Saturday, February 04, 2017

Utah Legislature votes to shed Bears Ears monument designation

An indignant Utah Senate voted 22-6 Friday to urge the unraveling of the Bears Ears National Monument designation in San Juan County, bristling at the process used under the Antiquities Act and what they say was indifference to a majority of statewide sentiment. Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, the Senate sponsor of HCR11, said if a monument designation had been made for the Bears Ears region via congressional legislation subsequently signed by the U.S. president, he wouldn't be arguing against the new monument. "It's absolutely wrong," the Senate president said, asserting the legislative process was circumvented with one person's pen via presidential proclamation. The 1.35 million-acre monument was created in late December by former President Barack Obama in the waning days of his administration and was largely seen as a poke in Utah's eye...more

Remember, Obama said "Hi from Hawaii" on this one:

Obama was vacationing in Hawaii with his family over the holidays when the White House made the announcement on Dec. 28. "I find it insulting that President Obama couldn't even interrupt his golfing in Hawaii" for the monument designation, said Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross.

Did Obama score a hole-in-one with this designation, or was it a triple bogey? Triplicates - The Republican-controlled House, Senate and Presidency - hold the score card in their hands.


The End Of Lead? Federal Gov’t Order Bans Sinkers, Ammo

Outgoing Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe issued an order to ban lead bullets and fishing gear (like sinkers and jig heads) on all agency-managed lands. The ban requires the use of alternative metals on about 560 million acres of public lands in the United States. It takes effect in 2022, giving hunters, anglers, and the industry time to adapt. However, the order could be rescinded with a new appointment by the Trump administration. It’s unclear if this will happen, but the NRA has already called on Interior Secretary nominee Ryan Zinke to curb the ban. Signed Jan. 19, 2017, the order requires “the use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle to the fullest extent practicable for all activities on Service lands, waters, and facilities by January 2022, except as needed for law enforcement or health and safety uses, as provided for in policy.” The ban will almost certainly be challenged. Nick Wiley, president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, said the it was a breach of trust made without input from state fish and wildlife agencies prior to issuance “This action flies squarely in the face of a long and constructive tradition of states working in partnership with the Service to effectively manage fish and wildlife resources,” he said...more

The hunting groups will rue the day they opposed transferring certain lands out of federal control. They will eventually have to pack up their hunting gear.  What then? Why then they can go golfing with Obama.

Report: Sanctuary Cities Received $27 Billion From Feds Each Year

Sanctuary cities receive over $27 billion each year from the federal government, giving President Donald Trump significant leverage over cities such as New York and San Francisco to enforce immigration law, according to a new report. identified 106 sanctuary cities in the United States in their oversight report, released Friday. In all, cities that ignore federal law by harboring illegal immigrants are receiving $27.741 billion in grants and direct payments in fiscal year 2016. Twenty-two percent of the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States live in just 12 American cities, according to the report. Those cities, which include New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, received $15.983 billion in federal funds. "On average, the cost of lost federal funding for a family of four residing in one of the 106 sanctuary cities is $1,810—or $454 per person," said. "A total population of 46.2 million residents live in the 106 sanctuary cities according to census data." The cities receiving the highest amount of federal funding per capita, which "have the most to lose by maintaining their sanctuary status," were Chicago and Washington, D.C., which received $5.3 billion and $2.09 billion, respectively...more

Friday, February 03, 2017

California Ranchers Fight Gray Wolf Protections

A week after President Donald Trump signed an executive order rolling back environmental protections, the California Farm Bureau and ranchers sued the state, challenging its listing of the gray wolf as endangered. The California Cattlemen’s Association and the California Farm Bureau Federation claim in Superior Court that the California Fish and Game Commission exceeded its authority by protecting the species. The administrative record shows that the gray wolf is not native to California, making it ineligible for listing, the groups say in their Tuesday lawsuit. They say the commission’s listing was based on inadequate analysis of the sporadic presence of only a few animals in California. They claim that giving the gray wolf substantial protections not easily contravened, the commission overturned a years-long, collaboratively developed wolf management plan that protects livestock from wolf predation, and threatened the safety and livelihoods of farmers and ranchers. Plaintiffs’ attorney Damien Schiff with the Pacific Legal Foundation insists that the lawsuit is not anti-wolf. “The commission’s wolf listing doesn’t materially improve the wolf’s protections in this state, but it does materially hamper the ability of private property owners to adequately protect themselves, their pets, and their livestock,” Schiff said in an email. “Thus, our lawsuit is about getting the commission back on the right track to employing a sound and balanced wolf management strategy.” In at least one aspect, the lawsuit is an extension of the long-running political fight between states’ rights groups and the federal government. The wolf seen in Northern California that set off this fight, known as OR-7, is believed to be a descendant of wolves the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced to Idaho. They spread into Oregon and kept spreading. At issue behind the complaint, but not directly addressed by it, is the question: If the federal government declares that a species is in danger of extinction and needs protection, to what extent, if any, do the states have the right to refuse?...more

At issue behind the complaint, but not directly addressed by it, is the question: If the federal government declares that a species is in danger of extinction and needs protection, to what extent, if any, do the states have the right to refuse? 

I would phrase it differently:  When is a state no longer a state? If the federal government can introduce a dangerous predator into a state, without the consent of the state, then it is no longer a state. It is simply a subunit or administrative arm of the feds. They would have reverted to being a Territory.

Death Threats Prompt Move To Withhold Personal Information From Wolf Management Documents

A bill in a committee of the Washington House of Representatives would exempt some personal information relating to the state’s wolf management efforts from public disclosure. Supporters say it will keep those who work directly with wolves safe. Opponents are concerned about the loss of transparency. Whether you like wolves or not, the folks who come in contact with them aren’t necessarily threatened by the top carnivore, but recently, they have stopped feeling safe. On one end of that are the people who work for the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife. Shortly after they started shooting wolves from the Profanity Peak pack in Northeastern Washington last summer, Donny Martorello said he decided to put his family up in a hotel. “I’m a biologist, I’m a manager, a wolf manager,” Martorello said. “I don’t carry a gun, I’m not law enforcement, and I did sign up for the job but my family did not.” Martorello is in charge of Washington’s wolf policy. During a hearing, he told members of the Committee on State Government, Elections and Information Technology that he and colleagues received death threats, harassing phone calls and messages. And he said it doesn’t just happen to him and his colleagues. He said some ranchers—or “livestock producers” have reported having their photos taken and their homes stalked. “There are producers out there that I have spoken with personally that believe that they are having interactions where wolves are attacking their livestock and they are fearful of coming to the department for reasons that we just talked about,” Martorello said...more

Trump Cabinet picks offer hope for environmental progress

...Zinke, has been a strong advocate for American energy independence and has fought the Obama administration’s moves to limit coal, oil, and gas production on federal lands. Zinke comes from a region of the country in which the federal government owns much of the land and often imposes its will on state and local governments. He has seen firsthand how federal mismanagement of national forests, grasslands, and parks has led to environmental destruction, local economic decline, and wasted federal resources. 

Zinke readily acknowledges the reality of climate change, but argues the extent of human involvement in it is uncertain and the threat it poses has been overblown by President Barack Obama

Zinke has pushed for greater local, state, and tribal control over federal lands and resource decisions, such as timber management and fossil-fuel production, which is important because as interior secretary, Zinke will be in a prime position to reform federal land and wildlife policies in ways benefitting the environment and people. 

There are also some positions Zinke holds that are worthy of scrutiny. Zinke rejects the idea much of the land under federal ownership should be turned over to the states or the people therein, and he supports fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which the federal government uses to buy more land.

