Friday, April 29, 2011

A Line in the Sand

About 400 opponents of the federal government's proposed listing of the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species delivered a full-throated protest at a rally here in the hour before a Fish and Wildlife Service public hearing on the plan. "Enough is enough," shouted New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce, a headliner at the rally organized by oil industry employees, concerned citizens and officials of area chambers of commerce. "Enough is enough." Several speakers, including Pearce, asserted that the yearslong effort by conservationists to have the dunes sagebrush lizard, also known as the sand dune lizard, listed as an endangered species was not aimed at protecting an embattled species, but at destroying a way of life. "The agenda here is not actually the lizard," said state Rep. Bob Wooley of Carlsbad. "It's to get us off the land and take our jobs away." Marita Noon, executive director of the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy, an industry advocacy group, said those seeking the listing of the dunes sagebrush lizard, which lives only in sand dunes in four southeast New Mexico counties and parts of West Texas, were "trying to destroy America. ... That is their goal."...more

List lizard, lose jobs, say critics in oil-gas land

Frustration is swelling among residents and lawmakers in one of the most productive oil and natural gas basins in the nation, and it's all because federal wildlife managers have proposed endangered species protections for a small lizard. From Midland, Texas, to Artesia, N.M., hundreds of people have turned out in recent weeks at rallies and public meetings to oppose a listing to protect the dunes sagebrush lizard. "We're not going to stand idly by and watch the economies of southeastern New Mexico and West Texas be devastated," U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., said in a phone interview. Oil and gas industry groups worry that listing the lizard would take thousands of acres in the Permian Basin out of production. They say that could lead to lost jobs, fewer royalties and less tax revenue, higher gasoline prices and less energy security as the nation looks to wean itself from foreign oil supplies. The Permian Basin produces almost 20 percent of the nation's crude oil. The region's reserves are second only to Alaska's. Ben Shepperd, president of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, said the association would prefer the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service encourage conservation agreements between the federal government and landowners to preserve the lizard's habitat while allowing activity on the landscape. The association is the largest regional oil and gas group in the United States. AP

Obama Administration Moratorium on Oil Drilling Hurts Consumers, Report Says

Although the Obama administration officially lifted the six-month ban on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in October 2010, a new report finds that the “de facto” moratorium still in place is harming American consumers and the budgets of local and state governments. Since October, the Department of the Interior has approved only a handful of deepwater drilling permits in the wake of last year’s BP well explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The report, issued by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), said increasing offshore drilling production could add nearly $5 million in revenue a day to the federal treasury and “significantly” reduce gas prices...more

The report is here.

Pelosi Blamed ‘Oil Men in the White House’ for Gas Prices in ’08, Now Who’s To Blame?

Back in 2008 then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) knew where she wanted to place the blame for high gas prices. “The price of oil is at the doorstep -- 4 dollars plus per gallon for oil, is attributed to two oil men in the White House,” Pelosi said in a CNN interview on July 17th, 2008. Now that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are out of the White House, Pelosi has been silent on the issue. She has made no public comments on gas prices over the past few months...more

Here's the video report on her and Obama's statements back then

Gov't to Urge Food Companies to Limit Ads for Kids

Commercials promoting sugary breakfast cereals could be put on a strict diet under government guidelines urging food companies to limit marketing of unhealthy products to children. Under a proposal announced Thursday by several government agencies, companies would be urged to only market foods to children ages 2 through 17 if they are low in fats, sugars and sodium and contain specified healthy ingredients. The guidelines set parameters that are stricter than many companies have set for themselves and, if the companies agree, would eliminate much of the advertising consumers see now - on television, in magazines, in stores and on the Internet - for foods that appeal to children. The food industry has been successful in reducing the number of television ads aimed at children in recent years and much of that advertising has moved to the Internet, social media and other digital platforms such as smart phones...more

Come on feds. Instead of chasing these guys all over tv, the internet, facebook, etc., just do what is necessary - ban kids from watching tv. Then you know they will be safe from fatty foods and Fox News to boot.

Except for PBS of course.

EDITORIAL: Gun grabbers grasp at straws

Gun grabbers love statistics, especially when they’re misleading. The latest report from the Violence Policy Center (VPC) would have us believe that Americans are lined up at the recycling center ready to toss out their Glocks. The group claims that a firearm protected every other home in 1980 but only one out of three today. It’s a not-so-subtle attempt to convey the message that the anti-Second Amendment crowd is winning. “Despite the short-lived uptick in gun sales that occurred after the election of President Obama, the fact is that gun-free households are an increasing majority while gun-owning households are a shrinking minority,” said VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann in a statement Tuesday. While Mr. Sugarmann is right to credit Mr. Obama as the greatest firearms salesman in world history, gun sales are not on the decline. For every $1 spent on ammunition, pistols, shotguns and rifles, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) pockets between 10 and 11 cents. According to ATF’s books, the gun industry made over $1 billion in extra revenue thanks to the president’s 2009 inauguration - a 45 percent increase. Since then, prices have fallen, so tax receipts are down - but gun sales are not. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) keeps track of the number of background checks made when someone buys a gun. Although a check does not correlate directly with a sale - a single check could involve the purchase of multiple firearms, for example - the figure is a reliable indicator of trends. Last year’s 14.4 million checks represented an all-time high. In fact, the numbers have increased year after year since 2002, and there is no sign of slowing down. Checks are up 11 percent this year. To meet the demand, gun factories are running overtime. From 2000 to 2009, the number of firearms manufactured and offered for sale in the United States increased 45 percent while the population only increased 9.1 percent...more

Sugar Farmers Sue over 'Corn Sugar' Campaign

A group of sugar farmers and refiners are suing corn processors for their attempt to rebrand high-fructose corn syrup as "corn sugar." The Western Sugar Cooperative, Michigan Sugar Co. and C&H Sugar Company Inc. are asking the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to end the campaign and order corrective advertising. The Corn Refiners Association is seeking permission from the federal government to use the new name on food labels. In the meantime, it launched a major marketing campaign to promote the concept. But the sugar industry says the campaign constitutes false advertising...more

Judge approves USDA settlement with Indian farmers

A federal judge has approved a $680-million settlement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and American Indian farmers who say they were denied loans because of discrimination. The two sides agreed on the deal last year subject to court approval. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan approved the terms Thursday. Individuals who can prove discrimination could receive up to $250,000 from the government. The agreement also includes $80 million in farm debt forgiveness for the Indian plaintiffs and a series of initiatives to try to alleviate racism against American Indians and other minorities in areas covered by rural farm loan offices...more

Recent Borderland Drought Could Cost You

EL PASO, Texas -- Local irrigation experts said this is the worst drought the Borderland has seen in 20 years and there is no end in sight. "This is one of the worst we've seen in a long time," said Bert Cortez, a manager at the El Paso Field Division Office of the Bureau of Reclamation. Cortez said this is the build up of years upon years of declining rain and melted snowfall runoff. As a result, local reservoirs are at record lows, reaching only 22 percent capacity. Average numbers have the reservoirs at between 50 and 60 percent. This drought could also end up costing consumers long-term. Local ranchers said cattle prices have already gone up nearly 20 percent. In the near future, ranchers said consumers could expect them to rise up to an additional 20 percent. The reason: Ranchers said this drought is a vicious cycle. With this drought came wildfires all across Texas. The combination of the lack of rainfall and burned vegetation, the amount of cattle feed, or hay, has been severely reduced, driving prices up for ranchers. "We feed everyday," said Jimmy Bowen of Bowen Ranch in Northeast El Paso. "It gets very expensive to do that." Bowen has recently reduced his cattle herd from 1500 to 300...more

Wheat crops in Texas being lost to drought

The worst drought in more than 40 years intensified across Texas during the last week, with high winds and heat causing "massive crop losses," with little relief in sight, weather experts said Thursday. A report released from a consortium of national climate experts, dubbed the Drought Monitor, said drought worsened along the Texas border with Oklahoma, and in western, central and southern Texas. Ranchers were struggling to feed and water cattle, and farmers were left to watch their crops shrivel into the dusty soil. Some experts estimated producers were giving up on as much as 70 per cent of the state's wheat acreage. "There are some scary things going on in Texas," said Brian Fuchs, climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center, which released its weekly drought analysis Thursday morning...more

Rodeo pioneer Fidelia Gilger dies at age 91

Rodeo was quickly moving into today's professional sport when Fidelia Tope took her riding talents on the road with costumes she'd made herself - and a trick riding saddle she bought with her $80 monthly late 1930s paycheck as a Colony, Wyo., school teacher. Rodeo pioneer Fidelia Gilger died Saturday, April 23, 2011, at age 91. Black Hills Roundup Chairman Scott Reder said Monday, "Everybody who knew her knew that she was one of the local rodeo pioneers. "She did a lot to help the sport of rodeo grow to what it is today." Gilger was born in Belle Fourche and graduated from Belle Fourche High School in 1937 - but her story is similar to a few ranch children even today since living in town was a part-time proposition for Crook County ranchers. The Tope Sisters first performed at the Deadwood rodeo and were quickly signed for the Roundup. "Deadwood really gave us a chance," Fidelia said. "Then we rode here, and at Council Bluffs, Rapid City, all over." Fidelia and her younger sister Rosemary, now Rosemary Seymour of Spearfish, took turns at the wheel to pull horse trailers to performances all over the Northern Plains. "They were setting up (rodeo) rules then," Gilger said soon before the Roundup's special recognition of the Tope Sisters and other women rodeo pioneers...more

