Saturday, October 06, 2012

4-Wheelers OK’d for Glorieta

Senator Griego
An appeal by a state senator and a group of his constituents to keep four-wheelers and other motorized vehicles out of the Glorieta Mesa has been denied by the Santa Fe National Forest. In its review of 22 appeals to the U.S. Forest Service’s new travel management plan released in June that prescribes where visitors can and cannot go on motorized vehicles in the Santa Fe National Forest, forest officials considered claims from appellants on all sides of the roadless debate. The appeal filed by state Sen. Phil Griego, D-San Jose, and more than a dozen constituents argues the forest service did not take into account community concerns about safety or the effects of offroaders on ranching, wood gathering and other traditional practices by Hispanic ranchers and other longtime residents. “It’s atrocious,” Griego said Friday about the rejection of his group’s appeal. “It’s a terrible decision. They made this decision without talking to the ranchers and the farmers, or the Legislature. What they are doing is placing the safety of the people in that area at stake.” The travel management plan was based on dozens of public meetings over the course of seven years. Griego said he is considering legal action, as well as plans to bring the issue before state lawmakers. “They had their minds made up before we went into that resolution hearing,” he said. “The forest service thinks they can run and control everything they touch without giving the citizens – or people affected – the ability to ask questions and get decent answers. “Federal law may overrule state law, but I think state law can overrule a policy that has an adverse health, welfare and safety impact on the community.”...more

The Westerner's Radio Theater #49

 Today Ranch Radio brings you The Gene Autry Melody Ranch Show titled Concertina.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Union boss: Friendly fire possibility in shooting

The shooting of two U.S. Border Patrol agents near the Arizona-Mexico border may have been a case of friendly fire, a union chief for border agents and law enforcement officials said Friday. The development could shake up the investigation into the death of one of the agents that reignited the political debate over security on the border. George McCubbin, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing about 17,000 border agents, said Friday he has learned new details from Border Patrol administrators that make him believe friendly fire could have played a part in the shooting. "The only thing I can say is that the possibility of friendly fire is a higher likely scenario," McCubbin said, declining to elaborate on the new details. Two law enforcement officials also told The Associated Press that the FBI is investigating the possibility that the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Agent Nicholas Ivie and the wounding of another agent early Tuesday five miles from the border was a case of friendly fire...more

Mexico's Cartels Increase Their Muscle In The U.S.

...According to a CBS News report, three of Mexico's cartels are fighting pitched battles in Chicago, and it's their turf wars that are driving its murder rate skyward in violence that shockingly resembles that of Juarez, Mexico. Chicago recorded 391 murders this year, a sharp 40% rise for the year, signaling even to laymen that there's a new thug on the block adapting easily to Chicago's hub geography, local gangs and entrenched culture of political corruption. "We know that the majority of the drugs here in Chicago, cartels are responsible for," DEA Special Agent in Charge Jack Riley told CBS. "We know the majority of murders are gang related. So it's very clear the connection and role." But though this would be recognized as spillover from a foreign war in any other country, there's no such recognition from the Obama White House on what in fact is a threat from abroad to the U.S. homeland. In fact, the White House has gone out of his way to deny a problem, and in fact to exacerbate the problem — refusing to enforce immigration laws for one, and refusing to cooperate in a major investigation from Congress on why U.S. lawmen were letting 2,000 guns flow to Mexico's cartels without Mexico's knowledge in a failed effort to "trace" them, known as Operation Fast and Furious. Drug cartels now seem to be sufficiently emboldened by Washington's climate of drift to begin to make good on their threat to target U.S. lawmen, which is more evidence of spillover...more

Agent Was Killed on Federal Land Where Border Patrol Has Hands Tied

Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie was confirmed to have been killed on federal land where law enforcement access is stymied in favor of environmental protection, a Utah congressman said. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, is behind legislation to lift Interior and Agriculture Department rules that tie the hands of agents and leave vast border areas overrun by dangerous cartels. Bishop said it took a day to get confirmation from the Department of Homeland Security and the state of Arizona that the coordinates where Ivie was killed were, indeed, on protected Bureau of Land Management territory. The agents were on horseback, which can navigate the rugged terrain but also comply with the rules against Border Patrol agents using mechanized transportation on wilderness lands. Another option is sending agents out on foot. Out of the more than 20 million acres of Interior Department and U.S. Forest Service land along the southern border, 4.3 million acres are classified as wilderness areas...more

I'm Back

Whoa! Spent yesterday with two granddaughters...went to see Hotel Transylvania...don't ask me how it ends because Grandpa took a nap.
Since then been doing water research for Jimmy Bason and will get back to blogging shortly.
If you don't know Bason here's a picture of him with his favorite politician:


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Birkenstocks and Stetsons

...Now that I live in western Colorado, where I continue to be conscious of my outsider status, I've begun to notice the stereotypes Easterners have about the West. A recent cover story in the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor, “The Green Cowboys,” caught my attention because it tries to disprove a certain Eastern stereotype of ranchers as rough, uneducated, gun-toting dudes who don’t care much for environmentalism. But by spending so much time detailing how a new generation of “green cowboys” differs from the old-timers, the reporter only perpetuates the stereotype. And in focusing only on newer sustainable cattle ranches, the magazine misses an opportunity to place new guys in their historical context, as members in a decades-long succession of progressive rangers.  But High Country News readers know that for decades, ranchers—and not just those with Birkenstocks—have been experimenting with environmentally-sound practices like rotational grazing and stream restoration. In the late 1950s, a ten gallon hat-wearing Texan named Sid Goodloe bought an eroded, abused ranch in south-central New Mexico and embarked on a multi-decade quest to restore the ecosystem—and make a living. He was following the vision of Allan Savory, a Zimbabwean game warden whose holistic approach to cattle ranching inspired many western ranchers to ditch the open range in favor of regimented rotational grazing. Over the course of 40 years, Goodloe slowly brought native grasses back to the land, restored the watershed and creek on his property and increased the number of cattle the land could support. Others have followed suit, including Oregon ranchers Doc and Connie Hatfield. Using similar techniques, the couple helped found the Country Natural Beef co-op, and began marketing their largely grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic-free beef in the mid 1980s...more

Swiss Cows Able To Tell Farmers They’re In Heat Via Text

Swiss dairy cows may now be able to tell farmers that they are in heat using text message technology. Sensors implanted in the cows are reportedly able to detect the shift using electronic heat detectors, according to The New York Times. These sensors then send a text message to the farmer’s phone. In addition to getting an alert, participating farmers can also opt to receive messages in either German, French or Italian – the three primary languages of Switzerland – as well as English or Spanish. The new technology allows farmers to take advantage of mating opportunities as they come. “Our recognition rate is about 90 percent,” Claude Brielmann, a computer specialist who helped design the system, told the Times. Though many in the industry are encouraged by the technological development, proponents of animal rights have reportedly expressed concern regarding the kind of stress placed on cows to necessitate such technology...more

Those Cow Texts are probably better than texts from fat-fingered me.

Next we will have Testicular Texts from men.

