Saturday, May 14, 2016

State seeking injunction to stop release of wolves

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is seeking a temporary restraining order in state District Court to prevent the federal government from releasing endangered Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico. “Basically we are asking the court to review our case and to halt any imminent releases” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said Game and Fish spokesman Chris Chadwick. “We asked them to not conduct any releases at this time and they refused. This is basically the only remedy we had left.” Game and Fish has said it wants the Fish and Wildlife to come up with a detailed, science-based recovery plan before conducting any wolf recovery activities in New Mexico. The current recovery plan dates to the 1980s and is widely regarded as being outdated. On Monday, Game and Fish said it met with representatives from Fish and Wildlife and attorneys from the U.S. Department of Justice to offer “alternative solutions” to resolve the issues. Fish and Wildlife notified Game and Fish on Wednesday that it had declined the proposals, which were not specified. Game and Fish has notified Fish and Wildlife that it intends to sue in federal court over the wolf releases. The temporary restraining order being sought in the 7th Judicial District in is separate from that notice, Chadwick said...more

Bear bites Appalachian Trail hiker in Tennessee

A black bear bit through the tent and into the lower leg of a man who was hiking the Appalachian Trail and camped for the night at a national park in Tennessee, park officials said on Thursday. Bradley Veeder, 49, of Las Vegas, was sleeping around 11 p.m. local time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Tuesday when the bear attacked, park spokeswoman Dana Soehn said by telephone. Because it was so dark, Veeder and nearby campers did not see the bear, which was initially scared away by his screams, Soehn said. Park officials said it was a black bear based on the wound and damage to tents, as well as fur and saliva collected at the scene. Black bears are the only bears found in the region. Veeder and the other campers retreated to a nearby shelter and the bear subsequently returned, destroying two tents, Soehn said. Rangers carried Veeder on horseback from the campsite for about seven miles on Wednesday to an ambulance that transported him to a nearby hospital, where he was treated and released, Soehn said. He suffered puncture wounds and swelling...more

Friday, May 13, 2016

Sheriff Joe Arpaio found in contempt on racial profiling charges

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, and three members of his staff have been found in contempt of a federal court order to stop racially profiling Latinos during traffic stops, according to a new report. U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ruled the four were in civil contempt after ignoring the judge's orders issued last May. "In short, the Court finds that the Defendants have engaged in multiple acts of misconduct, dishonesty, and bad faith with respect to the Plaintiff class and the protection of its rights," Snow wrote in a 162-page finding of fact in the case...more

In Dulce, NM, Bightfoot, UFO claims keep lore alive

When most people think UFOs and the unexplained in New Mexico, they turn to Roswell. But residents of a tiny town in the northern part of the state say they’ve also seen some strange sights. Residents of Dulce (DUHL’-say), a small town on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation, say they’ve seen flying saucers, UFOs and fast moving lights moving back and forth in the sky, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported. One resident even says he’s tracked Bigfoot. “The whole town of Dulce, whoever you want to talk to, they’ll tell you what they’ve seen — a lot of them,” said Geraldine Julian, 78,who claims to have seen multiple UFOs and other strange activity starting in the 1960s. “It’s not just a fairy tale. All the things are true, and I believe every last one of them, too, because I’ve seen it myself.” Legend has it space aliens are working with the U.S. government at the so-called “Dulce Base” underneath the Archuleta Mesa, a mountain that overlooks the town. Adding to the mystery, Gabe Valdez, a former New Mexico State Police trooper, documented unexplained cattle mutilations in the area in the mid-1970s. Though many said Valdez’s evidence was clearly left by aliens, Valdez has said otherwise. “The evidence that was left there, you know, predators don’t leave gas masks, glow sticks, radar chaff. They don’t leave that stuff. They don’t have vitamin B-12,” Valdez said in a radio interview. Dulce has been featured on the History Channel's "UFO Hunters" television show. When interviewed for the show, Valdez told a different story, saying a mutilated cow was left with a fetus inside that looked like "a human, a monkey and a frog."...more

BLM boss: Wild horse program facing future $1B budget crisis

The head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management says it’s time to admit his agency has a $1 billion problem. BLM Director Neil Kornze says the administration can’t afford to wage an increasingly uphill battle to protect the ecological health of federal rangeland across the West while at the same time properly managing tens of thousands of wild horses and caring for tens of thousands more rounded up in government corals. Kornze told The Associated Press the agency may not have done as good of a job as it could have in recent years to underscore the environmental and budgetary crisis looming in its wild horse and burro program. His experts estimate $1 billion will be needed to care for the 46,000 wild horses and burros currently in U.S. holding facilities over their lifetime. That doesn’t include the cost of future efforts to shrink the population of the record-67,000 now roaming public lands in 10 western states. “We’re trying to make an effort to be real clear about the challenges because they are significant,” Korzne said late Tuesday. “We need partners coming to the table, whether it’s states or counties or others,” he said” The 67,000 horses and burros on the range is a 15 percent increase from last year, and more than double the population that was estimated when President Nixon signed the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act into law in 1971. The landmark legislation allows for removals but also grants the animals unique federal protection and requires they be treated humanely during and after their capture...more

  Kornze told The Associated Press the agency may not have done as good of a job as it could have in recent years to underscore the environmental and budgetary crisis looming in its wild horse and burro program.

Yes, those pesky election years kept getting in the way.  But they are more than happy to highlight the problem as they walk out the door.