Killdeer rancher shoots mountain lion inside barn

Two Killdeer area ranchers got an unexpected surprise last week while bottle feeding a calf. John Dolezal was in his barn about 6:30 last Friday evening tending to a calf. Dolezal said he left the barn and his son, Brent, returned about 20 minutes later to put down some straw for a cow and calf pair and noticed a mountain lion bedded down about 20 feet from him. The younger Dolezal retrieved a rifle from his pickup and shot the animal which was still lying in the hay when he returned. Game warden Bill Schaller said they called him after the incident and the lion, a 118-pound sub-adult male, was taken to Dickinson for examination and returned to the Dolezals. Their ranch is about five miles northwest of Killdeer. Schaller said except for some frostbite to an ear and its tail, “It was a very healthy animal.” Mountain lions normally shy away from humans but this is the third case recently in North Dakota where a mountain lion was shot and killed inside a building...more

Song Of The Day #564

This morning Ranch Radio brings you Johnny Horton's 1951 recording of Done Rovin'.

America's Third War: An Informant's Story -

He is a confidential informant and ex-felon. He lives among drug dealers and corrupt officials along the U.S.-Mexican border. And after a year on the job, he is calling it quits. "The American public is being led to believe that we have a drug war and border war and a terror war that are all being successfully prosecuted, and that is absolutely not the case," the informant told Fox News. "The American people, the American taxpayer are being bilked for billions of dollars in programs that are utter and abject failures." The informant took Fox News on a tour of his operational territory, southwest Arizona and northern Sonora. It includes sleazy bars and cheap hotels, places where he meets the people who have connections to guns and drugs. The informant prefers the term "asset." A former Army Ranger, he's worked with numerous federal agencies, including the DEA, FBI, ATF and ICE, as well as the Arizona Department of Public Safety. This afternoon we stopped next to a sewage plant in Douglas, on a hill overlooking Mexico. He pulled out a binder that chronicles a year undercover. It's filled with informant contacts, times and places, and the names of his "handlers" within U.S. law enforcement...more

Here is the Fox News video report:

Why Isn't Obama Talking About the Human Skulls?

Here's the nutshell truth about the situation here: The border towns are relatively safe, thanks to more agents, more money, and better fencing. In Nogales proper, population 20,000, with more than 60 city cops and approximately 800 federal agents now working there, the crime rate has actually dropped. Nogales also has 18-foot-tall fences running out east and west of town. The feds base their security boasts on success in the border towns. But these efforts haven't stopped the illicit traffic, only moved it out into our remotest lands. Out of sight, out of mind is part of the government's plan. With the bad guys high up in the mountains and in the canyons, Napolitano and Bersin get the political cover to claim the war is just about won. Tell that to the folks living in and around the Coronado National Forest west of Nogales. It has become a modern-day frontier, as drug mules, illegal aliens, and bandits cross the Peck Canyon Smuggling Corridor. On Dec. 14, Border Patrol Brian Terry was murdered in Peck Canyon when his four-man tactical team got into a firefight with at least five bandits, several armed with AK-47s. The killing was sadly predictable...more

Apprehensions of illegal aliens at the border are way down…why?

Seems like every where you look these days US Customs and Border Protection is touting statistics that apprehensions of illegal aliens is way down from previous levels. The other day at the meeting between border ranchers and the Border Patrol it was noted that apprehensions in the Nogales Station area had dropped from something like 1,000 a day to 50. Of course the story spin from the Department of Homeland Security is that the much higher numbers of Border Patrol agents deployed in the region is why apprehension levels are way down. But there are many competing theories why the number of illegal aliens being caught in the Tucson Sector has dropped significantly. There are reports coming from all directions originating with whistle blowing BP agents that they have been instructed to look the other way when they encounter illegal aliens, to greatly reduce the number of illegals “seen” who end up being counted as “got aways” or actually caught. BP and DHS officials vehemently deny this claim. All I can say at this point is there are a serious number of people who are willing to testify to Congress under oath this is in fact true. Another equally ominous theory…which is in fact supported by BP officials talking off the record…is that the drug cartels have taken over control of major smuggling routes into Arizona and are “managing” the number of illegal aliens allowed into these corridors so as to not attract a lot of Border Patrol deployment in certain areas…such as west of Nogales. In one scenario the cartels will send a group of illegal aliens into Arizona to attract Border Patrol agents away from another area through which drugs are being smuggled. In a related scenario, the drug cartels are taking total control over the coyote system and flow of illegal aliens as this is a big money-maker. Using spotters on mountain tops in southern Arizona they can direct both caravans of drug smugglers as well as groups of illegal aliens around Border Patrol deployment…of course for a premium charge...more

Thursday, April 28, 2011

EDITORIAL: EPA suburban sprawl brawl

It’s no secret that what was once the Land of the Free is becoming the home of red tape and federal control - especially under President Obama. Things are so out of hand that bureaucrats who are paid to hector citizens into conformity find themselves caught between contradictory enviro-principles. It’s time to dial back the diktats. In 2009, the Obama administration created the Partnership for Sustainable Communities as a joint effort between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Their joint mission is to push so-called “smart growth” in order to rejuvenate aging inner cities and arrest suburban sprawl. They do so by standing athwart modern progress, pushing trolleys and trains as a substitute for the more efficient and modern automobile. Above all, the administration’s policies must favor the inner city above the needs of car-friendly suburbs. The EPA’s 600-employee Region 7 office in Kansas City, Kan., did not get the memo, apparently. The office is preparing to move from an urban location downtown to a “more green” building located next to a wheat field 20 miles out of town in Lenexa, Kan. The relocation could result in a three-fold increase in carbon-dioxide emissions as employees who now get to work by bus or on foot will be forced to commute in their own cars and SUVs. Chagrined Kansas City officials say moving to the pricey, $121 million, 10-year lease in the suburbs will yield no net energy savings. Even EPA admirers are put out, contending that the building rating system is faulty because it fails to factor in the environmental impact of occupants’ transportation requirements. Consumers frequently find themselves restrained by nonsensical requirements foisted upon them by the regulatory bureaucracy. As EPA muddles through the maze of contradictory rules of its own making, Americans can take some satisfaction in knowing that the regulacrats for once are getting a taste of their own medicine...more

The Washington Times editorial describes the property EPA has leased:

The new site was recently the headquarters for Applebee’s restaurants. Constructed in 2008 as a green palace, the site’s design features minimize interior warming from sun exposure, courtyards collect rainwater, urinals operate without water and a pond out back allows ducks to frolic.

Sounds like an envirocrats "palace" alright. So what if they can increase EPA's carbon imprint. Those global warming rules were always meant for us, not for the feds. The ducks can frolic, but not us.

Oh well. While the envirocrats are drinking rainwater and pissin' in a dry hole, I think The Westerner will be sippin' Crown Royal and eatin' duck.

President Obama seeks to extend Clean Water Act protections

More of the West's small streams and wetlands would be protected by the Clean Water Act under an Obama administration proposal announced Wednesday. The new guidance would replace policies of the President George W. Bush administration and clear up some of the legal murkiness created by two U.S. Supreme Court rulings that threw into question the reach of federal water pollution laws. The draft, which the administration described as a step toward adopting a formal rule, would broaden federal jurisdiction over small tributaries, seasonal streams and nearby wetlands. Those protections were narrowed by the high court decisions and subsequent guidances issued by the Bush administration, which effectively dropped regulation of isolated water bodies such as vernal pools and prairie pot holes that are not connected to traditional navigable waters. The matter has been a contentious one. Agricultural and building interests have fought broader oversight, saying it hinders development and interferes with farm activities. Environmental groups have lobbied for coverage, arguing that intermittent or ephemeral waterways make up the majority of stream miles in the arid West...more

Inhofe challenges plans for clean-water guidance

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe warned Wednesday that the Obama administration’s newly proposed clean-water guidance shows it wants to put all bodies of water, no matter how insignificant, under the reach of the federal government. Given how broadly the proposal would reach throughout the economy, the Tulsa Republican vowed to have the Senate vote on it. “This guidance document further shifts the balance of regulatory authority away from states to the federal bureaucracy,” Inhofe said. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, agreed, warning that despite its claim the guidance is nonbinding, the administration’s approach will lead to an intrusion into individual and states’ rights. Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, warned the proposed guidance could end up covering even farm ponds and ditches...more

And Steve Pearce, as Chairman of the Western Caucus issued the following statement:

    “This is another attempt by the Administration to circumvent the proper process to implement its job-killing policies. It is clear that even the Obama Administration acknowledges it was significantly overreaching with their initial proposal. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration continues their war on western jobs under the guise of a ‘non-binding’ policy,” said Western Caucus Chairman Steve Pearce.
    “They started by going after lands with the egregious ‘Wild Lands’ policy and now they are going after water by expanding federal jurisdiction with this guidance. The Administration continues to set a dangerous precedent by circumventing the proper procedures and showing a total disregard for western jobs by its continued push to implement job killing policies,” continued Pearce. 
    The ‘guidance’ will substantively change federal policy with respect to which waters fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act and significantly increase the scope of the federal government’s power to regulate waters. It will significantly expand the federal government regulatory reach on private property.
     Legislative attempts to expand this authority were met with strong bipartisan resistance in previous Congresses. Last week, a bipartisan letter signed by 170 Members of Congress was sent to the EPA and Army Corp of Engineers expressing serious concerns about the Clean Water Act Guidance and the expansion of federal jurisdiction without following the proper rulemaking process.

