Friday, August 19, 2016

Obama likely to create new monuments if Congress doesn't act -- Sec. Jewell

President Obama will use his executive authority to designate new national monuments if Congress sits on its hands and does nothing, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell indicated in Seattle on Thursday. The Cabinet secretary, a former CEO at Recreational Equipment, Inc., noted that there "are a number of places" around the country where support for preservation is building. "Congress has an opportunity to act," Jewell told "The President is watching and has an opportunity to act if Congress does not. And that's all I'm going to say." Obama acted to create a new San Juan Islands National Monument in 2013. Legislation to create a National Conservation Area in the island archipelago was blocked by conservative House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash. The President used his authority under the Antiquities Act, first used in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt to protect the heart of the Olympic Mountains and the Grand Canyon. Both areas are now among America's greatest national parks. Conservative House Republicans have sought to restrict the President's monument-designating powers, although Republicans as well as Democrats in the White House have created monuments. President Herbert Hoover set aside land for a Death Valley National Monument in California, forerunner to another great national park. Obama has designated a big monument in the Pacific Ocean off of Hawaii, large and small monuments protecting natural places, and historic monuments -- the latest honoring the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York that gave birth to the nation's gay rights movement. Congress has, at times, seen writing on the wall. The Republican-run U.S. House of Representatives approved a 275,000-acre Boulder White Clouds Wilderness in Idaho when it became clear that Obama would designate the land as a national monument. The monument protects 11,815-foot Castle Peak, one of the most imposing mountains of the American West. Wild lands in Southern Utah are one monument battlefield, with Republicans offering some wilderness protection but not enough in the view of conservationists. The Owyhee River in Oregon and Idaho is proposed for protection. The President could also designate a national monument on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, coveted by Big Oil and pro-development Alaska politicians for more than 40 years...more

Reid: Gold Butte National Monument "will happen before the first of the year"

Sen. Harry Reid is sure of it: Gold Butte will soon become a national monument. The Senate Minority Leader, along with Nevada Democratic Rep. Dina Titus, William Anderson, former chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, and representatives from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Nevada Resort Association, held a press conference on Thursday to announce the release of a new report detailing damage done over the past year at Gold Butte near Mesquite. Sen. Harry Reid is sure of it: Gold Butte will soon become a national monument. The Senate Minority Leader, along with Nevada Democratic Rep. Dina Titus, William Anderson, former chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, and representatives from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Nevada Resort Association, held a press conference on Thursday to announce the release of a new report detailing damage done over the past year at Gold Butte near Mesquite. Reid told reporters and supporters of the effort to provide greater protection to Gold Butte that he would continue to push President Obama to designate Gold Butte as a national monument and that “it is going to happen before the first of the year.” Reid, who introduced legislation in 2013 that would have designated Gold Butte as a National Conservation Area, said the only reason Gold Butte hadn’t already received greater protection was because “Republicans hate public lands.” Gold Butte is currently under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management but was left unmanaged and unpatrolled for more than two years following the 2014 standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and BLM officials who sought to remove Bundy’s cattle from the area...more

Secretary Jewell hasn't held one of her "listening sessions", yet Harry Reid knows there will be a monument designated.  Just another indicator of what a farce they really are.

Editorial: Forests burn as Congress takes time off

With temperatures threatening to crack 100 degrees across the mid-valley Friday and Saturday, forest managers throughout the region wasted no time this week moving the fire-danger indicators from "high" to "extreme."
You can't blame them: High temperatures have cooked the fuels in the forests to the point where they'll burn in a hurry if they get just one spark. Relative humidity levels are low. And red flag warnings from the National Weather Service are calling for gusty winds Friday and Saturday — perfect conditions for fires to spread quickly. (The good news is that no lightning storms are forecast over the next few days; the bad news is that there's no hint of rain.)
In California this week, it was all bad news on the fire front. Of particular note: the so-called Bluecut fire, which ignited Tuesday and in the space of 24 hours had raged across 40 square miles, turning into a cataclysm that burned with a ferocity and intensity that stunned even veteran firefighters. The Bluecut fire could represent the new face of wildfire in the drought-ravaged West.
So this is a good time to check back in on how Congress is doing with that proposal — in the works now for many years — to change the way that federal agencies pay for fighting these fires.

Unfortunately, they view the problem as funding, rather than management:

Here's the problem, in a nutshell: As each fire season burns hotter and fiercer, the federal agencies responsible for fighting those fires have to spend more and more of their budgets doing so. The U.S. Forest Service, for example, now says that it spends more than half of its budget fighting fires. (By contrast, just 20 years ago, the percentage of the agency's budget that went to firefighting was about 16 percent.) As firefighting costs rise, the Forest Service (and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, to a lesser extent) need to take money from other areas of the budget. Too often, the agencies have little choice but to take money that had been earmarked for critical forest-restoration work. 

Do you really expect us to believe those puny little "forest restoration" projects are going to fix 60+ years of bad management?  That is laughable.

We have larger, more frequent, and hotter fires because laws such as NEPA and the ESA prevent the Forest Service from applying the appropriate management in a timely fashion.  You can keep going through cycles using different funding mechanisms, and the results will be the same.  Apply the appropriate management and fires will be smaller, less frequent, inflict less damage, and cost less to control.

If you can't amend these laws, then at least  provide some exemptions to the land management agencies so they can get on with the job of rationally protecting our natural resources.

Ryan Bundy Wants Oregon Governor To Testify For His Trial

Ryan Bundy, one of the leaders of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, issued a subpoena this week to compel testimony from Oregon's top government official related to his criminal trial.

Bundy, who is representing himself for his Sept. 7 trial, sent the subpoena to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday.

It not only demands that she testify in the case, but that the governor's office produce "any and all emails and memos between the Governor's Office and law enforcement, FBI or any other agencies" related to the occupation that haven't been produced yet.

Oregon Department of Justice attorney Marc Abrams asked U.S. District Judge Anna Brown to quash the motion Thursday.

As a matter of compliance, Abrams points out that Bundy has requested the governor to testify on Sept. 17 — a Saturday. He said that makes it impossible for Brown to comply because court isn't in session that day.

Speaking to the merits of the subpoena, Abrams argued that Bundy's request fails to show why Brown is needed to testify.

"There is no basis to believe that the Governor of Oregon has information pertinent to Mr. Bundy's guilt or innocence," Abrams wrote in a court filing.

The state attorney further argued it's a well-established precedent that high ranking officials only need to testify in court if there are "extraordinary circumstances." Abrams said without that protection, officials like state governors could be the subject of regular harassment.

Editorial: Speed bump in the race from Vegas to Reno

Motorized racing is a great use of Nevada’s vast and rugged open spaces, so it was welcome news this week when the BLM rebuffed opponents and announced it was allowing the “Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno” race to cut through what is now the Basin and Range National Monument.

It didn’t take long for environmentalists to come up with their first challenge based on President Obama’s 2015 designation, which they claimed was designed to protect the region and therefore made it unsuitable for vehicles driving faster than 35 mph.

But Interior Secretary Sally Jewell made it clear when she praised the designation last summer that it “also preserves current uses of the land ... which will continue to be managed under existing rules and regulations.”

