Friday, June 13, 2014

Mad Cow Fears Lead To Beef Recall In Missouri

More than 4,000 pounds of beef processed at a Missouri plant have been recalled over fears that they may be contaminated with mad cow disease. The meat was distributed by Jackson, Missouri's Fruitland American Meat to restaurants in New York City and Kansas City, Missouri, as well as a Whole Foods center in Connecticut that distributes products to the chain's New England stores, CNN reported Friday morning. The names of the restaurants that received the beef are not being released by the federal government because they most likely have not yet served it to consumers, the New York Times reported. Though the beef, which was produced and packaged between September 2013 and April 2014, was inspected and did not show signs of mad cow disease -- officially, bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE -- the company recalled the beef due to what the U.S. Department of Agriculture called a "remote" risk that it could be transmitted. The amount of beef was only equal to about four or five steers, according to USA Today, but any mention of mad cow disease in American meat is sure to generate headlines. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service released a statement about the incident, CNN reported:
"All of these animals received full inspection, both before and after slaughter, by FSIS personnel and showed no abnormal signs or symptoms associated with BSE. ... Out of an abundance of caution, FSIS issued a Class II recall (a remote risk) for product that does not have paperwork showing that nerve tissue was removed. FSIS and the company have received no reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products."...more

Lawless weeds causing a calamity in Colorado -- it's not what you think

Tumbleweeds, those iconic symbols of the West, have gotten so bad this year that two Colorado counties declared states of emergency over the thick piles of spiky weeds. What we call tumbleweeds can be several different kinds of plant; none of them is native. One of the worst is the Russian thistle, a fast-growing weed that sprouts with very little water, and then breaks off in the fall winds to drop thousands of seeds from a single plant as it rolls east. Rancher Gary Gibson of rural Crowley County said the overgrowth was so deep this fall that he and other county officials had to close 45 miles of weed-choked rural roads. They are nothing but a hazard. They aren't just a nuisance. They cause damage. In Colorado's wide-open eastern Plains, the weeds blow ahead of storms, piling up on the fences that line both sides of roads. They remain a problem this summer, and Pueblo County on Monday joined Crowley in declaring a state of emergency in an effort to get state assistance. "They are nothing but a hazard," said Gibson, who is also a county commissioner. "They aren't just a nuisance. They cause damage." An extended drought in eastern Colorado gives tumbleweeds ideal conditions under which to flourish: Ranchers' cows typically eat the young tumbleweeds, but without enough water, herds have shrunk, as have the number of irrigated fields sown with wheat or other crops...more

Water woes force big brewers to tighten the tap

Some of the largest brewers in the U.S. are trying to reduce their water-to-beer ratio as drought and wildfire threaten the watersheds where they draw billions of gallons every year. No independent group tracks beer-makers’ water usage, but MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch both say they have made reductions. MillerCoors released a sustainability report Wednesday that shows it has cut its water use by 9.2 percent from 2012. "Water is just critical to us," Kim Marotta, the Chicago-based company’s sustainability chief, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "Looking ahead, we needed to find a way to brew more beer but use less water." MillerCoors’ water-saving effort — focused in Texas, California and Colorado — involves using sensors to release just enough water for irrigation, planting native grass to reduce erosion and runoff and keeping a close eye on leaky machinery in its breweries. Some craft beer-makers are also working to cut down on water usage while increasing market share. The number of brewers in the U.S. has expanded to its highest level since the 1870s, mostly because of an explosion of craft breweries. Without the technology or scale of big brewers, craft brewers use on average as much as twice the amount of water for every barrel of beer...move

Montana veteran was 'militia liaison' to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy

On April 7, Ryan Payne, a 30-year-old Iraq War veteran, packed his '93 Jeep Cherokee with two sleeping bags, two cots, the rucksack he'd more or less lived out of during his five years in the military and a Rock River Arms Operator LAR-15. He was on his way to the southern Nevada desert to defend the oppressed from the tyrannical force of the federal government, and he knew he might have to fight. Payne was leaving his family and his home south of Anaconda to support Cliven Bundy, an elderly Nevada rancher engaged in a tense conflict with the Bureau of Land Management, which was rounding up cattle Bundy had been illegally grazing on federal land for some 20 years. When the roundup started on April 5, Payne followed the action from afar. He saw images that seemed to show BLM snipers aiming guns at the Bundy family to prevent them from interfering in the impounding process. He read online that Bundy's son Davey was arrested on April 6 for "refusing to disperse" while protesting the agency's actions. He read that BLM agents had allegedly roughed up Davey Bundy while he was in their custody. Ryan Payne watched what was happening, and he saw a striking example of what he observed more and more throughout the country: the U.S. government acting far outside its constitutional authority to control and confine the American people. As he watched, Payne felt not merely compelled but obliged to respond, to uphold the oath he'd taken at 17 when he joined the U.S. Army: "I, Ryan Payne, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic...." He'd fought foreign enemies before. Now, he believed, the enemy was domestic. So on April 6, Payne called Cliven Bundy and offered his help. "I told him what OMA was," Payne says, "and that, if he requested assistance, I would be calling in militia from all over the country and individuals to come, armed, to protect his family and his community from whoever it was that was trying to harm them." OMA is Operation Mutual Aid, a loose coalition of militias and sympathetic individuals from across the United States. Payne started the organization in 2013 with Pennsylvania resident Jerry Bruckhart. They designed OMA as a mechanism for using the power of the nation's hundreds of disparate militias to defend all oppressed Americans. If anyone made a request for OMA's aid, the organization would alert its members, who would, if they desired, act together to defend that individual's rights. No such request had ever come, so OMA started to solicit them. Cliven Bundy was the first to accept OMA's offer of support...more

Drones to survey wildlife habitat

Researchers in eastern Idaho plan to use unmanned robotic aircraft starting Sunday to get high-resolution digital images of sagebrush habitats. "When we take ground measurements it's over a small area," said Janet Rachlow, an ecology professor at the University of Idaho. "But we are interested in scaling up what we learn about individual plants and animals to a large scale that is useful for land management and management of wildlife populations overall." The aerial photos will also be used in a large study on pygmy rabbits, as well as to learn how animals react to temperature and predators. The University of Idaho's participation is part of an effort to create a Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aerial Systems at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls. The unmanned aerial systems center, should it be created, will work toward finding ways to bring unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace. A company called Advanced Aviation Solutions, a consulting company, is working with Idaho researchers to establish the center. "We want to represent all the (unmanned air) research that is done for Idaho — water, agriculture, wildlife, ranching, reservoirs and more," company CEO Steve Edgar said in a news release...more

Forest Service - Waiting for funding for insect mitigation

It’s hard to miss the swaths of dead and dying trees in San Juan National Forest caused by beetles and other insects. And last summer’s West Fork Fire that started near the top of Wolf Creek Pass was a good example of how that dead fuel can accelerate a wildfire. Congress decided to do something about it in the Farm Bill it passed in February. The bill included more than $45 million to begin collaborative efforts to mitigate the damage. On May 20, after requests from state governors, the Department of Agriculture announced that it had designated 94 national forests in 35 states as eligible for the funding. Both the San Juan and Rio Grande national forests in Southwest Colorado were among them. What does that mean? “We don’t know yet,” said Steve Hartvigsen, supervisory forester for the Pagosa and Columbine districts of San Juan National Forest. “We appreciate what Congress did, but there’s uncertainty as to how that will direct down to individual forests regarding dead and dying timber and hazardous trees. They spoke to landscape-scale work (across large areas of forest), but those are kind of in conflict.” From 1996 to 2013, using aerial overflights, foresters have identified 183,000 acres out of the 1.8 million in the San Juan Forest that have been affected, but 100 percent of those identified acres have not yet been completely killed. “People tend to characterize the spruce beetle spread as a lateral movement. That’s the gorilla in the room,” Hartvigsen said. “But it really hits the largest trees in the stand first, for survival reasons, because those trees have really thick bark that will protect them from the cold and predators. Those are about 5 to 7 percent of a stand and rise from 15 to 20 percent in height above the rest.” The beetles, which have a two-year life cycle, then work their way down from the canopy. The act excludes efforts in any wilderness areas, and roadless areas are too difficult to reach for any significant work. So, Hartvigsen said, current thoughts are on protecting areas around facilities, roads and trails as well as watersheds that supply communities...more

