Saturday, April 27, 2013

Endangered Species Act lawsuit dismissed

The U.S. District Court of Northern California granted motions brought by both CropLife America (CLA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to dismiss the lawsuit Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network North America v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). U.S. District Judge Joseph C. Spero presided over the hearings in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) “Mega” lawsuit and ruled that plaintiffs had not alleged specific government actions sufficient for the lawsuit to proceed. Plaintiffs have 30 days to file an amended complaint in accordance with the court’s order, or 60 days to appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs sought to restrict the use of valuable crop protection and public health products for American farmers and consumers by alleging that the existing and long-standing registration of more than 380 chemicals may negatively impact 214 species in 49 states. If the court had agreed to the full demands of the plaintiffs, agriculture and public health protection in the U.S. would have been drastically and negatively altered by attempts to impede pesticide registrations established under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)...more

George Jones, Country Music Hall of Famer and master of sad ballads, dies at age 81

“The King of Broken Hearts” just broke many more. Country Music Hall of Famer George Jones, a master of sad country ballads whose voice held the bracing power, the sweetness and the burn of an evening’s final pull from a bourbon bottle, died Friday at 5:22 a.m. at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He was 81, and was often called the greatest male vocalist in country music history.
“He is the spirit of country music, plain and simple,” wrote country scholar Nick Tosches.
George Glenn Jones was dubbed “The Possum” because of his marsupial resemblance, and later called “No Show Jones” because of his mid-career propensity for missing stage appointments. Those monikers seem trifling in comparison to “The King of Broken Hearts,” which became the title of a Jim Lauderdale-written tribute recorded by George Strait and Lee Ann Womack. Lauderdale was inspired by country-rock forerunner Gram Parsons, who would play Mr. Jones’ albums at parties and silence the room with an admonition to listen to the King of Broken Hearts...

Guitar becomes lifeline

Born in Saratoga, Texas, on Sept. 12, 1931, Mr. Jones grew up hard. His father was an alcoholic prone to drunken anger, but he bought his son a mail-order catalogue guitar that turned out to be a lifeline.
“After my dad got me my first little guitar, I wouldn’t lay it down, hardly,” Mr. Jones told The Tennessean. “I took it to school with me. I’d hide it in the woods and cover it with leaves, and if a big rain came and it got wet, I’d pour the water out of it. Them guitars never warped.”
By 15, Mr. Jones was playing and singing on the streets of Beaumont, Texas.
“A lot of them started throwing change down in front of me, down on the concrete,” he said. “When I was done, I counted it and it was $24 and something, and that was more money than I’d ever seen in my life.”
With his initial earnings, Mr. Jones went to a penny arcade, bought candy and played pinball. He married Dorothy Bonvillon in 1950, and divorced a year later. And Mr. Jones joined the U.S. Marine Corps in the early 1950s. He was in the Marines when he heard of the Jan. 1, 1953, death of Hank Williams: Mr. Jones wept in the barracks to hear of the demise of his hero.
“The guy in the bunk next to mine (when I was in the service) showed me the front page of the newspaper with a headline that screamed that country music’s greatest singer-songwriter had been found dead in the back of a car on the way to a show in Canton, Ohio,” said Mr. Jones, quoted in the liner notes to boxed set “The Complete Hank Williams.” “That sounded as far away to me as Europe, and I couldn’t believe that someone who was so close to my heart had died in such a distant land. Music was the biggest part of my life, and Hank Williams had been my biggest musical influence. By that thinking, you could say he was the biggest part of my life at that time. That’s how personally I took him and his songs... I lay there and bawled.”
In 1954, Mr. Jones was out of the Marines. He embarked on a recording career, making records for the Texas-based Starday label. On Starday, Mr. Jones scored his first Top Five hit, “Why Baby Why,” in 1955. He soon began recording in Nashville for Mercury Records, where he notched his first top-charting hit, 1959’s “White Lightning,” along with notables “Color Of The Blues,” “Tender Years” and “Who Shot Sam.”
Mr. Jones moved to United Artists Records in 1962, scoring a No. 1 hit with his first United Artists recording, a Dickey Lee song pitched to him by Clement called “She Thinks I Still Care.”
“The song perfectly represented Jones at the time, his vocal flawless and keening, drilling hard on certain lines and lyrics for all they were worth,” wrote Rich Kienzle in the liner notes of a Bear Family Records boxed set that includes Mr. Jones’ recordings from 1962 through 1964.
For United Artists, Mr. Jones recorded notables including “She Thinks I Still Care,” “You Comb Her Hair,” “The Race Is On” and “Least Of All.” He and then-manager and producer Pappy Daily moved on to Musicor Records in 1965 and cut major hits including “Walk Through This World With Me,” “If My Heart Had Windows” and the devastating “A Good Year For The Roses.”
In 1968, Mr. Jones and his second wife, Shirley Ann Corley, divorced after 14 years of marriage. A year later, he married singer Tammy Wynette. Their union produced some emotionally captivating music, including No. 1 hits “We’re Gonna Hold On,” “Golden Ring” and “Near You,” but day-to-day relations were problematic. Wynette was prone to wrenching melodrama, and Mr. Jones was prone to exacerbating such drama with substance abuse. Once, she hid the keys to his numerous cars to assure that he wouldn’t go to town while on a bender. But she neglected to secure the keys to Mr. Jones’ riding lawn mower, which he drove to town...more

 In the new century, Mr. Jones was vocally supportive of contemporary artists including Jackson and Kenny Chesney, but was often critical of the pop-leaning sounds he heard on country radio and on awards shows. “I know things change,” he wrote to a Tennessean reporter after viewing a 2001 awards show. “But you would not turn on a classical station to hear rock music, nor would you turn on a jazz station and expect to hear rap music. I believe there is room for all genres of music, and we should hold on to our heritage and make true country music that fans still love.”

Amen to that.

