Friday, November 20, 2015

Obama administration asks Supreme Court to approve executive amnesty

The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to reinstate President Obama’s deportation amnesty Friday, filing papers appealing a federal appeals court’s decision blocking the amnesty exactly a year after the program was first announced. Administration officials hope to get the case on the high court’s calendar for this term, which ends in June. Otherwise the case would have to wait to be heard until October 2016, at the earliest, which would mean a decision likely wouldn’t come until after Mr. Obama leaves office and a new president has a chance to undo his moves. Immigrant-rights advocates cheered the appeal, but said they still want to see more out of Mr. Obama. “Appealing to defend the expansion of deferred action is the least the Administration can do on immigration,” said Marisa Franco, director of the #Not1More Campaign that wants to halt deportations. “The Department of Justice should be investigating the civil rights crisis at DHS that’s unfolding with no one watching. ICE’s abuses constitute a fire that only the DOJ can put out.” Mr. Obama could have dropped the case and accepted the decision last week from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled he violated the law...more

New Mexico's "Mr. Close", passes bill to "open" federal lands

A key Senate committee on Thursday approved Sen. Martin Heinrich’s legislation to open more federal lands for hunting, fishing and other recreational pursuits. Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, sponsored the Sportsmen’s Act with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican who is chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The measure would also permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which expired in September, and dedicate a portion of its budget to securing public access to existing federal lands. An avid hunter and fisherman who is a member of the committee, Heinrich expressed gratitude for the bipartisan support for his bill. The bill would establish a national policy for federal agencies to expand and enhance sportsmen’s opportunities and make “open unless closed” the standard for access to federal lands throughout the United States...more

How ironic that Martin Heinrich, who is personally responsible for restricting or limiting access to almost a million acres of federal land in NM, is now touting his support for access to federal lands.  

Former BLM chief aims to get Latino youth outdoors

Juan Palma grew up near some of the most spectacular places in the West, with the volcanic peaks of Mt. Adams and Rainier never far from the horizon in Washington state's Yakima Valley.

But as a young boy from a large family of migrant farmworkers, it never occurred to him that he could easily head off into the mountains that rose up in the distance.

“I didn't know it was public,” he said. “It was beyond my world.”

The former head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's (BLM's) state office recounted his boyhood impressions during a Nov. 7 hike to Delicate Arch, as a group of school-aged children from Moab rushed up the trail ahead of him.

Palma organized the four-hour trip with the hope that it will strengthen the students' connections to public lands. It was the first of several planned outings that the now-retired civil servant will lead in his new role as the chief conservation officer of HECHO, which stands for “Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors.”

It doesn't take a genius to see what's going on here. 

Whites account for over 90% of the visits to Forest lands, but they are declining as a percentage of the overall population.

Hispanics account for only 5% of visits but are the fastest growing segment of the population.

The enviros and the federales are putting on a full court press to increase their customer base among Hispanics.  Otherwise a declining percentage of the public will utilize these lands, threatening the political power base of the enviros and the budgets of the federal agencies.

The big push is on and they are using taxpayer money to accomplish their goal.

Bill offers hope for forest fuel reduction

As ranchers throughout the West deal with the aftermath of catastrophic summer wildfires, proponents of legislation to reduce fuel loads in federal forests say there’s a good chance it will pass Congress before the end of the year as part of funding the federal budget. The Resilient Federal Forest Act of 2015, HR 2647, was introduced by Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., a professional forester and engineer, on June 4. It was passed by 243 Republicans and 19 Democrats on July 9 and awaits a hearing before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. In short, the bill, at the urging of the Obama administration, allows the U.S. Forest Service to access funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency for fighting fires instead of depleting non-firefighting funds within the Forest Service budget. The bill also allows the USFS and Bureau of Land Management expedited environmental review of forest management projects — including logging, thinning and prescribed burns — in public forests at imminent risk of major wildfire, insects and disease...more

Why Would Yellowstone National Park Want To Kill 1000 Bison?

Mitigating populations of large animals in a world where they must coexist with human enterprise is no easy task. After the backlash against the killing of Cecil the lion and other so-called “trophy hunts for conservation”, the general public was made aware of the tough decisions wildlife conservation professionals need to make every single day in the name of saving species—and also making humans happy. This controversial cull was started in 2000 when conservation officials were looking to curb the spread of the livestock disease brucellosis as the bison were wandering into ranches in Montana during the cold Wyoming winters. Currently there are about 5000 bison in the park, but thousands are expected to leave the park and continue into Montana where their presence is not welcome by ranchers who say that along with bringing disease, the bison overgraze their land. As Yellowstone spokeswoman Sandy Snell-Dobert says: “If there was more tolerance north of the park in Montana for wildlife, particularly bison as well as other wildlife, to travel outside the park boundaries, it wouldn’t be an issue.” The target population for these bison is closer to 3000, and their numbers continue to grow desipte aggressive culling in previous years. Last year, 700 of the bison were captured and turned over to local American Indian tribes to be used for food. While the Nez Perce tribe of Idaho supports the cull, the spiritual leader of the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana has spoken out against it. Opinion is very mixed on this issue and leaders from the American Indian tribes and other state and federal agencies will meet this week to decide on a plan moving forward...more

Wolf killings down in Idaho, but Cascade area defies trend

The number of livestock killed by wolves has declined in Idaho this year, officials say, but the Cascade area defied the trend. Idaho Wildlife Services investigated 91 wolf livestock killings during fiscal year 2015, down from 107 the year before and 129 in 2013, reported The Capital Press. The number of investigations peaked at 219 in 2009. “They’ve been trending down for a while, and this trend continued this year,” said Wildlife Services Director Todd Grimm. The number of confirmed and probably wolf-caused deaths to cattle and sheep have also been dropping. Ranching industry leaders said Idaho’s more liberal hunting and trapping regulations and the end of federal protection for wolves have contributed to the decrease. “We’ve got a hunting season going,” said Stan Boyd, executive director of Idaho Wool Growers. “Finally, the state is managing its wolf population.” But the Cascade area was an exception to the trend, according to Grimm. Wolves there killed nine cattle this summer, he said, including seven owned by rancher Phil Davis. They didn’t bother to feed on the carcasses of Davis’ cattle. Davis said he worries that ranchers don’t always realize it’s a wolf attack that killed their livestock. “Most often, animals are intact, and they look like they could have died from 100 different things,” he said. Grimm said he plans to use a helicopter to put radio collars on the Cascade-area wolves as soon as there’s a blue sky and snow, allowing them to track footprints...more


"It must be admitted that the tendency of the human race toward liberty is largely thwarted, especially in France. This is greatly due to a fatal desire -- learned from the teachings of antiquity -- that our writers on public affairs have in common: They desire to set themselves above mankind in order to arrange, organize, and regulate it according to their fancy."
-- Frederic Bastiat

"What chiefly distinguishes the daily press is its incurable fear of ideas, its constant effort to evade the discussion of fundamentals by translating all issues into a few elemental fears, its incessant reduction of all reflection to mere emotion."
-- H. L. Mencken

Our view: Save the Gila while we can

The proposed diversion of the Gila River is bad for the river, bad for the wilderness that surrounds it and bad for New Mexico. At a billion dollars, it’s also too costly.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell still has time to stop this misuse of money, land and water, with Monday the deadline for her to sign an agreement with New Mexico allowing the diversion to go forward. More than 45,500 signatures have been collected on a petition to Jewell asking her to protect the river by rejecting the diversion. They’re far from alone. Businesses, poets, outdoor enthusiasts and others have been contacting Jewell to tell her to oppose this misguided project. We have made our position clear in past editorials — as the last untamed river in New Mexico, the Gila is too precious to sacrifice.

The Gila River watershed contains the nation’s first designated wilderness area, the beginning of our commitment to protecting wild country for the people. It is the last main-stem river in New Mexico without diversions or major dams. Home to more than 360 species of birds, the river also holds the most intact native fish community in the Colorado River Basin. It is irreplaceable.

As potent as those arguments are, though, New Mexico should reject this boondoggle simply on the basis of finances. Estimated to cost a billion dollars, federal funding only is paying for a portion of the water diversion project. The rest of the funding, as much as $800 million to $900 million, will come out of New Mexico’s coffers...