Gov’t Spends $50K on Green Cooking Alternatives, "global cooking problem"

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to develop stored solar stoves as a solution to the “global cooking problem.” “The World Health Organization asserts around 3 billion people still cook and heat their homes using solid fuels in open fires and leaky stoves. Such cooking and heating produces high levels of indoor air pollution with a range of health-damaging pollutants, including small soot particles that penetrate deep into the lungs,” the grant said. The grant cited “non-renewable harvesting of biomass” as a contribution to climate change. It also warned that “methane and black carbon” climate change pollutants can result from the emission of from inefficient stove combustion...more

Lawmakers spotlight massive Texas-New Mexico water dispute

Debate flared again Wednesday over massive water lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court that has big implications for thousands of Doña Ana County water users. Lawmakers who belong to the interim New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee, which met in Las Cruces, heard from top officials and experts on multiple sides of the dispute. The case in general pits Texas against New Mexico over groundwater pumping in the Lower Rio Grande Basin. But it's unusual because the irrigation district that's central player in the dispute — the Las Cruces-based Elephant Butte Irrigation District – is taking a middle-ground stance, declining to side with either. Sarah Bond, lawyer for the New Mexico Attorney General's Office, contended that eight "myths" exist about the Supreme Court case, including that Texas "has a strong case against New Mexico." "New Mexico has many important factual reasons for knowing that that's not true," said Bond, whose office represents New Mexico in the case. "Texas has made its case based on a number of claims that the Rio Grande Compact does this or that, but the main claims it raises are simply not stated in the compact." Bond referred to the historic, 1938 water-sharing agreement that spells out how Rio Grande water should be divvied up among Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. Local irrigation officials have said the compact left New Mexico irrigators in an awkward place because though they're geographically in New Mexico, they share in the water released from Elephant Butte Lake and Caballo Reservoir that's bound for Texas. And Texas users are alleging that Doña Ana County water users have overused the water over the course of decades. While the Rio Grande Compact is the basis for Texas' lawsuit, another smaller-scale water-sharing document, called the 2008 operating agreement, also is wrapped up in the debate. It spelled out how EBID would split Rio Grande water south of the reservoirs with a neighboring irrigation district in El Paso County. Attorney General King challenged that lawsuit in federal district court. EBID officials have alleged that King's action opposing the operating agreement, which pledged to deliver a guaranteed amount of water to El Paso County, sparked Texas to then file a U.S. Supreme Court action...more

Where’s the Beef? Michelle Obama's Kids’ Recipe Contest Winners Are Mostly Meat-Free

The White House announced on Wednesday that judges have picked 54 children whose “healthy lunchtime” recipes have earned them a trip to Washington, D.C., to dine with First Lady Michelle Obama next month. Beef and pork producers may not be pleased to learn that of all the recipes chosen from every U.S. state and territory, only a handful have meat as an ingredient if their title is any indication – Chi-Irish Sheppard’s Pie, Mexican Haystack and Mediterranean Kabob. Instead, vegetables, fish and poultry dominate the list. Winning recipes include “Veggie Spaghetti,” “Over the Rainbow Veggie Pancakes,” “Mo-Rockin' Meatless Monday Special,” “What! You Don't Like Tofu?” Chicken and Grape Salad Lettuce Wraps, and fish tacos. On July 18, Mrs. Obama will host a kids’ “state dinner” at the White House where some of the winning recipes will be served, and the children and families joining them will also get a tour of the White House garden...more

Grant to help fix Estancia's cat problem

Estancia's animal control officer says it doesn't take much to trap up to 20 feral cats in the town every month. That number should be increased greatly in the coming months thanks to a $23,940 grant from PetSmart Charities, said Alysha Lenderman, the town's animal control officer. "I only do light trapping now — only when I see a problem or someone reports sick cats," Lenderman said. "Right now, we just don't have the resources to do more." Lenderman and Estancia Police Chief Jimmy Chavez say the town is virtually being overrun with stray cats. It's a problem that has been years in the making and difficult to address. The pair tell stories that would stretch belief if there weren't witnesses. For instance, there was the time a stray cat jumped into the window of a Torrance County maintenance department vehicle and had kittens. Then there was the time someone called in a cat problem at an abandoned house. When officers went in the house, there were 38 cats who were calling the building home. "You can't even really estimate the number of feral cats we have," Chavez said. "This grant will go a long way in taking care of the problem."...more

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Udall says NM needs to stretch water supplies

New Mexicans need to do more with less water, according to Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., who is introducing broad drought response and water management legislation in the U.S. Senate today. Saying the days of big water projects and large federal investment are over, Udall said in an interview Wednesday that the legislation looks instead at the full range of the federal government’s water operations in the state, and ways current laws could be tweaked and additional financial support provided to stretch the state’s limited supplies. The legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., creates a framework that would allow the government to buy water from farmers to use for environmental flows, an attempt to sidestep the sort of fish-vs.-farmers Endangered Species Act battles that have broken out across the western United States. The bill also calls for a separate study of how water is managed in the San Acacia stretch of the river in Socorro County, including the possibility of “modification or possible removal” of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District’s San Acacia Diversion Dam. Environmentalists have long said that the dam makes it impossible for fish to move up and down the river, fragmenting their habitat...more

I guess we should call them The Big Government Twins.  Heinrich wants the feds to buyout livestock grazing permits and now Udall wants the feds to buy water for "environmental flows".  

Country folks are worried because Udall has an "environmental flow" every 28 days.

We don't need less water, we need less Udall.

Obama Administration announces additional support to help communities boost local food economies

On behalf of the White House Rural Council, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced Local Food, Local Places, a federal initiative that will provide direct technical support to rural communities to help them build strong local food systems as part of their community's economic action plans. Under this effort, a team of agricultural, transportation, environmental and regional economic experts will work directly with local communities to develop comprehensive strategies that use local food systems to meet a variety of needs. The announcement, made during the White House Rural Council's first live-streamed meeting, included Vilsack, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chairman Earl Gohl; and Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill. "Buying locally is one of the best things a community can do to grow its economy. Partnerships like Local Food, Local Places help rural leaders develop strategies for promoting farm products grown by people right in their own communities," said Secretary Vilsack. "The demand for local food is growing rapidly nationwide, creating more opportunities for American farmers and ranchers and growing the entire country's rural economy."...more

In 1994 there were 1,755 farmer's markets in the U.S.  By 2013 there were 8,144.  They seem to be growing just fine, which means this whole "federal initiative" is nothing but:


Arkansas reps express concern over listing of northern long-eared bat

Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-1), Tim Griffin (AR-2), Steve Womack (AR-3), and Tom Cotton (AR-4) today sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe expressing concern over the proposed endangered species classification of the Northern Long-Eared (NLE) bat. “We are troubled by this conclusion, as such a listing would eliminate forest harvesting in Arkansas during the months of April through November, devastating what is a vital industry in our state,” the letter says. “Further, this does not address the impact an endangered listing would have on farming, energy development, and manufacturing within the state.” The letter goes on to ask for a six-month extension of the comment period to further consider the scientific data and comments from affected stakeholders. Click here to read the entire letter.  Source

Is anyone surprised that a "northern" bat isn't doing well down south?

