Friday, July 30, 2010

Grizzly bear who killed Grand Rapids man euthanized, will be study for ailments

The 300-pound female grizzly bear that fatally mauled a Grand Rapids man this week and bit two other campers at Soda Butte Campground was euthanized Friday after DNA tests showed the sow was responsible for the attacks, said Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks spokesman Andrea Jones. Jones said tests on bear hair, saliva and tissue samples linked the bear to the fatal attack on Kevin Kammer, 48, of the Northeast Side, and two other people Wednesday in the Gallatin National Forest, near Yellowstone National Park. Kammer, a father of four, was on a fly-fishing vacation when he was killed. Authorities say the bear dragged him 25 feet from his tent in the nighttime attack. Officials will perform an autopsy on the mother bear to determine if any physical ailments or conditions caused her to attack the campers, Servheen said. Grizzly bears that display unprovoked aggressive behavior toward humans, or cause death or substantial human injury, should be removed from the population under an agreement among eight state and federal agencies, state wildlife officials said...more

Woman recounts bear attack

One of the survivors of a deadly grizzly bear attack said Thursday she realized her only hope was to play dead after feeling the bear's jaw clamp onto her arm in the middle of the night. "Something woke me up, and a split second later, I felt teeth grinding into my arm," Deb Freele of London, Ontario, said from a Wyoming hospital. "I realized, at that split second, I was being attacked by a bear, but I couldn't see it. "It was behind me and I screamed. I couldn't help it — it's kind of like somebody else was screaming," she told The Associated Press. "And then it bit me harder, and more. It got very aggressive and started to shake me." She kept screaming but then realized that if she didn't do something, she was going to die. "I decided at that point, the only other thing I knew to do was to play dead, and I just went totally limp, got very quiet, didn't make a sound. And a few seconds later, the bear dropped me and walked away," she said. Freele said she couldn't understand why the bear attacked her, because she posed no threat. "If it was something that I had done — if I had walked into a female with cubs, and startled her, and she attacked me — I can understand that," she said. "She was hunting us, with the intention of killing us and eating us." Officials have said the bear will be killed if DNA evidence confirms it was the same one that attacked the victims. Aasheim said the test results were expected by Friday...more

Grizzly captured at site of fatal attack

A mother grizzly and two of her three cubs have been captured after killing a Michigan man and injuring two other people during an overnight rampage through a campground near Yellowstone National Park. The sow, estimated to weigh 300 to 400 pounds, was lured into a trap fashioned from culvert pipe covered by the dead victim's tent Wednesday evening. The bear tore down the tent again and was caught in the trap, said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim. Thursday morning, two of the year-old bears had been caught and the third could be heard nearby, calling out to its mother. Montana wildlife officials on Thursday identified the man killed in the mauling as Kevin Kammer, 48, of Grand Rapids, Mich. The bear pulled Kammer out of his tent and dragged him 25 feet, Aasheim said. The other victims, Deb Freele of London, Ontario, and an unidentified male, have been hospitalized in Cody, Wyo...more

NM governor suspends trapping in wolf area

Gov. Bill Richardson on Wednesday ordered a temporary ban on trapping on the New Mexico side of an area where Mexican gray wolves have been reintroduced into the wild along the New Mexico-Arizona border. Richardson ordered the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to prohibit trapping for six months while it studies what risk traps and snares pose to wolves...more



WHEREAS, the Mexican Gray Wolf is the smallest, rarest, and most genetically distinct subspecies of the Gray Wolf;

WHEREAS, the Mexican Gray Wolves that once widely roamed New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and the Republic of Mexico are now nearly extinct, suffering from the results of human development, reduction in habitat, and hunting;

WHEREAS, the Mexican Gray Wolf was listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1976, and all known wild Mexican Gray Wolves were caught and put into a captive breeding program;

WHEREAS, the Gray Wolf species, of which the Mexican Gray Wolf is a subspecies, was listed as endangered under the New Mexico Wildlife Conservation Act in 1976;

WHEREAS, in 1998, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced the Mexican Gray Wolf to a portion of its historic range in New Mexico and Arizona within the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (“Recovery Area”), which is comprised of the Gila and Apache National Forests;

WHEREAS, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s goal was to restore at least 100 free-roaming Mexican Gray Wolves in the Recovery Area by 2005, but as of 2010, only 39 individual Mexican Gray Wolves are surviving in the wild;

WHEREAS, pursuant to the New Mexico Wildlife Conservation Act, the State Game Commission has enacted rules which make it unlawful for any person to take (defined as harass, hunt, capture, kill, or attempt to do so) any threatened or endangered species or subspecies in the State of New Mexico;

WHEREAS, under the New Mexico Wildlife Conservation Act endangered species may only be removed, captured, or destroyed with prior authorization by permit given by the Director of the Department of Game and Fish (“Department”) where necessary to alleviate or prevent damage to property or to protect human health;

WHEREAS, trapping and snaring activities occur in New Mexico within the Recovery Area even though such activities are negatively impacting the Mexican Gray Wolf, as traps and snares do not discriminate between Mexican Gray Wolves and the game animals intended to be taken;

WHEREAS, Mexican Gray Wolves may suffer injury or death while caught in a trap or snare due to dehydration, exposure to weather, or predation by other animals;

WHEREAS, in the last eight years, in the Recovery Area located in New Mexico, there have been six confirmed and three probable Mexican Gray Wolves that have been trapped, five of which have sustained injuries from traps or snares, including two Mexican Gray Wolves that had injuries severe enough to result in leg amputations;

WHEREAS, missing toes, claws, or other injuries can inhibit the Mexican Gray Wolves’ ability to catch prey and may actually increase the risk of livestock predation, as domestic livestock are easier to capture than native prey such as elk or mule deer;

WHEREAS, Mexican Gray Wolves require adequate prey and freedom from indiscriminate traps and snares to thrive in the Recovery Area; and

WHEREAS, tourism for watching the Mexican Gray Wolf has had almost no chance to develop in New Mexico, because the Mexican Gray Wolf population has not grown as planned.

NOW THEREFORE, I Bill Richardson, Governor of the State of New Mexico, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the State of New Mexico, do hereby order the Department of Game and Fish to carry out the purpose of the New Mexico Wildlife Conservation Act, which requires endangered species, including the Mexican Gray Wolf, be protected and direct the Department of Game and Fish to temporarily ban trapping in the portion of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area located in New Mexico. The ban shall:

1. Prohibit trapping by persons licensed to trap pursuant to NMSA 1978, Section 17-5-5 and youth under the age of twelve years. This prohibition should not affect the right of a resident to trap animals in order to protect livestock, domesticated animals, or fowl. The ban shall be in effect for six months starting on November 1, 2010, while the two studies described below are completed.

2. Prohibit all methods of capturing a furbearer on land or in water, including leg-hold traps, neck and leg snares, Conibear kill traps, body-crushing traps, natural and man-made cubby sets, and other methods of trapping specified in NMAC. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the government of the United States and its agencies are exempted from this closure if the Mexican Gray Wolves require capture for medical treatment, monitoring, or relocation.

I further direct the Department to undertake a study of the various types of traps and snares allowed in New Mexico and to determine the level of risk to the Mexican Gray Wolf associated with the various traps and snares. The Department shall then pursue appropriate regulations to allow trapping within the Recovery Area only by use of traps and snares that pose minimal risk of harm or injury to the Mexican Gray Wolf.

I further direct the Department of Tourism to undertake a study on the potential economic benefits of ecotourism related to recovery of the Mexican Gray Wolf in the Recovery Area.

THIS ORDER supersedes any other previous orders, proclamations, or directives in conflict. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately and shall remain in effect until such time as it is rescinded by the Governor.