High corn cost fails to reduce demand

U.S. corn stockpiles shrank far more than expected this summer as near record-high prices have not significantly reduced demand. A recent USDA report reignited a rally in grain prices sending corn futures higher after a period of easing. The USDA's ending-stock figures showed that that the high corn prices during the quarter had failed to reduce demand as analysts expected, suggesting that prices may need to rise in the coming months for livestock feed and ethanol, according to Reuters. The report showed 988 million bushels of corn on hand. Trader’s attention now shifts to anticipation of the next report from USDA due Oct. 11. “We look for USDA to boost their 2011/2012 feed and residual estimate when they update supply and demand,” Foreman says. In addition, corn-based ethanol production will likely keep up the pressure on prices. “Corn for ethanol is running above the pace implied by current USDA forecasts,” Foreman says...more

Obama's Dictator Endorsements Have A Common Denominator: Anti-Fracking

    What do Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin, Gulf oil sheiks and President Obama have in common? They all want to halt the U.S. energy revolution in fracking. No wonder so many of them are endorsing Obama.
    Presidential candidates always attract a few embarrassing endorsements, but the numbers of rogue dictators lining up to call for Obama's reelection is striking.
   Obama "is an honest man who really wants to change much for the better," cooed Russia's President Vladimir Putin to RT state television after hurling verbal thunderbolts at Mitt Romney.
    It was "widely viewed as Putin's most direct endorsement of Obama," the Moscow Times reported.
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez also weighed in: "I hope this doesn't harm Obama, but if I was from the   United States, I'd vote for Obama," he said, since both were "fighting the extreme right."
    Chavez also noted that Obama said: "Venezuela is no threat to the interests of the United States."
    Such endorsements from dictators are very much a pattern for Obama, and an unusual one, given that the world's tyrants don't endorse foreign leaders unless their self-preservation is at stake.
    Obama fits that bill, because the No. 1 goal these dictators all have is to slow or halt U.S. fracking, which poses a mortal threat to their fiefdoms.
    The U.S., remember, stands on the edge of an energy revolution with so many technologically new and innovative ways to extract its available oil and gas.
    Combined with a massive bounty in nature, it stands to become "the Saudi Arabia of shale" if fracking takes off. That's a threat to petrotyrants' global energy dominance and use of energy for political power.
Don't think it's not already happening:
    Venezuela's state Foundation National Cinematheque has been financially linked to "Gasland," a 2011 anti-fracking documentary whose aim was to paint fracking in the U.S. as dangerous. The film was nominated for an Academy Award and Venezuela's embassy in Washington openly whined on Twitter that the only reason it didn't win was its Venezuelan involvement.
    Arab Gulf states are in the anti-fracking film business, too. This week, the Heritage Foundation's Lachlan Markey found that United Arab Emirates-owned "Image Media Abu Dhabi" financed "Promised Land," a Matt Damon film that shows U.S. oil and gas companies as greedy behemoths out to poison America's small towns.
    Russia, according to a report this week by the Associated Press, is bankrolling anti-fracking efforts through environmental groups in a bid to defend its own monopoly on energy. Already, Russia has targeted Western Europe to stop development of its shale oil resources, but industry sources believe it's going on here, too.
    Putin himself has condemned the "dangers" of fracking with unusual intensity in speeches and Russia's state gas company, "Gazprom" has accused American energy companies of "hiding data" on fracking.
    Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has been accused of financing radical environmentalist groups through foundations to undercut oil sands production in Canada, which is America's top supplier.
    All this signals something big is at stake in global power politics: fracking, which threatens petrotyrants as no nuclear weapon ever has. The Gulf states, Venezuela and Russia derive their power solely from their dominance in energy production, not by their economies.
    If fracking and the combination of investment, high tech, expertise and geography enable the U.S. to produce natural gas at $3 a unit, while Russia can only do it at $10, the threat is obvious.
    Which brings us back to the endorsements Obama has collected. Obama has the support of petrotyrants, while Mitt Romney, who vows to unleash America's energy revolution, has their fury.
    It adds up to a reality of America's natural dominance in energy being tamped down by Obama, as petrotyrants cheer.


Arizona agent's death stuns border area, state

...Law-enforcement officers stood guard at the family residence Tuesday, allowing a stream of friends and relatives to visit with condolences. Kevin Goates, LDS stake president, described Ivie as a dedicated family man and devoted Mormon who learned Spanish while on a mission to Mexico City. The homicide is being investigated by the FBI with help from Cochise County deputies. Although a motive for the shooting is unknown, Beth Kempshall, director of Arizona's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, noted that it took place along a drug-smuggling corridor used by the Sinaloa cartel, in a hilly, remote area near Arizona 80. The agents reported over the radio that they were under fire as they followed a trail into the area, said Carol Capas, a spokeswoman with the Cochise County Sheriff's Office. "Basically ambushed," said sheriff's Cmdr. Marc Denney, who heads a task force known as the Border Alliance Group. "That's a pretty active area. It's rough terrain, rocky and very hilly. A lot of low-lying brush." Steve Nelson, 57, of Hereford, owner of a gravel pit near the shooting scene, said he was told by a Border Patrol supervisor that the agents were moving up to a saddle between two nearby mountain ranges -- a through-way for smugglers. He said they were about 100 yards from the gravel pit when gunfire erupted and Ivie was shot. Nelson said that because the location is a known as a smuggling route, especially at night, Border Patrol agents are constantly working the area...more

Mexican troops arrest two in killing of U.S. border agent: officials

Mexican troops arrested two men on Wednesday suspected of involvement in the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent shot dead in Arizona while responding to a tripped ground sensor, Mexican security officials said. The two suspects detained in Mexico were arrested in a Mexican military operation in the city of Agua Prieta, in Mexico's northern Sonora state, a few miles (km) from the spot where Nicholas Ivie, 30, was shot dead, a Mexican Army officer, who declined to be named, told Reuters. A Mexican police official in Naco, across the border from the Arizona town of the same name, confirmed the arrests, which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday. The killing marked the fourth death of a Border Patrol agent in a violent confrontation in Arizona in less than two years and reignited concerns about border security in a state that is already at the forefront of the national immigration debate...more

Arrests in Mexico unconfirmed by FBI

The FBI has not confirmed the arrest of two men in northern Mexico as suspects in the shooting death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie that took place in the early morning on Tuesday in southern Cochise County. The Herald/Review, in conjunction with El Mirador newspaper in Naco, Sonora, were unable to confirm the report with Mexican officials on Wednesday evening. On Wednesday, the Reuters news service reported that two suspects detained in Mexico were arrested in a Mexican military operation in Agua Prieta, Sonora, according to a Mexican Army officer, who declined to be named. A Mexican police official in Naco, Sonora, confirmed to Reuters the arrests, which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday morning...more

