Friday, July 20, 2018

Ninth Circuit blocks Trump's second attempt to stop children's climate lawsuit

A federal appeals court has rejected the Trump administration's second attempt to throw out a climate change lawsuit by a group of children. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' three-judge panel unanimously rejected the administration's request for a judicial writ barring the lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, from being heard. “We denied the government’s first mandamus petition, concluding that it had not met the high bar for relief at that stage of the litigation. No new circumstances justify this second petition, and we again decline to grant mandamus relief,” read the court's order. Our Children’s Trust, representing 21 children in the lawsuit, said the ruling means the case will be heard. "This is a clean case about fundamental constitutional rights of children that not only deserves to be heard, but in our system of law, Article III courts have a duty to hear and decide this case," said Julia Olson, co-counsel in the case. "The Ninth Circuit’s opinion reflects that.”...MORE

Ontario government cancels 758 renewable energy contracts, says it will save millions

TORONTO -- Ontario's new Progressive Conservative government is cancelling 758 renewable energy contracts, in what it says is an effort to reduce electricity bills in the province. Energy Minister Greg Rickford said the move will save provincial ratepayers $790 million -- a figure industry officials dispute, saying it will just mean job losses for small business. In a statement Friday, Rickford said the government plans to introduce legislation during its summer sitting that would protect hydro consumers from any costs incurred from the cancellation. "For 15 years, Ontario families and businesses have been forced to pay inflated hydro prices so the government could spend on unnecessary and expensive energy schemes," Rickford said. "Those days are over." The government announcement does not indicate which specific projects are being cancelled. Rickford said the move is part of a campaign pledge the Progressive Conservatives made during the spring election to end the projects. "We clearly promised we would cancel these unnecessary and wasteful energy projects as part of our plan to cut hydro rates by 12 per cent for families, farmers and small businesses," Rickford said...MORE

Based on today's news...

I shouldn't eat salads or turkey, and that's just fine with me.

Contamination problem: McDonald's tainted salads have now sickened 163 people in 10 states

The number of people sickened by tainted McDonald's salads has jumped to 163 in 10 states. Three of the victims have been hospitalized. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the problem is caused by the Cyclospora parasite that is transmitted in foods contaminated with fecal matter. Last week, the number of cases was 61 people in seven states – 29 in Illinois, 16 in Iowa, seven in Missouri, three in Minnesota and two each in Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. McDonald's voluntarily stopped selling salads last week at about 3,000 restaurants in 14 states, including Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia and Missouri, until they were able to switch to another lettuce-mix supplier...MORE

Who in the heck goes to McDonalds to eat salad?

The Ninth Circuit Protects Gun Rights and Stops Confiscation

The stage may be set for Brett Kavanaugh’s first Second Amendment test as a justice. Every now and then the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — arguably the nation’s most progressive federal circuit — can offer up a legal surprise. Yesterday, it gave us a legal shock, when a divided panel of its judges affirmed last year’s federal district-court injunction temporarily blocking enforcement of California’s confiscatory ban on so-called large-capacity magazines. Under California law, any person who possesses a legally purchased magazine capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition must either remove the magazine from the state, sell it to a licensed firearm dealer, or hand it over to law enforcement. Those citizens who retained their magazines after the law went into effect risked a fine or up to one year’s imprisonment in county jail. The district court’s 66-page opinion was a legal tour-de-force that not only dismantled California’s justifications for the ban, but also reiterated and reinforced the constitutional and historical basis for the right to keep and bear arms. As I wrote last year, this paragraph from the district-court opinion is nearly-perfect:

Violent gun use is a constitutionally-protected means for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from criminals. The phrase “gun violence” may not be invoked as a talismanic incantation to justify any exercise of state power. Implicit in the concept of public safety is the right of law-abiding people to use firearms and the magazines that make them work to protect themselves, their families, their homes, and their state against all armed enemies, foreign and domestic. To borrow a phrase, it would indeed be ironic if, in the name of public safety and reducing gun violence, statutes were permitted to subvert the public’s Second Amendment rights — which may repel criminal gun violence and which ultimately ensure the safety of the Republic.