Adios, Kit Carson

His name is all over Taos, on one of its main roads, on the nearby national forest, on its electric cooperative and on the home where he once lived. But the name of Kit Carson, the famed scout, explorer, trapper, soldier and Indian agent, will no longer grace Taos’ centerpiece downtown park. The Town Council passed a resolution Tuesday night to change the name to Red Willow Park. “This is about trying to begin to reconcile the transgressions of the past,” council member Fritz Hahn said Wednesday. The park, named Kit Carson Park as long as locals can remember, gets its new name from Taos itself. The town’s name is derived from the Tewa word for red willow. Kit Carson, who died in 1868, is buried in the cemetery at the park. The council voted 3-1 in favor of the change after a presentation from Linda Yardley, a Native American, and Taoseños Andres Vargas, Ted Wiard and Chris Peiper. Yardley could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but Hahn summarized her sentiments. “She feels uncomfortable in the park, which is named after someone who egregiously hurt her people,” said Hahn. “We have got to heal the wreckage of the past, and Kit Carson is part of that.”...more

The past is being scalped by a present-day raider with the name of Fritz. 

After 10 years of planning, appeals and litigation Montana timber sale moves forward

After almost 10 years of planning, appeals and litigation, a nearly 2,900-acre timber sale and forest restoration project will move forward near Townsend. The Cabin Gulch Vegetation Treatment Project originated in 2005 to address a lack of tree diversity and age, making the forest susceptible to continued insect and disease infestation and increasing risk of severe wildfire. The project includes timber harvest, prescribed burning, road improvements and maintenance and some temporary road construction, according to a Helena National Forest news release. “Forest specialists have worked tirelessly over the last nine years to develop this community-based and public-supported project; and then to work equally as hard to provide all of the necessary information throughout the appeals and litigation phases,” Forest Supervisor Bill Avey said. The Cabin Gulch project is part of a more than 15,600-acre project near Deep Creek. In 2012, two conservation groups, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Native Ecosystems Council, filed suit to stop the timber sale over concerns for the Canadian lynx and grizzly bears, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and white bark pine and big game hiding cover. A district court first imposed and then lifted an injunction over the project. The conservation groups filed a notice to appeal in April 2014, and asked that the injunction be reinstated...more

10 years to do 2,900 acres and people wonder why our forests are burning up.  Keep in mind, the Forest Service controls 191 million acres.

Undocumented Immigrant Children Worry Disease Experts Who Fear US Borders May Be Deadly For The Unprotected

When young people from Mexico are found illegally crossing the border by federal agents, sending them back home is usually not a problem. When children from countries south of Mexico, such as Guatemala and El Salvador, are caught illegally entering America, getting them home is a bit more difficult. For the time being, these children are held in U.S. government-run facilities, but many are worried that the cramped quarters these children are living in may be the perfect conditions for the spread of disease. At the Rio Grande facility, there are already cases of a wide variety of viruses spreading among the children housed there, the Daily Mail reported. "Apparently, a significant amount of communicable disease is suspected by custodial and agent personnel," Zack Taylor, chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, told Breitbart Texas, in reference to the facility. According to Chris Cabrera, a Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Agent, there are already cases of chicken pox, MRSA staph infection, and various viruses in the complex. “There's been an outbreak of scabies that's been going on for the past month,” Cabrera told ABC 15. The problem seems to stem from the facilities' inability to properly screen for disease and ineffective methods of quarantining those who are visibly ill. "What level of medical screening, if any, is being done is unknown. What the medical testing shows is likely not being shared with the agents,” Taylor told Breibart Texas. There are holding areas available to quarantine the ill, but only a piece of caution tape separates this section of the facility from the section housing non-sick children, ABC 15 reported. Agents are worried that the diseases seen in the facilities will eventually spread to other areas of the U.S. “Just the fact we are exposed to it, and so is everyone here in south Texas, it's a great concern to us,” Garcia explained. In a facility in Nogales, Ariz., children have made complaints that the food they are provided has caused many to fall ill. "This morning they switched to burritos, but they complained the eggs were cold. They couldn't eat them and even made them sick. They complained they had a burrito but had to throw it in the trash," Tony Banegas, consul of Honduras to Arizona told KPHO. In the facility, which houses a 16-month-baby and a pregnant 16-year-old girl, children can be seen wearing masks and complaining of chest pains, KPHO reported...more

Ex-border agents: Immigrant flood 'orchestrated'

An organization of former Border Patrol agents Wednesday charged that the federal government, under the administration of President Obama, is deliberately arranging for a flood of immigrant children to arrive in America for political purposes. “This is not a humanitarian crisis. It is a predictable, orchestrated and contrived assault on the compassionate side of Americans by her political leaders that knowingly puts minor illegal alien children at risk for purely political purposes,” said the statement released by the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers. “Certainly, we are not gullible enough to believe that thousands of unaccompanied minor Central American children came to America without the encouragement, aid and assistance of the United States government,” the officers said. “Anyone that has taken two six- to seven-year-old children to an amusement park can only imagine the problems associated with bringing thousands of unaccompanied children that age up through Mexico and into the United States.” Republicans are blaming Obama’s immigration policies for enticing the illegals, particularly the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program launched in 2012, which recently was renewed. More than 33,000 have been caught in Texas alone over the last eight months, the report said, overwhelming Border Patrol capabilities. A federal judge even concluded the White House “has simply chosen not to enforce … border security laws.”...more

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Gila Forest employee found dead alongside his horse

U.S. Forest Service officials on Tuesday confirmed the death of a Gila National Forest employee whose body was found Sunday morning next to his dead horse along a trail in the national forest. John Kavchar, 64, a resident of Silver City, was riding out from the Signal Peak tower after his lookout shift ended about 7 p.m. Saturday. It was believed that he had gone for a horseback ride before returning to a trailer he stayed in while working in the forest, said Gila National Forest supervisor Kelly Russell. When he didn’t report for work Sunday, a search for him was initiated by Forest Service colleagues and State Police search and rescue personnel, Russell said. Kavchar and his horse were both found dead along the trail, according to State Police Sgt. Damyan Brown. The ground in the area was loose, unstable and charred due to the recent 5,500-acre Signal Fire north of Silver City. It appeared the horse lost its footing and fell, pinning Kavchar against a tree and causing him to die from related blunt force injuries, Brown said. It was not clear what the horse had died from, he added.  Source

From doomsday stashes to Bundy -- all in a day's work for BLM cops

 BLM law enforcement has been receiving national attention, much of it negative.  What BLM needs is a puff piece that tells all the good and essential things they do.  E&E reporter Phil Taylor obliges with this laudatory account of BLM law enforcement.  Doesn't hurt that its appropriation time too.