Next up for Obama?  A National Monument for transgendered horses. 

Recall petition filed against Harney County Judge Steve Grasty

A recall petition has been filed against Harney County Judge Steve Grasty in the aftermath of the 41-day takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by armed militants earlier this year. Petitioners say they gathered 566 signatures, the Oregon Secretary of State's Office reported Thursday. The valid signatures of 444 active registered Harney County voters are needed to force a recall election or compel his resignation from the non-judicial position that essentially makes him chairman of the county commission. If the petition is validated, Grasty will have to resign or submit a "statement of justification" that would be printed on the ballot. If Grasty chooses the latter, a recall election would be held within 35 days of the end of the resignation period. But Grasty says he has no plans to step down. "People elected me to a six-year term, and that's what I'll do unless they decide it should become less," he said late Thursday...more

Once again, siding with greens over job creation

By Dan Kish

President Obama just had a change of heart on offshore energy development.
Last year, the president put forward a blueprint to expand oil and gas exploration off the Atlantic Coast. This month, he shelved the plan.

Environmentalists are celebrating. But it's a loss for the country. Obama has passed on an important opportunity to secure America's energy future and create thousands of jobs.

The president has a long history of siding with environmentalists over working Americans. While campaigning for the presidency in 2008, for instance, Obama stated proudly that "under my plan ... electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

Upon taking office, the president wasted little time in pursuing this goal. After his attempt to get a cap-and-trade bill through Congress failed, he said that was "just one way of skinning the cat" and tasked the Environmental Protection Agency with carrying out his agenda through executive fiat.

The EPA responded with the Clean Power Plan, a sweeping carbon dioxide reduction scheme based on an imaginative interpretation of the Clean Air Act. Among other things, the plan promised to slash power plants' carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030.

By restricting the use of low-cost fossil fuels and forcing the construction of expensive new generation, the EPA's plan effectively mandates that Americans pay more for energy. Fortunately, in February, the Supreme Court halted the enforcement of this scheme until legal challenges are resolved.

When the president isn't championing the cause of high energy prices, he can be found ignoring the real economic benefits of fossil-fuel development. As recently as 2012, he argued, "We can't just drill our way to lower gas prices." Of course, he was wrong.

Thanks to the shale-energy boom of recent years, America has emerged as the world's leading producer of oil and natural gas. Crude oil production alone has increased 72 percent over the past seven years.

As domestic production has soared, gasoline prices have fallen. According to the latest analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, gas is expected to remain at about $2 a gallon on average for the rest of the year.

In other words, Obama was wrong about the relationship between oil development and energy prices. Nevertheless, he continues to block drilling projects at every turn.

Hundreds swarm BLM auction in Lakewood to protest oil, gas drilling

Hundreds of Leave It In The Ground demonstrators demanding a tougher response to climate change swarmed a federal public lands auction Thursday and set up a blockade to try to stop new oil and gas drilling. U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials with police support moved ahead with the auction of rights to drill under 7,000 acres in western Colorado, penetrating the human blockade inside a rented Holiday Inn and enduring theatrics outside including use of bullhorns, loud music and a fog machine. The anti-fossil fuel groups, led by Greenpeace and other environmentalists, also plan another demonstration Saturday in Thornton where hundreds of Front Range residents are expected to protest hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, near neighborhoods and schools...more

Western energy producers sue over sage grouse plans

Independent Western oil and gas producers, joined by the North Dakota Petroleum Council, are suing the federal government over sage grouse management plans they say do an end run around the public process and aren't based on good science. The lawsuit filed Thursday by the Western Energy Alliance, which includes producers in Utah, adds another layer of litigation to the hotly contested land-use management plans covering 165 million acres across the West. Utah, Idaho and several groups are already suing the government over the revisions to 98 land-use management plans carried out by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Kathleen Sgamma, the alliance's vice president of governmental affairs, said the plans ignore protections incorporated into individual state plans that were crafted after years of work, collaboration and research, and instead institute arbitrary restrictions...more

Blackfeet Tribe asks to join court case on Badger-Two Medicine

While a decadeslong legal struggle over energy exploration in the Badger-Two Medicine revolves around its sacred nature to the Blackfeet Indians, it wasn’t until this week that the tribe officially asked to join the fight. Blackfeet tribal leaders joined several conservation groups in requesting intervener status in the case between Solenex LLC and the U.S. Department of the Interior before U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C. Two months ago, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell accepted a recommendation from the U.S. Forest Service to cancel Solenex’s drilling leases on 6,200 acres of public land just south of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Solenex asked Leon to overrule the decision and reinstate the leases. “Those representing traditional Blackfeet culture did not have a seat at the table 30 years ago when the federal government leased our sacred lands for a dollar an acre,” said John Murray of the Pikuni Traditionalist Association. “This intervention is important to ensure that those representing traditional Blackfeet culture have a seat at the table now as the court considers the validity of the government’s effort to correct that 30-year-old mistake.”...more

Cal Poly Rodeo team receives large endowment

The Cal Poly rodeo team has just received the largest donation in the program's history, a $1 million endowment.
The money will help provide scholarships to student athletes for their performance both in and out of the arena.
Mark and Jessi Milano, cattle ranchers and big supporters of the rodeo program, announced their donation last month at the 76th Annual Poly Royal Rodeo.  link

