Saturday, July 11, 2015

Ethanol and Biodiesel: Guilty as Charged

by Paul Driessen

Two notorious crooks are helping us wrap up another sordid episode in the saga of the United States biofuel mandates, while further highlighting how bungled and long past its expiration date the program is.

Congress concocted the mandates over fears that US gasoline demand would rise forever and keep the United States dependent on foreign oil, as America’s supposedly limited reserves were depleted. The mandates currently require that we blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol with gasoline every year, and produce over a billion gallons of biodiesel. They hammer us consumers every time we fill our tanks.

Turning corn into ethanol requires vast amounts of land, fertilizers, pesticides, tractor and truck fuel, and natural gas for distillation. It enriches some farmers but raises animal feed prices and thus the cost of beef, pork, chicken, eggs, fish and international food aid. Biodiesel from restaurant waste oil makes some sense, but making it from palm oil or soybeans has similar negative ecological impacts.
The ethanol mandate encourages farmers to plow wildlife habitats and fallow fields to grow corn, releasing millions of tons of carbon dioxide. Ethanol gets one-third less mileage per gallon than gasoline, so motorists get fewer miles per tank and per dollar. It produces ozone, attracts water and corrodes car and small engine components, forcing us to spend billions on repairs.

If consumers want “alternative fuels,” natural gas presents more viable, environmental, free-market, cost-competitive choices. Compressed into high-pressure tanks, it can (and already does) power cars, trucks, taxis and buses. Converted into methanol, our abundant natural gas would enable Detroit to build light, powerful, low-pollution, high octane engines that get better mileage than ethanol-tainted fuels. Existing cars can be converted into “flex-fuel” vehicles for less than $100 – and producing the natural gas and converting it into methanol involves minimal land impacts, no food price hikes and no harm to engines. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

A done deal, Obama to create “Basin and Range” monument

A vast sweep of rural Nevada marked by lonely desert valleys, craggy mountain ranges and both ancient and modern art will become the newest addition to the nation’s inventory of protected landscapes today. President Barack Obama will sign a proclamation designating the Basin and Range National Monument on 704,000 acres — 1,100 square miles — of Lincoln and Nye counties, the White House announced Thursday night. It will be the second monument created in Nevada within eight months and will join 21 others in the West and more than 100 around the country. Obama is scheduled to sign the monument proclamations at a White House ceremony set to include Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., the sponsors of failed legislation to set aside the Basin and Range area. The Basin and Range National Monument will consist of Garden Valley and Coal Valley, separated by the Golden Gate Range and including the Mount Irish Range, the Seaman Range and the Worthington Mountains. The preserved area would be withdrawn from most economic activity including mining and energy leasing, though some grazing would be allowed to continue by a handful of ranches that dot the landscape. The designation would also block a possible future rail corridor for nuclear waste shipments to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. In Lincoln County, which contains the bulk of Basin and Range and has fought the proposal for years, Commissioner Kevin Phillips could barely contain his rage Thursday. “It’s disgusting. It’s loathsome. It’s illegal. It’s unfair,” he said. “We feel like we’re not citizens.” The Lincoln County native and former mayor of Caliente contends the designation adds another layer of government restriction to a county where more than 97 percent of the land is already — and he believes wrongly — under federal control. Phillips said this action by “an imperial president and some imperial senator” will forever close the area to oil, gas and mineral exploration that might have given the struggling county a much needed boost. He said it’s only a matter of time before federal authorities also move to regulate ranching out of existence within the new monument, regardless of their claims to the contrary. “A monument to what for criminy’s sake?” Phillips said. Nye County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman said she was “extremely disappointed” by the move but not the least bit surprised. She said Reid has spent his career locking land away from Nevada residents. “What does he want? Does he want to throw us all out? He doesn’t want people here anymore?” Wichman said...more

President Obama to protect huge Berryessa wildland

President Obama announced that he will protect a huge swath of land stretching 100 miles from the shores of Lake Berryessa to the flanks of Snow Mountain, a longtime dream of local residents and North Bay politicians. The White House said the 331,000-acre wildland area known as Berryessa Snow Mountain is one of three national monuments that the president is protecting for a total of more than a million acres of public land. The sprawling woodland area, which falls within Napa, Mendocino, Lake, Solano and Yolo counties, is home to a rich array of wildlife, including bald and golden eagles, black bears, mountain lions and tule elk. Rare plants found nowhere else on Earth grow throughout the region, according to conservationists. The problem is, the area has been a jurisdictional mishmash, with the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Forest Service governing various tracts. Putting it all under one agency has been a cause celebre for Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, who introduced legislation in 2012 to have the area designated a National Conservation Area. The idea languished in Congress despite widespread local support...more

Was a BLM agent’s gun used in San Francisco ‘sanctuary city’ murder case?

The criminal case against an illegal immigrant accused of fatally shooting a woman on a San Francisco pier took a new turn Wednesday, as reports emerged suggesting that the gun used to fire the deadly shot may have been stolen from a federal law enforcement agent four days earlier.  The federal Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday that a weapon belonging to one of its law enforcement officers was stolen on June 27 in San Francisco, but the agency would not confirm that the weapon was used in the apparently random shooting that occurred July 1, resulting in the death of woman out for a walk with her father.  A law enforcement official said separately that the gun in that case belonged to a federal law enforcement agent...more

 And this article, along with the info on the lost BLM gun, had this additional information:

The man charged with the shooting, 45-year-old Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, said in interviews with local media that he found the gun wrapped in a T-shirt.

Some things we'd like to know:  a) Was it a BLM ranger's gun? (will not confirm or deny means to me that it was)  b) Was the BLM ranger on-duty or off-duty?  c) The exact location of the theft  d) The date of the theft, and e) The time and date of when this was reported to supervisors. 


This article states:

The firearm used in the homicide was issued to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management law enforcement ranger who was on official government travel in San Francisco when his vehicle was broken into and the firearm was stolen. San Francisco police are continuing to investigate who stole the firearm from the ranger’s vehicle and how Sanchez-Lopez gained access to the gun.


House approves forest bill

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill that would, in some cases, require groups and individuals to pay bonds before filing lawsuits against timber projects. The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015...passed the House 262-167. Under the proposed law, an environmental group suing the U.S. Forest Service over a proposed forest project would have to pay a bond if the project was developed through a collaborative stakeholder process and the litigant was not involved in the collaboration. If the plaintiffs lose, the bond would be forfeited to the Forest Service to cover the costs of defending against the litigation. The bill also includes measures intended to reform the way the Forest Service manages forest fires. It would provide more flexibility for the agency to thin fuels from tracts of federal forest lands, while also increasing eligibility for wildfires to qualify for emergency funding from the federal government once the Forest Service exhausts its budget. The bonding requirement generated the most debate on the House floor. Bill proponents framed it as curbing the ability of special interest groups to lodge “frivolous” lawsuits intended to delay timber projects that they say would otherwise boost forest health, reduce the risk of wildfires and help ailing timber industries in small communities. “We have a problem with litigation which basically stops the Forest Service doing their jobs in their tracks,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, who is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and helped lead the debate in favor of the bill. However, opponents said the measure would roll back some guarantees afforded to individuals and interest groups under the Equal Access to Justice Act, which requires the government to pay attorney fees to the prevailing party in a lawsuit...more

 Congressman Pearce released the following statement in response to the passage of the bill:

“This bill is a step in the right direction in ensuring that our national forests are properly managed and cared for,” said Pearce. “The Forest Service has failed to carry out its duty to properly thin and care for our national forests. The result is a lack of timber production, heavily over grown forests, and national forests that are at risk of catastrophic wildfires, which threaten environmental conditions as well as New Mexico communities. This bill will streamline environmental reviews that take years before healthy forest management practices can occur and works to prevent radical lawsuits that have stalled crucial thinning projects across the west.  The bill reduces county dependence on federal funding by returning a share of forest receipts paid from long term stewardship projects to counties. I urge the Senate and the President to take action on this issue as quickly as possible to improve forest health.” 