Colorado unveils plan to manage water amid drought, demand

he snow that falls on the Colorado mountains melts into trillions of gallons of water every year, and most of it flows downstream to Mexico, California and 17 other states. Colorado released its first plan Thursday to cope with increasing competition for that water as the West grows drier. The plan sets conservation goals, outlines ways to share water during droughts and suggests ways to preserve the environment, recreation and agriculture while accommodating rapid population growth. It also has contentious elements, including a suggestion to increase water storage, which usually means building dams and reservoirs. The plan doesn't have teeth - it will be up to state and local governments, water utilities, irrigation districts and others to provide the money and muscle to make it work. But it won praise as a good step toward preparing for inevitable shortages. Why is it important?  Almost 4.6 trillion gallons of water rushes out of Colorado's mountains each year as the winter snow melts. Two-thirds of it belongs to downstream users under a collection of international treaties, interstate agreements and court rulings. Colorado gets the rest. "Strategic planning for Colorado is strategic planning for the West," said James Eklund, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which wrote the water plan.  Four significant rivers originate in the state: the Colorado, the Rio Grande, the Platte and the Arkansas. The Colorado River supplies water to about 40 million people and 6,300 square miles of farmland in seven states...more

Colorado meteorologist warns farmers, ranchers to prepare for future drought years

...Bledsoe, chief meteorologist at KKTV in Colorado Springs, presented a long-term outlook of weather patterns to beef producers from across the United States at the Range Beef Cow Symposium on Wednesday at The Ranch. More than 700 producers attended the biennial symposium, which focused on beef production issues in the western United States. The patterns will likely affect farmers and ranchers in Colorado and across the country. While most of the country has been enjoying the excess moisture over the past few years, Bledsoe has been watching weather patterns to see when that moisture might break and fall into drought conditions. He said the United States is in an El Niño Pacific Decadal Oscillation Phase, which means the water on the Pacific Ocean is warm. It’s not only warm, he said, but last year from about December through February, there were record high surface temperatures. “It is starting to cool down a little bit from its record-high levels,” Bledsoe said. Whether the Pacific Ocean is warm or cold or the Atlantic Ocean is warm or cold, “it has a huge impact on our weather,” he said. The abnormally high surface temperatures on the Pacific have had an effect on much of the world’s weather. El Niño is causing droughts in California, which is affecting the farmers and ranchers in that area as they fight the cities for water. It also is expected to cause the Southeast to have a cold, wet winter. The phenomenon is responsible for a lot of weird weather happening around the globe, including October’s Hurricane Patricia in Mexico. But Bledsoe expects the ocean phases to shift to a La Niña phase in the next few years. “La Niña is the opposite of El Niño,” he said, meaning it will likely bring with it times of drought — every farmer and rancher’s nightmare. “Either way you cut it, this El Niño and this blessing of moisture that we’ve had over the High Plains is not going to last,” he said. “El Niño will peak here in about the next month or two.” With any weather pattern, local farmers know drought from years past, but La Niña threatens worse times in the future...more

Group Calls On Ranchers To Change Antibiotics In Livestock Usage

One group in Colorado wants farmers and ranchers to change the way they use antibiotics in livestock. On Thursday they took their concerns to Sen. Michael Bennet. “We need federal legislation to regulate antibiotic use on farms,” said protester Rianna Eckel with Food & Water Watch. Demonstrators wearing cow costumers and hospital gowns marched along downtown Denver to hand deliver a petition to Bennet’s office calling for changes to the way antibiotics are given to livestock. The group wants Bennet to co-sponsor a bill in Congress called the “Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act.” They handed over a petition with more than 2,000 signatures collected in support of their cause. “I’m really here today to put a face on the statistics because we can all think about 2 million people who get sick or 23,000 lives that are lost. But I want to say that I know one of those 23,000 and it’s not something I want to see any other family go through,” said protester Bob James...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1524

Here at Ranch Radio we only play the most distinguished, uptown, and urbane type of country music.  A good example would be today's selection:  Alden Holloway - Woodpecker Love.  The tune is on Vol. 3 of the Cactus Records series Honky Tonk & Hillbilly Bop.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Congressman now threatens to subpoena commerce secretary over global warming report

House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) opened another front in his war with federal climate researchers on Wednesday, saying a groundbreaking global warming study was “rushed to publication” over the objections of numerous scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In a second letter in less than a week to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Smith urged her to pressure NOAA to comply with his subpoena for internal communications. Smith says whistleblowers have come forward with new information on the climate study’s path to publication in June.The study refuted claims that global warming had “paused” or slowed over the past decade, undercutting a popular argument used by those who refute the scientific consensus that man-made pollution is behind global warming. The research, considered a bombshell in the climate change debate, set off alarms among skeptics. Smith, a prominent congressional skeptic, claimed that scientists manipulated data to advance President Obama’s agenda and timed the study’s release to coincide with the administration’s new limits on emissions from coal plants. He is seeking NOAA’s internal communications and e-mails among its researchers, and in October subpoenaed Administrator Kathryn Sullivan for the documents. But she has refused to turn them over, saying that deliberative communications between scientists should be protected...more

US ski resorts explore possibility of offering guests 'drone zones' to capture ultimate selfies

A drone hovers about 30 feet above the skier's head, then quickly swoops down for a tighter angle so its video camera can capture his every move as he carves down a steep powder stash. It's not a scene from the latest Warren Miller movie. It's something the founders of a Silicon Valley production company hope to bring to a ski resort near you — allowing customers to get the ultimate selfie in a "drone zone." Louis Gresham, co-founder of Cape Productions, said the year-and-a-half-old company has partnered with eight resorts in the United States and one in Canada. "Video is almost the new currency. Everyone wants pictures of themselves," he said, citing the popularity of GoPro adventure cameras and phone apps like Vine, Snapchat and Instagram. "All these companies are trying to give people tools to better broadcast themselves." At US resorts, Cape Productions is expected to charge between $100 and $200 for a photo shoot that includes three runs. Within 48 hours, customers get a one-and-a-half- to two-minute, professionally edited video that incorporates aerial and landscape footage, music and shots from stationary cameras. "We have a lot of creative freedom to get different angles of skiers as they are going down the mountain," Gresham said. "The sky is the limit for drones." Cape Productions, which is backed by more than $10 million in venture capital, received full permission from the Federal Aviation Administration in October to fly the drones, which cost about $4,000 each and are about the size of a large crow. Gresham said only one drone would be in the air at a time on one designated run, and as far as privacy is concerned, it would be unlikely any other skiers or snowboarders would be in the shot...more

Scientists want wolves removed from endangered list

A group of leading wolf scientists are urging the western Great Lakes population of gray wolves be removed from protections of the Endangered Species Act. The 26 scientists, including Dave Mech of the University of Minnesota and Adrian Wydeven of the Timber Wolf Alliance, argue the species has successfully recovered in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and should be delisted. "It is in the best interests of gray wolf conservation and for the integrity of the Endangered Species Act for wolves to be delisted in the western Great Lakes states where biological recovery has occurred and where adequate regulatory mechanisms are in place to manage the species," wrote the scientists in a letter delivered Wednesday to Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Department of Interior, and Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The scientists' position supports past decisions by government agencies, which has moved three times to delist the wolf in the region, only to be overturned by lawsuits or legal challenges. The most recent action occurred in December when a federal district judge ruled the states were not providing adequate safeguards to the species. The scientists' letter comes a week after Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) and John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) introduced Senate Bill 2281, legislation to remove the wolf in the Midwest and Wyoming from Endangered Species Act protections. The bill also would ban courts from overruling the Department of Interior on wolf delisting. The future of the legislation, and a companion bill in the House of Representatives, is uncertain. Wydeven said the scientists did not take a position on a specific bill but did support returning wolf management to the states...more

Judge: Battle to Prove Need to Block US Rules on Sage Grouse

Eight Nevada counties that want a court to block new U.S. protections for the greater sage grouse face an uphill battle to prove such a "drastic" move is necessary across thousands of square miles in the West, a federal judge said Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du said she knows the counties and two mining companies have serious concerns about new restrictions on mining, livestock grazing and other development adopted when the federal government decided in September not to list the bird as threatened or endangered. But she questioned whether any alleged delays in approval of proposed development in Washoe, Elko, Eureka, Washoe and White Pine counties were out of the ordinary, or directly related to grouse protection. The groups are suing the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management and asking for a temporary injunction to block the proposed rules before a trial. Du said during a hearing with more than eight hours of testimony that the counties are seeking a "drastic remedy." "The burden is pretty high on the plaintiffs," Du said. "My concern is the motion, and the testimony so far, lacks specificity to determine the likelihood of irreparable harm, not the possibility of harm." It wasn't clear how soon the judge would rule on the request for an injunction. Without an emergency order, the case is unlikely to go to trial until next year. Among other things, the lawsuit says the rules would prevent construction of a wind energy project that would bring $500 million to Elko County's economy and has the potential to run mining companies and ranchers out of business. Du said there is "plenty of uncertainty" about the potential effects of the land-use planning amendments that the two agencies adopted to protect the bird found in 11 Western states. But she said she needs evidence of actual projects being halted or delayed to meet the legal threshold that would warrant a temporary injunction. "Without specific information, I am not going to be able to get there," Du said...more