Friday, April 26, 2013

NCBA backs bill to streamline grazing permits

The nation's largest cattlemen's group is pushing legislation in Congress that seeks to increase business certainty for ranchers who hold federal grazing permits. The bill by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, would give the federal government flexibility to keep grazing in place while going through the lengthy environmental process to renew permits. Currently, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has more than 4,000 grazing renewals on its collective desks and the U.S. Forest Service has about 2,500, said Dustin Van Liew, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's director of federal lands. The bill would also exempt about 2,000 family transfers of permits that occur each year and allow the crossing of livestock on federal lands to get to designated grazing allotments, Van Liew said. As such, the bill -- House Resolution 657 -- is this season's priority legislation for the NCBA and the Public Lands Council, of which Van Liew is executive director. "We're hopeful," Van Liew said. "We will continue to work with the U.S. Senate to advance the bill and to hopefully see the bill on the president's desk before the end of the 113th Congress." Labrador's bill is similar to NCBA-backed legislation by Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., that seeks to expedite the process to reduce hazardous fuel loads on federal lands at the most risk of wildfire through livestock grazing and timber harvesting. Both bills were reintroduced this year after failing in Congress in the last session. Labrador's legislation passed the House of Representatives last year and now has a companion bill introduced by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo...more

Utah governor pitches plan to protect sage grouse

Utah’s new greater sage grouse conservation plan aims to protect and expand the bird’s sagebrush habitat, but it places only voluntary prescriptions on private land and allows development to erase grouse turf as long as habitat is restored elsewhere. Conservationists were quick to point out what they see as weaknesses in the plan that was crafted to prevent the ground-nesting bird’s listing as a federally protected species. "We are very committed to helping the sage grouse in Utah thrive. The folks in rural Utah consider the land, both private and federal, their backyard and they take good care of it and they want those wildlife critters to stick around," said Kathleen Clarke, Gov. Gary Herbert’s top public lands adviser. Herbert on Wednesday released the plan, which designates 11 sage grouse conservation areas that cover about 7.5 million acres. The state envisions a "mitigation bank" that lets industry purchase the privilege to "disturb" habitat, including leks, by reclaiming four times more habitat for the birds elsewhere. "It tries to avoid disturbance. If you have to move in with an oil well or with a recreational opportunity, we hope to compensate that loss [of habitat] with a 4-to-1 ratio, which is a gain," said John Harja, Clarke’s predecessor who now advises the state Department of Agriculture...more

The above is from the Salt Lake Tribune.  Now note the different headline and story from the Deseret News

Utah unveils plan to conserve 90 percent of greater sage grouse population
Gov. Gary Herbert's office rolled out its conservation plan for the imperiled greater sage grouse, setting up 13 distinct management areas it hopes will prevent the animal from being named to the Endangered Species List. Such a federal classification would have substantial economic impacts to Utah, invoking limitations on development, natural resource extraction and grazing — limits top state officials have been fighting to prevent. "We certainly want to avoid a listing," said Kathleen Clarke, director of the governor's Public Lands Policy Coordination Office. "About 95 percent of these birds in Utah live in these management areas we are going to focus on." The conservation plan released Wednesday grew out of a yearlong working group effort led by Clarke that tapped the expertise of wildlife biologists, conservationists and public land managers such as the Bureau of Land Management and the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. A series of public meetings also solicited input from residents who may be impacted by a listing, as well as farmers and ranchers interested in implementing conservation strategies to help the small, chicken-like birds...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

NM: Drought is worst since the 1950s

New Mexico’s drought conditions are increasingly looking like the infamous “Drought of the ’50s,” federal meteorologists said at a meeting Wednesday of the state-federal Drought Monitoring Working Group. The last 36 months have been the fourth driest such period since record-keeping began in New Mexico more than a century ago and are the worst since the 1950s, according to Chuck Jones of the National Weather Service. “It’s not just a short-term drought. This is a long-term drought we’re in,” Jones said. In the 1950s, New Mexico suffered under seven consecutive years of serious drought conditions. The current drought has been at its deepest for three years. Jones also showed sobering historical statistics for water managers who have been hoping for a robust summer rainy season to bail them out. While in past decades a good summer monsoon season has followed a dry winter, that pattern has turned around in the past decade. Since 2000, four out of the five years with dry winters have been followed by sub-par summer rains, according to Jones. The pain is especially acute in eastern New Mexico, where dry soil moisture conditions rival the drought of the ’50s, according to Deirdre Kann, chief science officer of the Weather Service’s Albuquerque office...more

Another cost of federal mgt: Fire, drought blamed for Ruidoso water violations

Over the past 11 months, Ruidoso's water system was cited for seven violations by the New Mexico Environment Department, but village officials contend the water always was safe to drink. All seven violations directly relate to Plant 4 at Grindstone Reservoir and are a result of the continuing drought and recent fires that prevented the village from replenishing the water in the reservoir, Lee explained. As a result, the mineral content of the water has been slowly concentrated over time, and the mineral content is higher. Had there been a problem with the safety of the water, the village would have been required to immediately notify all residents to boil their water before consuming it This has not happened, she pointed out...more

Editorial: Keystone obstructions show how environmental extremism hobbles the economy

"Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected," President Obama joked in 2011 about his failed economic stimulus. But as funny as Obama and his millionaire CEO audience found this line, the American people were not amused.
    Despite spending more than $1 trillion on programs to jump-start the economy, the nation's unemployment rate was still above 9 percent at the time. The major reason the stimulus failed to produce as many infrastructure jobs as White House economists predicted was that environmental laws -- particularly the National Environmental Policy Act, as currently written and administered -- make it next to impossible to get approval for projects in a timely manner.
    Consider the Keystone XL Pipeline project, which was first proposed in September 2008. The privately-funded $7 billion project should have created over 13,000 construction jobs already, according to Obama's economic advisers. Those jobs don't yet exist, however, because the project is tied up in red tape. Federal bureaucrats have convened at least 20 Washington meetings, held nine field hearings along proposed pipeline routes from the Canadian border south to Texas, reviewed 1,800 comments, and written a 1,000-page Environmental Impact Statement, plus an 800-page Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
    But that wasn't enough, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which on Monday made public its letter objecting to the State Department's SEIS because it supposedly failed to properly consider alternative routes for the pipeline and underestimated the project's impact on global warming. The EPA is now demanding that the State Department redo most of the analysis in the SEIS before it makes a final decision in 90 days.
    If at that point the EPA still does not like the State Department's final decision, then the issue will go to yet another gathering of bureaucrats, the White House's Council on Environmental Quality, which will issue its own report months later. Then, even if the CEQ approves the project, lavishly funded Big Green activists are sure to sue in federal court to block the project, thus preventing construction into the indefinite future. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in the construction industry is still 14.7 percent, and the Chinese keep offering inducements to Canada to forget the pipeline and sell its oil to them.
    Not all infrastructure projects attract the same level of attention as the Keystone Pipeline, of course, but NEPA regularly inflicts costly delays on hundreds of projects every year. A recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce study found that 351 privately funded energy projects (like coal plants, wind farms or power lines) were either delayed or canceled because of NEPA in 2011 alone, at a cost to the U.S. economy of $577 billion in direct investment and 1.9 million jobs that could have been created. If Congress wants to lift the American economy out of what is still the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression, putting forth a balanced approach on NEPA planning delays would be a great place to start.