Colorado shies from big fix as proliferating people seek more water

It looks like the ultimate water fix: Build a huge reservoir by Dinosaur National Monument and divert much of the Yampa River, then pump back 97 billion gallons a year through a 250-mile pipeline across the Continental Divide to Colorado's increasingly thirsty Front Range. This plan for the Yampa — one of the last free-flowing rivers in the overtapped Colorado River Basin — is designed to defray Colorado's projected 2050 water shortfall of 163 billion gallons. The Yampa Pumpback exemplifies the state's traditional approach to enabling a growing population: Since the 1930s, Colorado has built at least 30 trans-mountain diversions using more than 100 miles of tunnels to move Pacific-bound water back eastward to where people are concentrated. But the era of moving water across mountains may be over. An impasse over trans-mountain projects such as the Yampa Pumpback remains the most difficult obstacle as Gov. John Hickenlooper's administration negotiates a Colorado Water Plan...more

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Tuf Cooper disqualified from Calgary Stampede over alleged mistreatment of horse

A cowboy from Texas has been eliminated from contention at the 2015 Calgary Stampede following an incident during Wednesday afternoon’s rodeo action. Tuf Cooper, a member of the famous Cooper family of tie-down ropers, allegedly whipped a horse during the tie-down event. “He was disqualified for mistreatment of animals, of livestock, for how the judges felt he treated his horse during his run in tie-down roping,” said Kristina Barnes, Calgary Stampede spokesperson. “The judges felt that he repeatedly and aggressively struck his horse with the rope during his tie-down run.” According to Barnes, Cooper’s disqualification is believed to be the first of its kind in the history of the Calgary Stampede rodeo. Tiffany, a member of Tuf Cooper's rodeo team, says Rio was the best horse that Tuf owns and has been a prized member of the Cooper family for years. "Rio is not just a horse that he competes on, he is part of our family and we love him." Tiffany adds Cooper would never mistreat Rio or do anything to cause pain to any of his horses, and the great care the tie-down roper provides for his animals is well known in the rodeo community. Cooper's agent Shawn Wiese says his client accepts the Calgary Stampede's decision. Wiese adds the tie-down roper 'treats his horses like kings and would never intentionally hurt an animal'...more  

UPDATE: The CBC has a video of the run, which you can see here.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1451

Storm Over The Rangeland (The Ballad of Kit Laney) is one of my all-time favorites.   Perhaps because of my closeness to this event, but most likely because of the writing skills and great performance by Michael Martin Murphey.  Few have this kind of writing skill and none have shown the personal and commercial fortitude of Mr. Murphey in telling it like it is.  

I dedicate this video, though, to one who doesn't show up in the video but whom I know played a vital part in this event and the recording of this song:  My dear departed friend Erik Ness.

The tune is on Murphey's CD Heartland Cowboy

The Westerner

Obama's Renewable-Energy Fantasy

On June 30, President Obama committed the United States to the goal of generating 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. This would nearly triple the amount of wind- and solar-generated electricity on the national grid, Rupert Darwall writes in the Wall Street Journal.

Recently Bill Gates explained why current renewables are dead-end technologies. They are unreliable. Battery storage is inadequate. Wind and solar output depends on the weather. The cost of decarbonization using today's technology is "beyond astronomical," Mr. Gates concluded.

If President Obama gets his way, the United States will follow the road traveled by the European Union. In 2007, Europe adopted the target of deriving 20 percent of its energy consumption from renewables by 2020. To see what the U.S. might look like, Europe is a good place to start.
  • Germany passed its first renewable law in 1991 and already has spent $440 billion on its so-called Energy Transition.
  • The German environment minister has estimated a cost of up to $1.1 trillion by the end of the 2030s.
  • With an economy nearly five times as large as Germany's and generating nearly seven times the amount of electricity, this suggests the cost of meeting Mr. Obama's pledge is of the order of $2 trillion.
One unintended consequence of the fracking boom, however, is the displacement of coal by natural gas. A 2014 Brookings Institution study estimated that replacing coal with modern combined-cycle gas turbines cuts 2.6 times more carbon-dioxide emissions than using wind does, and cuts four times as many emissions as solar.

Mr. Obama's renewable target does not produce jobs, growth or prosperity.

Source: Rupert Darwall, "Obama's Renewable-Energy Fantasy," Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2015.


Illegal dumping threatens NM sensitive sites and waterways

Long after aggressive anti-littering campaigns helped clean up many roadsides and public areas in the United States, illegal dump sites continue to fester across New Mexico. The signs are readily apparent in Rio Arriba and Taos counties, where arroyos and streambeds that funnel into two of the state's major rivers are marred by old mattresses, discarded refrigerators and clusters of everyday household garbage scattered among the sagebrush. In a tract of forest originally part of the historic Cristobal de la Serna Land Grant, a community cleanup effort earlier this month cleared 28 tons of trash in one day. Clean water advocacy group Amigos Bravos was one of the groups that organized the event, and interim executive director Rachel Conn said the volume of waste they encountered in just that one area was sobering. Household waste fluids, hazardous and toxic chemicals, biological waste, oil and hydrocarbons gradually leach out of the trash, "and it all flows into our watersheds," Conn said. The Taos Junction Bridge near the southern border of Taos County marks where the Rio Grande flows downstream after intersecting with many of its most important tributaries. Researchers have consistently measured high concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in the tissue of fish caught there, Conn said. PCBs were components of common industrial products until they were banned in 1979 because of their link to severe health problems such as liver damage and cancer. Bruce Thomson, director of The University of New Mexico's Water Resources Program, said the improper disposal of household hazardous waste -- paint, pesticides, herbicides, automotive fluids and oils -- also presents a severe water quality problem. Meanwhile, plastics and other nonbiodegradable materials clog up waterways and reservoirs. Asbestos and other chemicals seep from construction waste. Rotten food and animal carcasses send bacteria, including salmonella, downstream.  Public land managers remain largely dependent on volunteers for the cleanup of illegal dump sites, and when it comes to stemming the flood of garbage, Romero and Martinez agree that education and outreach to young people are among their most powerful tools. Martinez, who is also an avid hunter and fisherman, said he hopes continued public education, code enforcement and penalties for dumping will help ensure his grandchildren and their offspring are able to enjoy the same refuse-free public lands he remembers when he was growing up in Taos. Because of the newly authorized federal Clean Water Rule, intermittent and ephemeral streams that run dry much of the year are now subject to stricter protections, and people who get caught dumping can now face federal fines on top of local ones...more

 Refuse-free public lands?  My, my, and this is the area where Udall-Heinrich-Obama have designated a new National Monument and several new Wilderness areas.   One area should be safe.  You see they chose to create the Sabinoso Wilderness for the public's enjoyment.  There's just one small problem:  there is no public access to this Wilderness area.