Opponents ask federal court to stop Christo project

DENVER — Residents fighting the artist Christo's dream of draping fabric over the Arkansas River in southern Colorado asked a federal appeals court on Wednesday to throw out permission for the artwork it considers an "industrial scale project" that could harm wildlife, the river and people who live along the winding canyon. The Bureau of Land Management signed off on the Over the River project, which calls for 6 miles of translucent fabric panels to be installed along 42 miles of the river between Canon City and Salida. The work would take about two years to install and would be on display for two weeks, when it's expected to attract thousands of people along the highway that parallels the river as well as rafters and kayakers in the river. The lawyer for the opponents group, Michael Harris, told a three-judge panel at the 10th District Court of Appeals that the BLM violated its own plans for protecting what has been designated as an environmentally sensitive area in approving a project that would require thousands of holes and anchor pads to be drilled in the canyon. The agency's lawyer, Vivian Wong, acknowledged that BLM's analysis found the project could have a moderate impact on bighorn sheep but said Christo would be required to provide monitoring of the animals and other kinds of mitigation to compensate for possible impacts from the installation. She also said the project would draw visitors to enjoy the area, which prompted Judge Scott Matheson to wonder what the BLM would do if the NFL proposed holding a game in the canyon or if Taylor Swift wanted to perform there...more

Obstacles remain in campaign to complete trail around Pikes Peak

They battled for access to Ute Pass and celebrated victory when Manitou Springs secured passage across Iron Mountain. But can Ring the Peak Trail advocates overcome "the Big No" in Victor? Not if the straight-talking leaders of the former mining enclave have anything to say about it. "Absolutely not," said Victor City Administrator Debra Downs of the community's position on permitting a trail corridor along Bison Reservoir, a municipal water source outside Victor that's secured under lock and key, reserved since the 1950s for the use of the private Gold Camp Fishing Club. "You can't even put your feet in it," she added. After more than 15 years of grinding negotiations and incremental gains, the fight to complete a 70-mile trail around America's Mountain has come down to a final, missing segment. It spans 8 forbidding miles on Pikes Peak's southwestern face. Bridging it will mean changing hearts and minds in Victor, population 2,000; winning a path through Cripple Creek's municipal watershed; and getting the stamp of approval from the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and a host of private interests dotting the way. It's a tall order, but a new initiative to close the gap appears to be picking up steam, thanks in part to support from on high. At a meeting called by state Sen. Michael Merrifield in Colorado Springs last month, trail advocates were joined by Luis Benitez, who heads up Gov. John Hickenlooper's newly created Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1523

Today we feature Bud Hobbs & The Trail Herders performing Lazy Mazy.  The tune was written by Sheb Wooley and recorded by Hobbs on December 10, 1947 for the MGM label.  The song is available on his Hillbilly Researcher CD.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Health, safety of community awaiting BLM approval

The residents of the tiny community of Baker at the entrance to Great Basin National Park are concerned that their health and safety may be jeopardized for the sake of some vague concerns about perturbing sage grouse.

This past spring the Baker Water and Sewer General Improvement District board decided it had to replace its decades-old, 250,000-gallon leaking water storage tank located on a Bureau of Land Management right of way. There were fears that the leak might result in contamination of the water supply or put the community firefighting capability at risk for its approximately 100 users.

The board came up with a plan to build a new tank on a 30-by-100-foot site next to the current tank and then demolish the old tank. The district received fast track approval for a loan from the state, which receives funding under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, contingent upon receipt of a BLM permit.

In September the Interior Department, of which the BLM is a division, decided the greater sage grouse would not be listed under the Endangered Species Act but instead issued thousands of pages of land use restrictions as a means of protecting the bird — which still is legally hunted in several states, including Nevada.

When water district board members met at the site with a BLM representative, they were hit with a verbal list of unanticipated demands and told an expensive and time-consuming environmental impact statement would be needed due to those new grouse regulations.

And Nevada Governor Sandoval is upset with AG Laxalt for joining a lawsuit against these new BLM restrictions??  What has the governor done to help this small community?  What would the Governor say if it was the water supply for Las Vegas or Reno that was at risk?

Furthermore, take this one instance and multiply it across 67 million acres in 11 states and you can see what we are in for.

Senate votes to strike down Obama’s climate rules

The Senate voted Tuesday to block a pair of regulations representing the central pillars of President Obama’s climate change initiative. The votes approving resolutions under the Congressional Review Act come less than two weeks before Obama and other world leaders meet in Paris to agree to a worldwide pact to fight global warming. The votes are symbolic, since Obama would veto the resolutions and supporters do not have the two-thirds majority needed in both chambers to override the vetoes. Senators voted 52-46 to stop the carbon dioxide limits for existing power plants, which mandate a 32 percent cut in the power sector’s carbon by 2030. The to block the related carbon rule for newly built power plants pass by the same vote. Together, the regulations are the biggest part of Obama’s pledge going into the talks to cut the United States’ greenhouse gases 26 percent to 28 percent. Obama pledged to veto the Senate’s measures. But Republicans said it is nonetheless important to take a stand against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)...more

Symbolic? Yes, politically timed before the Paris conference.  If the Republicans R-E-A-L-L-Y wanted to stop these regs, they would insert this language in the appropriations bill.  The public needs to ask why they aren't doing something that is effective, rather than just symbolic.

Turner’s ranch to appeal denial of wolf permit

Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch will ask the state Game Commission on Thursday to overturn the department director’s denial of its permit to host endangered Mexican wolves in southwest New Mexico as part of the federal government’s recovery program. The commission rejected the Ladder Ranch’s request in May to renew a permit that had been in place for 17 years to hold Mexican wolves in captivity – an attempt, wolf advocates say, to throw a wrench in the reintroduction program. The commission’s denial of the Ladder Ranch permit was the first of several contentious decisions this year that have pitted the state against the federal government’s plans to reintroduce the Mexican wolf into the wild. In September, the commission denied the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s request for permits to release Mexican wolves and pups in New Mexico, citing concerns about the government’s long-term plans for the program, including the lack of a target number for the wild population. Weeks later, the service said it would use its federal authority under the Endangered Species Act to go forward with releases despite state opposition. “I’m hoping that we can find a way to go forward together,” said Mike Phillips, director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund, which runs the Ladder Ranch. “Everybody has to be mindful that the Ladder Ranch facility is just wolves in captivity.” The Ladder Ranch, outside the Gila National Forest, acts as a way station for wolves bred in captivity before they are released by Fish and Wildlife in New Mexico or Arizona. Fish and Wildlife has relocated wild wolves to New Mexico at times since the reintroduction program began in 1998, but the agency has yet to introduce “new” wolves into New Mexico – those bred in captivity – under the authority of a new management rule that went into effect earlier this year...more

Funny how the enviros are usually suing the feds for NOT having a they defend least on this issue.