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility opposed the race, saying it should not be allowed to pass through the federally protected area. Never mind that the event takes place on existing roadways, and has traveled through Nevada for the past two decades without anyone noticing a body count of endangered species in its wake.

The race permit was not a total victory for the event’s organizers, however. The pressure to keep vehicles from tearing up the shoulders resulted in a compromise: drivers in the 643-mile race will have a lower speed limit and not be allowed to pass while in the 38-mile section of the monument.

“These restrictions are a backhanded acknowledgment that an off-road race is an utterly inappropriate use of the monument,” said PEER’s executive director, Jeff Ruch. “I hope BLM has the sense never to route another race through the monument again.”

Tell that to the 5,000 or so racing enthusiasts who are expected to be drawn to the event this week.
Among the supporting facts cited in the BLM’s record of decision, off-highway vehicle racing “is part of the Monument’s historical and cultural heritage ... is a legitimate use of multiple-use public lands” and its impacts are “low and temporary” compared with many other legitimate uses.

Those statements make more sense than the comments from opponents, who listed concerns such as “fugitive dust”:

“As fugitive dust settles and is deposited, sometimes far away from its origin, it coats plants and soils that can change plant communities and have ecosystem effects.”

Scary stuff. If the fuzzy-leafed ficklewort can’t handle a little dust then it picked the wrong state to plant itself in.

The BLM’s finding of no significant impact avoided the need for an environmental impact statement, but the decision specifies that it only applies to this year’s race, so expect another round of fun and games before next year’s.

What Secretary Jewell "says" is of no consequence. What Obama writes in the proclamation is what counts.

Alaskan village threatened by rising sea levels votes for costly relocation

The residents of a small coastal Alaskan village have voted to move to the mainland because of rising sea levels, but they may not have the funds to do it. The 600-person village of Shishmaref, located on an island just north of the Bering Strait, has for decades been ravaged by erosion tied to climate change, leading residents to seek a more sustainable place to live. But the community is racked by poverty, making it difficult to relocate, which is estimated to cost $180m. Officials held a special election on Tuesday so residents could vote on whether to relocate or to stay and add environmental defenses. The vote was relatively close, with 89 for relocating and 78 to remain. But both choices came with a steep price tag. The most recent estimate on relocating, from a 2004 Army Corps of Engineers study, was $180m. Officials said it would cost $110m for the environmental protections needed for the community to safely stay in one of Alaska’s most eroded coastal areas...more

Clearing up some of your questions about the interview with deputies Brian Wood and Cody Roland

Comments have been pouring on both sides of the debate, so we wanted to take a closer look and address some of your questions about the interview with Deputies Brian Wood and Cody Roland.
The number one question that was asked, "you allowed the deputies to give their side of the story, but what about the Yantis Family?" We did reach out to the Yantis family immediately following the shooting, and within the last few days. They've decided to remain silent for now. Back in December, we sat down with Donna Yantis for an exclusive interview. Jenny Anderson Garrett said, "I'm not sure whey they even called Jack. It seems to me they had more than enough ammo to take out a bull. One well placed shot is all it takes." Deputy Brian Wood explained, "the bull laid down near the front of a truck and then needed to be put down. We were about to do that when the rancher showed up. That's normally his job, his responsibility so we decided to sit back and let him do that. That's when things changed rapidly." Deputy Cody Roland said, "there is some confusion as to why Brian did not shoot him in the head and kill him immediately. When an animal like that is moving at night Brian is responsible for every round that is fired. If he would have attempted to shoot that bull in the head and missed and would have hit a vehicle, EMT personnel, that is not the chance you take."

Idaho deputies who shot rancher Yantis reportedly won’t return to jobs

Two Adams County sheriff’s deputies who shot and killed a rancher last fall will not be back with the force, two leaders of a group seeking justice for the rancher’s family said Wednesday. State and federal prosecutors decided last month not to prosecute the deputies, Brian Wood and Cody Roland, saying there was not enough evidence to support state homicide charges or federal civil rights charges. The deputies say they shot Jack Yantis after he pointed a rifle at them and refused their commands to point it downward. Yantis had been summoned to the highway to euthanize one of his bulls, which had been hit by a car. Becca Barrow and Mike McLaughlin, co-founders of a group called Justice for Jack and friends of the Yantis family, said they had learned from multiple sources that Wood and Roland would not return to work. Sheriff Ryan Zollman first would not confirm that on Wednesday, but later did confirm that Roland, in fact, resigned at the end of November. A lawyer for the county, Boise attorney Jim Davis, said a statement would be forthcoming. As of Wednesday evening, no statement had been issued...more

Sheriff: Adams Co. deputy resigned 'months ago'

Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman confirmed Wednesday that Deputy Cody Roland resigned from the sheriff’s office in December. Roland’s resignation came about a month after he and Deputy Brian Wood shot and killed Council rancher Jack Yantis.  Last month, the two deputies were cleared by Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden in the Nov. 1 shooting. Zollman says Roland took a temporary position out of state, but has since returned to Adams County. Wood remains on paid administrative leave.  Wood and Roland say they opened fire after Yantis pointed his gun toward them. Yantis' family maintains he was shot without provocation, and have filed a civil case against the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. The executive director of Idaho Counties Risk Management, Adams County's insurance company, said the company will continue to pay Wood's salary for a "limited time," but Adams County needs to make a decision on the next steps....more

State halts culling of Profanity Peak wolf pack as cattle attacks end

State wildlife managers have ended their mission to reduce the number of wolves in a cattle-killing pack in Ferry County after about two weeks of effort and no further attacks on livestock. However, the lethal removal operation will restart if another wolf attack on livestock is confirmed, said Donny Martroello, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department wolf program leader. State wildlife staffers shot and killed two Profanity Peak pack wolves from a helicopter on Aug. 5, the first day of the operation. The effort was authorized by department Director Jim Unsworth after five wolf-caused cattle mortalities were confirmed since mid-July on the rangelands between Republic and Kettle Falls. The Diamond M Ranch cattle were on Colville National Forest a grazing allotment. Since Aug. 3, when the last of those attacks was confirmed, WDFW has found no evidence of any additional depredations by wolves in that area, Martorello said. “The goal of removing some wolves from the pack was to stop wolf attacks on area cattle herds,” Martorello said. “The last confirmed depredation by the pack was two weeks ago, but we are prepared to resume operations to remove wolves if monitoring efforts confirm new attacks.” WDFW staff will continue to track the wolves’ movements by monitoring GPS signals from radio-collars attached to two pack members, he said...more

Lone Star scenes: New Mexico stands in for Texas in modern-day Western

The Land of Enchantment serves as the backdrop for the film “Hell or High Water,” which opens today nationwide. And the film is already garnering plenty of accolades as one of the year’s best. The project brought back New Mexico film alums Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster. (Bridges starred in “True Grit” and “Crazy Heart;” Pine in “Carriers” and Foster in “Lone Survivor” and “3:10 to Yuma.”) The film is a story about the collision of the Old and New West, as two brothers – Toby, played by Chris Pine, a straight-living, divorced father trying to make a better life for his son; and Tanner, played by Ben Foster, a short-tempered ex-con with a loose trigger finger – come together to rob branch after branch of the bank that is foreclosing on their family land. The holdups are part of a last-ditch scheme to take back a future that powerful forces beyond their control have stolen from under their feet. Vengeance seems to be theirs until they find themselves in the cross hairs of a relentless, foul-mouthed Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton, played by Jeff Bridges, who is looking for one last triumph on the eve of his retirement. Production for the film began in May 2015 and employed more than 100 New Mexico crew members and more than 850 background talent workers, according to the New Mexico Film Office. Locations include Clovis, Estancia, Moriarty, Portales, Tucumcari and Albuquerque, though the film is set in West Texas...more

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Meat of the Matter: Red meat on the rise?