There is no constitutional justification for the federal government owning one-third of the land in the United States and more than half of the land in Western states, as it currently does, much less bringing more land and resources under federal ownership. Bad management decisions have been endemic to federal land and resource management agencies since their inception—which have occurred under both Democratic and Republican presidential administrations and under Democratic and Republican Congress. 

I hope with experience Zinke will come to recognize it is the institutional incentive structure stemming from federal ownership itself, not the personnel at the agencies, that is the source of the environmental and economic harm resulting from federal management. Devolution of federal land ownership is the only long-term solution to the environmental harm and economic malaise plaguing states in which the federal government controls a large percentage of the land.

Utah lawmakers advance pushback resolutions on Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments

Utah's pushback against two presidential monument designations 20 years apart advanced Thursday with Senate committee votes that approved resolutions to undo the most recent and drastically shrink the other. Both resolutions, which have already passed in the House, now go to the full Senate for a vote. HCR12, sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, proposes to shrink the 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to no more than a half-million acres. It was heard before the Senate Business and Labor Committee, which voted 5-1 to approve the measure. The resolution asking for the rescission of the Bears Ears National Monument, HCR11, was heard before the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee. It also passed, with a 5-2 vote...more

Deal will allow mass slaughter of Yellowstone bison

A deal disclosed Thursday will allow the mass slaughter of hundreds of wild bison migrating from Yellowstone National Park, while sparing 25 animals that American Indian tribes want to start new herds. The Associated Press obtained details on the deal between Montana, the park and the U.S. Department of Agriculture prior to its public disclosure. It resulted from two weeks of intensive negotiations and removes a political obstacle for the park after Montana Gov. Steve Bullock on Jan. 19 temporarily blocked Yellowstone’s plan to kill up to 1,300 of Yellowstone’s 5,500 bison this winter. The terms are likely to dampen public outcry by averting slaughter for most of a small group of bison that had been earmarked for a conservation effort intended at establishing new herds elsewhere. Bullock lifted the slaughter ban in a Thursday letter to Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk that outlined the agreement to spare the 25 bison...more

Udall, Senate Democrats Urge Protection Of BLM Methane Waste Rule

Today, 24 Senate Democrats, led by U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), urged Senate leaders to defend the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Methane and Natural Gas Waste Prevention Rule, which protects air quality and prevents the waste of taxpayer-owned natural gas on federal and Tribal lands, by opposing efforts to dismantle it through the rarely used and extremely dangerous process set out in the Congressional Review Act. In a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Maria Cantwell (D. Wash.), the senators argued that dismantling the rule is a shortsighted and overly aggressive approach that would waste hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-owned natural gas resources each year — particularly New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming — risk public health, enrich entrenched corporations and yet stifle new industry growth. Additionally, federal law directs the BLM to require producers to use all reasonable precautions to prevent waste of oil or gas produced on public land, and a federal judge in Wyoming ruled last month the new methane rule is within the BLM’s release

USDA says beef hearts are now OK in ground beef

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has made it okay to use beef hearts in ground beef. It ends an almost 40-year prohibition on the use of hearts and tongues in ground beef. The policy turnaround has caught the beef industry by surprise, with disclosure of whether ground beef is made and sold with beef hearts included not required. That has set off an industry discussion about transparency. USDA’s long operated under “Policy Memo 027” that said beef hearts should be kept out of ground beef because consumers would not expect to fine beef hearts in ground beef. However, the new policy is also said to be consistent with a longtime FSIS definition of ground beef that also permitted beef hearts as potential ingredients in ground beef...more

Ranch Radio Song of the Day #1774

Its Friday, so here's one for all you weekend warriors:  George Jones - The Lone Ranger. The tune is on his 1996 CD I Lived To Tell It All.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Oregon standoff figure wants new judge for non-jury trial

An Oregon man has asked for a different federal judge to handle his non-jury trial on misdemeanor charges stemming from last winter’s armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Duane Ehmer and his attorney said in a court filing late Wednesday that U.S. District Judge Anna Brown might not be impartial and should recuse herself. Ehmer, 46, is one of seven defendants preparing for a jury trial this month on felony charges filed after the 41-day standoff in southeastern Oregon. Judge Brown, who is overseeing the jury trial, ruled last week that misdemeanor charges faced by Ehmer and others will later be heard in a separate trial before a judge. Brown wrote that she saw no reason why she should not oversee the non-jury trial. But Ehmer and attorney Michele Kohler cite comments Brown reportedly made in a private meeting with jurors who acquitted standoff leader Ammon Bundy and six others in a trial last fall. Brown said at the Oct. 27 verdict that she planned to meet with the 12 jurors and thank them for their nearly two months of service. A man identified as Juror No. 4 later told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the judge answered their questions during the meeting. Juror No. 4 said he and other jurors felt prosecutors offered insufficient evidence for a felony conspiracy conviction and asked Brown why different charges were not brought. “(Brown) not only answered questions the jurors had, but also discussed the merits of the case with specific reference to potential misdemeanor offenses that could have been used by the government,” Ehler’s court filing says...more

How a 20% border tax could set off an international food fight

The first week of the Trump administration may signal a tough road ahead for agriculture. First, the president withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty, which was expected to boost U.S. agricultural exports by more than $7 billion annually over the coming decades by dropping trade barriers among 12 North American and Asian economies, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Four days later, Trump administration officials said the U.S. could finance a new wall on the Mexican border through receipts from a 20% tax on Mexican imports. That appears to be part of a broader corporate tax overhaul, which would dun goods imported from every country. The announcement, followed by a flurry of clarifications and caveats, set off worry that the U.S. was embarking on a trajectory that could lead to a trade war. That could hit home especially hard for U.S. farmers, who get about 20% of their annual revenue from trade — much of it from the very countries Trump could target. Trump’s policy presents a conundrum for farmers and ranchers, a traditionally Republican constituency that supplied him with key support in swing states. The countries with the worst trade imbalances happen to be among agriculture’s best customers, including two of Trump’s perennial punching bags: China and Mexico. Overall, U.S. agriculture and related products amassed a $5-billion surplus worldwide, according to the USDA. As a result of the 14 free trade agreements the U.S. signed with 20 countries, exports of grains and feeds, dairy products, poultry, beef, pork, fruits and vegetables each experienced growth of more than 15% since the 1990s, according to the USDA. Now, more than half the U.S. production of wheat, rice, cotton and nuts is sold abroad. Meanwhile, some 85% of the fish we consume comes from abroad, while imports account for 19% of all U.S. food consumption...more

Importance of private lands to conservation

More than two-thirds of the land area in the United States is privately owned, with 914 million acres in farms or ranches. These working lands include much of the country’s remaining open space and habitat, making them vitally important to the conservation of soil, water, and fish and wildlife resources. But, while private lands provide society with valuable benefits and aid in conservation of natural resources, maintaining these private working lands is not easy, particularly in this part of the country, according to Michelle Downey, a “Farm Bill Biologist” with Pheasants Forever, Inc.. Eastern Montana landowners wanting to institute conservation projects on their lands face a multitude of challenges, she notes, including harsh climates, market fluctuations and lack of skilled laborers. But help is available, Downey says, through a unique partnership between conservation-oriented groups like Pheasants Forever, government conservation programs and administering agencies, and private landowners. Downey will be sharing information on that partnership and the importance of private lands to conservation efforts on Friday as the second speaker in the 2017 winter BrownBagger Series sponsored by the USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney...more