Remember, if you must dump in a Wilderness area, no vehicles are allowed.  So please walk your trash in or carry it by horseback.   And, oh yes, your horse should only be fed certified weed-free hay.

Invasive grass, fire a deadly one-two punch for sage grouse

Invasive cheatgrass is overtaking native plants, priming this semiarid desert for fiercer and more frequent wildfires. The big loser in this ecological coup occurring throughout the Great Basin: the greater sage grouse. It started here several years ago when a lightning-sparked fire ripped through 48,000 acres on this basalt lava plain, torching sagebrush and native bunch grasses. The blaze transformed habitat for the boisterous bird and let in cheatgrass, an opportunistic weed that thrives in disturbed landscapes. "This whole area was a sea of sagebrush," Jeremy Bisson, a biologist at the Bureau of Land Management, said on an April bus ride past the area's ancient lava domes and grazing sheep. After the smoke cleared, BLM replanted native sagebrush, hoping to restore the area's ecology and provide habitat for species like grouse. But three years later, just as the seedlings were establishing themselves, a spark, possibly from a welder, set off another fire in the same area that burned 32,000 acres. BLM's restoration literally went up in smoke. The story is playing out across the Great Basin as sage-steppe ecosystems are transformed by more frequent and severe wildfires and invasive plants like cheatgrass and medusahead. It has major ramifications for the sage grouse, which the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2010 declared at risk of extinction, as well as for mule deer, sage sparrows, pygmy rabbits and spotted frogs that share the grouse's habitat...more

EPA cooks 'public comment' books on water rule


...Almost immediately after its proposal, the rule prompted a wide opposition urging the EPA to "ditch the rule," from small businesses, farmers and ranchers, energy producers and others.
The EPA needed support for its water grab. While the EPA failed to consult with those harmed by the WOTUS rule, documents obtained by The New York Times show the EPA worked with environmental groups including the Sierra Club and National Resources Defense Council to manufacture public comments in its favor.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy later testified at a Senate subcommittee hearing that 87 percent of the approximately 1 million public comments her agency received were supportive. By omitting mention of the efforts (or money spent) to solicit the comments, McCarthy attempted to make it look like there was a spontaneous groundswell of support for her rule.

And that wasn't the only subterfuge behind the EPA's power grab.

A number of left-wing groups camouflaged as sportsmen-friendly organizations, including the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and Trout Unlimited, also were helping the EPA to foist the water rule onto an unsuspecting public.

In July 2014, TRCP called for "broad public involvement," setting the table for the EPA's campaign to gather public comment in support. This despite the fact that the organization's support had already been touted by the EPA in an effort to make it look like a broad coalition was in favor.

These groups claim to represent sportsmen's interests — giving the rule seemingly conservative support — but they are tangled in a web of money from left-wing foundations with anti-gun and anti-agriculture agendas. Backcountry Hunters and Anglers gets most of its donations from three environmental groups, according to tax records, while TRCP gets its money from a handful of Big Labor and Big Green groups. Trout Unlimited, meanwhile, has taken tens of millions from fringe environmental groups.

It's our goose they're cooking, and the books are just one of the means.

Banks accusing border businesses of money laundering and shuts down their accounts

A recent report from the U.S. Treasury Department pinpoints U.S. banks as the source for more than $300 billion a year in dirty money. That leads to big fines for banks. But on the U.S.-Mexico border, it's small business owners who are being blamed. Nearly a quarter million head of cattle are brought in to the U.S. from Mexico, and distributed throughout the country. It’s a legal business, regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but legitimate business people on both sides of the border say they are being treated like criminals. Not by American law enforcement, but by banks. Juan and Gracy Fleischer's family have cattle-ranched on both sides of the Mexican border for more than four decades. “I mean they tell us that the problem is the money-laundering. Well, we're not money laundering. We buy cattle in Mexico. We sell it in the United States. We buy it in from ranchers and people who trade cattle that have been doing it for many years,” Juan said. Financial institutions like Chase Bank have shuttered the accounts of some legitimate businesses that do business on both sides of the border. Chase confirmed to the News 4 Tucson Investigators that it started shutting down accounts along the border to comply with anti-money laundering regulations. Big national financial institutions were targeted by the Department of Justice after organized crime syndicates used them to launder their money. The Sinaloa Cartel, under Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán once used the now-defunct Wachovia Bank to launder nearly half a trillion dollars. Other banks, like HSBC, have come under heavy scrutiny for allowing their systems to be utilized by the cartels. A spokeswoman told us Chase Bank closed less than 5,000 accounts and said the bank started looking at closing foreign business accounts in 2013. The closures mean that a lot of Mexican ranchers can no longer have accounts with U.S. banks. But they also can't get paid by U.S. checks because Mexican banks won't accept them. So ranchers recently tried paying by wire transfer Then this happened. “In two banks, they closed my accounts, at Wells Fargo and Chase,” said Daniel Barancini. Barancini is a Mexican national but he's a U.S. businessman. He tried paying Mexican ranchers with wire transfers. But both banks closed him down. He says he and other cross-border businessowners are being unfairly targeted...more

I've previously posted about some banks closing down local branches to comply with federal regs. 


Washington Redskins Facing Uphill Battle To Keep Team Name

he Washington Redskins received some more negative news on Wednesday regarding the trademark of the team’s name. Federal judge Gerald Bruce Lee ordered the Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the Washington Redskins’ trademark, citing that the name could be considered derogatory to Native Americans. The team can continue to use the Redskins name, but it will lose legal protection that goes along with the registration of a trademark. The Redskins were suing to reverse a previous ruling by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The team’s argument was that cancelling the trademark was not legal as it affected the Redskins’ First-Amendment rights. While the team is allowed to appeal the decision, the ruling puts more pressure on owner Daniel Snyder, who has stated multiple times that the Redskins wouldn’t be changing their name...more

Arkansas lawmakers oppose tribe’s request to put land into federal trust

Four members of Arkansas’ congressional delegation are asking the U.S. Department of the Interior to reject a request by the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma to place a 160-acre tract of land in Central Arkansas into federal trust. U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton, both R-Ark., and U.S. Reps. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, and French Hill, R-Little Rock, said in June 29 letters to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn that they support earlier letters from Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde opposing the tribe’s request. Placing the land into federal trust would allow the tribe to exercise jurisdiction over it. Some officials have questioned whether the tribe might build a casino on the land, although the tribe has said it has no plans for a casino and only wants to preserve burial mounds and artifacts dating back to the days before the tribe was removed to reservations in Kansas and what is now Oklahoma. The lawmakers wrote in their letters that Hutchinson and Hyde “feel such a designation would be a significant disruption to the safety of the surrounding community,” and they “are in the best position to determine the impacts, both positive and negative, granting such an application would have.” They also said federal law dictates that the greater the distance between proposed lands and a tribe’s reservation, the greater the scrutiny that an application must receive...more

I guess I'm a little confused by this process.  Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution states:

To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings 

Has the Arkansas legislature approved this?  How can the feds exercise exclusive jurisdiction without their approval?