By Dan Murphy

The year was 1971.
President Nixon (and Vice President Spiro Agnew) had yet to descend into scandal. In fact, Nixon was widely lauded for encouraging “ping pong diplomacy,” as the U.S. table tennis team became the first American athletes to visit Mao’s Red China.
    The World Series ended in a thrilling seven-game victory by the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose star outfielder Roberto Clemente and Series MVP would be killed in a plane crash just months later.
    In entertainment, despite competition from such classics as A Clockwork Orange, The French Connection and Fiddler on the Roof, the coveted Best Picture Oscar went to Patton, in which George C. Scott set the standard for true-to-life portrayals of historical figures. And the Grammys were swept by Simon and Garfunkel and their iconic song, Bridge Over Troubled Waters.
    Although that was 40 years ago, it sometimes doesn’t seem so long ago or all that different from contemporary America. But there were substantial differences between then and now. The U.S. population then was only 207 million, and as I like to remind my teen-aged son, there was no Internet, no cable TV, no CDs, no iPods, no iPhones, no digital cameras, no cellphone videos.
    Heck, there were no VCRs and those bulky video cassettes, much less DVDs or streaming video.
    There was one other distinct difference: 1971 was by most analyses the peak year for domestic consumption of red meat. In 1971, per capita beef consumption was 83.9 pounds; pork consumption was 60.6 pounds; and “other” red meat (lamb and veal, primarily) was 5.1 pounds.
    By comparison, 40 years later the comparable figures in 2011 were beef, 57 pounds per capita; pork, 45.1 pounds; and other red meat was only 1.2 pounds per person.
    That means that total red meat consumption has declined by nearly one-third in just four decades. For many industries, losing a third of total market share would be catastrophic.
    Of course, it’s no mystery what has happened since 1971.
    Thanks to a concerted campaign by dietary and medical experts to dissuade people from consuming too much “fat,” millions of Americans switched to poultry (ie, chicken), while avoiding so-called “unhealthy” beef and pork.
    It didn’t matter that much of that chicken consumption was in the form of nuggets, breaded patties and fried chicken, hardly a lower calorie, lower fat alternative. White was right, and red meat was dead meat.
    But enough of a trudge through history. Now, in 2016, there is good news in the meat sector.
    According to data compiled by Rabobank, the financial giant many consider one of the world’s most authoritative predictors of economic trends in agribusiness and commodity markets, per-capita meat consumption in the United States appears to be increasing at the fastest rate since that vaunted year of 1971.
    Americans now consume about 193 pounds of beef, pork and chicken per person per year, which represents an increase of 5% versus an average of 184 pounds per capita just four years earlier. And according to William Sawyer, Rabobank director of food and agricultural research, total per-capita meat consumption will reach record levels of more than 200 pounds/year by 2018.

‘Confusion at every level’ of the Park Service

Years of sacred- and ceremonial-ground desecration at the Effigy Mounds National Monument in northeast Iowa disgraced the National Park Service, as did a recently sentenced former park manager who stole ancient human remains and hid them in his garage for more than two decades.

A review team of Park Service officials from outside the monument’s region examined the defilement and pronounced themselves “astonished” in an “after action” report released last week.
Its piercing conclusions go well beyond the Effigy Mounds scandals and cut right to the Park Service’s culture.

Given the critical issues the report found throughout the NPS, which celebrates its centennial next week, perhaps it is more surprising that shameful stories like Effigy Mounds aren’t more common.

In addition to the bone thefts, at least 78 projects on the grounds — costing almost $3.4 million from 1999 to 2010 — did not follow National Historic Preservation Act or National Environmental Policy Act provisions. A former superintendent, Phyllis Ewing, lost her job because of that. The projects included “an extensive system of boardwalks throughout the more than 200 American Indian sacred mounds,” according to the report. The mounds are over 1,200 years old.

NPS Midwest Regional Director Cam Sholly said the wrongdoing not only “violated the law and damaged resources” but also compromised “our valuable tribal relationships and the public trust.”
The report describes a confused agency beset with weak management of the nation’s cultural resources that it is charged with safeguarding.

“As the National Park Service is responsible for resources stewardship, we are also responsible for the damage and destruction of the resources entrusted to us,” the report says. “Sometimes it seems as if we hold visitors, concessioners, and contractors to a higher standard than we do ourselves when it comes to resources stewardship.”

Among the problems outlined in the report:

First Defendant Sentenced for Armed Takeover of Malheur Wildlife Refuge

Corey Lequieu has become the first defendant sentenced for the armed takeover the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January. U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown sentenced Lequieu to 2 ½ years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release in the federal conspiracy case. He must also pay restitution, in an amount to be determined later. Lequieu, 46, was the first of the 26 defendants to plead guilty. He admitted to impeding federal employees through intimidation, threats, or force. A conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of six years, but federal prosecutors recommended that Lequieu serve less time as part of a plea agreement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel said the government took under considered the fact that Lequieu was the first in the case to take responsibility for his illegal actions. Gabriel dismissed Lequieu's remaining count of possessing a firearm in a federal facility. Lequieu, of Fallon, Nevada, had ties to the 2014 Cliven Bundy standoff near Bunkerville, Nevada. The government also agreed not to file felon in possession of a firearm charges against Lequieu in either state. Lequieu's defense attorney, Ramon Pagan, told the court that his client was grateful that they reached an agreement without Lequieu agreeing to testify against other defendants in the case...more

Arizona lawmakers want control of endangered Mexican gray wolves

Some Republican lawmakers say Arizona would do better by the wolves than a federally run program, which has spent more than $25 million since the late 1990s. They are pushing legislation that would effectively remove federal Endangered Species Act protections and entrust the wolves to Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico. The move comes in a year when the slowly rebounding population took a dive, when wolf supporters say they need more protections from poachers and other threats, not less. The lawmakers seeking change complain about the burden wolves place on rural ranchers, but they also insist the wolf would be better off without the federal bureaucracy. "The Mexican gray wolf is no better off today than it was 20 years ago," said Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz, who sponsored a budget amendment to defund the federal wolf program. Another effort, a Senate bill that Arizona's two Republican senators are backing, would force greater state and ranch-industry influence on a new recovery plan and cap the number of wolves allowed. Proponents say the wolves — 97 at last count — kill livestock in the two states and that government compensation is spotty and inadequate...more

Utah wildlife board speaks out against Bears Ears monument

Utah Wildlife Board members are joining a chorus of state-level opposition to the proposed Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah by sending a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell that outlines their concerns. The board sent a letter Wednesday that contends the designation would impact hunting, fishing and trapping and put at risk thriving populations of a plethora of wildlife including elk, deer and bighorn sheep. "It is imperative that the state of Utah manage its wildlife resources if we are to continue seeing the robust wildlife populations and high-quality wildlife recreation the area is known for," the letter says. In the letter, board members argue that the abundance of wildlife and recreational opportunities in the area is due to the collaboration of state officials and sportsmen organizations. Board chairman John Bair writes in the letter that a change in management practices would "threaten the progress we as a state have made in restoring and enhancing wildlife populations found there, and impair wildlife related recreational use and enjoyment of this truly special area."...more

