run-in with grizzly bear in Idaho

A hunter who was bitten by a grizzly bear after surprising the animal in eastern Idaho says the attack happened in seconds. Gary Detwiler, a 67-year-old archer from Midland, Mich., told the Post Register he was helping his hunting partner retrieve a bull elk carcass Friday when they encountered the bear, which may have already claimed the carcass. James Kindy had shot the six-point elk the previous evening, and decided to track the animal the next day because it was getting dark, Detwiler said. The men located a blood trail on Friday and started following it, walking into a grove of small pine trees no more than 300 yards away. "We basically heard branches breaking," Detwiler said. "I thought it was the elk ... but then a bear jumped out." Detwiler said the bear was 10 to 12 feet away when it broke from cover, bit him on the bicep and then returned to the trees. The animal didn't give him time to react, he said. "It wouldn't have mattered if I had pepper spray, a pistol or a shotgun," Detwiler said. "There was nothing I could have done in the second it took for the bear to bite me. Absolutely nothing."...more

Washington wolf attacks mount

The wolves in the Wedge Wolf Pack are now dining almost exclusively on beef, according to a northeastern Washington cattle rancher. "The game department told me they're nearly 100 percent beef in the manure piles," Laurier, Wash., rancher Len McIrvin said. "They've taken all the game in this area and are just living on these cattle." There have been two more kills and two more injured cattle, which state officials confirmed to be wolf-caused, on McIrvin's Diamond M Ranch in recent weeks. However, he estimates 40 calves have been killed, as evidenced by mother cows that are now dry. "The wolves are killing about a calf a day or every other day right now," he said. Dave Ware, game division manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said efforts to kill several wolves in the pack are ongoing. The department increased the number of staff in the area to operate on several sites and increase efforts to keep the wolves from the livestock. "We haven't actually been able to take a wolf, but we've been close several times," he said. "We feel we will be successful in the near future." After killing several wolves, the state will evaluate the situation, Ware said. McIrvin estimated the cost to his operation is approaching $100,000 in cattle kills, weight loss, injuries, extra labor and low conception rate. The department has $50,000 allotted for compensation to ranchers, $5,000 per ranch. McIrvin has refused compensation, saying it would be akin to supporting the wolves' presence. He'd prefer to see the entire pack killed. "The next step's to go out of business if we can't eliminate that pack," McIrvin said. "A cattle ranch can't sustain that kind of losses."McIrvin said he still gets phone calls, with the callers seem to be evenly distributed between industrial support and avid wolf supporters. "As long as it's not their cattle, pets or kids getting eaten, everything is great," he said wryly. "One woman in Seattle said, 'I love wolves, I'd just like to take one home to cuddle with.' I wish she would."...more

Holder responds to IG report on Fast & Furious - ATF's Melson retires...Deputy Asst. AG Weinstein resigns

The IG Report is here.

Holder responds to IG report on Fast & Furious - ATF's Melson retires...Deputy Asst. AG Weinstein resigns

 Major report released on Fast and Furious, DOJ official resigns
Report on U.S. 'Fast and Furious' refers 14 for discipline
Investigation finds no evidence AG Eric Holder knew of 'Fast and Furious' gun-running sting

Farm and Consumer Groups Protest Animal ID Efforts

Organizations representing family farmers, ranchers, and consumers from across the country are fighting to protect drought-stricken livestock producers from what they call a new costly regulatory program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Disease Traceability system, originally known as the National Animal Identification System, remains a contentious issue between the government and producers. Those who oppose it say the costs will be passed down to consumers, contributing to even higher food costs. In a letter to the Congressional Office of Management and Budget, 63 organizations have written to urge that the new and costly program be halted in part due to the nation-wide drought and the resulting crisis faced by so many farmers and ranchers. "This is the worst widespread drought since the 1930's Dustbowl," noted Gilles Stockton, a Montana rancher and member of the Western Organization of Resource Councils. "As our ranchers struggle to keep the herds alive through this disaster, they cannot afford to take on new regulatory burdens." The letter to the OMB notes that the USDA's fiscal analysis significantly underestimated the cost impacts of its rule to both cattle and poultry producers. The organizations contend, "while the agency claims that the costs are under $100 million annually, independent studies indicate that the costs could be three to five times that high for cattle producers alone."...more