Attorney: Suit filed against BLM to defend private property rights

The lawsuit filed in federal district court in Wichita Falls against the Bureau of Land Management is to provide some resolution and relief from claims by the federal agency that has put the landowners on hold for several years now. Robert Henneke, director of the Center for the American Future at the Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin, said the purpose of the lawsuit titled Aderholt et al v. Bureau of Land Management et al is to defend the property rights of landowners from what they characterize as a land grab. "... at the end of the day, the successful outcome for us and what we're pursuing in court is to have the federal district court in Wichita Falls affirmatively determine and affirm that the BLM federal territory does not extend into Texas, that it stops at the gradient boundary of the south cut bank of the Red River where it currently exists today, as was determined and intended by the Supreme Court," Henneke said, "and to once and for all resolve this private property dispute so that our clients and other citizens in Texas that live ... along this stretch of the Red River can be back at peace, knowing that their property is their's and that they will not be suffering any other threat of seizure from the federal government." The attorney said the issue goes back to the creation of the Texas-Oklahoma border in the 1800s, at which time it was established as the south cut bank of the river. Because of the soft, sandy riverbed, he said the river was constantly changing, resulting in the lawsuit that went to the Supreme Court in 1923. SCOTUS defined, through a survey completed by Cols. Arthur Stiles and Arthur Kidder, as the gradient boundary between south cut bank and the edge of water in the river. "It's always been private property. They've always paid taxes on it, they've ranched it, they've farmed it," Henneke said. "There's never been any claim about their property other than that it was their private property as recognized — the patents that were issued by the state of Texas, the land to the chain of titles and to the tax records and private property recognition."...more

The Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement, if Effective, Will Harm Students and the Poor

by Tracy C. Miller

Environmental activism among college students has recently been channeled into a movement to pressure college endowments to divest their holdings of stock in companies that extract fossil fuels. Beginning at Swarthmore College, the fossil fuel divestment movement (FFDM) has already had an impact on some colleges and universities, including Stanford, Georgetown, and Oxford. Many activists hope the FFDM will help persuade governments to restrict the extraction and use of fossil fuels.

Whatever the economic consequences for colleges and universities, widespread divestment, particularly if it leads to restrictions on fossil fuels, will do a great deal of harm without much benefit to the climate or the environment.

Proponents of divestment argue that keeping global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius requires that total emissions of carbon dioxide not exceed 565 gigatons. Fossil fuel companies hold enough coal, oil, and natural gas reserves to emit 2,765 gigatons, according to a 2012 article in the Rolling Stone written by Bill McKibben, a leader in the FFDM and founder of the climate activist group An important goal of the movement is that those who hold coal, oil and gas reserves keep most of them in the ground, rather than selling them to be burned, so that less CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere. This goal could be achieved if governments tax or restrict the extraction or burning of fossil fuels.

The FFDM is being promoted as a grassroots movement among college students who care about the environment. However, its organizational and intellectual framework comes from professional environmental activists and environmental organizations that train college students and put them forward as the face of the movement. Many students encountered the ideas behind the FFDM in sustainability classes sponsored by their colleges. Professors at two colleges gave students college credit for working on fossil fuel divestment campaigns.

...Since the FFDM’s ultimate goal is to drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels, student activists would do well to consider what impact eliminating fossil fuels would have on their own lifestyles. Students are highly dependent on technology that uses electricity, 67% of which is generated from fossil fuels. Are these students ready to lose two thirds of their mobile phone use, social media time, radio, television and computer time, not to mention lighting and air conditioning and laundry machine use, unless they pay much more for electricity generated from alternative energy sources?

...Students should also consider the likely economic consequences of policy that restricts CO2. Proponents of divestment claim to be promoting social justice, but how many of them have heard or considered how inexpensive fossil fuel powers economic development that benefits the poor? How many understand the extent to which their high standards of living are the result of production powered by fossil fuels and that without government subsidies, the cost of alternative energy sources would be out of reach for lower income people even in wealthy countries?

Walmart and NFWF Announce Renewal of Acres for America Program for 10 Additional Years

Walmart and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced a 10-year, $35 million renewal of the Acres for America program, one of the most effective public-private partnerships in the history of U.S. conservation efforts. In its first 10 years, the program has protected more than 1 million acres through 61 projects in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. With this renewal, Walmart and NFWF are committed to doubling this success in the next decade. Acres for America began in 2005, when Walmart made its first commitment of $35 million to purchase and preserve one acre of wildlife habitat in the United States for every acre of land developed by the company -- approximately 100,000 acres today. The program has far surpassed that 10-year goal, with more than 1 million acres protected -- an area comparable in size to Grand Canyon National Park. As of today, the Acres for America program has conserved more than 10 acres of vital habitat for every acre of land Walmart has developed since its founding in 1962. "The need for effective public-private partnerships for conservation has never been greater," said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. "I applaud NFWF and Walmart for their continued commitment through the successful Acres for America program to preserve and protect some of our nation's most important lands." Through conservation easements and land acquisitions in areas connecting already-protected lands such as national parks and state wildlife areas, Acres for America has leveraged conservation investments to benefit wildlife habitats and migration corridors over a much larger area -- more than 10 million acres. And, through its competitive grant process, the program has leveraged Walmart's initial $35 million investment to generate more than $352 million in matching contributions, for a total conservation impact of approximately $387 million...more

Feds face lawsuits over Idaho wolf-killing derby

Environmental groups on Tuesday filed lawsuits in Idaho and Washington, D.C., seeking to force the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to reveal whether it will allow a wolf- and coyote-hunting contest on public land in east-central Idaho this winter. The lawsuits contend the agency is violating the Freedom of Information Act by withholding records sought by the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project. However, Steve Alder of Idaho for Wildlife told The Associated Press on Tuesday the group isn't holding its Predator Hunting Contest this winter due to not killing any wolves the previous two winters...more

Public Outcry Escalates Over Gila River Diversion Ahead Of DOI Deadline

The Department of the Interior has a deadline of November 23 to decide whether to green-light the design and development of a large-scale diversion on the Gila, New Mexico’s last undammed river. Public outcry over the billion-dollar proposal has been steadily escalating, with more than 45,500 signatures collected this past month on a petition to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell calling on her to reject the costly diversion and permanently protect the Gila River...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1522

Today we have Bill Boyd & His Cowboy Ramblers performing Singing & Swinging For Me.  The tune was recorded in San Antonio on Monday, October 30, 1938.  In addition to Boyd on vocals and guitar, with him in the studio that day were Carroll Hubbard-f, Kenneth Pitts-f, Knocky Parker-p, John Boyd-esg, Zeke Clement-eg, Marvin Montgomery-bj, and Jim Boyd-g.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Commissioners discuss appeal of forest lawsuit

County Commissioners discussed the controversial lawsuit brought against Otero County and the State of New Mexico by the Lincoln National Forest at their meeting last Thursday. The lawsuit, which was not a scheduled item on the agenda, was talked about when a concerned Otero County resident brought up the issue trying to find some answers. In October, Commissioners decided to appeal a federal ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on a resolution authorizing them to remove trees from the Lincoln National Forest. Concerned resident Donna Swanson said not much has been said about the issue and the public deserves to know what is going on. Commissioner Janet White said with the County’s new in-house attorney she is confident that the court fees are going to be minimal. County Attorney Lisa Jenkins said she has prepared a summary of the case and understands it’s a complex civil issue and the County is only doing what they think is right. “We’ve prepared a summary for the case, I understand these are complex civil issues and the summary can be made available for anyone that is interested in the case. There is some very detailed issues and this is really more about forest management and Otero County’s participation in forest management. Unfortunately, we didn’t do this, they sued us,” Jenkins said. “In this case, the Commissioners voted to pursue the action so that’s what this is.” In the summary that Jenkins prepared, it states that Otero County argued that the New Mexico statute and Otero County Resolution are constitutional because the 10th Amendment reserves to the state and counties, certain inherent police powers to abate a nuisance or threat on federal lands to ensure the protection of health, safety, and welfare of New Mexico citizens. The summary also states that the Property Clause does not grant Congress the power to regulate federal lands when the regulation impedes New Mexico’s sovereign police powers per the 10th Amendment, to protect its citizens from danger caused by or on federal lands...more

Federal Judge - Mouse Sí, Ranchers No

A federal judge has thrown out most of a lawsuit filed by New Mexico ranchers seeking to reopen areas in the Santa Fe and Lincoln national forests that have been closed to cattle grazing in order to protect the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse. The decision by federal District Court Judge Robert C. Brack leaves in place the Forest Service’s October 2014 closure of about 224 acres in the Jemez Mountains, barring both grazing and recreational activities. The stretches of mouse habitat are along the Rio Cebolla and San Antonio Creek, with 188 acres fenced off to keep cattle and people out. The complicated order by Brack apparently keeps alive for now the ranchers’ claims seeking reopening of a smaller amount of mouse habitat that the Forest Service has blocked off in Otero County, although parties on different sides of the case are still sorting out the order. Blaire Dunn, attorney for the ranching groups challenging the land closures, said the ranchers will likely ask the judge to reconsider the key points in his Nov. 3 ruling. Dunn also said the plaintiffs possibly could still get a permanent injunction against the closures, although a motion for a temporary injunction has been rejected. WildEarth Guardians, a Santa Fe-based environmental group that says the jumping mouse is “the canary in the coal mine” when it comes to assessing the condition of New Mexico streams and rivers, has intervened in the litigation. “It is a relief that the Santa Fe National Forest will continue to protect this little mouse’s grassy habitat as permanent protections are considered,” said Bryan Bird, an ecologist with WildEarth Guardians. “The cattlemen’s lawsuit has no legal basis and is a waste of resources.”...more 