Group bolsters campaign to stop Canyonlands monument

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association has given $5,000 to a campaign opposing a national monument designation in Malheur County. The association’s Public Lands Council gave the Owyhee Basin Stewardship Coalition $5,000 during the Malheur County Fair Aug. 3, according to a news release. The money will be used in the coalition’s fight against a campaign to create a 2.5 million acre Owyhee Canyonlands national monument in Malheur County. A coalition of environmental groups, led by Keen Footwear, are asking President Barack Obama to create a monument in the county before he leaves office. The groups say existing protections in the canyonlands are temporary, and that permanent protections are needed to ensure the area remains accessible to future generations. Ranchers locally and across the state fear such a designation — and subsequent potential lawsuits from environmental groups — would remove grazing lands from use by cattle ranchers. Ranching is the No. 1 industry in Malheur County, and area ranchers rely heavily on public lands for grazing. “History has proven that soon after such designation, grazing on public lands are diminished or eliminated in its entirety,” Matt McElligott, president of the Oregon Public Lands Council, said in the news release...more

Drone Rodeo is underway

The inaugural Drone Rodeo lifts off today as unmanned aircraft companies demonstrate how their products can help farmers and ranchers. UAS Future Farm Program Manager Jeff Lorton says the operators will meet up at the Oregon National Guard armory in Pendleton to head to an 80-acre potato pivot in the Stanfield area. “What’s really important is for the growers to have an opportunity to see what the real-world data looks like,” Lorton said. “That’s really our advantage here in Pendleton. We have the most diverse agriculture of any test range in the United States.” Lorton says both quad-copter and fixed-wing platforms will be operating during the Drone Rodeo. Airport Manager Steve Chrisman says Stahl Farms of Stanfield volunteered the 80-acre piece of land for the event. “They’re flying over a potato crop,” he said. “They’ve been given a month’s worth of satellite data and a month’s worth of soil data, and they’re going to show their skills on collecting more data, integrating it and providing the farmer real, actionable information.”...more

Thank goodness this is about a potato field.
The headline had me worried.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1683

The classic bluegrass ensemble and sound was born when Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs became members of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys and I don't believe the harmony vocals of Monroe & Flatt have ever been duplicated.  A good example is one of the last tunes they recorded together - Toy Heart (Chicago, September 16, 1946).

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Hillary’s Headhunter: Sleazeball Ken Salazar

by Michelle Malkin

He’s threatened reporters, distorted scientific evidence, and ignored the law. Now Hillary has hired him — of course.

The Loathsome Cowboy rides again

Ken Salazar, President Obama’s disgraced former interior secretary and a former U.S. senator from Colorado, was named Hillary Clinton’s White House transition chair on Monday. The pick confirms that a Clinton presidency would not only be Barack Obama’s third term ideologically, but also culturally. As in the Democratic culture of corruption. 
Ken Salazar is a thug. Before stepping down as Obama’s interior secretary in 2013 “to spend time with family,” Salazar threatened violence against a Colorado Springs Gazette reporter who had the audacity to challenge one of the ten-gallon-hat-wearing bureaucrat’s cronyism-tainted deals. 
At issue: How rancher and reported Salazar business associate Tom Davis profited handsomely from the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. Not long after Salazar took office, Davis paid $10 apiece for more than 1,700 federally protected horses who roamed on public lands. He then turned around and sold them for slaughter near the Mexican border for $154,000, despite having signed a contract prohibiting him from doing so. 
When Gazette reporter David Phillips (now at the New York Times) asked about the controversy at an Obama Election Night event in November 2012, Salazar snapped: 
You know what, never do that. This is a — this is the Obama — You know what, if you do that to me again, I’m going to punch you out. OK? Don’t ever, ever, from the Gazette or anybody else do that to me again. Set me up. You know? 
Caught on tape by Philipps and another witness, Knuckles Salazar issued an “apology.” But neither he nor Davis, who said he had previously hauled cattle for Salazar for years, ever answered for their actions. An inspector general determined Salazar’s department “failed to follow its own policy of limiting horse sales and ensuring that the horses sold went to good homes and were not slaughtered.” No penalties, no prosecution, no nothing.
Ken Salazar is a liar. He trampled the rule of law, defied court orders, and doctored scientific conclusions in the name of environmental protection. Have you forgotten? After the BP oil spill in 2010, the Obama White House imposed a radical six-month moratorium on America’s entire deepwater-drilling industry. The sweeping ban — inserted into a technical safety document in the middle of the night by Obama’s green extremists — cost an estimated 19,000 jobs and $1.1 billion in lost wages.
The order was supposedly based on recommendations from an expert oil-spill panel. But that panel’s own members (along with the federal judiciary) called out Obama’s environmental team for misleading the public about the scientific evidence and “contributing to the perception that the government’s findings were more exact than they actually were.” Salazar and eco czar Carol Browner oversaw the false rewriting of the drilling-ban report to completely misrepresent the Obama-appointed panel’s own overwhelming scientific objections to the job-killing edict. 
Federal judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana blasted the Interior Department for defying his May 2010 order to lift its fraudulent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf. Feldman singled out the Salazar-run agency’s culture of contempt and serial “determined disregard” for the law.

Robert Redford: Obama Must Protect Sacred Utah Land

Red-rock canyons, wide-open plateaus and steep, rugged mountains: Utah has been my home for over half a century. I feel a strong sense of connection to this state, its people and its landscapes, as many of us feel toward the places we call home.

Here in the rural American West, that connection to the land is still very much alive, especially for the cultures that are inextricably linked to these sandstone mesas and high alpine meadows. Ranchers are intimately familiar with the lands on which they run livestock. Hunters know where to find elk and deer in late fall. Native Americans have inhabited these landscapes since time immemorial and still harvest herbs, collect firewood and perform ceremonies on their ancestral grounds. As Westerners, we feel a sense of ownership over public lands not only because we use them, but because we belong to them and have stewarded them for generations.

Over time, our national monuments commemorate the contributions of underrepresented portions of our history and population. Today there is a proposal for a new national monument in Utah that recognizes and celebrates human relationships to land.

The whole purpose of a National Monument and similar designations is to limit access by humans. The public will have less access than what the currently enjoy. How does that square with "a strong sense of connection" to the land or celebrating "human relationships to the land"?? You are not fooling us Mr. Redford.

Federal Land Management

By Don Mallicoat

 Allow me to get up on my soapbox for a rant. I try not to do it often but this issue has been simmering in the back of my mind for a while. The issue came to light several months ago with a move in several western states to transfer federally managed lands to state control. The Republican National election platform also has a plank calling for the same thing. It came to a head for me while reading about the latest proposal for wilderness area on the Pisgah/Nantahala National Forest.

Several conservation groups, primarily the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), are fighting the land transfer move. They are energizing their membership to speak out against the transfer by attending public meetings and writing elected representatives to oppose the move. I liken it to a doctor treating the symptoms of your illness instead of the cause. So let’s look at what may be the cause with a couple of local examples.