Enviros applaud trapping ban

"The Governor rightly recognizes that wild wolves can bring benefits to local communities," said Kevin Bixby, Executive Director of the Southwest Environmental Center. It's simple supply and demand: although once widespread, the supply of wild wolves in the wild in the U.S. is now limited to a few localities, while the demand to see them grows as more people come to appreciate their importance. Fortunately, New Mexico is one of the few places in the country that has wild wolves." "The Mexican wolf has a friend in Governor Bill Richardson," stated John Horning, Executive Director of WildEarth Guardians. "We are grateful for the Governor's action today, as the lobos face mounting threats to their very survival," continued Horning. "Governor Richardson understands the vital role wolves play as part of a healthy ecosystem," stated Sandy Buffett, Executive Director of Conservation Voters New Mexico and Vice-Chair of the NM State Game Commission. "This important policy change ensures that the Department of Game and Fish and the Game Commission will have the additional data necessary to assess the long-term biological impacts of trapping on wolf recovery."...more

Jess Carey comments on trap ban

It is obvious Gov. Richardson has enacted this trap ban on his way out and at the direction of the radical wolf recovery organizations and it was probably written by them also.

What a crock, almost all the trapping injuries to wolves have been done by the federal agencies involved in wolf recovery, not the trapping public...why..because they use #7 McBride wolf traps that have larger jaws than traps allowed by state law. These agencies are exempt of state law and do what they want.

The enviro's are punishing the trapping public for what federal agencies are doing, why? Because these same enviro's are against trapping, hunting, ranching, farmings, off road vehicles and or anything else that uses our natural re-newable resources.

We can only pray for a decent Governor, not one that walks and talks like Richardson with the same ol tune, fiddle and guitar...but one that will see through all the enviro hype and will protect the folks living on and using the land.

"KNOW" who you are voting for..everyone should be a one man army and campaign every person you meet.

Folks, the customs of life of the people's of the Southwest are on the line and we need a change....or it will be lost forever!

Many people's lives depend on your vote...Let us all band together and put decent people in office that will work and protect our way of life.

I don't know about you, but I'm tired living at the direction of the environmental radical organizations...WE out number the enviro's, all we have to do is focus and band together and vote as one.

The only way to beat them is by electing like minded candidates.

Best wishes

Jess Carey

These comments were originally submitted to the Mesilla Valley Sportsmen's Alliance.

Elk numbers dip; are wolves culprits?

Researchers at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks have proposed a study of elk survival and recruitment in the Bitterroot Valley that could go a long way toward settling the debate over the impact that wolves have on elk. "It sure has applicability toward that," said Craig Jourdonnais, an FWP wildlife biologist in the Bitterroot, who proposed the study after two years of serious declines in the number of elk calves recruited into herds in the East and West Forks of the Bitterroot River. "Elk cow/calf ratios have declined throughout the Bitterroot Valley since 2004," Jourdonnais said. "MFWP recorded a valley-wide historic low in elk calf recruitment in 2009. Steady declines in the West Fork — Hunting District 250 — have left that population 63 percent below objective and recruitment rates of only 11 calves per 100 cows." Jourdonnais said two consecutive years of low calf recruitment — those calves that made it through their first winter and their early vulnerability to predators — prompted a grassroots call for the research. Valley-wide, those late calves have numbered 12 to 15 calves per hundred cows. Ideally they would be at about 35 calves per hundred cows. "There are a lot of opinions about the relationship between elk and wolves and that is all they are," Jourdonnais said. "We want to put some data behind it, but from gut level and our experience in the Gallatin and the Madison, it would not surprise me at all to see wolves are large part of what is going on."...more

Barrett, BLM reach landmark compromise on Utah drilling

Colorado-based energy developer Bill Barrett Corp. is earning praise for a landmark natural-gas-development proposal approved Thursday by the Bureau of Land Management. The company agreed to reduce its development plan for the West Tavaputs Plateau, 30 miles east/northeast of Price, Utah, a compromise that the BLM approved with only minor modifications. Barrett also agreed not to drill within the Desolation Canyon and Jack Canyon wilderness study areas, and to minimize surface disturbance in other areas with wilderness characteristics through more use of directional drilling, rather than straight down from the top. Citing technological advances and increased geological knowledge, Barrett agreed to limit pads to one per 160 acres overall, and one per 320 acres in areas with wilderness characteristics. The drilling plan is the result of a compromise reached between Denver-based Barrett and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Under the compromise, Barrett and other operators plan to drill 626 wells from 120 pads, a reduction of 181 wells and 418 pads from previous plans. Environmental groups say the agreement will result in fewer than six surface locations in proposed wilderness areas, down from an initial proposal of 225 locations...more

Suspects still at large after forest service worker shot at near Foresthill

Three suspects were still at large today after a U.S. Forest Service employee was shot at while installing signs in the Tahoe National Forest northeast of Auburn. The forest worker was inside a vehicle when the shooting occurred Wednesday afternoon and was not injured, Forest Service spokeswoman Ann Westling said today. Three people were involved in Wednesday’s shooting, according to information released by the Forest Service. The employee was putting up signs related to the current fire danger in the forest, she said. No similar shooting incidents have taken place in the Tahoe National Forest in the recent past but they have occurred in other national forests, Westling said. There was no information available on a motive, including whether the three were attempting to keep the employee away from an possible illicit marijuana grow, she said...more

Monuments could be blocked in Senate bill

Presidential authority to declare new federal monuments on public land will be restricted under legislation introduced by Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch. The National Monument Designation Transparency and Accountability Act calls for Congressional approval within two years of any executive order by a President seeking a monument designation. If the two-year deadline passes without congressional approval, the land would return to its original status. The legislation also requires that the President provide Congress with information about the actions 30 days prior to any Executive Order designation. It calls for public hearings and sets land restrictions for the monument designation. Crapo and Risch previously sent Interior Secretary Ken Salazar a letter warning against sweeping decisions about national monuments. Original Senate sponsors include Crapo, Risch, and Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), John Ensign (R-Nevada), Michael Enzi (R-Wyoming), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Pat Roberts (R-Kansas)...more

Where were these guys during the six years the Republicans controlled both houses of congress and the White House? They were nowhere to be seen.

Signing of tribal law act welcomed

With violence on Indian reservations more than two times the national average, the Tribal Law and Order Act signed Thursday by President Barack Obama is expected to combat the problem. The bill passed the U.S. Senate on June 23 and the House on July 21. Its backers believe it will help in a number of ways. Among the law’s provisions: • Authorizes appointment of special assistant U.S. attorneys to prosecute crimes in tribal communities in federal court. • Provides tribal courts with tougher sentencing powers. • Allows some tribal police officers to enforce federal laws on Indian lands, as well as increases recruitment and retention efforts of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribal law officers. • Requires tribal and federal officers serving Indian Country to be trained in interviewing victims of sexual assault and collecting evidence at crime scenes. • Requires federal investigators and prosecutors to maintain information on cases that occur on Indian lands that are closed or declined for prosecution in federal court and share that information with tribal justice officials. U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, who attended Thursday afternoon’s bill signing, said the legislation will combat a serious problem on reservations. “We’ve got some issues of violence in Indian Country,” said Tester, a Montana Democrat and one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “This will address those issues and will reduce violence, making communities safe, allowing business to grow and families to thrive. “The bottom line is you don’t have economic growth with unsafe communities.”...more

“The bottom line is you don’t have economic growth with unsafe communities.”

Senator Tester should tell that to the Senators who represent folks who live in the vicinity of the Mexican border.


v. JANE L. COTTRELL, in her official capacity as acting Regional Forester; UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 09-35756.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted February 2, 2010—Seattle, Washington.
Filed July 28, 2010.

Alliance for the Wild Rockies ("AWR") appeals the district court's denial of its motion for a preliminary injunction. AWR seeks to enjoin a timber salvage sale proposed by the United States Forest Service. Citing Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 129 S. Ct. 365 (2008), the district court held that AWR had not shown the requisite likelihood of irreparable injury and success on the merits. After hearing oral argument, we issued an order reversing the district court and directing it to issue the preliminary injunction. Alliance for Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, No. 09-35756, 2010 WL 2640287 (9th Cir. June 24, 2010). In this opinion, we now set forth the reasons for our reversal, and we take this opportunity to clarify an aspect of the post-Winter standard for a preliminary injunction...