Video - BLM doesn't respond to records request on federal gun used by an illegal alien causing a death

An NBC Bay Area investigation into the loss and theft of police firearms uncovered more than 500 weapons have gone missing from eight different law enforcement agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and six local departments since 2010. The investigation found the problem of lost and stolen law enforcement weapons goes far beyond the gun stolen from a Bureau of Land Management ranger’s vehicle in San Francisco. That gun was later tied to the shooting death of Kate Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco on July 1, 2015, police confirm. "We need to know that when law enforcement officers are given the privilege to carry around weapons, that they are going to be held to the requirements that are imposed in making sure they’re secured and not easily available for criminals to use in crimes," said Frank Pitre, the attorney representing the Steinle family. Pitre filed a claim in August against the BLM on behalf of the Steinle family, alleging the gun the caused Steinle’s death should have been locked and secured in the BLM ranger’s vehicle.  It’s still not clear how the gun that killed Kate Steinle ended up in the hands of the alleged shooter after being stolen from a BLM ranger’s vehicle in San Francisco. The agency has not yet responded to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by NBC Bay Area in July, and the Steinle’s attorney said they haven’t received any answers either.  "The real-life tragedy played out," Pitre said. "There was a gun stolen from a BLM ranger’s car, left in a backpack that was in plain view. She’s not with us, and she’d be here today if somebody took the simple precaution which was required." Pitre said he expects to get more answers from the agency as the case progresses and hopes Steinle’s death will serve as a wakeup call for those who take gun ownership too lightly...more

 According to the following NBC video report, all but one of the local law enforcement agencies responded to their records request, but the BLM has not responded. You have to wonder why. What official duty was that BLM employee conducting in San Francisco?  How was the gun secured and what is BLM's policy for securing weapons?  One report says the gun had no safety.  Is this accurate?  Why was the gun altered and what is BLM's policy on that?

WWP Uses Rancher’s Death to Make Political Hay

by Frank Priestley

A fringe environmental group recently displayed its total lack of class, morals, ethics and intelligence by attempting to make political gain from the tragic death of Adams County rancher Jack Yantis.

The succession of events that led to Yantis’ death on Nov. 1, will have a profound effect on the lives of hundreds of people for years to come. Yantis’ wife, Donna, suffered a heart attack after learning her husband was dead. For the two motorists injured after a collision on State Highway 95 with a 2,000 pound range bull owned by Yantis, family members who witnessed the shooting, the two Adams County deputies who shot Yantis multiple times and many Adams County residents, it was a tragedy that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

In spite of that, the next day, the Western Watersheds Project’s Idaho Director Ken Cole published an editorial blaming the incident on the open range law and calling on the state of Idaho to abolish the law. This attempt to make political gain from a tragic accident is despicable, sickening and crass.

...Western Watersheds Project’s stated goal is to remove all livestock from public land. Over the last several years they’ve argued in court against delisting wolves, grizzly bears and various other wildlife and plant species, in order to meet their stated goal. They don’t care about saving wildlife but they’re willing to make any number of false claims if they think it will help their cause.

Now they’ve shown us they’re not above using human death, grief and trauma as tools to reach their ends.

Frank Priestley is President of the Idaho Farm Bureau 

Nevada AG Laxalt frozen out of sage grouse lawsuit hearing

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who ruffled the feathers of Gov. Brian Sandoval when he joined a lawsuit challenging sage grouse protections, won't be allowed to argue Tuesday when a federal judge considers an injunction to block new public lands regulations, the judge ruled. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du, in an order issued Friday, said only the original plaintiffs in the case — Elko and Eureka counties, Quantum Minerals LLC and Western Exploration LLC — will be permitted to present issues and arguments. The AG's office, seven other counties, another mining firm and a ranch joined the lawsuit after the original suit was filed on Sept. 23. The first lawsuit was filed the day after Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would not list the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act because of continuing efforts by states and federal agencies to protect the bird's habitat. Critics argue new regulations for public land use imposed as an alternative to a listing are just as onerous and would hurt rural economies by curtailing mining, ranching and energy development. The attorney general's office and other counties added their names to the suit when an amended complaint against the federal government was filed Oct. 22. Du, in a two-page order limiting the scope of Tuesday's hearing, said the "added" plaintiffs didn't join in the motion for a preliminary injunction until last Thursday, less than a week away from the scheduled hearing...more

Ranch Diaries: What life's like as a female rancher

Ranch Diaries is an series highlighting the experiences of Laura Jean Schneider, who gives us a peek into daily life during the first year of Triangle P Cattle Company, a new LLC in southcentral New Mexico. Installments are every other Tuesday.

Someone recently asked me what it’s like to be a woman on a ranch. After mulling over that question in the context of a decade spent in this industry, I thought I would share my responses with you all:  I have more know-how than some men and less than others. Like many professions ranching has historically been a male-dominated field, but that’s changing. At the Quivira Conference last week I was thrilled to see an equal number of women in the audience, including young women with impressive qualifications and diverse experiences seeking more meaningful work on the land.

Being a woman rancher has made me value the ability to do multiple things, from mending jeans to doctoring a cow for pinkeye. Women have long been expected to balance domestic and ranch duties, without getting recognition for the economic value in such diverse skill sets. The two-for-the-price-of-one notion of hiring the cowboy and getting his wife’s help for free is becoming obsolete as women realize their own value.

Yes, I’ve experienced criticism and disparaging remarks about being a female rancher. Someone told me women ruin horses by spoiling them; a man driving through my yard loudly asked his buddy, “is that a man or a woman?” confused by my short haircut; after helping my husband on a ranch where he’d day worked before, the single check we received reflected a pay cut for him. It stings to feel inferior, and succumbing to that myth is what has kept me from being my best self. I’ll never forget the morning I was having a tough time catching a mare, and an older cowboy offered to finish the job. Instead of saying no thanks, I let his criticism of my skills effect my performance, and I caved to what I thought at the time was his superior ranch experience. He was the same man who told me women ruin horses. But my five-year-old bay, Hoot, is one of the best ranch horses we have: I’ve been handling him since he was two months old, was the first person on his back, and only after 30 rides did I turn him over to Sam.

Guarding sheep and goat herds is going to the dogs

SAN ANGELO -- "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."This oft used nod to the U.S. Postal Service just as easily could describe the work ethic of good livestock guardian dogs, according to Texas A&M AgriLife officials in San Angelo. Personnel from Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in San Angelo have completed the publication "Livestock Guardian Dogs." The eight-page reference guide is available at under publications and as a publication on the AgriLife Bookstore at, publication EWF-028 9/15. The publication complements ongoing field work with the dogs at ranches in Menard and Ozona, managed by AgriLife Research in San Angelo.  "This publication is a guide for sheep and goat farmers and ranchers who are looking at using livestock guardian dogs to protect their sheep and goats from predation," said Reid Redden, AgriLife Extension state sheep and goat specialist at the center. Redden was joined in authoring the work by John Walker, AgriLife Research center director, and John Tomecek, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist. Walker said the large rugged dogs, often topping 100 pounds, have been used for thousands of years for guarding flocks throughout the world. But aside from some interest by U.S. producers in other states, the dogs are a largely untapped resource across much of West Texas, arguably the largest sheep and goat range production region in the nation. The AgriLife staff in San Angelo is working to change that paradigm...more

US, Mexico Sign Deal on Sharing Satellite Data Directly

The United States and Mexico signed a deal Friday for Mexico to capture and process land-surface imagery and data directly from a U.S.-operated satellite. The agreement means Mexico will be able to get the raw information from the Landsat 8 satellite immediately instead of waiting for filtered data to be released by U.S. authorities. Mexico joins about a half dozen other countries that are already downloading such data directly from U.S. satellites, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said. Officials said that will yield benefits in areas including agriculture, geology, forestry, mapping and climate change research. It will also help Mexico improve monitoring of hurricanes such as last month's Patricia, a monster Category 5 storm that fortunately avoided making a direct blow on major population centers...more