Sheriff Pat Garrett's hearse returns for display at Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office Historical Museum

The antique hearse, owned by the Woman's Improvement Association until 1912, was recently purchased privately and then donated to the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department for permanent installation in the Historical Museum of Lawmen, located inside the lobby of the department's main headquarters at 845 N. Motel Boulevard in Las Cruces. After negotiations that spanned two decades, the famous horse-drawn hearse that carried Sheriff Pat Garrett to his final resting place in 1908 is back in Doña Ana County. Las Cruces resident Cal Traylor, a lifelong New Mexican and history buff with a particular fondness for information related to the murder of Pat Garrett, spearheaded the negotiations for the hearse and subsequently donated it to the museum. Traylor spent the past 20 years working to acquire the hearse, which was traced to an art museum in Pinos Altos, with the intentions of returning it to Doña Ana County. "It was simply misplaced at its former location in Grant County," said Traylor, whose research concluded the Women's Improvement Association sold the hearse to local farmer Hal Cox, who converted it to a farm trailer until selling it to Grant County resident and antique collector Frank Tatsch in 1935. Tatsch later restored the hearse to its original condition and placed in the Piños Altos museum. After Tatsch's death, the hearse was willed to his son, who sold the hearse to Traylor...more

Song Of The Day #933

Even Tho' by Webb Pierce is on Ranch Radio today.

 The tune was recorded on Nov. 29, 1953 in Nashville and released as Decca 2901. In the studio with him that day were Tommy Jackson on fiddle and Chet Atkins on guitar.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Study: Western wildfires burning bigger, season lasting longer

The number of wildfires larger than a thousand acres has doubled across much of the West since the 1970s and the trend doesn’t show any signs of slowing, according to a new climate study. Over the past decade, the average annual burn has been at least 2 million acres on U.S. Forest Service land, according to records studied by the research group Climate Central. That’s a scar the size of Yellowstone National Park. In addition, the West’s forest fire season has extended by 75 days compared to 40 years ago. “We’re seeing a clear change, with bigger fires starting earlier, showing longer fire durations,” Jennifer Marlon of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies said in a conference call arranged by Climate Central. “The scientific community is actively searching the ‘why.’ But the mechanics connecting climates and fire are quite clear. Warmer temperatures, especially in the spring, lead to early snow melt, a wider window for fuels to dry out and a longer window for ignitions to start.” “The Age of Western Wildfires” study published Tuesday reviews forest fire records of the past 42 years in 11 Western states, including Montana. It found that compared to the 1970s, there were seven times as many fires that burned at least 10,000 acres annually and five times as many that grew beyond 25,000 acres. Where the ’70s averaged fewer than 50 fires larger than 1,000 acres a year, those Western states had more than 100 on average between 2002 and 2011...more

So the scientific community is searching for the "why" behind the doubling of large fires since the 70s.

Here are two of the major reasons:  NEPA - 1969,  ESA - 1972.

Give Us Our Land Back

We are a citizens' coalition petitioning the US Congress to return title and jurisdiction over Federal lands in Oregon to the Counties of Oregon. You are sincerely invited to read the Petition to De-Federalize Oregon Lands [here] and to sign it [here].  Further discussion and explanation of the Petition may be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page [here]. Read the latest News about reclaiming our land [here], and see our Calendar of Events [here]. We are in the process of drafting bills to be submitted to the U.S. Congress, the Oregon State Legislature, and the Counties of Oregon that will further our goal of local public land ownership and control. See our Legislation page [here]. You can learn more about us and donate to our efforts on our About page [here]. Contact us by email [here].