N.M. Officers See Spike in Grass Theft, Fence Cutting

Cattle graze outside of Encino, NM
VAUGHN, N.M. (AP) — Petty crime and burglaries aren't unusual in New Mexico's isolated Guadalupe County, but lately Sheriff Michael Lucero has seen thieves steal something a bit unexpected — grass. With drought drying out grazing land and driving up hay prices, some ranchers in New Mexico have started cutting neighbors' fences or leaving gates open so their cattle can graze on greener pastures. Authorities in other drought-stricken states say they've seen similar fence cuttings, along with thefts of livestock and other materials as ranchers struggle to stay in business. In some cases, stealing a neighbor's grass may be the only way for a rancher to feed his livestock, but victims say their livelihood is being threatened too. "We've had around five cases in the past few weeks where someone says his cattle just happened to walk through a gate that just happened to be open or an instance where a fence was clearly cut," Lucero said. "And I suspect there are more cases, but they aren't being reported." Ranchers from Missouri to Texas and west into New Mexico have sold off huge portions of their herds this year because the worst drought in decades dried up their pastures and they couldn't afford to buy food for their animals. While grass thefts might seem relatively harmless, ranchers say they threaten the businesses and animals that are left. "If they don't have enough grass on the ranch, they have to sell their cattle," said Leon Porter, a rancher in Corona, N.M., who sold half of his herd this year to keep going. It's not clear just how many grass thefts have happened since most aren't reported, and even when they are, most don't result in arrests, said Myles Culbertson, executive director of the New Mexico Livestock Board...more

HT:  David Herrell

Song Of The Day #943

As Ranch Radio continues Just Cuz I Like'em Week, here's Houston Marchman with Gorilla Pit.  The song is on his 12 track CD Key To The Highway.

There are some life lessons in this tune...Gotta learn to stay fast and learn to get low, and we'll all met at the circus outside of Waco.  Y'all watch out for those mean old monkeys!

DHS ‘fusion centers’ portrayed as pools of ineptitude, civil liberties intrusions

An initiative aimed at improving intelligence sharing has done little to make the country more secure, despite as much as $1.4 billion in federal spending, according to a two-year examination by Senate investigators. The nationwide network of offices known as “fusion centers” was launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to address concerns that local, state and federal authorities were not sharing information effectively about potential terrorist threats. But after nine years — and regular praise from officials at the Department of Homeland Security — the 77 fusion centers have become pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions, according to a scathing 141-page report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations. The creation and operation of the fusion centers were promoted by the administration of President George W. Bush and later the Obama administration as essential weapons in the fight to build a nationwide network that would keep the country safe from terrorism. The idea was to promote increased collaboration and cooperation among all levels of law enforcement across the country. But the report documents spending on items that did little to help share intelligence, including gadgets such as “shirt button” cameras, $6,000 laptops and big-screen televisions. One fusion center spent $45,000 on a decked-out SUV that a city official used for commuting. “In reality, the Subcommittee investigation found that the fusion centers often produced irrelevant, useless or inappropriate intelligence reporting to DHS, and many produced no intelligence reporting whatsoever,” the report said. Investigators found instances in which the analysts used intelligence about U.S. citizens that may have been gathered illegally. The Senate report said local and state officials entrusted with the fusion center grants sometimes spent lavishly. More than $2 million was spent on a center for Philadelphia that never opened. In Ohio, officials used the money to buy rugged laptop computers and then gave them to a local morgue. San Diego officials bought 55 flat-screen televisions to help them collect “open-source intelligence” — better known as cable television news. Senate investigators repeatedly questioned the quality of the intelligence reports. A third or more of the reports intended for officials in Washington were discarded because they lacked useful information, had been drawn from media accounts or involved potentially illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens, according to the Senate report...more

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Cattle mutilation puzzles rancher, authorities

Rancher Joseph L. Torres knew one of his cattle had gone missing, but when he found out what had happened to the six-month-old heifer he was astonished.  His son had gone hunting on the family ranch 40 miles west of Trinidad on the Sunday before Labor Day, about a month ago, and came upon the remains of the heifer. The dead animal was missing its uterus, tongue and part of one ear, yet there was no blood in the area or signs of human presence. Torres said he went out to confirm his son’s report of the dead heifer, but found a black bear feasting on the dead cow. Still, he was able to confirm what his son had described. He called the sheriff’s department, which arrived the next day. Torres said he still can’t understand what happened to the heifer.  “It was a really scary thing to see, and I felt terrible for that poor animal,” Torres said. “Bears don’t remove body parts that way, so it had to be something else. Another strange thing was that all the vegetation around the animal was dead, for about a 12 to 14 foot area.” It’s not the first cattle mutilation reported in Las Animas County in recent years. Rancher Mike Duran reported a similar cattle mutilation that happened on his nearby ranch in 2009. Many of the details of the two deaths are similar, so Duran contacted Torres when he heard about the recent incident. One of Duran’s cows was killed in 1995, with its udders removed and other body parts missing, also with no evidence of blood in the area. Duran checked out the death on the Torres ranch and got in touch with Chuck Zukowski, who has researched many similar incidents in his work with Colorado Springs-based Mutual Unidentified Flying Objects Network (MUFON). Zukowski and other MUFON researchers visited the Torres ranch shortly after the recent incident, taking photos and measurements to compare the mutilation with similar incidents that have occurred across the West since the 1970s. MUFON tries to determine whether there is a link between reported UFO sightings and cattle mutilations that occur at about the same time and place. “One of the first things we look for is blood,” Zukowski said last week. “In the Torres case, as in so many others we’ve investigated, there’s little or no sign of blood. There’s usually no sign of a struggle, and the animal is just lying there. There’s also no sign of human intervention or predatory animal attacks that led to the death. One reason we think it might be UFOs doing this is that there are often signs of animals being moved from place to place, that is, grabbed in one area, eviscerated in another and dropped in a third area. There is no natural predator that we know of who could do that. The possibilities are almost endless.”...more

Editorial: Forest Service water grab

A COLORADO legislative committee is concerned that the federal government still is trying to claim water rights contrary to state and federal law.
  The case is being disputed in federal court, but the legislative committee has written a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack opposing the Forest Service’s attempt to bypass current law. Earlier this year, Rep. Scott Tipton sponsored an amendment that would preclude federal reserved water rights in Colorado.
   Last November, Rep. Tipton, along with Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, challenged water clauses in U.S. Forest Service contracts for ski areas, saying they encroach on Colorado water law and policies.
   The Forest Service’s move is an attempt to get around the law. In the 1980s and ’90s, then-Sens. Bill Armstrong and Hank Brown fought the feds over what the bureaucrats were claiming as reserved water rights.
   Congress finally passed legislation denying federal reserved water rights and ordering the government to apply for rights through Colorado’s appropriation system. That entails lining up like every other applicant and filing for rights in a water court.
   But the law has fallen on deaf ears at the Forest Service, which claims the feds know what’s best for Colorado. Federal agencies are always looking for precedents to set so they can expand their power and reach.
   We are encouraged that state lawmakers in Denver are opposed to this attempted water grab by the Forest Service and have passed a resolution to be considered by the full Legislature adding its opposition.

Pueblo Chieftain

Forest Service Paintballs Goats, Reopens Trail

The Forest Service has reopened a popular trail in the Olympic National Forest in Washington after a wildlife biologist spent much of the summer teaching aggressive mountain goats that people are to be avoided.  The trail up Mount Ellinor was closed in early July after several groups of hikers reported encountering very assertive goats. Forest Service officials said hikers who fed goats in the past or let them lick hands or backpacks for salt helped cause the behavior.  As many as 20 goats have been observed on the trail.  During much of the summer, KING-TV says Forest Service employee Kurt Aluzas shot paintballs, sprayed repellant and used his voice to clear the trails of goats. He suggests that hikers yell and stand their ground if they run into a mountain goat.  The trail reopened Monday. AP

Watch the FS biologist demonstrate how to scare a goat in this news report from KING5-TV.