And the Washington Post quotes Rep. Mike Simpson, Chair of the Environment Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee as saying:

“I’m disappointed that the EPA has decided to issue guidance on this contentious issue. . . . I strongly believe that it is the responsibility of Congress through the legislative process, not the EPA through guidance, to determine whether or not waters currently regulated by the states should be subject to federal jurisdiction".

The guidance document can be found here.

Desert lizard and D.C. reptiles may shut down West Texas oil production

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to see the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard protected under the Endangered Species Act. Should the lizard, which is approximately 3 inches long and calls the Permian Basin area of Texas home, be given that protection, the drilling and production of West Texas crude oil would basically end. If you like paying $4 per gallon for gasoline or more, then you should get behind the efforts of the federal government on this one. If you love the idea of maybe paying $10 per gallon at the pump, then the protection of this lizard should be your new pet cause. Everything you own or use in your daily life without exception is delivered to you possibly by a ship and absolutely by a truck that runs on fossil fuel. Every piece of produce, meat or clothing you purchase has a built in price for each gallon of gasoline purchased in order to complete delivery. Are you ready to see our economy bombarded further for the sake of a lizard?. One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline. The rest, over half, is used to make things like: Ink, Floor Wax, Ballpoint Pens, Football Cleats, Upholstery, Sweaters, Boats, Insecticides, Bicycle Tires, Sports Car Bodies, Nail Polish, Fishing lures, Dresses, Tires, Golf Bags, Perfumes, Dishwasher parts, Tool Boxes, Shoe Polish, Motorcycle Helmet, Caulking, Petroleum Jelly, Transparent Tape, CD Players, Faucet Washers, Antiseptics, Food Preservatives, Basketballs, Soap, Vitamin Capsules, Antihistamines, Purses, Shoes, Dashboards, Cortisone, Deodorant, Footballs, Putty, Dyes, Panty Hose, Refrigerant, Life Jackets, Rubbing Alcohol, Skis, TV Cabinets, Electrician's Tape, Tool Racks, Car Battery Cases, Epoxy, Paint, Mops, Slacks, Insect Repellent, Oil Filters, Umbrellas, Yarn, Fertilizers, Hair Coloring, Roofing, Toilet Seats, Fishing Rods, Lipstick, Denture Adhesive, Linoleum, Ice Cube Trays, Synthetic Rubber, Speakers, Electric Blankets, Glycerin, Tennis Rackets, Rubber Cement, Fishing Boots, Nylon Rope, Candles, Trash Bags, Water Pipes, Hand Lotion, Surf Boards, Shampoo, Wheels, Paint Rollers, Shower Curtains, Guitar Strings, Luggage, Aspirin, Safety Glasses, Antifreeze, Eyeglasses, Clothes, Toothbrushes, Ice Chests, Footballs, Combs, CD's & DVD's, Paint Brushes, Detergents, Vaporizers, Balloons, Sun Glasses, Heart Valves, Crayons, Parachutes, Cell Phones, Enamel, Pillows, Dishes, Cameras, Anesthetics, Artificial limbs, Movie film, Soft Contact lenses, Fan Belts, Car Enamel, Shaving Cream, Ammonia, Toothpaste and of course, gasoline...more

Lizard Meeting Draws Hundreds to Midland for Comments on Possible Endangered Species Listing

Hundreds of people including politicians, workers and local leaders believe that your livelihood is at stake because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service might name the sand dune lizard as endangered. The story has gone national with FOX News filming Tuesday and Wednesday in Midland. There’s so much anxiety about the upcoming lizard decision around West Texas that it drew hundreds to speak to the wildlife service for the first time Wednesday night. It’s abundantly clear that most West Texans oppose the listing, but as one oil driller said, it may come down to a compromise. "I request that you repeal the endangered species act and I request that you totally defund the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as hundreds of millions of dollars are being wasted", said Karl Gulick. He drew overwhelming applause when he called the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard meeting "a farce" and said President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar were secretly conspiring to take down the US oil and gas industry by using the lizard issue as a guise. Monahans Mayor David Cutbirth said he wants his city to be known as the home of the Dune Lizard, but not the "doomsday lizard"...more

Speakers question science behind lizard concerns

A respectful crowd of Permian Basin residents gathered at Midland Center on Wednesday to speak at a public hearing about the listing of the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species. The listing possibly could shut down oil and gas, grazing and farming operations in Andrews, Crane, Gaines, Ward and Winkler counties in West Texas and Chaves, Eddy, Lea and Roosevelt counties in New Mexico. The hearing was conducted by officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, overseen by Jeff Humphrey, public outreach specialist with the service out of Arizona. Congressman Mike Conaway told officials "the folks in Texas feel sandbagged. In 2008 you told our neighbors in New Mexico you would work with them through candidate conservation agreements and candidate conservation agreements with assurances. I feel that in 2008 Texas could have been made part of the process. We want the decision to be based on sound science. You like to hide behind the phrase 'best available data.' I appeal to the scientists there, if it's a close call, if it's a tie, lean towards the human species, not the lizard. We will be good partners on protecting the lizard. We want to be partners, not subjects."...more

Will A Lizard Stop West Texas Oil?

After the harm done by the spotted owl and delta smelt, the listing of a tiny reptile as endangered may be the latest salvo in the war on domestic energy. As Yogi Berra would say, it's deja vu all over again. If the dunes sagebrush lizard is listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an endangered species, another key part of the American economy will fall prey to the eco-extremist mantra that every little critter's well-being trumps that of the American people and economy. Last December, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the lizard, a three-inch-long reptile native to the American Southwest, "faces immediate and significant threats due to oil and gas activities and herbicide treatments" and initiated the process to get it listed under the Endangered Species Act. If the dunes sagebrush lizard, now considered a separate species, is granted endangered status, oil and gas production in the Permian Basin in New Mexico and Texas may have to be shut down. When Obama recently addressed the current energy crisis, he told Americans not to worry: "We've been down this road before." But we should worry — and for that very reason. We've seen the spotted owl kill logging and create ghost towns in the Northwest. The ESA's listing of the delta smelt created 40% unemployment in California's San Joaquin Valley and turned America's food basket into a dust bowl...more

Federal protections sought for Sierra fox

A conservation group on Wednesday asked the federal government to protect the Sierra Nevada red fox under the Endangered Species Act, a move that may have broad effects on land management. The petition came from the Center for Biological Diversity. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now has 90 days to review the petition, and then 12 months to make a ruling. The Sierra Nevada red fox is one of the rarest mammals in North America. Until recently, only a few dozen were known to exist at Lassen Volcanic National Park. But in August, U.S. Forest Service biologists found a handful more than 200 miles away, near Sonora Pass, a discovery later confirmed through genetic tests. "It's really important to create a network of habitats, not just to prevent extinction, but to facilitate recovery," said Taylor McKinnon, public lands campaign director at the center. He said protections could affect logging practices, because the fox may depend on old-growth forest characteristics, especially in winter. Livestock grazing could also be affected, because the rodents and small mammals that are prey for the fox may be negatively affected by grazing...more

How a Lowly Tortoise Could Derail a $250 Million IPO

Meet Gopherus agassizii. Casual acquaintances call him a desert tortoise. The endangered species is native to the Mojave desert, spends 95 percent of its time in burrows and could derail the $250 million IPO of solar thermal developer BrightSource Energy. BrightSource’s future growth is dependent upon its ability to complete all three phases of Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System — the company’s first large-scale project in the Mojave desert — on time and within budget, according to BrightSource’s S-1filing. In short, BrightSource really has to avoid project delays if it hopes to stay within budget and on schedule. Brightsource has already navigated a series of potential deal killers. It secured $1.6 billion in loan guarantees from the Energy Department and attracted other investors including Google (GOOG), NRG Energy and Morgan Stanley. Also, Pacific Gas & Electric has agreed to buy two thirds of the power generated from the project. But the desert tortoise, which has already caused the company to scale back the size of the project by 500 acres, continues to create problems for BrightSource. Earlier this month, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management put the brakes on phases two and three of the Ivanpah after finding more desert tortoises than anticipated during a monthly review of the area, Earth2Tech reported. Not only is the project delayed — which costs money — but BrightSource will probably have to spend more to protect and properly move the tortoises...more

Editorial: Back the ranchers

U.S. REP. Scott Tipton has seen Pinon Canyon from the Army's perspective and appropriately he plans a return trip to the area to talk with the ranchers about their concerns. The ranchers and their neighbors in towns such as Trinidad and La Junta have been fighting for years against plans to expand Fort Carson's existing 238,000-acre Army maneuver site. Rep. Tipton knows of the ranchers' plight, of course, after hearing so much about the festering Pinon Canyon dispute during his successful campaign in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District last year. Even though the Army insists that expansion plans are on hold, Fort Carson officials tipped their hand, perhaps inadvertently, that they eventually want more Pinon Canyon land by orchestrating the new congressman's tour of the site on Tuesday. Southeastern Colorado residents are committed to resisting expansion. Following the tour and briefings, Rep. Tipton reiterated, "I'm going to protect the farmers and the ranchers of Colorado." The Army never delivered on promises that the surrounding communities would benefit economically from the original Pinon Canyon acquisition in the early 1980s. Thus, we remain skeptical that the Army really means it when it offers to spend more in the area in the future...more

The Pueblo Chieftain is more forgiving of Tipton than I was. I hope they're right and I'm wrong.