The Political Economy of Dead Meat: Why Mad Cows are the Least of It

Hondo Fiesta brings heritage alive

Every year since 1948, the 64th annual Fiesta de Hondo brings together the community of Hondo in a day of festivity and dancing. Hondo Valley residents and guests from far and wide will come together at the school for an enchilada dinner from 4 to 6 p.m. The colorful dances celebrate the town's Hispanic culture as the community's children participate in the performance beginning at 6 p.m. Eighty-six-year-old Cecilia Sanchez-Booky lights up as she recalls the fiesta's beginnings. Fiesta founder Fermin Montes and his wife, Cerenia, brought traditional dances to Hondo from Mexico in 1948. Their dream was to acquaint the students with the songs and dances of area's the early settlers and bring the past alive through teaching the dances to the school children. They did just that and decades later, the community comes together annually to celebrate its heritage...more

Professor mauled by bear released from hospital

A Juneau assistant professor who was mauled by a bear earlier last month was released from the hospital Monday. Forest Wagner was leading a group of college students on Mount Emmerich near Haines when he was mauled by a brown bear April 18. The trip was part of a University of Alaska Southeast field mountaineering course. [Students feared bear that attacked teacher had returned.]
The 35-year-old was medevaced to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, where he was originally listed in “critical” condition. A UAS news release said Wagner is continuing outpatient physical therapy and wound care in Anchorage. In a statement issued to UAS today, Wagner thanked everyone for their support and said, “I’m doing well, currently walking on crutches and scheduled to return to Juneau the week of May 23.”...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1611

Carl Smith told us about Shorty yesterday, and here we are 44 years later and ol' Shorty is still getting after it in I'm Gonna Strangle You Shorty by the Flatlanders.  The tune is on their 2004 CD Wheels Of Fortune.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

‘Deep Disconnect’ between Washington DC Policymakers and Southwest Border Situation

By Amanda Vicinanzo

The House Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security held a field hearing on Monday to hear from local law enforcement officials, business and community leaders, ranchers and residents—those who must live with the ramifications of an unsecure border every day— on what they see as the real border security challenges facing the nation.

Chairwoman Martha McSally (R-AZ) said the testimony of several government officials from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a hearing several weeks ago revealed “a deep disconnect” between how politicians and policymakers in Washington, DC view the current situation on the border versus what the actual situation is according to those who live and work on the border. 

...The southwest border remains a hub of cross-border illegal activity, with DHS apprehending over 331,000 illegal entrants, and making over 14,000 seizures of drugs in fiscal year 2015, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

Today, in 2016, the entire border is controlled by Mexican drug cartels, according to Art Del Cueto, President, Local 2544, National Border Patrol Council. Cueto likened the situation on the border to a prison, saying drug cartels control the border similar to the way inmates control a prison.

“If there is one point that I want to make in this entire testimony it is that the money that the cartels earn from illegal alien smuggling underwrites the same organizations that are flooding our streets with narcotics,” Cueto emphasized. 

...Living in a border town can be dangerous. Frank Krentz, an Arizona rancher, testified that at his ranch he has seen houses broken into, vehicles stolen, trash left, and waterlines broken by illegal immigrants crossing the property.

Frank is the son of Rob Krentz, a prominent Arizona rancher found shot dead on his property after reporting seeing an immigrant in need of help. Local authorities said evidence indicated that the assailant was most likely an illegal immigrant.

Krentz recalled, “I was told once by a US Congressman that the people along the border have become ‘numb’ to the whole border issue. They have gotten use to the idea that this is the new normal if they want to live here.”

“I wouldn’t say that we have become ‘numb,’” Krentz added, “but we have become resilient; that we want to live in this part of the world, that many of the families here have been here for many years and generations and hope to have many more on this part of the world they have carved out for themselves.” 

...Enhancing security and promoting trade do not have to be contradictory, according to Jaime Chamberlain President of JC Distributing Inc., an Arizona based company with a 46-year history of importing and distributing fresh produce from Mexico throughout the United States and Canada.

“With enhanced security our enforcement officials can, with greater certainty, secure our communities and bolster our economic productivity,” said Chamberlain.

Chamberlain noted that ports of entry at Nogales processed 640,000 trucks, 7 million cars and 21 million people this past year, which represents more than $25 billion worth of imports and exports flowing through Nogales each year. Moreover, it is estimated that Mexican visitors spend over $7.3 million per day in Arizona. 

R-CALF sues USDA to end Beef Checkoff

The Rancher’s Cattlemen’s Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF), filed suit May 2 in U.S. District Court in Montana, challenging the government’s oversight of the Beef Checkoff Program. R-CALF claims its members 1st Amendment rights are being denied because they are forced to pay into Montana’s Beef Council without a voice in its marketing strategy. The national Beef Checkoff Program, which collected more than $80 million in FY 2015, is used unconstitutionally, R-CALF claims, to promote international beef. In a press release, R-CALF USA says  that while its members must pay into the $1 per head Checkoff program, those funds are used to convince consumers that beef from R-CALF members’ cattle – raised domestically and in compliance with rigorous standards concerning safety, treatment and quality – is no different than beef produced under far less stringent procedures abroad...more

The  lawsuit is embedded below:

Wyo. rancher, lawmakers declare victory over EPA in pond feud

A Wyoming man and his home-state lawmakers see a court settlement with U.S. EPA as a big win after a yearslong legal battle over a pond. Andy Johnson, a welder from southwestern Wyoming, and EPA reached a settlement in a federal district court this week over a pond he built in 2012 to provide water to his small herd of livestock, including horses and cattle. Government officials informed Johnson that he didn’t have the appropriate Clean Water Act permits and ordered him to restore the wetlands or face potential fines of up to $37,500 per day. Johnson sued EPA in 2015, asking a court to reject the agency’s compliance order. The settlement reached this week allows Johnson to keep the pond in place without paying fines and requires him to mitigate environmental impacts by planting willows near the pond and constructing fences along part of the pond to minimize the impact of livestock on the plantings. “This is a huge victory for us as well as private property owners across the country,” Johnson said in a statement. “The next family that finds itself in our situation, facing ominous threats from EPA, can take heart in knowing that many of these threats will not come to pass. If, like us, you stand up to the overreaching bureaucrats, they may very well back down.” Johnson was represented in court by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative group that often backs property owners in disputes challenging government environmental rules...more

Farm Bureau Analysis Shows TPP Means Billions to Ag

Economic analysis by American Farm Bureau indicates the Trans Pacific Partnership is a net positive for U.S. agriculture, and AFBF supports a swift passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade and investment agreement. Sharon Bomer with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative says the agreement will boost exports and open new markets for agriculture. “The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement really provides an excellent opportunity for America’s farmers and ranchers to expand their exports to the Asia Pacific region, and that region is one of the high growth areas in the world where 40 percent of current global GDP exists, and already $63 billion worth of American food and agricultural products are exported.” One of the new Asia Pacific markets that would open as a result of TPP is Japan. “TPP has a lot of great aspects to it. Never in my lifetime did I think we would be opening the Japan market to American food and agricultural products, and that’s what TPP does. There’s no product exclusions, everything is either going to have tariff elimination or significant new market access. So that’s really exciting, I think, for our industry.”...more

Keystone XL is dead, but litigation over it is still fueling attacks on Obama’s authority

The Keystone XL pipeline may be dead, but the litigation over it lives on. On Tuesday, attorneys general from six states along the proposed pipeline trail and lawyers from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers filed amicus briefs in energy giant TransCanada’s lawsuit against four Obama Cabinet members saying that the president had exceeded his authority in rejecting the project. In a reprise of arguments used in immigration disputes and other cases involving President Obama’s executive authority, the attorneys general and the Chamber argue that Obama trampled on the power of Congress and the states to regulate interstate and international commerce. The Chamber and manufacturing trade group also claim that the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline permit – about seven years after the first application was made – has caused harm by costing states jobs, tax revenue and “billions of dollars of economic activity.”...more

The Bundy witness BLM won't talk about

Phil Taylor, E&E reporter

As federal prosecutors seek to convict Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy for his role in a near-violent standoff two years ago with the Bureau of Land Management, they'll likely turn to a brawny special agent named Dan Love.

...Testimony from Love, with his eye-level view of the standoff, could be key to the government's successful prosecution of Bundy; his sons Ammon, Ryan, Mel and Dave; and other alleged standoff leaders including Ryan Payne and Pete Santilli.

...Love, who has been described as muscular, tall and quick-witted, is both loved and reviled in Nevada and Utah, where he's BLM's top cop. He worked for the Federal Air Marshal Service from 2002 to 2006 and has been with BLM for roughly a decade, based in Salt Lake City.

Critics say Love has a massive ego and lacks the gravitas needed to navigate the red-hot politics of federal land management in those states.

...Love's credibility and reputation will be key if he's called to the witness stand in the Bundy case. The Justice Department said it plans to call between 30 and 45 witnesses and present more than a terabyte of evidence.

BLM refused to allow Love, his law enforcement superiors or its state directors to comment for this article. Nor would BLM answer basic questions about Love's professional resume -- when he was hired, his age, where he previously worked and his law enforcement qualifications.

...BLM's silence in the face of Love's critics is puzzling given the high stakes in the Bundy case and the desire of many BLM employees to see Bundy behind bars.

This is an interesting read and well worth your time.

NOIA bemoans removal of Atlantic lease sale

In response to the about-turn by the Obama administration, the president of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), Randall Luthi, issued the following statement: “The good news is that there are still offshore lease sales planned in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaskan Arctic. The bad news is the disappointing and mind-boggling removal of Atlantic Lease Sale 260 from the 2017–2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program. This is a short-sighted political decision of an administration influenced by the radical and extreme minority devoted to keeping fossil fuels in the ground. The removal is not based upon science or good energy policy, and will certainly inhibit the economic opportunities and energy security of our country. “It is difficult to put into words how wrong and anti-energy this decision is. By not taking the long-term view, the administration sells US consumers short. Instead, they have determined they are content to let the rest of world lead in Atlantic offshore oil and natural gas development. This is the wrong direction in efforts to continue the US march towards energy independence. Contrary to the alarmist and scientifically inaccurate rhetoric of anti-fossil fuel groups, the fact remains that offshore oil and gas operations are conducted safely around the world on a daily basis, while technology and safety measures continually advance. Moreover, experience has shown that offshore development does not conflict with, but rather complements, rich tourism and fishing industries. For decades, these industries have coexisted and thrived in the Gulf of Mexico. There was no valid reason to think the Atlantic would be any different....more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1610

The race is fixed in Carl Smith's Cut Across Shorty.  The tune was recorded for Columbia in Nashville on March 18, 1960.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Obama administration drops effort to list lesser prairie chicken as threatened