White House Hosts First-Ever Tribal Youth Gathering

Despite overwhelming challenges still faced by Native people, some things have changed. Unlike all of his predecessors, President Barack Obama is not white. And today, for the first time, the representatives of Indian nations who will gather at the White House are entirely tribal youth. The White House is hosting the first-ever Tribal Youth Gathering in conjunction with the United National Indian Tribal Youth conference. The gathering will bring together more than 875 Native youth representing 230 Indian nations from 42 states to speak to first lady Michelle Obama, Cabinet officials, the White House Council on Native American Affairs and non-federal partners about a range of issues including education, health, justice, economic opportunity, climate change, cultural protection and language revitalization...more

Song Of The Day

You've probably noticed I haven't followed through on modern western balladeers.  The next song was to be Storm Over The Rangeland (The Ballad of Kit Laney), written and performed by Michael Martin Murphey.  I have 17 images to be included in the video, but Windows Movie Maker 2.6 keeps freezing up on even freezes the whole computer.  I've spent almost 7 hours during the last two nights and still can't get it done.  This has also affected the amount of news I'm posting.  But I'll keep trying...on this damn new computer.

Weather Whys: Lightning and livestock

Q: How many livestock are killed each year by lightning strikes?

A: No one knows for sure because record keeping tends to be very limited in many parts of the country, says Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University. But there is no doubt that hundreds of cattle, horses and sheep are killed every year by lightning in the United States. "The Department of Agriculture says lightning causes about 80 percent of all accidental livestock deaths," McRoberts explains. "What usually happens is that livestock often huddle together under a large tree during a thunderstorm, which we know is one of the worst places to be. There are numerous cases of ranchers finding two or more cows or horses dead under a tree after a thunderstorm."

Q: How often does lightning hit livestock?

A: At least as often as it strikes people and perhaps more often, McRoberts adds. "Unless there is a barn nearby, livestock are out in the open during thunderstorms, so their chances of being hit are greater," he says. "And the types of injuries are about the same. One study shows that while about 70 percent of humans struck by lightning still survive, the fatality rate of horses and cattle is much higher. This is because no one is around to treat the injured animal, plus the body mass of the animal is larger than a human, meaning more tissue damage can occur. Often, a rancher will see a dead animal on his property and not see any apparent cause. A necropsy (animal autopsy) often reveals that the animal died from a lightning strike."

Weather Whys is a service of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University.

Feral Hog Problem Growing In Oklahoma

Oklahoma's wild hog population is a million strong, and booming. So many hogs are running loose that they are costing our state a billion and a half dollars a year in agriculture and livestock loses. Now, landowners are fighting back, on the ground and from the air. They're violent, they're often diseased and they can now be found in every one of Oklahoma's 77 counties, according to George Luker, with Langston University. "They're very opportunistic," he said. "They are very aggressive and very smart." Parts of Charlie Coblentz's 6,000-acre farm near Inola were destroyed as corn seedlings were ripped from the ground just a month after planting. "The hog will root and dig up the corn seed and eat the seed at the bottom of the plant," Coblentz said. The Coblentz family has worked the farm for decades, and said the wild hog problem is just about out of control...more

SEE IT: Naked man dupes deputy, speeds off in New Mexico police car

A New Mexico police officer sent to stop the 37-year-old from running in traffic was left feeling stripped when the suspect took off in his police cruiser. A Curry County Sheriff's deputy responded to the scene along State Road 245 in Clovis, N.M., just before midnight Saturday and found the bare-backed man, who said he’d been poisoned. Jesus Tarango obliged police at first, sitting down on the side of the road. But Tarango quickly jumped up and ran into traffic once more before lying face-down on the hood of a Curry County Sheriff’s cruiser. “Ok, that’s my car,” the deputy told Tarango in an incident caught on the officer’s body cam. “No one’s in there.” That’s when Tarango sprung up and leapt into the driver’s seat of the cop car. “Sir! Sir! Hey, get out of there,” the deputy shouted. Tarango screeched off in the police cruiser...more

See the video at

Migration to settle America's West on the trail

By Jerry Harkavy

The "lunatic notion" to attempt a 21st-century journey in a mule-drawn covered wagon along the historic Oregon Trail may have been embedded in Rinker Buck's DNA. After all, it was a longer, more arduous reprise of his "dream summer" of 1958 when at age 7 he accompanied his father on a family bonding trip by covered wagon through New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Buck's latest trip occurred as he was navigating a rough patch in his life — a divorce, heavy drinking — and like earlier pioneers looking for change, he decided to duplicate what 400,000 of them had done in the 15 years before the Civil War: head west as part of history's greatest land migration.

Not since 1909 had anyone managed that feat, according to Buck, a self-described "history junkie" who hit on the idea of a nearly 2,000-mile-long journey from the Missouri River to eastern Oregon that would put him in touch with the nation's past.

Accompanying him on the trip was one of his 10 siblings, Nick Buck, arguably the most entertaining sidekick since Don Quixote's Sancho Panza. Profane and slovenly, the 250-pound unemployed construction worker with a Fu Manchu mustache had an unbeatable combination of mule-handling expertise, mechanical skills and ability to bond with strangers that made it possible to fulfill their crazy dream.

Completing the cast of characters were Olive Oyl, Nick's "incurably filthy" Jack Russell terrier, and the three Percheron mules that the author bought by phone in Missouri, sight unseen. Jake and the two mollies, Bute and Beck, proved their mettle during the steepest mountain climbs and descents; the three were justly rewarded for their efforts with a comfortable retirement at a ranch in Idaho.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Turner calls for more conservation

As a kid growing up at Triangle X Ranch, John Turner was inculcated with a frugal ranchers’ mentality that taught him to hold onto bits and pieces of machinery in case something broke down. That ethic of conserving items around the ranch is similar, Turner said, to the value of conserving the different parts of the natural world. “You couldn’t run into town to Ace Hardware. You had to fix these things on your own and save all the parts,” Turner said Thursday in front of about 30 people at the Murie Center. “I’ve always felt that is a good philosophy. “We need to save the parts of our biodiversity,” he said. Speaking from the front porch of Mardy Murie’s cabin, Turner explained how he grew up indoctrinated by a “rockbed Republican redneck family” that loved the valley and believed in conservation. His remarks were made alongside Murie Center Executive Director Paul Hansen and Rob Wallace, vice chairman of the center’s board, at a “front porch conversation series” talk about “conservative conservation.” As a politician, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director and leader in the nonprofit world, Turner earned a name for himself as a conservationist. His green credentials were built as a Republican, a juxtaposition he said has drawn skepticism from some he has encountered in life. “I’ve always felt that conservation is a conservative philosophy,” Turner said...more

Mr. Turner, please explain how increasing the size of the federal government, increasing federal expenditures and federal influence over our economy is "conservative"?

Turner reminded the crowd that many formative environmental laws governing the United States today have roots in the Nixon presidency. “Richard Nixon betrayed us on a lot of fronts, but if you look at his record every major piece of environmental legislation this country has passed through president Nixon,” he said. “National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act — it’s a pretty long list.”

Nixon did "betray us on a lot of fronts", including the environmental front and the items you list.  They have done far more damage to this country than the break-in at Watergate.

But let's get back to the point.  Do you consider Nixon to have been a conservative?  The same President who took us off the gold standard and imposed wage and price controls?  

I think you are confusing the word Republican with the word conservative.