The Bureau of Land Management's standoff with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and an armed militia was a dangerous, high-stakes confrontation, but BLM is no stranger to risky business in a still-wild West.
The agency handles booby-trapped marijuana farms, drug smugglers, archaeological thieves, vandals and arsonists. On the front lines are 225 or so law enforcement rangers and 70 special agents who protect people and natural resources on 250 million acres of public lands. That works out to more than 1 million acres per ranger. Some of the strangest entries in BLM's law enforcement files involve survivalist weapons caches, burro killers, copper wire thieves and raiders of compacted-sandstone balls called Moqui marbles.
"I can't think of another organization that has such an expansive land management responsibility," said Dan Fowler, division chief for BLM's $55 million law enforcement program. "This is not your routine assault. It's not your routine white-collar crime." Many had never heard of BLM law enforcement officers until this spring's high-profile, but failed, roundup of Bundy's hundreds of cattle from public lands northeast of Las Vegas. Operations like the Bundy roundup are supposed to be routine -- BLM impounds livestock an average of two or three times a year -- but April's operation nearly turned violent as BLM, the nation's largest landlord, was seen by anti-federal protesters as symbols of an overbearing government. In fiscal 2013 alone, BLM law enforcement personnel responded to 47,644 incidents, including 468 thefts, more than 5,000 off-highway vehicle violations, 195 counts of trespassing and 28 assaults on government employees, according to agency data. They also seized 12,355 pounds of processed marijuana and 195,417 marijuana plants from BLM lands...more

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Rare Alaskan Wolf Threatened by Old-growth Logging of Tongass National Forest

This press release is a good example of why the enviros don't want the wolf delisted.  Its not about the wolves, but  land use this instance stopping timber harvests.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace and The Boat Company sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today for delaying Endangered Species Act protection for the Alexander Archipelago wolf, a rare subspecies of gray wolf found only in the old-growth forests of southeast Alaska. In August 2011 the groups filed a petition to protect the wolves, which are at risk of extinction because of the U.S. Forest Service’s unsustainable logging and road-building practices in the Tongass National Forest. The Fish and Wildlife Service in April made an initial finding that listing the Alexander Archipelago wolf may be warranted. But the agency is already a year and a half late in making its final decision on the listing, which was legally required 12 months after the petition was filed. “The Forest Service is pumping out decisions on big Tongass timber sales as fast as it can, throughout wolf territory on the Tongass National Forest,” said Greenpeace forest campaigner Larry Edwards. “Decisions on five major timber projects are planned through next summer, on five of the region’s larger islands. That will be for about 10,000 acres of logging in old-growth forest, in places where wolf habitat has already been clobbered.” Heavily reliant on old-growth forests, Alexander Archipelago wolves den in the root systems of very large trees and hunt mostly Sitka black-tailed deer, which are themselves dependent on high-quality, old-growth forests, especially for winter survival. A long history of clear-cut logging on the Tongass and private and state-owned lands has devastated much of the wolf’s habitat on the islands of southeast Alaska...more

Obama: Stealing America one national monument at a time


Thanks to the EPA’s announcement of the new C02 regulations and the Bergdahl prisoner swap, excessive executive power’s been in news cycle for the past week. Yet, just a couple of weeks earlier, another story of executive overreach got little coverage and the affected allies stood by the President’s side as he signed an order creating, what the Washington Post called: “the largest national monument of the Obama presidency so far.”

After years of heated local debate and despite polling that shows the people are not behind the president, on May 21, Obama declared the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region of New Mexico, nearly 500,000 acres, a national monument—his eleventh such designation “so far.”

Ranchers and off-road vehicle users have opposed the large-scale monument. The LCSN states: “In particular, ranchers have been concerned about impacts to their grazing allotments on public lands in the wake of the new monument.”

The Las Cruces Sun-News (LCSN) reports: “Republican Rep. Steve Pearce, whose congressional district covers the region, issued a statement taking issue with Obama’s use of the 1906 U.S. Antiquities Act, saying monuments created under it are supposed to cover only the ‘smallest area compatible’ with the designation. He contended the approval ‘flies in the face of the democratic process.’” Pearce’s statement says: “This single action has erased six years of work undertaken by Doña Ana County ranchers, business owners, conservationists, sportsmen officials and myself to develop a collaborative plan for the Organ Mountains that would have preserved the natural resource and still provided future economic opportunities.”

The law Pearce is referencing is known as the Antiquities Act, signed into law by President Roosevelt in 1906. The Act for the Preservation of Antiquities limited Presidential authority for National Monument designations to Federal Government-owned lands and to, as Pearce referenced, “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects protected.” The Antiquities Act also authorized “relinquishment” of lands owned privately, authorizing the Federal Government to take land. The Constitution’s Fifth Amendment requires owners be compensated by the rest of us taxpayers. But fair market value can change dramatically when a policy change triggered by laws such as the Antiquities Act modifies the broad multiple use category for large segments of the federal estate to limited and recreational use.

While the Federal Government owns much of National Monument land, private, tribal and state lands are often enclosed inside new designations. Essentially, an Antiquities Act presidential proclamation transfers valuable “multiple use” land into a restricted use category as management plans can disallow historical use.
History shows that in cases where the Antiquities Act has been used—whether for a National Conservation Area, a National Park, or a National Monument—mining claims were extinguished, homes have been torn down, communities have been obliterated, and working landscapes been destroyed.

Analysts study links between Bunkerville standoff, extremists and Las Vegas cop killers

No one knows exactly what triggered Jerad and Amanda Miller’s weekend shooting rampage that left two Las Vegas police officers, a Wal-Mart shopper and themselves dead. But the couple acted out anti-government leanings in a horrific way in the aftermath of what is perceived as a victory within right wing extremist circles — the April 12 armed showdown in Bunkerville that forced the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to stop removing rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle from federal land. “I think you could say the Millers, doing what they did, came in an environment that was emboldened because of the success in Bunkerville,” said Ryan Lenz, a senior writer for the anti-racist Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama. “They were staring down the barrel of a gun, and they got the federal government to suspend the rule of law. The next thing you know you have a young couple in Las Vegas shooting law enforcement officers and putting on their dead bodies symbols of the patriot movement and saying ‘this is a revolution.’” Militia groups, sovereign citizens and tax protesters, who all share anti-government beliefs, make up the patriot movement across the U.S. Lenz, who was in Bunkerville as a Poverty Law Center observer, said the standoff has become “without a doubt” a major moment in the history of the anti-government extremist movement. “There were hundreds of heavily armed patriots who decided they were going to stand against the federal government,” he said. “They were ready to fire if need be.” The FBI has since launched a criminal investigation into threats made against federal and local law enforcement officers during the standoff. Mark Pitcavage, a top Anti-Defamation League researcher, said he doesn’t consider what happened in Bunkerville a total victory for the anti-government extremists. Not long after the standoff racist remarks made by Bundy became public, tarnishing his position. Until then, a broad range of supporters had rallied to his cause, including mainstream conservative politicians and a Fox News television anchor. And a San Antonio man said to have ties to the sovereign citizens movement tried to help Bundy in court, but a federal judge ordered him to stop filing frivolous court papers. Sovereign citizens have declared themselves above the government’s jurisdiction and not obligated to pay taxes. Occasionally, they commit acts of violence, but they are better known for clogging the courts with nonsensical documents. Lenz and Pitcavage agree Bundy’s front-line supporters were drawn from the loose-knit patriot movement...more

Monument status offers no environmental benefit


Idahoans should ask President Barack Obama to reject the proposal by environmental activists to create the Boulder-White Clouds National Monument by presidential proclamation.

