Saturday, October 04, 2014

Enviromentalists Should Love, Love, Love Fracking

by Stephen Moore

President Barack Obama raised a lot of eyebrows when he declared in his United Nations climate change speech: “Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution by more than any other nation on Earth.”

That’s absolutely true. And it’s remarkable because we as a nation didn’t ratify the Kyoto Treaty, pass a carbon tax or enact Obama’s cap and trade agenda.

It’s all the more remarkable because Americans have been scolded nearly every day for being a major source of all these satanic gases that are allegedly burning up the planet. Instead, since 2005, our emissions are down by roughly 10 percent and almost twice that amount on a per capita basis. Not bad.
How did that happen? If you think the answer is that we’ve transitioned to green energy, you are completely wrong.

The game-changer for the U.S. has been the shale oil and gas revolution over the past six years brought about through new smart drilling technologies. The U.S. is now the largest natural gas producer in the world. And as America has produced more natural gas, we have shifted away from coal.
This, according to the Energy Information Administration, accounts for more than 60 percent of the carbon emission reductions in the United States. Obama never mentioned that.

Here’s the real stunner: if we want to reduce carbon emissions further, investing in natural gas is a far more efficient strategy than going all in for so-called “green renewable energy” sources.

Over the last seven years, the U.S. government has spent almost $70 billion in tax, regulatory and spending subsidies to the renewable energy sector. But wind and solar energy after this avalanche of government support account for only about three percent of electricity production.

By contrast, the shale gas explosion has been almost entirely devoid of subsidies–yet its output has exploded.

That’s great news for the environment because natural gas emits only about half the carbon as coal, even though coal is much cleaner than it once was.



If you grow okra, expect a police raid

A retired man was awoken to his property being invaded by a swarm of police officers — accompanied by drug-sniffing dogs and a police helicopter — interested in the plants in his garden. The early-morning raid occurred on October 1st, 2014, at the home of Dwane Perry. The first thing he remembers hearing was the whirring of the copter blades and strange men banging on his door. “I was scared actually, at first, because I didn’t know what was happening,” said Mr. Perry to WSB-TV. Agents from the Governor’s Task Force for drug suppression had apparently been trolling the skies over the area and observed plants on his property that they deemed suspicious. Based on that intel, a team of Broward County deputies trespassed on Mr. Perry’s land to harass and potentially arrest the retiree because of the contents of his garden. After confronting Mr. Perry, deputies sheepishly realized that the tree-growing plant was actually okra — not cannabis. It has five leaves instead of seven, and produces a vegetable that is popular in southern cooking. “Here I am, at home and retired and, you know, I do the right thing,” Mr. Perry explained. “Then they come to my house strapped with weapons for no reason. It ain’t right.”...more

NCBA vows to fight USDA plan to create 2nd beef checkoff program

The largest contractor of the Beef Checkoff Program, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), said today that U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s idea to reform the checkoff by creating another beef checkoff fund is dead on arrival with the grassroots organization. According to the 1985 Act, CBB, in coordination with the Beef Promotion Operating Committee, contracts with established national, non-profit, industry organizations to implement checkoff programs. For three years, a checkoff enhancement working group comprised of the industry stakeholders has met to discuss potential reform of the beef checkoff in order for it to meet the needs of today’s diverse cattle industry and make it more effective and efficient. Since that time, the group has not been able to reach a consensus. alling the process a “waste of time and money” and claiming “there is no willingness from key players within the group to allow real reforms to take place,” the National Farmers Union voted to leave the working group. At the same time, NFU passed a resolution calling for a series of changes to the 1985 Act, which would require congressional approval and a change to the 1985 Act. The final recommendation called for USDA to place the beef checkoff under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996 (1996 Act). Unlike the previous recommendations, the final action item proposed by NFU would simply require an act of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, as the 1996 Act allows the Secretary of Agriculture to write a rule for a new commodity checkoff program. During a September 30 meeting of the working group, including NFU despite its decision to withdraw, Secretary Vilsack announced that he is considering creating an additional beef checkoff that would fall under the 1996 Act. A move McCan says could jeopardize the entire national checkoff. McCan said NCBA sees this as the current administration taking executive action to achieve its agenda regardless of what the majority of the industry wants. “This is an unnecessary act that was announced to appease one group,” McCan says...more

Friday, October 03, 2014

Cowboy Express gallops into Utah to protest federal land managers

SALT LAKE CITY — A group of horseback riders drew stares, honks and a few handshakes and high-fives along Redwood Road Thursday, hooves clattering on pavement in a protest ride of federal land management policies. The Utah trek of the Grass March Cowboy Express hit Salt Lake City and continued east up Parleys Canyon, with Tooele County Commission Chairman Bruce Clegg and Utah Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, riding in tandem. With them they carried a mail pouch sporting a letter demanding the resignation of a BLM field office manager who ordered grazing reductions in Battle Mountain, Nevada, and petitions from rural Utah counties citing a long list of grievances on federal wild horse management, endangered species protections and land use policies. "It is not working," said Ivory, the sponsor of Utah's 2012 Transfer of Public Lands Act, which demands the federal government cede title to certain lands within Utah's borders. "We have a federal government that is so over-extended and over-indebted that it is restricting the access and diminishing the health and productivity of our federal lands, and something has got to change. What we are saying is that we be given the same treatment as states east of Colorado." A copy of Ivory's HB148, complete with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's signature, is being carried back to Washington, D.C., as well as petitions from Box Elder, Washington and Iron counties. The coast-to-coast ride began Sept. 26 in Bodega Bay, California, and is slated to end 2,800 miles and 20 days later at the doorstep of Congress...more

Grandpa Frank surprises Jenna with a horse

This happened yesterday...I surprised my granddaughter at the school bus.

Why a popular Nevada lands bill got held up in Congress

When Nevadans want to change how they use the land they walk on, they often need permission from Congress. That's a fact of life when the federal government owns about 85 percent of the state's land. Between 2009 and 2010, two Nevada communities pitched Congress to preserve a wilderness area and open another piece of federal land to mining. That mine would bring at least 1,000 jobs to a county with double-digit unemployment. Locals thought it would be an easy win. Instead, they got a lesson in why lands bills are so hard to move through a hyperpartisan Congress. After three and a half years and about eight committee hearings, the bill finally passed the U.S. House of Representatives in September. The Northern Nevada Land Conservation and Economic Development Act would create about 73,500 acres of protected wilderness in exchange for allowing 23,000 acres of federal land for economic development, including a copper mine. The biggest Nevada lands package in 16 years now awaits a Senate vote, and its future is still uncertain. "We didn't anticipate it would take this long or have this much resistance," said George Dini, the mayor of Yerington. Here's a look at how a bill that has the support of everyone in Nevada got caught up in a Congress that made it about something much bigger...more