Plan would reintroduce grizzlies to Cascades

Wildlife biologists celebrated last June when they captured a grizzly bear in Washington for the first time in more than 30 years. After it was studied, the bear was released back into rural Pend Oreille County, equipped with a satellite-linked radio collar expected to offer valuable insight into the habits and range of the state’s most powerful predators. Now a proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service would see more grizzlies in Washington, specifically to the Cascade Mountains where large numbers once roamed. Under the proposal, bears from Montana and British Columbia would be brought here and released to live in 9,800-square miles of remote forests covering portions of seven counties stretching from the Canadian border south to Interstate 90. Predictably, not everyone is happy with the idea. “Most of the public that we talked to are very much against this,” Chelan County Commissioner Doug England said. “People that don’t use the area think it would be great.” Others note that people and grizzlies exist together in other parts of the country. The wildlife service’s plan lays out four alternatives for bringing grizzly bears back to the north Cascades with the goal of eventually reaching a population of 200. Biologists estimate the region could carry about 280 grizzlies...more

Diverse NM groups unite against push to transfer federal lands to states

A mix of protesters who normally aren’t on the same side of a fight — Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, hunters, horsemen and hikers — marched on the state Capitol Feb. 1 in a shared defense of federal public lands. “Once public land is gone, it’s gone forever. There is no getting it back,” said Jesse Deubel, an Edgewood housing contractor and director of United Bowhunters of New Mexico, as he walked from the Roundhouse to the nearby State Land Office with hundreds of other demonstrators. Deubel and other protesters said they fear a national Republican push to turn federal lands over to state control is picking up steam, one piece of legislation at a time. With Republicans firmly in control of Congress and the White House, and the transfer of federal lands to states listed as part of the GOP platform, there’s reason for their concern. Bills calling for land transfers are already working their way though statehouses and Congress. “Public lands turned over to the state will be bartered for political favors, used as bargaining chips and used to pay back donors,” Deubel said. Republicans who support transferring management of federal lands and mineral rights to states say that for too long, federal regulation has hurt rural ranchers and farmers most closely tied to those lands. They also argue that the federal government has poorly managed the properties, leading to overgrown forests prone to wildfires and hurting oil and gas development...more

Jason Chaffetz Pulls Bill Aiming to Sell Off Public Lands

Last Tuesday, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced two bills, H.R. 621 and H.R. 622. The first had the explicit aim to sell Federal lands; the second, to "terminate the law enforcement functions of the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management." Today, after ongoing public outcry —including rallies in state houses across the West — Chaffetz announced, by way of an Instagram post (see above), that he is walking back on the first bill. "I am withdrawing HR 621," Chaffetz writes. "I'm a proud gun owner, hunter and love our public lands. The bill would have disposed of small parcels of lands Pres. Clinton identified as serving no public purpose but groups I support and care about fear it sends the wrong message."...more

GOP suspends rules to push through EPA pick despite Dem boycott

Republicans on a Senate committee on Thursday suspended panel rules to force a vote on President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nominee over a Democratic protest. Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee, led by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), changed the rules governing a quorum so that only the panel’s Republicans needed to be in attendance to approve Scott Pruitt’s nomination to lead the EPA. The committee’s full roster of Republicans — including Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), whose nomination to be attorney general is awaiting consideration on the Senate floor — attended Thursday’s hearing and approved Pruitt on an 11-0 vote. Democrats protested Pruitt’s hearing for a second straight day, refusing to enter the hearing to deny the committee a quorum. Previous rules required at least two members of the minority party, but committee Republicans voted unanimously to approve Pruitt’s nomination...more

Donald Trump 'taking steps to abolish Environmental Protection Agency'

Donald Trump will work towards the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency – and any employees cleaving to the Obama era should be “very worried” by the prospect of Scott Pruitt taking over the agency, a key aide of the president has told the Guardian. In an exclusive interview, Myron Ebell – who headed up Trump’s EPA transition team, said that agency’s environmental research, reports and data would not be removed from its website, but climate education material might be changed or “withdrawn”. Ebell also signalled that a review of fuel efficiency standards for cars, rushed through by the departing Obama administration, is likely to be reopened despite its contribution to the US’s pledged emissions cuts in the Paris agreement. Donald Trump's first 100 days as president – daily updates Read more A campaign stump pledge by Trump to scrap the EPA in its entirety was “an aspirational goal” that would be best achieved by incremental demolition rather than an executive order, according to Ebell. “To abolish an agency requires not only thought but time because you have to decide what to do with certain functions that Congress has assigned to that agency,” he said...more

Knock knock, who's there? A 600 lb moose, in your basement bedroom

A cow moose is safe and caused minimal damage after she fell through an unlatched window into a basement bedroom in southwest Hailey early Sunday morning. Beginning about 2:30 a.m., the moose spent about three hours in the basement of the home on Queen of the Hills Drive while Idaho Department of Fish and Game and law enforcement officers tried several times to shoo her upstairs. At about 5:30 a.m., a Fish and Game officer arrived from Twin Falls with a tranquilizer dart gun. According to homeowner Julie Emerick, the officer darted the moose, which quickly succumbed and passed out in a corner. Eight officers rolled the approximately 600-pound animal onto a tarp. “With a lot of grunting and groaning they got her up the stairs and out the door, Emerick said. “Fifteen or 20 minutes later, she got up and ran off.”...more

Knock knock, who's there? A deer with your plastic pretzels

A deer that had a plastic pretzel container stuck on its head for several days has been freed in Maryland. The Baltimore Sun reports that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources on Sunday evening tranquilized and then freed the deer, nicknamed “Jughead” by residents of Bel Air who had been tracking it since the container got stuck on its head since Jan. 19. Department officials also spotted the deer several times, but weren’t able before Sunday to capture it...more

Hummingbird egg halts upgrades to big bridge project

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       A tiny unborn hummingbird is getting in the way of a big bridge project in the San Francisco Bay Area. The discovery of a nest and egg in a tree is stalling the start of upgrades on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge about 30 miles north of San Francisco, officials said Tuesday. The species, Anna’s Hummingbird, is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that forbids the removal of the egg and offers other protections to birds. The nest — about half the size of a fist — was discovered about a week ago when work was set to begin. It was found on the Richmond side of the $70 million bridge project, in one of about two dozen trees that were to be removed to widen the freeway, officials said. Under the protection act, the tree must stay put until the hummingbird baby is gone...more

Under our laws they can condemn private property to further projects like this, but they can't mess with a hummingbird egg.

NM Senate panel OKs wider gun background checks

One woman shared the story of her 75-year-old mother, gunned down during her vacation while she sipped her coffee. A state lawmaker talked about teaching his sister to use a gun to help protect her from domestic abuse. These stories – and other emotional testimony – emerged in a Senate committee hearing Tuesday over whether New Mexico should require background checks when people sell, lend or give firearms to one another in private transactions. The bill won a recommendation of approval on a 5-3 party-line vote of the state Senate Public Affairs Committee, with Democrats in favor. It now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee, potentially its last stop before the Senate floor. Under the proposal, people who want to sell, lend or give a firearm to someone else would have to go to a licensed dealer to have the background check done. The dealer could charge a “reasonable fee” for the work. The bill applies to the “transfer” of firearms between people who aren’t licensed dealers. There are some exceptions, such as transfers between close family members, transfers involving law enforcement or transfers at shooting ranges or during hunting trips...more

Ranch Radio Song of the Day #1773

Here is something a little different from Ernest Tubb, the unreleased 1958 version of Deep Purple Blues. The released version wasn't as "bluesy".