Salmonella outbreak extends its reach across 26 states

A salmonella has affected 26 states and left at least 40 people hospitalized, and health officials say a single source of the strain has not been found. Salmonella Reading, believed to be linked to raw turkey, has infected 90 people and left dozens hospitalized, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday. No deaths have been reported. New York, Minnesota, Illinois and Texas have all reported the highest number of cases, totaling 38 infections. California, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have also each reported at least four to six cases.Investigators have linked the outbreak to raw turkey in various products and pet foods. It's also been linked to live turkeys. The federal agency said the outbreak hasn't been identified in a single source of raw turkey, "indicating it might be widespread in the turkey industry."...MORE

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

TGIFF! Its Fiddle Friday and we bring you Fisher's Hornpipe by Tommy Jackson

https://youtu.be/neBOs1sF3LU

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Secretary Zinke unveils plan to reorganize the Department of Interior; NM in pilot project

March 2, 2018
Zinke’s reorganization plan will redraw the regional maps. The new regions were drawn using watersheds and ecosystems generally following county lines. The new regions will be more involved in the decision process instead of D.C. making all the decisions. More authority will be given to personnel in the field. How does someone in Washington D.C. know what is happening in Utah or Arizona? The new regional maps will also put someone in charge. As often is the case today no one knows which agency takes the lead on projects that deal with multiple agencies, which is almost all of them. The new regions will have Interior Regional Directors (IRDs). The IRDs will report directly to the Deputy Secretary and be responsible for corralling the multiple agencies in their region while moving the ball forward on projects. This is what halts so many current projects. No one knows which agency will take the lead. Zinke plans on rolling out the plan in Alaska first. The nation’s largest state is in a single time zone almost all DOI bureaus operate there, and there is only one state government to deal with. The conditions make it perfect for the pilot program...MORE


Susan Combs testimony of today before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is embedded below or can viewed online here

In her testimony, mentioned the pilot projects as:

To support the Department and to begin this reorganization effort, the Administration included $17.5 million across the Department in its FY 2019 budget request. We are also carrying out a pilot project on this effort in the State of Alaska, an ideal location for such an effort because of its single time zone, large Department presence, and consolidated regional office location. An additional pilot is proposed for the region that includes the Upper Colorado Basin – Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. These pilot programs will focus on the use of shared services and inter-bureau coordination efforts and will help ensure that the eventual nationwide implementation of these unified regions will be accomplished with consideration of the full complexity of the Department’s operations and in a way that is sensitive to regional differences.

No specifics were given.



U.S. Interior watchdog investigating Secretary Ryan Zinke's role in land deal

The U.S. Interior Department's internal watchdog has opened an investigation into Secretary Ryan Zinke's involvement in a land deal with the head of an energy services company that does business with the agency. Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall said in a letter Wednesday to congressional Democrats that the investigation started Monday. The Associated Press reported last month that Kendall's office was looking into lawmakers' complaints over a charitable foundation created by Zinke and run by his wife, Lola. The foundation allowed a company co-owned by Halliburton chairman David Lesar to use land for a commercial development in Zinke's hometown in Montana. Zinke spokeswoman Heather Swift has said that he did nothing wrong and that Zinke resigned from the foundation's board of directors prior to the land deal. AP

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries Seek Public Input on Proposed Reforms to Improve & Modernize Implementation of the Endangered Species Act