With Dry Taps and Toilets, California Drought Turns Desperate

After a nine-hour day working at a citrus packing plant, her body covered in a sheen of fruit wax and dust, there is nothing Angelica Gallegos wants more than a hot shower, with steam to help clear her throat and lungs. “I can just picture it, that feeling of finally being clean — really refreshed and clean,” Ms. Gallegos, 37, said one recent evening. But she has not had running water for more than five months — nor is there any tap water in her near future — because of a punishing and relentless drought in California. In the Gallegos household and more than 500 others in Tulare County, residents cannot flush a toilet, fill a drinking glass, wash dishes or clothes, or even rinse their hands without reaching for a bottle or bucket. Unlike the Okies who came here fleeing the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the people now living on this parched land are stuck. “We don’t have the money to move, and who would buy this house without water?” said Ms. Gallegos, who grew up in the area and shares a tidy mobile home with her husband and two daughters. “When you wake up in the middle of the night sick to your stomach, you have to think about where the water bottle is before you can use the toilet.” Now in its third year, the state’s record-breaking drought is being felt in many ways: vanishing lakes and rivers, lost agricultural jobs, fallowed farmland, rising water bills, suburban yards gone brown. But nowhere is the situation as dire as in East Porterville, a small rural community in Tulare County where life’s daily routines have been completely upended by the drying of wells and, in turn, the disappearance of tap water...more

Dam dedicated in SW Colorado to store irrigation water for New Mexico

The traditional ribbon cutting Thursday officially brought on line the Long Hollow Reservoir, raising the hopes of irrigators for a more consistent supply of water. Already the reservoir, capacity 5,300 acre-feet, has seen a little accumulation of water from recent heavy rain funneled into it via Long Hollow Creek and Government Draw. “We released that water,” said Brice Lee, president of the La Plata Water Conservancy District, sponsors of the project. “But today we start storing.” The main purpose of the reservoir, named for the late landowner Bobby K. Taylor, whose ranch house sat scant yards from the toe of the dam, is the storage of water to meet contractual obligations with New Mexico. Colorado must share La Plata River water fifty-fifty with New Mexico. But the fickle nature of the river makes living up to requirements difficult. Now reservoir water can satisfy New Mexico demands, allowing Colorado irrigators more use of the La Plata River. The Long Hollow Reservoir will serve as a water bank, to be drawn on by New Mexico. The reserve allows Colorado irrigators to use La Plata River water that otherwise would go south ..more

Lawsuit: TSA Agents Opened Urn and Spilled Ashes Throughout Suitcase


Shannon Thomas of Cleveland, Ohio is suing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and twenty unnamed TSA agents for opening an urn containing his mother's ashes and spilling them throughout his suitcase.

Cleveland Scene magazine broke the news yesterday:
The incident occurred nearly two years ago when Thomas packed his bag with a "very heavy and sturdy" urn with a tightly screwed on top that held held his mother's ashes, and padded it in his bag "with his clothing to attempt to protect it." He checked it at Cleveland Hopkins, got a connecting flight in Washington D.C., and arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The plan was to "spread his mother's remains in the Caribbean Sea, as she had requested prior to passing away."
In San Juan, he noticed the TSA had inspected his bag along the way and that the ashes were spilled all throughout his suitcase. The TSA "negligently, carelessly, and recklessly replaced the lid of the urn, placed a bag inspection notice in Plaintiff's suitcase and sent the bag on its way. This action caused the urn to open and spilled the remains of Plaintiff's mother on the inside of Plaintiff's suitcase and on Plaintiff's personal effects."
Thomas charges that the agency's action "constitutes intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress" and "outrageous disturbance of human remains."  Also:
In the two years since it happened, Thomas says "No person speaking on behalf of the United States or TSA has ever issued an apology, explanation, or notification to [Thomas] aside from the bag search notice."

Thank you George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1307

At his last recording session on October 29, 1931 Earl Johnson & His Dixie Clodhoppers recorded Way Down In Georgia.  Johnson was the Georgia state fiddle champion in 1926.  Here's a short bio:

Earl Johnson was born in August 24, 1886 in Gwinnett County, Georgia.  He learned violin techniques under the tutelage of his father and a correspondence course and formed his first group with his brother and sister(guitar and banjo).  When both  his brother and sister died in 1923,  he played second fiddle with the then well known Fiddlin John Carson and his band the Virginia Reelers, and reportedly even played with the popular Georgia Yellow Hammers on occasion.  Eventually, he joined up with brilliant guitarists Byrd Moore and banjoist  Emmet Bankston to form his own group,  the Dixie Entertainers.  When Lee "Red" Henderson replaced Byrd Moore as the guitar player, the group became known as the Clodhoppers. They recorded some of the wildest and most exciting versions of standard breakdowns that have ever been released.  Later sessions employed his wife Lula Bell and guitarist Bill Henson.

Record-breaking monsoon season ends in Southwest

This year’s Southwest monsoon season will be remembered for unusually intense storms that brought months’ worth of rain in just one day. Some areas in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico received more rain in a day than in a typical season, the National Weather Service said. The rains caused flooding, sending water into homes and closing roads throughout the region. In New Mexico, metropolitan Albuquerque saw its 14th wettest monsoon on record. More than 5.6 inches of rain fell at the Albuquerque International Sunport, the National Weather Service said. A river flooded in Carlsbad last week, forcing the evacuation of about 110 homes. In September, a storm caused by remnants of Hurricane Odile led to the death of an oil field worker near Loving. The start of 2014 was extremely dry for the state. By July, however, with the arrival of the monsoon season, New Mexico saw above normal precipitation for the first time, which brought the yearly average statewide precipitation up to 80 percent of normal, according to the National Weather Service. The monsoon fizzled a bit in August, but helped bring the state’s average precipitation up to 82 percent of normal. September brought extremely wet weather to Southern New Mexico, but much less for central and northern portions of the state...more

Several NW grazing cases decided in federal court

Chief U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill has found that federal agencies did not violate the Endangered Species Act and jeopardize threatened bull trout by approving grazing in Idaho’s Little Lost River basin. In a separate decision, Winmill agreed with an environmental group, the Western Watersheds Project, that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management improperly renewed grazing permits overseen by its office in Burley, Idaho. Although he found the BLM violated federal environmental law in the latter case, the judge did not order grazing to cease on the allotments while the agency revises its plans. In Oregon, an environmental group failed to convince another federal judge to stop a fencing project on a grazing allotment in the southern part of the state. In the Little Lost River basin lawsuit, Western Watersheds Project claimed that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service insufficiently analyzed the impact of grazing and water withdrawals for livestock on bull trout. The group also claimed the agency approved inadequate mitigation measures for grazing on the two allotments, which total more than 100,000 acres of BLM and U.S. Forest Service land in Idaho. Winmill dismissed all these arguments, noting that conditions on the allotments have improved dramatically over the past decade. “Certainly there are mitigation measures that have failed,” he said. “But the record shows that the Forest Service and BLM are engaged in a serious and consistent effort to reduce grazing’s impact and recover the bull trout.” The judge was less generous in describing the BLM Burley field office’s management of four allotments that cover more than 75,000 acres in Idaho. In that case, Winmill agreed with the environmental group’s allegations that BLM had violated the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires federal agencies to study the environmental consequences of their decisions. The ruling found that BLM did not consider alternatives that would have reduced grazing levels or restricted the practice...more

Wind Farms Getting a Pass on Killing Endangered Bats?

Nothing strikes fear into developers and property owners more than a new critter on the federal list of endangered species. Case in point: The northern long-eared bat, found in 39 states. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service probably will place it on the list in April. The logging industry is worried. “The economic loss to the entire state of Michigan would be devastating, if timber harvesting were to be restricted to the winter months in their habitat area,” said Brenda Owen, executive director of the Michigan Association of Timbermen. “This is not a viable solution to the bat’s decline, and it’s never a solution that the Timbermen would stand by and let happen.” But the wind industry is not, even though wind turbines kill an estimated 600,000 or more bats a year, a University of Colorado study shows. That includes an unknown number of endangered northern long-eared bats...more

I wonder what would happen if it was the southwestern short-eared bat and the issue was grazing.