Sun-drenched Southwest needs more transmission lines to become nation’s solar powerhouse

Pick any stretch of road slicing through the American Southwest. The sun beats down on the asphalt like nowhere else and heat waves distort the landscape. It’s here, in these open expanses, that experts say is a massive untapped source of energy that could meet the nation’s growing needs. But only if developers can get it out of the desert. Even as renewable power projects get a boost from the federal government, a lack of transmission lines prevent states such as New Mexico — where the sun shines more than 300 days a year — from converting the obvious potential into real watts that can charge smartphones and run air conditioners thousands of miles away. Aside from Phoenix, the nation’s sixth largest city, and Las Vegas, which glows around the clock, the region’s rural stretches — the ideal places for acres of solar panels — have few energy demands. And sending solar power from there to population centers isn’t as simple as loading coal into boxcars and shipping it cross country. “We have incredible renewable energy resources,” U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said during a visit earlier this year to a solar research lab in New Mexico. “The bad news is they’re where there are not many people. We need a distribution system that can accommodate that.”...more  

Billions of dollars in subsidies, stimulus grants and low-interest loans, and now the DC Deep Thinkers have figured out you have to get the supply to where the demand is. With billions more in federal spending maybe they'll figure out how to do it.

New Mexico proposes concealed handguns in state parks

People licensed to carry a concealed handgun could bring their loaded weapons into a New Mexico state park under a proposal by Gov. Susana Martinez's administration. It's among several administrative rule changes suggested by the State Parks Division, which is soliciting public comments on the proposals at a public hearing Oct. 17 in Santa Fe. Park visitors currently are prohibited by agency regulation from having loaded firearms, including concealed handguns, except during hunting seasons and within park areas where hunting is allowed. It's permissible in a state park, however, to have concealed handguns and other firearms that are unloaded. State statutes do not prohibit a concealed handgun in a state park. Toby Velasquez, the agency's chief of law enforcement and boating safety boating, said the proposed change will bring park regulations into compliance with New Mexico law that allows licensed people to carry concealed handguns except in certain places, including courts, schools and bars. "It was very evident to us that our rule was outdated," Velasquez said. "It made sense and it was the right thing to do." The proposal also reflects a change in policy in national parks. Since 2010, national parks have allowed visitors with a valid state permit to carry a concealed handgun. New Mexico has issued about 24,300 concealed handgun licenses since 2004, including the governor...more

Gertrude Twiss Delk

    Joe Delk's mother, Gertrude Twiss Delk, passed away early this morning in Silver City. Joe was in Albuquerque when he received word of her death and drove to Silver arriving at sunup this morning. Mrs. Delk had been in the hospital recovering from recent surgery. She was 87.
    At this time, the family is planning a public service in Silver City on Saturday afternoon. A private burial will take place at the Delk Ranch in Santa Rita following the public service.
    Please join with me in prayers for Joe and Diane and the entire Delk family.

Stephen Wilmeth

Rocky Mountain National Park wolf reintroduction case to be heard at CU-Boulder

On Thursday, the court will hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by Broomfield's WildEarth Guardians to compel Rocky Mountain National Park to fully analyze introducing wolves to the park to control elk herds. The court's visit coincides with CU's Gathering of the Bench and Bar Conference. In the Rocky Mountain National Park case, WildEarth Guardians is represented by the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Environmental Law Clinic. DU law student Jenni Barnes plans to argue the case Thursday before the panel of judges. Wendy Keefover, of WildEarth Guardians, said her organization sued after the national park, in creating its 2007 elk management plan, didn't fully consider releasing wolves as a management tool. The park service approved the 20-year plan to reduce the elk herd because overgrazing damaged habitat and threatened other species. Now, sharpshooters are used to control the population. No elk were culled last winter, but a total of 131 elk were removed over the three previous winters. Some of the elk killed were used for research. In the past, Rocky Mountain National Park officials said they considered using a small number of wolves to reduce the elk herd and keep the animals on the move so they couldn't damage the vegetation. But they have said they didn't have the necessary support from state and other federal agencies. They also said the park isn't big enough to contain the wolves long-term...more