The Obama administration has dropped its effort to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species, handing a victory to oil companies, farmers and landowners in Oklahoma and four other states who fought the federal habitat protection for years. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week decided not to appeal the decision of a federal judge in Texas, who overturned the administration's 2014 listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species. An agency spokesperson said Wednesday, "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intends to reassess the status of the species based on the court's ruling and the best available scientific data. "The USFWS will continue working with states, other federal agencies and partners on efforts to conserve the lesser prairie-chicken across its range." Critics of the administration's 2014 listing said it was unnecessary because private landowners and states had been cooperating for years on various measures to protect the bird, whose habitat includes Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Kansas...more

Pearce Statement on Administration’s Decision Not to Appeal De-Listing of Lesser Prairie Chicken

Washington, DC (May 11, 2016)  Congressman Pearce issued the following statement after the Obama Administration announced it would not appeal a federal court’s decision to de-list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act:

This is a huge win for New Mexico.  In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the species as threatened which was unnecessary and economically harmful.  The agency blatantly ignored the already successful conservation efforts carried out by local governments and stakeholders – listing the species anyway.  While I am happy with the Administration’s decision today, it is disappointing the Administration took this long  to realize how successful private landowners and states are at managing the species.  I hope in the future they take local conservation efforts into meaningful consideration prior to any listing decision,” said Congressman Pearce.

Thousands weigh in on Yellowstone grizzly delisting

Thousands wrote in on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s plan for removing Endangered Species Act protections from the Yellowstone ecosystem’s grizzly bears before a deadline Tuesday. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 5,400 comments had been submitted to the agency online. USFWS spokeswoman Serena Baker said officials will sort and review the comments in the coming months. Some of them will be addressed in the final delisting proposal. The USFWS hopes to have a final proposal out by the end of the year. Delisting the bear would transfer management responsibility to the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho and allow some discretionary killing of bears. All three states have expressed interest in having hunting seasons on the bears, and USFWS is requiring that they submit plans for state management to be included in the final proposal...more

Railroad settles suit over destruction of butterfly habitat

Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co. recently paid $72,500 in damages for wildfires sparked by its trains in March 2012 at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The railroad company entered an agreement in February and paid the damages after the U.S. District Court entered judgment, officials said. The U.S. attorney's office said Tuesday that two of its employees, Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne Ault and Senior Civil Investigator Paul Drapac, recently were recognized by the National Park Service for their work on the civil case. The federal government alleged in a civil lawsuit filed in March 2014 that two Indiana Harbor Belt locomotives ejected hot cinders and ignited fires as they passed through western portions of the national park March 10, 2012. The fires burned habitat for the endangered Karner blue butterfly and destroyed experimental data on the insects. In its answer to the government's claims, the company said it didn't have enough information to admit or deny that several spark traps on the trains were plugged and moderate to heavy carbon accumulation was found on the front exhaust stack openings...more

Arizona - S.B.1243 could mean protection for Mexican gray wolves and livestock

Arizona Senate Bill 1243 authorizes Arizona Game and Fish (AZGF) to enter into a memorandum of understanding with U.S. Fish and Wildlife to limit reintroductions and releases of Mexican gray wolves to within three miles of state or private land. The bill also asks for a full DNA profile of each wolf reintroduced. SB 1243 did pass both the House and the Senate once but because of the amendment, it is now back in the Senate, waiting for a final vote. The bill has yet to be been finalized. According to Bahr, the bill most likely won't be passed until the state budget is passed by Gov. Doug Ducey. For ranchers who have suffered livestock losses by wolves, the bill could make a big difference. "It really kind of sets a landmark regarding the wolf program," said Andy Groseta, a third generation Arizona rancher and past president of Arizona Cattle Growers Association and the National Cattleman's Beef Association. "It sets the benchmark that any wolf located within three miles of State Trust land or private property shall be picked up by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW)." According to Carey Dobson, a fourth generation rancher operating three cattle ranches within the recovery area, issues between wolves and livestock is inevitable. "I've tried everything to keep them away. All they do is just run around you in circles. You can push them off and they go to your neighbor and then they come right back. We've tried everything," he said. "It's outrageous how much money I have to put out just to keep ranching."...more

Colorado wolverine that went missing confirmed killed in North Dakota

The lone wolverine that wandered Colorado for at least three years has been identified as the animal killed in North Dakota last month. Officials in North Dakota say the wolverine, identified as M56, was harassing livestock when a rancher shot him. A North Dakota state law allows residents to kill furbearers only in protection of livestock, and officials determined the killing of M56 was justified. "It's been a unique story. It has caught the attention of many," said Jeb Williams, division chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Wolverine M56 will end his days displayed in a full body mount at a furbearer exhibit in North Dakota's Game and Fish headquarters — the first wolverine in the exhibit...more

Does Culling Actually Encourage Poaching Of Endangered Species?