‘Stalk And Pounce’ Hunting Method Of Mountain Lions Dissected By UC Santa Cruz Scientists

Scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz say they now know much more about how Mountain Lions conserve energy to stalk, pounce and overpower their prey, thanks to the help of a wildlife tracking collar. The GPS device – known as the SMART Wildlife Collar – includes accelerometers that tell researchers “not just where an animal is but what it is doing and how much its activities “cost” in terms of energy expenditure,” says a release from UC Santa Cruz. “What’s really exciting is that we can now say, here’s the cost of being a mountain lion in the wild and what they need in terms of calories to live in this environment,” said study lead author Terrie Williams, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz. “Understanding the energetics of wild animals moving in complex environments is valuable information for developing better wildlife management plans.” Williams’ research team first studied the cats in captivity, using treadmills to monitor oxygen consumption at different speeds. The process of training the cougars to actually use the treadmill took about three years...more

Three years to train a cat to use a treadmill.  That "SMART Collar" certainly wasn't on these profs.  Somebody needs  to "stalk and pounce" on this project and defund the sucker.

Wyoming wolves still under federal protection

A federal judge has ruled that management of Wyoming’s wolf population will remain under federal control. “I am disappointed in Judge Berman Jackson’s ruling,” Wyoming Governor Matt Mead said in a press release Tuesday. Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson heard arguments on Sept. 30 on whether to reverse her earlier order placing gray wolves back under federal protection. Until Jackson’s original Sept. 23 ruling, in much of Wyoming wolves were classified as an unprotected predator species that could be shot on sight. Jackson’s decision centered around the fact that even though Wyoming promised to maintain 100 breeding pairs in an agreement with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, that number was considered “non-binding.” In her decision, the judge wrote that it was “arbitrary and capricious for the [US Fish and Wildlife] Service to rely on the state’s nonbinding promises to maintain a particular number of wolves when the availability of that specific numerical buffer was such a critical aspect of the delisting decision.” Jackson’s ruling hinged only on legal status of the state’s promise to keep alive 100 breeding wolf pairs, not on whether gray wolf populations had improved or on the fact that wolves could be shot on sight in most of the state...more

Yellow-billed cuckoo to be listed as threatened

A large bird known to nest in wetlands along the Santa Ana and Colorado rivers will be protected under the Endangered Species Act, federal wildlife officials announced Thursday. The western population of yellow-billed cuckoo will be listed as threatened with extinction because its habitats along rivers and other waterways has greatly declined in 10 western states, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The cuckoo is about the size of crow, standing as high as 10 inches. In fact, some have called it a “rain crow” because it is known to cluck shortly before rainfall. It’s carnivorous, dining on insects and the occasional frog or lizard, Anderson said. And it spends its winters in South America. The yellow-billed cuckoo was once abundant in the western United States, but its populations have dropped over decades because of the loss and damage to its wetland habitats, according to the wildlife service. Their nesting grounds have been grazed and converted to crop fields. These birds also have lost habitat through dam construction, river diversions, and the introduction of non-native plants, the service said. The listing will be official Nov. 3. The next steps will be to identify critical habitat areas for protection, and to develop a recovery plan, the service said in a press release....more

Thursday, October 02, 2014

US reroutes flights around Alaska beach in attempt to avoid walrus stampede

The plight of thousands of walruses forced to crowd on to an Alaska beach because of disappearing sea ice has set off an all-out response from the US government to avoid a catastrophic stampede. The Federal Aviation Authority has re-routed flights, and local communities have called on bush pilots to keep their distance in an effort to avoid setting off a panic that could see scores of walruses trampled to death, federal government scientists told reporters. Curiosity seekers and the media have also been asked to stay away. An estimated 35,000 walruses were spotted on the barrier island in north-western Alaska on 27 September by scientists on an aerial survey flight...more

Wolf hanging around homes and dogs to be captured and relocated

A female wolf that’s become too comfortable hanging around homes and domestic dogs near Ione will be captured and put in a Western Washington wildlife park, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said Wednesday. The capture, which is planned for this week, would be the first time wildlife officials put one of the state-listed endangered species into captivity as the wolves are reintroducing themselves into the state. The wolf had been captured and fitted with a radio collar in July 2013 and eventually found another female companion to form the Ruby Creek Pack. When biologists suspected the other wolf had been bred by a domestic dog that had joined them last winter, they captured the wolf, spayed it and turned it loose. That wolf was later killed in a vehicle collision, leaving the Ruby Creek wolf on her own again. She has generally stayed out of trouble, but has been seen playing with pet dogs, said Nate Pamplin, state wildlife program director. Biologists fear she will mate with a dog during the winter breeding season, he said...more

Nothing to crow about...

The first month of Utah’s new American crow hunt seems to have been quiet. "I’ve only heard of one [killed]," said Blair Stringham, migratory game bird coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. The bird was shot for depredation in a Roosevelt apple orchard. It is possible more crows were killed because hunters are not required to report successful outings. The birds are not likely to generate much post-hunt bragging. Stringham said he had heard of at least two groups that went on organized crow hunting trips — one on the eastern shores of the Great Salt Lake and the other in southeastern Utah. State wildlife managers argued the crow hunt was timely for several reasons: to create a new hunting opportunity; to provide an easier way to deal with crows raiding farms and orchards; and because 45 other states already allow it...more

HT:  The Outdoor Pressroom

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1306

On November 15, 1928 the Stripling Brothers (Charles & Ira) recorded The Lost Child.  Note in the short bio that scholars say this is the first recording of what was to become The Black Mountain Rag.

From early childhood the two brothers, Charlie (Charles Nevins Stripling, 8 August 1896, Pickens County, Alabama, USA, d. 19 January 1966, Alabama, USA) and Ira (b. Ira Lee Stripling, 5 June 1898, Pickens County, Alabama, USA, d. 11 March 1967, Alabama, USA), developed a considerable level of skill as fiddlers and guitarists. By their late teens, they were well known throughout the state, especially in the northern hill country. With a repertoire of traditional songs, they often entered contests and maintained a competitive edge to their performances by developing ear-catching techniques. They played on radio in Alabama and adjacent states and in the late 20s were recorded in Birmingham, Alabama, by Vocalion Records. This first recording date produced ‘The Big Footed Nigger In The Sandy Lot’ and ‘The Lost Child’, which attracted a lot of attention. Historically, ‘The Lost Child’ was of special importance as researchers and archivists came to regard it as the first recorded example of the musical form that was subsequently known as Black Mountain Blues (or Black Mountain Rag). The brothers soon made more records for Vocalion and continued performing albeit mainly in their home state. In the mid-30s they recorded for Decca Records but by the end of the decade Ira had retired from music. Charlie formed a band with his two sons and continued to play, still locally, and adapting stylistically to accommodate changes in taking place in country music, in particular the popularity of the electric steel guitar. At the end of the 50s, poor health forced Charlie into retirement. Even when judged from the standpoint of today’s virtuoso country fiddlers, the Stripling Brothers’ playing is of a remarkably high standard. Historically speaking, their recordings are invaluable in forming a comprehensive understanding of the roots of country and mountain music.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