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Wolves sightings prompt school response - video

KREM video report:

North Dakota lawmakers say Army will proceed with Dakota Access approval

The on-again, off-again Dakota Access pipeline appears to be on again. Sen. John Hoeven, North Dakota Republican, said Tuesday that Acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer told him that the easement for the final 1,100 feet of the project in North Dakota will be approved. “I spoke with Secretary of the Army Robert Speer, and he’s now directed the Corps of Engineers to proceed with the easement so that the Dakota Access pipeline can be completed,” Mr. Hoeven said in a Tuesday video...more

Wyoming Stock Growers Fight Environmental Groups Intervention in Sage-Grouse Case

A Wyoming nonprofit association that began in 1872 and represents over 1,000 beef cattle producers today opposed entry of environmental groups in its challenge to plans by federal officials to change the management of federal lands in Wyoming and to extort actions of all third parties who use those lands ostensibly to aid the greater sage-grouse. With Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) as counsel, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) filed a petition in Wyoming federal district court in October of 2015 and named federal departments and agencies, including the Department of the Interior, and their top officials. Although the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) declined to list the sage-grouse as endangered or threatened in Wyoming and elsewhere, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service, which manage federal land in the Mountain West for “multiple use” purposes, including grazing, adopted new plans as to how those lands are to be managed. Wyoming ranchers believe the plans will constrain use of those lands, are unnecessary, and violate federal law because they are arbitrary and capricious. “Fifteen months ago, our client challenged the government’s sage-grouse land use plans because of the adverse effect of their livestock grazing restrictions. Now environmental groups seek to intervene in this lawsuit purportedly to defend these plans due to the recent change in the administration. This they may not do,” said William Perry Pendley, MSLF president...more

Heinrich Supports Confirmation Of Ryan Zinke For Interior Secretary, Highlights Success of National Monuments In New Mexico

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) voted in support of Secretary of the Interior nominee U.S. Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources business meeting. “While we are clearly not going to agree on every issue, I believe its very important to have a Westerner in this role -- particularly one who is committed to keeping public lands in public hands,” said Heinrich. Earlier this month, during Representative Zinke’s confirmation hearing, Senator Heinrich pressed him on his views on the Antiquities Act and protecting public lands. Heinrich also highlighted the diverse and overwhelming community support for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte National Monuments in New Mexico and submitted letters from veterans, sportsmen, small business owners, and faith leaders to the record. “In my state of New Mexico, we have two new monuments that have already proven to be incredibly popular with local communities, and which are already driving economic growth for local businesses. And my Navajo and pueblo constituents are very excited about the new Bears Ears monument that protects some of their most sacred places. I have letters here from business owners, sportsmen, faith leaders, county commissioners, and veterans in New Mexico asking for your support of the Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monuments,” said Heinrich. “The Antiquities Act is the law of the land, and communities in New Mexico are already in the process of developing plans for their new monuments.” Press Release

GOP-led Senate panel approves Zinke, Perry; Dems block votes on three others

Senate Democrats blocked committee votes on three of President Donald Trump's highest-profile Cabinet picks Tuesday as spiraling partisan hostility over the fledgling administration's refugee curbs and other initiatives seemed to seep into Congress' work on nominations. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as Energy secretary by 16-7, and Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., to head Interior by 16-6. But several of Trump's other picks faced more spirited opposition from Democrats. In an unusual step, Democrats boycotted planned Senate Finance Committee votes on Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to become health secretary and financier Steven Mnuchin to head the Treasury Department. They accused both men of lying about their financial backgrounds, and since committee rules require at least one Democrat to be present, Republicans could not hold roll calls...more

Sen. Thomas Walsh: Montana's last Cabinet appointee never made it to D.C.

Rep. Ryan Zinke is flirting with a piece of Montana history after receiving approval Tuesday from a U.S. Senate committee to become Donald Trump’s Secretary of Interior. If Zinke, a Republican from Whitefish, receives full Senate approval as expected, he’ll become the first Montanan to serve in a presidential Cabinet since George Washington started the practice in 1789...Thomas Walsh came even closer in 1933. That he didn’t make it remains a matter of intrigue among some historians and family members. Walsh, a Helena attorney and a U.S. senator since 1912, is best remembered as the investigator and prosecutor in the Teapot Dome Scandal, a Wyoming oilfield bribery case in the 1920s. He was 73 years old on March 2, 1933, when he died on a train traveling through North Carolina. Walsh was en route from Florida to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, for whom he’d campaigned and who had nominated him for Attorney General. Walsh accepted with reservations, resigning his seat in the U.S. Senate after FDR sweetened the pot by promising him a Supreme Court seat when one came open. Walsh was traveling with his wife of five days, Mina Perez Chaumont de Truffin, the Cuban widow of a wealthy French sugar grower and banker with plenty of political pop of her own. Also along was Mina’s Spanish-speaking maid, Rosalie. The certificate signed by a doctor in Wilson, North Carolina, listed the cause of death as “unknown, possibly coronary thrombosis” – i.e., a heart attack. Lapses in his health in previous days on his honeymoon in Florida seemed to back it up, though a doctor in Daytona Beach attributed them to indigestion and a “mild angina pectoris.” The new Mrs. Walsh gave permission for an autopsy, but officials deemed it unnecessary. Walsh’s body was taken from the train and embalmed at Rocky Mount, 20 miles north of Wilson. And so the whodunit began. It’s a narrative that ranges from the de Truffin’s villa in Havana, where the two were married on Feb. 25, to a senatorial office on Capitol Hill, to the head of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park...more

Tribes encourage Zinke to visit Gold Butte

...We, too, were alarmed by Zinke’s comments that he might strip the national monument of its designation, especially after he said he would heavily weigh state opinion before making a decision. Gold Butte’s designation did not happen overnight or unilaterally. It took decades of hard work, with the Moapa Band of Paiutes and the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe collaborating with Sen. Harry Reid, Rep. Dina Titus and other leaders on potential legislation and various tools for protection. There was a thorough, inclusive public process with community meetings and public tours soliciting feedback from Nevada residents, ranchers, businesses and conservationists. Then-President Barack Obama consulted with Gov. Brian Sandoval and tribal leaders in outlining the area to be protected before issuing his proclamation...more

Cooking on a spit is a real hit

ELKO – The spit cooking class offered by Machi’s owner John Lemich was attended by 27 foodies who all seemed enthralled with the roasting pig, doughnut laced bread pudding and bubbling pot of Basque beans. Lemich learned many of the tricks of spit cooking from his grandfather. He carries on this 60-year-old tradition with his own family and in his restaurant. He explained how his grandfather had worked as a machinist at Kennicott and made all of his spits out of stainless steal. He showed a selection of spits and other handmade metal implements he uses to cook over an open fire. Lemich demonstrated how to prepare different meats with seasoning and put them on to rotate and slowly cook. “I never put oil on anything because it burns everything on the outside,” he said. “Sometimes I baste the outside with wine or fruit juice.” He added bits of bacon and chorizo to the pot of beans that steamed in the brisk outdoor air. “I had it all chopped up ahead of time,” he said. “I have a good kitchen crew so you can keep your hands warm in your pockets.” Meanwhile, Kathy Alexander Lemich guided members of the group through the rigors of her secret bread pudding recipe in the Presbyterian Church kitchen. “Bread pudding is just one of those things where you just put in what you have around the kitchen,” said Alexander Lemich. Onlookers enjoyed whiskey laced coffee to warm up after the outside cooking lesson while asking questions and absorbing the many details of fine cooking...more