The American people are simply tired of a government bureaucracy that is not fulfilling its mission and responsibility as designed. On a larger scale you can see it in the current election campaign. The ongoing and long term problems at the Veteran’s Administration are also symptoms of a greater ill. It’s really about a burdensome federal system that is not responsive to the desires and needs of the people of this country.

Out west, ranchers who have historically had grazing rights on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands are now being denied their livelihood because of environmental regulations or some obscure animal that is on a protected species list. Shooting ranges, a long time mission of federal land agencies, are being shut down for similar reasons. I just read an article from the Sportsmen’s Alliance ( that the Obama administration, by executive order, plans to close 77 million acres of federal land in Alaska to management by the state wildlife agency. That reads as no hunting or trapping on those acres.

Let’s bring that closer to home. Over the last three years hunters have been actively involved in the Pisgah/Nantahala strategic planning process. Overwhelmingly, and as a majority stakeholder, we told the U.S. Forest Service that we wanted more land management for wildlife habitat. By their own figures, the forest is only at 1% of young forest growth for wildlife when their goal is 10 percent. We also offered that there is sufficient designated Wilderness in the forest as well as several hundred thousand acres in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that are preserved. The National Forests were designed and placed under the Department of Agriculture so they would be managed, not preserved.

So what did we get for our efforts and involvement? The current objectives for the strategic plan only maintain the current level of young forest growth over the next ten years. There is no recognition for the need to increase management activity to reach a 10% goal. One of the objective criteria for the plan deals with recreation. Hunting or shooting are not even recognized as recreational activities. Ginseng harvesting is. Several laws are on the books to mandate federal agencies recognize hunting and shooting activities in their mission and to include those in their planning.

Also, nearly thirty percent of the forests current inventory is in some special use category, including currently designated Wilderness area. Most of these uses preclude active management. Yet in the current plan the Forest Service wants to add more Wilderness designation further reducing land management activity. We already have enough preserved land in western North Carolina. What we need is more active management of the forests that are out there. Does anyone at the federal level not understand why the people want to transfer land to local control? After nearly 100 years of federal land management they have screwed it up so bad people are saying, “Turn the land over to someone who can better manage it.”

I personally support keeping land under federal management. But like a lot of other people I’m tired of mismanagement of that land by a cumbersome bureaucracy that doesn’t respond to the needs of the local community. If the transfer of land to the states with a management provision that prohibits sale of the land to private entities I may change my mind. Either manage the land according to your mission or turn it over to someone who will.

BLM approves off-road race

The Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno vehicle race has received approval to go ahead with its Friday event. The race, which will take place entirely on existing roads, will cross lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, as well as private lands. A portion of the race will come through southern Churchill County near the Top Gun Raceway. After careful consideration of the proposed race, which was analyzed in an environmental assessment that evaluated the race’s potential impact, the BLM has issued a Special Recreation Permit to Best in the Desert Racing Association. “The BLM is proud to provide diverse recreation opportunities on the incredible public lands we manage here in Nevada,” said BLM Nevada State Director John Ruhs. “We have done a careful evaluation of the race and built in specific mitigation measures to minimize potential impacts. I’m pleased that the race will move forward.” Race vehicles, which will include cars, trucks, utility vehicles and motorcycles, will not race through the Basin and Range National Monument. Instead, the BLM said vehicles will cross the Monument while observing a 35-mile an hour speed limit and while following other reasonable controls, including a prohibition on passing while traveling across the Monument. Vehicles will resume their participation in the race once they leave the Monument. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility has been opposed to the race because of its route. “This desert race episode shows BLM at its worst — misdirected, duplicitous and downright sleazy,” said Jeff Ruch. “It is disturbing that BLM lavished such a large amount of its scarce resources to accomplish the opposite of its mission.” Conditions and stipulations attached to the Special Recreation Permit also include extensive safety and resource protection measures, sanitation, clean-up and route rehabilitation. The popular event is expected to draw 5,000 off-road racing enthusiasts to public lands across the state. This is the 20th year that the Best in the Desert race has taken place in Nevada...more

Thousands of Imperial Sand Dune Acres to be Kept Open After Appeals Court Sides With BLM

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) plan to expand OHV access in the California Imperial Sand Dunes, ruling it complied with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The three-judge panel rejected every argument from environmentalists against the BLM’s plan for the popular OHV area just above the Mexican border. Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote in an opinion that the court considered the effects of the BLM’s plan on the Peirson’s milkvetch, a purple-flowered plant protected under the ESA and that it compiled with the Clean Air Act and several other environmental laws. The heart of this case resides around OHV use in the North Algodones Dunes where all 26,098 acres of dunes would be off limits to OHV use. Milkvetch critical habitat located on 9,261 acres in the dunes would be restricted as well. In consultation with the BLM and the Fish and Wildlife Service a biological opinion was issued in which the plan to keep these areas open was not likely to jeopardize the existence of the threatened milkvetch plant or Mojave desert turtle...more

Public notice ordered for Augustin Plain water plan

A controversial proposal to pump 54,000 acre-feet of water each year from the Augustin Plains of west-central New Mexico up to the Middle Rio Grande Valley is a step closer to public hearings. The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer has notified the Augustin Plains Ranch, the commercial venture behind the water-transfer plan, to publish a public notice of its application to pump and transport the water. That sets the stage for public hearings to be held after the public has had the opportunity to object to the plan. That plan calls for Augustin Plains Ranch to drill 37 wells on the 17,000 acres of property it owns near Datil. The company says the property sits atop an aquifer with a volume of about 50 million acre-feet of water. An acre-foot is the amount of water it takes to cover an acre at a depth of one foot. According to the company, water pumped from the aquifer would be delivered via a 140-mile-long pipeline to Bernalillo County and available for purchase by all users along the way to supplement water shortages, enhance stream flows and benefit fish and wildlife, including such endangered species as the silvery minnow. Augustin Plains Ranch proposes to sustain the aquifer by building structures to capture rain runoff and snow melt from nearby mountains. But many ranchers on the Augustin Plains are opposed to the project because they fear it will suck all the groundwater out of the basin, rendering their own wells useless and killing their livelihoods. Some environmentalists don’t care for the plan either...more

Attacked On All Sides, The Stress Of Being A BLM Ranger

The federal Bureau of Land Management controls 63 percent of the land in Nevada, part of the 85 percent of the state that is owned by the federal government. For that reason, the BLM has held a powerful seat in Nevada politics and, to a big degree, has been at the forefront of development in Southern Nevada. But that relationship has long chafed many in the state, particularly among some rural residents. The 2014 standoff with Clark County rancher Cliven Bundy was a prompted by BLM enforcement of grazing restrictions that affected Bundy’s cattle. The BLM, however, hasn’t just had to contend with angry ranchers in recent years. Its rangers have also been threatened by arrest from western sheriffs. Kirk Siegler, national correspondent for NPR, spent time with BLM rangers to see what they do, and how they deal with the pressure. For all the attention the BLM gets, he noted, there are fewer than three dozen rangers to watch millions of acres of land in Nevada. But the events of the last few years are never far from their minds. Just recently, the bureau told residents near Bunkerville, where the Bundy Ranch standoff happened, that it would be returning its people to the area. “For more than a year, the Bureau of Land Management pulled their rangers, pulled their soil scientists, pulled all field staff out of a good portion of Southern Nevada because it wasn’t safe,” Siegler said. Siegler said the BLM and other federal agencies in the West have seen a spike in harassment and intimidation. He said he felt a sense "trepidation" and "anxiety" from agents. Even before the standoff in 2014 and the one earlier this year in Oregon, there has been friction between the bureau and the people who use the land. Siegler said that tension can really be traced back to the bureau's mission. “Their mission is inherently controversial," he said, "They are meant to balance multiple use.” The BLM is supposed to foster energy development while at the same time preserving the land. It is also supposed to manage agriculture while it protects plant life. “Often those missions are in conflict with each other,” he said. “Public land is open to all of us. It’s just that when you get right down to it what you can do on that land is sometimes being restricted and that’s what the fights are over”...more