An expert at branding

...One of these times was up in Kispiox, he said, when he and the truck driver arrived to find nothing more than a two-wire fence and a ditch for a loading zone. The two ranchers just told the truck driver to back his rig into the ditch, and once done placed two two-by-fours down, with a piece of plywood down to make a ramp, which started one of the most interesting brand inspections that Kerr had ever done. “Gee, I thought, like they’re going to be walking across that plywood into the truck,” Kerr said. “Let’s dream again.” But the two seemed determined, he said, placing two more pieces of wood along the side to guide the cattle into the truck. It was one of the few times where he’d ever wished for a video camera. “There’s just no possible way that this could work,” Kerr thought at the time. Told to watch the bull as it had a tendency to charge, the two ranchers went in, laid some feed across the planks, and lo and behold, Kerr said, “if some of the cattle didn’t come munching, right over the plywood and into the truck.” “I’m just sitting there, wondering how this happened,” Kerr said. And so it went, until just two remained — the two-year-old Hereford bull and one cow, which so far had done all in its might to avoid the truck and feed-covered plywood. While the two ranchers began loading the bull into the truck using two sticks as a make-shift corral, Kerr and the truck driver headed over to the cow, who by this time had managed to escape the fence line, and was staring at the procedure from the road...more

Branding remains best way to identify cattle in Colorado

Spring branding soon after birth, remains the easiest way to permanently mark animals, especially cattle, for quick visual identification and to protect ranchers from theft and loss. Tim Canterbury of Howard, immediate past president of the Colorado Cattlemen's Association, said branding cattle in Colorado began in the mid-1800s as ranching became common in the West. Brands were first registered and inspected by the association in 1867. "The Colorado Cattle Association was founded because of the need for cattle inspectors and to prevent theft," Canterbury said. Brands, different for every owner, now are registered through the Colorado Department of Agriculture Brand Board primarily to deter theft. By 1885 inspection responsibilities were transferred to local counties under quasi-state regulation, he said. By 1899 brand registration and inspection of brands on cattle bought, sold, or transported were responsibilities managed under the Colorado Secretary of State. Rick Wahlert, Colorado brand commissioner, said inspectors are designated by counties to patrol brands. Their activities and duties are governed by state statute. Wahlert said inspectors are present any time there is a change of ownership, if cattle are transported more than 75 miles within the state or are taken out of Colorado. He said reports are filed when cattle go astray, missing, wander in with another herd or if theft occurs with the intention of illegal butchering. Wahlert said about 500-1,000 reports of missing cattle are received annually in Colorado. He said the Colorado Brand Board is 100 percent cash financed by the cattle industry through assessment and inspection fees...more

More than a dozen calves stolen off three NM ranches

New Mexico Livestock Inspector Bea Bell said 14 calves, between two- and six-weeks old, have been stolen over the past month from three ranches along Riley Road that runs from Bernardo to Magdalena. "The majority have been taken from one ranch," Bell said in a phone interview. "We found tire tracks in one of the pastures." Bell said they have ruled out predators as the cause of the missing calves since no blood or carcasses or parts of carcasses have been found. "Right now it's very suspicious," she said. Most of the ranchers have removed cows with newborn calves from the area to a more secure part of their ranches in order to avoid losing any more of their cattle to the thieves. The stolen calves had not been branded yet because of their age, Bell said. Bell said because of some of the calves' age, whoever took them will also have to feed them supplements since they were taken from their mothers. Bell said DNA testing can also be conducted to determine ownership if the calves are found...more

The Sidewalk Cattlemen's Association

According to a 1966 article in the Meteor, Fox wrote a front-page column that ran March 6, 1941, poking fun at people wearing cowboy boots in Madisonville without any need for them, since they didn’t own cows. Two young Madisonville lawyers, Ebb Berry Jr. and George Brownlee, were harpooned in the column and called “sidewalk cattlemen.” The column, written with Fox’s well-known acid wit, laid out rules for wearing cowboy boots and penalties for infractions. The rules state that owners of two head of cattle are entitled to wear cowboy boots, owners of three head can wear boots with one pant leg stuffed into the top of a boot, owners of four head can stuff both pant legs into the boots, and owners of six head can wear cowboy boots with both pant legs stuffed in and add spurs to their boots. The Meteor article notes a paper salesman, Ralph Ritcheson, visited Madisonville from Waco and called on Fox after the column ran. Ritcheson was wearing cowboy boots, but was unable to prove ownership of any cattle. He was escorted to a drug store and forced to buy drinks for everyone within yelling distance, and his boots were poured full of ice water. The tradition of dunking violators in the horse trough by the courthouse comes from that incident. The Madisonville Sidewalk Cattlemens Association was officially organized on March 25, 1941. Heath was elected president and Fox was named secretary-treasurer of the association. Press wire services picked up stories about the association’s zany doings at Madisonville and newspapers all over the country ran them. For years, the association conducted a nationwide contest in the spring and flew the winner in to Dallas, Fort Worth or Houston. The winner was met by a delegation from Madisonville, presented a full costume of western clothing – including cowboy boots – and became the guest at local dances, suppers, the barbecue and the rodeo. Contest themes included “Most Weather-beaten Cowboy,” “The World’s Happiest Taxpayer,” “Why I Think Texans are Liars,” “How Texas Can Better its Relations with the Other 47 Less Fortunate States,” “The Most Drought-stricken Rancher in North and South America,” and “Why I Would Like to Live in Texas.”...more

Song Of The Day #563

Ranch Radio was fooled for 24 hours by OpenDrive's new interface, where there is no links button. Took awhile, but I finally figured it out.

So here's the tune I wasn't able to share yesterday: Mine, All Mine performed by Benny Barnes. Barnes was from Beaumont, Texas and an injury in the oilfields led to his full time recording career.

The tune is on his 33 track CD Poor Man's Riches - The Complete 1950's Recordings.

Ranching's Risky Business in Southern Arizona

4 Strand Border Fence
The federal government is reporting a significant decline in the number of apprehensions of illegal immigrants, but members of the Arizona Cattlemen's Association are asking for additional equipment and personnel along the border. Daniel Bell of ZZ Corporation in Santa Cruz County is one of them. He says ranchers need protection from smugglers and a steady stream of migrants on their ranches. Bell's family has been ranching near Nogales, Arizona since the 1930s. They lease more than 30,000 acres from the Bureau of Land Management. It includes about eight miles on the border with Mexico, where only a four-strand barbed wire fence separates both countries. He says he spends a lot of time fixing the permeable barrier. "Even though we have a gate right down here not more than 20 yards away, but for fear of being sensored they go ahead and cut our fences, and the problem is this is most likely drug smuggling here and when we’re out here working these pastures with our cattle, you just never know what you’re going to come across," Bell says. Bell and others are concerned about violence, especially in light of the unsolved murder of Cochise County rancher Rob Krentz last year. "It seems like it’s getting more violent out in these areas," he says. "Last year on September 5th we had a shooting here on the ranch; November 18th we had another shooting.”...more

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pearce: Fish and Wildlife makes contradictory claims while jobs are at stake