Real storytellers tell tales

Three cultures came together last night in the Western Folklife Center’s G Three Bar Theater in the form of “Real Stories. Straight Up.” Narratives from the Australian Outback, the Nevada high desert and the Texas-Oklahoma borderlands were mixed in with memories of Jack and Irene Walther, local ranchers and Cowboy Poetry enthusiasts who died last year. Jack was a respected poet and Irene was known for her whit and her cowgirl ways. Their nephew, Tom Walther, recounted many stories of the couple including a time when Irene stopped by to visit and a neighbor was there with her children. “You know,” she said, “I feel the same way about kids as I feel about sheep. I don’t have any and I don’t want any.”...more                                                                                                            

Lenders expect financial stress to worsen for farmers, ranchers

New survey shows decreases in land values and increasing demand for loans colliding with tighter, more expensive creditAccording to a recent study of lenders, financial stress on farmers is expected to continue for some time. “Our research indicates a continued deterioration in agricultural credit conditions,” said Allen Featherstone, head of the Kansas State University Department of Agricultural Economics. The 2016 Fall Agricultural Lender Survey by the Kansas State University Department of Agricultural Economics and the University of Georgia studies the expectations of lenders in regard to interest rates, spread over cost of funds, farm-loan volume, nonperforming loans and land values as indicators of the overall health of the farm finance sector. According to the twice-a-year study, more than 50 percent of land values are decreasing within the areas covered by participating lenders. These values are set to continue to decrease over the short- and long term and are affecting credit limits for landowners and producers. Non-performing loans are also on the rise for all loan types, and expectations show the number of these loans will continue to increase in this stressed financial market...more

Gun-safety group highlights dangers to New Mexico police

The national group Everytown for Gun Safety is highlighting the toll of gun violence against police officers in New Mexico as the state Legislature considers new regulations to ensure background checks on nearly all private firearms purchases. The advocacy group for universal background checks says it reviewed instances where police were shot and killed since 1987 in New Mexico and found that the majority of shooters were prohibited or likely prohibited by law from purchasing or possessing firearms at the time. The analysis by Everytown for Gun Safety was released on Tuesday as a Senate committee takes up discussion of a bill to close the so-called gun show loophole by requiring background checks against a federal database on private firearms transactions, with exceptions for transfers between relatives or while hunting...more

Trump Obama’s Illegal, Contemptuous, Job-Killing Monuments

By William Perry Pendley

President Trump has a unique opportunity to make tangible his concern for forgotten Americans, increase employment—including high-paying coal miners—and defend the rule of law, separation of powers, and the Constitution. In the process, he will rob President Obama of his sole surviving legacy, one that will bedevil rural people in perpetuity to the utter delight of environmental groups, one of which cosponsored the “Women’s March.” He can do all this simply by vacating two national monuments by Obama in 2016 and an especially egregious one by President Clinton in 1996.
The Antiquities Act of 1906, which allegedly provides authority for these vast decrees, was never intended for that purpose. Instead, Congress sought to protect "historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest,” what the House of Representatives report called “interesting relics [‘ruins’] of prehistoric times” that are “scattered throughout the [American] Southwest [on] public lands.” Initially, designations were limited to “320 to 640” acres, but finally provided for “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” As early as 1911, federal officials resisted efforts by “patriotic and public-spirited citizens” to designate monuments for “scenery alone” because the Act does “not specify scenery, nor remotely refer to scenery as a possible raison d’etre for a public reservation.”
Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Jimmy Carter exceeded their statutory authority in frequent uses of the Act, but their actions—some of which were modified by later presidents or made the subject of congressional designations—occurred before public land law’s modern era. That began in 1976 with passage of a federal law by which Congress reasserted its exclusive authority over federal land under the Property Clause in a belated response to a Supreme Court ruling that it had acquiesced in the Executive’s usurpation of that power. Thereafter followed decades of enactments by which Congress provided for the protection of “wild and scenic rivers,” “wilderness areas,” “endangered or threatened species,” and other concerns, each of which required an act of Congress and signature by the president. Congress left the Antiquities Act standing, theoretically limited to its original purpose, and that is the way it was viewed by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, who issued no decrees.
Not so Clinton who among his many Antiquities Act edicts, closed one of the world’s best low-sulfur coal deposits—its mining will create 1,000 local jobs and generate $20 million annually—with the Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument. So passionate was Utah’s opposition to the monument that Clinton deceived political leaders—but not Robert Redford—about his plan until he announced it at Arizona’s Grand Canyon. Today, Garfield County is a self-declared “economic disaster” area.
Likewise, Obama ignored unanimous State and local opposition in Maine and used the Act to designate 87,654 acres purchased for the National Park Service (NPS) as a “seed” for the NPS’s 1988 plan for a 3.2 million acre park contrary to a 1998 federal law requiring that Congress authorize all new park suitability studies. Finally, in a belated Christmas gift to Leonardo DiCaprio and other environmental extremists, Obama thumbed his nose at all Utahans with his 1.35 million acre Bear Ears National Monument in San Juan County.
That President Trump has the authority to vacate the actions of his predecessors is without question. Just as no Congress can bind a future one, no president—with a unilateral decree—can claim to rule forever. That is even more the case given that Clinton and Obama far exceeded their authority under the Antiquities Act. Nonetheless, revocation will be fought aggressively by radical environmental groups and will require the Solicitor General to defend revocation before the Supreme Court of the United States, but it is the right thing to do.
Meanwhile, Congress should repeal the Antiquities Act to prevent lawlessness by any future president who views rural Americans with disdain.
Pendley is President of the Mountain States Legal Foundation

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1772

Our selection today is That's Right, recorded in 1947 by Johnny Bond.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Who Was Anne Gorsuch Burford? Neil Gorsuch's Mom Was the First Female EPA Head

On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump is expected to announce Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, to be his nominee for the Supreme Court. But Neil isn’t the first in his family to serve the federal government. The political career of his late mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford, could prove telling about his own leanings. Burford was the first female head of the EPA — and by most accounts, she wasn’t a very good one. Burford was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and served for about two years. Her tenure was marked by perceptions that she was “a handmaiden to industry.” She became known for her efforts under Reagan for working to lessen the clout of the federal government in the area of environmental regulations, trying instead to devolve authority and give the states more leeway over their own jurisdictions. The realization of this goal meant weakening the EPA, which was not seen favorably by activists or members of either political party. Gaylord Nelson, chairman of The Wilderness Society at the time, said that Burford was engaging in a “wholesale dismantling” of environmental progress. Her disdain for federal authority came to a head when she refused to provide Congress with documents relating to a toxic waste cleanup. Burford declared that she would “go to jail rather than surrender them to Congress.” With respect to Neil Gorsuch, Burford’s career can be a vehicle for predicting his behavior should he be appointed to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch has proven solidly conservative in many areas, but he doesn’t have much of a judicial record on environmental issues. If his mother’s career is any indication, then Scott Pruitt may find himself with an ally on the Court as Gorsuch hands down rulings against the expansion of federal regulations. It’s possible he’d couch those opinions in the same logic his mother used: that these matters are better left to individual states...more

 Anne Gorsuch, later Burford, became a dear friend as we served together during the Reagan administration. If he is as intelligent, vibrant and conservative as his mother was, then he will be a great addition to the Supreme Court.