We conclude that the district court erred in denying AWR's request for a preliminary injunction. AWR has established a likelihood of irreparable injury if the Project continues. AWR has also established serious questions, at the very least, on the merits of its claim under the ARA. Because AWR has done so with respect to its claim under the ARA, we do not reach its claims under NFMA and NEPA. The balance of hardships between the parties tips sharply in favor of AWR. Finally, the public interest favors a preliminary injunction. We therefore REVERSE and REMAND for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Go here to view the entire opinion.

Song Of The Day #370

Ranch Radio will close out Hank Week with the 1951 recording of Baby We're Really In Love by Hank Williams.

William's recordings are widely available, as you can see by going here.

Illegal immigrants leave tons of trash in Arizona desert, devastating environment

In 1971, the environmental organization Keep America Beautiful launched a Public Service Announcement featuring a crying Indian lamenting the litter that supposedly coated America’s landscape. If in the 1970s the crying Indian was tearing up over some Coke cans on the bank of a river, today he would be sobbing at the environmental devastation occurring on the U.S.-Mexico border due to illegal immigration. The Arizona Bureau of Land Management (BML) reports that in 2009 alone environmental groups collected over 234 tons of trash, 800 tires, 404 bicycles, and 62 vehicles left behind by illegals crossing the border. Special assistant for the Arizona BLM, Kathy Pedrick, told The Daily Caller that last year the agency spent over one million dollars of federal money just clearing the mess along the border. Pedrick’s colleague, deputy state director for communications, Deborah E. Stevens, told TheDC that the clean up crews are outnumbered. “The impact of the environmental pollution far exceeds the amount of clean up,” she said. “We cannot keep up with it. We distribute the work, but there is too much.” On Capitol Hill, Republican Congressmen are beginning to take notice. “Arizona is getting the brunt of the traffic now because it is so lax on the border security….The trash is a natural byproduct of the number of illegals who are coming in specifically with the purpose of human trafficking and drug smuggling,” Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop said in an interview with TheDC. “They [illegal immigrants] come with provisions that they will just drop along the way. So they will purposely leave everything behind and change clothing to go either up into Phoenix or further on north.” According to Bishop, “wilderness areas,” or land set aside for protection — which limits border patrol access to surveillance on foot or on horseback, and limits vehicle access to emergencies on approved roads — have actually compounded the environmental problem as less supervision allows for more border crossings and polluting residue...more

Some Mexican Drug Traffickers ‘Specialize’ in Smuggling Aliens From Countries With Ties to Terrorism Into the U.S.

Some Mexican drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs) are involved in smuggling potential terrorists across the southwestern border, according to the Government Accountability Office. “Aliens from countries of special interest to the United States such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan (known as special-interest aliens) also illegally enter the United States through the [southwest border] region,” Richard Stana, the GAO homeland security and justice issues director, said in a report on alien smuggling issued July 22. “These [drug trafficking] organizations collect fees from alien smuggling organizations for the use of specific smuggling routes, and available reporting indicates that some Mexican drug trafficking organizations specialize in smuggling special-interest aliens into the United States,” he added. Stana told that the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center’s (NDIC) 2008 National Drug Threat Assessment and “other reports” corroborate his comments, although he did not elaborate on what other reports he was referring to. According to the 2008 NDIC: “Hundreds of undocumented aliens from special-interest countries illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border annually.” The drug-threat assessment echoed Stana, saying, “Mexican DTOs specialize in smuggling special-interest aliens into the United States.”...more

Decapitated Heads Found on Ice in Juarez

Authorities in Juarez made a horrific discovery.Mexican police found two human heads on top of buckets of ice. Their bodies were found nearby with a message claiming that the men were connected to a criminal gang. The heads were found at the same location of a double murder earlier this week...more

U.S. Closes Consulate in Juarez

The U.S. closed its consulate in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez on Thursday pending a security review, an unexpected decision that comes months after drug gangs killed three people tied to the consulate. The U.S. Embassy announced the consulate will "remain closed until the security review is completed" and said it would reschedule appointments for visa applications. The embassy did not say what prompted the review, and a spokesman said there would be no comment beyond the statement. A U.S. employee of the consulate, her husband and a Mexican tied to the consulate were killed March 13 when drug gang fired on their cars as they left a children's party in the city across from El Paso, Texas. The U.S. State Department has taken several measures over the past months to protect consulate employees and their families from surging violence along Mexico's border with the United States...more

Chilling effect: Violence silences Mexican media

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico — Heavily armed troops patrol the city, combat erupts in the streets and mutilated bodies are dumped in parking lots, ditches and curbs. After years of relative calm, the gangland nightmare is back — and yet, barely a single mention of the clashes here has been made by local radio and television stations or newspapers. The city's journalists, having lost some of their own and seen their colleagues across the country killed or kidnapped, have been silenced for fear for their lives. "Nowhere is the media controlled more than it is here," said one reporter, who stressed he would face serious danger if identified. "There is total control." The extreme criminal violence flailing much of Mexico has returned to this rattled city on the Rio Grande where it started six years ago. Several journalists and residents say the media here have been cowed into silence by attacks and a barrage of death threats from the Zetas, the gangsters many consider the real lords of Nuevo Laredo...more

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Joshua Rhett Miller, Fox News, Makes Huge Mistake On Border Security

Mr. Miller recently reported on S.1689, Senator Bingaman's bill which would designate over a quarter million acres of wilderness on or near our border with Mexico. In that report he stated:

"To address the border region's unique security challenges, they say, the legislation creates nearly three miles of non-wilderness buffer and an additional 2-mile "restricted use area" that would prohibit motor vehicle access by the public. But CBP agents will have access to conduct routine patrols and build surveillance infrastructure, as they would on regular multiple-use land. (Currently, the existing area provides CBP agents with one-third of a mile in which to perform their activities.)" Emphasis mine.

Miller seems to think the Border Patrol will have more access if the Bingaman bill passes. However, what he has written is not factual.

The lands under discussion are currently designated as Wilderness Study Areas (WSA). These areas are managed according to BLM's Interim Management Policy for Lands under Wilderness Review. That policy states, “existing facilities/uses which did not disqualify the area from wilderness inventory may remain.” The Border Patrol was regularly patrolling these areas before they were designated as WSAs and under the quoted policy continue to do so today.

So the Border Patrol currently has vehicular access to all of the lands, not to just "one-third of a mile" as Miller states.

If Bingaman's bill becomes law, the Border Patrol will have vehicular access to only 5 miles of territory, and will be denied vehicular access to 259,000 acres or 400 square miles.

The Border Patrol's ability to carry out it's mission will be drasticly reduced, not increased under the Bingaman proposal and Miller should correct his error.

Fox News has done an excellent job in reporting on how protected federal lands restrict the Border Patrol and threaten border security, so I was surprised to see this story by Miller which gives over twice the coverage to the proponents of wilderness as he does to those who seek a less restrictive designation (344 words to 160 words). I would have expected a more accurate and balanced report from Fox.

To really see what S. 1689 will do to border security and public safety, watch the short video The Perfect Drug Smuggling Corridor. There you will see the criteria for the perfect corridor (according to the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers) and how Bingaman's bill provides the final leg, much to New Mexico and our nation's detriment.

As Deaths Soar in the Desert, a Morgue Grows Crowded

The Pima County morgue is running out of space as the number of Latin American immigrants found dead in the deserts around Tucson has soared this year during a heat wave. The rise in deaths comes as Arizona is embroiled in a bitter legal battle over a new law intended to discourage illegal immigrants from settling here by making it a state crime for them to live or seek work. But the law has not kept the immigrants from trying to cross hundreds of miles of desert on foot in record-breaking heat. The bodies of 57 border crossers have been brought in during July so far, putting it on track to be the worst month for such deaths in the last five years. Since the first of the year, more than 150 people suspected of being illegal immigrants have been found dead, well above the 107 discovered during the same period in each of the last two years. The sudden spike in deaths has overwhelmed investigators and pathologists at the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office. Two weeks ago, Dr. Parks was forced to bring in a refrigerated truck to store the remains of two dozen people because the building’s two units were full. “We can store about 200 full-sized individuals, but we have over 300 people here now, and most of those are border crossers,” Dr. Parks said...more

And this is what they want to bring to NM?

