Sunday, November 30, 2014

Nevada assemblyman seeks to limit BLM, Forest Service police powers

Assemblyman Ira Hansen has concerns about the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service overreaching their policing powers. Spurred in part by the BLM’s April roundup of Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle that brought an armed confrontation between federal agents and Bundy supporters, the Sparks Republican is pushing for a bill that would prohibit BLM and Forest Service law officers from enforcing state laws. He is trying to get Nevada’s 17 counties, including Clark County, to take an interest in the issue that would be considered by the 2015 Legislature. Hansen’s concerns are tied in part to a variety of high-profile law enforcement incidents involving the BLM, including the roundup of Bundy cattle on public land and a fatal shooting at Red Rock that involved BLM law enforcement. Clark County commissioners will discuss the matter Tuesday at the request of Commissioner Tom Collins. Hansen said the legislation would expand existing Nevada law that outlines arrest powers within the state for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, U.S. postal inspectors and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In his letter to county commissioners, Hansen stressed that a locally elected sheriff is meant to be the highest law enforcement authority in Nevada counties. “Bottom line: You need to make sure your citizens are safeguarded with all of their traditional constitutional and statutory protections: Local government, local control — especially when it comes to possible criminal charges from a federal land management agency,” Hansen said in his letter to commissioners. Hansen’s legislation would require federal agencies to get approval from sheriffs if they want to enforce state laws. Hansen said he is concerned about BLM enforcement activities, including traffic citations, that fall under state law. Eric Boik, chief ranger of the BLM’s Nevada operation, said BLM law enforcement officers “only enforce federal law. We do not enforce any state law.” However, federal laws do allow BLM rangers to stop vehicles that are speeding on BLM lands, or county and state roads that have BLM property on both sides. There is a federal law for speeding that BLM law enforcement can use when citing drivers. Hansen said the shooting death of a 20-year-old man in Clark County by BLM agents “gives a sense of the worst case possibilities.” Collins said state law needs clear language that includes the BLM and Forest Service, agencies that were overlooked in prior legislation. He said someone who is walking along a state road shouldn’t be stopped by BLM officers. “They’ve got no business stopping someone walking down the street,” Collins said...more

Obama’s action puts public safety at risk

One of the most overlooked aspects of President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration is its impact on public safety.

Last week, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones released a YouTube message to Obama, pleading with him to carry out federal responsibility on immigration for the sake of public safety – a video that has gone viral, signaling similar concerns throughout the country.

The sheriff spoke of the recent killings of one of his deputies and of a Placer County sheriff’s detective, allegedly by an illegal immigrant who had been deported twice for previous crimes.

Will Obama’s executive order, authorizing about 5 million illegal immigrants to stay in the country, strengthen or weaken public safety? This is an important question for California, with an estimated 2.6 million illegal immigrants, more than any other state.

A key provision is that it replaces the Secure Communities program, which works with local law enforcement to identify and remove undocumented immigrants who commit crimes, with the Priority Enforcement Program, which will target for deportation only those who have been convicted of certain serious crimes or who pose a danger to national security.

This sounds good, but waiting until an illegal immigrant commits a crime before deporting them means that Americans must become victims of crimes before laws that should be protecting them are enforced.

There are two important, common-sense points that the sheriff made about crime and illegal immigration that are too often missed in media coverage of this issue.

First, the more undocumented immigrants in a state, the more difficult it is for law enforcement to find those with ill intent.

California has “a very large and very productive undocumented population,” Jones said, but this also “necessarily means we have a large undocumented population that chooses crime as a way of life, that chooses to victimize others, including in many instances other undocumented persons who are unwilling to call us for help.”

The facts bear out the sheriff’s concerns. As of July 2013, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, there were 17,676 inmates in state prisons on an immigration hold or potential hold – 13 percent of the inmate population. The cost for incarcerating these illegal immigrants, at the average annual cost per inmate of $60,623, was about $1 billion.