Trump taps Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court

President Trump on Tuesday selected Neil Gorsuch to succeed Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, setting up a nasty confirmation battle with Senate Democrats stung over the GOP blockade against former President Obama’s pick. Trump named Gorsuch, a well-respected conservative who sits on the Colorado-based 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, after a drama-packed day that resembled the president’s former reality show “The Apprentice.” Trump said he has promised to nominate a judge who respected the law and loved the Constitution. “Millions of voters said this was the single most important issue to them and I am a man of my word and will do what I say, something the American people have been asking of Washington for a very long time,” Trump said. At 49, Gorsuch would be the youngest member of the court — a major consideration for Trump, who wants his picks to potentially remain on the bench for decades. Supreme Court justices receive lifetime appointments. Gorsuch is likely to face a tough confirmation battle, though he was seen as a less provocative choice for the court than Bill Pryor, the circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit...more

‘Takings’ trial on irrigation shutoff now underway

Klamath Falls, Ore. – The 2001 shutoff of water to Klamath Project irrigators is the focus of a trial now underway in federal court in Washington, D.C. – and the outcome could extend beyond the Klamath Basin. Farmers and ranchers claim the shutoff of water was a violation of their Fifth Amendment rights. “It’s a trial that will determine basically, the outcome of 2001.” Explains Scott White, Executive Director of the Klamath Water Users Association. “Whether it was a ‘takings’ of their water rights, or not.” The government ruled at the time that sucker fish upstream, and salmon downstream had water priority under the Endangered Species Act, or ‘E.S.A.’ “It was determined that there was not enough water in the system to satisfy both the biological, or the species, and the Klamath Project irrigators.” Notes White. The shutoff sparked a summer of protest at the headgates to the ‘A’ canal in Klamath Falls. Irrigators are seeking about 30 million dollars in damages. But, White adds that a favorable ruling could have even bigger impacts. “This really would force the federal government to consider operations when it comes to shorting project irrigators.” The ‘Bucket Brigade’ protest focused national attention on Klamath Falls in 2001. And Scott White believes the ‘takings’ trial is just as important. “I think everybody, if they’re not, they should be watching this because it really could have an impact on, not only operations for the Klamath Project, but for all the other Reclamation projects out there that deal with endangered species.”...more

The meeting that never happened

Attorneys, ranchers and members of the Finicum family called for political activism in the wake of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation and the death of LaVoy Finicum last year. Jeanette Finicum — the widow of the refuge occupier who was killed during a traffic stop en route to a meeting in John Day in the final days of the Malheur occupation — spoke to the crowd and thanked God and all those who supported her and her family since her husband’s death. “They silenced one man’s voice, but in doing so, they created 13 more very loud voices,” Finicum said in reference to herself and her 12 children. She read a statement prepared by the family’s lawyers announcing they filed a notice of administrative claim as a precursor to filing a federal civil rights lawsuit. “While we could have filed our wrongful death lawsuit against the state of Oregon, it is more efficient to wait a short while longer to include the FBI in one lawsuit,” she said. She recounted the jury’s acquittal of seven of the occupants on federal conspiracy charges to thunderous applause, adding her husband should have been among them. Finicum played several videos made by her husband before and during the occupation, which explained he supported the occupation because he believed the federal government was overreaching and overly-regulating farmers and ranchers. She urged those in attendance to become involved however they can in their local communities. “One man can make a difference,” she said. “He did make a difference.” Grant County resident and event organizer Jim Sproul said 470 tickets were sold before the event and another 218 at the door, at $15 each. He estimated there were 650 in attendance, including 250-300 locals...more

Utah: House Democrats try to stop floor debate on Bears Ears resolution

Utah House members are expected to debate a resolution Tuesday calling on the Trump administration to rescind the creation of the Bear Ears National Monument. But minority Democrats cried foul Monday, arguing that HCR11 and HCR12, a resolution seeking congressional support to reduce the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, should be sent to a House committee for public comment before going to the floor. The House Rules Committee last week voted to send the legislation straight to the House floor. The committee decides which bills move forward and which do not. Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, who heads the committee, said the state's congressional delegation — all Republicans — wants lawmakers to move quickly to get the issue before President Donald Trump. The contention led to a spirited debate about legislative rules that the Democrats ultimately lost. The GOP-controlled House voted 55-17 to let the resolutions go to the floor. House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, said the divisive issue deserves a public hearing. He said a majority of Utahns want the Bears Ears National Monument. "We need to hear from them," King said. Noel said the Rules Committee meeting provided that chance. House Republicans also said they expect a Senate committee to hold a hearing...more

Ranch Radio's Chris Allison Special

Chis Allison posted on facebook he needed some advice answering a question on his hunting license application, and Ranch Radio goes all out finding the answer. The tune, by the way, is Gold In Your Pocket, performed by Tommy Morrell and Don Edwards

Monday, January 30, 2017

Caprock Chronicles: Sheep come to South Plains in 1870s

Immediately after American soldiers defeated Southern Plains Indians in the Red River War of 1874-1875, sheepherders pushed their ovine flocks onto the Llano Estacado. And, perhaps they did it before then, for Antonio Baca claimed to have grazed sheep in the present-day Oklahoma Panhandle prior to the Civil War. After the Red River War, former comancheros, traders from New Mexico, led the way. They knew the Llano and its rich grasslands, its life-sustaining water courses and its sheltering canyons. Many former comancheros remained friends with, or old business partners of, Comanches, Kiowas and Cheyennes. Thus, fear of an Indian attack did not inhibit them in their new pastoral enterprises. The best known of the New Mexico sheepmen, or pastores, as they were called, to climb onto the Texas High Plains was Casimero Romero. In 1876, he led 12 men and their families down the Canadian River from New Mexico’s Mora County to about where Tascosa and modern Boy’s Town in Potter County exist. Romero and the others herded at least 4,500 sheep to the site. In wagons, they brought household supplies and ranching equipment to establish permanent dwellings in the area, and they drove horses and enough cattle to provide beef and milk for the settlers. They built homes of adobe and settled in to graze their sheep on the high lands — the Llano Estacado — above the river valley. Other New Mexicans soon heard of abundant grasslands, clear springs and permanent creeks in the wide valley. They arrived with thousands of additional sheep. Not all who came were Hispanic or Pueblo. Henry Kimball, a blacksmith, moved his sheep to a site along Rita Blanca Creek on the north side of the Canadian River. Englishmen Jim Campbell and A. B. Ledgard establish a sheep ranch northwest of Rita Blanca Creek. Their flock numbered about 25,000 animals. In the Lubbock area, Zachary T. Williams, a 29-year old from Mississippi, grazed his flocks near modern Buffalo Springs Lake. He claimed to have been there as early as 1877. Richard Wilkerson, a 26-year old from Indiana, grazed sheep in Blackwater Draw in the vicinity of present-day Lubbock Country Club. John Coleman ran a very large spread across what is today Mackenzie Park. One of his five herders was Andrew Gonzales, a native of Monterrey, Mexico, and one of the first permanent Mexican-Americans in Lubbock. Grazing circuits extended on the Llano from north of the Canadian River south to Tule and Quitaque canyons and beyond into the upper Brazos River drainage system west of Lubbock. Jesus Perea, for example, herded his flocks of 30,000 sheep to Tahoka Lake, Yellowhouse Canyon and Blanco Canyon. Because of the great amount of grazing land and water needed for so many sheep, Perea scattered his animals widely and took them wherever good grass and water could be found...more