Farmers vs. fish: Water war heats up with probe into who got millions of dollars

The site of some of the fiercest environmental wars over water in recent years is now the subject of a federal investigation into millions of dollars that whistleblowers say were intended to secure water for drought-stricken fish but flowed instead to farmers and ranchers. The Office of Special Counsel, the small federal office that investigates disclosures by whistleblowers, has found enough of a likelihood that $48 million was spent improperly by the Interior Department in the Klamath Basin that it directed the agency to do a formal investigation. The basin, which begins in the mountains east of the Cascade Range in southern Oregon and flows to northern California, has long been a flashpoint for conflicts over water use and fish conservation. Farmers and ranchers have fought with environmentalists and Indian tribes over the scarce water supply in this enormous watershed, one of the largest in the western U.S. In recent years, though, the area has been stricken by drought, which has only sharpened the tensions. Two biologists for the Interior Department’s Bureau of Reclamation, which supply farmers with irrigation water and farmland in the Klamath Project, became suspicious a little more than a year ago of a contract between the bureau and an organization called the Klamath Water and Power Agency, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a watchdog group that brought the scientists’ claims to the Office of Special Counsel. PEER says at least some of the $48 million contract was supposed to pay for a feasibility study for fish and wildlife of whether farmers could use groundwater instead of pulling water from the rivers. But instead, the group says, the money was used for office space, equipment, salaries and other expenditures to defray expenses of the company, an association of Klamath Project irrigators. The biologists discovered that money also was used to pump large amounts of groundwater to supply farmers during drought years until private wells went dry. All of these expenditures were made without any apparent legal authority to do so, PEER claims...more

Interior Department will not pursue appeal of Colowyo ruling

The U.S. Department of the Interior has decided not to pursue an appeal of a federal court ruling that threatened to close Colowyo coal mine in Northwest Colorado. According to a statement from Department of the Interior spokeswoman Jessica Kershaw, “We are not appealing the court’s decision, but are on track to address the deficiencies in the Colowyo permit within the 120-day period.” U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, said the decision is disappointing and he will follow up with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to ensure all the resources necessary to keep the mine open are allocated. Colowyo Coal Co., a subsidiary of Westminster-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, owns Colowyo mine and was disappointed with Department of Interior’s decision while still hopeful about the upcoming review. “We are disappointed that the government did not appeal the federal district court’s decision. Colowyo Mine remains confident that the U.S. Department of Interior and Office of Surface Mining are making every effort to complete the required environmental review within the 120-day period ordered by the court,” Tri-State’s Senior Manager of Corporate Communications and Public Affiars Lee Boughey said in an email. “These efforts help ensure compliance with the judge’s order while supporting the 220 employees of Colowyo Mine and communities across northwest Colorado.” The issue arose on May 8 when Judge R. Brooke Jackson ordered Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to redo its environmental assessment for Colowyo’s South Taylor pit within 120 days or the mining plan would be voided. Jackson’s order was the result of a claim brought by environmental advocacy group WildEarth Guardians. Guardians’ claim asserted the OSMRE did not comply with the National Environmental Policy Act when it recommended approval of Colowyo’s mining plans to the Secretary of the Interior’s office in 2007. Jackson agreed with the claim, specifically citing OSMRE’s failure to facilitate adequate public comment and take into account the indirect impacts of mining coal...more

Drone debate trickles into the field of water science

Over the past decade the prevalence and sophistication of Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAVs) has grown enormously. UAVs, commonly referred to as drones, have no onboard human operator but rather their flight is directed using remote controls or autonomously through a computer. A favorite topic of public debate, the use of drones has expanded across a variety of sectors. It seems that everyone from Hollywood producers to cattle ranchers are exploring new applications for these machines. Researchers studying water quality have developed their own innovative take on the drone trend. Around the country, several different research programs have developed UAVs equipped to collect water samples. The drones take on all different sizes and models. Some hover above the water surface and use a long straw like tube to suck up a sample. Another model acts like a miniature seaplane outfitted with pumps that draw in water as it lands. Saginaw Valley State University students have even developed a water sampling drone equipped with a drill attachment that bores through ice for winter sampling...more

Bear bites teen asleep in tent near Raton

New Mexico Game and Fish officers set a trap Tuesday trying to catch a bear that bit a teenage girl while she was sleeping in a tent early Monday in a neighborhood yard just outside Raton. The girl suffered minor wounds to her arm and ear when the bear nipped at her through the wall of her tent. She was treated at a Raton hospital, the department said in a news release. The girl was among several people attending a family gathering — and sleeping in tents outside the home — in the semirural area just northeast of Raton. The homeowner said he heard something rustling through trash bags about 3 a.m. and scared the juvenile bear away with a shot into the air from his handgun. When the bear returned, he said, he fired another shot, which prompted the bear to turn and walk away. By the time investigating officers were called to the scene about 8:45 a.m., a heavy rainstorm had washed away any tracks and scent that might have helped find the bear. Officers set a culvert live trap in case the bear returns, the department said...more

Wolf Kills Reported In Eastern Oregon

The Umatilla River wolf pack killed three sheep and injured another last week near Weston Mountain, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. In January, ODFW adopted “Phase Two” wolf management practices for Eastern Oregon. The rules give managers more flexibility to decide when to kill problem wolves that prey on livestock.  Russ Morgan, wolf coordinator for the state, said it’s unlikely that ODFW would use lethal control on the Umatilla Pack. “There has not been a depredation of this pack for some time,” said Morgan. “We are in phase two of our rules and that does have a different criteria for when lethal control of problem wolves is an option, but we’re really not at this stage yet with this pack.”...more 

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

BLM official sentenced in workplace fraud case

A federal judge sentenced a senior official in the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to six months in prison on Tuesday after he was convicted of covering up for a subordinate who kept drawing government pay after leaving the agency for a job in Montana.  John Grimson Lyon, the director for the BLM's 31-state Eastern States Region, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian Morris after a hearing in Great Falls, Montana.  Lyon was also ordered to serve six months' home confinement and pay $74,000 in restitution. The 61-year-old Clifton, Virginia, man was convicted by a jury in March of wire fraud, false claims and theft of government property...more

Center for American Progress helped craft EPA talking points, emails show

A prominent left-wing group helped formulate Environmental Protection Agency talking points designed to sell a controversial regulatory scheme to skeptical journalists, internal emails show. The emails show Joseph Goffman, the senior counsel of EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, circulating talking points from Center for American Progress climate strategy director Daniel Weiss among EPA colleagues attempting to sell the agency's controversial power plant regulations to a New York Times reporter. Weiss emailed Goffman in September 2013 with a series of suggestions for convincing the Times' Matt Wald of the commercial viability of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology, a vital component of the agency's stringent power plant emissions regulations. Five minutes later, Goffman sent an email to five colleagues in his office and the agency's public affairs division. Unredacted language in the email is identical to language in Weiss' list of talking points.  The Environment & Energy (E&E) Legal Institute obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request. Chris Horner, a senior legal fellow at E&E, said they show extensive behind-the-scenes collaboration between EPA and third-party groups that support the regulations. ..more

The Pope’s Encyclical Exposes Real Agenda Behind Global Warming

by Dr. Tim Ball

 Many times quotations are truncated to change the original meaning. When the larger quote is examined, a very different meaning often emerges. For example, most say, “Money is the root of all evil” when the full quote of Timothy 6:10 is “The love of money is the root of all evil”. This addition creates a very different emphasis and perspective...A frequently used quote in the climate debate quotes in “Science Under Siege” by Michael Fumento is Senator Timothy Wirth’s,

“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing,

When you add the latter part of the sentence that says, “in terms of economic policy and environmental policy ” a different understanding emerges. What is the “economic policy”? The answer is the economic redistribution of wealth by the government, or socialism. Now the quote parallels what Pope Francis is identifying in his Encyclical “Laudato Si”. 