Endangered ferrets freed on Babbitt ranch near Williams

Fresh from being trained to hunt prairie dogs and maneuver the outdoors, a group of endangered black-footed ferrets was released Wednesday on a northern Arizona ranch to boost the population of the animals that once disappeared from the state. The release of 25 ferrets at the Espee Ranch near Williams marked the second reintroduction of the animals on private property in the country under an agreement with landowners that includes minimal land-use restrictions and no penalties if one of the ferrets accidentally is killed. The first was on a ranch near Pueblo, Colorado, last year. Before they could be released Wednesday, the young ferrets had to prove their survival skills at the National Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center in Wellington, Colorado. After getting a taste for prairie dog through feedings, the ferrets had to kill three prairie dogs on their own and stay outside for a month. "We have to have a reasonable chance of success before we release them," said Julie Lyke, deputy recovery coordinator for Fish and Wildlife. "Not all of them make it." The ferrets, with yellowish-brown fur, grow about two feet long and live about four years. Their success in the wild depends on how well they adapt from being in captivity and on the availability of prairie dogs. Periodic outbreaks of sylvatic plague have wiped out entire prairie dog colonies, some of which are in areas where ferrets have been reintroduced. At the Espee Ranch, the U.S. Geological Survey is testing a new vaccine in the form of peanut butter-flavored bait. Prairie dogs once lived on 20,000 acres of the ranch, but a 2010 outbreak of the plague reduced the prairie dog's presence to 3,000 acres before expanding to its current 5,000 acres, said Jennifer Cordova of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Each of the ferrets released Wednesday has a microchip that allows wildlife officials to track them. Another population, which was the first reintroduced to Arizona in the Aubrey Valley near Seligman, now is considered sustainable with more than 100 breeding adults...more

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Route 66 ‘singing road’ debuts in New Mexico - A new way to get your "kicks"?

Route 66 is known for neon signs, the iconic 66 sign and now a singing street. A section of the mother road in New Mexico now plays the patriotic tune “America the Beautiful” when someone drives over it. “I’m thinking how cool is this that we actually have something as neat as “America the Beautiful” playing on the highway,” said Eric Gibson. The singing road was created because of National Geographic. It was built as part of National Geographic’s new show Crowd Control. The show uses fun experiments to change social behavior. The goal of the rhythmic road, at 364 Highway 66 East near Tijears, is to help drivers stay focused. “It requires you to drive the posted speed limit,” said New Mexico Department of Transportation Spokesperson Melissa Dosher. The magic number is 45 miles-per-hour. If a driver goes even a couple miles over or under that the tune can’t be heard. Dosher said the department hopes the rumble strips will also keep drowsy drivers from falling asleep at the wheel. Not everyone is pleased with the project...more

UNM's Prickly Pear Vandal - Prickly Pear Juice Political Messages

The University of New Mexico has a prickly pear problem on its hands. A vandal is back tagging buildings on campus with prickly pear juice, ultimately causing a lot of damage. UNM officials said the vandal first started leaving political messages, written in the juice, on buildings before the Nov. 2012 elections. “It comes and goes in cycles. We had probably 20 or 30 this spring, and then it went away for the summer,” Willie West, the manager of Environmental Services at UNM, told KRQE. Now they are back in a big way. West said in the past three to four weeks, more than a dozen tags have been left on campus in the prickly pear juice. UNM officials asked us to blur some of the text to not give the suspect a bigger platform. The tags are sticky and smelly, but West says they do wash off. If crews don’t get to the prickly pear tags in a timely manner, however, the juice will stain the building. Each tag takes between one to three hours to remove...more

Court Upholds Decision To Keep Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Off Endangered Species Act List

Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 decision not to list the lizard under the Endangered Species Act. Congressional Western Caucus Co-Chairs Steve Pearce (NM-02) and Cynthia Lummis (WY-At Large) along with Western Caucus member Mike Conaway (TX-11) released the following statements in response to the decision: “It is about time the courts stood up for private landowners over radical environmental groups that continually use sue and settle tactics to exploit taxpayer money to pay lawyers and fund themselves instead of recovering species,” said Chairman Pearce. “This decision ensures that sound conservation efforts are carried out in Eastern New Mexico without sacrificing the economic activity that the area depends on. The plan itself is a great example of how cooperative conservation efforts between private industry, state officials, landowners, and the federal government are more than adequate to protect species. This decision differs from the Fish and Wildlife’s listing of the lesser prairie chicken in March that severely hindered a successful cooperative conservation effort. I hope the Fish and Wildlife Service along with the courts continue to allow future efforts like this to succeed.”...more

Secretary Jewell, Director Jarvis Announce Nine New National Historic Landmarks

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis today announced the designation of nine new national historic landmarks, ranging from the oldest operating streetcar system in America to the home of an arctic explorer. The sites announced today join 2,544 other sites across the country recognized as places that possess exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. "These nine sites add to a nationwide network of unique, historic places that represent the complex journey that we have taken as a nation," said Secretary Jewell. "By designating these new national landmarks we ensure that America's history of innovation, vision and diversity are celebrated today and for future generations."...more

None are in the West

Historic Navajo-U.S. Settlement as It Happened: 10 Unforgettable Images

It is the largest settlement in the history of U.S.–Tribal relations, and Indian Country Today Media Network was there every step of the way. The signing on September 25 of a $554 million settlement to make amends for more than half a century of trust-fund mismanagement of Navajo tribal resources by the U.S. government was not only historic but also moving. Under a sharp blue sky, framed by iconic Window Rock, Navajo officials and dignitaries met with their counterparts from the U.S. government, including Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, to sign the agreement and witness a healing moment. It started with a morning blessing and progressed from there under unimpeded sun.Overall, settlements with tribes during President Barack Obama’s two terms will amount to more than $8 billion, according to Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn. Photographers Julia Mitchell and Jared King captured the day with their cameras. Here we bring you images showing how the day unfolded, as it happened...more

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Dark cloud over solar plans

The Obama administration’s push for big solar plants and other renewable energy projects on public lands has started to stall as developers question whether they can finish projects in time to qualify for key federal subsidies. Just days after U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell came to Palm Springs to trumpet the success of these projects in combating climate change, Oakland-based BrightSource Energy abruptly scrapped its plans to build a solar “power tower” project on about six square miles of desert between Indio and Blythe in eastern Riverside County. The company’s Sept. 26 decision was especially surprising because the project was expected to be approved next month by the California Energy Commission. Joe Desmond, a BrightSource vice president, acknowledged last week that he didn’t believe the Palen project, featuring a 750-foot boiler tower heated by mirrors, would be built in time to qualify for a subsidy that would have Uncle Sam pay nearly a third of the cost. Desmond was referring to a 30 percent tax credit for completed renewable energy projects that’s scheduled to drop to just 10 percent Jan. 1, 2017. Getting the tax credit essentially means getting the financing to build, said Mike Taylor, the research director for the Washington, D.C.-based Solar Electric Power Association. But now financiers “can’t assume the tax credit will be available when the project is done,” Taylor said. “They have to assume a worst-case scenario.” Too many things can go wrong for anyone to count on a large-scale solar tower project being built in two years, Taylor said. Officially, however, BrightSource officials did not blame the subsidy situation for its Palen retreat. The company’s official statement said the firm needed to bring forward a different project “that would better meet the needs of the market and energy consumers.” On Monday, company officials declined to discuss the decision...more