As proposed, the monument would include 592,000 acres of federal land in Central Idaho, including an area east of the East Fork of the Salmon River, aka Jerry Peak Highlands, and a region west of the East Fork and within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, aka Boulder-White Clouds.

The ecology of the 280,000-acre Boulder-White Clouds region is not at risk and in all likelihood never will be. The U.S. Forest Service protects the area by the rigorous application of Public Law 92-400 that created the Sawtooth NRA in 1972, and much of the land is managed as de facto Wilderness. I speak from firsthand experience. I have lived on the western edge of the proposed monument for 38 years and as the former president and executive director of the nonprofit Sawtooth Society, founded in 1997 to protect the Sawtooth NRA, I spent nearly every waking hour for 12 years working with the Forest Service and area stakeholders to ensure that the streams, lakes, meadows, mountains, and fish and wildlife are safeguarded. Today, the area is universally considered to be a national treasure and Idaho crown jewel.

The 312,000-acre Jerry Peak Highlands, while not enjoying the special status as the area within the Sawtooth NRA, is nonetheless well-protected by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, and much of it is also managed as de facto Wilderness. The area is remote and lacks scenic destinations like alpine lakes and glaciated peaks. As a result, the area receives little use except for a few souls like me who saddle up and experience its stark beauty of sagebrush, rock and scattered timber from the back of a horse.

Monument supporters offer glittering generalities about "protecting the areas for generations to come" and creating "Wilderness-like qualities," but they know that real, permanent Wilderness can only be created by Congress. Especially troubling, proponents have failed to answer two fundamental questions: First, what are the specific threats to the area that require protection? Second, which of these threats cannot be protected against under existing laws and regulations? They cannot and will not answer these questions because the answer to both is "none."

Which begs the question, why promote a Boulder-White Clouds National Monument if there is no added environmental benefit? I suspect that those pushing the monument - the Idaho Conservation League and Wilderness Society, in particular - feel pressure to demonstrate to donors that they can accomplish something after having failed to get Wilderness legislation enacted for the areas - even if the "something" is merely symbolic. As the former head of a conservation organization, I understand their desire to satisfy their donors, but they must not be allowed to do so at the expense of the Boulder-White Clouds and Jerry Peak Highlands and those who live, work and recreate there.

Read more here:

American ranching at risk

In the United States, a person is innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof is on the accuser. This is known as presumption of innocence. But ... what if the reverse were true? What if everything you’ve worked for your entire life, all your parents and grandparents had worked for, your retirement, savings, assets, home and children’s future could vanish at the whim of a government official’s decision based only on his own findings and opinion? Now the burden of proof is on you. A presumption of guilt ensues.

One might think this could not happen in America. Wrong. This is exactly what happens to many ranchers grazing livestock on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. In this bureaucratic system, one person’s decision can destroy lives.

A district manager for the BLM has the power with a stroke of the pen to take everything a rancher has by closing a grazing allotment to all livestock. He can do this without accountability, acknowledgment of private property rights, or unbiased third party review prior to his decision.

The burden of proof to reopen the grazing allotment falls on the shoulders of the rancher who might exhaust his finances in lengthy court battles against an opponent with infinite resources and limitless spending capabilities thanks to your tax-payer dollars. Meanwhile, the rancher must sell off his cattle as his grazing land has become inaccessible. He is forced to go out of business and faces financial ruin...

Nonetheless, BLM policies and ineffective practices continue to wreak havoc on those ideals. Along with removal of cattle from rangeland and grazing allotment closures, these practices include BLM’s continued failure to meet their own standards for wild horse population numbers and management. In addition, propaganda from misinformed environmental and animal rights groups, wild horse advocates, and the Endangered Species Act continue to cause financial hardship, put ranchers out of business, and destroy hard-working American families...

Actions such as allotment closures devastate ranching families with generations of experience. The Nevada ranching heritage of my children proudly spans six generations on both sides of the family, even ranching on the same mountain range on their father’s side. This is not profound or unusual in any way. In fact, generational ranching is the norm throughout the industry. For the permittees in the Battle Mountain area, it is no different.

Many ranchers today have college degrees. More importantly, they have generations of experience to back their management decisions. They are experts in caring for the land and effectively managing their livestock to best maintain the health of the range. These people have earned respect for their knowledge and effective land use practices.


"An election is nothing more than the advanced auction of stolen goods."
-- Ambrose Bierce
(1842-1914) Humorist

Government looking to remove domestic grazing allotments

Letters seeking signatures are circulating in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives regarding efforts by the Forest Service (FS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to remove domestic sheep from federal grazing allotments. The letters are addressed to Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. Half of all domestic sheep in the United States graze on federal lands at least part of the time. The FS and BLM are systematically removing domestic sheep from grazing allotments in the name of bighorn sheep management despite the fact there are reasonable solutions to accommodate sheep ranches. In Idaho, the FS removed 70% of domestic sheep from the Payette National Forest and one ranch is now out of business and two others reduced their sheep numbers drastically. Only 10% of FS allotments and 3% of BLM allotments are actually within occupied bighorn habitat however recent documents indicate the agencies are expanding the Payette analogy beyond that occupied territory to vast additional areas through the West. Such expansion of removing sheep grazing would impact fully 23% of the nation’s sheep production and therefore jeopardize lamb and wool companies used by all sheep producers...more

If it's wet, the EPA wants to regulate it


President Obama's shameful attacks on his fellow citizens are piling up: his “War on Coal” (a new EPA “climate” rule to destroy the coal industry) and his “War on Ranching” (a half-million-acre “national monument” smothering New Mexico ranchers), have now been topped by his “War on Everybody Else.”

By that I mean Obama’s outrageous proposed rule titled “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act” which would remove “navigable” from American water law and redefine nearly everything wet as “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS — and potentially subject us all to permits and fines.

That abomination is equivalent to invasion by hostile troops out to seize the jurisdictions of all 50 states. WOTUS gives untrustworthy federal bureaucrats custody of every watershed, creates crushing new power to coerce all who keep America going and offers no benefit to the victimized and demoralized tax-paying public.

If that sounds overly dramatic, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Wednesday hearing titled “Potential Impacts of Proposed Changes to the Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Rule” promises to make it seem like an understatement.

Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, chairman of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, is set to convene that hearing with witnesses from six affected sectors -- state and county governments, water and flood managers, agriculture and construction -- and two Obama appointees, the Environmental Protection Agency's Robert W. Perciasepe and Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy (for the Corps of Engineers).

I asked Gibbs what effect the Obama administration’s WOTUS proposal would have on the economy and job creation. He told me, “The rule would significantly expand federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act to potentially include all waters and wet areas. It would just create additional red tape when states are already capable of fulfilling the role of water management.

“In my view this is a power grab, nothing more,” Gibbs said.

The evidence supports Gibbs. The EPA has been pushing its “any hydrological connection” theory of jurisdiction for more than a decade and getting slapped down by the U.S. Supreme Court -- and keeps grabbing anyway.

In 2001, the Supreme Court in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rejected regulation of “isolated waters” because the waters lacked a “significant nexus to navigable waters.” Not to be stopped by a mere Supreme Court decision, the EPA began regulating any water “connected” to navigable waters, including ephemeral streams, ditches, drains, “relatively permanent” waters — and nearby wet areas. Grab, grab, grab.

In 2006, the justices in Rapanos v. United States rejected EPA’s assertion of jurisdiction over those “connected” waters as overly broad. So the EPA’s Office of Research and Development paid some willing scientists to search anything in the scientific literature that might be a “significant nexus,” but couldn’t find enough in the water, so they changed the rules to include “consideration of ecologic factors,” i.e., any living thing on dry ground that needs water. That pretty much covers every acre of the United States. Grab, grab, grab.