Border Security Concerns Have Deputies Escorting Livestock Inspectors

David Martin and David Turning are livestock inspectors for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, and every year for about three weeks, they travel around the state checking equipment on ranches. “The ranchers buy and sell across these scales so they need someone to certify them and that's what our department does,” said Turning. However checking scales is not all that's being inspected this year. “We're basically looking for anything that's out of the ordinary, make sure there's nobody out here,” said Deputy Trini Garcia of the Luna County Sheriff’s Office. Trini and Deputy David Justice of the Hildago County Sheriff’s Office were assigned to escort the inspectors Wednesday for security purposes. Turning said they've been denied law enforcement escorts in the past, but since violence along the border has risen, their wish has finally come true. “It allows us to do what we need to do and just check the scale and we're on to the next one,” said Turning. Law enforcement officials said since it's too difficult smuggling humans or drugs at major ports of entries, that's why there's an increase of traffic along the rural areas of the border. “This would be a perfect pickup point to leave your drugs and have someone drive through it and continue on,” said Justice...more

“This would be a perfect pickup point to leave your drugs and have someone drive through it and continue on,” said Justice.

Is our Congressional Delegation listening?

Bear attack in Montana leaves 1 dead, 2 injured

When he heard the first scream in a campground outside Yellowstone National Park, Don Wilhelm thought it was just teenagers, maybe a domestic dispute in the middlle of the night. The wildlife biologist from Texas tried to go back to sleep, stifling thoughts that a beast might be lurking outside his family's tent. Minutes later, another scream — this one coming from the next campsite over, where a bear had torn through a tent and sunk its teeth into the arm of the middle-aged Canadian woman inside. "First she said, "No!' Then we heard her say, 'It's a bear! I've been attacked by a bear!" said Wilhelm's wife, Paige. By that point, the bear already had ripped into another tent a few campsites away, chomping into the leg of a teenager who had been sleeping with his family. Wilhelm later would find out that a solo camper at the other end of the heavily occupied Soda Butte Campground had been killed in a rampage Wednesday that one wildlife officials described as the most brazen bear attack in the Yellowstone area since the 1980s. "It was like a nightmare, couldn't possibly happen," Paige Wilhelm said later. Added Don Wilhelm: "Words cannot describe what it's like to hear someone attacked by a bear." Wildlife officials still were attempting to capture the bear — or bears — late Wednesday evening, with five baited traps set up at the scene of the maulings...more

Judge Rejects Forest Service’s Plan on Fire Retardant

A federal judge has ruled that the federal Forest Service’s plan for using fire retardant to fight wildfires violates the law because it does not ensure protections for threatened and endangered species of fish and other animals. Dropped from airplanes and helicopters, reddish clouds of retardant are often the most visible tool used to fight wildfires, particularly in rugged areas of the West. Yet chemicals in the most common retardants can hurt wildlife, particularly when they miss their mark. In some cases, large numbers of fish have been killed when retardant has been dropped into lakes and streams. The plan encourages pilots not to drop retardant within 300 feet of a body of water, but it allows for exceptions if flying conditions require it or if lives or property are in danger. Late Tuesday, the judge, Donald W. Molloy of Federal District Court in Montana, ordered the Forest Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to conduct more rigorous environmental reviews of the ways retardant affects wildlife and to place more specific restrictions on how it is used. Judge Molloy did not halt the use of retardant but said he would consider doing so if new procedures were not in place by the end of 2011. “The issue requires immediate attention,” the judge wrote...more

CBD petition seeks protection for 2 plants in Cochise County

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition Wednesday under the Endangered Species Act, seeking protection for two Arizona plants. The center says the plants' numbers are withering due to mining, recreation, climate change, and, more predominantly, collection and cattle grazing. The petitioners render the need for federal protection for the Bartram stonecrop and the beardless chinch weed "unquestionable" and go on to explain that the decision to provide assistance for these rare plants should have been made 30 years ago. Though the petition originally started with the proposition to build the Rosemont open-pit mine near the Santa Rita Mountains, it also claims that the Forest Service and cattle ranchers are culpable. Both plants grow in what the biologists refer to as the Sky Islands in the Atascosa, Baboquivari, Chiricahua, Dragoon, Huachuca, Mule, Patagonia, Rincon, Santa Rita and Tumacacori mountains and Canelo Hills in Cochise, Pima, and Santa Cruz counties...more

Audit finds agencies fail to identify, repatriate Native American remains

A yearlong audit released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office said no federal agencies with significant historical collections of Native American remains or associated sacred objects are in full compliance with a law mandating documentation and repatriation of the remains, despite passage of the act nearly 20 years ago. Since the early 1800s, federal agencies have amassed archaeological collections numbering in the millions, with the Department of Interior having an estimated 146 million objects relevant to archaeology and other disciplines such as zoology and art. Under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, agencies such as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Park Service are required to identify the items covered under its provisions, establish cultural affiliations whenever possible, publish required notices and repatriate the items to the tribes...more

Whoop it up for the West

Anyone who thinks art galleries are strictly for well-heeled snobs is in for a few surprises Saturday at Go West Day. The western-themed event at the Bakersfield Museum of Art has everything from ropin' and ridin' to telling tall tales, with sack races, a square dance and a whole lot of country music thrown in for everyone's pleasure. Oh, and you might walk away with a new guitar, or a trip for the family -- just two prizes of the many that will be given away. The price of admission? Just $1. Beth Pandol, marketing director, said the community-oriented program is something she and David Gordon, assistant museum director, have wanted to do for some time. The current Best of the West art exhibit presented the ideal opportunity...more

USA - Smallest cattle herd in 37 years

The U.S. beef-cow herd on July 1 was the smallest in at least 37 years as farmers remained wary of beef demand during the economic recovery after losing money in the past two years. The beef-breeding herd totaled 31.7 million head as the month began, down 1.6 percent from 32.2 million a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a semiannual report. That marked the fewest cows for the date since at least 1973, said Ron Plain, a livestock economist at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Six analysts in a Bloomberg News survey expected a 1.4 percent drop, on average. Cattle producers may make about $51.53 per cow this year, after losses in 2009 and 2008 because of high feed costs and declining beef demand, said Erica Rosa, an economist at the Livestock Marketing Information Center in Denver. Uncertainty about economic recovery may be keeping ranchers from expanding herds, she said. “Overall, cow-calf producers continue to reduce herd numbers, rather than expand by retaining heifers,” Rosa said by e-mail. “Although calf and feeder-cattle prices are higher than 2009, input/production costs still remain high and there is still quite a bit of uncertainty currently and about the future.” The overall U.S. beef and dairy herd totaled 100.8 million head at the start of July, down 1.2 percent from a year earlier, according to today’s USDA report. That also marked the smallest size for July since at least 1973, Missouri’s Plain said. The USDA’s estimate matched analysts’ expectations before the report...more

Rancher trampled by 1,200-pound water buffalo in Carver

Two 1,200-pound water buffaloes trampled a 50-year-old man in Carver July 22. The rancher's name has not been released, but the incident occurred on local businessman Terry Emmert's ranch just after 9 a.m. The unidentified ranch worker had loaded the buffaloes into a truck for transport from the 15000 block of S. Springwater Road in the Carver area, but the animals decided that they wanted out of the truck. Before he could get the door latched, the animals charged out, knocking him to the ground and trampling him. After sustaining injuries to his legs, he remained alert and in good humor throughout the incident, according to Clackamas Fire District #1 personnel. Paramedics on scene decided that due to the extent of his injuries and possible internal injuries that he should be flown by Lifeflight to OHSU, where he will be evaluated...more

Police shoot rampaging pregnant at Ca. State Fair

In the second bizarre incident at the State Fair in a week, Cal Expo police shot an agitated, pregnant dairy cow that twice escaped her confines and knocked over an officer as she bolted through the fairgrounds Tuesday morning. Neither the cow nor her calf survived the shooting, which occurred an hour before gates opened to the public. Ultimately, the roughly 1,200-pound cow became a threat to thousands of employees already abuzz in the fairgrounds, police and veterinary officials said. They agreed she had to be put down after a 1 1/2-hour chase. "Obviously, we're in a caring profession and the last thing we want to do is see an animal euthanized," said W. David Wilson, director of the veterinary medical teaching hospital at the University of California, Davis, which oversaw the care of the cow. However, he added, "A very difficult choice had to be made."...more

Now I'm not opposed to shooting a bovine if necessary to protect the public. Read the article though and you will see this was gunsel city for sure. One good mounted cowboy could have handled it, no shooting needed.