The Examiner

Reid Introduces Ammunition Background Check Bill

Just hours ago Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, introduced Frank Lautenberg’s knee-jerk reaction bill that would place restrictions and require background checks for anyone buying “explosive powder.” Depending on the bill’s language, it would include not only loose gunpowder (such as that used by handloaders) but could also cover standard ammunition cartridges. Lautenberg and Reid are trying to label these propellants as “explosives” in the wake of the Boston bombings and use that tragedy to limit general access to ammunition and reloading components . . . It’s a back door way to make gun ownership more difficult and possibly put smaller local ammunition manufacturers out of business...more

Plan B? Biden meeting with gun control activists today at the White House

Is the Obama administration planning another public push on gun control? Vice President Joe Biden plans to meet with gun control activists at the White House this afternoon, according to his schedule. The meeting is closed to the press. Last week, Biden signaled in a conference call with gun control activists that the fight was not over. “Look, I know you’re going to say that I’m just being an optimist and I’m trying to put a good face on this. But, you know, I’ve been around here a long time and we’ve already done, because of you, some really good things,” Biden said, according to Buzzfeed’s Evan McMorris-Santoro. “Number one, the president is already lining up some additional executive actions he’s going to be taking later this week.”...more

California’s dream to be the Saudi Arabia of solar dries up in the desert

Three years ago California regulators in quick succession approved nine multibillion-dollar solar thermal power plants. They were to be built in the desert and would generate 4,142 megawatts (MW) of carbon-free electricity. The state, it was said, was on its way to becoming the Saudi Arabia of solar. Not any more. Today, the developers of four of those projects have since gone bankrupt and only three solar thermal power plants are under currently under construction. In recent weeks, BrightSource Energy put on hold two new solar thermal power plants that would have generated an additional 1,000 MW. (Its 370 MW Ivanpah project, however, is set to go online this year.)  And last week, the builder of what would be the world’s largest solar station at 1,000 MW—at peak output that’s equivalent to a big nuclear power plant—downsized the project to 485 MW. For risk-averse bankers, tried-and-true solar panels seemed a better bet than solar thermal. Even with a $2.1 billion loan guarantee from the US government, Germany’s Solar Millennium could not find bankers willing to put up the billions needed to build its 1,500 MW of solar thermal projects in California. It eventually filed for bankruptcy.  Tessera Solar met the same fate after bankers balked at financing $4.6 billion to install 54,900 solar dishes—each 40 feet (12 meters) high—on 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) of government-owned desert land. Utility regulators also have begun to resist approving the high-priced power-purchase agreements for solar thermal projects. No surprise, then, that the developers of four of the solar thermal projects approved in 2010 have since switched to photovoltaic technology for their power plants...more

Obama administration missed clues on Fisker

The Energy Department did not realize for four months that troubled automaker Fisker Automotive Inc. had missed a crucial production target that was required as part of a half-billion dollar government loan, documents released Wednesday show. The mistake allowed Fisker to obtain an additional $32 million in government funding before the loan was suspended in June 2011. The Obama administration did not make the suspension of the $529 million loan public until early last year, nearly eight months after it stopped making payments to Fisker and long after the Energy Department first warned that Fisker was not meeting milestones to protect taxpayers. The administration's actions - or failure to act - came under sharp criticism from Republicans Wednesday at a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. GOP lawmakers accused the Obama administration of negligence and worse while Democrats dismissed the hearing as a "show trial" intended to embarrass the president...more

Army Corps wants cattle off its land

Washington ranchers hope to continue using federal lands along the Snake River, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is cracking down on cattle encroachments. Ranchers along the river say that for 40 years they've been allowed to graze and feed cattle on a narrow strip of land along much of the 60-mile strip of Whitman County with a handshake agreement. But now they say they've been ordered to get their cattle and livestock equipment off the land and have been told they cannot use their adjacent range unless they construct a fence at their cost to keep their livestock off land managed by the Corps. Cattle feeding operations are inconsistent with the Corps' wildlife management mission, said Joe Saxon, a Corps spokesman. The Corps hopes to resolve the issue without impacting anyone's ability to make a living, he added...more

Rocky Mountain Front bill remains priority for Baucus

Passing legislation that would protect federal land in the North Fork of the Flathead and along the Rocky Mountain Front will be priorities for U.S. Sen. Max Baucus in his remaining months in office, the Montana senator said Tuesday, when he announced his retirement. The North Fork Watershed Protection Act would protect federal land on the American side of the North Fork drainage from new oil and gas development and mining. A second Baucus bill would preserve 275,000 acres of land along the eastern Front as either conservation management areas or wilderness. “I will double down on legislation to permanently protect the American side of the North Fork watershed and keep the Rocky Mountain Front the way it is for future generations,” Baucus, a Democrat, said in a statement...more

GE Capital cuts off lending to gun shops

General Electric Co. is quietly cutting off lending to gun shops, as the company rethinks its relationship to firearms amid the fallout from the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. This month, Glenn Duncan, owner of Duncan’s Outdoor Store in Bay City, Mich., said he received a letter from GE Capital Retail Bank in which the lender said it had made “the difficult decision” to stop providing financing services to his store. Other gun dealers have received similar notices. GE is at least the second big financial firm to retreat from the gun business following the school shootings, which claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and six adults in December. Days after the killings, private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP said it would try to sell the gun company it owns -- Freedom Group Inc. -- which makes brands including Remington, Bushmaster, Marlin and H&R. The moves highlight how companies, closely attuned to the concerns of investors and employees, have reacted to public horror caused by the attacks, even as complicated political considerations doomed new gun-control legislation in the Congress...more

There is "public horror" caused by the attacks, but when the public opposes more gun control that is "complicated political considerations."

a. widespread opposition + politicians wanting to be reelected = failed legislation.  What is so complicated about that?