BP Agent - Adm. knowingly endangered public health & safety, withheld info from Congress on transporting illegal aliens

A whistleblowing Border Patrol agent alleges that the Department of Homeland Security ignored health and safety concerns in attempting to transport illegal immigrants to a facility in Murrieta, Calif., the site of a high-profile confrontation between DHS and local citizens this past summer. In a whistleblower disclosure document obtained by National Review Online, the agent alleges that the federal government knowingly transported illegal immigrants to facilities that were unequipped to process them; disregarded repeated warnings from a Border Patrol agent about the public-health risks posed by the immigrants, many of whom were suffering from infectious diseases; rejected multiple offers of assistance from local officials; and suspended law-enforcement operations at part of America’s southern border while denying a congressman’s repeated requests for information about the government’s plan to process the immigrants and about the startling events unfolding in his district. The whistleblower disclosure was filed by Border Patrol agent Ron Zermeno, the health and safety director of National Border Patrol Council Local 1613. Zermeno writes in the disclosure about how, as early as May of 2014, when he learned of the government’s plan to relocate the immigrants, he began raising the alarm, reaching out to Border Patrol management, local officials, and a congressman. He gained no ground with these warnings, he says. He also spoke with NRO and other media about his concerns but was disciplined — for the first time in his decades-long career — for allegedly exposing sensitive law-enforcement information to the press. Zermeno declined to comment for this story. His disclosure suggests that while the images coming out of Murrieta showed American citizens fighting the arrival of illegal immigrants, the confrontation would have been avoided entirely if only the federal government had heeded the warnings of its employees. Zermeno says in the document that on May 7, he received word from a senior agent of the federal government’s plan to send 140 illegal immigrants every 72 hours to the Murrieta Border Patrol Station, despite its inability to accommodate their arrival. His disclosure says he was concerned for the safety of the agents because of reports that the detainees would be carrying infectious diseases, scabies, and lice. The facility could not safely house the incoming women and children, he writes. But the senior agent, according to Zermeno, said that immigrants would nonetheless be processed and then released to the community, and that the directive was “concealed for unknown reasons....more

The US Is Forking Over $300 Million To Settle A Decades-Old Cotton Dispute

The United States will pay Brazilian cotton producers $300 million to settle a decade-old dispute over cotton subsidies, two officials familiar with the settlement said on Tuesday, the first concrete step to repair ties hurt by an espionage scandal. The agreement will be formally signed on Wednesday morning in Washington after Brazilian Agriculture Minister Neri Geller and Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo traveled to the U.S. capital to finalize details. In exchange for the one-off payment to the Brazil Cotton Institute, or IBA, Brazil agreed not to take any further trade measures against the United States. The official said the United States could implement a new farm bill without concerns about retaliation. In 2004, Brazil won a challenge against U.S. cotton subsidies at the World Trade Organization, giving it the right to impose $830 million in sanctions against U.S. products. Brazil agreed to suspend the penalty if the United States paid into an assistance fund for Brazilian cotton farmers. The United States stopped paying the monthly compensation in October last year due to budget disagreements in Congress, prompting the Brazilian government to threaten to slap higher tariffs on U.S. products. The retaliation would have deepened diplomatic tensions between both countries, officials and experts said at the time. Reports earlier this year said the United States was willing to pay at least $460 million in compensation to Brazilian growers to end the dispute, according to Brazilian diplomatic documents obtained by hackers and leaked to the local press...more

Our policy is very simple:  In order to keep subsidizing U.S. cotton producers, we must also subsidize Brazilian cotton producers.

Judge upholds ban on new mining claims on 1M acres

Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar did not abuse his discretion or violate any laws in prohibiting new hard-rock mining claims on one million acres near the Grand Canyon, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. Salazar announced the 20-year ban in 2012 for an area rich in high-grade uranium reserves outside Grand Canyon National Park. Mining industry groups and a Chino Valley resident quickly sued, saying the ban was irresponsible public policy and violated federal laws. U.S. District Judge David Campbell ruled in favor of the federal government and conservationists, who argued that it will protect water flowing through the canyon from potential contamination. Campbell said he could find no legal principle that prevents the Interior Department from withdrawing 5,000 acres or more from new mining claims for up to 20 years without approval of Congress, even if he was erring on the side of caution in "protecting a national treasure." Representatives of industry groups said they are reviewing the decision. The plaintiffs have 60 days to appeal...more

The Public’s Preference for Renewed Federalism

For much of its history, the United States had a notably decentralized government structure. Since the 1930s, the national government has undertaken new efforts to regulate the economy and society and to redistribute resources. Those new efforts have implied a greater centralization of authority in Washington. In the past the public often supported such centralization. Public opinion about federalism has changed. Voters are more supportive of decentralized policymaking on many issues where they previously supported a stronger national role. This shift in the public mood is consistent with other polling data that indicates profound distrust in the capacity of the federal government to act on behalf of the public good. On some issues, like national defense, much of the public continues to support national primacy. Such issues are often assigned to Washington by the Constitution. In contrast, much polling finds that many citizens believe state and local governments are likely to perform better than Washington. Americans support a more decentralized federalism than in the past both on particular issues and as a general matter of institutional confidence. Cato

Read the full policy analysis here.

Report: Border Patrol Agent Says Classified Intel Proves Terrorists Infiltrate U.S.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona claims he was privy to classified intelligence that proves terrorists have infiltrated the homeland from Mexico. Border agent Art Del Cueto, who heads the national union for border patrol agents Local 2544 in Tucson, made those comments in an interview with Public Radio International (PRI) that aired September 24. While walking a section of the Arizona-Mexico border, Del Cueto told PRI that the area is susceptible to Islamic terrorist crossings, adding that classified U.S. Border Patrol intelligence verifies that some have successfully infiltrated the U.S . "The intel we have is hard evidence. It’s very hard evidence. It’s pictures. It’s debriefings of individuals,” the agent told PRI. Del Cueto did not elaborate further, saying the evidence is classified. Border agents have to remain vigilant of terrorists coming across the southern border, according to Del Cueto...more

Holder urges tech companies to leave device backdoors open for police

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said on Tuesday that new forms of encryption capable of locking law enforcement officials out of popular electronic devices imperil investigations of kidnappers and sexual predators, putting children at increased risk. “It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy,” Holder said at a conference on child sexual abuse, according to a text of his prepared remarks. “When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child and to stop those that abuse children. It is worrisome to see companies thwarting our ability to do so.” In his comments, Holder became the highest government official to publicly chastise technology companies for developing systems that make it difficult for law enforcement officials to collect potential evidence, even when they have search warrants. Though he didn’t mention Apple and Google by name, his remarks followed their announcements this month of new smartphone encryption policies that have sparked a sharp government response, including from FBI Director James B. Comey last week...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1305

John Dilleshaw was a 6' 7", left-handed guitar player from Georgia who learned how to play while being home bound by a hunting accident.  He and his band recorded under the name Seven-foot Dilly and his Dill Pickles.  Sand Mountain Drag was recorded in 1930 and that's Harry Kiker on the fiddle. The Tune is on the Document Records CD John Dilleshaw 1929-1930.  For an excellent article on Dilleshaw see Charles Wolfe's The Legend of John Dilleshaw here (

No wonder I'm so smart...