...This policy is consistent with conservation practices in Norway, Sweden and Finland, too. Part of this protocol stems from human behavior: if a cull was not allowed, the argument goes, farmers and ranchers would take matters into their own hands, and kill wolves illegally. By allowing legal killing of targeted “problem” individuals, illegal killing of wolves in general is reduced. But does this work in practice? Today, a study was published in the highly respected journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, that proposed to test this argument (ref). The two authors, ecologist Guillaume Chapron, Associate Professor at the Grimsö Wildlife Research Station at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and Adrian Treves, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, analyzed data that tracked how wolf population sizes in Wisconsin and Michigan changed between 1995 and 2012 — a period of time when culling was first banned, then allowed, and then banned again, for a total of 12 times. The authors developed a mathematical model that related these reported population changes to changes in the legal status of wolf culls, and found that wolf population growth slowed more than expected when culling was legal. “Each time the state had the authority to cull wolves, we found a decrease in the population growth of wolves”, said Professor Treves in a statement. He also noted that average population growth decreased from 16% to 12% of the annual growth during periods of culling. But why? Obviously, the wolves weren’t anticipating a cull and leaving the state in droves, nor were their populations so dense that their reproduction rate decreased. Since the authors had eliminated these variables, there was one remaining possibility: the authors attributed this decreased population growth to poaching. “The political message that government sends when wolves are no longer protected is enough to increase poaching”, argued Professor Treves...more

Leonardo DiCaprio Stands With Great Sioux Nation to Stop Dakota Access Pipeline

The campaign to oppose the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) continues to gain steam with Leonardo DiCaprio and actors from the upcoming Justice League film joining the cause. Dakota Access—a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP—has proposed a $3.7 billion, 1,168-mile pipeline that will transfer up to 570,00 barrels of crude oil per day from the North Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois. The DAPL, also referred to as the Bakken pipeline, would cross the Missouri River less than a mile away from the Standing Rock Reservation that stands in North and South Dakota. The Missouri River, one of the largest water resources in the U.S., provides drinking water for millions of people...more

EPA Quickly Takes Study Offline Showing No Evidence Weed Killer Causes Cancer

by Michael Bastasch

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials were quick to take off the internet a report debunking claims made by activists and United Nations officials that the chemical compound used to kill weeds is cancer causing.

EPA pulled the report by their cancer assessment review committee, or CARC, after it had been “inadvertently” published online Friday, the agency told Reuters. EPA said the CARC report was “not final” and subsequent steps of review were needed before it could be published online. It was taken offline Monday afternoon.

CARC’s report, however, has already caused an uproar among environmentalists who want to see the chemical glyphosate, commonly found in weed killers and fertilizers, banned. Activists commonly cite a 2015 report by the United Nations’ International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic in humans.”

The CARC study ripped offline by EPA, however, rebutted IARC’s conclusions, saying they were based on flawed studies, some of which weren’t even reproduced by other scientists. CARC ultimately ruled glyphosate is “not likely to be carcinogenic in humans.”

“The studies that IARC cited as positive findings for chromosomal damage had deficiencies in the design and/or conduct of the studies confounding the interpretation of the results,” CARC reported, according to a copy of their assessment obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Cliven Bundy Sues President Obama, Sen. Harry Reid and Judge Gloria Navarro Over Alleged Plot to Steal his Land

Imprisoned Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy sued US president Barack Obama and other high ranking federal officials following his criminal case. The lawsuit alleges that his constitutional rights were being violated following his unlawful solitary confinement and accusing U.S. Sen. Harry Reid on plotting to steal his property. According to Gawker, the leader of the high profile armed standoff with law enforcement in 2014, Cliven Bundy, filed the lawsuit against President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, Rory Reid, the senator's son and Gloria Navarro, the presiding judge for his criminal case. It seeks to remove the judge from the case as well as an order allowing lawyer Larry Klayman to join Bundy's defense team and more than $50 million in damages. Bundy accuses the Senator Reid and his son of stealing his land. "Defendant HARRY REID ordered and sent the equivalent of federal storm-troopers to Plaintiff BUNDY'S ranch to seize his and his family's land and capture and/or harm his cattle, at the direction of Defendant HARRY REID," the federal lawsuit stated...more

And this article reports:

Bundy’s lawsuit attacks Navarro for refusing to allow Klayman into the high-profile case until he can give her proof that ethical disciplinary proceedings against him in Washington, D.C., have been resolved in his favor. Klayman, the founder of the Washington-based public interest groups Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, is known for his tenacious pursuit of litigation, mostly in support of a wide range of conservative and libertarian issues.

Below is the lawsuit: 

The Drought Goes On: As Lake Mead Sinks, States Agree to More Drastic Water Cuts

Three years ago, state hydrologists in the Colorado River Basin began to do some modeling to see what the future of Lake Mead—the West’s largest reservoir—might look like. If the dry conditions continued, hydrologists believed, elevations in Lake Mead—which is fed by the Colorado River—could drop much faster than previous models predicted. For decades, the West’s big reservoirs were like a security blanket, says Anne Castle, the former assistant secretary for water and science at the Interior Department. But the blanket is wearing thin. Under normal conditions, Lake Mead loses 1.2 million acre-feet of water every year to evaporation and deliveries to the Lower Basin states plus Mexico; that all amounts to a 12-foot drop. Previously, extra deliveries of water from Lake Powell offset that deficit, but after 16 years of drought and increased water use in the Upper Basin, those extra deliveries are no longer a safe bet. “There’s a growing recognition that even these huge reservoirs aren’t sufficient to keep the water supply sustainable anymore,” says Castle. For the three Lower Basin states—California, Arizona and Nevada—that rely heavily on Lake Mead, the situation is particularly urgent. For the last several years, Mead has hovered around 1,075 feet above sea level, the point at which harsh water-rationing measures kicks in. And if conditions in the reservoir continue to worsen, the Interior Department could even take control of water allocation from Lake Mead...more

As firms abandon Arctic drilling, Obama comes under pressure to do more to avert dangerous warming there