PETA seeks endangered species protection for whale at Miami aquarium

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation is asking federal regulators to extend endangered species protections to a single whale named Lolita that is kept in a Miami aquarium. Originally captured and brought to the Miami Seaquarium in 1970, the orca is the last remaining Southern Resident killer whale alive in captivity. In 2005, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) put the Southern Resident population on the endangered and protected species list. NOAA in January received a petition from the PETA Foundation on behalf of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and other groups and individuals requesting that Lola be put on the list as well. “We find the biological information regarding Lolita’s genetic heritage and consideration of captive individuals under the [Endangered Species Act] meets this standard,” the agency said in a notice on Wednesday afternoon...more

Investigation: New Mexico Animal Shot by Wildlife Services Agent Was a Mexican Wolf

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that genetic tests reveal that the animal a U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services agent shot in January in New Mexico was indeed a Mexican gray wolf. The Fish and Wildlife Service, which initially denied that any wolves had been killed in New Mexico in January, has now presented the case to the U.S. attorney’s office for possible prosecution. As of last week, the shooter was still in his job on the interagency wolf-recovery field team. “Prosecution for this crime is appropriate and would send a message that the ‘I-thought-it was-a-coyote’ excuse will not fly, especially when it comes to protecting some of the rarest wolves in North America,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Wildlife Services agent should be placed on immediate administrative leave. This also raises a real question about whether the federal wildlife-killing agency should be part of the Mexican wolf recovery program.”...more

La Mesa asks Supreme Court to hear racing-license appeal

The developer of a planned Raton racino who was issued the state’s final horse racing license in 2009 and then had the New Mexico Racing Commission declare in early 2011 that the license for the still unbuilt racino had expired in 2010 has taken his appeal of the lost license to the state Supreme Court. The attorney for Toronto-area developer Michael Moldenhauer filed a writ of certiorari in the state’s highest court Monday morning, the final day the case could be filed with the Supreme Court following a Court of Appeals decision last month. Such a writ asks the court to hear the case. Before the court will consider that request, the Racing Commission’s attorney will have 20 days to file a response to the writ, according to a Supreme Court clerk’s office employee, who added that it is unknown how long it might take the court to decide on the writ once it receives it and any opposing-party response. If the court does eventually agree to hear the case, attorneys will then begin the filing of briefs outlining their arguments. Meanwhile, the Racing Commission has a regular meeting Thursday at which it is scheduled to discuss the state’s “pending sixth racing license,” but the commission’s chairman told The Range Monday the commission will not act on anything related to the license. The item was earlier placed on the agenda after the state Court of Appeals last month upheld the Racing Commission’s decision regarding the license and lifted an injunction that had prevented the commission from accepting and considering applications for the license. A separate group of investors from Texas and New Mexico has expressed interest in applying for the license in order to develop a Raton racino. Other groups have said they would seek the license, as well. Applications are expected from groups who want the license for sites in Tucumcari and Hobbs, although the Hobbs group has said it would use the license simply to expand the number of slot machines it has at its existing racino. When Moldenhauer was initially pursuing the license for his La Mesa Racetrack and Casino in south Raton several years ago, applications were also received for proposed racino sites in Santa Fe and Lordsburg...more

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

More tough choices ahead for farmers, cities as NM grapples with third year of drought

In southern New Mexico, the mighty Rio Grande has gone dry — reduced to a sandy wash winding from this chile farming community to the nation's leading pecan-producing county. Only puddles remain, leaving gangs of carp to huddle together in a desperate effort to avoid the fate of thousands of freshwater clams, their shells empty and broken on the river bottom. Across the state's eastern plains, wells stand empty and ranchers are selling their cattle. In the north, urbanites face watering restrictions while rural residents see the levels of their springs dropping more every day. Going on three years, drought has had a hold on nearly every square mile of New Mexico. Now, with forecasts predicting hotter, drier weather ahead, farmers and small and large communities alike are questioning whether dwindling supplies can be stretched enough to avoid costly fights over water. From the chile fields and pecan orchards of the Hatch and Mesilla valleys to Albuquerque, Santa Fe and beyond, New Mexicans are facing tough choices and dire consequences. "Last year my son said, 'Mom, what do we let die? The hay, the wheat, the onions or the chile?'" said Rena Carson, whose family owns a chile-drying plant and spice company in the Hatch Valley and ships tons of products around the world annually. In the last two years, the family has drilled two new wells to draw more irrigation water, but the groundwater level in the valley continues to drop — and the wells can't be drilled any deeper...more

Wonderful public lands maps organize knowledge of New Mexico

Map geeks live in Albuquerque's North Valley. Their home is a modest suite in an even more modest one-story brown stucco office building on North Fourth Street. Even the sign for the Public Lands Interpretive Association is modest. Fourth Street is commonly thought to be the route of El Camino Real, or Chihuahua Trail, that connected Mexico with Ohkay Owingeh pueblo, north of Espa-ola. An Albuquerque planning document corrects that "misperception," reporting that El Camino Real had two routes through the North Valley, neither of them Fourth Street.  Maps organize knowledge, which is a great human achievement. Getting things righteventuallyis what maps are for, after all, urban mythology to the contrary.   The "geek" label may be unfair. Still, that was the impression. The website,, is thorough, almost daunting. The products are resolutely paper.  The Public Lands Interpretive Association plays a role beyond maps, interpretation and education, thanks to the Internet, I suppose. From the modest North Fourth headquarters, it is a window on the world for New Mexico and the West. That makes the association one of those pockets of excellence we keep forgetting...more

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

NM Horse slaughterhouse passes USDA check

What could be the nation's only horse slaughterhouse cleared a major hurdle Tuesday in Roswell. Federal agriculture inspectors gave it their OK, and with that step now cleared the owners expect to be in business soon. Protestors stayed away from the Valley Meat Company as U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors paid their visit. But they're still upset about what the plant could mean for Roswell. Company owner Rick de los Santos says it's been tough and expensive to maintain his plant as it sat unused for the last year and a half. A successful USDA inspection took Valley Meat a step closer to opening as the only horse slaughterhouse in the nation. "No recommendations," de los Santos told KRQE news 13. "Usually they come in and recommend this or that. No recommendation. Everything was good." The owners are now awaiting final approval from the USDA. The de los Santos family says they've had problems with people stealing no-trespassing signs in the past. Now they will have round-the-clock security. The de los Santos family says the plan is to export the horses to European countries, Mexico and others for consumption. The owner didn't have an exact timeframe of when they may start but hopes to start hiring right away...more

Key U.S. lawmaker opposes Navy takeover of California’s Johnson Valley riding area