Now That´s Rural Warren Weibert - Decatur County Feedyard

What happens when cattle meet computers? That sounds like one of my kid´s riddles. Actually, it could be a way of describing a scientific process for evaluating and managing cattle that is being used by an innovative beef feedyard in rural northwest Kansas. It´s the subject of today´s Kansas Profile. Warren Weibert is owner and general manager of Decatur County Feed Yard near Oberlin, Kan. He is the innovator who is utilizing this high-tech management system. Oberlin is a town of 1,955 people. That´s rural - but there´s more. Warren actually grew up near Durham, Kansas, population 114 people. Now, that´s rural. After growing up at Durham, Warren went to K-State and then into a business management career. He married Carol who is originally from Oberlin. In 1971, some 45 local investors around Oberlin went together to create a cattle feedlot known as Decatur County Feed Yard. In 1977, Carol Weibert´s father bought the feedyard and invited Warren and Carol to come back to Oberlin to manage it, which they did. Warren and Carol now make their home in Manhattan. The feedyard expanded through the years and now has a capacity of 40,000 head. During the 1980s, Warren set out to work more closely with the ranchers who supplied cattle to be finished at the feedyard. He and the ranchers were seeking to get more data to add value to the cattle...more

Heavy lifting is all in a day's work for Jose Luis Arrieta

Jose Luis Arrieta has a simple explanation for how he got so strong. "Hard work seven days a week," he said. The results made him locally famous. In his prime, he held U.S. records in Basque weightlifting. Weightlifting has been a popular rural sport in the Basque Country of northern Spain and western France for generations. Its roots are in the traditional Basque agrarian culture. Over time, a variety of weightlifting events emerged: anvil lifting, hay-bale lifting, weight carrying and others. An event in which Arrieta especially excelled was stone lifting, in which stones or cement blocks are lifted repeatedly, ending with the stone balanced on the weight lifter's shoulder. Arrieta broke the U.S. record in 1978. He lifted a 308-pound weight 13 times and 11 times during two separate three-minute time slots. "He was really, really, really strong," longtime Idaho Secretary of State and Basque sheep rancher Pete Cenarrusa said. Arrieta was 18 when he came to the United States from the old country and went to work for Jessie Little of the Emmett-based Little family sheep empire. He later oversaw sheep-ranching operations for Brad Little, now Idaho's lieutenant governor, then spent eight years doing the same job for a rancher to whom Little sold his sheep. Now 69, Arrieta retired this year...more

Possibility of pardon for Billy the Kid upsets Garrett descendants

Almost 130 years after one of the more significant historical events in New Mexico, and almost 100 years after the death of one of the two key figures, the rhetoric continues in the fateful shooting of Billy The Kid by legendary lawman Pat Garrett. Garrett gunned down Billy The Kid - also known as Henry McCarty, Henry Antrim, and William H. Bonney, on July 14,1881 in Fort Sumner, about 200 miles northeast of Las Cruces. There are claims that New Mexico territorial governor Lew Wallace - the same person who wrote "Ben Hur" - offered Billy The Kid a pardon if he testified against the principles involved in the "Lincoln County War," a bloody uprising between rival merchants and ranchers in 1877. Billy The Kid agreed to testify in return for a pardon from Wallace, but the governor reportedly reneged on that promise. An inquiry into the claims was started by Gov. Bill Richardson in 2003, and he said then if there was enough information to warrant it, he would pardon Billy The Kid. But Susan Floyd Garrett, the granddaughter of Pat Garrett, said Wednesday that she and other relatives are opposed to the governor issuing a pardon. "From the beginning, we feel that, as many other historians have, that the governor has created his own version of the facts, and those have nothing to do with the real history of New Mexico."...more

Song Of The Day #369

Ranch Radio continues with Hank Week.

Today's selection is Standing 'Neath The Old Pine Tree by Hank Penny.

You'll find the tune on his 28 track CD Flamin' Mamie 1938-1941 on Krazy Kat Records.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Criminal probe of oil spill to focus on 3 firms and their ties to regulators

A team of federal investigators known as the "BP squad" is assembling in New Orleans to conduct a wide-ranging criminal probe that will focus on at least three companies and examine whether their cozy relations with federal regulators contributed to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, according to law enforcement and other sources. The squad at the FBI offices includes investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard and other federal agencies, the sources said. In addition to BP, the firms at the center of the inquiry are Transocean, which leased the Deepwater Horizon rig to BP, and engineering giant Halliburton, which had finished cementing the well only 20 hours before the rig exploded April 20, sources said. While it was known that investigators are examining potential violations of environmental laws, it is now clear that they are also looking into whether company officials made false statements to regulators, obstructed justice or falsified test results for devices such as the rig's failed blowout preventer. It is unclear whether any such evidence has surfaced...more

Clean-Up Crews Can't Find Crude in the Gulf

For 86 days, oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's damaged well, dumping some 200 million gallons of crude into sensitive ecosystems. BP and the federal government have amassed an army to clean the oil up, but there's one problem -- they're having trouble finding it. At its peak last month, the oil slick was the size of Kansas, but it has been rapidly shrinking, now down to the size of New Hampshire. Today, ABC News surveyed a marsh area and found none, and even on a flight out to the rig site Sunday with the Coast Guard, there was no oil to be seen. The numbers don't lie: two weeks ago, skimmers picked up about 25,000 barrels of oily water. Last Thursday, they gathered just 200 barrels. Still, it doesn't mean that all the oil that gushed for weeks is gone. Thousands of small oil patches remain below the surface, but experts say an astonishing amount has disappeared, reabsorbed into the environment...more

Forest Service to cut sheep grazing by 70%

The Payette National Forest aims to protect wild bighorn sheep by reducing rangeland suited for domestic sheep and goat grazing by 70% by 2013. This plan, in the works for years, protects 94% of bighorn sheep summer habitat. Scientists and forest officials have concluded bighorns can contract deadly lung diseases when they encounter domestic sheep; ranchers fear closures will put them out of business. The Forest Service estimates the plan will result in 28 livestock jobs lost, while recreation could increase. Stan Boyd, who heads the Idaho Wool Growers Association, said Tuesday, "The industry is in the biggest fight of its life, and it's fighting its own government." But Payette Forest officials contend this move will balance uses, protect bighorns, honor tribal rights and live up to federal law. AP

Federally controlled resource trumps privately owned resource. It's happening everywhere.

Ranchers oppose gas pipeline deal which includes grazing buyout

Nevada ranchers concerned about the potential impact on livestock grazing are upset about a deal between the builder of a 680-mile natural gas pipeline and two environmental groups that agreed to drop their opposition to the project stretching from Oregon to Wyoming. El Paso Corp. agreed earlier this month to contribute $20 million over the next 10 years toward conservation efforts in the pipeline corridor to be overseen by the Idaho-based Western Watersheds Project and Oregon Natural Desert Foundation. Both groups have indicated they intend to use some of the money to buy out grazing permits from willing sellers on federal land, with the intention of permanently retiring the permits issued by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service. "The livestock industry is about as upset about this issue as it has been for a long time. We're going to fight it tooth and nail," said Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, an Elko County rancher who chairs the Nevada Legislative Committee on Public Lands...more

Western Watersheds Project is becoming the Jesse Jackson of the enviro worls.