Major oil and gas firms abandoned most of their leases in the Arctic this week, just as President Barack Obama and others are coming under increased pressure to avert dangerous warming in the region. Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips, Eni and Iona Energy have relinquished all but one lease in the Chukchi Sea, company officials confirmed Tuesday, as well as some in the Beaufort Sea. The move to give back roughly $2.5 billion worth of oil and gas leases spanning 2.2 million acres of the Arctic Ocean, in the same week that the leaders of five Arctic nations are coming to Washington for a White House summit, has reignited the debate over how best to protect an area that is showing new signs of vulnerability to climate change. "Today we are an important step closer to a sustainable future for the Arctic Ocean," said Michael Levine, Pacific senior counsel for the advocacy group Oceana. "Hopefully, today marks the end of the ecologically and economically risky push to drill in the Arctic Ocean." Many Democratic lawmakers and environmental activists, however, are pushing for the administration to ban Arctic drilling altogether as part of the next five-year leasing plan, which runs from 2017 to 2022. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-California, joined by Robert Dold, R-Illinois and 66 other House Democrats, sent a letter last week to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell calling for the administration to revise the leasing plan before it becomes final...more

Colowyo still mining coal one year later

A year ago this week, a federal judge issued a ruling that would send shockwaves through Northwest Colorado. Judge R. Brooke Jackson sided with environmental group WildEarth Guardians on its claim that the Office of Surface Mining did not comply with federal law when it approved mining plans for Colowyo and Trapper mines. As a result, he ordered OSMRE to complete a new, revamped environmental assessment for Colowyo’s South Taylor Pit or the mine’s permit would be revoked — shutting down the mine and displacing 220 employees. The news shook residents of Craig, Meeker and Moffat and Rio Blanco counties — who depend on the mines for economic stability — while making national headlines. As the 120-day countdown progressed, the community swelled with support for the mine and though the Interior Department decided not to appeal the judge’s ruling, it vowed to meet his deadline, which it did. But the story was far from finished. About a month before Colowyo cleared its name, Trapper was thrown back into the ring...more

How Adopting a Coyote Turned a Cityslicker into a Grassfed Cattle Rancher

Nine years ago, writer and photographer Shreve Stockton, stumbled into a role as an internet sensation when she adopted an orphaned baby coyote named Charlie. She started an immensely popular photo blog called the Daily Coyote, which tracked Charlie’s growth as he bonded with Stockton and the other animals in their lives. The blog eventually led to a book deal.  Stockton had landed in Wyoming after taking a solo Vespa ride across the United States in 2006 with the intention of moving from San Francisco to New York. The state cast a spell on her, and upon her arrival in New York, Stockton did a quick turnabout and moved right back to the mountains and prairies. There, she fell in love with a cowboy named Mike (who prefers to go by his first name only), who brought Charlie home one day. Thanks to her book advance, Stockton soon began buying Black Angus calves from Mike, a rancher, in order to save them from the feedlot and rear them herself on grass pastures. Stockton has been building a humanely raised beef business, Star Brand Beef, since 2010. Now she has launched a website to take orders from customers around the nation. Stockton’s animals are harvested once a year and the meat is delivered in August—on a tour that goes from California to Minnesota. “Customers meet the delivery truck at a central location during a 1- to 3-hour window to pick up their beef,” reads the Star Brand site...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1609

Webb Pierce - Love, Love, Love is our selection today.  The tune was recorded in Nashville on July 6,1955 for the Decca label.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mouse habitat in Lincoln national forest closed May through October

Areas within critical habitat occupied by the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse in the Sacramento District of the Lincoln National Forest will be closed for six months in 2016 and 2017. Staff of the Lincoln National forest issued a closure order to protect those areas where the mouse, which is listed as an endangered species, is known to occupy and that are considered necessary for the recovery of the species. The Forest Service has a legal obligation to protect the jumping mouse and the critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act, a news release on the closure stated. The purpose of the closure order is to protect the habitat during the season the species is active and most vulnerable. The Sacramento District falls within Otero County, a neighbor of Lincoln County. The Sacramento Ranger District office is located in Cloudcroft and the forest supervisor's base is in Alamogordo. Lincoln County encompasses the Smokey Bear Ranger District of the national forest and is based in Ruidoso. The closure order will include all occupied critical habitat on the Lincoln National Forest, including small portions of Agua Chiquita, Silver Springs, Rio Peñasco and Wills Canyon within the Sacramento Ranger District. The closure will remain in effect for two years from May 1, 2016 to Oct. 31, 2016, and from May 1, 2017 to Oct. 31, 2017. Further analysis will be completed to determine future actions beyond October 2017. The closure restricts all entry to the restricted area. Authorized roads and trails within the restricted area will remain open...more

Below is the Forest Service notice and map.