Canadian Finals Rodeo protested by animal rights activists

Visitors to the Canadian Finals Rodeo were met by a small group of animal rights protesters outside Rexall Place Saturday. About a half dozen members of Voice for Animals claim animals used in rodeo events are hurt in events like calf roping. They held signs with pictures of roped animals with slogans like "Buck the rodeo" and "Bullying is bullying." One sign called on Mayor Don Iveson to "stop supporting violence." Protester Jervanne Martel held a megaphone, directing her message at people walking into the arena. "My hope for today is just to wake people up," she said. " To hope that next year there will be a lot less people supporting the rodeo." Cowboy Lee Graves rode his horse over to the protesters to talk to them but was shouted down. He later explained to a reporter that he takes issue with the idea that rodeo animals are abused. He says the bridle his horse uses is soft and the spurs on his boots aren't sharp. "They're dull, " he said, slapping his palm against the edge. "Didn't hurt my hand." Graves said he has used the same horse in competition for 15 years. He says ranchers pay good money for their horses, so he can't understand why anyone would think they would abuse them...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1521

Today's selection is Jim Reeves - Penny Candy.  The tune was recorded in Shreveport on March 16, 1954.  He's backed up here by the Louisiana Hayride house band.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Los Zetas Cartel Gunmen Crossed into Texas — Disappeared into U.S.

PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Coahuila — A team of Los Zetas cartel gunmen brazenly crossed the Texas border waters of the Rio Grande in order to elude Mexican authorities who had been chasing them. Once in Texas, the Los Zetas gunmen were able to disappear into the the United States without any U.S. law enforcement agency doing anything about it. While Mexican authorities were not able to continue the pursuit, they did seize a dark SUV and the weapons that Los Zetas gunmen had been carrying. The case began when a team of police officers with the Investigative Police from the Coahuila’s Attorney General’s Office received information about an area that was being used as a drug trafficking and human smuggling hub for Los Zetas. Acting on the intelligence, the Coahuila agents learned that certain areas along the Riverana Highway which connects the border cities of Piedras Negras and Acuna was being used as staging areas for smuggling activity. The agents were searching the area near the 32 kilometer marker when they spotted an SUV with several Los Zetas gunmen inside. MExican authorities turned on their lights and sirens and began to chase the gunmen. As the chase continued, the gunmen turned off into a dirt road and then began taking a series of turns into various other makeshift roads that ended up leading the Los Zetas gunmen to the banks of the Rio Grande. The cartel gunmen left the truck and some of their weapons behind and crossed the river into the United States where they were able to disappear without U.S. law enforcement being able to do anything about it...more

Supporters of Rancher Killed in Officer-involved Shooting March Peacefully

A march and rally Saturday to support the family of a rancher who was fatally shot by deputies was peaceful and incident-free, ending with the group standing in quiet protest outside the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. About 75 people gathered for the march, prompted by the Nov. 1 death of Jack Yantis, 62, on the highway next to his ranch north of Council. Participants carried signs that read “Murder is legal if you’re a cop” and “What happened to de-escalation?” during a somber milelong walk along U.S. 95 from Council Elementary School to the Sheriff’s Office. “It means a lot,” said Alvin Yantis, 65, one of Jack’s older brothers. “We’ve had support from the whole country — a lot of prayers. It’s kind of kept us going.” Becca Barrow, a 30-year-old Kuna mother who grew up in Council, organized the rally through a Facebook page called Justice for Jack. Participants brought young children and dogs. “I’m here to support the family in getting the truth out,” Barrow said. “I am upset that they haven’t released the names of the officers.” Loraine Batt, of Nampa, brought her 84-year-old father, Dwight Moore, to the demonstration. “I just don’t know how a guy can come to shoot a bull and get shot himself,” Batt said. “I think it was an injustice,” Moore said...more

"He always had a smile on his face"; Family, friends remember Jack Yantis

A hard-working logger and rancher. A high school football star. A prankster. A family man. Those are just a few of the ways friends and family described Jack Yantis, the Council man who was shot and killed during an altercation with Adams County deputies in early November, at his memorial service Sunday afternoon. "He always had a smile on his face," said Buck Rekow, a friend of the Yantis family. "I never saw him in anything that wasn't a good mood." Jack spent nearly all his life in the small town. He graduated from Council High School in 1971, and worked as a logger and, more recently, a rancher until his death on November 1st. Friends and family remember him as a superb athlete and, as a boy, a bit of a troublemaker. Yantis' friends and his daughter Sarah spoke at the event, for which hundreds packed the Council High School gymnasium. People came from all over the state, including some from the Treasure Valley, to pay their respects. Some are sad and angry about Jack's death, believing deputies were in the wrong when they shot Jack that fateful night. With so much mystery still surrounding the case, others just want the community to be patient and stay strong through tough times...more

Yellow River: EPA Forces Secrecy On Gold King Mine Spill Firm

Environmental Protection Agency officials require contractors to sign secrecy pledges that in the case of the Gold King Mine spill kept the public in the dark earlier this year about a Colorado mining disaster that turned waters yellow as they flowed through two states and the Navajo Nation. The EPA required Missouri-based Environmental Restoration LLC, which was responsible for the spill of three million gallons of mining waste into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River, to sign what is known in federal procurement regulations as a non-disclosure agreement. But these secrecy clauses are typical with the EPA — the same government agency whose former administrator, Lisa Jackson, used an alias email address to avoid public scrutiny.  As a result, important details about the Aug. 5, 2015, environmental disaster near Silverton, Colorado, remain hidden nearly three months later. Taxpayers wouldn’t even know the identity of the firm but for reporting by the Wall Street Journal that was based on a leak from an anonymous EPA official. The spill occurred while an EPA official and company personnel were working at the site and sent a flood of mining waste, including toxic materials like cadmium, lead and arsenic, into the water sources for people living in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico, as well as the Navajo Nation. “With few exemptions, the public’s business should be done publicly, not privately,” Open The Books founder Adam Andrzejewski told TheDCNF. “After a major spill, the EPA’s worst practices are coming to light — shrouding the public business in privacy.”...more

EPA chief must give deposition in coal lawsuit, court rules

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has lost in its bid to block administrator Gina McCarthy from being deposed in a federal lawsuit about coal industry regulations. In a Thursday filing, John Preston Bailey, a judge in the District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, found that McCarthy’s close involvement in the analyses at issue mean that she is relevant enough to require a deposition. At issue in the case are estimates of job losses from EPA regulations that Murray Energy Corp. says are mandated for every Clean Air Act regulation that affects the coal industry. The EPA has argued in court that its work in writing regulations sufficiently complies with the law, but Murray said the agency has never complied. “By statute, the administrator is responsible for conducting the evaluations in question,” Bailey wrote in his order, adding that “she has personally been involved with discussions about Section 321(a).” The court also found that McCarthy has repeatedly communicated with lawmakers about the provision in the law and said that the EPA has never completed such an evaluation, because it is not required to. But in court, the EPA changed its argument, saying that it analysis of regulations fulfills that responsibility, Bailey said. “The plaintiffs are entitled to explore these divergent positions,” he wrote. The EPA has worked repeatedly in recent months to resist the efforts to depose McCarthy, arguing that the request is “extraordinary,” and saying Murray did not prove why it is necessary...more

Battle over sage grouse in Nevada heads to federal court

The showdown over sage grouse in Nevada heads to a federal courtroom, where lawyers for the attorney general's office and rural interests will ask a judge to block federal land-use restrictions intended to protect the bird and its habitat. Justice Department lawyers counter that granting an injunction could prompt the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its decision not to list the chicken-sized bird under the Endangered Species Act. States have been working for years to prevent a listing. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du will consider a motion for an injunction at a 9 a.m. hearing Tuesday in Reno. Elko and Eureka counties and two small mining firms filed the lawsuit in September, the day after Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a decision not to list the bird found in 11 Western states. Since then, state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, over the objections of Gov. Brian Sandoval, joined the suit against federal land agencies, as did seven other Nevada counties, another mining company and a rancher. Sandoval has said he has not ruled out litigation, but believes the suit will have a chilling effect on ongoing discussions with the Interior Department over his concerns about the land-use plans. Laxalt said the lawsuit is necessary to protect Nevada's interests, arguing the federal government's "one-size-fits-all sage grouse plan" will hinder growth. The suit argues adoption of the amended land-use regulations was done without proper procedure and would be just as onerous as if the sage grouse were given protection under the Endangered Species Act. The lawsuit claims the rules impose new restrictions on more than 20 million acres of public lands in Nevada and prohibits new mining claims on 3 million acres for at least three years. Elko County alone stands to lose $31 million annually in agriculture, mining and energy development activity, according to the suit...more