Rancher, wildlife advocates offer reward

The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office is working with Defenders of Wildlife and the Carey-area Flat Top Ranch to offer a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person who poisoned at least two dogs near Ketchum. The first dog, a 6-year-old American Staffordshire terrier named Skylar, died several days after ingesting xylitol-laced, meatball-size chunks of meat that it found while on a hike out Lake Creek with its owner in mid-August. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is safe for human consumption and is found in sugar-free chewing gun, but is poisonous to canines. Xylitol became notorious for its potential to poison wolves in 2010, when anti-wolf activist and author of the Lobo Watch blog Toby Bridges urged elk and deer hunters to sweeten gut piles with xylitol. The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office is investigating both cases, Sheriff Gene Ramsey said last week...more

Green groups want to shut down hunting of prairie dogs in NM conservation area

WildEarth Guardians and other groups in New Mexico Claim that prairie dogs, which have been relocated to new habitat, at great expense and prolonged planning for ecological benefit— should be protected—not the target of open season for “sport” hunters. In recent days, WildEarth Guardians, Northern New Mexico Group of The Sierra Club, Animal Protection of New Mexico, five other wildlife advocacy groups and the Sante Fe County Commissioner, filed a petition, which was endorsed by Mayor David Coss, to Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It requests a federal ruling to restrict the shooting of regularly trans-located Gunnison’s prairie dogs into the El Malpais National Conservation Area (NCA). The indiscriminate shooting of relocated, potentially threatened prairie dogs that are a linchpin species, makes no sense, but it is currently allowed in all areas of the NCA, without the requirement of a license or permit...more

Plan calls for shuttering part of NM power plant

Months of wrangling over the best way to curb pollution from a coal-fired power plant that serves more than 2 million customers in the Southwest have given way to a proposal that could see New Mexico transition to cleaner sources of energy to meet its electricity demands. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration on Tuesday unveiled details of a proposed settlement involving pollution controls at the San Juan Generating Station in northwestern New Mexico. It calls for retiring two units at the plant by December 2017 and installing less costly equipment for cutting pollution on the plant's remaining units. At issue is an order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that calls for Public Service Company of New Mexico to equip the plant with certain technology to cut pollutants that cause regional haze and visibility issues in national parks and wilderness areas. The rule, issued in August 2011, gave PNM and the plant's other owners five years to come into compliance. The utility and the Martinez administration challenged the order in federal court. They favored a state plan for trimming haze that would have been less costly. The proposal unveiled Tuesday is a compromise meant to address pollution concerns while ensuring the costs of environmental upgrades are not unbearable for ratepayers, said Ryan Flynn, general counsel for the New Mexico Environment Department. He called it a "long-term vision." "We could invest in some really costly proposals and keep the state bound to coal for the next 45 to 50 years or we can take a step toward transitioning the state to other sources of energy like natural gas," Flynn told The Associated Press in a phone interview...more

NM Peanut butter recall includes major retailers

A New Mexico company has expanded its recall of peanut butter and almond butter to include cashew butters, tahini and blanched and roasted peanut products. Sunland sells its nuts and nut butters to large groceries and other food distributors around the country. The company recalled products under multiple brand names after salmonella illnesses were linked to Trader Joe's Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter, one of the brands manufactured by Sunland. The federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention says there are now 30 illnesses in 19 states that can be traced to the Trader Joe's peanut butter. No other foods have been linked to the illnesses, but Sunland recalled other products manufactured on the same equipment as the Trader Joe's product. In addition to Trader Joe's, the recall includes nut products sold at Whole Foods Market, Target, Fresh & Easy, Giant Food, Harry and David, Stop & Shop Supermarket Company and several other stores. Some of the stores used Sunland ingredients in items they prepared and packaged themselves. Brand names recalled include Archer Farms, Earth Balance, Fresh & Easy, Late July, Heinen's, Joseph's, Natural Value, Naturally More, Open Nature, Peanut Power Butter, Serious Food, Snaclite Power, Sprouts Farmers Market, Sprout's, Sunland and Dogsbutter, among others...more

First Southern New Mexico State Fair in 1887 a 'glorious' event

The first time people came from all around the region for the Southern New Mexico State Fair, they did it by train, horse or wagon. In September 1887, some of the most prominent landowners in the Mesilla Valley put on the very first fair, heralded as the largest event ever staged south of Santa Fe. It was in most ways a traditional fair, with elaborate displays of fruits and vegetables, a small rodeo, music by the Fort Bliss brass band, a baseball game, and a grand ball at Martin Amador's big hall next to his recently completed two-story expansion of his hotel. The top crop in those days was the mission grape, for which the valley was primarily known until the emergence of cotton in the 1920s. Territorial governor Edmund Ross, a big believer in the emerging "fruit culture" of the valley, came down by train to kick off the event. Some area mining interests in Silver City, Chloride, Organ, and Lake Valley set up mineral displays, but that was about the only representation outside of the valley. The fair took place on an open field that is now Pioneer Women's Park, next to Las Cruces' railroad depot completed six years earlier. Eugene Van Patten, the multi-faceted Civil War veteran and owner of the Dripping Springs Resort, also opened his hall (later known as The Rink) for exhibits. Thomas Branigan, Albert Fountain, William Llewellyn, all Union veterans of the Civil War who'd just help form the first officially recognized regional militia, presented an exhibit of "the complete paraphernalia of the celebrated Apache chief San Juan."...more

Steal a Woman By All Means, But Not a Sheep

In Kyrgyzstan, if a man kidnaps a woman to make her his wife, he runs little risk of prosecution. Should he steal sheep, however, there’s a good chance he’ll go to prison. In the first eight months of this year, according to statistics provided by the Interior Ministry, criminal proceedings were initiated in 10 cases of bride kidnapping (“ala kachuu”) across Kyrgyzstan. By contrast, in the same period Kyrgyz courts heard 666 cases of livestock theft. There are no reliable figures, but human rights activists believe thousands of women are kidnapped and forced into marriage each year in Kyrgyzstan. The figure could be as high as 75 percent in some rural areas. Though both activities are illegal, the punishment is greater for livestock theft. Article 165 of Kyrgyzstan’s criminal code authorizes up to 11 years in prison for livestock theft, but Article 155 allows only three years for bride kidnapping...more

What’s ahead for Mt. Taylor?