In a blow to U.S. Navy efforts to expand a military base into the popular Johnson Valley off-highway vehicle riding area in Southern California, a key federal lawmaker is offering a proposal to block the effort, the American Motorcyclist Association reports. The Department of the Navy wants to expand a Marine Corps base at Twentynine Palms, Calif., into Johnson Valley. But U.S. Rep. Paul Cook (R-Calif.), who represents the area, said on April 19 that he would offer a proposal to designate Johnson Valley as a national off-highway vehicle recreation area, protecting it from a Navy takeover. The bill also would authorize limited military use of the area. “The training of the U.S. Marine Corps is vital to the safety of the American people, and the exercises taking place on the Twentynine Palms base enable our Marine forces to defend our nation and its allies throughout the world,” Cook said. “However, I can’t support the expansion plan offered by the Marine Corps, which would hand them ownership of Johnson Valley. Marine Corps ownership would prevent many public-space activities, including big public off-highway events like King of the Hammers, from taking place. Off-roaders and other users of Johnson Valley make huge contributions to the economic well-being of the Morongo Valley, and losing that revenue during slow economic times would be devastating. “Protecting the Marine Corps’ budget is extremely important to me, and I believe the funds set aside for purchasing this land for the Marine Corps could be put to better use,” Cook said...more

A Congressman opposing a military expansion which would conflict with the activities of private groups. You don't see that too often, and by a Republican to boot.  Maybe some folks are wising up.

According to their annual report to Congress, the DOD controls 28 million acres of land.  That's an area larger than five of our original states combined.  Let them practice on land they already own.

Some pros and cons on new Forest Service budget process

U.S. Forest Service officials directing big projects on the Bridger-Teton National Forest are no longer confined to drawing money from specific program budgets.  By pooling budgets, officials say, they can direct funds to where they’re needed. That means the national forest has been able to treat more acreage for invasive weeds, decommission more miles of unwanted roads and restore more aquatic habitat. The retooling is part of the Forest Service’s “Integrated Resource Restoration” program, which is being used by a dozen forests in the Intermountain Region. It includes the Bridger-Teton and Caribou-Targhee national forests. “It’s a difference in the way that they fund the forest,” said Travis Bruch, the Bridger-Teton’s silviculturalist.  Under the Integrated Resource Restoration approach, “instead of taking seven pots of money, they’re putting it all into one pot. The idea is that all the groups will work together to accomplish more forestwide, landscape-level goals,” Bruch said.  Program budgets that have been combined include those for timber, wildlife, range, soil and watershed, Bridger-Teton spokeswoman Mary Cernicek said...more

Can you think of a range improvement project that fits in to "forestwide, landscape level goals"?  

Here's another article on IRR, this time based out of Montana.  It says, "The concern moved to a higher level last week, when the Obama administration called for expanding the IRR budgeting system nationwide. Currently only Forest Service regions 1, 3 and 4 are using the method."

Forest Service-sponsored GreenSchools! Honored by Education Department

Twenty schools registered as GreenSchools! through the Project Learning Tree/U.S. Forest Service program are among 64 schools and 14 school districts honored April 22 as by the U.S. Department of Education as a Green Ribbon School. The Education Department gave the awards for the schools’ exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. The schools were confirmed from a pool of candidates voluntarily nominated by 32 state education agencies. The list includes 54 public and 10 private schools. More than half serve a student body more than 40 percent of which is eligible for free and reduced price lunch. “The unique aspect of our GreenSchools! program is that we emphasize the voice of the students as the force behind directing their school and community to become more environmentally responsible,” said Heidi McAllister, acting director of the Forest Service Conservation Education Program. “The Forest Service is proud to be part of the movement toward green schools.”...more

One federal agency honors another federal agency.  Isn't that special. 

I go back to work and the first story that pops up is:

Green Award for innovation given to U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announces today it has selected the U.S. Forest Service Region 5 office based in Vallejo, Calif. to receive a Federal Green Challenge honorable mention award for innovation in its energy conservation efforts.  “EPA is pleased to recognize the U.S. Forest Service Region 5 for its outstanding leadership to reduce their environmental footprint,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “By taking the initiative to reduce waste and conserve water and energy, this agency will not only help motivate other federal agencies and organizations to follow suit, but save the government money as well.”  U.S. Forest Service Region 5 office, which manages activities in 18 national forests within California, Hawai’i and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands, was selected as an honorable mention award-winner for its work to reduce energy consumption and related costs through various innovative initiatives.


It's clear the Forest Service can win praises from their federal brotherhood.  Now if they would just turn their attention to the general public...



Lawsuit targets Forest Service

The last mining company remaining in Pitkin County has sued the U.S. Forest Service to try to earn a court order allowing it to operate year-round. Elbram Stone LLC filed a lawsuit earlier this month in federal court in Denver contending that Forest Service officials on the local and regional levels have “unlawfully withheld approval” of Elbram's plan of operation to mine alabaster and marble from mining claims along Avalanche Creek, approximately five miles north of Redstone. The delay is a violation of the U.S. Mining Law of 1872 and other federal regulations, the lawsuit alleged. The mining company wants a judge to rule that Elbram's plan must be approved within the next 30 days. The lawsuit is the latest chapter in a 21-year fight over the mine. Mine founder Robert Congdon and his successors have battled with Pitkin County and, since 2003, the Forest Service over winter operations. “It is one of the major disagreements,” said Jeffrey McCoy, an attorney for Mountain States Legal Foundation, which is representing Elbram. While the Aspen area was built on silver mining and other deposits were mined in the area, Elbram is the last company attempting to maintain operations. Brown previously has said year-round operations are necessary from a business standpoint to make the mine profitable. The small company cannot absorb the cost of mobilizing and de-mobilizing so frequently, he said. The company also has to provide an adequate, reliable supply of rock to earn business, Brown said in the past...more