      Roswell, NM (April 27, 2011) Congressman Steve Pearce today responded to claims by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that listing the dunes sagebrush lizard as endangered will not kill jobs.
      Congressman Pearce was told by top officials in Fish and Wildlife that Fish and Wildlife does not have to consider jobs when deciding on this matter.  These comments were made during a meeting with the office of the director of Fish and Wildlife last month.  Fish and Wildlife has admitted that economic considerations do not play into decisions to list a species, which raises the question of their basis for making any economic claims.  Nonetheless, Fish and Wildlife talking heads have chosen to publicly claim that no jobs will be lost by the listing, even while ignoring repeated requests for economic data.
      “Fish and Wildlife is making economic claims without facts,” said Pearce.  “My office has asked for data from Fish and Wildlife on how jobs will be impacted, and they claim they don’t have the information.”
      Fish and Wildlife recently contested claims that listing the dunes sagebrush lizard as endangered would be a job killer, saying these statements are “absolutely not true.”  However, the comments came not from economists, but from a spokesperson and an ecologist, who offer no economic data.
      Congressman Pearce has advocated for the CCA and CCAA—agreements by local private and public entities to work to preserve the species without an endangered listing.  Fish and Wildlife has said that “economic development and conservation are not diametrically opposed concepts.”  Congressman Pearce wholeheartedly agrees with this statement, which is why he has urged Fish and Wildlife to allow these agreements time to workAs Fish and Wildlife has made clear, once a listing is made, they will make no efforts to preserve jobs.  Congressman Pearce therefore advocates an approach wherein all parties continue to work together to protect jobs and the lizard.
      A 2005 working group document, to which Fish and Wildlife was a leading agency, acknowledged the devastating economic impact of an endangered species listing, and advocated other, voluntary measures, like the agreements advocated by Congressman Pearce: “Land management decisions that restrict or preclude full mineral development of certain state and federal lands thus affect the flow of revenues into local and state economies.” Furthermore, the document stated: “...ranchers who voluntary adopt grazing practices intended to benefit at-risk species should receive appropriate economic compensation, as well as protection from future additional regulatory burdens in the event of listing.”
      It was based on these assertions that the CCA and CCAA agreements were established, to engage all concerned parties.  Nonetheless, Fish and Wildlife has now reversed these claims and is acting with utter disregard for the economy of southeastern New Mexico and west Texas.
      Furthermore, Pearce pointed out that it is concerning that Fish and Wildlife is speaking out in favor of the listing while they are still taking public comments on the issue and certainly before any final decision has been made.
      “It is alarming that Fish and Wildlife seems to have already made their decision while the public comment period remains open,” said Pearce.  “My constituents have a legal right to a voice in this matter, without prejudice or bias.”
      Congressman Pearce will attend a rally to oppose the listing tomorrow night, Thursday, April 28, at the Great Southwest Aviation Airport Hangar in Roswell, NM at 5:00 pm, just before the end of the verbal public comment period on the issue.  All concerned individuals are encouraged to attend.


Congressional Western Caucus Vice Chairman Dean Heller Appointed to U.S. Senate

Congressional Western Caucus Vice-Chairman Dean Heller has been appointed to the vacant U.S. Senate seat in Nevada by Governor Brian Sandoval. Congressman Steve Pearce, Chairman of the Western Caucus, release the following statement on the appointment:

“I would like to thank Dean for his leadership with the Congressional Western Caucus. His leadership on western issues will be missed in the House but the people of Nevada will be fortunate to have him representing them in the Senate. I look forward to continuing to work with Dean to push policies that will create jobs while defending western states from the Obama Administration’s War on Western Jobs’’

Wildlife officials counter Pearce lizard claims

The fading dunes sagebrush lizard is no destroyer of jobs, staff members of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday. They criticized U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-NM, for claiming that federal protection for the small reptile would harm the oil and gas industry. "There's just no data to support that," said Charna Lefton, a spokeswoman for the wildlife service's regional office in Albuquerque. Pearce has been campaigning for two weeks against endangered species status for the dunes sagebrush lizard. It is found only in eight counties of New Mexico and West Texas, and its range has decreased from about 1 million acres to 600,000, Lefton said. Members of New Mexico's state forestry division said Pearce's claim about the timber industry declining because of protections for the owl was incorrect and oversimplified. Likewise, in a conference call with reporters, Lefton and Michelle Shaughnessy, an ecologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service, said enforcing the U.S. Endangered Species Act to help the lizard would not imperil jobs...more

Everybody knows that an endangered species designation doesn't cost jobs. For instance, just ask the folks in Oregon and California and I'm sure they will tell you they didn't lose a single sawmill or even one job because of the Northern Spotted Owl.

It's a shame the Carlsbad City Council and all those folks rallying in West Texas don't understand the listing of this little lizard will result in an economic boom for the region. Kind of an Obama-style economic stimulus for the oil patch don't you see.

Lizard layoffs? Naw, Obama and the USFWS will never let that happen.

I'm sure that the listing of this little lizard and similar actions by the feds will result in a huge decline in gas prices too.

And for the folks in our own Forestry division, you are right too - the timber industry is just going great guns in the Gila.

It's about time, though, the public realized the kind of employees we have in the Forestry Division. Notice the article says "members", so there's more than one. Were they speaking for the Governor in criticizing Pearce? Notice their names weren't given in the article. Did they speak to the reporter but not for attribution? They say Pearce's statement was "incorrect" and "oversimplified".

I say they are incorrectly employed and Governor Martinez should a apply a simple solution - turn them loose from state government so they can work for the enviro organizations they are currently working for but at our expense.

Owls, Mules and Lizards: the makeup of federal land management

by Marita Noon

    Farming, ranching, mining, and extraction are the foundation for everything else. They are what make food, energy and manufacturing possible by proving the raw materials for our personal and economic growth. Yet these bedrock American industries have, little-by-little, been chiseled away—so subtly that most of us did not notice until now; now, when the economy continues to teeter with a slight uptick one month, back down the next. The public, America’s citizens, people who’ve never paid attention to politics or the economy, want to know what happened; they want to know, “Why?”
    The answer is really quite simple and reversing the trend—growing the economy—is equally simple. But America’s citizens must push for policy-induced prosperity.
    Today we have federal employees who are paid to stop productivity. Their job is to enforce regulations, not encourage expansion. The federal government used to help people establish a farm or ranch, or stake a claim. Remember the whole idea of “homesteading?” People took a barren parcel of federal land, treated it as their own and made something from nothing. Their efforts were rewarded with the deed.
    While homesteading is a thing of the history books, policy that stopped development didn’t begin until the seventies. Initial results of a new study indicate that major industries once prevalent in the west, such as logging, cattle ranching, and mining, have moved out—in fact, been chased out. Instead of exporting, we now import.
    What happened in the seventies to change federal lands management? The birth of the environmental movement in the late 1960s.
    This shift in policy is most evident through the story of the spotted owl—a declining species said to favor “old growth forest.” The effort to protect the owl began in 1968. It was ultimately listed as “endangered” in 1990. Observing history, we see the owls’ numbers have not increased with the protection and they’ve been found in locations they supposedly do not like. While the listing had little impact on the owl, it did have a killing effect on the logging industry. Logging on federal lands once accounted for more than half of Oregon’s harvest. By 2008, less than ten percent.
    In New Mexico’s Gila Forest access to federal lands has been continually cut back. Today, based on numbers from the 1970’s, there are thirty percent fewer cattle. Because of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and wilderness designations, the Forest Service required Terrell Shelley, whose family has continuously raised cattle on the same land for 125 years, to use mules to make repairs to concrete dams on his allotment. 250 mule loads of concrete were hand mixed. Not many people today are willing to continue ranching under such restrictive conditions.
    Mining faces similar obstacles. In Montana, exploration for tungsten was completed in the seventies by Union Carbide. To extract the resource from what is now an “inventoried roadless area,” the Forest Service requires that the drilling equipment be hauled by pack mules—who are feed “certified weed free hay,” and that the land be cleared and then reclaimed using hand tools. Once again, productive activity is discouraged.
    Due to punitive federal policy, we now have less logging, less ranching, and less mining; less jobs, less productivity, and less wealth creation.
    The oil and gas industry of West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico is next. The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed that the Sand Dune Lizard (AKA Dunes Sagebrush Lizard) be listed as an endangered species under the ESA. This lizard frequents sites where oil and gas development provides good paying jobs and economic stability. If the FWS proceeds with the “endangered” listing, the entire region could well go the way of logging in the Pacific Northwest or Cattle Ranching in the Gila Forest.
    Now, we see how industries have been shuttered and jobs lost. We watched while entire communities became ghost towns. “Protection” and “wilderness” sound like nice ideas until you see the economic destruction they have wrought. With the benefit of history, America’s citizens can take a stand and reverse the trend. Federal agencies hold hearings where we can comment. We can make phone calls and send e-mails.
    The employees at the various federal agencies don’t make the policies. They are simply enforcing the regulations. But if we speak up, we can change the game.
    The public comment period for the proposed lizard listing ends May 9. Make the effort, pick up the phone. Talk to the federal employees (Debra M. Hill: 505-761-4719, Tom Buckley: 505-248-6455).
    Wouldn’t it be great if the federal government once again helped, instead of hindered?
    Public rallies in opposition to the proposed ESA listing of the Sand Dune Lizard are being held in Midland, TX (April 27) and Roswell, NM (April 28). The FWS is holding public comment hearings in the same cities on the same days. More information is available in the “Act Now” page at

Obama urges repeal of tax breaks for oil firms

Seizing on an unexpected political opportunity, President Obama urged Congress to repeal tax breaks for oil companies and said he was "heartened" that the Republican House speaker had revived the idea. Although Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) may have veered a bit from GOP talking points on taxes this week — telling a television interviewer that the government is low on revenue and oil companies ought to pay "their fair share" — an aide said Boehner did not advocate the sweeping repeal of subsidies that the president supported. But Obama tried to make the most of the speaker's comments, which came in an ABC "World News" interview Monday. The president dashed off a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday reminding them that "high oil and gasoline prices are weighing on the minds and pocketbooks of every American family."...more

In his never-ending quest to sound "reasonable" and "moderate" to the national media Boehner has made another dumb statement.