The deep blue sweep of 11,301-foot Mt. Taylor looming west of Albuquerque is the origin of the only permanent water source in west-central New Mexico. Its high-elevation snows feed springs and the San Jose River. For the last four years, it has also been the source of a bitter a quarrel between two longstanding traditions — Indian tribes that have lived in and used the area for centuries and heirs to land grants handed down by the king of Spain in the 1700s. The issue is the designation of 434,000 acres — 700 square miles — as what is called a “traditional cultural property,” or TCP, under state law. And it is now in the hands of the New Mexico Supreme Court. The TCP designation, made in 2009, puts land within the boundary on the State Register of Cultural Properties because of its significance to the broad patterns of history, its association with the lives of significant persons in the past and its status as a property that has or will yield important information in history or prehistory. It’s not unlike a church or an old house or a hotel or railroad station or bridge or one of hundreds of items, typically in the built environment, that carry those brass plaques stating the place is historically significant. But the law also permits designation of sites large and small as carrying another kind of significance. And, in this case, the nomination of the property was initiated by a coalition of five Indian tribes — the pueblos of Acoma, Laguna and Zuni, the Hopi Tribe and the Navajo Nation — and the site is very large. Lee Maestas, president of the board of trustees of the Cebolleta grant, notes that the grant’s original 200,000 acres was reduced to its current 34,000 acres through dubious partitions in the early part of the 20th century — and 19,000 of that, he says, “will be controlled by other parties” if the TCP is allowed to go forward. “It’s a modern-day land grab,” he said in an interview at Seboyeta, a non-incorporated village within the land grant area on the east side of Mt. Taylor. About 150 families live in the villages of Bibo (or Cebolletita); Seboyeta, the post office’s spelling of Cebolleta; and Moquino. Although the land grant retains ownership of the land with a TCP, Maestas said he fears it means loss of control...more

One Border Patrol Agent Killed, Another Injured in Arizona

A Border Patrol agent was fatally wounded and another was injured in a shootout early Tuesday morning in an Arizona town near the border with Mexico, according to federal authorities. The shootout occurred near a Border Patrol station in Naco, Ariz., that had recently been named in honor of Brian Terry, an agent whose 2010 murder received national attention because of its ties to Operation Fast and Furious, a botched gun-tracking case. Two guns found at the scene of Mr. Terry’s murder were among hundreds that officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives failed to seize as they hoped to build the larger gun-smuggling case. According to Border Patrol officials, the shooting occurred at 1:50 a.m. and the agent who survived sustained nonlife-threatening injuries and was airlifted to a hospital. The authorities, who did not identify the agent who was killed, said a news conference would be held on Tuesday afternoon in Arizona...more

NAFBPO Statement on killing of Border Patrol Agent

Statement by the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO)
For immediate release

Early this morning, Tuesday, October 2, two Border Patrol Agents were shot. One, whose name we do not yet know, was killed. The shootings reportedly took place eight miles north of the international border with Mexico, near the town of Naco, Arizona. The agents were thought to be responding to sensor alerts. Drugs may have been involved but we lack any further details at this moment.  We note the cruel irony that this murder takes place within a week after the Border Patrol station at Naco, Arizona, was named for Brian Terry, an agent who was killed by transnational criminals near Rio Rico, AZ in December, 2010. 

What is clear is this: yet again, an agent has been murdered and another wounded.  Despite assurances from this administration that the border is secure and under control, it remains a dangerous place, far too open to smuggling, controlled as much by the transnational criminals as by the United States

In recent years NAFBPO has argued against the baseless claims that the border is under control. It is not, and this murder offers one more example of that sad fact. Furthermore, for some time NAFBPO has been certain that as pressure on drug smuggling routes in the Nogales/Tucson corridor increases the transnational criminals will move to areas further east that are less heavily monitored. This event supports that conclusion. 

Despite the clear probability that transnational criminals will move their operations to less patrolled areas, some environmental groups in New Mexico want to establish wilderness areas or a national monument in Dona Ana County, adjacent to the border. If that is done, the Border Patrol will be hampered in its operations.  NAFBPO is baffled at the invitation being extended to the lawless elements that would certainly expand their operations in a protected area so close to the Mexican border.

The border insecurity that exists now is a national security and a public safety issue that must be addressed in serious fashion, not with hollow statements from the Department of Homeland Security that all is well. It demonstrably is not.

Kent Lundgren, Chairman
National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers

Song Of The Day #942

No telling what you'll hear on Ranch Radio, as we're gonna have a Just Cuz I Like'em Week.  Today give a listen to Cocaine Train by Johnny Green's Blues Cowboys.  The tune is on their 1999,  15 track CD At Last.

Monday, October 01, 2012

High Court Rejects Challenge to Roadless Rule

The U.S. Supreme Court has turned away an appeal challenging a federal rule that bars development on 50 million acres of roadless areas in national forests. The justices said Monday they will leave in place a federal appeals court decision that upheld the so-called roadless rule that took effect late in the presidency of Bill Clinton. The state of Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Association said closing so much forest land to development has had serious consequences for residents of Western states and the logging, mining and drilling industries. Supporters of the rule said the nation’s forests need protection from development to preserve pristine areas that provide wildlife and natural resource habitat for hunting, fishing and recreation.The challenge centered on the contention that the U.S. Forest Service essentially declared forests to be wilderness areas, a power that rests with Congress under the 1964 Wilderness Act. The U.S. Forest Service currently manages more than 190 million acres of land used for multiple purposes that must comply with strict rules on land use changes spelled out in the federal Wilderness Act and National Environmental Policy Act. The roadless rule enacted under Clinton in 2001 had been upheld earlier by both the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit in separate cases. The 10th Circuit overturned Cheyenne-based U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer who had decided the rule created a de facto wilderness area...more

Indian tribes, with more clout and money, find an ally in Obama

At a July fundraiser in the elegant Mandarin Oriental hotel near Washington's Tidal Basin, President Obama met with some of his most steadfast supporters — two dozen political and business leaders eager to write sizable checks to help keep him in the White House. All were leaders of Native American tribes, who pressed their issues with a president they say is attuned to their needs. Bill John Baker, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, told Obama his Oklahoma tribe was owed $50 million for its costs of administering federal health services. "He said, 'Let me look into this and see what we can do,'" Baker recalled. A week later, he received a letter from the White House pledging to follow up. A White House spokesman said the administration had been reaching out to many tribes on the same issue. "President Obama is a promise keeper," Baker said. "He promised that he would work with Indian country, that he would help us, and he has done that at every turn." The tribes have shown their gratitude, giving at least $2.5 million to Obama's reelection campaign through the end of July — far outstripping their donations in other recent presidential elections, according to data provided by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Republican challenger Mitt Romney has just begun to make appeals to tribes, holding a fundraiser at his Boston headquarters last month. So far, he has raised about $750,000 from tribes, according to a campaign official. The donations highlight a potentially lucrative and, until now, largely untapped source of funds for presidential politics. Unlike corporations and unions, tribes can give directly to candidates. And because of their status as sovereign nations, they can donate more to presidential campaigns than individuals, who cannot give more than $117,000 in federal donations every two years...more

WH Aide Involved in Fast and Furious Was 'Suddenly' Transferred to Iraq; Issa Threatens Subpoena