Crimes committed by these inmates included 3,410 murders; 611 manslaughters; 682 rapes; 2,071 robberies; 2,071 assaults with a deadly weapon; 1,066 regular assaults; 3,031 lewd acts with a minor; 738 burglaries; and 310 kidnappings. Others were incarcerated for possession of a controlled substance for sale, driving under the influence, weapons possession, vehicle theft and arson.

Read more here:

How the turkey industry beats back government regs

From farm to table, the traditional Thanksgiving turkey has long faced multiple layers of government regulation. But in recent years, turkey producers have lobbied intensely for less government oversight, winning in some cases and battling on in others. Whether it’s package labeling, safety inspections in poultry plants or new water regulations, the $4.8 billion turkey industry has been pushing back. Just how involved the feds are varies as the bird makes its way from farm to grocery store. Take the “humanely raised” sticker on your frozen supermarket turkey. The private label means little, and the government has nothing to do with it. At the slaughterhouse, the poultry industry this year won a bitter political battle that allows it to replace some Department of Agriculture inspectors with workers on the turkey or chicken company’s own payroll. Advocates warn that the move is a dangerous step toward self-regulation that threatens food safety. The narrative of how the industry behind one of America’s favorite holidays managed to get such a controversial policy through, despite fierce opposition, is a classic Washington tale of industry power brokering. The larger agriculture sector remains one of the most powerful forces in Washington, and the back-and-forth on inspection regulation is just one example of how effective such an industry can be at shaping policy, regulation by regulation, rule by rule, bill by bill. The turkey industry vehemently argues that it is already well-regulated and is staring down a pipeline of new regulations sought by the Obama administration that cover everything from animal feed standards to health insurance for workers...more 

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Planning for a windfall

by Julie Carter

As a rule, cowboys are generally so broke they can go through several downturns of the stock market and most of a major recession without noticing much change. 

However, let there be an extended drought and they will begin to ponder some serious changes in their business. Often, the drought and the recession happen at the same time.

True to form, Rex went to his Uncle Harold for some advice about weathering the current hard times.  Harold thought for a minute and then told Rex that when he had personally faced similar economic conditions, he would supplement his income with a little hunting and trapping of varmints, usually coyotes, for the fur market.

Rex thought it was a good idea, but not one that would help him financially at this time because currently, nobody was buying many furs. But, the recreational aspect of such a project was enticing.

That night Rex called his buddies Tim and David and a coyote hunt was organized. They stopped by the beer store for refreshments and nourishment (Slim Jims) and headed for David's back pasture.

David had indicated there was a little dirt tank on the backside where all kinds of varmints watered. When they got to the tank, it was nearly dry and had crusted over a long ways out to where the little bit of water stood.

David eased the truck down fairly close to the remaining puddle and they set up shop. Coyote calls, guns, snacks and sharp hunter instincts all were made ready. While waiting for the coyotes to respond to the calls, the trio discussed the possible ways of alleviating their cash-flow problems.

The lottery was the best option they could come up with and at the current $43 million - they determined it could help out. Dreams always come easy to cowboys, so these three quickly moved past the buying of the ticket to planning what to do with their winnings.

David's number one priority was to buy a new deer rifle. Tim thought about it for a while, said Becky Jean had been campaigning for a new house, so he would get that for her.

Both Rex and David quickly cautioned Tim to consider that option very carefully because they'd heard Becky say she wanted the wheels off her next house and they knew they'd be roped into helping with the work.

Rex’s frugal nature directed his thinking in that he felt one might need to keep a little in reserve. He thought he had about all the things he needed, although he did consider buying a new saddle and saving the other $42,998,000 for hard times.

Soon the dedicated hunters spotted a pair of coyotes coming to the call. The plan was for David to ease out of the truck and take a shot. When he stepped out the door, he was immediately in mud up to his knees.

He looked at the truck. While they had been counting and spending their lottery winnings, it had slowly settled in mud all the way to the axles. The crust on the banks of the tank has just been a cover for the very sticky, gooey stuff underneath.

It was a long walk back to the road to fetch a tractor, but they managed to carry the cooler with them as well as make a decision as to where they would buy their lottery tickets.