Obama baby saw an opening and pounced. Even Pelosi is getting in on the act.

Boehner will, of course, learn nothing from this episode. He will remain reasonably and moderately dumb.

US Forest Service to announce updated firefighting policies following Station Fire

Two summers ago, the Station Fire killed two firefighters and destroyed more than 200 buildings in the San Gabriel Mountains. On Thursday, federal officials will update a Southland congressman on changes they’ve made to prevent future firefighting mistakes. Critics slammed the Forest Service for not deploying airborne firefighting tankers the first day of the Station Fire. The U.S. Agriculture Department accused the Forest Service of focusing on its budget rather than the cost of the fire. The largest wildfire in L.A. County history burned more than 250 square miles of what’s described as “one of the most valuable watersheds in the world.” Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of Burbank has convened one town hall meeting on the fire. On Thursday, he’ll hear from the chief of fire and aviation for the Forest Service and an official from the Government Accountability Office on changes to federal firefighting procedures...more

Boy the FS was really in a hurry on this one. Two hundred buildings, 250 square miles, 2 employees dead and it only took them 2 years to update their procedures. Amazing.

The Gas-Price Blame Game — Round 36

Pump prices keep climbing, so what do those mainly responsible for the run-up do? Try to pin it on someone else, of course. In his radio address last Saturday, President Obama bragged that his attorney general had just two days earlier "launched a task force with just one job: rooting out cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, including any illegal activity by traders and speculators. "We're going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain." Last month, the president promised that his administration was "taking various measures to deal with oil prices, and (is) watching out for price-gouging." This is the sort of rhetoric that beleaguered consumers, aching from soaring fuel prices, are vulnerable to. Obama is giving them a straw man on which they can vent their frustrations. But their focus should be on the presidential candidate who said while campaigning in 2008 that under his environmentalist regime, "electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket." On the day Obama took office, gasoline was $1.83 a gallon. On Tuesday, according to the American Automobile Association's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the national average was $3.87. While electricity prices haven't yet necessarily skyrocketed, gasoline prices sure have. Obama could have prevented this. But he's done nothing to push crude supplies up and thereby bring gasoline prices down. In fact, it appears that his goal is to reduce domestic supply...more

Tipton makes the rounds in Pinon Canyon

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton took a firsthand look Tuesday at one of the hottest issues in this portion of his sprawling 3rd Congressional District. Tipton, a freshman in Congress, and staff members met with the commander at Fort Carson and then headed south for a tour of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site before an evening town hall meeting at Trinidad State Junior College. Even though the Army has put its plan to expand the maneuver site on hold, area residents remain suspicious and continue to criticize the Army for the way it uses the 230,000 acres it already controls. Following his tour of the site and a number of briefings, Tipton said that he believed the Army was doing a better job of communicating what it's doing and that there are no imminent plans to expand...more

Looking for someone to display leadership and take a firm stand? Well Republican Tipton is not your man. He just wants better "communicating" by the Army.

The article also has this:

Asked if he would support congressional action to put in place a permanent funding ban for expansion, Tipton said there needed to be more dialogue.

A leader who truly wanted to protect the land owners would put the ban in place, and then let them "dialogue" all they wanted to.

Missouri tries to block plan to breach Mississippi River levee

Missouri's attorney general turned to a federal court Tuesday to stop a federal plan to blow a levee to ease pressure on the flood-engorged Mississippi River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan would flood more than 130,000 evacuated acres in southeastern Missouri, much of it in Mississippi County, said Attorney General Chris Koster. "The flooding would leave a layer of silt on the farmland that could take as much as a generation to clear, causing significant injury to the quality of the farmland for many years," Koster said in a statement about the lawsuit. James Pogue, chief spokesman in the Corps' Memphis office, said the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway is a "safety valve" in the current crisis. "This allows us to do what nature will do anyway, (but) in a controlled system," he said. Koster also said a law requiring such action is unclear on whether the Corps has the authority to make a decision to detonate the levee. About 100 families live in the floodway, which has not seen such use since 1937. Federal officials say the families have known of easements and legal rights the government has for flood control...more

Yes, the Corps is renowned for doing things "natures way", now aren't they. The folks in the floodway should trust the the professionals and experts in the Corps to do the right thing - just like they did in New Orleans.

Lack of rain takes toll on region

Today marks the 84th consecutive day without measurable precipitation in Dona Ana County - a situation taking its toll on the JCJ Ranch. The drought has made rangeland grasses sparse. "It's getting awful thin," said ranch owner Chip Johns. "It's just bloody terrible, and I don't know what we're going to do." Johns has had to buy supplemental feed since last December to keep cattle alive on his 250,000-acre, south-county ranch. And feed prices have sky-rocketed over the past year, he said. Ranchers are among those feeling the pain of an extreme drought plaguing all of southern New Mexico, parts of Arizona and most of Texas - a region also plagued by fires related to the dryness. The last measurable precipitation at an official gauge on the New Mexico State University campus occurred on Feb. 3, said Tom Bird, meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Santa Teresa Station. It was snow - equivalent to about 0.08 inches of rain - that fell that day, part of a severe winter freeze that hit the region. But before that, Bird said, the last rainfall was 0.01 inches that fell Dec. 31 - the only precipitation for that month. No rain fell in November. Some 0.42 inches fell in October, he said, taking the seven-month precipitation total to "barely more than 1/2 inch." The historical average, meanwhile, for that same time is 3.5 inches. "You're about 80 percent short on the rainfall you're supposed to have gotten," he said...more

Song Of The Day #563

Getting back to traditional country, here's Benny Barnes and Mine, All Mine.

Oops, OpenDrive ain't working this morning.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rodeo clown enters education arena on bullying problems

Got a call this evening from rodeo clown Marvin Nash. We discussed some mutual acquaintances in the rodeo world and he mentioned he was in NM conducting a program for school kids. It was a program about bullying called Bullying Hurts. Marvin started this anti-bullying program over 10 years ago, long before Oprah, The View or other media types picked up on this issue.

Check out the video below, visit his website, review the programs offered and check out the ringing endorsements from various school officials (One principal reported a 75% decline in bullying incidents).

If you are as impressed as I was, you may want this program brought to your school.

Besides, you have to know that anyone who pushed a clown's barrel all the way from Cowtown, NJ to Washington DC - just to bring this issue to the public's attention - darn sure believes in what he's doing.


Climate Change Poses Rising Threat to Western Water Resources, U.S. Says

Climate change is posing an increased risk to water resources in the U.S. West and “ringing alarm bells” for farmers, towns and hydropower companies, according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The dangers include a decline of as much as 20 percent in the average annual flow in river basins such as the Colorado and the Rio Grande, which help generate hydroelectric power, according to the Interior Department study today on the impacts of climate change on U.S. Western water resources. A changing climate will affect rain and snowfalls this century, putting farms and communities in the U.S. West at higher risk of economic and environmental disruptions, Salazar told reporters on a conference call. The Interior Department’s report to Congress projects temperatures will climb 5 degrees to 7 degrees Fahrenheit (2.9 degrees to 3.9 degrees Celsius) this century, with increasing precipitation in the northwestern and north-central parts of the western U.S. and a drop in the southwestern and south-central areas. The changes may affect water available to agriculture, cities, fish and wildlife and other uses such as recreation, according to the study...more

The report is here. It's from the Bureau of Reclamation and I'm sure has nothing to do with the fact they build...dams.