Some uncertainty surrounds Trump regulation-cutting order

...Dave Warner, a spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, told Agri-Pulse that NPPC is generally supportive of the order as a means to make sure farmers, ranchers, and business owners “aren’t overburdened.” “While there’s constantly new regulations added, there’s never any taken away,” Warner said. “At some point, something’s got to give.” In the legislative process, bills passed by Congress commonly require rulemaking by executive branch agencies. Warner says that rulemaking can get to such a point where regulations might be duplicative or outside the intent of Congress. NPPC isn’t necessarily trying to slice current regulations to a lower quota, Warner said, but NPPC members think a healthy look at what’s on the books could be a good thing. But others aren’t so sure. “It’s unworkable,” Ferd Hoefner, senior strategic adviser with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, said in an interview with Agri-Pulse. He pointed to how the provision could hit agriculture’s chief legislative priority – the upcoming farm bill – and keep it from being fully implemented. “Essentially, Congress would pass a new farm bill in 2018, and USDA would have to pick and choose a couple of things to implement because they (only) have a handful of things that they can get rid of,” Hoefner added. There’s also confusion about how the withdrawal of regulations would work. If a new regulation is produced by the Agriculture Department, would two USDA regulations need to go or would regulations from another department also be up for grabs? What about rulemaking that updates programs but is not a completely new regulation such as annual blending targets for the Renewable Fuel Standard?...more

This reminds me of a Will Rogers story:

 In 1914 the Germans were sinking U.S. ships in the North Atlantic. It was a turkey shoot because the Germans had the U-boat and we didn't. Somebody asked the American folk philosopher Will Rogers what we ought to do about it. He thought about it a moment and said, "Well, I think you should boil the ocean." The man was incredulous. "Boil the ocean?" "Yes," said Rogers. "I think if you heated up the Atlantic ocean, the submarines would rise to the surface and you could capture them." "But how do you boil an ocean?" the man asked. Rogers responded, "I've given you the solution. It's up to you to work out the details." 

Trump is making policy, and will let others work out the details.

Montana’s Mister Secretary

By Dave Skinner

...For example, thankfully-outgoing Interior Secretary Sally Jewell grew up in the Seattle region and spent her formative weekends recreating on Northwest public lands with her parents. Despite her short stint in the petroleum industry, she brought a weekend-warrior hiker, urban point of view to her work as Secretary.

Zinke, by contrast, grew up in the Flathead when we still had a resource economy. Our community not only played in the forest on weekends, but also worked there the rest of the week, all year. Plus, there’s the additional growing up mandated by the naval special-operations environment, where there is much more at risk than who gets the corner office.

But Zinke is not completely Jewell’s opposite. He drives a Prius, and as a state senator was regarded as a greenish, “moderate Republican.” He’s also toed the Green line on a few select votes, which in my view should give him a much higher League of Conservation Voters score than the 3 out of 100 rating Zinke currently enjoys.

Importantly, Zinke pegs himself a “Teddy Roosevelt Republican” – which might be a good thing to be for the leader of Interior.

Greens like to claim Roosevelt for their own, as the guy who introduced “progressivism” to American politics, our first, very aggressive “conservationist President.” But that’s an oversimplification of a complicated man who lived in a complicated era.

...Finally, there’s something else about Zinke worth relating. Only months after retiring from the Navy, he was elected a state senator in 2008. In 2012, Zinke ran for Montana lieutenant governor instead of for re-election (and lost). In 2014, he won a crowded Republican primary and later became the first Navy SEAL in Congress. After that, common “wisdom” held that Zinke planned a 2018 run against incumbent U.S. Senator Jon Tester.

Everyone who knows the soft-spoken Ryan Zinke is also aware that he is quietly, yet aggressively, ambitious...

Republicans take first steps to kill five Obama-era regulations

House Republicans on Monday began the process of killing five Obama-era rules on corruption, the environment, labor and guns under the first real test of the Congressional Review Act, a law intended to keep regulation in check. Republicans put as much urgency on limiting what they consider over-regulation that stifles economic growth as they do on overhauling the tax code and dismantling the Affordable Care Act, according to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. This is the first time the Republican-led House of Representatives has targeted specific rules since convening on Jan. 3. Earlier this month it passed bills to limit regulatory agencies and Republican President Donald Trump is cutting regulation through executive orders. Under the law, Congress can use simple majority votes to stop recent regulations in their tracks. Timing in the law means any rules enacted after May 31 are eligible for axing. The law has been used effectively only once, ending a rule on ergonomics in 2001. Both sides consider this week a test of its powers. The House Rules Committee was expected on Monday evening to send to the full chamber a measure axing three regulations enacted under former President Barack Obama, a Democrat. They were the Stream Protection Rule, the Securities and Exchange Commission's "resource extraction rule," and the Social Security Administration's expanded background checks on disabled gun buyers. On Tuesday it will send another measure overturning rules on methane and federal contractors. The full body is expected to pass both measures on Wednesday and then hand them off to the Senate...more

Bobcat escapes from National Zoo in Washington

A bobcat that escaped from its enclosure at the National Zoo is perfectly capable of surviving in the wild and would find plenty to eat in a leafy park nearby, zoo officials said Monday. The female bobcat, believed to be about 7 years old, was found to be missing Monday morning when it didn’t show up for breakfast. At the zoo, the bobcat is known as Ollie. The bobcat poses no danger to the public, the zoo said. While no bobcats are known to live in Rock Creek Park, which surrounds the zoo, bobcats are native to much of North America and its mid-Atlantic region. The park, run by the National Park Service, occupies more than 1,700 acres of the nation’s capital. “We know that she is absolutely capable of surviving, even thriving, in this area,” said Brandie Smith, the zoo’s associate director of animal care. “We are prepared for the eventuality that she is not recaptured.”...more

Trump signs '2-for-1' order to reduce regulations

President Trump on Monday signed an executive order that would require agencies to revoke two regulations for every new rule they want to issue. The executive order is aimed at dramatically rolling back federal regulations, one of his top campaign promises.The order requires agencies to control the costs of all new rules within their budget. Agencies are also prohibited from imposing any new costs in finalizing or repealing a rule for the remainder of 2017 unless that cost is offset by the repeal of two existing regulations. Trump's order does make exceptions for emergencies and national security. Starting in 2018, the order calls on the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget to give each agency a budget for how much it can increase regulatory costs or cut regulatory costs...more

“No ban, no wall, Albuquerque is for all,”

Armed with chants and handmade signs, about 1,000 people Sunday evening marched on city streets and into the Albuquerque International Sunport in protest of President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and immigrants from several majority Muslim nations. “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here,” the group shouted. The protest started in a parking lot on Yale SE on Sunday afternoon and gathered into a mass as speakers shared messages of encouragement, tolerance and resistance through a megaphone. Signs stood above the crowd. One with cut out green and red chiles read “We love red, we love green and all the colors in between.” Images of the Statue of Liberty decorated several signs, and many more quoted a portion of the poem engraved on her pedestal: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” After hearing multiple speakers, protesters took over two of Yale Boulevard’s northbound lanes as they headed for the airport. Many passing motorists honked or offered a thumbs-up in support. Police briefly stopped traffic into and out of the Sunport as the dense but sprawling protest crossed roadways outside. Soon the group flooded inside, still chanting...more

NM lawmakers extend invitation to Mexican president

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has a new diplomatic invitation to visit the United States after canceling a trip to Washington in response to President Donald Trump’s plans to build a border wall – this time from a trio of Democratic lawmakers in the heavily Hispanic state of New Mexico. Democratic state Rep. Javier Martinez of Albuquerque said Sunday that Trump’s insistence on making Mexico pay for a border wall extension is a threat to centuries-old economic and cultural ties between Mexico and the state of New Mexico, including recent investments by taxpayers in the Santa Teresa-San Jeronimo border crossing that have spurred trade...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1771

In 1960 Bob Wills & Tommy Duncan got back together to record for Liberty records. The reunion didn't last long but they did make some great music, like Ida Red

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

The language of horse trading

 by Julie Carter

There is an entire dictionary-size list of phrases, sayings and quotes you can pin to the horse trading business. The best advice for the buyer is to carefully discern the words they hear and look for what they may actually signify. Hidden meaning is a trademark of a seasoned horse trader.