Blue Cut Fire Burns 18,000 Acres, Forces 82,000 to Evacuate in California

A fast-growing 18,000-acre wildfire burned through rural communities in California overnight, triggering a state of emergency and evacuation orders for more than 82,000 residents in the San Bernardino area. More than 700 firefighters and other emergency workers were battling the Blue Cut fire, which flared early Tuesday some 60 miles east of Los Angeles and spread rapidly along the Cajon Pass. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in San Bernardino County, families fled and Interstate 15 was closed as the blaze grew. A fast-growing 18,000-acre wildfire burned through rural communities in California overnight, triggering a state of emergency and evacuation orders for more than 82,000 residents in the San Bernardino area. More than 700 firefighters and other emergency workers were battling the Blue Cut fire, which flared early Tuesday some 60 miles east of Los Angeles and spread rapidly along the Cajon Pass. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in San Bernardino County, families fled and Interstate 15 was closed as the blaze grew. Ash rained down on motorists from billowing black smoke, while aerial pictures from KNBC captured a roadside 'firenado' in which swirling gusts of wind sent flames twisting high into the air. The Red Cross set up shelters for residents forced from their homes. Shannon Anderson of Blue Mountain Farms horse ranch in Phelan had to load up and evacuate 40 horses as the fire approached. "It's raining ash," Anderson told The Associated Press. The number of fires in California has grown 20 percent over the last decade, rising from more than 4,800 fires in 2006 to nearly 5,800 fires in 2015, according to data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, KNBC reported..more

Family of girl attacked by mountain lion: ‘She could have been gone’

REXBURG — A four-year-old girl who was snatched up by a mountain lion Friday night is recovering from the scary encounter, according to her grandfather. “She is doing fine,” Jim Sevy told “Her great-grandpa gave her a priesthood blessing and told her she will have stories to tell.” The child was camping with her mother, siblings and cousins near Green Canyon Hot Springs east of Rexburg on Aug. 12. Sevy said as the family was eating dinner, the girl’s mother thought she spotted a big cat out of the corner of her eye. “Nobody else thought much of it and, a short time later, her mom went to put the four-year-old in the tent for a nap,” Sevy says. The mother then took her six-year-old child into the woods to use the restroom, according to Sevy. That’s when everyone heard the younger child start to scream. “She got out of the tent because she couldn’t find her shoe,” Sevy said. “That’s when the mountain lion grabbed her and started carrying her away.” The girl’s mother chased the cougar and the cat released the child before running away. The young girl was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center with some scratches and bite marks on her stomach and arm. “She is getting rabies shots and injections in her puncture wounds,” Sevy said. “She should be okay.”...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1682

Today we have a country classic, Jim Reeves' recording of Bimbo.  The tune was recorded in Shreveport for the Abbott label in October of 1953.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Wild horse advocates sue BLM over sterilization

Wild horse advocates have asked a federal judge to order the Bureau of Land Management to allow them to observe sterilization of wild mares, calling the planned procedures, experimental, invasive, inhumane, outdated and dangerous. The Cloud Foundation and the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign sued Neil Kornze, BLM director, and other agency officials Monday in U.S. District Court in Oregon, where the BLM plans to perform the sterilization in conjunction with Oregon State University. “A court order declaring the BLM’s restrictions on public access unconstitutional and requiring the BLM to provide access to observe and record the BLM’s wild horse sterilization experiments at the Hines Corrals would protect the First Amendment rights of the advocates” and allow them to provide the public with information about the horses treatment, the suit says. Wild horse and burro herds double in size about every four years, according to the fact sheet, and the BLM keeps many of the animals in holding facilities. As of June, the agency held more than 45,000 of the wild horses and burros in holding facilities. The BLM awarded a research grant to Oregon State to conduct three “sterilization experiments on wild mares at the agency’s corral facilities in Hines, Ore.,” the suit says. The sterilization methods include removal of both ovaries, using a “highly invasive surgical technique disfavored by veterinary experts because of the high risk of death and injury to both mare and its foal if the mare is pregnant, which is usually the case with respect to wild horses removed from the range,” the suit says...more

NMSU to offer unmanned aircraft systems workshop

New Mexico State University's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Test Center will conduct a three-day workshop in September to teach government, civil and business officials about the new technology and regulations. The workshop will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 13 to Sept. 15, at the NMSU's Physical Science Laboratory, at Anderson Hall, 1050 Stewart St. The workshop will cost $300 per person, with a working lunch included. Registration is available online at The workshop will focus on providing a better understanding of technology, determine the right sensor and UAS for a particular application, preparing for changes in the fast-moving industry, becoming aware of the administrative and Federal Aviation Administration regulations, and learn how to develop a plan and achieve each organization’s goals, according to an NMSU news release. NMSU’s unmanned aircraft systems experts will guide participants through the requirements process addressing the many nuances to optimize budgets and perform the mission...more

Roseburg boy names steer after LaVoy Finicum at the Douglas County Fair

Alongside steers named Angus, Heifer and Duke, one name stood out at the Douglas County Fair: LaVoy — as in LaVoy Finicum. LaVoy, a 1,030-pound black Maine-Anjou who earned a third-place finish at the fair, was named after the spokesman for the militia-led occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge who was shot and killed during a police confrontation on a remote highway outside the town of Burns. He was named by 10-year-old Ryley Schneider of Roseburg, who wanted to memorialize Finicum’s actions in beef. “LaVoy is a hero who stood up for all of our rights and I believe in him — we all believe in him,” Schneider said while wearing a golden belt buckle and an oversized gray T-shirt both with an “LV” logo printed on them. “He stood up for our rights and was just a good man.” Finicum, 54, remains a sympathetic figure to many in rural Oregon who feel the federal government has over-regulated in industries like logging and cattle grazing. In January, Finicum and over 20 other people took over the Eastern Oregon refuge to protest perceived government overreach for more than 40 days. Finicum was the only fatality. In March, state officials announced state troopers involved in the shooting were justified in their actions because they feared for their lives...more