Nevada neighborhood first to feel sting of sage-grouse rules

One of the first, actual on-the-ground disruptions caused by new U.S. efforts to protect the greater sage grouse isn’t on a cattle ranch in Oregon or an oil field in Colorado. It’s in the backyard of a residential neighborhood north of Reno, Nevada, where plans to acquire federal land to build a badly needed school are on hold because the government considers it sage grouse habitat. Two mining companies and eight Nevada counties claim the land planning amendments announced in conjunction with Jewell’s listing decision in September will prevent construction of a $500 million wind project in Elko County and could “run ranchers and mining companies out of business.” But unlike those concerns — which government lawyers call “speculative, at best” — Washoe County officials say they are now forced to find an alternative site for a new middle school in Sun Valley. Officials had applied to acquire Bureau of Land Management property in 2008 for the school. “At this point, we appear to be stopped by the sage grouse designation,” said Michael Boster, a school district planner. The plight of the future school — along with a veteran’s cemetery proposed on similar BLM land in neighboring Sparks — is putting the spotlight on the regulations and the maps used to implement them...more

Why Record-High Oil Stockpile Could Get Even Bigger

There is a record stockpile of oil worldwide, and a mild winter in Europe and the U.S. could push reserves even higher, while countries outside OPEC and the U.S. continue to boost output and add to supplies. The International Energy Agency said a "massive cushion has inflated" with a record 3 billion barrels in storage as "demand has been outpaced by vigorous production from OPEC and resilient non-OPEC supply," the agency said in its monthly report. While oil production in the U.S. has been dropping, non-OPEC output was strong in Asia, and Russia produced the most on record since the collapse of the Soviet Union. "Output outside of the U.S. continues to defy expectations, posting healthy gains in spite of lower prices and spending cuts," the IEA said, noting China, Vietnam, Oman and the North Sea. The IEA sees global demand slowing down to 1.2 million barrels a day next year vs. 1.8 million this year. "The current forecast is for a mild winter in Europe and the U.S. If it turns out to be true, bulging stock levels will add further pressure and oil market bears may choose not to hibernate," the IEA said. Analysts are also worried that the economic slowdown in China and Japan will curb demand...more

Campers kill, grill snake but get an unexpected side - fines

CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) — Four young men got more than a meal when they killed and grilled a timber rattlesnake in western Maryland — they were hit with fines of $200 each in court. Online court records show the men from Glen Burnie pleaded guilty Tuesday in district court in Cumberland to possessing or destroying the rattlesnake. It's a state-protected species. Each was fined $500, with $300 suspended. All received probation before judgment, meaning their convictions can be expunged after probationary periods ranging from 14 to 28 months. Maryland Natural Resources Police say the men were camping in the Green Ridge State Forest in August when they killed the snake with a BB gun and grilled it. The defendants are 18-year-olds Austin Golas and Travis Luedtke and 19-year-olds Paul Lafon and Erick Reffitt. A fifth defendant, 19-year-old Jared Holt, is scheduled for trial Dec. 8.

Future uncertain for rare white deer at former weapons site

Hundreds of ghostly white deer roaming among overgrown munitions bunkers at a sprawling former Army weapons depot face an uncertain future after living and breeding largely undisturbed since the middle of last century. The white deer — a genetic quirk that developed naturally on the 7,000-acre, fenced-in expanse — have thrived, even as the depot itself has transitioned from one of the most important Cold War storehouses of bombs and ammunition to a decommissioned relic. Now, as local officials seek to put the old Seneca Army Depot up for bids next month, there is concern that the sale could also mean the end of the line for the unusual white deer. A group of residents dedicated to saving the animals has proposed turning the old depot into a world-class tourist attraction to show off both its rich military history and its unusual wildlife. The Nature Conservancy also is looking at options for preserving the largely undeveloped landscape. The white deer owe their continued existence to 24 miles of rusting chain-link perimeter fencing that went up when the depot was built in 1941, capturing several dozen wild white-tailed deer in the area's extensive woodlands. The white deer are natural genetic variants of the normal brown ones. They're not albinos, which lack all pigment, but are leucistic, lacking pigment only in their fur...more

Gulf Cartel Attack Kills a Baby and 3 Others at Taco Stand near Border

REYNOSA, Tamaulipas — An armored Mexican military truck that had been engaged in a firefight with Gulf cartel members was forced into a taco stand and crushed six bystanders. Four of the victims died during the crash, including a four-month-old baby. Witnesses say the Gulf cartel either used a grenade or shot the windshield out of the army truck to cause the deaths. The shootout appears to have been the latest chapter in the hunt for the current leader of the Los Metros faction of the Gulf Cartel Julian Loisa “Comandante Toro” Salinas. The crash took place Thursday evening as the Mexican military had been pursuing a white SUV that was speeding against traffic near the Vista Hermosa neighborhood. The chase was the result of a military operation that began in the Valle Alto neighborhood that drew out the members of the Gulf Cartel...more

County courts Pegasus project

Years of cooperation between multiple state and local agencies may lead to ground breaking on a project that could push Luna County into the forefront of advances in various technologies. The story of Luna County being selected as the site for the potential Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation is not short or simple. After pulling consideration for the project out of Hobbs, NM in 2012, mainly due to land issues, the former Luna County manager, Kelly Kuenstler, decided to approach Pegasus Global Holdings, the project developer. Luna County had originally missed out on the first request for proposals put out by the developer, but saw opportunity when the project failed to take root in Eastern New Mexico. In July 2012, the county wrote Pegasus indicating the county’s interest in being considered for the project, which could cost upwards of $1 billion. That letter began a push by Luna County to aggressively court the project for its potential economic impact on the county and region. Shortly after the county began pursuing the project, a local stakeholder group was formed with county employees and volunteers from the Office of the State Engineer, State Land Office, New Mexico Department of Transportation and local utilities to help make the pitch for the CITE. The developer projects approximately 350 economic base jobs — that is, jobs funded by money flowing from outside the community — and about 3,500 supporting jobs will be created once the CITE is operational. After it is built, the CITE would act as a ghost town mimicking urban, suburban and rural sections of a town designed for a population of 35,000 to be used for testing and evaluating new technologies...more

Two cities, Las Cruces and Deming, just 70 miles apart, but oh what a difference.  The only reason Pegasus was looking at Hobbs was because the Las Cruces mayor & city council would rather appease the progressive-enviros with a National Monument than court real development.

Albuquerque’s Poet Laureate Opposes Gila Diversion

Albuquerque’s Inaugural Poet Laureate (2012-2014), Hakim Bellamy, released his latest song, Everywhere is a Gila, to draw attention the looming deadline for Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to sign an agreement with New Mexico that would allow a billion-dollar diversion of the Gila River to go forward. The song, accompanied by aerial and ground shots of America’s first wilderness area and the adjacent area slated for diversion, encourages listeners to take action by writing to Jewell in opposition to the project...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1520

It's Swingin' Monday and here are Jimmy Bryant & Speedy West with their 1950 recording of Steel Strike. The tune is on their Bear Family Records collection title Flaming Guitars

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Truth in advertising

by Julie Carter

As the season of gift buying looms ahead, the “buyer beware” wisdom needs to be in flashing lights in all of our lives. The world of the cowboy is no exception to the deception of the seller banking on the gullibility of the buyer. Truth in advertising is a myth. Go with that and you will more likely be taken for less of your hard earned money.

Here are a few myth busters.

Roping equipment ads: “Practice like the pros do - make that trip to the winners' circle.” The ads for mechanical roping practice machines all promise magical improvement without telling you that really key to better roping is hours and hours of practice. Along those lines, the hundreds of different kinds of ropes endorsed by some pro who has his picture taken using one and unequivocally attributes his success to that rope, also forgets to mention that same “key” to success.

Spoiler alert: Owning a mechanical machine and a hot-selling new rope will not guarantee you anything except a thinner wallet.

Another mythical machine is being marketed as a roping chute that requires no chute help to keep it loaded. The video declares “steers will just naturally step into the chute by themselves when the back gate opens.” There is a legion of folks out there that have worn out a box car of hot shot batteries loading cattle into any chute that are now rolling on the floor laughing over that one.