Kevin O’Reilly, a member of the White House National Security Staff who regularly communicated about Operation Fast and Furious with the Arizona-based ATF agent responsible for running the operation that allowed guns to flow to Mexican drug cartels, was suddenly transferred out of the White House and into Iraq in July 2011. The transfer took place shortly after the ATF agent had testified in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the White House had provided the committee with a series of emails that O’Reilly and the agent had exchanged while Fast and Furious was underway. Since then, the White House has declined to allow O’Reilly to be interviewed either by the committee or by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who conducted the administration’s internal investigation of Fast and Furious. The White House also refused to give the inspector general access to internal White House communications relating to Fast and Furious...more

Univision Exposes Fast and Furious' Rising Body Count

A Univision special documents how weapons provided by the administration to Mexican drug cartels repeatedly have taken a deadly toll as families on both sides of the border wait for true answers and accountability. We may never know how many deaths, kidnappings and other criminal activities were facilitated by more than 2,000 weapons that were allowed to "walk" into Mexico under the Obama administration's Fast and Furious program, but a Univision special aired Sunday exposes more of the carnage. The special, put together by Univision's investigative unit and aired as a special edition of Univision's "Aqui y Ahora" ("Here and Now") identified massacres committed using guns from the ATF operation, including the killing of 16 young people attending a party in a residential area of Ciudad Juarez in January 2010. In addition to fueling increased gun violence in Mexico, guns from Fast and Furious previously unreported by congressional investigators found their way into the hands of drug traffickers across Latin America in countries such as Honduras and Colombia, as well as the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Kudos to Univision, which regrettably will not have a reporter at Wednesday's presidential debate to ask the tough questions the administration's media sycophants will not, for pursuing the truth on Fast and Furious with more vigor than most American media outlets...more

Obama to designate Chavez home as nat'l monument

In a move aimed at shoring up support from Hispanic and progressive voters, President Barack Obama will designate the California home of labor leader Cesar Chavez as a national monument. Obama will establish the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument in Keene, Calif., during a campaign swing through California next week. The property is known as La Paz, short for Nuestra SeƱora Reina de la Paz, or Our Lady Queen of Peace. It served as national headquarters of the United Farm Workers, as well as Chavez's home, from the early 1970s until his death in 1993. Obama says in a statement that Chavez "gave a voice to poor and disenfranchised workers everywhere" and that La Paz was at the center of significant civil rights events. AP

Feds plan roundup for 3,500 wild horses, burros

Federal officials plan to round up thousands of wild horses and burros across six Western states starting Monday. The roundups will take place through February on drought-stricken range lands in Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. Contractors for the Bureau of Land Management will use helicopters plus bait- and water-trapping methods to corral 3,500 wild horses and burros, officials said. In addition, more than 900 other horses will be captured for birth control injections and returned to range lands. The government is already holding 47,000 horses, most of them on green pasture in the Midwest. Bureau of Land Management officials said it was a popular misconception that they send horses to slaughterhouses. The animals are protected under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. In all, there are 37,300 wild horses and burros on public range lands across 10 Western states, the government says. In New Mexico, officials say 102 horses will be rounded up - and 66 later released - on the Carson National Forest. Another roundup will take place for 365 horses in the high desert of the Jiicarilla Wild Horse Territory. Ninety of those horses will be returned to the land after fertility injections...more

Fate of wild horses in hands of BLM, Colorado buyer

The Bureau of Land Management faced a crisis last spring. The agency protects and manages herds of wild horses that roam the American West, rounding up thousands each year to keep populations stable. But by March, government pens and pastures were nearly full. Efforts to find new storage space had fallen flat. So had most attempts to persuade members of the public to adopt horses. Without a way to relieve the pressure, the agency faced a gridlock that would invite lawsuits and potentially cause long-term damage to the range. So the BLM did something it has done increasingly over the past few years. It turned to a little-known Colorado livestock hauler, Tom Davis, who was willing to buy hundreds of horses at a time, sight unseen, for $10 a head. The BLM has sold Davis at least 1,700 wild horses and burros since 2009, agency records show — 70 percent of the animals purchased through its sale program. Like all buyers, Davis signs contracts promising that animals bought from the program will not be slaughtered and insists he finds them good homes. But Davis is a longtime advocate of horse slaughter. By his own account, he has ducked Colorado law to move animals across state lines and will not say where they end up. He continues to buy wild horses for slaughter from Indian reservations, which are not protected by the same laws. And since 2010, he has been seeking investors for a slaughterhouse of his own. "Hell, some of the finest meat you will ever eat is a fat yearling colt," he said. "What is wrong with taking all those BLM horses they got all fat and shiny and setting up a kill plant?" Animal-welfare advocates fear that horses bought by Davis are sent to the killing floor...more

Obama USDA met 30 times with Mexican gov’t to promote food-stamp use among Mexican immigrants

Food Stamp Card
Department of Agriculture personnel in the Obama administration have met with Mexican Government officials dozens of times since the president took office to promote nutrition assistance programs — notably food stamps — among Mexican Americans, Mexican nationals and migrant communities in America. Writing in response to Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions’ July request for information about the USDA’s little known partnership with the Mexican government to educate citizen and noncitizen immigrants from Mexico about the availability of food stamps and other nutrition assistance programs, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack defended the partnership as a way to curb hunger in America — and the continuation of a program formed under the Bush administration in 2004. “The Mexico-U.S. Partnership for Nutrition Assistance Initiative is just one of a wide range of USDA partnership activities intended to promote awareness of nutrition assistance among those who need benefits and meet all program requirements under current law.” Vilsack wrote to Sessions in a letter obtained by The Daily Caller...more

B.C. ranchers estimate wolf attacks on livestock cost $15 million a year

Large packs of wolves are feasting on the province’s cattle in alarming numbers, according to ranchers, who claim that mortality rates of cows and calves have doubled over the past year. The B.C. Cattlemen’s Association estimates the industry is losing up to $15 million a year because of wolf attacks and is calling for a “thinning” of the wolf population in hard hit areas such as the Peace River and Cariboo regions. The last series of wolf culls in B.C. took place in the mid to late 1980s. Conservationists shocked by the idea of a cull say wolves should be more protected than they are now and that it’s unfair to blame the nocturnal creature or make them suffer for killing livestock on the basis of unverified claims...more

Wyoming wolf hunt begins today

Fritz Meyer was guiding outside of Dubois when Wyoming wolf licenses went on sale in early September. The next day, he bought one. He doesn’t plan on hunting wolves specifically, but if one comes across his path and the quota hasn’t been filled for his area, he’d shoot. Meyer isn’t the only one. The state’s first wolf hunting season begins today in northwest Wyoming, and as of Friday afternoon, 2,236 licenses had been sold. Wyoming residents purchased the bulk of the licenses, and Park County residents bought the largest number of any county, said Brian Nesvik, chief of the wildlife division of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Fifty-two wolves can be hunted in this year’s season, which ends Dec. 31. Wolves outside of the trophy management area can now be shot on sight. Hunters must report a wolf kill in the trophy area within 24 hours. Once the quota is filled, the season closes...more

Wolf Season Closes Outside Glacier National Park

Wolf hunting outside Glacier National Park has been shut down after a wolf was killed this week, filling an area quota on the predators, according to a Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Friday. The animal was taken by an archery hunter west of Glacier, one of two areas in the state where there's a specified harvest limit this hunting season. The other is north of Yellowstone National Park, where hunters have so far taken two of the three wolves that will be allowed this season. There are no quotas on wolves for the rest of Montana as officials seek to drive down the predator's population with aggressive hunting and trapping seasons. Driving Montana's wolf population below 500 animals could help reduce the predators' attacks on livestock and help elk herds rebound in areas where they have been in decline due to wolves, said Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim...more