Researchers at Oregon State University discovered that doses of xanthohumol, a flavonoid found in hops, improved memory and thinking in a lucky group of mice. Flavonoids are a class of compounds present in plants, known to have numerous health benefits. Last year, researchers discovered that a flavonoid found in celery and artichokes could potentially fight pancreatic cancer.The researchers treated the mice with dietary supplements of xanthohumol over the course of eight weeks. Their goal was to determine if xanthohumol could affect palmitoylation, a naturally occurring process in animals (including humans) that’s associated with memory degradation. The mice then went through a series of tests—including the popular Morris water maze—to gauge whether or not the treatments had improved their spatial memory and cognitive flexibility. For the younger mice in the group, it worked...more

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Group wants Rio Grande sucker declared endangered; trout OK, feds say

The environmental group WildEarth Guardians Tuesday asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider declaring the Rio Grande sucker, a fish found in northern New Mexico, endangered. The fish, also found in Colorado, is threatened by human water use that is drying the region’s rivers, and dams fragment the fish’s habitat, making it harder for it to survive, the group argues in its 44-page petition. The Fish and Wildlife service now has 90 days to determine whether there is enough evidence to begin a full study of the fate of the fish. If the answer to that initial question is “yes”, the agency then has a year to make a decision on whether to formally declare the fish “endangered”, which could trigger legal protections for the fish. Also Tuesday, federal biologists said there’s no danger of the native Rio Grande cutthroat trout going extinct now or in the foreseeable future. The finding announced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a blow to environmentalists’ efforts to get the fish added to the list of endangered species. The Center for Biological Diversity argues that the trout are gone from nearly 90 percent of their range in New Mexico and Colorado and that populations are declining. The Fish and Wildlife Service says it reviewed the best available scientific and commercial information before deciding not to list the fish...more

Nevada ranchers horseback riding to White House in protest - video

CARSON CITY, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- A group of ranchers are heading to Washington D.C. on horseback to protest limitations to grazing rights on federal land. They rallied in Carson City and stopped at Governor Sandoval’s office on Monday.

The ranchers with the Grass March Cowboy Express began their journey a few days ago in California and they are heading to the White House hoping to change the future of public lands. The group said it is mainly protesting the grazing allowance it has been issued by the Bureau of Land Management.

"It's just a whole different system then what we're used to, they've just disrupted our whole way of life is what they’ve done," said Lynn Tomera.

The ranchers said they are hoping over the next few weeks to bring awareness to land and environmental issues. "We have had cuts and I don't know if we're ever going to ever get them back," said Arlo Crutcher.

The BLM said it recently changed some grazing allotments for ranchers because of drought conditions. They emailed News 4 a statement that said:

"BLM Nevada attempted to work with the individuals who graze their cows on an area of public lands known as the Argenta Allotment to develop a plan for reduced use that would correspond to the current drought conditions. These cooperative efforts were rejected which forced the Bureau of Land Management to temporarily prohibit grazing on the parts of the Argenta Allotment that had already surpassed recommended use levels."

Still, one rancher said she believes grazing rights on federal land are being taken away for the wrong reasons. "The drought really isn't an issue on our range because we've got some good, good range, we've got some good grass, and there really was no reason for them to keep us off the range," said Tomera.

Many ranchers said the cuts have affected their lifestyle, so they hope their coast-to-coast trip of 2,800 miles to Washington D.C. on horseback will make a difference.

The BLM said it is working with hunters, nature lovers and others who rely on public lands to appropriately adjust land uses during this prolonged drought. It also said it will continue to work closely with all land users to make appropriate and timely adjustments while the severe drought continues.

Show me where they have cut back on hunting as a result of the drought.  What "adjustments" has BLM imposed on nature lovers?  Nothing but outhouse soup if you ask me.

Here is the KRNV video report:

$1 Million In Federal Funding To Promote N.M. Agriculture

Several organizations in New Mexico will share $538,279 in federal grants to help develop new markets for agricultural products. In addition, New Mexico State University will receive $499,191 to improve competitiveness of organic livestock and crop producers.

The 2014 FMLFPP funding is as follows:
  • Delicious New Mexico (Albuquerque) will receive $100,000 provide outreach, marketing, training and technical assistance to improve and expand the EspaƱola Food Hub into an incubation hub for Northern New Mexico food businesses.
  • Santa Fe Community Foundation will receive $100,000 to expand a local, healthy food procurement program to low-income and low-access communities that will improve the capacity of Pueblo agricultural producers through farm-to-market training.
  • The National Center for Frontier Communities will receive $25,000 to the National Center for Frontier Communities to assess the feasibility of a regional food hub in Silver City to support a more self-sufficient local food economy in southwestern New Mexico.
  • The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute will receive $91,604 to establish an advertising campaign to promote the market and Federal benefits redemption at the South Side Summer Market, and provide technical assistance and professional training to vendors.
  • The Pueblo of Pojoaque will receive $44,616 for promotional activities, expanded services and season and vendor recruitment to grow the Pojoaque Farmers Market.
  • The Pinyon Foundation (Santa Fe) will receive $100,000 to produce and implement Spanish language multimedia campaigns promoting farmers’ markets nationwide.
  • The New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association will receive $77,059 to promote SNAP redemption at farmers markets in four counties and train vendors to use EBT.

Announcing these grants, our Senators say:

“Connecting our communities to their local farmers and produce markets increases options for families to purchase healthy, locally-grown food, and it helps boost the economy at the same time,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) in a statement announcing the grants along with Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM). “Through investments in marketing outreach and training, small family farmers and ranchers – especially in our rural and tribal communities – will have the tools necessary to attract more business while providing fresh food options to New Mexicans.
All this while they're trying to put almost 40 ranching families in Dona Ana and Luna County out of business through wilderness/national monument designations.  Shame on these families for doing their own marketing and for not producing organic beef, having a food hub or being on food stamps.  

Farm group questions NRCS-Ducks Unlimited relationship

A group representing North Dakota wheat and barley farmers is raising questions about the working relationship between the federal government's main conservation agency and a private group that works to boost wetlands and waterfowl. The North Dakota Grain Growers Association says the government's Natural Resources Conservation Service should not be using nonprofit Ducks Unlimited personnel "as foot soldiers for its work." The Grain Growers fears such a relationship might infringe on farmers' ability to use their land as they see fit, and hurt them financially. The NRCS works with landowners to conserve, maintain and improve natural resources and ensure landowners are complying with regulations. Producers who don't comply could lose eligibility to participate in federal farm programs. Grain Growers Executive Director Dan Wogsland said the association recently found out that NRCS was using Ducks Unlimited members to help with the agency's work. "Ducks Unlimited will have undue influence on programs that impact North Dakota farmers and landowners," Wogsland said...more

Controlling feral hogs with…gummy bears?