The Witness Trees

Reaching into the past, Melissa Thomas-Van Gundy paints a vivid picture of a highlands forest dense with white oak, flaming sugar maple and American beeches, with a scattering of yellow poplar, wild cherry and spruce pine and, here and there, a singular crab apple, elm or soaring sycamore tree. That’s how the Monongahela National Forest in central West Virginia may have appeared before it was slowly distributed among settlers from 1752 to 1899, Ms. Thomas-Van Gundy suggests in research recently published by the Forest Service. As the land was divvied up, surveyors documented the trees that rested at the imaginary corners and angles of the parcels to mark their boundaries. They were called “witness trees” – an expression also used today for trees that were present at key events in American history like Civil War battles. But in this instance, a witness tree was something humbler and more pragmatic — “that which witnesses a corner,” as Ms. Thomas-Van Gundy put it. In the 1930’s, the park staff of Monongahela National Forest translated all of these notes and sketches into maps illustrating the spread of various species. Later, this intricate cartography was revised and digitized in a project completed in 2005.Using those digital maps, Ms. Thomas-Van Gundy and her co-author, Michael P. Strager, applied a technique called indicator kriging, which takes each tree species and, according to its dominance in the records, “spreads it out” across the landscape “based on probability,” as Ms. Thomas-Van Gundy put it. They also analyzed features like elevation and topography to describe likely species composition in specific areas. Finally, they produced maps showing what the landscape might have looked like before logging and farming got under way...more

Group pushes for fire-fighting plane for Ruidoso area

A local group hoping to change USDA Forest Service policy following the devastating Little Bear Fire is told the Ruidoso area should make sure a water or slurry ferrying aircraft is stationed at Sierra Blanca Regional Airport during fire seasons. Little Bear Forest Reform Coalition member Roger Allen said either a single-engine air tanker (SEAT) should be purchased or the service contracted. "In season's past, we have had stationed out at the airport as recently as last year's Swallow Fire, a SEAT plane," Allen said. "Fifteen minutes and they were over the site." Allen said the distance from the start of the Little Bear Fire to Sierra Blanca Regional Airport is about 25 miles. "At the loaded cruise speed, a SEAT could get there in about 12.5 minutes. From cold start to taxiing, about five minutes. A return is faster empty. Time on the ground is about five minutes, a 25-minute round-trip. You can see where I'm going with this. Three and a half hours later they could have had one inch of water on a quarter of an acre." Allen said he believed a SEAT would have been useful during the first days of the fire that four days after it was ignited by a lightning strike roared east, carried by strong winds. Nearly 300 structures, including 255 homes, were destroyed by the Little Bear Fire. "I remember when they were doing that seeding project (post fire vegetation restoration), the helicopters were dropping the straw," Little Bear Forest Reform Coalition member James Paxton said. "And four of them were making round-trips every five minutes. That still leaves the unanswered question, in those first four days, why we couldn't have had a couple of those planes? Too dense, too high, too whatever. Those planes can be up and back and forth literally within minutes of where that fire was. We don't have an answer why they didn't do that." "If the fire was determined on Monday (June 4), by Tuesday morning they could have been putting slurry on there if they had so desired," Paxton told the coalition. "In terms of saying logistically there's just no way they could have done it, they could have. The question is why didn't they?"...more

Ranchers educate Capitol Hill on devastating estate tax effects

Representatives from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) gave an overview to congressional staff members on the devastating impact of the estate tax on cattlemen and cattlewomen as part of NCBA’s “Beef 101” educational series. According to Bacus, 97 percent of American farms and ranches are owned and operated by families, and eliminating the death tax is an important step in stimulating the nation’s economy. One important fact addressed during today’s presentation is that most agricultural operations are asset-rich and cash poor, with most of their value tied up in the value of the land. For asset-rich and cash-poor family businesses, the appraised value of rural land is extremely inflated when compared to its agricultural value. NCBA has made this information available on its website including state-by-state analysis. “Uncertainty in the tax code, and more specifically with the estate tax, creates an unnecessary burden for farmers and ranchers who are forced to set aside valuable resources for estate planning instead of investing in the expansion of their family businesses,” said Bacus. “Farmers and ranchers are already faced with uncontrollable factors like the weather and input costs. The tax code shouldn’t be as unpredictable as the weather.”...more

Resurgent wolves again are fair game

Now the wolves are back, with roughly 6,000 in the contiguous United States and 7,700 to 11,200 in Alaska. The Obama administration has declared all but two small populations — Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico and Arizona, and red wolves in North Carolina — fully recovered. On Oct. 1, Wyoming will become the fifth state with a significant wolf population to legalize hunting. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe called the wolf comeback “a great success,” but it means that wolves are now fair game, and he noted that not everyone likes the idea of killing them. “When you look at our friends in the environmental movement, there are a lot of people out there who just don’t like the idea of animals being shot,” Ashe said. “I understand that, but if you look at the Endangered Species Act, it’s not an animal protection act. It’s a law designed to prevent the extinction of a species.” “It’s hard to fathom that you can be deserving of federal protection under the Endangered Species Act on September 30 and on October 1 be open fire,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife...more  

Jamie Rappaport Clark, former Director of the USFWS, needs to start "fathoming".