Montana schedules additional wolf trapping classes

Interest in Montana’s first wolf-trapping season this winter has been so great that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced Friday that additional classes were being scheduled in Anaconda, Bozeman, Kalispell and Missoula. The classes, along with a Montana trapping license, are needed to trap the animals. The season will begin Dec. 15 and run until Feb. 28. The season was added this year as another way to help reduce wolf numbers in addition to hunting. FWP has already certified about 830 Montanans in classes that began earlier this month. Another 1,050 more people are registered for upcoming classes and now 420 more trappers will be accommodated with the additional classes. FWP initially offered 28 certification classes statewide with up to 50 slots each, but because of public interest, officials supplemented those sessions with six more. FWP also quickly expanded most classes to include up to 60 people, and now some venues will allow for up to 100 students...more

Expanding wolf packs creep onto cattle grazing territory

ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Over the two decades Ellensburg cattle rancher Sam Kayser has been running cows and calves in the rolling hills of the Teanaway, the animals’ grazing patterns have become so predictable his range riders know where to find the cattle at any given time. That’s no longer the case, now that wolves are hunting prey within those same forested ridges and draws. In June, a bunch of Kayser’s cattle did something they hadn’t done in those 20 years: They stampeded through a holding pen in a 100-acre meadow and scattered, some of them finally being rounded up five miles away. A month later, Kayser got a call that some of his cattle were at the crest of Blewett Pass, more than 10 miles from where they should have been. The reason behind the cattle’s newly erratic behavior is no mystery. On Wednesday, Kayser’s son, Kass, was riding an area near the North Fork of the Teanaway, where he should have found a lot of Kayser cattle. There were none. What the younger Kayser found instead was a lot of wolf tracks — some of the prints as large as horses’ hooves...more

'There is Alberta beef that is being produced right across this province today that is safe to eat' says Premier

The number of recalled items, produced at the XL meat processing plant in Brooks, continues to grow. On Sunday the federal government added dozens more beef products to the list. See full list of recalled products HERE. Also on Sunday, Alberta’s premier was in full damage control mode, meeting with ranchers and ensuring them the province is standing by them. Wearing jeans, a western shirt, and cowboy boots, the Premier Redford met with ranchers and beef industry representatives, telling them the province has their back, and is doing everything possible to help resolve the E.coli crisis: “There is Alberta beef that is being produced right across this province today that is safe to eat. Let’s remember to cook it well, and let’s ensure that as we move ahead we get this plant re-opened so we can keep the economy moving.” Ultimately, it is up to a federal body, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, to decide when the the XL processing facility in Brooks can reopen. The CFIA closed the giant plant last week and continues to add its products to the recall list. For now, ranchers have few options when it comes to selling their livestock, and prices are dropping...more


Middle Eastern Women Permitted To Drive

Song Of The Day #941

It's Swingin' Monday and Ranch Radio is in the mood for some flat pickin'.  Here's Orrin Star pickin' Katy Hill.

Rancher Panel

Steve Wilmeth chaired a panel at the Insight USA meeting in Albq.  this Saturday.  Below are his introductory comments followed by the presentations of those who provided a copy for publication.

Rancher Panel
Albuquerque Insight-USA
The Tyranny we face
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