Global warming was always that, the problem is most people still don’t know, although there are signs they are learning. The recent Pew Center poll indicates more people recognize global warming as a political issue. Publication of an article on WUWT discussing the ongoing debate about humans and their role in nature is another indicator. I commend Anthony Watts for recognizing the need for airing a wider context for the debate. The problem is most don’t know or understand the political issues involved. Few are aware of the link between global warming, climate change, and overpopulation. Most don’t know that the objectives of the United Nations Environment Program, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were to demand population reduction because too many people were using too many resources and destroying the Earth.

The person who believed this vehemently was Hans Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) so he became a senior advisor to the Vatican. He is a member of the IPCC, which might explain his appointment...

 The latest Encyclical by Pope Francis is a revolutionary document in which it appears Pope Francis decided that overpopulation is a bigger problem than Church doctrine, especially when the increased population is industrialized, developed and prosperous. These are exactly the positions underlying the goals of the UN Agenda 21, the White House, and most other nations. Like them, the Encyclical uses global warming as a front for a political agenda...

 Overpopulation is the central concern of environmentalism and environmentalists. The concern obtained global and political attention in the 1960s through the Club of Rome and, in particular, the publication of Paul Ehrlich’s book The Population Bomb. Overpopulation remained a central issue through the 1970s and 1980s but moved to the background after 1988 when James Hansen appeared before the US Senate subcommittee and began the shift in the public arena to global warming. Publication of the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report in 1990 shifted the focus to global warming in the scientific and political arena.

Man shoots off firework from top of his head, dies instantly

A 22-year-old man who was drinking and celebrating the Fourth of July tried to launch a firework off the top of his head, killing him instantly, authorities said Sunday. Devon Staples and his friends had been drinking and setting off fireworks Saturday night in the backyard of a friend's home in eastern Maine, said Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety. Staples, 22, of Calais, a small city on the Canadian border, placed a reloadable fireworks mortar tube on his head and told his friends he was going to light it, McCausland said. But his friends urged him to stop...more

Battle over cattle: Controversy at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

A longtime battle rages between ranchers and conservationists over cattle grazing at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument – a national monument signed into being by President Bill Clinton in 1996 that covers land in Garfield and Kane counties. At the heart of the matter, both ranchers and environmentalists say they want wise stewardship at the monument, as well as preservation and restoration of the land’s health. They also desire collaborative decision making when it comes to changes at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. But the similarities end when it comes to assigning blame for degraded conditions at the monument and what should be done to fix problems there. Hal Hamblin, of Kanab, is a fifth-generation rancher. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is one of the locations where he grazes his cattle. Hamblin said restrictions associated with a national monument designation have made it very difficult for ranchers to do business effectively and have tied ranchers’ hands when it comes to taking care of their grazing allotments. “The rules and regulations that they’ve put in are destroying the land,” he said. Because of monument restrictions, Hamblin said, ranchers can’t extend or move water lines within their allotments to bring water to the traveling cattle; they can’t fence riparian areas; they can’t bring in foreign material, such as rock or gravel, to slow down erosion in washes and they can’t take other erosion controlling measures; they can’t cut cedar posts to repair fencing; they can’t maintain roads; they can’t bring in mechanical equipment in many areas; and they can’t implement brush control measures...more

You know what I'm going to highlight:

Because of monument restrictions, Hamblin said, ranchers can’t extend or move water lines within their allotments to bring water to the traveling cattle; they can’t fence riparian areas; they can’t bring in foreign material, such as rock or gravel, to slow down erosion in washes and they can’t take other erosion controlling measures; they can’t cut cedar posts to repair fencing; they can’t maintain roads; they can’t bring in mechanical equipment in many areas; and they can’t implement brush control measures

 But how can this be?  Senators Udall & Heinrich have assured everyone that a monument designation would not harm grazing. 

In a 2013 joint statement Udall and Heinrich said their legislative proposal for a monument "preserves existing grazing rights" and "Maintains existing grazing allotments under the current rangeland management guidelines."

Shortly after the monument was designated, Udall and Heinrich penned a piece for the Sun-News where they wrote,  "The monument lands will continue to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as they are now. That means that grazing will operate under the same rules as it does today."

That's certainly not the experience we're seeing in other national monuments.  Both Senators and their staff persons were briefed on this issue.  I  and others personally briefed Senator Heinrich in his Las Cruces office on this very issue.
I've covered the issue many times, most recently with Livestock Grazing in National Monuments - What A Mess.  There you will see the ranchers on the Grand Staircase-Escalante have language more protective of grazing than what Obama-Udall-Heinrich have saddled us with in the two new NM national monuments.

That leaves us with two unwelcome alternatives, either: 1) the Senators don't have the mental capacity to understand the issue, or  2) they have deliberately misled the public about grazing in national monuments.

Industry and environmentalists share dislike for federal sage grouse plan

Environmentalists, ranchers and oil companies have found a rare point of consensus. All strongly dislike a new Department of Interior plan to save the sage grouse, a chicken-sized bird that could be on its way to the endangered species list unless a plan can first be devised to save it.  But that's where the similarities end. Environmentalists, in a recently filed protest, said the government strategy ignored its own scientists by keeping vital habitat open to drilling.  Cowboys and rig hands see measures to protect the grouse as a restrictive burden that could greatly shackle their respective industries.  Caught in the middle is Gov. Matt Mead, who has applauded the federal government for following Wyoming's lead in trying to balance conservation with economic development. Mead nonetheless filed his own protest to the federal plan, criticizing the bureau's proposal to recommend 252,000 acres be made unavailable to mining, along with changes to leasing policies for oil and gas development and grazing. Jeremiah Rieman, the governor's top policy adviser on natural resource issues, said Washington's plan deviates from Wyoming's strategy in lots of little ways. Add them all up, he said, and it could do great harm to the state...more

Twenty of the West's Leading Water Managers Raft Colorado's Yampa River

n the morning, there was a bathtub ring around the river, a wet slice of canyon wall just above the waterline. Flows on the Yampa River, the last major undammed tributary of the Colorado, were starting to drop. We had come to the canyon that the Yampa carved through ancient Weber sandstone on a raft trip, to talk about the future of wild rivers, and rivers in general. Advocacy groups Friends of the Yampa and American Rivers decided that the best way to talk about water issues was on the water. So they pulled together 20 people who have been making decisions about water in Colorado, and in the West, for the past 30 years—the head of Denver Water, former Deputy Secretaries of the Interior, ranchers, power plant managers and environmentalists—and a few journalists like myself. They tempted them with the idea of running an untapped river, and then stuck everyone in boats for five days so they had to talk to each other. The Yampa flows from the high country near Routt National Forest, past power plants and ranchlands, into Dinosaur National Monument where it joins the Green River at Echo Park. It hits the main stem of the Colorado just over the border in Utah. Even though it’s not dammed anywhere, it’s used by almost all the major groups who depend on river flows: farms, fish, cities, industry, recreation and power. The coal-fired Craig Power Plant is its major consumptive user. Endangered fish like the Colorado pikeminnow depend on its flow. Along the way it irrigates pasture lands and provides flows for kayakers. And, if it continues to run free—hence the flow-dependent bathtub ring—it can be a model for fish habitat and smart agricultural use...more