HT: Marvin Frisbey

Feds Hide $25 Million In Payments To Lawyers Suing Under Environmental Laws

Groups concealed by the government have raked in $25 million in legal fees from federal agencies through lawsuits under three environmental laws since 2009, a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis found. The Department of Treasury’s Judgment Fund database tracks how much federal agencies have paid out for lawsuits and court settlements, but doesn’t track the names of the individuals or groups that are actually suing the government. More than $49 million in taxpayer funds was paid to lawyers suing the Obama administration under three major environmental statutes, TheDCNF found. Environmental activists have gotten millions from taxpayers suing the government to expand federal regulation. “It’s no surprise the Treasury Department is hiding who gets the money in these transactions,” Adam Andrzejewski, Founder and CEO of transparency group., told TheDCNF. “Because these suits involve the federal government, taxpayers have a right to know where their tax dollars are going and what agendas they’re advancing.” The administration paid out more than $25 million to attorneys and firms that were either listed as “unnamed” or “redacted” from 2009 to 2015. Nearly $630,000 was paid out to groups where some of the plaintiff’s attorneys were listed but others were redacted. The $49 million was paid out to groups under 512 so-called “citizen lawsuits” – lawsuits filed under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act or the Endangered Species Act, TheDCNF previously reported...more

Oregon refuge defendant who appeared in video pleads guilty

A former Marine whose appearances in widely shared videos made him one of the most recognizable figures during the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge pleaded guilty Monday for his role in the weekslong standoff with authorities. Jon Ritzheimer, 32, admitted that he conspired with Ammon Bundy and others to prevent U.S. Interior Department employees from doing their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and they did so by threats of force or intimidation. Prosecutors dropped two charges as part of a plea agreement - theft of government property and possessing a firearm on federal property. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel said prosecutors will recommend 2½ years in prison when the Arizona man is sentenced in May. Ritzheimer's attorney, Terri Wood, can argue for less. Ritzheimer was part of the initial convoy that arrived at the refuge near Burns, Oregon, and took control, authorities say. They informed Bundy, who was at the rally, that they had seized the place. Ritzheimer used his own truck to block an entrance during the occupation and organized armed guard duties, said Gabriel, the prosecutor. Authorities seized a shotgun that he brought to the refuge. Ritzheimer told U.S. District Court Judge Anna J. Brown that he helped "take the protest to the next level."  After the hearing, Ritzheimer said he pleaded guilty because he reviewed the charge and, though he may not agree with it, admits he violated the law as it's written. "Marines believe in integrity," he said....more

Idaho Plant At Center Of Legal Battle Listed As Threatened

A small, flowering plant found only in southwest Idaho will again be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday announced the listing of slickspot peppergrass to take effect Sept. 16. The plant was originally listed in 2009, but Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter filed a lawsuit challenging the decision. In August 2012 a federal judge vacated the listing and ordered Fish and Wildlife to more clearly define what “foreseeable future” meant when discussing threats to the plant. The agency in 2014 held comment periods on the definition of “foreseeable future” as well as the agency’s determination the species needed federal protection. The listing could have ramifications for cattle ranchers who graze on public land where the plant is found.  OPB.

Legal Filing Seeks to Halt Ranching Expansion, Elk Eviction at Point Reyes National Seashore

The Resource Renewal Institute, Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project filed for a preliminary injunction in federal court Friday to block the National Park Service from pursuing a ranching expansion and elk-removal plan until the agency updates the park’s “general management plan” and assesses the environmental impacts of commercial dairy and cattle grazing at Point Reyes National Seashore. In February 2016 the conservation groups filed a lawsuit seeking federal court review of the Park Service’s decades-long violation of its duty to manage Point Reyes National Seashore under a valid general management plan, and challenging the continued approvals of dairy and cattle-grazing leases without conducting a full environmental review of their impacts. The lawsuit does not ask the court to stop ranching at the seashore, nor will the court decide the future of ranching at Point Reyes. By law that must be decided through a general management plan and an environmental impact statement that gives opportunities for public input. “The Park Service cannot simply predetermine that ranching should continue long-term at the national seashore without any public input or environmental study,” said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The public should be asking why the Park Service is wasting scarce taxpayer dollars on a ranching expansion plan while refusing to conduct an open evaluation of future management directions for the seashore and the role, if any, that commercial ranching should play.”...more

Eagles kill hundreds of lambs each year but it goes unreported

Laura Wahl stands in the pasture with her lambs eight hours a day during peak lambing season to protect them. The predators aren’t coyotes or cougars; they are bald eagles. Wahl runs Wahl Grazing, a sheep and goat operation, with her family near Albany. She estimates that she loses 300 lambs a year to eagle depredation — a loss of approximately $37,500. During lambing season, Wahl is used to seeing 20 eagles lining the perimeter of her pastures waiting for ewes to give birth to their lambs. Because of a complex reporting system, few resources available to ranchers and the stigma surrounding complaints about the national bird, Wahl said her family doesn’t have many options to protect their lambs. “There’s nothing we can really do about (eagles),” Wahl said. “All we can do is hope the eagles don’t find the lambs.” Eagle depredation is a controversial and complicated issue for ranchers, ranching advocates and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees protected species. Ranchers agree that eagles killing lambs is a big problem but they do not report the depredation out of a lack of faith in federal government services. Peter Orwick, executive director of the American Sheep Industry Association, said avian raptors are a huge problem for producers and that eagles are a particularly tough problem because there are limited tools and resources to help sheep producers...more

Cattle ranches experiment with drones to keep track of animals

Border collies could one day be phased out of a job on cattle ranches across Alberta and B.C. and replaced by a high-tech alternative — drones. "It was about two-and-a-half years ago I saw some kids playing with a toy drone and I realized they had a camera on that drone and I thought to myself, 'we could use this to observe cattle in pastures,'" John Church, the cattle research chair at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C. told The Homestretch. "We can see the video feedback in real time, so for me, I thought, 'wow, if we wanted to inspect cattle or look over that ridge or look in that grove of trees, we can use these drones to extend our vision." Ranches around Kamloops as well as parts of the Okanagan and aund Golden have been using drones for the past few years, a practise now making its way into Alberta. Second-year TRU student Clay Harsany has spent the summer flying the drones for a feeot operation near his hometown of High River. "Counting cattle in feed yards is a very [tedious] job. On average it takes two to three hours… and you have to do it every morning," he said. "So we came up with the idea, why can't we take a drone and place it 80 to 100 metres in the air and take pictures of each individual pen and then relay that information back to the computer and see if we can find a software company that will count the cattle automatically." That's exactly what they did. "It takes a two- to three-hour job and turns it into a two-minute job," said Harsany. It also makes finding cattle easier....more

Navajos To Sue EPA For Contaminating Their Water With Mine Waste

Navajo Nation will file a lawsuit against the Obama administration for causing a massive mine spill that contaminated waters tribal members rely on for their livelihoods. Navajo officials will announce Tuesday they are filing suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for breaching the Gold King Mine in Colorado last year, which resulted in more than 3 million gallons of mine wastewater contaminating drinking and agricultural water in tribal territory. “Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye, Vice President Jonathan Nez, Attorney General Ethel Branch, Delegate Tom Chee and others will make the announcement at the park by the bridge near the San Juan River,” according to an emailed release...more

NM rancher signs books at Las Cruces gallery

Cutter Gallery will host a book signing from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday Aug. 18 for Lea County rancher Carl Lane Johnson, who is promoting his new memoir, “Way Before Daylight, Long After Dark: a New Mexico Rancher’s Story.” The book contains photographs, maps and drawings depicting the ranching life Johnson has experienced for many years, according to publisher Lea County Museum Press. The gallery is at 2640 El Paseo in Las Cruces. Information: Sally Cutter, 575-541-0658.