Continuing efforts to improve how the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is implemented, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries today proposed revisions to certain regulations to ensure clarity and consistency. The changes incorporate public input, best science and best practices to improve reliability, regulatory efficiency and environmental stewardship.
“The Trump Administration is dedicated to being a good neighbor and being a better partner with the communities in which we operate. One thing we heard over and over again was that ESA implementation was not consistent and often times very confusing to navigate. We are proposing these improvements to produce the best conservation results for the species while reducing the regulatory burden on the American people,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan. “We value public input and have already incorporated initial public comments we received in response to our notices of intent published in 2017. We encourage the public to provide us additional feedback to help us finalize these rules.”
“We work to ensure effective conservation measures to recover our most imperiled species,” said Chris Oliver, NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries. “The changes being proposed today are designed to bring additional clarity and consistency to the implementation of the act across our agencies, and we look forward to additional feedback from the public as part of this process.”
Several proposed changes relate to section 4 of the ESA, which deals with procedures for listing species, recovery and designating critical habitat (areas essential to support the conservation of a species). First, the agencies propose to revise the procedures for designating critical habitat by reinstating the requirement that they will first evaluate areas currently occupied by the species before considering unoccupied areas. Second, the agencies propose to clarify when they may determine unoccupied areas are essential to the conservation of the species.
While the agencies recognize the value of critical habitat as a conservation tool, in some cases, designation of critical habitat is not prudent. Accordingly, they are proposing a non-exhaustive list of circumstances where they may find that designation for a particular species would not be prudent. The agencies anticipate that such not-prudent determinations will continue to be rare and expect to designate critical habitat in most cases.
The ESA defines a threatened species as one that is likely to become in danger of extinction within the “foreseeable future.” For the first time, the agencies are proposing an interpretation of “foreseeable future” to make it clear that it extends only as far as they can reasonably determine that both the future threats and the species’ responses to those threats are probable.
The agencies are also clarifying that decisions to delist a species are made using the same standard as decisions to list species. In both cases, that standard is whether a species meets the established ESA definition of an endangered species or threatened species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is separately proposing to rescind its blanket rule under section 4(d) of the ESA, which automatically conveyed the same protections for threatened species as for endangered species unless otherwise specified. This brings its regulatory approach to threatened species protections in line with NOAA Fisheries, which has not employed such a blanket rule. The proposed changes would impact only future listings or downlistings and would not apply to those species already listed as threatened. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will craft species-specific 4(d) rules for each future threatened species determination that are necessary and advisable for the conservation of the species, as has been standard practice for most species listed as threatened in recent years.
“No two species are the same, and so by crafting species-specific 4(d) rules for threatened species, we can tailor appropriate protections using best available science according to each species’ biological needs,” said Sheehan. “By creating a clearer regulatory distinction between threatened and endangered species, we are also encouraging partners to invest in conservation that has the potential to improve a species’ status, helping us work towards our ultimate goal: recovery.”
Under section 7 of the ESA, other federal agencies consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries to ensure their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in “destruction or adverse modification” of critical habitat. The proposed rule simplifies and clarifies the definition of “destruction or adverse modification” by removing redundant and confusing language. The proposed rule is not intended to alter existing consultation practice; rather, it seeks to revise and clarify language that was confusing to other federal agencies and the public.
Additional proposed revisions to the consultation regulations will clarify whether and how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries consider proposed measures to avoid, minimize or offset adverse effects to listed species or their critical habitat when conducting interagency consultations and will improve the consultation process by clarifying how biological opinions and interagency submissions should be formulated.
The proposed rules are available here and will publish in the Federal Register in coming days, including detailed information on how the public can submit written comments and information concerning these provisions.
Comments must be received within 60 days of publication. All comments will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means any personal information provided through the process will be posted.

The Center for Biological Diversity's reaction can be viewed here.

UPDATE:
Bishop Statement on Department of the Interior’s Proposed ESA Changes

WASHINGTON – Today, House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) issued the following statement in response to the Department of the Interior (DOI) releasing three proposed rules to modernize the Endangered Species Act:

“It’s no secret that modernizing the Endangered Species Act is long overdue. DOI’s proposed rules incorporate public input, innovative science and best practices to improve efficiency and certainty for federal agencies and the public. I commend Secretary Zinke and Deputy Secretary Bernhardt for their excellent leadership on this issue and look forward to working with my colleagues to enshrine these actions into law.”

Background:

DOI’s proposed rules focus on Sections four and seven of the Endangered Species Act, and would address improved consultation processes, changes to critical habitat designations, and issues within the criteria for listing and delisting species. They also incorporate public input and best practices to improve reliability, regulatory efficiency, and environmental stewardship.