             Tyranny is defined in West’s Legal Dictionary as “Autocratic or despotic government”. In our neck of federal dominion, the southwestern quadrant of New Mexico, that definition rules our lives.
            Let’s pick this apart. Autocratic is defined as arbitrary, strict, or absolute. Despotic is tyrannical or oppressive. I’ll submit there is no other way to define the circumstances we face.
            In the brief time we have, you will hear from New Mexicans who are attached to the land in one way or another. Each is tied economically to the productivity of the land, and each possesses an unfulfilled promise to be at the table when the federal government comes riding into town disrupting local customs and cultures. 
            The Panelists
            Laura Schneberger is the president of Gila Livestock Growers Association. She and her husband ranch in the Gila National Forest. Together, they represent the truly endangered American … federal land ranchers of the Gila where cattle numbers measured as animal units months have plunged 87% since Aldo Leopold commandeered the concept of “Wilderness” from my predecessors, the Shelley family of the Gila, in 1924.
            The campaign Mrs. Schneberger will discuss is the reintroduction of the Mexican wolf to her front yard, her back pasture, and the lives of every child living in that field of battle. She will remind the audience that in work done by the Dr. Julia Martin Luce and presented to Congress 50% of the children interviewed in the study show symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. Can you only imagine the outrage the world would hear if a fraction of that number of children in Harlem or Boulder or Anywhere, USA was similarly clinically diagnosed from any program sanctioned and capitalized by tax payer money?
            Judy Keeler is from Luna and Hidalgo Counties. She and her husband live and ranch in the Bootheel one of the most beautiful … and dangerous places on earth. Not too far from their fence line, Rob Krentz was killed. You will all remember Rancher Rob Krentz who was offering aid to what he thought was an illegal in trouble. Rob died out in his pasture where he was shot and left for dead by an unknown illegal intruder.
            Mrs. Keeler is a world authority on the bigger picture behind the expanding environmental juggernaut … the Rewilding Project. She knows it is a plan engineered by folks who have had powerful influences within our government. They intend to reduce civilization to islands within grand transcontinental wildlife corridors … or completely. Mrs. Keeler also knows a chapter of this grand plan is explicit in the recent announcement by USFWS to establish an 838,232 acre first phase of a jaguar introduction scheme. This chapter is about to unfold right in front of us.
            Horsemen have elected to make their living shoeing or training horses. Mike Skidmore determined long ago his path in the West was to manage the pasture rotation of actual horsemen in God’s domain. He is a cowboy pastor with respect beyond his flock in Sierra County. Pastor Skidmore knows as much about forest travel management rules as he does about John: 3:16. He quotes statute and scripture and he can do it with economy of words and common sense and that everybody understands.
He created the model for the defense of customs and culture in rallying citizens being put in jeopardy by Forest Service actions. In his rally in 2011 objecting to agency actions of closing historic roads, over 600 people showed up to support his effort. The same tactic was used by New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce in defending eastern New Mexicans against the unwarranted listing of the dunes sagebrush lizard which threatened to decimate oil production in the Permian Basin. Thousands thronged to that effort and they prevailed.
Alex Thal is another Gila National Forest rancher. He is also a retired college professor who found himself in a liberal world with little to no common belief system in the ranks of his colleagues at Western New Mexico University. That university, from a historical perspective, will emerge as one of the most influential facilitators of environmental doctrine in the West. It remains an institution that has no market feedback to its mission and its doctrine, hence, its world of uncontested theory has become its world of controvertible standards.  
When I was told his economic analysis done regarding the adverse economic impact to ranching in the Gila by the Forest Service was a product of that university, I was incredulous. There was simply no university history of such work done in the manner and in such stark conclusions of the Thal research. When I was informed that indeed it was true, but Dr. Thal had subsequently been subjected to attempts of professorship termination it was not surprising.
Howard Hutchinson began life far from the sunsets of western ranches. In fact, his early days were immersed in the ‘other side’. Along the way, he met and became influenced by another generation of Westerners who viewed their existence as being allowed and sanctioned by our Constitution. The message from that stance was not just for those folks, but to all Americans. It was a fundamental reality that spelled either success or doom for our country.
Mr. Hutchinson emerged as being one of the most knowledgeable advocates of fundamental rights in the West. He was a founding member and heads the Coalition of AZ-NM Counties. The group is dedicated to the adherence of constitutional principles and the battle against the federal onslaught that threatens our existence.
Howard has long been and remains a frequent witness to congressional committees. His understanding and insight into the detail of federal legislation affecting the West is a vital resource. He has earned the right to wear a rancher’s hat! 
Walt Anderson looks and acts like the New Mexico pioneer his family, in fact, is. Each morning, he sees the same features his grandfather saw in 1929 when the Andersons settled on the banks of the Gila River in Grant County.
In 2011, the Andersons learned their ranch was going to be impacted by the expansion of an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). Some 2250 acres of their private land along with part of their state and federal lease land was going to be swept into the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) expansion.
Mr. Anderson knew his status as an individual may be minimized, but he also knew local government has defined rights within federal law. Walt is a board member of the Hidalgo Soil and Water Conservation District, an elected body of local government. That body mobilized, won the current discussion with facts, and illustrated to the world local government can prevail in unexpected matters of federal land decisions and actions if the body is diligent and focused.
Darr Shannon is a ranching steward from Hidalgo County. She was raised on a ranch with such water scarcity her father insisted on only weekly baths. Darr remembers how she and her sister would sneak into the kitchen late at night and wash their hair during their high school days. Peer pressure outweighed the ongoing battle to pump enough water on the ranch.
Mrs. Shannon left home soon after high school thinking there was much more to life than the ranch. She lived and worked for years in places like Washington, D.C. It was along the way she learned the quality of life on the ranch far outweighed the heartaches. Today, Darr and her husband are the owners of that same multigenerational family ranch. She has a fuel service business and she is a member of her County Commission. That commission is immensely dedicated to the preservation of local governance.  It has led an effort to unite constitutional minded county governing bodies and they have formed the Southwestern County Commission Alliance.  
Joe Delk’s family arrived in Grant County, New Mexico in 1878. One week ago, he buried his mother, Gertrude Twiss Delk, on their family ranch under the Kneeling Nun at Santa Rita. Mrs. Delk, 87 at the time of death, had recently and matter-of-factly killed a rattlesnake just off her porch the same way she would have done it 65 years ago.
Mr. Delk has become one of the new era constitutionalists of the West. His vision of recognizing conservation districts as the remaining outpost for direct contact with government to the land may not be unique, but it is timely, counter current, and inspirational.
Joe’s foundational commitment to the preservation of the offices of county sheriffs and the boards of natural resource districts are looked upon by many as the remaining, primary strengths available to the rural, resource dependent West. No longer can all county commissions be relied upon to recognize and fulfill the basic leadership roles for those people who have duties, responsibilities and investments on these lands.
The Common theme
The West is the continued scene of the grandest expropriation of constitutional promise in the history of the United States. There is no way to argue the correctness of the inequality of federal dominion of land ownership that exists here. Government owns over 60% of the land west of the 100th Meridian (excluding Hawaii) as compared to less than 10% of those lands east of that demarcation. Pick any measure of logic and attempt to defend the egregious prejudice explicit in the outcome.
The cattle industry is migrating eastward to private lands. Shattered local communities lie in the wake. The timber business is migrating eastward to private lands. Shattered local communities lie in the wake. The oil business is migrating to private lands, period.
Farm land attrition in the absence of residential growth alternatives has been accelerated in the western sea of federal dominion. Infrastructure has become highest cost because of the limitation of growth into safer and less cost alternatives of federal holdings surrounding existing municipalities. Long term extractive industry strategies are largely stagnant. Personal property tax bases are struggling.
Just to reach par with average national student expenditures, the State of Utah believes its shortfall in educational funding is now over $2 billion annually. The harvest of those funds is predicated on tax sourcing that is strangled as a direct result of the federal dominion of ownership.
These issues and the people on this panel are the victims of the fourth Legion … the outgrowth of the land dominion debacle … the new fourth pillar of government ... the environmental cartels.
That phenomenon is a direct result of the fact that states don’t have vested representation in Congress. The 17th Amendment to the Constitution altered the appointment of senatorial representation from the authority of the state legislatures to the vote of the people. The people already had their vested representation, and, moral conscience, in the form of the House of Representatives. Every two years those folks have to dance for reelection and that factor, as unappealing as it may be to those in Congress, actually reinforces their accountability to their electorate.
In the Constitutional debate, the smaller states were scared to death of the power accrued to the big states if a majority vote across the board determined debate outcome. What they feared is exactly what western states face today. The compromise was to establish a branch of government that offered equality amongst the states in at least one branch. The Senate was the mechanism to assure states rights.
The Constitution set forth the result of the compromise through legislature appointed representation prior to 1913. With no direct state control since that time, the Senate has become, at best, an indirect protector of such rights. Senators are not vested in the welfare of the states they represent. Their allegiance has long been redirected to the source of their reelection financing.
The best example is New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman. There is no way Senator Bingaman would be espousing the retirement of future productive returns of half of all federal land in my county if he had to run the gauntlet of state of New Mexico legislator approval … that is if the Constitutional promise of conveyance of lands to private and state control had been followed like it was east of the 100th Meridian.
If the state enjoyed the full benefits of private property tax harvests, Jeff Bingaman would have been laughed off the dais when he stood in front of the combined legislature and told them, in exchange for his reappointment, he was going to eliminate future earning streams off 400,000 acres of land he intends to retire in Dona Ana County for his wilderness legacy!
The reality is New Mexico, like every other state, must compete for senatorial representation for the purposes of protecting states rights. The state must play second fiddle to a host of environmental special interests who have found their champion in Senator Bingaman and his like minded colleagues.
This condition has nearly brought the resource dependent West to its knees. The new land rush, the wresting of federal lands in the West to the environmental growth industries, is the result.
If you don’t think this is a lucrative business, think again. An IRS search for ‘conservancy’ organizations totaled a net worth of $11.6 billion in fiscal year 2010. The big kid on the block and in New Mexico, The Nature Conservancy, had listed assets of $5.6 billion or more than two and a half times the gross annual production of all New Mexico agricultural products.
The progressive interpretation of the results is that more concern for mother earth begets more lands being removed from human productive endeavors. The trend spirals further out of control. More controls mean more individual battles just like those discussed by this panel today. Change the names but the outcome is always the same. There are fewer and fewer opportunities of self reliance. Initiative is suppressed. Fewer quality opportunities exist to keep our children home, and the diabolical premise of protection of mother earth becomes more entrenched.  
Sovereignty is shredded, and … the Constitution exists in name only.  

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Look at these people … they are the true endangered species of our landscape.”