Earlier this year, the USDA announced it was testing sodium nitrate, the same preservative used to cure bacon, to poison feral hogs.  Feral hogs cause roughly $1.5 billion in damages nationally each year. According to the Associated Press in an article here, sodium nitrate is more toxic to pigs than people and is used in Australia and New Zealand to help control feral swine populations. Here is the United States, USDA scientists believe it also may be the best solution to U.S. farmers, ranchers and landowners to help control the invasive species. There’s just one problem – the wild hogs aren’t biting at the bitter taste of sodium nitrate. That’s where Glen Gentry, an animal science researcher with the Louisiana State University AgCenter, comes in.  He recently spoke at a symposium to discuss the latest on his study to control feral hogs.  In his research, Gentry found the pigs were attracted to certain flavors, such as strawberry, but the grain-based bait had some problems. “When the sodium nitrite is added to the mix, consumption tends to drop off,” said Gentry. The answer to this issue may be in an unlikely source – gummy bears. “We are looking at semi-solid bait forms developed by LSU AgCenter researcher Zhijun Liu in the School of Renewable Natural Resources,” he explained. “I like using gummy bears as a way to hide the salty and bitter taste of sodium nitrite.”His goal is to kill 90 percent of the pigs. So far, Gentry is at 68 percent...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1304

This will be a "Crow Flats Country" Week, which means old time fiddle and string band music. First up will be the Kessinger Brothers with Chicken Reel (Les Reel des Poulets) from the Document Records CD Kessinger Brothers, Volume III (1929-1930).

USDA offers $31.5M for healthier food stamp diet

A division of the Agriculture Department is making $31.5 million in funding available to help people on food stamps obtain healthier foods. The department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is making the funding available to help those enrolled in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which offers nutrition assistance to millions of low-income Americans. "Too many struggling families do not have adequate access to nutritious food," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Monday as he announced the new funding. "Helping families purchase more fresh produce is clearly good for families' health, helps contribute to lower health costs for the country, and increases local food sales for family farmers.” The agency wants funded projects to examine how to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables, the department said, and the funding could subsidize pilot projects, multiyear community projects or large-scale multiyear proposals. The funding stems from the farm bill Congress passed earlier this year, which created the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program...more

Do you see any meat falling out of that SNAP bag?

California drought and climate warming: Studies find no clear link

Global warming contributed to extreme heat waves in many parts of the world last year, but cannot be definitively linked to the California drought, according to a report released Monday. The third annual analysis of extreme weather events underscored the continuing difficulty of teasing out the influence of human-caused climate change on precipitation patterns. One of three studies examining the California drought in 2013 found that the kind of high-pressure systems that blocked winter storms last year have increased with global warming. But another study concluded that a long-term rise in sea surface temperatures in the western Pacific did not contribute substantially to the drought. And researchers noted that California precipitation since 1895 has "exhibited no appreciable downward trend." Overall, the report editors concluded that the papers didn't demonstrate that global warming clearly influenced the drought, which is one of the worst in the state record.  In the report, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 20 research teams explored the causes of 16 extreme weather events recorded in 2013, including torrential downpours in Colorado, heat waves in Korea and Australia and a blizzard in South Dakota. The studies overwhelmingly showed that human-caused climate change played a role in the heat waves, in some cases making them 10 times more likely. But the report editors wrote that "natural variability likely played a much larger role in the extreme precipitation events," whether it was flooding in India, deep snow in the Spanish Pyrenees Mountains or the California drought...more

Michelle Obama’s lunches trashed, $4 million wasted daily

Local news teams across the country have determined that children are so unhappy with their federally mandated, taxpayer-funded school lunches that they they often throw them out, wasting much of their food to the tune of $4 million dollars every day across the country. The goal of the Healthy, Hungry Free Kids Act is to “end the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation,” as reported at, but the news team at KSHB out of Kansas City said much of the food is wasted and kids come home hungry. “Just because districts have to serve the fruit and veggies doesn’t mean students have to eat it,” they wrote earlier this month. A local ABC affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio reports that “the new standards are so unpopular that nearly 600 school districts across the country have dropped out of the school lunch program, citing more and more students simply not buying lunches.” A report from Cornell University and Brigham Young University in December found that “students discarded 70 percent of the extra fruits and vegetables.”...more

Sheriffs Who Are Protecting Liberty

An increasing number of county sheriffs are rising to resist federal overreach in their counties. About 100 of them met in mid-September at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The gathering was organized by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association -- a group that was formed by former Sheriff Richard Mack. It was a time of mutual encouragement, where several sheriffs shared their experiences in resisting federal overreach. Sheriff Mike Lewis of Wycomico County, Maryland was one of the sheriffs in attendance. He got national attention recently for saying that the feds better not try grabbing guns in his county. Two sheriffs who have attracted something of a cult following are Brad Rogers of Elkhart County, Indiana, and Bennie House of Otero County, New Mexico. While they were not in attendance this September, their stories were heralded as examples to follow. Sheriff Rogers is a GOA Life Member who interposed himself between the Food and Drug Administration and a raw milk dairy farmer. The feds were on the verge of confiscating the farmer’s equipment which would have bankrupted him. But Sheriff Rogers communicated with the head attorney at the FDA and told her that if they put one more foot on the farmer’s land, he would arrest them. She, in turn, threatened to arrest him. Rogers simply ended the debate by replying: “Game on.” That was almost three years ago, and the FDA has been MIA ever since. Then there’s Sheriff Benny House of Otero County, New Mexico, who led a confrontation with the Forest Service several years ago on behalf of some of his citizens. The locals were hauling dead trees out of National Forest land in violation of Forest Service policy. The locals not only wanted the firewood provided by the dead trees, but were also lessening the risk of forest fire (dead trees burn much more quickly and serve to make fires more likely to spread). The Forest Service threatened to arrest the Otero County citizens who were disturbing the “natural condition” of the forest. But Sheriff House threatened to arrest the Forest Service agents. That successful standoff allowed the folks in Cloudcroft to save their ski village when a forest fire threatened them two years ago...more

EPA approves plan to close two units at San Juan Generating Station

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved a state plan that would close two coal-fired units at San Juan Generating Station in Waterflow by the end of 2017 and save the plant owners $780 million, according to a press release. The plan was proposed 18 months ago. It was written by the New Mexico Environment Department, the Public Service Company of New Mexico, and the Navajo Nation. The plan would help the plant meet federal emissions requirements under the Regional Haze Rule. Without the state's plan, the utility said it would have to install catalytic emissions-reducing technology that could have cost upwards of $1 billion dollars. The state's plan would close two of the four units and install non-catalytic emissions reducing technology, saving the utility about $780 million through the next 20 years, a PNM release stated. However, the closing of units at San Juan Generating Station could cost the area jobs. He said the company might not lay off its employees, but he fears there won't be the same amount of work for the approximately 300 contract employees who now work at the power plant...more

Eddy Co. flooding worries continue as crops rot

Farms in southern New Mexico are still under water after recent massive flooding and that has farmers worried their popular crops could be wiped out. After weeks of rain, some farms in Eddy County saw nearly 26 inches of rain. Woods Houghton, with Eddy County, said the pinto bean crops in their area have been wiped out. Houghton said the county’s largest crop, which is cotton, is looking like its headed that way too. Now farmers are having to wait for the water to recede before they know for sure which crops can be saved and which are going to be a total loss. Hougton said Eddy County is the seventh largest agricultural county in New Mexico. Their fields produce cotton, pumpkins, pinto beans and even chile. With a good portion of farms there are still under water the majority of crops in the county could be jeopardy. “Our chile crop doesn’t look too good either,” Hougton said. Houghton said their chile is sold across the state. He said while a lot of the state has already picked, roasted and sold bags of its green chile, the Pecos Valley was just getting started...more