Stuff Animal Rights Activists Say: 2018 Edition

Each year, the Animal Agriculture Alliance releases reports from major animal rights conferences. We believe it is critical for all of us in animal agriculture to understand what strategies and tactics will be used against us next. We recently released our report from the 2018 Animal Rights National Conference, held in Los Angeles in late June and organized by the Farm Animal Rights Movement.
Rather than summarize the conference for you, I’d like to once again let the activists speak for themselves. Here are some of the most concerning, telling and outlandish statements made at this year’s event.
  • "Animal rights is different from animal welfare. It's not about better cages; it's about empty cages."  - Anita Krajnc, The Save Movement
  • "Hens can never have reproductive freedom”…”Eggs don't just happen." - Justin Van Kleek, Triangle Chicken Advocates
  • "There is no such thing as humane slaughter." - Michael Budkie, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
  • "You cannot humanely kill someone that doesn't want to die." - Justin Van Kleek
  • "That's right, KFC. The future is vegan, and you better get on board."- Colleen Holland, VegNews Magazine
  • "Owning another living being is an act of violence." - Ashley Capps, Mothers Against Dairy and A Well-Fed World
  • "If we can rescue animals, we must rescue [them]”…"… until every crate is empty, and every tank is drained." – Simone Reyes, Social Compassion
  • "Our movement must adopt all avenues, the methodical and radical." – Simone Reyes
  • “I do believe that all farming and slaughterhouses are cruel." – Jaya Bhumitra, Animal Equality
  • "You don't even have to be an expert or tell the truth to make change." – Barbara Gates, Lean Green Kids
  • "Using any means necessary is morally and ethically responsible." – Dr. Jerry Vlasak, founder of the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, referring to defending animals. Vlasak also made a joke about killing some vivisectors for them to understand they should stop killing animals and the crowd cheered.
  • "We are accountable at the gates of Heaven for how many people we lead to veganism and how many we don't." – Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, Jewish Vegan Movement
  • "It's not up to science to say what's right or wrong, it's up to communities." – Erica Meier, Compassion Over Killing
  • "The best thing we can do? Stop eating meat." - Erica Meier, Compassion Over Killing
It’s clear that these groups and individuals are willing to be extreme and aggressive in their quest for “animal liberation.” We need to be informed and stay ahead – the Alliance will continue to help the industry do just that.
Editor’s Note: Hannah Thompson-Weeman is Communications Director at the Animal Agriculture Alliance. The opinions in this commentary are expressly those of the author. For more information on the Alliance, go to: www.animalagalliance.org

Property Rights Get Their Day in Court


By

Did you know that, in most states, the police can take your money and property without even charging you with a crime? Mundane actions such as having cash on hand have been cited as grounds for seizure, as a young man moving to Los Angeles to start a business discovered when his life savings were seized. He wasn’t detained, or charged with any crime — but he was left with nothing when the Drug Enforcement Agency took his cash. In any other situation, we would label this theft; the fact that the victim, Joseph Rivers, wasn’t taken in puts the lie to the idea that his behavior was some kind of threat or criminal activity.
Stories abound of abusive seizures justified under civil forfeiture. One family had its home taken because the son was caught with $40 of drugs; cities such as Philadelphia engage in hundreds of home seizures each year. In Texas, a family that drove for too long in the left lane of the highway was told by a county district attorney, Lynda K. Russell, that their children would be put in foster care, the parents would be put in jail, and their car would be seized — unless they handed over all of their cash, in which case they would be free to go. The town where that occurred, Tenaha, prides itself on this tactic, which ensures a steady flow of cash and goods from out-of-town drivers. In effect, the practice echoes the robbery of travelers by highwaymen in older days.
It’s extremely difficult, often to the point of impossible, to claim back seized property. A new Supreme Court case, however, might change that. Clarence Thomas has long been a vocal opponent of the civil-forfeiture practice. He wrote in his dissenting opinion against the Court’s refusal to hear the case Leonard v. Texas last year that:
This system — where police can seize property with limited judicial oversight and retain it for their own use — has led to egregious and well-chronicled abuses. . . . These forfeiture operations frequently target the poor and other groups least able to defend their interests in forfeiture proceedings. Perversely, these same groups are often the most burdened by forfeiture. They are more likely to use cash than alternative forms of payment, like credit cards, which may be less susceptible to forfeiture. And they are more likely to suffer in their daily lives while they litigate for the return of a critical item of property, such as a car or a home.
Justice Thomas has hoped for a civil-forfeiture case to come before the Supreme Court, so that this practice, which he views as incompatible with the due-process clause, can be analyzed on constitutional grounds. When it considers Timbs v. Indiana later this year, the Court will be able to do just that.

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Here is some recently released bluegrass: Lucius Gray by the Trinity River Band. The tune is on their 2018 CD Unbroken.

https://youtu.be/fBARlVL3l5g

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Trade War Endangers Farmers, Farm Bureau Tells Congress

American Farm Bureau Federation Vice President Scott VanderWal and Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening today warned Congress that many farms will lose money and even go out of business entirely if the growing trade war continues. Each called for a resumption of talks and removal of tariffs that are undoing decades of progress in trade. Kevin Paap, president of the Minnesota Farm Bureau, testified separately for his state’s organization. “Agriculture has been and continues to be the tip of the spear,” the corn and soybean farmer told the committee. “Once you lose a market, it is really tough to get it back. We cannot afford to lose our place as a leader in the agricultural global marketplace.” VanderWal, who also serves as president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau, raises corn and soybeans and owns a cattle feeding operation. “Our farmers are facing a perfect storm,” VanderWal told the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. “Since 2014, the American farmer’s income has fallen 52 percent. Now, farmers are dealing with big shifts in the commodity markets because of trade and tariff threats. Throughout history, some farmers have survived by expanding their operations. Today, that option is nearly impossible for many because of the lack of qualified labor. We also have the potential of going into harvest without a new farm bill. The ingredients of this perfect storm—trade threats, lower income, the lack of labor and no farm bill—will be more than our farmers can handle.” The South Dakota farmer called for more clarity. “We must ask, what is the exact goal? What is the exit strategy? If we knew this would all be over within a few months, we could hang in there and manage around it. Obviously, none of us know the time frame and that uncertainty is very detrimental. “We must get back to the table and get these issues worked out. If we cannot do that, the consequences are dire,” VanderWal said...MORE