Hard times don't discourage cowboys as long as they keep their priorities in order.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Mountain girl and Equine ambassador

Mountain girl and Equine ambassador
Joyce (Shelley) Loomis-Kerneck
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            I have an A.D. Seitzler saddle that I simply won’t sell.
            It was made for my great-great Aunt Izzy, Isabelle (Moss) Kinney. It came to me along with a pair of her size 4 shop made boots.
            On its left side jockey is a permanent stain. For years, I looked at that stain and cringe acknowledging it was the only blemish on that beautiful old saddle. As I view it today, however, that stain is as much the defining feature of the heirloom as the saddle itself.
            I always knew where the stain came from. It came from packing a deer off 74 Mountain in 1959. The packer was a girl. More specifically it was a beautiful young lady who now suggests those mountain influences shaped her life permanently. Her name was Joyce Shelley.
To this day, we call her … Tissy.
            Tissy was born in 1942 to Lawrence and Rosemary Shelley. She was named for her Aunt Tink, Rosemary’s sister. Her older brother, Buster, was a year old when she was born. He couldn’t say sister. She was ‘tister.’ It later became Tissy.
            In 1947, younger brother, Terrell, was born. From the earliest imaginable times, they became the cowboy crew for the latter day remnants of the famous 916 Ranch which their great grandfather, Peter Shelley, established in 1884 (See Shelley article here.  The ranch was the first target for what now must be recognized as the grand American Wilderness Crusade starting in 1944, and the family has subsequently and indelibly become the First Family of American Wilderness. It is a mantle that has caused immense grief and family and societal disruption).

Buster, Tissy, Terrell
             To keep what remained of the ranch viable, Lawrence had to work out and the distance from their headquarters on Mogollon Creek to the outside world created long absences. Ultimately, he became one of the last great frontier county sheriffs in New Mexico.
            There is a Tissy biography that claims she learned to ride before she learned to walk. She discounts the claim as trivial, but admits she doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t ride. Her surviving brother, Terrell, acknowledges the same.
            The siblings were seasoned cowboys by the time they started to school. Their headquarters imparted a theme of the difficulty of the ranch life they lived … it was rocky and uphill in every direction!
            Long before any of them had a license, they drove themselves to school. It was 16 miles from their front door to the pavement where they caught the bus. Tissy remembers driving with her brothers in the “old hoopi” only to get sidetracked and chase antelope across the mesa top.
            It was nearest neighbor and owner of the Double S, Eddie Allison, who gave Tissy a glimpse of the more sophisticated horse world. She read the Western Horseman issues he gave her cover to cover. She became fascinated with barrel racing long before she competed. It started with getting her dad to get her some barrels. She set them up and ran everything on the ranch at them. That included the mules they used to hunt lions and bear, pack salt, and work cattle in the mountains.
            About 1954, a friend of her dad’s gave the ranch a palomino colt. They called him Pal and nobody but Tissy could ever ride him. She broke him and ‘trained’ him to run barrels. Terrell remembers a morning the siblings mounted to go move some cows and he watched Pal pitch with Tissy from the bench above the house down through the flat to where the old historic picket corral stood. Pal then turned and pitched through a gate in the corral where he finally unseated her. When the brothers got to her she was sitting in the dirt in the gate laughing. She still had the candy cigarette hanging out the corner of her mouth that she was ‘smoking’ when she mounted him!
            In 1956, she won the first barrel race she ever ran competitively on Pal at a Cliff rodeo. It was a hint of things to come.
            Tissy finished high school in 1960 at Silver City when Lawrence was Grant County’s sheriff. From there she went to NMSU and was a member of the school’s rodeo team. In 1962, she and a friend were alerted to the annual Miss Rodeo New Mexico pageant. Along with the title, the winner was going to get a set of luggage. Tissy wanted that luggage in the worst way. In response, the friends entered the contest.
Tissy won, and … got the luggage!
            Miss Rodeo America
            As Miss Rodeo New Mexico, she was eligible to compete for Miss Rodeo America. Almost a birthright, she was always elegant horseback. Many people reminded her of that, but she was becoming more intrigued with the nuances of horsemanship that the ranch couldn’t teach her. She could ride bucking horses, pack game, and ride mules in the rocks, but the subtlety of flying lead changes and training were becoming her fascination. She set her sights on winning the pillar of her interest in the 1962-63 Miss Rodeo America competition … the horsemanship.
            It was her mom’s genius and creativity that provided the wardrobe. Rosemary sewed it, and the state of New Mexico flew Tissy to the Las Vegas competition in the governor’s plane. It was there she signed the contact requiring her to begin using her given name, Joyce. Many times she failed to respond to being called Joyce during the competition. She was Tissy!