Monday, September 29, 2014

US judge refuses to halt fracking in Nevada

A federal judge has refused to block the release of oil and gas leases in Nevada that critics say will be used for hydraulic fracturing that could harm sage grouse and cause more environmental damage than the Bureau of Land Management admits. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du ruled she has no authority to grant opponents' request for an emergency order at this time to prevent the BLM from formally issuing the leases in a vast swath of central Nevada. Lawyer Glade Hall, who represents the Reese River Basin Citizens Against Fracking, says they're considering refiling their complaint. The coalition of ranchers, farmers and others say the BLM has abused its authority by limiting public comment and failing to conduct an adequate review of the potential impacts of the fracking. AP

Range editor speaker for Lake library dinner

C.J. Hadley, editor/publisher of Range Magazine, will discuss “Cuddling the Soul of the West” at the Lake County Library’s annual Library Endowment Dinner Saturday, Oct. 18. at the Lakeview Elks Lodge. The 6:30 dinner program will be preceded by a no-host reception fundraiser at the new main library in Lakeview from 5 to 6 p.m. Hadley has been called an “unsung heroine of the West” and “Clint Eastwood with both guns drawn” because of stances advocating ranches and ranchers. Her advocacy seemed unlikely, given her background. Known as Caroline Joy, she was 17 when her parents gave her a one-way ticket from England to Canada. Hadley never looked back. Instead, she hitchhiked and worked her way around the world as a typist, freelance writer, rodeo photographer, snowmobile racer and tuna fisherman. In 1991, after spending 10 years as editor of Nevada Magazine, a group of ranchers asked her to produce a brochure to send to members of Congress to tell the “true side of ranching” and counteract calls for “Cattle Free by “93” advocated by some environmental group. That brochure turned into Range, a magazine that features stories and photographs about ranchers, ranching and the often controversial issues surrounding ranching. Range has grown into a national magazine with a fervent following with more than 170,000 readers in every state and 23 foreign countries. Commentator Paul Harvey said of Range: “No other source I know has dispassionately and yet thoroughly projected the future of America the Beautiful — if we keep paving it. We’re making some unerasable mistakes. If the sagebrush rebellion comes too late, there is nothing to eat, and there’s no place to run to anymore.”...more

Francisco Fort became the center of La Veta

In 1862, Col. John M. Francisco was the sutler at Fort Garland and ventured over one of several passes into the Cuchara Valley. Upon reaching the valley he declared, "I have found my home. This is paradise enough for me." He and his business partner, Henry Daigre, purchased 48,000 acres of the vast Vigil land grant. They hired 20 men to construct a fort with 2-foot thick adobe walls approximately 100 feet by 100 feet. Its interior rooms faced into a central plaza. The fort had an excellent well. There was far too much land for these men to develop so they leased it to ranchers and farmers establishing the fort as the center of commerce. In 1871 under the name Spanish Peak, a post office was set up in the fort. The fort was attacked in 1863 by a band of Ute Indians. The men in the fort were rallied to gun ports along the parapets on top of the flat-roofed buildings. One man volunteered to ride to Fort Lyon and get help. By the time the cavalry arrived, the Indians had decided to retreat. The arrival of the narrow gauge Denver & Rio Grande in 1876 changed the economy of the area and brought in a wave of new settlers. The tracks advanced the following year over La Veta Pass at 9,390 feet and at the time, was the highest railroad pass in the United States. Around Francisco Fort, the railroad platted the town of La Veta and constructed a depot just a block north of the fort...more 

Big Isle ranchers struggle to keep cattle in the isles

It's a challenge for Big Island ranchers to keep their cattle in the islands while beef prices climb to all-time highs on the mainland, a University of Hawaii livestock expert said. Drought is gripping beef-production regions on the mainland, allowing ranchers to sell beef there for $2.25 a pound, West Hawaii Today reported. That compares with $1.50 to $1.65 a pound here in Hawaii. Some ranchers "commit from the heart" to leave part of their herds in Hawaii, even though they would earn more shipping the cattle to the mainland, said Glen Fukumoto, an extension agent with the UH's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.Beef is a $46 million industry in Hawaii, and 76 percent of those cattle are here on the Big Island. Recent consumer trends toward local, organic and healthy meats have put the local grass-fed beef industry in growth mode since the late 1990s. Nevertheless, 60 percent to 70 percent of local beef is shipped out of state. Current infrastructure can't support much increased production in the short term, Fukumoto said. "For the sake of sustainability, we'd like to keep everything here. But how do you do that financially?" Moniz said. "All of us ranchers would like to keep our cattle here, but we can't." Less than 9 percent of beef consumed in the state is local. Even if all of the beef produced in Hawaii stayed here, it would meet less than 40 percent of demand, Fukumoto said...more

Willie Nelson, Neil Young play to thousands protesting Keystone XL

Art and Helen Tanderup gazed with amazed smiles at the thousands of cars parked on the stubble of their recently harvested cornfield on Saturday, at the stage set up in their rye field and at the ocean of people standing in front of it. “It’s unbelievable. It’s absolutely amazing this is happening,” said Art just before the start of Harvest the Hope. The sun shone in a sky dotted with white clouds, and nearby corn rustled in a southern breeze on the 160-acre farm near Neligh, as fans waited to hear the concert’s headliners, Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young and country music star Willie Nelson. Between performances by opening acts -- Native American hip-hop artist Frank Waln, and Lukas and Micah Nelson and Promise of the Real (featuring Willie Nelson’s sons) -- politicians and activists spoke to the crowd of about 8,000 about the fight against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The Tanderups are two of about 100 landowners refusing to sign easement agreements with TransCanada Corp., the company that wants to build the controversial pipeline capable of transporting 840,000 barrels of crude oil per day, mostly from Canada’s tar sands region destined for refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Fighting the Keystone XL is only a small part of the bigger battle against a changing climate that is threatening the entire planet, Young said during a press conference before the concert...more

The Radical Environmental Agenda Should Be Rejected, even if Global Warming Is Real

by Daniel J. Mitchell

I believe that protecting the environment is both a good thing and a legitimate function of government.

But I’m rational. So while I want limits on pollution, such policies should be determined by cost-benefit analysis.

Banning automobiles doubtlessly would reduce pollution, for instance, but the economic cost would be catastrophic.

On the other hand, it’s good to limit carcinogens from being dumped in the air and water. So long as there’s some unbiased science showing net benefits.

But while I’m pro-environment, I’m anti-environmentalist. Simply stated, too many of these people are nuts.
Then there’s the super-nutty category.
Check out this video from Reason, filmed at the so-called climate march in New York City.

Just in case you think the folks at Reason deliberately sought out a few crazy people in an otherwise rational crowd, let’s now look at the views of Naomi Klein, who is ostensibly a big thinker for the left on environmental issues.

Slate published an interview with her and you can judge for yourself whether her views are sensible. Here’s some of what Slate said about her.
According to social activist and perennial agitator Naomi Klein, the really inconvenient truth about climate change is that it’s not about carbon—it’s about capitalism. …she’s turned her argument into a hefty book… This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate is focused on exposing how the relentless pursuit of growth has locked us in to a system that’s incompatible with a stable climate. …
And here’s some of what Ms. Klein said.
The post-carbon economy we can build will have to be better designed. …not only does climate action mean a healthy community—it’s also the best chance at tacking inequality. …The divestment movement is a start at challenging the excesses of capitalism. It’s working to delegitimize fossil fuels, and showing that they’re just as unethical as profits from the tobacco industry. …profits are not legitimate in an era of climate change.