EPA Rules Force Shell to Abandon Oil Drilling Plans

Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits. The move has angered some in Congress and triggered a flurry of legislation aimed at stripping the EPA of its oil drilling oversight. Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The leases alone cost $2.2 billion. Shell Vice President Pete Slaiby says obtaining similar air permits for a drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico would take about 45 days. He’s especially frustrated over the appeal board’s suggestion that the Arctic drill would somehow be hazardous for the people who live in the area. “We think the issues were really not major,” Slaiby said, “and clearly not impactful for the communities we work in.” The closest village to where Shell proposed to drill is Kaktovik, Alaska. It is one of the most remote places in the United States. According to the latest census, the population is 245 and nearly all of the residents are Alaska natives. The village, which is 1 square mile, sits right along the shores of the Beaufort Sea, 70 miles away from the proposed off-shore drill site. The EPA’s appeals board ruled that Shell had not taken into consideration emissions from an ice-breaking vessel when calculating overall greenhouse gas emissions from the project. Environmental groups were thrilled by the ruling...more

The Lizard War in the Oil Patch

It’s just a little ole thing — no more than three inches long and its skin practically blends into the dusty ground of southeast New Mexico. It’s the dunes sagebrush lizard – known as Sceloporous arenicolus in scientific terms — and the reptile has become the centerpiece of a fight between environmentalists who want to see it put on the endangered species list and supporters of oil and natural gas interests who fear federal protection for a creature so hard to find that almost nobody in the Oil Patch has ever even seen one could shut down an industry vital to the New Mexico economy. The US Fish and Wildlife Service says the dunes sagebrush lizard is in danger of extinction in southeast New Mexico and parts of west Texas. Last December, the agency proposed listing the lizard under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which would give the reptile federal protection. But the lizard’s habitat includes a large portion of land — much of it on federal property — that is leased by oil and gas companies and some people in the area fear that aggressive enforcement of the Endangered Species Act would threaten their means of making a living. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-New Mexico) of the US House of Representatives is leading the charge against placing the lizard on the endangered species list. “Most of the oil and gas jobs in southeast New Mexico are at risk,” Pearce told the Carlsbad Current-Argus in an article published April 18. “In the ’70s, they listed the spotted owl as endangered and it killed the entire timber industry.”...more

Court finds California salmon protections wanting

A judge has ruled that the California Department of Fish and Game's deal allowing ranchers to continue drawing water from two Klamath Basin tributaries in return for habitat improvements does not do enough to protect threatened coho salmon. The ruling from Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith of the Superior Court of California in San Francisco tells the department to figure out how many salmon are actually killed by water withdrawals from the Scott and Shasta rivers in Northern California, come up with some effective steps to improve salmon survival in those rivers, and give the public a chance to comment on it all. "Despite (the department's) good faith efforts and potential hardship to water users, the Court must uphold the legislature's mandate to preserve listed species and conduct environmental review of all foreseeable consequences," Goldsmith wrote. The department is reviewing the ruling and considering its options for moving forward, said spokeswoman Jordan Traverso. The ruling issued April 20 came in a lawsuit brought by groups representing salmon fishermen, an Indian tribe, and conservation groups challenging the legality of the Shasta Valley and Scott River Watershed-Wide Permitting Programs. The department approved the programs in 2010 to bring about 100 farms and ranches into compliance with the state Endangered Species Act in an area that had seen fierce pockets of resistance...more

Wolf Attacks Mother Walking with Child in Sweden

Sweden recently overturned a 45 year ban on wolf hunting as wolf populations have grown to more than 200 animals, and wolves impinge more frequently on areas occupied by humans. The clash between man and nature has claimed another victim, as two wolves converged on the path of a mother out walking with her child in Norrtälje, north of Stockholm. The wolves appeared suddenly on the path in front of the young mother, who was pushing a baby carriage and accompanied by the family dog. One wolf attacked the pet, seizing it by the neck and turning to carry its prey off to the woods. Initial reports indicated that the second wolf turned its attention to the baby carriage, but later reports confirming the wolf attack indicate that the wolves did not threaten the baby. The later reports say the woman began screaming and flailing her arms, which wolf experts praise as the right course of action. The Swedish government is currently defending the population-culling wolf hunt, which has proceeded for two years now, against legal action by the EU. Sweden recently filed a response to the EU notice regarding wolf hunting, claiming that the wolf hunt is essential to recovery of wolf populations, claiming "Genetically strengthening the wolf population requires an acceptance that cannot be achieved without licensed hunting."...more

USDA brand decision burns ranchers

The hot-iron brand, the West’s most recognized ownership stamp for 150 years, isn’t grading well with federal officials searching for uniform ways of identifying livestock. The U.S. Department of Livestock is expected to propose new “farm to fork” identification rules for tracing animals making their way from the ranch to the grocery refrigerator case. The identification requirements are expected to help regulators trace diseases and other problems back to the source. But the potential exclusion of brands as a means of identifying animals sold across state lines has angered ranchers, who say the issue basically makes brands irrelevant. The USDA in March announced that ear tags will be the official cattle ID. Brands would only be used when states make special arrangements. “Fourteen states use brands as a primary means of identification, and the other states are not equipped to use and record brands,” explained Gilles Stockton, a Montana rancher and USDA adviser who discouraged the government from not recognizing brands in their new program. “There is, therefore, pressure to not accept brands as a means of official identification.” Ear tags were the ID of states with large indoor livestock operations, such as pig farms or dairies where animals live in stalls and are easy to keep track of. But, in states with wide open ranges, where one rancher’s livestock will often roam and commingle with animals from another ranch, ear tags are considered inferior. Tags fall out. They’re also hard to read from a distance; whereas, brands are there for life and can be spotted fairly easily through a pair of binoculars...more

Song Of The Day #561

Ranch Radio got a request from Mike in Utah. Said he had heard a song about Cornbread that was kind of bluesy and country at the same time and he thought it was by a group called "a bunch of heathens" or something like that. Wanted to know if we could help him find the song.

Ranch Radio is very familiar with the song cuz we got it. The tune is Cornbread and its by The Band of Heathens. The tune is on their 11 track CD The Band of Heathens.

Are you getting your cornbread every day?

OpenDrive is way slow this morning, may have to try several times to play it.

Prominent rancher murdered in northern Mexico

A rancher who had ties to dairy firm Lala was murdered over the weekend in the northern Mexican city of Torreon and no arrests have yet been made in the case, a spokesman for the Coahuila state Attorney General's Office told Efe on Monday. Carlos Ignacio Valdes Berlanga was killed on Easter Sunday by a group of armed men who went to his house. The 62-year-old businessman "was surprised at home by two armed subjects who threatened his household staff so they could gain access via the service entrance," the AG's office spokesman said. Valdes Berlanga realized what was happening, tried to flee and was shot by one of the gunmen. The rancher was shot 15 times and his body was dumped between Torreon's Madrid and Quebec streets, near his house. La Laguna, a region that includes parts of Coahuila and neighboring Durango state, is the object of a bitter turf war between the Los Zetas and Sinaloa drug cartels...more

Monday, April 25, 2011

Idaho and Montana prepare for wolf hunts

It used to be you could look across the ridge from Ron Gillett's house and a couple of dozen elk would be foraging for grass. Then you'd hear a scary kind of howling, and the elk would take off, a pack of wolves close on their heels. It got so that Gillett couldn't stand to see the spindly elk calves fall into the wolves' hungry embrace — not when hunting elk has been part of his livelihood for much of his life. He'd get screaming mad at wolf advocates who came to watch in wonder as the packs executed their skillful and deadly dances around their prey. "When I see a cow elk with her guts hanging out, and a little calf that's been hamstrung — I know I'm on the right side. No question about it," Gillett said. "These Canadian wolves are the most cruel, vicious predators in North America." Now the days of talking compromise are over, he said. "We're killing 'em." A week after Congress quietly passed a budget rider requiring wolves to be removed from the endangered species list in Idaho and Montana, state officials are preparing to draw up plans for new wolf hunts...more

Editorial: Political move may hurt Ariz.'s gray wolves

That funny noise you heard as President Barack Obama signed the fiscal 2011 budget bill was the Endangered Species Act whimpering in pain. The world's premier environmental law took quite a beating. A provision was tacked on to the budget bill that kicked wolves off the endangered-species list in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Utah. This is the first time Congress has taken a species off the list in the nearly 40-year history of the law. It was an act of political opportunism that could wind up hurting efforts to re-establish Mexican gray wolves in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, even though it does not directly address this vulnerable population of predators. This model of how to circumvent the legal process could hurt Arizona's wolves, which number only about 50 animals in the wild and desperately need protection. There have been proposals in Congress to exempt the endangered Mexican gray wolf from federal protections. Doing this would be a serious betrayal of the nation's natural heritage. The Endangered Species Act and the creatures it protects deserve better treatment than they received from Congress and the president...more

Feds, enviros point fingers over endangered species backlog

Environmental groups and the federal government are blaming each other for the plight of endangered animals. A Tucson-based environmental group is part of an effort to protect more plants and animals. The government says their efforts are actually hurting the process. On this 41st anniversary of the establishment of Earth Day, wildlife that could be on the way to extinction is facing a new threat. It's a backlog of plants and animals waiting to be declared endangered. Two key players are blaming each other. On one hand, the environmentalists want the government to work harder. On the other hand, the government is accusing the environmentalists of clogging the system. In Arizona, there are nearly 60 species waiting to be put on the endangered species list. Each one has to go through a long process. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes the decision on what species make the list. It says the long process is being paralyzed by the piles and piles of new petitions seeking protection for other species that are possibly endangered...more

Editorial: The House Strikes, and Wins, Again

In another House-engineered setback for the environment, the compromise budget approved by Congress and the White House prohibits the Interior Department from spending any money to carry out a policy protecting unspoiled federal lands. Under the 1976 Federal Lands Policy and Management Act, the secretary of interior has the power to inventory, identify and protect such lands. President George W. Bush’s secretary, Gale Norton, who was more interested in development than conservation, renounced that authority. Ken Salazar, the current secretary, reaffirmed it in December only to have House Republicans strike back. We don’t know if there is a way around the restriction. We do know that Mr. Salazar and the White House should begin pressing now to ensure that the next budget lifts the ban and provides the Interior Department the money to set aside fragile lands for future generations...more