Transition to 2nd Growth Reality or Folly

Back in the heydays taxpayers paid a subsidy of $12,000-$36,000 per Tongass timber job. Based on more recent Forest Service accounting information, this subsidy has grown during the last decade to a staggering $224,000-$510,000/job a nearly 1,400% increase. How can this be? Simply, the Forest Service kept spending like the industry was in its heyday while the industry was in a persistent long-term decline. To the Forest Service s credit Tongass timber program expenditures have decreased in recent years, but the fact remains that the Forest Service is still chasing after fewer and fewer timber jobs. The result is that the subsidy/job remains extraordinarily high. However, the current subsidies will be pale in comparison to those to support a 2nd-growth industry. The 2nd-growth subsidies will be from cradle to grave: for mill construction, raw material procurement, manufacturing, transportation, and perhaps even marketing & sales. Ironically, the need for these vertically integrated subsidies is very well documented a letter from Senator Murkowski to USDA Secretary Vilsack, dated March 13, 2013. In her letter Senator Murkowski asks the federal taxpayers to build two biomass plants, three lumber mills, and even help start a guitar factory. But Senator Murkowski also relays a very big ask made by the Viking mill owners: Most recently Kirk Dahlstrom has made a new proposal saying that he could remodel a current small log processing line for a grant of just $1.5 million to cover some equipment costs, if the Forest Service would enter into a true partnership with his mill to prove the economics of young growth. He is now proposing that the Forest Service cover the costs of logging and transporting young growth to his mill . He [Mr Dahlstorm] is asking the Forest Service to cover his actual costs of processing, sawing and kiln drying of the timber and provide him a 20 percent profit on just those operations the Forest Service then keeping any profits from shipping and marketing the timber. That is about as cradle to grave as you can get. But in all honesty, reading between the lines indicates little confidence in transition to 2nd-growth any time soon...more

Obama plans fee increase for public land grazing

According to the Public Lands Council (PLC) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), President Barack Obama’s proposed budget includes an increase in the public lands grazing fee assessment that would put many family ranches out of business. Dustin Van Liew, PLC executive director and NCBA director of federal lands, said increasing the grazing fee through an arbitrary tax is unwarranted and is further evidence that the president and his administration are out of touch with production agriculture and rural economies of the West. “This proposal came as no surprise to us—it’s a repeat of last year’s arbitrary fee increase proposal, only this time includes not only Bureau of Land Management permittees but also the U.S. Forest Service. Judging by the president’s plan to levy a 74 percent tax on the grazing fee and make extreme cuts in BLM and USFS range funding, we think it’s safe to say this administration does not understand American agriculture. Federal lands ranchers are and always have been willing to pay a fair price to graze livestock on public lands. They willingly invest significant amounts of money to manage and improve the range,” Van Liew said. “The current grazing fee is fair. In fact, most public lands ranchers already pay market price for their federal forage, when considering factors such as added regulatory costs, increased predation, ownership and maintenance of water rights and improvements and the difficulties of managing livestock in rough, arid rangelands. Arbitrarily increasing the grazing fee via a tax will do nothing more than impose unnecessary costs on the ranchers working every day to produce safe and affordable food and fiber.” Specifically, the president’s budget calls for the BLM and USFS to impose a $1 per animal unit month (AUM) increase above the grazing fee to cover administrative costs...more

New Mexico Horse Meat Facility Moves a Step Closer to Operation

Amid the unfolding horse-meat scandal, a New Mexico slaughterhouse has moved closer to becoming the first in the United States since 2007 to be allowed to process horses for human consumption. “I am recommending to the Dallas district manager that your application be processed, and a grant of federal inspection be issued, provided you meet all other requirements for inspection,” Scott C. Safian, a director at the Agriculture Department, wrote in a letter dated April 13 to Ricardo De Los Santos, owner of the Valley Meat Company. Mr. De Los Santos has been seeking U.S.D.A. approval for his processing plant in Roswell, N.M., since December 2011. “Grants will not be issued until an establishment is able to produce a safe product in accordance with the Federal Meat Inspection Act,” said an Agriculture Department spokeswoman, Catherine Cochran. On Monday, an advocacy group for horses sent a letter to the U.S.D.A., asking it not to grant permission for Mr. De Los Santos to operate the facility because he had failed to disclose two felonies on his original application form, as well as on a second, subsequent form. “Is this really a guy we want to be operating a regulated business, one in which the U.S.D.A. will rely on his representations?” said Bruce A. Wagman, a lawyer representing Front Range Equine Rescue, the advocacy group. A. Blair Dunn, the lawyer representing Mr. De Los Santos, said Front Range had erroneously described a case of criminal trespassing as a felony. He said the issue was “another desperate attempt to degrade my clients” by Front Range and the Humane Society of the United States. “Everything regarding that information has been vetted” through the department’s food safety and inspection service “and has been certified by letter by U.S.D.A. to offer no impediment,” Mr. Dunn wrote in an e-mail...more

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Book Debunks Food Police Agenda and Goals

With the activists looking to whip up a whirlwind against the pleasures and conveniences of modern food, in steps economist and university professor Jayson Lusk with a dollop of common sense. In his book The Food Police, Lusk challenges the mythmaking of Michael Pollan and his so-called food “movement” (that doesn’t win many converts or ballot-box contests, we would add). Whether the foodies and their allies want to make everyone eat “organic” or “local” foods, to ban or severely restrict the use of biotechnology in food production, or enact “fat taxes” to make foods they don’t like cost more, Lusk stands athwart the effort to reduce choice. Using economic thinking, Lusk debunks claims that the food elite’s views of health, food fashion, and people’s inability to choose should be extended by law to everybody. The problem Lusk describes isn’t that some people like to eat organic food, avoid GMOs, or not drink cola. Instead, the “food movement” wants to use the law to make people who have different preferences and make different choices follow those same preferences...more