BLM needs to use 'copters to round up horses

The Bureau of Land Management's plan to gather nearly 2,000 wild horses in southwest Wyoming this fall using helicopters is still the best course of action, despite criticism from some animal advocates. There's no doubt that this major roundup is needed. BLM officials said two herd management areas located in southeastern Sweetwater County, south of Wamsutter and Interstate 80, are substantially over the appropriate management levels for survival. An agency survey conducted in July 2009 indicated there are about 1,950 horses living within the two herd units. But the appropriate number of wild horses for the Adobe Town area is between 610 to 800, while the range for the Salt Wells Creek area is from 251 to 365. The environmental assessment for the planned roundup, released last Thursday, noted the estimated wild horse population in the complex at 2,438, or more than 1,500 above the low management range for the two herd units. By rounding up an estimated 1,950 wild horses between Oct. 1 and Nov. 8 and treating and releasing another 100 mares with fertility-control vaccines, the BLM said it should successfully remove a total of 1,580 excess horses from the two areas that will then be put up for adoption. All of the animals gathered will be examined and, if needed, treated by a veterinarian. With no natural predators and an annual reproduction rate of between 15 and 20 percent, the excess wild horses need to be periodically removed from public rangelands to meet scientifically established population objectives...more

Udall ski-area alternative activity bill clears committee vote

Sen. Mark Udall’s bill to promote year-round recreation at ski areas cleared a critical committee vote late last week and is headed to a vote of the full U.S. Senate. First introduced in 2008 and then revived last summer, the bill is not without controversy. It seeks to revamp a 1986 law governing ski-area permits on U.S. Forest Service so that the federal agency has more latitude to allow recreation other than skiing. “Ski areas are a critical part of our state’s recreational and tourist economy – but many struggle to provide jobs during the summer months,” Udall said in a release after the bill was approved by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “My bill would help provide some stability by making it clear that biking, concerts, and other recreational activities are welcome where the Forest Service finds them appropriate. I’m very pleased we were able to get committee approval, and I urge my colleagues in the full Senate to approve it quickly.”...more

Shasta County will sue Forest Service over OHV restrictions

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday in closed session to sue the Shasta-Trinity National Forest over its controversial roads plan. Supervisor Les Baugh said the board also appointed County Counsel Rubin E. Cruse Jr. as the board’s spokesman on the pending litigation. Cruse said it’s still too early to determine what the suit might look like when it’s filed in federal court in Sacramento. Siskiyou County supervisors Tuesday morning also had discussed suing the Shasta-Trinity over the plan, but they decided to hold off on a decision, waiting to see what Shasta County did, Siskiyou County Supervisor Michael Kobseff said. The two counties’ leaders will likely file a joint complaint, Kobseff said. Siskiyou’s supervisors will bring up the matter again at next week’s meeting. “The bottom line is the public forest is trying to kick the public out,” Kobseff said...more

Forest Service Proposes to Close Over Half of Santa Fe National Forest Roads

The Santa Fe National Forest finally released its draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Travel Management to the public today. The Forest Service is proposing to close over 2900 miles (53%) of the existing roads on the Forest. Even the most 'vehicle-friendly' alternative considered closes nearly half of the roads currently available. This will affect all motorized vehicles: cars, trucks, Jeeps, motorcycles, and ATVs. It will also have a profound impact on all members of the public who use the Forest including hunters. According to the proposal, there are currently 5458 miles of roads and trails that people are using. The Forest Service's drastic proposal reduces this to around 2500 miles. The public has 45 days to comment on these issues by submitting letters or emails...more

Forest Service Bans Humans From Caves

The U.S. Forest Service said Tuesday it was barring entry to caves on service-owned land in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota because of white-nose syndrome, which has killed nearly a million bats in the eastern and southern U.S. and is spreading west. The agency said it took the action to help prevent humans from inadvertently spreading the disease. But thousands of people — professional and amateur — enjoy exploring the multitude of dark, damp underground crevices and caverns in the West. Many are chafing at the federal restrictions. "It's just like Prohibition," said Richard Rhinehart of Denver, who has a caving blog and has been spelunking since he was in high school in 1974. Deputy Regional Forester Tony Dixon said it was impractical for the agency to widely enforce the ban, given the vast number of caves in the Rocky Mountain region. He appealed to cave explorers to voluntarily adhere to the restriction and help the agency determine which caves and mines don't harbor bats...more

Song Of The Day #368

Hank Week on Ranch Radio will continue with Hank Thompson's 1952 recording of Waiting In The Lobby of Heart.

That's a sad song from Hank. But if you think that's sad, just listen to poor ol' Johnny Cash who sings I've Been Flushed From The Bathroom of Your Heart.

Now that's sad.

Border Violence Spills 80 miles into the U.S.

Here is the Fox News video report:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CBD files lawsuit against Salazar for BP Oil's affect on wildlife

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit today against Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for failing to provide an adequate risk assessment upon which to base a decision to allow the oil industry’s deep sea off-shore drilling program with respect to its impact on wildlife. “While Salazar’s conclusion that exploration drilling in the Gulf posed little risk of a large oil spill was dubious at the time it was made, in light of BP’s calamity that position is completely untenable,” said Miyoko Sakashita, the Center’s oceans director. “The public deserves disclosure and a full analysis of the true impacts of oil drilling off our coasts." Salazar made no changes environmentalists had been asking for regarding deep sea off-shore drilling when he was appointed to his current position. The Center for Biodiversity says Salazar should be held liable for not honoring the Endangered Species Act. This act requires all federal agencies, including the former Minerals Management Service, to ensure that any action they carry out does not “jeopardize” a threatened or endangered species...more

Are wolves on the prowl in Utah?

Are a growing number of wolves on the prowl in Utah? There's no exact figure for the number of wolves in the state, but recent sightings have some state officials on alert. "We're very concerned about the wolves coming to Utah," says Leonard Blackham, Utah Commissioner for Agriculture and Food. "Of course the last couple of months we've seen several come into the state of Utah and some damage done, and we're starting to have some serious challenges that way." Blackham says wolves are making their way into Utah, the animals seem to be slowly penetrating through our northern border. Idaho and Wyoming are known to hold a heavy wolf population. "It could become a safety concern for ranchers and recreation people if the numbers increase, but i think today its not," says Blackham, "but it's surely a challenge for livestock and livestock producers. they are very aggressive animals." Blackham says it doesn't look like there's a pack, yet, in Utah, just single animals. But, in the last few weeks there have been at least three incidents with wolves here in Utah. One of those incidents happened just last friday where a wolf was taken out in summit county after killing thousands of dollars worth of livestock...more

Range war pits paddlers against property owners on North Country rivers

It turns out this kind of feud between paddlers and landowners is common across the US. “They’ve told me to get out, given me dirty looks and threatened and I haven’t quite had a gun pointed at me whereas other people I know have had guns pointed at them. Eric Leaper is director of the National Organization for Rivers, a paddler advocacy group based in Colorado. Earlier this year, landowners in his state lobbied aggressively to defeat a bill that would’ve clarified the rights of paddlers to run most of that state’s navigable rivers, even if they pass through private property. “And rancher after rancher got up and said ‘this ranch has been in my family for 3 or 4 generations and now you’re going to come take my property,’ and I do have sympathy because they have this long-standing misunderstanding that the river flowing through their ranch is private. Now they know the county road going through their ranch isn’t private, but they think the river is,” Leaper said. This is the pivot-point of the debate: a tangled legal argument going on state-by-state over what rivers are. Are they part and parcel of the land that surrounds them, or are they travel corridors open to everyone for commerce and recreation? Phil Brown is editor of the Adirondack Explorer magazine and an avid paddler who’s written extensively about this topic. He says here in the state of New York there’s actually a lot of legal precedence supporting the idea that rivers are a kind of traditional public highway. “This common law right dates back to old England so in a way this represents our heritage. Their was a time when rivers were used as travel, a sense that you know, a private a landowner may doesn’t the rivers, or they may own the rivers but the public has the right to travel on them,” Brown said...more