Ammon Bundy had intended refuge occupation to end up in civil court, lawyers say

Ammon Bundy led the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge intending to force a civil court to take up the constitutionality of federal land management policy, his lawyers contend in new court papers filed Monday. He had expected the government to issue an eviction or ejection claim instead of arresting and indicting the occupiers on federal charges in criminal court. But as he now sits in a Multnomah County jail facing conspiracy and weapons allegations, he's asking the court to dismiss the indictments, arguing that the federal government lacks jurisdiction over the land that includes the wildlife sanctuary in eastern Oregon's Harney County. "The Malheur protest was aimed at raising this issue,'' his lawyers Mike Arnold and Lissa Casey wrote in the court documents. "Defendant Ammon Bundy organized his fellow citizens in protest of the expansive and unsupported interpretation of the Constitution that purports to allow the federal government to own and control more territory, and exercise jurisdiction over more land in the Western States, than the States themselves.''  His lawyers assert that Bundy isn't a member of any militia, isn't an extremist and doesn't hold anti-government views -- underlining each contention in bold type in their 33-page motion and memorandum filled with lengthy footnotes. They characterize Bundy as a constitutional originalist who adheres to similar philosophies as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork. They contend Bundy didn't lead an armed takeover of the refuge, but organized an "act of civil disobedience'' to lay claim to the land. "It is from Ammon's understanding of federalism and his genuine belief in originalism, coupled with his own personal life experiences, that he, like a growing body of significant thinkers across the United States, has challenged the federal government's overreach, speaking out against its attendant injustices, and rallying attention to the core question of federal land ownership and related abuses,'' they wrote...more

Sahuarita panel seeks common ground on border problems

Frank Krentz, right, testified at the congressional field hearing
Discussions about border issues often focus on the differences, but on Monday the goal was to find common ground. A group of Southern Arizona residents, city officials, ranchers, business owners and law enforcement officers gathered here for a congressional field hearing, “Life on the Border: Examining Border Security through the Eyes of Local Residents and Law Enforcement,” held by U.S. Rep. Martha McSally of Arizona and New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce, both Republicans. “I want to make sure as decision makers, policy makers, those that are running for office are trying to come up with ways to address these things now and in the future, that they are hearing from facts, hearing from people on the ground that are being impacted by failed policies every day,” said McSally, who chairs the House subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security. Although the number of people coming illegally through Southern Arizona is down, ranchers in rural areas continue to see traffic coming through their land. Instead of seeing large groups of migrants looking for work, they said, they now encounter smaller groups carrying drugs. “I can remember a time in 1999 I saw two different groups of people crossing the ranch that numbered larger than 100,” Frank Krentz said. “We used to approach these people as Christians to make sure there were no injuries and tell them that Border Patrol would be here shortly to help them.” But that all changed after his father, Robert Krentz, was shot and killed nearly six years ago when he was out on his ranch and saw someone walking across a pasture. “Now we don’t go near these people. Not knowing what the situation holds, we don’t put ourselves in a position that would get us into trouble.” The slaying remains unsolved. Just last week, said Daniel Bell, president of the ZZ Cattle Corp., there was a fire started by people crossing illegally who were later caught by the Border Patrol. “These were all breaking points that caused ranchers on the border to demand more boots on the ground,” he said...more

Sally Jewell hopes to change lives by bringing children to National Parks

A group of about 25 mostly environmentalists and high-level public lands managers bolted into the new Sand to Snow National Monument one afternoon last week. Setting a blistering pace was Sally Jewell, the 51st Secretary of the Interior, who at 5 a.m. that morning had been hiking with Native Americans in Montana, not far from the Canadian border. Jewell believes that outdoor experiences are part of the DNA of humans and is concerned that today’s children are not getting out into the wildland frontiers of America. That’s why she believes the Obama administration’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative is so important. Launched in September 2015, the Department of Interior program provides all fourth-grade students and their families with free admissions to National Parks and other federal lands and waters for a year. Jewell spoke about the sedentary, urban lifestyle of young people in America after she negotiated a log bridge over the rapidly flowing Whitewater River and nimbly danced around numerous rock obstacles. The trail Jewell and the other 24 briskly walked on goes from the Wildlands Conservancy’s Whitewater Preserve to Mission Creek Preserve. Both properties are privately owned but fall within the Sand to Snow National Monument boundary line, which extends to the 11,500-foot Mt. San Gorgonio on the west to the Sonoron Desert to the east...more

She's changed the lives of children already.  Take for example the children of those parents who would have worked on the Keystone pipeline.  And right now the children of thousands of parents employed in the coal industry.

Did You Know that John Muir Wanted to Force Indians Out of the Yosemite Valley?

by Ryan M. Yonk

On March 1, Yosemite National Park changed vendors, dumping Delaware North in favor of Aramark, with a $2 billion concession contract for the next 15 years. The shift prompted visitors to snap up items from the Ahwahnee Hotel and Curry Village, longstanding landmarks soon to be renamed. The true Yosemite memorabilia, however, goes all the way back to the days of John Muir.

The influential naturalist and conservationist has been called a “wilderness prophet” and the father of our national parks. Dozens of places are named after him and his writings contributed greatly to the creation of Sequoia, Mount Rainier, Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks.

John Muir was an advocate of views that perceive human activity at odds with the “balance of nature.” He devoted his life to creating parks and wild areas that did not contain people, with the exception of naturalists and tourists. Many of his ideas took shape when he visited and lived in California’s Yosemite Valley, a place of stunning natural beauty.

There he saw the Miwok Indians growing crops, white settlers raising sheep, and miners seeking gold and other minerals. Muir decided that “the other occupants had to go.”Although Muir claimed to oppose the oppression of Native Americans, he fully supported the extraction of Miwoks from Yosemite, referring to them as “dirty,” “deadly,” and “lazy.”

For John Muir, it was more important to maintain the “balance of nature” than to allow the Miwok Indians to live off the land. Muir’s ideology about the “balance of nature” within national parks was so influential that the Yosemite model spread to other national parks, including Yellowstone, where the forced evictions killed 300 Shoshone in one day.