Sheep Ranchers Deny that their Animals Infect Wild Bighorns

Western sheep ranchers deny that their animals can infect wild bighorns and claim in court the U.S. Forest Service is illegally barring their herds from a National Forest. The Idaho Wool Growers Association claims the Forest Service ruling is based on flawed science. Joining as plaintiffs are sheep ranchers in Colorado and Wyoming, the American Sheep Industry Association and the Public Lands Council. The sheep ranchers want to graze their herds in Payette National Forest, and challenge a 2010 Record of Decision by the Forest Service. "The decision was based on the theory that contact between domestic sheep and bighorns under range conditions results in the transmission of fatal pathogens from domestic sheep to bighorns 100 percent of the time," the sheep farmers say. "The Payette's 2010 decision was flawed with procedural defects and an inadequate record basis."...more

Song Of The Day #932

Ranch Radio's tune today is Somebody's Been Beating My Time, recorded in 1951 by Eddy Arnold.

The song is on his 7 CD box set There's Been A Change In Me 1951-1955.

Monday, September 17, 2012

`Rancher' occupation brings both pros, cons to Republican Deb Fischer's race for US Senate

So it's no surprise that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Deb Fischer's campaign ads show her leaning up against fence posts while she's described as a rancher who is "sharp as barb wire, tougher than a cedar fence post." Her opponent, Democrat Bob Kerrey, is a former governor and senator who for a decade was president of a university in New York. Fischer's campaign frequently emphasizes the contrast between their occupations, clearly betting that it will play well with Nebraska voters who have become more conservative and suspicious of government since Kerrey left the Senate in January 2001. But Democrats have worked to find a downside to the ranching life, and their campaign attacks have made the Nebraska race unlike any other this election season. In addition to health care reform and the economy, the staples of the 2012 campaign, the race has focused on agricultural "welfare" _ specifically the government arrangements that allow some ranchers to use federal land at below-market rates. Fischer's ranch in isolated north-central Nebraska, pays less than $5,000 a year to graze 1,000 cattle on about 11,000 acres of federal land. That's far less than the more than $110,000 the Fischers would have to pay a private landowner for those grazing privileges. In its attacks on Fischer, Democrats are attempting to show conservative voters that Republican candidates also can rely on government. But in picking on ranchers and their perks, they've chosen a tough target...more

Forest Fires & Terrorists - video

An interesting video, with a presentation by the former editor of Aviation Week.

Idaho Supreme Court rebuffs sheep ranchers

Booted off their grazing land, Idaho sheep ranchers have now been rebuffed in state Supreme Court after justices ruled against them on Friday. The Idaho Wool Growers Association and several ranchers had brought suit against Idaho, claiming the state failed to make good on promises to protect them against the loss of their Payette National Forest grazing allotments. The allotments were closed to protect wild bighorn sheep from diseases spread by their domesticated cousins. The ranchers previously lost in 3rd District Court, but appealed on grounds the state was responsible for making good their losses. Justices upheld the lower court ruling, determining that a 1997 letter from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game contained no promise to protect ranchers. The court also awarded attorneys' fees to Fish and Game. AP

Rammell loses in Idaho Supreme Court

The Idaho Supreme Court upheld the legality of Gov. Jim Risch's shoot-to-kill order in 2006 after a herd of domestic elk escaped from an eastern Idaho hunting farm. Friday's unanimous decision likely marks the end of former elk rancher Rex Rammell's legal fight. He had challenged the state's right to shoot a person's private property -- in this case, dozens of trophy bull elk that Rammell had been saving for paying hunters, before they bolted through a fence. Justices unanimously found the state was legally authorized to take Rammell's escaped elk without liability. Rammell unsuccessfully sought to capitalize on the furor in the case to launch a political career. He lost his 2008 run against Risch for U.S. Senate, as well as a subsequent run to be Idaho's governor. AP