Where's the beef: NM herd sizes down 40 percent

These days, being a rancher isn’t easy. It’s hard work and often doesn’t pay off, which is why more and more young adults are leaving the industry. In New Mexico, those ranchers are getting older and retiring, forced to close their gates for good when their kids don’t want to keep family farms alive. Kids who went to a Ranch Camp at the Valles Caldera all grew up on ranches and were raised by ranchers. They’re at the camp to learn about the industry and decide whether to carry on the torch. Ranchers say if the industry continues on the path it's on, the supply of meat is going to go way down, and that could mean a high price of meat for consumers nationwide. Those ranchers also said agriculture overall is a large economic player in New Mexico, which benefits everybody. The New Mexico Beef Council said the recent drought means there isn’t enough grass to feed the cattle, and herd sizes are down 40 percent.

The video report at KOAT-TV has more details, including interviews.

New scam targets farmers and ranchers

A new scam is targeting farmers and ranchers exclusively according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA warns scammers are trying to take advantage of those in the agriculture industry who are in need of federal financial assistance. It all starts over the phone with scam artists impersonating farm loan service representatives from Washington, D.C. They tell clients who have applied for federal loans that the USDA's Farm Service Agency owes them disaster assistance funds. But in order to receive the loan, the scammers say they need their checking account or a credit card number to make the transfer. The Farm Service Agency says they only collect customer's financial information at their physical office and never over the phone. "We deal with federal farm benefits, so as people come into our office and apply for assistance, there is some financial information that we might request, such as direct deposit. That's filed under lock and key at all times and protected. It doesn't go anywhere but here," said Beth Batenhorst with the Potter County Farm Service Agency. The Farm Service Agency advises to never give out financial information over the phone to anyone who claims to be a representative of their agency...more

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gila National Forest to restrict motorized travel

The Gila National Forest plans to generally prohibit motorized cross-country travel within the forest in southwestern New Mexico. According to forest officials, the plan chosen by Forest Supervisor Kelly Russell designates a system of roads, trails, and other areas for motorized vehicle use. The forest says the plan chosen by Kelly keeps 96 percent of non-wilderness land within two miles of a road and 99 percent within three miles. Under the plan, approximately 3,300 miles of road are kept open for vehicle use while just over 900 miles of road are closed for non-emergency uses. Most closed roads are a mile long or shorter. There are special provisions for various users, including hunters, campers and firewood cutters. The forest says publication of a legal notice starts a 45-day appeal period. AP

Monarch butterflies threatened by GM crops in U.S., study says

A sweeping Canadian-led study of environmental influences on monarch butterflies has thrown into sharp focus what appears to be the most crucial factor affecting the migrating insect’s survival: loss of milkweed in the U.S. Midwest due to a change in farming practices. Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed plants every spring and summer as successive generations migrate northward from Mexico as far as Canada. At the end of the breeding season a single “super generation” heads back south, travelling thousands of kilometres so that the cycle can begin anew. The evidence points to the U.S. corn belt, where increased cultivation of genetically modified corn and soybean crops comes with a devastating side effect for milkweed. When GM crops are planted, fields are sprayed with herbicides to wipe out any wild plants that don`t share the crops’ genetically engineered protection. In the past, herbicides would typically be applied early in the growing season, when milkweed seeds are still underground. With GM crops, the spraying happens later, and any milkweed growing adjacent to the crops is hit hard...more

Internal Memo Reveals High-Level Dissent on Border Surge Policies

A draft memo from a top Border Patrol official expresses alarm that the administration's handling of the border surge in south Texas is inviting more illegal crossings and overwhelming the DHS agencies. The memo calls for the administration to stop releasing illegal crossers into the United States and instead impose harsher "consequences" on illegal crossers. The document, attributed to Ronald D. Vitiello, deputy chief of the Border Patrol, includes revised estimates from the DHS statistics office on the size of the surge of unaccompanied minors. At the end of May, DHS projected that in FY 2014, the Border Patrol would catch more than 90,000 minors crossing without parents (up from the previous estimate of 74,000). DHS projects that this surge will increase still further in 2015, to 142,000 (up from the previous projection of 114,000). Although the administration has discussed the surge almost exclusively in terms of an influx of children travelling alone, there are also reports that in fact unaccompanied minors represent only about one-third of the flow. Again today in a press conference call, senior administration officials claimed to have no figures available on the number of family units who have been apprehended. The administration has stated that most of the unaccompanied children and families are from Central America. Unlike the illegal crossers who are apprehended along other parts of the southwest border, who are either returned quickly or detained for a short time to face charges under the "consequences delivery" strategy, the Central American crossers are being sheltered for a time by the U.S. government, and then released into the country to await deportation proceedings at some future time. According to the memo, only 3 percent of the non-Mexicans apprehended are being returned to their home country. One reason given is because certain Central American countries will not allow repatriation flights on weekends. Vitiello warns in his memo that the government's failure to penalize illegal crossers simply provides an incentive for even more people to try. He writes that the current practice of releasing Central American families, asylum applicants, and non-criminals, and reuniting unaccompanied minors with family members in the United States will result in increases in new crossing attempts and recidivists. "To stem the flow", he writes, "adequate consequences must be delivered for illegal entry into the United States and for facilitating human smuggling. ... These consequences must be delivered both at the border and within the interior." He suggests that ICE expand its (meager) efforts to investigate smuggling organizations...more

U.S. to open third military base to illegal child immigrants

Senior administration officials, who asked not to be identified, told reporters that an Army base at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, will initially hold 600 "unaccompanied minors" and eventually will be able to accommodate up to 1,200. In recent weeks, the Obama administration has opened similar emergency shelters at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and Naval Base Ventura County in Southern California. The moves come amid a tidal wave of children trying to slip into the United States, largely from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, often to join a parent already here...more

Newly recognized tribe sues to reopen casino in New Mexico

The Fort Sill Apache tribe, which successfully sued Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration last spring to obtain recognition in New Mexico, is going back to court to fight for another long-standing cause. The tribe filed suit Monday against the National Indian Gaming Commission in hopes of reopening its casino in Southern New Mexico. In 2009, the gaming commission chairman ruled that the tribe was illegally running bingo games at its Apache Homelands Casino. Tribal Chairman Jeff Haozous said the finding was arbitrary, but the Fort Sill Apaches shuttered their casino because the commission threatened them with fines of up to $25,000 a day. The Fort Sill Apaches said the National Indian Gaming Commission was supposed to complete the review in 2009 but never did. “We are asking the court to do what the NIGC promised to do five years ago — review our case in a reasonable amount of time,” Haozous said. Fort Sill Apaches are successors of the Chiricahua and Warm Springs Apache tribes, which warred with the U.S. Army when New Mexico was still a territory. In 1886, after Geronimo and other tribal leaders surrendered, the Apaches were forcibly removed from their homeland in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. The American government then held them as prisoners of war in Alabama, Florida and Oklahoma. Chiricahua and Warm Springs Apaches later organized as the Fort Sill Apache Tribe...more