Witnesses explain multiple benefits of public lands grazing at congressional hearing

A lieutenant governor, a scientist and an agricultural industry leader made the case for eliminating regulatory burdens and legal loopholes impacting livestock grazing on federal land during a House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing held recently. Idaho Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, University of Montana Professor Dave Naugle, and Arizona Farm Bureau President Stefanie Smallhouse provided testimony to the subcommittee on federal lands hearing entitled “The Essential Role of Livestock Grazing on Federal Lands and Its Importance to Rural America.” The witnesses emphasized the valuable contribution public lands ranchers make to the economic viability of rural communities and the health of America’s shared natural resources. “Ranchers are indispensable in the successful management of our public lands. Unlike government administrators, who are only there for a few years, ranchers have been on the land for generations,” said Little, a third-generation rancher testifying on behalf of the state of Idaho, the Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “If ranchers are regulated off, our country loses the most effective and efficient public lands managers, and the private inholdings are likely sold for development.”...MORE

PERC REPORTS: Getting Species Recovery Right

When the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973, few understood its ramifications. No one voted against the bill in the Senate, and only 12 representatives opposed it in the House. The bill encountered no organized opposition of any kind. It was barely covered in the national media. But now, 45 years later, it’s hard to find a more controversial or more powerful environmental law. Depending on who you ask, the Endangered Species Act is either one of America’s greatest conservation successes or one of its most dismal failures. Its supporters point out that only 1 percent of the species listed under the act have gone extinct, while critics counter that less than 2 percent of listed species have recovered and been delisted. Regardless, no one would dispute the law’s potential to impose significant economic consequences and bring about costly litigation and political conflict. This special issue of PERC Reports explores the challenges of species recovery—and how to provide incentives that can overcome those challenges. Doing so would enable us to achieve both of the law’s important goals: to prevent extinction and recover species. And that should be something we can all agree on.

Read it online here or download as pdf here.

Permian Pipeline Project Denied Tariff Exemption

The U.S. Administration has rejected the request of Plains All American Pipeline to exempt its US$1.1-billion Cactus II pipeline in the Permian from the 25-percent tariff on steel imports in what is the first such rejection to a major project. According to a Commerce Department decision, carried by Reuters, the request has been denied because there are suitable products available from U.S. steel producers. The Cactus II pipeline, with an initial capacity of 585,000 bpd extending from the Permian to the Corpus Christi/Ingleside area and costing a total of US$1.1 billion, is one of the major pipelines planned to secure an outlet for Permian oil to the markets and alleviate takeaway capacity constraints. The pipeline is targeted to be operational in the third quarter of 2019. Plains All American Pipeline had ordered material for part of the pipeline from a producer in Greece in December last year, before U.S. President Donald Trump slapped in March tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to protect U.S. production and jobs. In its application for exemption, Plains All American Pipeline cited facts that only three steel mills in the world could manufacture the material it needed, and none of them were in the United States. Plains said it would proceed with the project, but did not say how much the rejection for exemption could raise the cost of the project. It criticized the exemption review process as “flawed” and inefficient. “Collecting a tariff on steel pipe orders for projects like this constitutes a tax on the construction of critical U.S. energy infrastructure, which is a significant unintended consequence of current trade policy and risks U.S. energy security and American jobs,” the company said in a statement, carried by The Wall Street Journal...MORE

Senators grill Wyoming governor on proposed changes to Endangered Species Act

Gov. Matt Mead did not write the draft bill that would overhaul the nation’s bedrock conservation law, the Endangered Species Act, but some senators grilled the Wyoming governor as though he had in a meeting Tuesday in Washington D.C. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-AK, asked Mead why the draft bill, which was sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso, didn’t give states veto power on listing decisions, while the democratic senator from Maryland, Chris Van Hollen, questioned an aspect of the bill that invites states to report on the job performance of individual federal employees. Mead’s position center stage was not unwarranted. Barrasso first introduced his draft by selling its inspiration: a series of recommendations in 2016 and 2017 from the Western Governors Association that followed a request from Mead to take the difficult issue by the horns. The draft would change the Endangered Species Act substantially, in ways proponents say give states a role they were originally intended to have, without restricting the authority of federal agencies. A number of conservation groups have been hesitant to endorse the bill early on — praising the approach instead. Others are boldly critical of Barrasso’s intentions...MORE

The draft bill is embedded below or is available online here.