Rare lizard causes local concerns

A small lizard is causing big concerns among West Texas landowners. Found in dunes covered by shinnery oak in Andrews, Gaines, Ward and Winkler counties, and much of eastern New Mexico, the dunes sagebrush lizard has been listed by the U.S government as a candidate for endangered species status since 2001. While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hasn’t done a survey of lizards in West Texas, the number is estimated to be smaller than in New Mexico, U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman Tom Buckley said. Oil drilling is a concern since it can disrupt the natural habitat, something the lizards are particularly sensitive to, Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity said. But options that preserve the lizard and work with landowners exist, Buckley said. Candidate conservation agreements, or candidate conservation agreements with assurances, were signed by landowners and oil and gas companies in southeastern New Mexico to help coordinate management of the species, Permian Basin Petroleum Association president Ben Shepperd said...more

Editorial: Lizards vs jobs: Toeing the line to protect both

We share the concern of U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-NM, that federal efforts to protect a small lizard that is native to some of the most productive oil-producing regions in the state could have devastating consequences on the economies of the region and the entire state. The dunes sagebrush lizard, a 3-inch reptile that lives in dunes covered by shinnery oak, has been listed as a candidate for "endangered" status since 2001. Its habitat, limited to stretches of southeastern New Mexico and west Texas, is shrinking. The lizard is already listed as an endangered species in the state, and the oil and gas companies working in Chaves, Eddy, Lea and Roosevelt counties have taken steps to mitigate damage to its habitat. The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association has provided money for research and mapping of the area to ensure roads are not built in areas that would disturb the reptile, association President Steve Henke said. And, producers have avoided drilling in the area where the lizard is known to live, he said. "We feel like we can co-exist with the lizard. (But) the Endangered Species Act makes every-thing cumbersome, lengthy, litigious," he said. Those feelings are justifiable given recent history of Endangered Species Act protections in New Mexico, and their impacts on the economy. Pearce points to the protections given to the spotted owl, and the impact that had on the timber industry. He could have just as easily recounted the tale of the Rio Grande silvery minnow...more

Private lands are new frontier in California's pot wars

A little-spoken of war is taking place behind California's fences and property lines -- trespassing marijuana growers are setting booby traps, resorting to violence and vandalism, and spoiling the land by stealing water and spraying dangerous chemicals that leach into streams. As the federal government focuses on stopping illegal marijuana crops in public parklands and U.S. forests, local sheriff's and state drug enforcement officials including in Kern County face the persistent and potentially dangerous problem of pot growers commandeering private land for their crops. While some land owners fear violence, others face environmental havoc. Last year, the Mendocino County grand jury found that trespassing growers had clear cut trees and destroyed vegetation, diverted streams and littered the landscape with animal carcasses, garbage, human waste, herbicides and animal poisons. The report found toxic compounds used as fertilizer and pesticides were being mixed in dammed streambeds, and "toxins have devastated bird and aquatic life and pose a threat to human habitat."...more

Looming Wyoming feral livestock law holds owners more accountable

Thinking about letting your yaks run wild or abandoning a horse that’s no longer useful? Better think twice starting in July. That’s when a new law takes effect in Wyoming that holds owners accountable for livestock that they turn loose. Under the law, ranchers and farmers who repeatedly refuse to take possession of their livestock must pay for the costs of rounding up the animals, feeding them, providing veterinary service and transporting them back. They’re also liable for any damage their animals cause. Livestock owners who don’t pay up face up to six months in jail and a $750 fine for a first offense, and double those penalties for repeat offenses. The law, signed by Gov. Matt Mead in February, came out of concerns about increasing numbers of Wyoming residents turning loose old or infirm horses, as well as a controversy last year about a Johnson County rancher who repeatedly let his herd of yaks wander off onto the land of neighboring ranchers...more

The financial health of banks lending to agriculture

Most commercial banks lending to agriculture have weathered the financial tsunami of the past 36 months. Many of the agricultural-related banks did not participate aggressively in the high-risk housing or commercial real estate markets. As a result, agricultural banks did not sustain the substantial liquidity and capital problems faced by many global financial institutions. In general, credit remained available for farmers and ranchers throughout the financial crisis. The profitability of production agriculture through the crisis certainly played a critical role in credit quality and quantity at agricultural banks. Agricultural lending increased $13 billion from 2007 through 2010. At the end of 2010, delinquency rates on agricultural loans (2.55%) are lower than the other loan types and far below agricultural delinquency rates exhibited during the agricultural financial crisis in the late 1980s...more

Devil's Rope: Barbed wire snags Route 66 travelers

Most people don't think twice about barbed wire, unless they happen to be cattle ranchers, farmers, or junkyard owners. You don't have to be any of those to step into the Devil's Rope Museum on Route 66 here in McLean, Texas, and immerse yourself in the history and lore of the pointy fencing material. I'll admit that at first, I thought the idea of a museum dedicated to barbed wire was pretty weird and possibly a little dull. How many types of barbed wire can there really be? As it turns out, thousands. Some of them have some real personality to them, too. One looks like a series of miniature spurs. Another comes in a cheerful shade of red. Some look like wicked ribbons. Festive, but dangerous. One surprise is the level of ingenuity surrounding the cult of barbed wire. Do-it-yourselfers have adapted the material into sculptures, crows have woven it into nests, and inventors have dedicated countless hours to one-upping each other on barbed wire design and technology. Barbed wire should make it onto every serious maker's materials list...more

Song Of The Day #560

Thanks to Johnny Walter and my son Frank, my computer is back up and running and I can now play music again.

So, its Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here is The Time Jumpers and their swingin' live performance of My Window Faces The South.

The tune is on their 2 CD collection Jumpin' Time.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Best Cowboy Bar in the West

 by Julie Carter

The name alone is an inviting challenge. The No Scum Allowed Saloon in White Oaks, N. M., is an enticement if only for the historical allure it emanates as it stands in what is left of the late 1800s gold mining town.

The April 2011 issue of American Cowboy magazine named The No Scum Allowed Saloon as one of the "Best Cowboy Bars in the West!" 

"Who didn't know that?" exclaimed a local. 

Owner Tony Marsh said, "We were the only one from New Mexico chosen!" Although, it was not the first time the No Scum had made the big time. 

In 2008 True West magazine tapped the saloon with the wand of fame when it named it as one of the "West's Best Saloons." Marsh has hinted that there are more accolades to come. 

Just nine miles off the main highway, White Oaks is a century away from civilization as we know it. Where the pavement ends and the West begins.

Accordingly, people have been known to drive long distances just to taste the acclaimed "coldest beer around" and soak up some history from the days of the Lincoln County War, the McSweens, Tunstalls and John Chisum. 

When Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid rode the streets of White Oaks, the little brick building housed a lawyer followed by an assayer, a print shop and later the post office. 

A half-century or so after, a local rancher turned it into a saloon. The walls were still peppered with bullet holes, suspect and logically thought to be from when it served as a lawyer's office.
When the railroad bypassed White Oaks and the mines played out, the town made every attempt to fade into a proper ghost town.

You can stand quietly on a dark night and listen for the whispers of the past, the laughter from a ghostly brothel or an echoing gunshot from a cowboy as the sounds of a galloping horse fade into the hills.

Drifting on a soft breeze that moves the night air around the shadows, hear the shuffle of cards and the clicking spin of a roulette wheel from the casino owned by Belle La Mar, known as Madam Varnish because of her reputed "slick ways." 

Texan Tony Marsh stumbled across the No Scum when he drove a few hundred miles out of his way to get a cold beer. When the owner mentioned that he might sell the bar, the negotiations began and the rest, as they say, is history. Old West history.

The No Scum Allowed Saloon regularly attracts local musicians for jam sessions on Friday and Saturday nights. Nothing organized or formal but always fun. 

Sitting atop the bar with a fiddle or guitar, a cowboy sings the songs that evoke emotions and memories. The lights are dim and the dance floor beckons. The melodies float out the open door into the peaceful night where only the stars light up hillsides.

The charm and mystique of the Old West still hang in the air of the bar, now upgraded with modern amenities like indoor plumbing to provide facilities for the ladies and gents that passed the "no scum" test. 

The ceiling of the main barroom is covered wall-to-wall with dollar bills signed, dated and left by patrons over the decades. 

Snake Bite, sitting on the bar in a large bottle labeled as such, is a signature drink for the No Scum Allowed Saloon. A secret recipe of a unique mixture of alcohols, it beckons the daring and is an ongoing topic of conversation.

The locals claim that in White Oaks tomorrow is a holiday. That also applies to today and yesterday.

Julie can be reached for comment at

I do believe that's my old buddy Curtis Payne sawing on the fiddle. I used to back him up on guitar when he first started learning the fiddle while at NMSU. He only knew one song - Rubber Dolly - and we'd play it over and over again until our roommates threatened our lives.