Inside a Chinese cockroach farm - video

The correct way to eat a cockroach, at least in this corner of northern China, is to fry it not once but twice in a wok of smoking hot oil. The cockroach, whose innards resemble cottage cheese, has an earthy taste, with a slight twinge of ammonia. But they have become popular in China not for their taste, but for their medicinal benefits. "They really are a miracle drug," said Liu Yusheng, a professor at the Shandong Agricultural university and the head of Shandong province's Insect Association. "They can cure a number of ailments and they work much faster than other medicine." For a decade, Mr Wang farmed another type of insect, Eupolyphaga Sinensis, which is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. But in the past two years, the demand for cockroaches has soared, and Mr Wang has switched his entire production to Periplaneta americana, or the American cockroach, a copper-coloured insect that grows to just over an inch and a half. "These are not the same ones you see in your home, those are German cockroaches," he said. "There are hundreds of species of cockroaches, but only this one has any medicinal value. It is native to Guangdong province." Inside his bunkers are hundreds of nests, bolted together from concrete roof tiles, that line the shelves of dark corridors. The doorways are lined with mesh, but some cockroaches have clustered on the low ceilings overhead and the air is heavy with a fetid stink. "That is just how they smell," Mr Wang shrugged. Last month was harvest time across Shandong. As farmers elsewhere in the province picked apples and cut corn, Mr Wang reaped huge sackfuls of roaches...more

Here is the video:

Interior Secretary Jewell connects Las Vegas shooting to Bundy ranch

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Monday highlighted news reports that said two apparent white supremacists who shot and killed three people in Las Vegas on Sunday may have joined militiamen from around the country at Cliven Bundy’s ranch earlier this year. Asked by reporters at the Western Governors Association’s annual meeting here about the Interior Department’s approach to Bundy, Jewell said two police officers in Las Vegas were “gunned down by people that news reports say were also at the Bundy ranch.” The Millers went to Bundy’s ranch, about 80 miles outside of Las Vegas, in April, they said on social media sites. But the militiamen shunned the couple because Jerad Miller had prior felony convictions in Washington State. Jerad Miller’s last note, posted on a social media site about seven hours before the shooting, read: “The dawn of a new day. May all our coming sacrifice be worth it.” Bundy called in militiamen after Bureau of Land Management officials and law enforcement officers began rounding up Bundy’s cattle on April 5, under court order...more

 Which led to this spoof story: Oh Look Some Bundy Ranchers Did A Vegas Spree Killing, For Freedom

Govt hampers management

In the US on the Nevada/Idaho border, Ron Cerri and his family run about 500 Angus and Hereford breeders on their property Rebel Creek Ranch in a region known as the Great Basin. Mr Cerri said drought had been a real issue for the past three years, exacerbated by wild fires on the public lands. "In 2012 we had some very bad fires that took out something like a million acres (400,000ha) of pasture," Mr Cerri said. "Then we entered this drought cycle with far less pasture than we would have expected." Federal public lands represent about 87 per cent of Nevada's cattle country. The state runs about 420,000 cattle. Mr Cerri is also chairman of the Nevada Cattleman's Association's federal public lands committee that represents the state's 663 ranchers who have title over public land. He said the fires had been made worse by a tall, fast growing, invasive weed called cheat grass. "We need the government to understand that grazing this land will help control these wild fires," he said. "Keeping cattle off public lands may attract votes in the eastern states, but it is not the best way to manage these lands for either the federal government or the ranchers who rely on this pasture for their cattle." Under a new classification system developed by the US Department of Agriculture, the current drought in Nevada has been deemed a category D2. It means that ranchers must reduce the grazing pressure on public lands by 60pc. Those who fail to comply will be banned from grazing on that country for two years, or for 12 months after the drought breaks...more

House GOP unveils energy spending bill

House Republicans proposed a $34 billion energy and water budget Monday that restores almost $1 billion in White House cuts from the Army Corps of Engineers and instead takes money from renewable energy programs prized by President Barack Obama. While many Democrats would agree that Obama went too far in in his cuts from the Corps, the tradeoff is a graphic illustration of the choices forced this summer by the strict spending caps agreed to last December. The $5.5 billion provided in the draft 62-page bill essentially freezes the Corps at its current 2014 funding levels. But the House GOP’s plan is still almost $960 million more than the president’s request, creating a hole that must be filled elsewhere. Part of this cost is covered by an extra $327 million allocated to the bill itself. But the biggest single piece comes at the expense of renewable energy programs...more

Note the R's want to spend as much as Obama, actually almost a $billion more, just in different places.  They just can't cut spending...what a shame.

NM Meadow Jumping Mouse Officially an Endangered Species

The New Mexico meadow jumping mouse is now officially an endangered species, and conservation groups are urging government agencies to do as much as possible to protect the nearly extinct animal. The mouse's primary habitat is along streams in central New Mexico, eastern Arizona, and southern Colorado, all areas which are also used for cattle grazing. According to Jay Lininger, senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, the greatest threat to the mouse's habitat is from cattle grazing, though he adds the two species can co-exist on the public lands where the mouse lives and the cattle water. "There's absolutely no reason why livestock have to water inside riparian areas occupied by the jumping mouse, where cows can literally drive the mice extinct," says Lininger. "Water can be piped to drinkers outside of the riparian habitat, and it could be a win-win for both the mice and the ranchers."...more

Except our friends in the Forest Service will build a pipe fence to keep cattle out, but won't "pipe" water to cattle.

Enviros ask state to limit killing of wolves

Conservation groups are petitioning the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to limit the killing of wolves in response to livestock deaths. The groups filed their petition late last Friday, asking the state to require ranchers to exhaust nonlethal options to prevent their livestock from being preyed on by wolves before killing the predators. The group contends the state killed seven wolves in the Wedge Pack in 2012 despite the affected rancher taking little nonlethal actions. The groups say that rancher and sports-hunting groups have refused to consider their proposals, and that the state is moving forward with less protective wolf-control rules. The groups filing the petition include the Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands, Western Environmental Law Center, Gifford Pinchot Task Force, The Lands Council, Wildlands Network, Kettle Range Conservation Group and the Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club.  AP

Idaho fights proposed plant listing

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is again proposing to list a plant found only in southwestern Idaho as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. And the state of Idaho is continuing to fight a federal listing. Idaho ranchers say listing slickspot peppergrass as a threatened species could cause significant harm to many ranchers in southwestern Idaho because grazing could be restricted in areas where the plant's habitat is found. "It will put some cattle ranchers out of business," said Lt. Gov. Brad Little, a rancher. Just the possibility of an ESA listing is already having an impact. Little gave back Bureau of Land Management grazing allotments he had on the edge of the plant's habitat "because I didn't want to be anywhere around it." He also fenced off private land he owns for the same reason. Chief U.S. Magistrate Candy Dale ruled in 2012 that the USFWS erred when it listed the plant as a threatened species in 2009. Dale agreed with the state of Idaho that the agency didn't properly define when in the foreseeable future the plant was likely to become threatened...more