            Our family’s notification of her earning not just the horsemanship but the title of Miss Rodeo America 1963 was couched around her dad’s reaction. Lawrence sat there with his hat off, elbows on his knees, and looking at the floor.
            When the name “Joyce Shelley … from New Mexico” was read, he paused, stood, and within a fluid motion threw his hat and whooped to the sky. He whooped again when the parents of Joyce Shelley were asked to stand.
            The whirlwind only grew in intensity. During the year of her reign, Tissy was based at the Sahara in Las Vegas. She would fly to engagements. Her mom still provided the basic wardrobe and would continue through the first of Tissy’s World Championships. That also factored into her earning “Best Dressed Cowgirl” every year she competed at the National Finals Rodeo.
            The girl who once found solace by being alone horseback in “her mountains” would become a significant feature in the world of horsemanship.
            Joyce Loomis-Kerneck
            Through her first husband, Hall of Fame roper Barry Burk, she was introduced to the equine world she glimpsed in those old issues of Western Horseman. In 1969, she bought a gelding she called Dude. Dude and Tissy were barrel racing’s World Champions in 1970. She would also win roping and flag racing world championships during that time.
Through her second husband, Hall of Fame reiner Bob Loomis, she was introduced to the equine world of the AQHA. She continued world championship titles in competitions sanctioned by that organization. It started when Tissy and Man O War Leo won the very first AQHA World Championship show as well as the year ending championship.
            Her accomplishments fill sheets of paper, but that is only part of the story of Tissy.
She remains the only world champion barrel racer to win the first rodeo of the year and remain in first place through the finals. She is also the first to adopt the practice of running two horses to spare her main horse through hectic national finals week. She is the only Miss Rodeo America to win multiple world championships in multiple disciplines.

Held in conjunction with the National Finals Rodeo, there will be a gathering in Las Vegas this week celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Miss Rodeo America Pageant. Tissy, celebrating her 51th anniversary as Miss Rodeo America, will not be there. She has several conflicts, but what she has accomplished doesn’t need a reunion of celebration.
If asked about her life, she won’t talk about the trauma nor will she mention the fact she was named Dean of the Christian Horseman College in Texas or that she was the first inductee into the Brazilian Horse Trainers Association Hall of Fame. She will discuss the charities she oversees in Brazilian favellas where thousands of people live in dire poverty, the church she helped build, the cowboy church services she started at AQHA world finals, the creation of Barrel Futuries of America, the 140 horses she rode that compiled points and wins in AQHA competitions, and the project she has embarked upon to reacquire and refurbish the old pump organ her grandmother, Hattie, taught her to play by ear as she hummed the old hymms.
She remains special to us. The harshness and the tumultuous history of the 916 shaped her. She embraced that heritage and brokered it into substantive achievements, but, in the end, she remains … Tissy.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “When Tissy was eight, she wrote in her diary she was going to grow up, live in Oklahoma, and train horses. Today, she lives in Wayne, Oklahoma where she continues to … train horses.”

DuBois Column

My column is about Smokey Bear & mice, wilderness wars, monumental threats and Michelle O’s trash problem

Jumping Feds

As previously reported, in an out of court settlement the Feds have listed the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse as endangered.  Jumping right on this, the Forest Service has installed, or is proposing to install fencing to keep livestock off of certain riparian areas, thereby limiting or denying livestock access to water.