For example, when the trader tells you, "This horse will let you do all the thinking," it really means he is big, dumb and heavy-footed. If he says, "For this one you just need to start a little sooner or cut across," he means the horse has two speeds which are slow and slower.

When the trader tells you "he'll watch a cow" he could mean that he'll actually have the instincts to keep his eye on the cattle and have some quick responsive action. But it could also mean he'll stand in the gate and watch them go by.

When he says that he has a “good'un that doesn't 'look' real good right now,” it means that he's blind in one eye.

A buyer should always look beyond the obvious. "This horse doesn't let much get past him," usually doesn't mean he is alert and attentive. It more likely means the horse will booger at a shadow or a bird flying overhead at a thousand feet. Riding uneventfully through rolling tumbleweeds and blowing dust will never be an option.

The horse described as having "a nice little cowboy lope" is one that is so rough to ride he will loosen your teeth fillings at a trot and if you can ever get him in a lope, he'll jar your hemorrhoids up to your tonsils. This type of horse can be described as having the ability to “give a woodpecker a headache.” I know because I owned one of such as this.
The age of a horse is often disputed, especially if the horse has no registration papers for proof of age or origin. The ability to "mouth a horse" and read their age by the stage and condition of their teeth is a real benefit to the buyer.

But the die hard trader will always justify a smooth-mouthed old horse with the line, "He's been in a sandy pasture and his teeth may look a little older from that sand grinding at his teeth."

Buyers beware when you hear things like "He doesn't buck very often." My suggestion would be that even if you don't mind an occasional bucker, if the trader can't tell you exactly when he does buck, keep shopping.

Other things to listen for are the brilliant statements like "When his nose quits running and his eyes clear up he'll be just fine," or "I usually don't have to hobble him to saddle him but he just looks better when I do." In a moment of trying to dump a real mess of a horse, they will actually say things that are desperate, even to people who know better.

Horse traders come in all sizes, shapes and classes much like used-car salesmen. Some you can't trust and others you shouldn't trust. And, some traders are quite honest with their dialogue. My all-time favorite is "this horse will do anything you can get him to do."

Horse traders do have place in the world. Proof of that is the wife that said her husband bought a couple horses from a horse trader and it was going to take a horse trader to get rid of them.

Having a horse for sale and being called a horse trader is much like be a writer and being labeled a journalist. It is just not all that flattering.

Julie can be reached for comment

Monument by Dictatorship

Rogue Leadership
Monument by Dictatorship
Fake News
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            There was a lonely place where the trail ran up to the sky. It turned sharply left on the very point of a lofty promontory overlooking the long sweep of the valley below. Here the trail offered to the passerby a vision of this hour. Rosy-tipped peaks and distant purple mountains could be seen, beyond the far reach of the tall grass range.
            Upon the very lip of the rocky shelf sat a solitary horseman. He was a man tall in the saddle, astride a strangely marked horse. Its head was held high; its ears were pricked forward with attention riveted upon the valley, as though in tune with the thoughts of its rider- thoughts that said there lay a new country, with new dangers, new rewards, and new trails.
            Okay, now try this for impact.
            There was a lonely place where the vestige of an ancient trail must have carried painted warriors of the windswept plains. Here the trail offered a lofty promontory overlooking the long sweep of a plain where the spirit of ancients intermingled with the like minded dreamers of the modern world.
            Upon the very lip of the rocky shelf stood a solitary hiker. He was a man covered with sunscreen, his left shoelace undone from his Eddie Bauer sports boot, but the redundancy of its closures would assure ankle protection if it was called for. His hydrating pack was nearly empty as he took another, boost charged draft of scientifically formulated energy and electrolyte drink. He was now alone with his thoughts. This wilderness, with all its imagined dangers, self awarded benefits, and a blazed trail was all a caring citizen of this earth could possibly imagine, and, of course, protest for.
            The real question arises. Which of the foregoing is political make believe and which isn’t?
            Fake News
            Fake news is everywhere.
            As we watch with utter fascination the proprietary meltdown of the uber-liberalistas, we are beyond trying to speculate why we still read their newsprint. It is always couched in mission double speak, and it denigrates anything aside from its socialistic footnotes. There are no longer any boundaries or standards. The more bizarre the issue becomes the greater the fascination. Only the cause counts and only members of the cause are welcome.
            That was the exactly the case of the visit to the Las Cruces community by border congressman, Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) last week. He arrived on the representation of a national tour of protected sites on behalf of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources. The stage was set complete with agenda and press coverage. The invited citizenry selected to speak of the glowing success of the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument had also been part of the similar chance visit of the outgoing Secretary of Interior when she dashed into town to give the loyal operatives a refresher on fifth column tactics to derail any alteration of the monstrosity for the public good.
            Eighteen residents were posed to speak about the wonders for Grijalva. According to the paper, they represented “outdoor enthusiasts, tourism entities, and some businesses”. Staff representatives of New Mexico’s senatorial duo were also there.
            What the paper didn’t question, however, was the absence of a single person who had an investment, duty, or responsibility on the lands. It didn’t mention that the congressman whose district the monument spanned, Steve Pearce (R-NM) was uninvited and that Congressman Grijalva was not only out of his district but out of his state.
            The emphasis only dealt with the superlative benefits as related by the invited, selected guests. There was not a single invitation to the 44 ranches and the 90 families that stand directly in the approaching avalanche of threatened losses. Neither were there welcomes to the influential off road affiliations, law enforcement, border patrol, utility providers, chamber of commerce, conservation districts, and local government that are charged with the economic well being of the community. If the latter were informed at all, they found out about the “educational event” within the hours before the event was staged.
            Why wouldn’t a newspaper emphasize that in its coverage?
A no borders, congressional far-leftist was in another colleague’s state and district, without his knowledge or input, and was leading a concealed protest refresher for the agendized promotion of monument’s special interest status. The whole event was a façade. It was an embarrassment even to the gathered partisan, biased leadership. It was blatant lapse of good manners (and probable misuse of federal funding) and the local newspaper supported the cause without challenge.
            Shame on them and shame on their perpetuation of fake news!     
            Monument by Dictatorship
             It has come to light that Thomas Jefferson added 530 million acres to United States territory. It wasn’t without conflict or objection. There was a fairly brisk dustup in congress in the approval of the action. Many in congress believed it was unconstitutional to obligate the nation to more debt.
            Not to be outdone the fellow that just vacated the White House added a whopping 553 million acres to the nation’s maritime and land based national monuments. The status of a surface mass the size of the Louisiana Purchase plus twenty three million more acres was changed without a single congressional vote being taken or a floor debate scheduled! There is something dreadfully wrong with that extra legal perversion and it must be fixed. The action to take is to dramatically role back the oppressive overreach. Two places to start are here in southern New Mexico where the border is most vulnerable and in Utah where representation actually cares for the well being of its productive citizenry. The combination will serve as a comprehensive modification of administrative overreach.
            Monument by dictatorship must end.

            Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “I want to know who on the National Resources Committee approved Grijalva’s community outreach on the monument issue.”

Just to reiterate Wilmeth's point, in my column in March of last year I wrote:

"Everybody is coming to me with their wish list," says Interior Secretary Sally Jewel.
You take your wish list to one person, who then takes it to one other person, who can grant you your wish.  Under this model, three people can determine how 640 million acres are managed.  No public hearings, no debate, no involvement of Congress. And this model is being heavily used by the current administration.

Is this model acceptable to anybody? We'll be watching the Republicans to see.