Three Ways to Reform the Public Lands Grazing Program

1. Raise the grazing fee. It should be abundantly clear that even if Mr. Bundy had paid up, he wouldn’t be paying enough for the privilege to graze on public lands. At $1.35 per month per cow/calf pair, this small fee pays for the livestock “unit” to eat about 1000 pounds of “forage,” also known as wildflowers, shrubs, grass, and wildlife habitat, drink about 30 gallons of water each day, and turn both into waste products that foul our creeks, our campgrounds, and our hiking trails. It’s a bargain for the rancher, but taxpayers subsidize the program upwards of $1.2 billion each decade...2.  Allow for grazing retirement throughout the West. When Clark County, Nevada sought to mitigate its impacts on desert tortoise habitat, buying conservation credit on the public lands around Gold Butte was one way of doing so. Clark County paid for the BLM grazing permits to be permanently retired, a win-win for the ranchers whose cows were increasingly in conflict with the native species. Mr. Bundy wasn’t entitled to avail himself of the payment since he wasn’t a legal permit holder in 1998, but had he been playing by the rules with the federal agency, there would have been no reason he couldn’t cash out on his cows. Voluntary grazing retirement allows ranchers to get out of the business and the grazed lands a chance to recover and improve as habitat for imperiled species. Conservation groups and private foundations will pay the ranchers, but the federal government needs to allow it on all public lands. This can be accomplished through legislative action, a simple mandate to allow for permanent retirement of relinquished permits. There are ranchers itching to go in many places throughout the west, and the pen-stroke of Congress would solve their woes. 3. End the permit renewal riders The federal agencies can’t keep up with processing grazing permits with complete environmental reviews and so Congress has been offering them a free pass to renew without review since 2004. This means thousands of permits are rubberstamped for ten-year terms without having their impacts even evaluated. Without any checks on the environmental impacts of livestock grazing, the damage to our natural and cultural resources is done long before the agencies notice...more

NSA sued for EPA records

A group of conservative and environmental organizations is suing the National Security Agency (NSA) in order to obtain records about top officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, top EPA staffers have repeatedly flouted federal recordkeeping laws by using their personal phones and email accounts for work business. The group has tried to obtain those communications under a Freedom of Information Act request, but was told that, for instance, thousands of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s text messages had been deleted and could not be retrieved. However, along with the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic and the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, the conservative group claims that the NSA also has that data and has not been handing it over despite repeated requests. “Here there have been clear public admissions that the NSA has collected telephone and text message metadata, the very records requesters have sought,” the groups said in a lawsuit filed on Monday. The three organization first asked the NSA for information about calls and text messages to or from McCarthy and former EPA chief Lisa Jackson last year. In return, they got a message from the NSA saying that the spy agency “cannot acknowledge the existence or non-existence of such information,” since it is classified...more

Reid trades Searchlight for Las Vegas

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has sold his home and property in the tiny town of Searchlight, Nev., for $1.7 million to move to Las Vegas. Reid announced the move in a three-minute video posted Monday on his website. He’ll be moving closer to his family but away from his birthplace and a cornerstone of his political narrative. A gold mining company, Nevada Milling and Mining, purchased the home, about 110 acres of surrounding land, water and mineral rights, and eight mining claims from Reid. He also sold two mining claims in the town to American Capital Energy. Reid, 74, tamped down speculation about what the sale means for his political future. In the video, he said the move would make his 2016 reelection bid easier. “I’ve got a reelection coming up, and I’ve been through a few elections commuting from Searchlight, and it is hard. So this will make that part of it much easier,” he said. Reid plans to buy a home in the Las Vegas area, 60 miles away, in order to be closer to his four children and 16 grandchildren who live in the area...more

As Price Of Hay Doubles, California Ranchers Forced To Sell Off Cattle During Drought

The California drought has forced cattle ranchers, who rely heavily on rain to grow grass in their fields, to sell most of their cattle to out-of-state dealers. The only thing that gold and hay used to share was their color. But this year’s drought has both very valuable—the price of hay has doubled, forcing ranchers to take drastic measures just to stay in business. “We have had to reduce our livestock by 90 percent because of a lack of food,” said Stan Van Vleck with Van Vleck Ranch. The cattle rancher says he was forced to sell more than 1,000 cows in February, because so little rain had fallen. Without it, the fields didn’t grow. “It irrigates all the lands that are naturally irrigated by pumps or other ways,” he said. “And so when we didn’t have rain through most this year, for us there was no feed.” They had two choices: Buy hay that has nearly doubled in price to $230 a ton, or sell the cows...more

Monday, June 09, 2014

Feds Force Rancher to Bid Adieu to Red River Land?

Since 1803, there has been some dispute over the boundary line between Oklahoma and Texas, along the Red River. Years ago the courts decided that the boundary stood on the vegetation line, on the south side. But as the river has moved over time, it's caused a problem: Oklahoma says whenever the river moves south, Oklahoma picks up more land. But when it moves back north, the property boundary stays where it is. Texas disagrees - especially ranchers like Tommy Henderson who own land along the river. "The BLM has definitely had a change of personality in the last 30 years," he said. Henderson's family has raised cattle and cotton along the Red River for more than a hundred years. He bought the land from his aunt 30 years ago with a loan from the Federal Housing Administration. "They blessed the property - they inspected the property, a different government agency - they said it was fine, the deed was fine, the title was fine," he recalled. "Everything was good, and loaned the money to buy it with," he continued. "But then just five years later, I lost it in a court of law." A Land Grab? Using Oklahoma's definitions of "erosion," the federal government decided Henderson never actually owned 140 acres bordering the river. "This is the Oklahoma border marker right here," Henderson said. "We're a mile and a quarter away from the river." "They took a 140 acres out of 386, took a little over a third of this property," he continued. "And they come in and surveyed it and they said that this is BLM property. There was no compensation for the property." On top of that, he had to continue paying the mortgage. "I still had to pay back the lending institution because if I didn't, they'd come get everything else," Henderson told CBN News...more

Welcome to the feds.  This has been going on in the public lands states for decades.

War Gear Flows to Police Departments

Inside the municipal garage of this small lakefront city, parked next to the hefty orange snowplow, sits an even larger truck, this one painted in desert khaki. Weighing 30 tons and built to withstand land mines, the armored combat vehicle is one of hundreds showing up across the country, in police departments big and small. The 9-foot-tall armored truck was intended for an overseas battlefield. But as President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice. During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft. The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.”...more

Cloward-Piven at the border

John Hayward 

...Take a look at the humanitarian crisis on the southern border, which I wrote about two weeks ago.  It has since burst onto the front pages with some astonishing stories, including leaked photos of illegal alien children – many of them 12 years old and younger – “warehoused” in overcrowded facilities, where there are growing concerns about sanitation and disease.  CBS News in Houston writes of unaccompanied minors sleeping on plastic boards in a Nogales, Arizona warehouse after being flown in from south Texas.  According to some estimates, there are nearly a thousand children in that warehouse now.

There’s nothing complicated about what is happening here.  Barack Obama invited these people to send their children to the United States as refugees.  He’s already made illegal use of executive orders to gut the immigration system; he’s talking about doing it again, and the people of South and Central America can hear him just fine.  There have been anecdotal reports of a message being spread throughout Central American countries, by everything from word-of-mouth gossip to news media: “Go to America with your child, you won’t be turned away.”  (It will come as no surprise to learn that the Mexican government is not doing much to halt the train of amnesty-seekers headed for American soil.  On the contrary, corrupt Mexican officials are trying to get a cut of the profits from the refugee-smuggling trade.)

And it’s not just the President sending those signals, since there’s a vibrant bipartisan amnesty chorus in Congress.  Obama will only seize power to rewrite the laws if Congress doesn’t do it fast enough for his taste, or if he sees electoral advantage in taking matters into his own hands.

... This tidal wave of illegals is not an accident, and not entirely a result of conditions in Central America (which have deteriorated lately, but were already bad enough to inspire any sane person to seek a new life elsewhere.)  These people were summoned.  And now that they’re here, the system is collapsing beneath their weight.  In addition to the refugees flown to Arizona in the CBS News story above, the El Paso Times reports two planeloads of illegals arriving for processing.  ”The vast majority of individuals transferred were family units from Central America and Mexico with children,” according to an El Paso official.