BLM offers new grazing area in Elk Horn Mountains

The Bureau of Land Management is offering a unique forage allotment program for qualifying ranchers near the Elk Horn Mountains. Ranchers holding a grazing allotment in the Elk Horn Mountains can move their cattle into an alternate grazing area. This will allow BLM to treat public land ranchers normally use for grazing in the Elk Horn Mountains, Scott Haight, Butte field manager for Bureau of Land Management, said. With the vegetation treatment, the health of the range will improve, said David Abrams, public affairs specialist for the BLM Western Montana District. This new program is part of the Bureau of Land Management's environmental assessment for the Iron Mask area...more

‘Farm Hats’ Facebook group highlights headgear

As a testament to exactly how many hats Kent Blunier owns, he offers, “I haven’t had the same hat on twice since I started it.” “It” is “Farm Hats,” a public Facebook group that has grown in just a month to nearly 1,000 members. “Well over 100” is the number of actual farm hats Blunier, who farms with his father Stan on the family’s grain and pig farm in rural Livingston County, claims. “If you ask my wife, it’s much more than that,” he conceded. Blunier started the group after being inspired by a story about a farmer’s many hats. “It talked about the hats that farmers wear, literally and figuratively. In the morning you could be a welder, and in the afternoon, we’ve got pigs, so I could be a veterinarian,” he said. A combination of new farm technology and inspiration from fellow farmers resulted in “Farm Hats.”...more 

HT: in BEEF Daily 

Stampede critics are attacking rural values

By Graeme Menzies

When Gordon Lightfoot wrote the Railway Trilogy in 1967, Canada was celebrating 100 years since Confederation. The song acknowledged the magnitude of our country, and the heroic effort required to bind it into a nation.

“There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run. When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun,” Lightfoot wrote.

The song was both a lament for a disappearing frontier and a celebration of the industrious ambition that transformed the landscape and built a country.

It is no coincidence that the first rodeos and Wild West shows began around the same time the railroad companies were busy, as Lightfoot would say, “laying down tracks and tearing up the trails.” Buffalo Bill Cody’s first Wild West Show was held in 1883 — just two years before the Last Spike was hammered home.

Like Lightfoot’s song, the early rodeos and Wild West shows acknowledged that times were changing.

The predicted demise of frontier life, and the urbanization of Canada, has come true. With 80 per cent of Canadians living in urban areas, rodeo events and agricultural exhibitions like those hosted by the Calgary Stampede are just as relevant today as they were a century ago. Rodeos provide an opportunity for urban Canadians to reconnect with agriculture and livestock, and to meet other citizens — like farmers and ranchers — that they aren’t likely to meet at any other time or place of the year.

Unfortunately, some urbanites rally against rodeo events. Egged on by activist organizations like the Vancouver Humane Society, they position themselves as champions of animal rights and animal welfare, but the facts don’t support the claim. Compared to other equine sports, rodeo events have some of the highest standards in animal welfare and lowest injury rates and fatalities.

Independent animal science experts, like the University of Calgary’s Dr. Ed Pajor and the University of Colorado’s Dr. Temple Grandin, can attest to the work that has been done to measure and manage animal welfare at rodeo events.

The Calgary Humane Society randomly monitors the Calgary Stampede grounds and ensures the Alberta Animal Protection Act is upheld.

But even though the Vancouver Humane Society knows all this — they know the rodeo events are statistically safer than the thoroughbred races that take place at Vancouver’s Hastings Park racetrack; they know the Calgary event is monitored by the Calgary Humane Society; they know the Animal Protection Act is enforced; they know Calgary Stampede is a leader in animal welfare research — they still protest.


Money is certainly a factor...

Graeme Menzies is the author of The Rodeo Guide for City Slickers.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1450

We'll stick with some modern balladeers of the west for the rest of this week.  First up will be Ian Tyson performing Claude Dallas.  The tune is on his 1986 CD Cowboyography.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Pearce: Gila diversion would protect region's future

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-NM, said Saturday that the proposed diversion of the Gila River was an important step to make sure water would be available for Grant County residents in the future. "For eight years under (former Gov. Bill) Richardson nothing was done," Pearce said. The Central Arizona Project had received the water rights and by the time Pearce became involved in the issue, the water belonged to Arizona and not New Mexico, he said. "When I went to Arizona to see about getting our water rights back, they had the water rights, it belonged to them," Pearce said. "I went to Congress and got the money so we bought those rights back, But there won't be money in the future to buy those rights back again." The Grant County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously on June 25 in favor of a resolution approving the Joint Powers Agreement to create the New Mexico Unit of the Central Arizona Project as required by the Arizona Water Settlements Act. Luna County's Board of County Commissioners also agreed to support the JPA and join the CAP Entity on June 24. However, Silver City Town Council voted on June 23 not to support the JPA. The Arizona Water Settlements Act allocates to New Mexico an annual average of 14,000 acre-feet of water from the Gila Basin and up to $128 million in non-reimbursable federal funding, according to the website, The water is in addition to that allocated to New Mexico in the 1964 U.S. Supreme Court decree in Arizona v. California. The funds may be used only in the southwest water planning region of New Mexico, which includes Catron, Grant, Hidalgo, and Luna counties. The draft of the agreement was finalized on May 15 and the next step is the adoption of the agreement, which will clear the way for the proposed water projects to move forward...more

Obama Cabinet Member Hates Redskins, Likes Dead Eskimos

by Daniel Greenfield

Obama's Interior Secretary Sally Jewell really cares about Native Americans. That's why she'll oppose a Redskins stadium.
The Obama administration will likely block Washington, D.C., authorities from building a new stadium for the NFL's Washington Redskins because of objections to the team’s name.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, whose department includes the NPS, told D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in April that, unless the Redskins change their name, the Obama administration would not work to accommodate construction of a new venue, according to The Washington Post.
In a letter a month later, a local NPS official told Bowser the agency opposed the idea of building a new stadium.
I'll skip over the general state of political corruption and political correctness encapsulated in that little story. Let's just move on to Sally Jewell's boundless affection for the native peoples. You might even say that she loves them to death.
King Cove has a clinic, but no hospital or doctor. Residents must fly 600 miles to Anchorage, via Cold Bay's World War II airstrip, for most medical procedures including serious trauma cases and childbirth. Frequent gale-force winds and thick fog often delay or jeopardize medevac flights.
According to local Aleutian elders, 19 people have died since 1980 as a result of the impossible-to-navigate weather conditions during emergency evacuations.
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Monday rejected a proposal for a one-lane gravel road linking the isolated community of King Cove with the all-weather airport in Cold Bay some 22 miles away.
During an August visit to Alaska, Jewell was told that building a road that connects King Cove and Cold Bay was vital. But in December, Jewell rejected the road saying it would jeopardize waterfowl in the refuge.
“She stood up in the gymnasium and told those kids, ‘I’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals,” Democratic state Rep. Bob Herron told a local television station.
So the good news is that if the Redskins just add a big pond for the waterfowl in their stadium, Sally Jewell will kill as many Indians as it takes to make it happen.