Jumping right back, the New Mexico Cattle Growers, New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau and a whole list of grazing associations and individual ranchers have filed suit claiming the feds actions are a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).

NEPA is important because it requires agencies to identify and assess reasonable alternatives to proposed actions and allows for public comment.  In their complaint for the group, the attorneys argue the feds are in error for not entering into the NEPA process and instead claiming a categorical exclusion. 

The complaint also says the Forest Service is not using the best available science in reaching its decision.  For instance, in a 2004 Forest Service Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) concerning livestock grazing on the San Diego Allotment, the agency incorporated specific management objectives and found that grazing within the allotment “would not cause a trend to Federal listing or decrease in the overall population” of the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse.  The area the Forest Service proposes to fence off is only used from the beginning of October to mid-October, during which time the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse is hibernating, and for a brief period in the spring for breeding and occurs within those areas the 2004 EIS says, “have low potential for impacts” due to the short amount of use.  The EIS stated: “Riparian meadows in the Fenton, Virgin Canyon, Lower Guadalupe, and Jemez River areas are closed to grazing and would be available to the mouse with no associated grazing disturbance. Other riparian pastures in the allotment would have low potential for impacts to jumping mice because of the short amount of use these areas would receive.”

One could logically conclude when the Forest Service has an open process in compliance with NEPA, they found livestock grazing was not a threat to the mouse and when the Forest Service denies public input into the process they find livestock grazing has suddenly become a threat.

Mas Wilderness?

A conference was held in Albuquerque last month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.  Among those attending was Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell who said, “Wilderness becomes more important, not less important, at a time of climate change”.  To further scare the public into supporting Wilderness, Jewell said we must learn from mother nature if we’re going to reduce the impact of “this freight train that is moving down the tracks very quickly – and that is climate change.”  I say what’s to worry?  Neither tracks or trains are allowed in Wilderness areas.

About 80 miles west of Albuquerque another wilderness meeting was convened by The Coalition to Keep Cibola National Forest Open for Multi-use.  It seems the Cibola National Forest is beginning a six-step process to inventory lands with wilderness characteristics; a process that could eventually lead to a recommendation the lands be made part of the Wilderness Preservation System.  At this “Wilderness Prevention Forum” were such luminaries as U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, State Speaker of the House Ken Martinez, and various other state and local elected officials and a panel was there to ask questions of Forest Service officials.  One of those questions is of interest to this column.

According to a report in the Cibola Beacon, the Forest Service was asked what impact a Wilderness designation would have on area ranchers, and the Forest Service “assured audience members that active grazing allotments in good standing would remain valid for use.”  That is an accurate answer as the Wilderness Act allows for grazing to continue.  However, it doesn’t answer the question of what the impact will be on the ranchers.  No motorized vehicles or mechanized equipment are allowed in Wilderness areas, and that has a huge impact on standard ranching operations.  Think of hauling feed, repairing a fence or pulling a well.  Their permit may be valid but their ability to survive will be in jeopardy.

Mas Monuments?

President Obama recently unholstered his trusty pen and designated 347,000 acres of California's San Gabriel Mountains a national monument. While doing so, Obama stated he’s “not through” with such actions.  With the “flick of his bic”, Obama has designated 13 such monuments during his presidency totaling 260 million acres of both land and water

Several days later Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell said if Congress didn’t pass lingering wilderness legislation the President would continue to use his Executive authority. “There are dozens of bills in Congress, and they need to be passed – dozens of bipartisan bills, bills with wide support, broad support – but no one has the courage to pass them,” she said. “We need to encourage this Congress to get on with it and to move forward. Otherwise, we will take action.”

First, if any of these bills had “bipartisan”, “wide” and “broad” support, they would have passed.  And if you assume they really had this type of support, it takes courage to bottle them up, not pass them.

Finally, look at the position Congress has placed themselves in by giving the President this authority.  Think if he had this authority in other areas:  Pass ObamaCare or I’ll socialize medicine, or pass the minimum wage or by Executive Order I’ll nationalize the labor force.  The public wouldn’t put up with it and we shouldn’t be hammered this way on land issues.