Public lands bills being held up by disagreements from delegates, BLM

Nevada lawmakers have anticipated that the chief challenge to getting many public lands bills through Congress this year is the willingness of a Republican-led House to pass legislation that balances federal land transfers with wilderness designations. But disagreements on the home front and between presumed allies threaten to hold up progress on critical public lands bills. Nevada delegates hinted that the week would start by unveiling a new set of Southern Nevada public lands bills, centered around an effort to designate Gold Butte as a national preservation area, but that's not how things happened. “We all don’t agree on how we should handle Gold Butte,” Sen. Harry Reid said flatly....This past week, Nevada Reps. Steven Horsford and Mark Amodei also assumed they’d have a smooth go of presenting the Lyon County public lands bill for its first legislative hearing. The bill lifts the federal yoke from over 10,000 acres of public lands destined for copper mine development near Yerington and designates almost five times as much land elsewhere in Lyon County as the Wovoka Wilderness Area — named after a Native American spiritual leader. But instead, they faced an unexpected bump in the road from the Bureau of Land Management, an agency they had assumed would be in Nevada’s corner. In written testimony, BLM Deputy Assistant Secretary Neil Farquhar raised flags about “challenges” and “potentially dangerous situation(s)” arising from language in the measure pertaining to mining claims and cleanup. But those items didn’t actually appear anywhere in the bill – leading both Horsford and Amodei to openly express frustration that the Yerington project was not even being judged on its merits...The designation of the 48,000 acres on Bald Mountain that would be converted to the Wovoka Wilderness Area in Horsford’s bill is lengthy, going into detail about the types of development that might be allowed in the wilderness area, such as the certain water resources intended to enhance the wilderness objectives and provide for long-term grazing, use of vehicles and access of hunters and trappers. In fact, some of those provisions caused a representative from the U.S. Forest Service who testified at the hearing to raise concerns that Horsford’s bill was too liberal when it came to its definitions of roads and hunting/fishing rights, and too restrictive in its definition of permissible water resource development projects. But on questions of mining, the legislation is pretty explicit: There is no wiggle room for any new mining claims once the land is declared federal land, not for mineral, geothermal, or any other type of materials that might otherwise be sited patented and leased...more

How Government Killed the Medical Profession


   I am a general surgeon with more than three decades in private clinical practice. And I am fed up. Since the late 1970s, I have witnessed remarkable technological revolutions in medicine, from CT scans to robot-assisted surgery. But I have also watched as medicine slowly evolved into the domain of technicians, bookkeepers, and clerks.
    Government interventions over the past four decades have yielded a cascade of perverse incentives, bureaucratic diktats, and economic pressures that together are forcing doctors to sacrifice their independent professional medical judgment, and their integrity. The consequence is clear: Many doctors from my generation are exiting the field. Others are seeing their private practices threatened with bankruptcy, or are giving up their autonomy for the life of a shift-working hospital employee. Governments and hospital administrators hold all the power, while doctors—and worse still, patients—hold none.
The Coding Revolution
    At first, the decay was subtle. In the 1980s, Medicare imposed price controls upon physicians who treated anyone over 65. Any provider wishing to get compensated was required to use International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes to describe the service when submitting a bill. The designers of these systems believed that standardized classifications would lead to more accurate adjudication of Medicare claims.
    What it actually did was force doctors to wedge their patients and their services into predetermined, ill-fitting categories. This approach resembled the command-and-control models used in the Soviet bloc and the People’s Republic of China, models that were already failing spectacularly by the end of the 1980s.
    Before long, these codes were attached to a fee schedule based upon the amount of time a medical professional had to devote to each patient, a concept perilously close to another Marxist relic: the labor theory of value. Named the Resource-Based Relative Value System (RBRVS), each procedure code was assigned a specific value, by a panel of experts, based supposedly upon the amount of time and labor it required. It didn’t matter if an operation was being performed by a renowned surgical expert—perhaps the inventor of the procedure—or by a doctor just out of residency doing the operation for the first time. They both got paid the same.
    Hospitals’ reimbursements for their Medicare-patient treatments were based on another coding system: the Diagnosis Related Group (DRG). Each diagnostic code is assigned a specific monetary value, and the hospital is paid based on one or a combination of diagnostic codes used to describe the reason for a patient’s hospitalization. If, say, the diagnosis is pneumonia, then the hospital is given a flat amount for that diagnosis, regardless of the amount of equipment, staffing, and days used to treat a particular patient.
    As a result, the hospital is incentivized to attach as many adjunct diagnostic codes as possible to try to increase the Medicare payday. It is common for hospital coders to contact the attending physicians and try to coax them into adding a few more diagnoses into the hospital record.
    Medicare has used these two price-setting systems (RBRVS for doctors, DRG for hospitals) to maintain its price control system for more than 20 years. Doctors and their advocacy associations cooperated, trading their professional latitude for the lure of maintaining monopoly control of the ICD and CPT codes that determine their payday. The goal of setting their own prices has proved elusive, though—every year the industry’s biggest trade group, the American Medical Association, squabbles with various medical specialty associations and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) over fees.
    As goes Medicare, so goes the private insurance industry. Insurers, starting in the late 1980s, began the practice of using the Medicare fee schedule to serve as the basis for negotiation of compensation with the doctors and hospitals on their preferred provider lists.

Feds release environmental assessment of big Utah land swap

A long-anticipated land exchange between the state and federal governments lurched a little closer toward the finish line Monday with the release of a draft Environmental Assessment of a proposed deal that would give the Bureau of Land Management nearly 46,000 of state acres with conservation and recreational values. In exchange, the state School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, or SITLA, would gain 35,516 acres of federal lands with oil and gas and other kinds of profitable potential. Most of the lands the feds are giving up is in Uintah County, while most of the state holdings are in Grand County.  At statehood, Utah was granted four sections of land per township, resulting in a checkerboard pattern of ownership that does not lend itself to efficient management. SITLA, whose mission is to maximize revenue off its lands, holds sections land-locked within wilderness study areas and other BLM tracts with special designations that complicate development.  The deal, authorized by the 2009 Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act, is designed to enable the state to consolidate its scattered holdings. It loses popular recreation destinations like Corona Arch near Moab, but gains land with valuable resources...more

Interior chief Jewell: 'One size doesn't fit all' on fracking

Newly minted Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell gave a nod Monday to oil-and-gas industry concerns about pending federal rules on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. In speaking about those rules, which she said would come “fairly soon,” the former chief executive for outdoor gear retailer noted, “One thing that’s clear to me from my own experiences is that one size doesn’t fit all.” That comment — made during a video chat hosted by Interior, which amounted to some of Jewell's first public comments since taking over the department earlier this month — might please the oil-and-gas industry. Oil-and-gas interests have worried that federal fracking rules would not account for geological differences across the country, an issue Jewell's statement appeared to directly address...more

HSUS intends to sue feds on Roswell horse processing plant, AG Gary King gets involved

Many will recall the de Los Santos family in Roswell has applied to USDA to operate a horse slaughtering facility.

As a result of foot dragging by USDA and threatened lawsuits, the family has hired attorney A. Blair Dunn.

The HSUS has filed a notice of intent to sue...over the Endangered Species Act!

Below is some interesting reading for your Monday morning.  First up is a slightly edited email from Dunn about the notice and the potential threat to all facets of the livestock industry.  That is followed by an email exchange between Dunn and NM AG Gary King, and the King press release that precipitated the exchange.