Did Rand Paul Meet With Cliven Bundy? Bundy Says Yes; Paul Camp: No

Good thing for Rand Paul (shown) that he hasn’t hired the Washington Post to manage his campaign. Taking that paper’s recent advice could alienate a lot of constitutionalists who otherwise might support the senator. On July 1, the paper published an article by Amber Phillips criticizing the Republican presidential hopeful’s alleged meeting with Cliven Bundy, the embattled Nevada rancher whose face-off with federal agents drew worldwide attention last year. I say alleged meeting because according to the Associated Press, Paul’s campaign denies his having spent 45 minutes meeting with the constitutionally minded cattle rancher. Bundy, however, told a Nevada-based AP reporter that he spent about 45 minutes with Paul during the latter’s visit to Mesquite. “In general, I think we’re in tune with each other,” Bundy purportedly told the AP’s Riley Snyder. Paul’s trip to Mesquite was part of a tour of the Silver State. While in Mesquite, Paul fielded questions from the public, including one about attempts by the federal government to assert ownership of the state’s rural land. "I think almost all land use issues and animal issues, endangered species issues, ought to be handled at the state level," Paul told the AP. "I think that the government shouldn't interfere with state decisions, so if a state decides to have medical marijuana or something like that, it should be respected as a state decision."...more

Rand Paul’s Cliven Bundy conundrum

Nevada could be a slam dunk for Kentucky Senator Rand Paul in the upcoming GOP caucus. In 2012, libertarian supporters propelled a strong challenge by his father, former Texas congressman Ron Paul, against the eventual nominee Mitt Romney. The younger Paul hopes to capitalize on that base, but also to attract a wider range of voters.  But his controversial rendezvous with Cliven Bundy this week exemplifies the difficulty the candidate will have in rallying his father’s core of supporters while also wooing the moderates necessary to win the state’s Republican presidential caucus. If he leans too far to the center, he risks alienating the libertarians. But if he leans too far the other way, he risks losing mainstream support. Bundy, the Bunkerville rancher who’s currently under a Justice Department investigation for refusing to pay more than $1 million in back taxes said he was “in tune” with Paul after the two met at a town-hall style meeting on Monday. Bundy also said he had a private, 45-minute meeting with the candidate. Paul's staff denied the encounter lasted that long or was planned. “I don’t think those are the headlines his campaign wanted coming out of this visit,” David Damore, associate professor of political science at UNLV, said of the controversy. While Bundy’s standoff with the Bureau of Land Management officials last year launched him into political fame, he quickly alienated moderate Republicans.  In Mesquite, Paul embraced a tenet of Bundy’s politics, saying that federal lands should be handed over to states...more

EDITORIAL: BLM’s Burning Man requests outrageous

Strip VIP hosts are breathing sighs of relief from Wynn Las Vegas to Mandalay Bay. They might have their hands full satisfying all kinds of requests from their guests this holiday weekend, but they know they could be stuck with far more outrageous demands. They could be dealing with the BLM.

If Nevadans needed any more proof that U.S. Bureau of Land Management leaders are arrogant, entitled and disconnected, they need only read a tremendous series of stories recently published by the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Rugged outdoorsmen need not apply to the Interior Department. As reported by the newspaper’s Jenny Kane, the BLM asked the organizers of the upcoming Burning Man counterculture festival to build a million-dollar luxury compound — supplied with a ridiculous list of snacks, food and amenities at the festival’s expense — to accommodate the federal employees charged with staffing Black Rock City later this summer. The request, which would raise the festival’s land use costs to roughly $5 million, has become a stumbling block for organizers, who need a permit from the BLM to stage their event in northwestern Nevada.

Burning Man is famous for extreme conditions and the self-reliance of its attendees — two things BLM employees want no part of. The implication of the request was clear: The permit for the already sold-out festival, which will attract up to 80,000 people to the desert the week leading up to Labor Day, could be denied if the BLM’s VIPs aren’t provided with flushing toilets, showers, hot water, refrigerators, couches, washers, dryers, Choco Tacos, M&Ms, licorice, Chobani Greek Yogurt, steaks and 24-hour access to ice cream.

What, no bottle service or spa treatments?

 ...That’s almost $67,000 per employee for a week in the sticks. Those are some awfully expensive manicures. (“Ethel, I said the clear nail polish!”)

...The demands, while ridiculous, make perfect sense. The BLM can’t manage the land. It can’t manage wild horse herds. It can’t prevent wildfires. Its sheltered staffers know nothing about the land, so they couldn’t possibly be expected to rough it while monitoring a counterculture celebration that’s all about leaving civilization behind. They think the public’s land is their land, and they resent leaving the comforts of their offices and homes to protect it from the unwashed masses.

Here’s an idea for the BLM: provide some basic camping courses to your staff — in the outdoors, not at a five-star hotel — and hire fewer wimps.

Imperious BLM agents still behaving like they are better than us


Who says the United States does not have a royal class?

The bureaucrats at the Bureau of Land Management just don’t think like the rest of us. They are downright imperious — in more ways than one.

A year ago they sent an invading army of heavily armed agents — with snipers on hilltops and attack dogs on the roads — to intimidate Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy while hired wranglers rounded up his cattle from BLM land and agents destroyed water tanks and pipelines and shot his bulls.

Now, the BLM bureaucrats are demanding that they be treated like pampered royalty at the annual Burning Man festivities in the Black Rock Desert.

The Reno newspaper reports that the BLM is demanding that the festival organizers build a $1 million luxury facility replete with trailers, flush toilets, washers and dryers and vanity mirrors for the comfort of BLM executives and agents and unspecified VIPs. Festival organizers say the cost of permits and complying with BLM demands have risen from $1 million in 2011 to nearly $5 million this year.

In addition, the Reno paper says emails it has received spell out a demand that the facility be stocked with hot-and-cold running desserts and a 24-hour full-service kitchen providing a potentate’s menu of gourmet meals and snacks that include (we kid you not) 10-ounce steaks, 18-ounce pork ribs, poultry, ham, fish, vegetables, potatoes, bread, salad bar with five toppings and three dressings and desserts.
Specifically the desserts to be served in the desert must include Drumsticks, Choco Taco, assorted ice cream flavors, Popsicles and ice cream sandwiches, as well as cakes, cookies, pies, cobblers, puddings and pastries.

An army travels on its stomach.

The Gazette-Journal said the emails cited BLM Special Agent Dan Love of Salt Lake City as the person behind many of the BLM requests. Love led the BLM standoff with Bundy and his armed supporters. He did not return the paper’s requests for comment.

how this Burning Man shakedown will end. Just don’t stand between a bureaucrat and the buffet and be sure to bow and curtsey when they pass by.

San Antonio Missions Receive World Heritage Designation

The San Antonio Mission Trail has been recognized as a World Heritage Site. The vote was tallied just after 6:00 a.m. CST on Sunday morning, which is roughly 1:00 p.m at the site of the meeting in Bonn, Germany. After The Committee on Monuments and Sites, or ICOMOS, recommended the inscription, countries had the opportunity to ask questions about the recommendation or share their support. Only one country, Portugal, had a concern about Hemisfair Park and its construction. Representatives from the U.S. clarified plans for Hemisfair and noted it is in the trail's buffer zone and Portugal was satisfied. monday.3  Other countries who took their turn at the mic were overwhelmingly in support. Among those with U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO Crystal Nix-HInes in Bonn were Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Mayor Ivy Taylor. Both the judge and the mayor thanked the committee and other countries for their support on behalf of the city and expressed excitement to share the treasure with the world. The decision comes two years after county leaders first asked UNESCO to consider the Alamo and the Mission Trail for the honor. It sparked online buzz about a "New World Order" in which the Alamo would be "handed over" to the United Nations...more