From Facebook

The Lea County Museum Press has just published a memoir by Lea County rancher Carl Lane Johnson who has lived and worked in Lea all of his life and whose family has been part of county history for a century.
With the title of “Way Before Daylight, Long After Dark: A New Mexico Rancher’s Story,” the 316-page book is the twelth published by the LCM in the last nine years.
The book contains dozens of images, including family photographs, maps, and drawings by Mike Capron, Joe Hobbs, and one photograph by Gordon Snidow.
Johnson has been writing the book for several years, and it contains chapters about many of the cowboys and ranchers he has known and with whom he has worked. In addition, the book briefly chronicles the lives of some of his near and distant relatives on both sides of his family and for several generations.
“Way Before Daylight” is an LCM companion to the Lane-Johnson Room, which opened two years ago, on the second floor of the Commercial Hotel.
In photographs, maps, and memorabilia, the room relates stories of family members in both the Johnson and Lane families.
Here is one paragraph from the book’s introductory chapter (“Here We Go!”) which suggests the contents of the book:
“It is not supposed to be any more than a partial record of my life and the times that I lived. This isn’t going to be a bronc stomping, wild cow gathering, rodeo, wild west story that so many have written about; just a journal. I have written this book ‘the way it was’--no sugar coating. You will find stories about parties and wild times. I was single for over 26 years--between the ages of 18-57.
“I worked hard, loving every minute of it. But it was good to leave the ranch, have fun and see my friends. When it was time to go back to the ranch I always returned more than ready to get back to work. Many, many men have done more and lived much more exciting lives than I; so this may be a pretty boring reading, and if you find it so, put it down.”
The will is now on sale for $27.50 at the LCM Bookstore located in the museum’s 1918 Commercial Hotel building, 103 S. Love Street, Lovington.
The book can also be purchased through the mail by sending a check to the LCM at the above address, New Mexico 88260.
Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Lea County Museum.
For more information, call the LCM at 575-396-4805.


Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1681

Today's selection is Big Mable Murphy by Dallas Frazier.  I vividly remember the first time I heard this song.  My cousin Rand and I were listening to KHEY when we pulled in to a set of pens in the East Pasture.  The song was about half over and I didn't want to get out of the pickup.  I went for over two weeks without knowing what happened to Scarface!!  The tune is on Frazier's 1971 album My Baby Packed Up My Mind And Left Me.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Obama’s environmental legacy: Some 24 national monuments

The race is on to win President Barack Obama’s attention as he puts some final touches on his environmental legacy. Conservation groups, American Indian tribes and federal lawmakers are urging his administration to preserve millions of acres as national monuments. Such a designation often prevents new drilling and mining on public lands, or the construction of new roads and utility lines. The flurry of activity is creating enthusiasm — and tensions — in several parts of the country. Efforts are underway in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Maine and elsewhere to get Obama to designate new national monuments. Proponents aren’t just focused on land. They’re also looking to greater protections for vast swaths of ocean bottom off the coasts of New England, California and Hawaii. Obama has created or expanded 24 national monuments — including Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument during his seven-and-a-half-year tenure, the most of any president. Almost nobody thinks he’s done yet. Environmental groups are urging him to go big as he leaves office. “What he’s done in terms of protection has been good, but what he does next is how we measure whether his legacy is great or not,” said Sharon Buccino of the Natural Resources Defense Council...more

The harsh reality of Russia's influence on Alaska's offshore exploration

Thanks to technological advancements, like Russia's creation of the world's largest icebreaker Arktika, oil and natural gas reserves beneath the Arctic waters are easier to access than ever before. As a result, the Arctic now has countries racing to emerge as leaders in the world's newest Great Game. But as major powers struggle not only against each other, red tape, legal hurdles and other challenges back home are causing the United States to lag behind in unlocking the Arctic's riches. n a recent move, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Abigail Ross Hopper announced a new approach to oil and gas leasing for offshore areas. The proposal, which until recently accepted comments from the public, includes one possible sale each in the Alaskan Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea and Cook Inlet planning areas and, unfortunately, it also includes the possibility of no new leasing off of Alaska's shores altogether — to the detriment of U.S. energy security. Not only would this possibility be harmful to Alaska's economy, but it could harm U.S. downfall energy security as other countries, like Russia and China, stake their claim in the Arctic. According to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, coastal states are "entitled to exploit the seabed and subsoil up to a distance of 200 miles from its territorial sea baselines as part of the regime of the exclusive economic zone." Therefore, only eight countries have a direct right to the far north, including Russia and the U.S. And in their quest of Arctic domination, Russia has established six new bases, including 16 deepwater ports and 13 airfields. Putin's reach has even gone so far as to have planted a Russian flag under the North Pole in 2007. Subscribe today to get intelligence and analysis on defense and national security issues in your Inbox each weekday morning from veteran journalists Jamie McIntyre and Jacqueline Klimas. Although Russia's moves may seem unreasonable, in reality their games are smart attempts to establish claim to the expansive oil and gas reserves available in the Arctic. The U.S. Energy Department has reported that an astonishing 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil — or 90 billion barrels — is in the Arctic, as well as 30 percent of the world's undiscovered natural gas. At this moment, the U.S. has an opportunity to thwart the iron Russia's efforts and lock in these natural resources. But without the proposed leasing options in Alaska, these opportunities will soon dwindle to nonexistence and Russia will gain access to growing oil and natural resources...more

EPA's science advisers challenge agency report on the safety of fracking

Science advisers to the Environmental Protection Agency Thursday challenged an already controversial government report on whether thousands of oil and gas wells that rely on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” systemically pollute drinking water across the nation. That EPA report, many years in the making and still not finalized, had concluded, “We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States,” adding that while there had been isolated problems, those were “small compared to the number of hydraulically fractured wells.” The conclusion was widely cited and interpreted to mean that while there may have been occasional contamination of water supplies, it was not a nationwide problem. Many environmental groups faulted the study, even as industry groups hailed it. But the 30-member advisory panel on Thursday concluded the agency’s report was “comprehensive but lacking in several critical areas.” It recommended that the report be revised to include “quantitative analysis that supports its conclusion” -- if, indeed, the conclusion can be defended. The panel said its critique was backed by 26 of its members, but four dissented. The advisory group is comprised of academic, government, and industry scientists...more

States propose scaling back safeguards for grizzlies

When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing the Yellowstone grizzly population from the Endangered Species list last March, it looked like a decision would finally be made after years of disagreement about the bears’ management. But now there's a new twist: Environmentalists say that more information made public in recent weeks about how the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho plan to manage grizzlies after the delisting may call into question the long-anticipated ruling. In a 16-page letter submitted at the end of the comment period in May, and recently made public, the Yellowstone states are pushing for less federal discretion than the proposed rule allowed. Though environmental groups have disagreed with state management before, “we did not expect to see a letter like this,” said Tim Preso, an attorney with EarthJustice, one of the organizations behind the successful relisting lawsuit when grizzlies were first given the boot in 2007. “Given the way the states are conducting themselves and their disavowing of key conservation promises — to whatever extent that there was concern about this delisting before, it’s certainly been ratcheted up.”...more