Michelle O’s trash problem

The First Lady’s anti-meat school lunch program continues to have bad consequences, and this time its trash.  The National School Boards Association just released a survey showing 83.7 percent of school districts “have seen an increase in wasted school lunch food” since her Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed in 2010.  The kids are putting that supposedly healthy stuff in the trash.  What we are really creating are healthy, hunger-free trash cans.

Wildfire erosion

Using the Sandia and Manzano mountains, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and The Nature Conservancy have developed a computer model that will predict erosion “hot spots” following a fire.  A researcher said the new tool will allow land managers to specifically target those areas that have the highest risk of flooding and debris flows. "Figuring out which areas are vulnerable to damaging wildfire and post-fire flooding is necessary to protect communities and our water sources."

Actually, what’s needed is a computer model that predicts those areas where the enviros and the courts will let the Forest Service conduct the appropriate management “to protect communities and our water sources."  Let’s call those “safe spots” and the results would be interesting to see.

Till next time, be a nuisance to the devil and don’t forget to check that cinch.

Frank DuBois was the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003, is the author of a blog: The Westerner ( and is the founder of The DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.

This column was originally published in the November editions of the New Mexico Stockman and the Livestock Market Digest

Chevrolet just helped bring grasslands into the carbon market

America’s duck factory is in trouble. More than half of North America’s waterfowl hatch in the prairie potholes region, named for the extensive wetlands formed in the depressions glaciers left behind as they receded from what are now the Dakotas, Montana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Canada. But farmers are draining the potholes and tilling what little native prairie remains to plant more corn and soybeans. That’s not just bad news for ducks, it’s bad news for the climate, because breaking up grassland soils releases carbon dioxide. In response, a waterfowl conservation group figured out a new way to help ranchers save their grasses: Paying them to grow carbon instead of corn. Ducks Unlimited and their partners have been working for years on a new kind of carbon credit created by calculating the greenhouse gasses stored in grasslands that would otherwise be tilled. Last week, Chevrolet became its first buyer, purchasing 40,000 tons of those carbon credits, which came from 11,000 acres and 29 landowners in North Dakota. It's part of the company’s $40 million push to offset emissions from driving the new cars and trucks they put on the road in a single year. Even if the credit purchase, which is roughly equivalent to taking 5,000 cars off the road for a year, is modest compared to the scale of the problem, it's still significant....more

Let's see,  in 2009 General Motors received a taxpayer-funded $49.5 billion bailout.  The DC Deep Thinkers finally sold the GM stock for an $11 billion loss.  Now a division of GM is spending $40 million on carbon offsets.  A really wise expenditure, I'm sure, even though the European market for carbon credits has collapsed.  You just can't make this stuff up. 

From high compression horsepower to political pressure grassoline...another example of what's wrong with our country.

Hey Vegetarians

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Obama says Keystone XL is for exporting oil outside the U.S., experts disagree

President Barack Obama and many other Democrats think there’s little to be gained by building the Keystone XL pipeline. "Understand what this project is," Obama said at a Nov. 14 press conference in Burma. "It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. That doesn't have an impact on U.S. gas prices." Two days later, in Brisbane, Australia, Obama described Keystone XL as "a pipeline shipping Canadian oil to world markets, not to the United States." Predicting the effect of the pipeline on gas prices is a little tricky. Experts tend to agree that it could impact gas prices, but the effect would be indirect and minimal. But in this fact check, we’re going to focus on the export question -- whether or not, as Obama said, Keystone XL’s primary destination is beyond the United States. We found that Obama’s off the mark. In recent years, the United States has become a net-exporter of refined oil products, like gasoline, jet fuel and asphalt (meaning it exports more products than it imports), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. However, it is a net-importer of the crude oil it uses to make those products. Keystone XL would transport crude oil from Canada’s tar sands through the Midwestern United States down to the Gulf Coast, and there are refineries all along the proposed route. (The map is from TransCanada, the pipeline operator.)  America gets more crude oil from Canada than any other country. Nearly all of Canada’s exports go to the United States, and this accounts for about a third of America’s total crude oil imports. Much of its oil already makes it to the United States by rail and existing pipelines. We asked several energy economics experts, and they believe that quite a bit -- if not most -- of the Keystone XL crude oil will be bought and used by American refineries. "It’s difficult to say with any certainty, but it is most likely that most would be refined in the U.S.," said Kenneth Medlock, an expert in energy economics at Rice University in Texas. A recent State Department report argues that it would not be "economically justified" for Canada to primarily export its Keystone XL oil to countries other than the United States, when there are plenty of American refineries to consume it. Some independent refineries -- particularly those in the upper Midwest, but also in Texas -- are in desperate need of crude oil, said Charles Ebinger, a senior fellow in energy security at the Brookings Institution. Currently, the refineries have to import crude from places like Venezuela and Mexico -- though it would be cheaper and better for overall energy security to buy from a North American source, rather than pay high transport costs...more