Deep Underground, Miles of Hidden Wildfires Rage

Three blistering fires are blazing through Wyoming's scenic Powder River Basin, but firefighters aren't paying any attention. Other than a faint hint of acrid odors and a single ribbon of smoke rising from a tiny crack beyond the nearby Tongue River, a long look across the region's serene grassland shows no sign of trouble. That's what makes the three infernos, and the toxins they spew, so sinister. Their flames are concealed deep underground, in coal seams and oxygen-rich fissures, which makes containment near impossible. Shielded from fire hoses and aerial assaults, the flames are chewing through coal seams 20 feet thick, spanning 22 acres. They're also belching greenhouse gases and contaminants, contributing to an out-of-sight, out-of-mind environmental hazard that extends far beyond Wyoming's borders. A surprising number of us live close to them. According to a review by the Department of Interior's Office of Surface Mining Enforcement and Reclamation, more than 100 fires are burning beneath nine states, most of them in Colorado, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Utah and West Virginia. But geologists say many fires go unreported, driving the actual number of them closer to 200 across 21 states...more

Raw-food raid highlights a hunger

With no warning one weekday morning, investigators entered an organic grocery with a search warrant and ordered the hemp-clad workers to put down their buckets of mashed coconut cream and to step away from the nuts. Then, guns drawn, four officers fanned out across Rawesome Foods in Venice. Skirting past the arugula and peering under crates of zucchini, they found the raid's target inside a walk-in refrigerator: unmarked jugs of raw milk. "I still can't believe they took our yogurt," said Rawesome volunteer Sea J. Jones, a few days after the raid. "There's a medical marijuana shop a couple miles away, and they're raiding us because we're selling raw dairy products?" Cartons of raw goat and cow milk and blocks of unpasteurized goat cheese were among the groceries seized in the June 30 raid by federal, state and local authorities — the latest salvo in the heated food fight over what people can put in their mouths. On one side are government regulators, who say they are enforcing rules designed to protect consumers from unsafe foods and to provide a level playing field for producers. On the other side are " healthy food" consumers — a faction of foodies who challenge government science and seek food in its most pure form. They want almonds cracked fresh from the shell, not those run through a federally mandated pasteurization process that uses either heat or a chemical to kill off salmonella and other possible contaminants. They hunger for meat slaughtered on the farm. And they're willing to pay a premium — $6, $8 or more — for a gallon of milk straight from the cow. So despite research outlining the dangers of consuming raw milk and other unprocessed foods, they're finding ways to circumnavigate federal, state and local laws that seek to control what they can serve at the dinner table...more

Wine-fed cows a hit with chefs

The B.C. wine industry just got a big boost from a new market segment: Cows. Unfortunately, these cows meet a sad end -- but they do spend 90 of their last days living it up, drinking red Okanagan wine, and they do seem to like it. At least, they moo more and seem to "talk to each other." Could they be comparing vintages and talking about leathery notes in the wine of the day? The idea of feeding wine to cows was hatched by Janice Ravndahl of Sezmu Meats in Kelowna. (Sezmu is the Egyptian god of wine.) She introduced it to local high-end chefs who, in turn, became drunk with glee. It began one day when she was sitting around, having a glass of wine, watching The F Word, a Gordon Ramsay TV cooking show. She saw him giving a taste of beer to some pigs he was raising. Coming from five generations of cattle ranchers, she thought, "why not cows?" She phoned her brother, who told her exactly why not. "Because the carbonation would bloat them," he said. Ravndahl then thought: "Why not wine?" The Angus cows are each fed a litre of Okanagan red wine (granted, nothing our wine writer Anthony Gismondi would drink) every day. It's mixed into the feed but some like to drink the wine straight up. She says the beef is priced about 15-per-cent higher than regular free-range, hormone and antibiotic-free beef...more

Event marks National Cowboy Day

Cowboys, gunslingers, and outlaws came together Saturday at the Rusk County Youth Expo Center in Henderson to celebrate the National Day of the Cowboy. The Circle C Cowboy Church led by Pastor Pat Alphin sponsored the event in hopes to show how important cowboys have been to the United States. The event started Saturday morning with several venders setting up to sell handmade trinkets and live music, but a small group of surly looking hombres were camped across the parking lot. Several cowboys and badmen were all toting iron and dressed to the nines in old-fashioned western attire. They laid back in the shade listening to tunes from a truck nearby and swapped stories, mostly made up...more

Baxter Black: The Udder Side

A recent acquisition for my audio parody library is a CD entitled” The Udder Side,” composed, recorded and available by Judy Williams at It contains such titles as the dystocia calf's lament, “Take These Chains From My Parts and Set Me Free!,” the grafted calf's favorite “She Can't Kick Me Now ‘Cause Mama's Tied!” and the spring-drive theme song, “Don't You Ever Get Tired of Herding Me!” Ms. Williams surely must be a cow psychologist, the way she can see inside their thinking. Since we all have global warming on our minds because the press and the Algorites keep pointing to cows as a major producer of greenhouse gasses, her song about “Vegan F ... Flatulations” was spot on. It seems to me that most of the urban animal rights activists, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club zealots and politically correct Luddites proclaim themselves vegetarians. It is a trade-off to maintain credibility. I mean, if you want to remove all trace of humans in the wilderness, release endangered wolves in downtown Beverly Hills or Detroit, and think eating ice cream, cheese, hamburgers, spare ribs and chicken wings is tantamount to murder, then it is a sacrifice they should make. However, there is a corner they have backed themselves into, that must give them consternation. I would assume that omnivores (the human race) who restrict their diet to only plants might experience a change in their visceral bacterial population. Now, I don't know that as a fact. But if you've ever heard a faithful vegetarian claim that he got sick from eating broth that had been stirred with a spoon they'd used to serve the chile con carne, it might be proof that enteric conversion could happen in people...more

Song Of The Day #367

It's time for another Hank Week at Ranch Radio.

Here is Hank Snow's 1954 recording of I Don't Hurt Anymore.

The tune is on his 20 track CD The Essential Hank Snow.

Armed escorts join border ag inspectors

State agricultural inspectors are now accompanied by armed sheriff’s deputies while working in far southern New Mexico because of escalating violence along the U.S. border with Mexico. “We’re out in the middle of nowhere here,” livestock scale inspector David Turning of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture told KRQE News 13. Turning was one of two scale inspectors escorted by deputies Monday from the Luna and Hidalgo county sheriff’s departments in a program funded by the Homeland Security Department’s “Operation Stone Garden”. “We did a perimeter check making sure there’s nobody out hiding in the brush close by us,” Luna County Sgt. Steve Gallegos said. The inspectors’ job takes them to some of the most remote and dangerous sections of New Mexico.Law enforcement officers said the escorts are a good idea because certain sections of southern New Mexico are especially dangerous. “It’s pretty crazy out there,” Hidalgo County Cpl. Gary Lassiter said. “We have Mexican nationals that we have on our side with guns in the mountains.”..more

Here is the KRQE-TV video report:

Patrolling the route of smugglers

It's been called everything from a drug smuggling super highway to a pipeline for illegal immigration that leads straight to the Valley. News/Talk 92.3 KTAR's Jim Cross rode along recently with Pinal County Sheriff's Deputy Scott Abernathy on patrol. Pinal County is the size of Connecticut. Most of the county is ranches and wide-open desert. "They'll come out here and then there's hundreds of thousands of ways they can come up through here," said Abernathy, looking out over the barren land. Smugglers fear very little and that includes law enforcement, Abernathy said. "Ten or 15 years ago, a lot of coyotes and smugglers, they would go the other way and sneak around. Now, they don't care. They don't care if you see them." A rancher agreed to talk to Cross, but only on the conditions that he not be taped and that his name not be used because he fears retaliation from smugglers. On many occasions, the rancher said illegal immigrants have kicked in the windows of his home, cut his barbed wire fences, and held him in the gunsights of an AK-47. The brutality of smugglers knows no bounds, Abernathy said. "If they think they're going to get caught or whatever, the coyotes (human smugglers) will just leave them. Most of the females who come across will usually get raped, several times."...more