Ecotricity Becomes First “Vegan Electricity” Company

With more consumers making the switch to plant-based products, could “vegan electricity” become the next big trend? Ecotricity, an energy company based out of the United Kingdom, has become the first certified vegan supplier of electricity, causing some consumers to turn off the lights on conventional energy production all together. Anaerobic digestion along with biomass production have commonly been the two main sources of energy throughout the UK, according to Ecotricity. Working to produce energy without the use of animals or animal by-products, the vegan certified company is going beyond today’s green energy movement and harnessing power solely from solar, wind, wave and tidal sources. Teaming up with The Vegan Society, Ecotricity has become the only energy supplier in UK to remove animal by-products from their energy production...MORE

BLM and Partners Sign Agreement to Improve Fish and Wildlife Resources

The Bureau of Land Management has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies and the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. This agreement establishes a framework for joint collaboration to improve fish and wildlife habitat management on public lands. The MOU helps to fulfill the needs identified in recent Secretarial Orders issued by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (SO 3347, 3356, and 3362) by enhancing wildlife conservation and habitat improvement, supporting sportsmen and hunter access, and improving communication and collaboration with state fish and wildlife agencies. The new MOU establishes communication pipelines for the BLM to coordinate proactively with AFWA, WAFWA and the state agencies they represent on items of mutual interest. This increased science-based collaboration will bring relevant BLM and state fish and game agency staff together to improve stewardship of fish and wildlife habitat on BLM-managed lands...MORE

‘Bridge to Nowhere’ Leaves Pent-Up Permian Gas Problems Unsolved

A major Mexican pipeline opened this week after almost two years of delays. That’s the good news for drillers across the border who are seeking an expanded market for natural gas siphoned from the pent-up Permian Basin. The bad news: The conduit won’t fill to capacity until construction is completed on the new power plants it’s designed to serve. As such, the pipeline joins two others recently opened that carry minimal amounts of gas. Welcome to the stop-and-go world of Mexico power. Most recently, Mexico has offered “a bridge to nowhere” for American gas supplies, said Esteban Trejo, a Genscape Inc. analyst in Boulder, Colorado. “It’s just another example of where the pipelines are declared in service and there isn’t demand.” TranCanada Corp.’s $1.2 billion, 348-mile (557-kilometer) line, running from El Encino to Topolobampo on the coast, officially went into service on Monday, about 700 days after it was initially scheduled to open. It is one of several slated to start up this year in Mexico that have long been marked as a hoped-for solution for Permian drillers struggling to get their natural gas more easily to market at a time when production is booming and pipelines are full...MORE

Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act

Senate Democrats on Tuesday criticized multiple GOP-backed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), saying they threaten the conservation program’s successes. The debate came at a hearing examining Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) major proposal to overhaul the law. Barrasso’s bill aims to give states a bigger role in species recovery, mostly through “recovery teams” — at least half of whose members would represent state and local interests — with power to oversee an imperiled plant or animal’s recovery. “The discussion draft elevates the role of states in partnering with the federal government in implementing the Endangered Species Act. It affords states the opportunity to lead wildlife conservation efforts, including through the establishment of recovery teams for listed species in development and implementing recovery plans,” Barrasso said at the committee’s hearing on the legislation. “It provides for increased regulatory certainty, so stakeholders are incentivized to enter into voluntary conservation recovery activities,” he said. “It increases transparency. It codifies a system for prioritizing species listing petitions, so limited resources flow to the species most in need.” The bill is modeled on an ongoing process by the Western Governors' Association to recommend changes to the law, a process that has been endorsed by numerous GOP governors and one Democrat — Hawaii Gov. David Ige. While Democrats on the Environment Committee recognized that the ESA might warrant some changes and expressed an openness to contributing to the process, they said Barrasso’s bill was unacceptable...MORE

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Our selection today is the 1966 recording of Three Little Chickens by Jimmie Dale.

https://youtu.be/CttHSNYO-ZY