Sale barn specialty: “Just take them home and turn them out.” Anyone that knows anything knows buying fresh cattle means taking them home and doctoring ASAP, praying over them and keeping at least $50/each worth of shots handy and ready for use.

“Those little black heifers will just lie down and squirt those calves out all by themselves.” That statement becomes a cold memory when you are lying in the snow with your arm stuck up the nether regions trying to get a set of OB chains on a leg of an unborn calf.

"These here heifers will begin calving at just the right time - early enough to catch the good markets and right after the weather gets warm." Every heifer in the world will concentrate on keeping her cervix glued shut until a snowy blizzard dark night. It’s just how it works.

“That’s a low birth weight bull right here, but his calves will gain weight and muscle rapidly to sale weight in nothing flat.” What happens in reality is a newborn calf the size of an icebox that finds himself motherless after the birthing experience and requires bottle feeding. This goes along with the painful truth that he looks just little bit like he’s part Holstein.

"That two year old colt ain't going to buck. His mama never bucked a day in her life." There is now a “Go Fund Me” page set up for the doctor bills and cast-signing party planned.

"This horse just got his feet trimmed - just ignore that little bob to his head. He'll be sound in a day or so." The truth is, when the bute (painkiller) wears off, you’ll see a bit more of an exaggeration in bob of that head, like when he sticks it down between his front legs and his hind legs reach for the sky.

And probably the most dangerous of all: "I'm going to bring my cousin along when I come help you gather tomorrow. You'll like him and he will be lots of help." After everybody spends an hour or so finding this lost guy when he doesn't make it back to the pens, you will be able to find him any time you look up standing in the way, usually right in the gate.

Julie can be reached for other “beware of” wisdoms at


Dominion of Revisionists
Greatest breaches
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            If American success can be measured by the least national debt, Andrew Jackson is arguably the best president of our country’s history.
            Jackson left the office with something like .000002 % of the current debt balance. He was what Utah’s Ken Ivory refers to as an American leader who understood what privatizing lands actually meant to the American experiment. Lands must be placed into the hands of American citizenry to a) create economy and b) reduce the national debt.
            The modern equivalency of Jackson doesn’t exist or at least doesn’t exist in a capacity to influence any change in the head long descent toward system failure. What has taken his place is a morass of leadership that identifies with a citizenry who believes that government intrusion is not only the more civilized approach to living … it is more sustainable.
            The cadre of federalists
            Hamilton was the most visible founder of the movement that culminates today in the progressive, liberal front.
            Yes, he and Madison brandished the torch for free and independent men in their dueling efforts in the Federalist Papers, but their interpretation of the role of the state versus the individual changed as they matured. Hamilton became the promoter of British mercantilism with its underpinning to control the citizenry through a powerful central government. Madison became more Jeffersonian.
            That Hamiltonian line of thinking remained the under card influence into our second century, but the sparks were always there.  Henry Clay must be considered one of the most influential promoters of what became “the American System”. His place in history is most profound if nothing other than his influence on another young politician and the antithesis of Jackson, Abraham Lincoln.
            Lincoln was enamored by Clay. He was Lincoln’s beau ideal, and, during the eulogy of his loved and revered teacher, Abe elaborated on the virtues of the man. What they believed together and what Lincoln installed without constitutional authority was an all powerful central government intent on financing internal improvements by predation of the citizenry, controlling the money system through a national bank, and directionally applying protectionism that effectively created tax on segments of the population and not on the others … the supporters of the cause.
            In the process, Lincoln altered the entire paradigm and accelerated the fundamental destruction of states rights. Lincoln became the greatest of the American revisionists. Ultimately, he even argued that the union was in existence before the states and, therefore, the matter of state’s rights was a charade of words and philosophy.
He not only fractured the union he broke the foundation. Clearly, it has never been the same.
            He also set in motion an ever expanding federal government in reach and dominion. Men like his general, Grant, overtly used their positions for personal gain. The system became more British than the British whose tyrannical forces erupted into the Revolution that supposedly ushered into the world our unique system that was founded on citizenry rather than governance.
            Others will suggest variants, but Woodrow Wilson expanded the federalization of private property rights of the West (which had been accelerated and commandeered by Teddy Roosevelt), and set into motion the debacle of today. He engineered the coup-de-grace of vested state representation with the 17th Amendment with its elimination of direct state control of its representation in the Senate. Rather than state control of senators, the senate is now controlled by special interests. Those forces are the money exchangers who provide the direct path to wealth that accompanies each election into that chamber.
            It is a travesty of historic proportions, and … it doesn’t reflect in any form the document still referred to as the Constitution.
            The greatest breaches
             In our history, Benjamin Franklin should have argued more vigorously our moral compass was best served by its assignment to the House of Representatives and not the Supreme Court. The Court has demonstrated that issues are more important than the framework of the Constitution. This major breach of our destiny was installed before the ratification of the document.
            Lincoln is the second, most crippling breach. Without constitutional or congressional authority he invaded sovereign American states. In the bloody process, he savaged basic rights north and south of the Mason Dixon Line. He cannot find defense on the matter of slavery, either. Civilized countries throughout the 19th Century ended slavery by compensated emancipation. Only the United States killed its citizenry over the matter. Battle field deaths reached over 625,000 and generations of families were thrown into a permanent abyss. It would have been much cheaper to buy every slave a mule and 40 acres and set them adrift than the cost of that war. Lincoln’s goal was the American system and he succeeded. In the process, he necessarily destroyed the sovereignty of the states and unilaterally dismembered the last, best, and most powerful tool of our system … secession. We must remember it was the central tool we used in the Revolution!
            Lincoln declared that the union was the constitution, and he demonstrated he was the master.
            The 17th Amendment was the third great breach. Remember the discussion in history class about the conflict between the big states and the little states. Do we also remember how we were taught the Constitution eliminated that concern? Every citizen today should think about what that mechanism actually implies. It was eliminated when state legislatures were stripped of their right to appoint their own, vested representation to the Senate. With equal representation in the Senate, the small states could effectively defend their rights. That is gone. Today, the Senate is a chamber controlled by special interests. No senator has to stand in front of his state legislature to secure his continued passage to wealth. He has only to look to his handlers, the money sources of his continuing reelection campaign, to stay in office. The only time he has to implore the values of the Constitution is when he stumps for reelection. It makes good speech material. It fires up the masses, but there is no protection for little states. The states look on with incredulity assuming they have vested representation. It has been crippling. At least 11 states have effectively become wards of the Union.
Indeed, the 17th amendment altered a most vital course of our history and a key component of our system. We are ruled by big states, special interests and British style imperialists … we have only the king to arrive to complete the transformation.
            The Fourth pillar of government
             Before the king arrives officially, his council, the grandest breach, has already taken their seats in the throne room.
            The federal agencies of the executive branch of the government effectively control a great portion of the nation and especially the West. Examples are too abundant to list, but several issues have arrived for added complexity of our lives in recent Federal Register announcements. The first is the expanded authority of the BLM police. By regulation rewrites, they have added the control of open containers and drug paraphernalia to their authority. Their organic legislation doesn’t even allow direct law enforcement. The agency is supposed to contract with local law enforcement all matters of state criminal codes … but now, through extralegal means, the BLM is on course to be the next layer of substance abuse police.
            Another sidelong money pit expansion is arriving in the form of protective measures for some chub fish in the Gila drainage. Ostensibly, the chub has to be saved from introduced species. What is not discussed is the real threat to all fish species in the drainage. The Forest Service’s destruction of the water shed through its annual catastrophic and uncontrolled wildfire burn rate of over 100,000 acres has systematically killed fish without regard with soot load in the streams … but now their science is going to point to introduced species.
            The biggest impact on rural economies is the executive order that henceforth all actions taken on federal lands must be countered by mitigation. This measure, unilaterally determined in the oval office, potentially has no bounds. Its most obvious impact is a zero net sum loss of undisturbed federal land. That means when any linear object approved by one of the agencies goes across the landscape an offset of untouched land must be added to the federal system. In the West, where government controls over 60% of the landscape, more private land will be sniped and added to the king’s forest.
            As the world watches blood hosed from Parisian streets this morning, Americans must realize that we can do little if our own house is so egregiously mismanaged. Without our foundation, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men … will never put this back together again.

            Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “We have long been Constitution-less. It exists only in pep talks and reelection campaigns. Beware of the politician who claims it is alive and well.”