Prison chief allegedly sent inmates to conduct Mexico birthday party massacre

When gunmen burst into a private birthday party on July 18 and opened fired on guests, killing 17, the attackers were initially suspected to be members of one of Mexico's drug gangs, which have killed thousands of people in escalating violence over the past several years. Nobody could have guessed they were jail inmates on assignment from their prison director. It turns out that the gunmen behind the July 18 Mexico birthday party massacre had already been incarcerated for crimes in Mexico's drug wars. Prison guards reportedly lent vehicles and weapons to the inmates to carry out a 'revenge attack' in the northern city of Torreon. Afterward, the inmates drove back to their cells in the nearby city of Gomez Palacio. "According to witnesses, the inmates were allowed to leave with authorization of the prison director ... to carry out instructions for revenge attacks using official vehicles and using guards' weapons for executions," Ricardo Najera, a spokesman from the attorney general's office, revealed Sunday. The attack may have been motivated by rival drug trafficking gangs, Mr. Najera said, though innocent people were among the victims. The prison director and security guard, among others, have been put under house arrest...more

17 Slain in Mexico

Nine people were slain in the western state of Sinaloa, a spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office told Efe Monday. Four bodies were discovered inside a burned-out SUV in Culiacan, the state capital, the spokesman said, adding that 22 shell casings from an AK-47 assault rifle were collected at the scene. In the town of Navolato, four people who had been kidnapped elsewhere were found shot to death near a technical training school. Another person turned up dead in the community of El Quemadito. News of the slayings in Guerrero and Sinaloa followed word that a dozen people were killed over the weekend in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital. Police found the bodies of five people who had been gunned down inside a hair salon in the northern border city, the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office said. Police homicide unit officers also found three bodies and a wounded man at a house in Juarez, located just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. The wounded man was taken to a hospital, where he died a short time later. Three other people were killed in separate incidents, the Chihuahua AG’s office said. Ciudad Juarez has witnessed more than 5,000 murders since 2008 and this year’s death toll stands at more than 1,600...more

Concerns in Juárez climb as bombing threat grows

The threat of more deadly car bombings like the one earlier this month has forced Juárez authorities to take measures to protect police stations, and authorities reported finding more explosives in Chihuahua on Wednesday. The bomb, made from about 22 pounds of Tovex, a water gel explosive commonly used as a replacement for dynamite in mining, was detonated by remote control. Authorities on Wed nesday found 55 pounds of the explosive in the mountains between Chihuahua and Sonora states following a shootout with gunmen. Officials did not say if the explosives were bound for Juárez. In response to the bombing, Juárez officials last week increased security at police stations and prohibited parking next to the buildings. A police spokesman said the identifications of people are checked and vehicles are inspected when entering the parking lots of stations, some of which have sandbags piled outside like bunkers...more

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sen. Kerry Predicts ‘Ice-Free Arctic' In '5 or 10 Years’

Speaking at a town hall-style meeting promoting climate change legislation on Thursday, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) predicted there will be “an ice-free Arctic” in "five or 10 years." “The arctic ice is disappearing faster than was predicted,” Kerry said. “And instead of waiting until 2030 or whenever it was to have an ice-free Arctic, we’re going to have one in five or 10 years.” However, the Web site of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says: “Using the observed 2007/2008 summer sea ice extents as a starting point, computer models predict that the Arctic could be nearly sea ice free in summertime within 30 years.” NOAA cites as its source on Arctic sea ice a study published in the April 3, 2009 edition of Geophysical Research Letters by J.E. Overland and Muyin Wang. Kerry’s remarks came during the second of three panels at an event sponsored by Clean Energy Works, an environmentalist coalition that brought supporters of to Washington, D.C., to show what it called “broad support” for a “clean energy and climate bill.” Along with Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Kerry is the sponsor of the American Power Act, a bill that would cap carbon emissions in the United States in the interest of preventing climate change...more

Fight brews over drilling watchdog

Formerly the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the Obama administration has renamed it the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. Plans are to further split the agency up into three separate divisions, all under the Department of Interior. The idea is to remove an apparent conflict of interest - charging one agency with both ensuring safety and maximizing oil revenues for the federal government. But the plan is drawing fire from nearly everyone involved. Environmentalists say the reforms don't go far enough. Offshore drillers say they are not being consulted. Government watchdogs say they lack transparency. And Congress says information has been slow in coming...more

Federal records show steady stream of oil spills in gulf since 1964

The oil and gas industry's offshore safety and environmental record in the Gulf of Mexico has become a key point of debate over future drilling, but that record has been far worse than is commonly portrayed by many industry leaders and lawmakers. Many policymakers think that the record before the BP oil spill was exemplary. In a House hearing Thursday, Rep. John J. "Jimmy" Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) said, "It's almost an astonishingly safe, clean history that we have there in the gulf." Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the industry's "history of safety over all of those times" had provided the "empirical foundation" for U.S. policy. But federal records tell a different story. They show a steady stream of oil spills dumping 517,847 barrels of petroleum -- which would fill an equivalent number of standard American bathtubs -- into the Gulf of Mexico between 1964 and 2009. The spills killed thousands of birds and soiled beaches as far away as Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Altogether, they poured twice as much as oil into U.S. waters as the Exxon Valdez tanker did when it ran aground in 1989. The industry's record had been improving before the BP spill. In 2009, the largest one was about 1,500 barrels, about what BP's damaged well was leaking every hour before it was capped last week...more

Gulf Coast lawmakers press to lift offshore drilling ban

Democratic and Republican lawmakers from the Gulf Coast are working together to lobby the administration to speed up permits for offshore drilling in shallow water and to lift the moratorium on drilling in deep water in the Gulf of Mexico. "This ban hurts everybody," Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., said on the House floor Thursday. "We stand united on the Gulf Coast to support good-paying jobs." Boustany and other Gulf Coast lawmakers, including Alabama's representatives, said the administration's policies could cost the region's already fragile economy thousands of jobs. "Deepwater drilling supports thousands of jobs along the coast, and I urge the administration to keep the families these jobs support in mind when conducting safety tests," said Rep. Bobby Bright, D-Montgomery. "It is, without a doubt, in everyone's best interest to get deepwater oil workers back to work as quickly as possible." Environmentalists applaud the drilling ban in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill...more

On timber, thanks for nothing

After a year of study, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's crackerjack task force on western Oregon timber management has concluded that, gee, lots of people are frustrated and things are pretty tough out there. We can't wait for next year's sequel in which the Obama task force is invited back to take another yearlong look and rediscovers that, believe it or not, lots of people remain frustrated and things are pretty tough out there. This could go on forever. It would be laughable if the unemployment rate across much of rural Oregon wasn't running at 12 to 15 percent, if timber towns weren't trying desperately to hold together their basic public services such as police and libraries, if huge swaths of public forests weren't overstocked with small trees one lightning strike or tossed cigarette away from going up in flames late this summer. We made the mistake of taking the interior secretary at his word last year when the Obama administration abandoned the Western Oregon Plan Revision, or WOPR, which sought to increase logging on more than 2 million acres of public forests. Salazar promised that the task force would come up with a plan that would increase logging and thinning while complying with the Endangered Species Act. Instead, the task force issued a report Thursday that calls for a three- to five-year planning process and concludes what everybody already knows: Major obstacles such as distrust among competing interest groups and conflicting federal policies stand in the way of increasing logging on western Oregon's public forests and creating more economic activity in rural communities. Given all that rural Oregon is struggling with, this "plan to have a plan," as Oregon's Rep. Peter DeFazio described it Thursday, is inexcusable. There's no urgency in the task force report, no acknowledgement of the economic emergency, no commitment to provide any leadership to help resolve the conflicts over management of the public forests. As Rep. Greg Walden said, "It's doubly frustrating that while this report was being put together, timber sales dropped to historic lows. The sick forests and the economy in southern Oregon can't wait any longer." If the Obama administration doesn't have the time or attention to give to Northwest forest issues, it ought to just say so rather than carry on any more charades like this one. Other leaders, notably DeFazio and Sen. Ron Wyden, have offered serious proposals to break the stalemate on public lands by protecting old-growth trees and allowing speedier access to smaller logs. Wyden promised Thursday to press for a legislative alternative, and we urge the senator and the rest of the Oregon delegation to step up their efforts in Congress. Let's not waste any more time waiting for the Obama administration to lead the way toward a better, saner forest policy on western Oregon lands. If there's anything valuable about the task force report, it's the takeaway message that it's folly to wait for the administration to solve our forest issues. Oregonian