Fwd: Valley Meat: HSUS' Notice of Intention to Sue Under the Endangered Species Act
Wed, 17 Apr 2013 11:41:41 -0600
A. Blair Dunn, Esq. 
Sarah De Los Santos 

This is a new twist.  We were figuring on a NEPA suit.  This will happen after the grant of inspection is issued and I have spoken to DOJ about it.  They (DOJ) will get an additional 60 days to answer the complaint but the grant of inspection should be coming and they anticipate it will be issued in the next several days.  I anticipate that this new ESA case will have to be brought in New Mexico.

The NEPA issue may be going by the wayside.  Apparently USDA OGC has drafted a memo concerning the fact that slaughter facilities fit within the categorical exclusion for FSIS.

So as expected HSUS is planning to spend some bucks on lawyers to try to shut this down.

The biggest problem on this is the collateral damage could destroy the dairies and other agriculture all around.   Think about it this way, if the very minor (if any) environmental impact of Valley is going to trigger consultation with US FWS and poses a environmental threat to endangered species then what about dairies, what about farming in general, feedlots, etc.:

"The horse slaughtering process produces by-products and waste products that are a threat to the environment and to wildlife in the vicinity of the slaughter facility. Horse slaughtering produces the following: (1) manure, contents of rumen and intestines; (2) edible products, including offal and blood; (3) inedible products such as hair, bones, and feathers; (4) fat; and (5) large volumes of wastewater. Most slaughterhouse processes require the use of water, and the pollutants contained in wastewater can impact the environment when the wastewater runoff enters into groundwater, streams, and rivers. Horse slaughtering also requires large amounts of hot water and steam for sterilizing and cleaning. Generating the energy for heating water emits gasses, which contribute to air pollution."

If there was any question as to whether or not HSUS has all of animal agriculture in its sights this should dispel that. 

Valley Meat is located near South Spring River, Pecos River, Bitter Lake Wildlife Refuge, and Bottomless Lakes State Park. Threatened and endangered species are found within the vicinity of Valley Meat, and their continued existence may be jeopardized by the horse slaughtering activities. Valley Meat's operations may also adversely affect or destroy the habitats of the threatened and endangered species. Affected species may include, but are not limited to, the Pecos bluntnose shiner, the Least tern, the Pecos Assiminea snail, Koster's springsnail, Roswell springsnail (collectively "snails"), and Noel's Amphipod.

Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2013 4:40 PM
To: King, Gary
Subject: Re: Threatening Valley Meat with Special Treatment

Are you in fact devoting a attorney to work on finding wrong doing by my client so that you may pursue legal remedies against my clients in an attempt to prevent them their lawful business? (As you are quoted as saying in the Alamo Daily News)  I fail to see how I am making unfounded allegations.

Also what science do you have that supports the slanderous statement that horse meat fits the definition of adulterated food? (Where did you get your information, HSUS perhaps? Are you aware that they have a large financial stake by virtue of a exclusive marketing stake in PZP the horse contraceptive?) Have you given thought to what those kinds of statements may mean for other industries beyond the horse industry, say for instance the dairy industry?

I think you may be very wrong about the "many people" part of the ag industry supporting this position by you.  But I am happy to help you take a poll at the midsummer meeting of the Cattle Growers.  I know for a fact they are on the opposite of this issue from you. 

This is unsolicited political advice from a member of another long time political family, but aligning yourself with HSUS and APNM will cost you more rural votes than you can spare.  People are already very angry about the ESA ruse now being trotted out by HSUS.

I respectfully offer that if you truly want to keep rural New Mexico on your side that you reconsider your position.

A. Blair Dunn, Esquire
6605 Uptown Blvd. NE, Ste. 280
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110

On 4:11pm, April 18, 2013, King, Gary wrote:
Thanks for your input.  I believe it is my responsibility to make sure that the laws of New Mexico are enforced.  That is what I expressed in my press release.  It is indeed my personal opinion that slaughter of horses for human consumption is an ill founded concept.  I am sure that this opinion is shared by many people in New Mexico who are part of the agricultural industry as well.  I know you are representing your clients to the best of your ability, but making unfounded allegations against my office because we are carrying out our duties does not forward your clients' interest in any meaningful way.  That being said, I am concerned about your information about threats made against your clients and I will forward this email string to my chief investigator and ask him to see if we can be of assistance to local law enforcement to deter any possible violence that may occur in relation to your clients' decision to move forward with their decision to slaughter horses for human consumption.  GK

On Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 2:34 PM, A. Blair Dunn, Esq. <> wrote:
General King,

After we spoke last summer, I was led to understand that you understood agriculture's perspective on this issue.  This press release, however, belays that your office is acting as nothing more than a mouth piece for animal rights activist groups.  I find it extremely disappointing that a candidate for Governor can find nothing more important to devote staff to than harassing a small lawful family business.  Perhaps a review of AG's office priorities is in order.   General King you as much as any person should understand that the real animal welfare stewards are those of us involved in agriculture.  Perhaps you should listen when groups such as the NMCGA talk about how they feel that this plant is actually better for the welfare of the land and the horses themselves.   Perhaps your office should be investigating the threats "to come and shoot" my client in the head and to "slit his wife's throat."  They are New Mexico citizens and they deserve your protection, not your harassment.


AG: Is Horse Meat a Threat to Health in NM?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

CONTACT:  Phil Sisneros  505-222-9174 or  Lynn Southard  505-222-9048

(SANTA FE)---Attorney General Gary King today expressed grave concerns over the potential health risks associated with consumption of horse meat processed at the proposed horse slaughtering plant in Roswell.

“As Attorney General, I have specific authority to enforce New Mexico food safety laws that are applicable to such a facility in our state,” said Attorney General King.

New Mexico has had laws on its books for more than seven decades protecting our citizens from Adulterated Food. Scientific studies show that horse meat fits the legal definition of an adulterated food product due to the presence of many chemical substances routinely used on horses that are deemed unfit for human consumption.  

“Recent occurrences of food mislabeling and horse meat contamination have been widely reported in Europe,” adds AG King. “The European Union will ban the import of horse meat from North America effective July 1, 2013.”

The AG says experience in Europe shows that there is no foolproof way to be certain that horse meat will not enter the human food chain here in New Mexico.  

Should the horse slaughtering plant be given the green light to open by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the AG’s office will closely monitor health and safety practices at the facility.  

“I will vigorously pursue all legal remedies available to me if we discover any violations of New Mexico food safety laws,” AG King promised.