The Gruberization of Environmental Policies

by Paul Driessen

Call it the Gruberization of America’s energy and environmental policies.

Former White House medical consultant Jonathan Gruber pocketed millions of taxpayer dollars before infamously explaining how ObamaCare was enacted. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” he said. “It was really, really critical to getting the bill passed.” At least one key provision was a “very clever basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”

The Barack Obama/Gina McCarthy Environmental Protection Agency is likewise exploiting its lack of transparency and most Americans’ lack of scientific understanding. EPA bureaucrats and their hired scientists, pressure groups and PR flacks are getting rich and powerful by implementing costly, punitive, dictatorial regulations “for our own good,” and pretending to be honest and publicly spirited.

EPA’s latest regulatory onslaught is its “Clean Power Plan.” The agency claims the CPP will control or prevent “dangerous manmade climate change,” by reducing carbon dioxide and “encouraging” greater use of renewable energy. In reality, as even EPA acknowledges, no commercial-scale technology exists that can remove CO2 from power plant emission streams. The real goal is forcing coal-fired power plants to reduce their operations significantly or (better still) shut down entirely.

The agency justifies this by deceitfully claiming major health benefits will result from eliminating coal in electricity generation – and deceptively ignoring the harmful effects that its regulations are having on people’s livelihoods, living standards, health and well-being. Its assertion that reducing the USA’s coal-related carbon dioxide emissions will make an iota of difference is just as disingenuous. China, India and other fast-developing nations must keep burning coal to generate electricity and lift people out of poverty, and CO2 plays only a tiny (if any) role in climate change and destructive weather events.

The new CPP amplifies Obama Administration diktats targeting coal use. Companion regulations cover mercury, particulates (soot), ozone, “cross-state” air pollution, sulfur and nitrogen oxides that contribute to haze in some areas, and water quality. Their real benefits are minimal to illusory … or fabricated.

Obama Rules Are Coal In America's Christmas Stocking

Funny how this always happens: Right before a big holiday weekend, when almost no one is paying attention, the Obama administration announces hundreds, sometimes thousands, of new regulations.
Early Christmas Season Surprise: 3,000 New Federal Regulations

Earlier this week, news broke that businesses and consumers should get ready for more than 3,000 new regulations that will hit the economy in 2015. The national media yawned.

According to the Daily Caller, the administration's "Unified Agenda for Fall 2014" contains "189 rules that cost more than $100 million." That's a $20 billion a year tax on small businesses, families and corporations.

If you thought President Obama was skirting the Constitution with his amnesty for 5 million illegal immigrants, consider that almost none of these new rules he's pushing have been approved by Congress.
These are powers asserted by the executive branch's alphabet soup of rule-making agencies. Unelected bureaucrats make the rules; you live by them.

The new edicts include everything from the Obama administration's bid to regulate the Internet to the kind of light bulbs you can buy to a requirement that restaurants post the calories on Big Macs, pizzas and muffins.

...Shame on the White House for imposing such burdens on employers and families when finances are tight and jobs still scarce. Shame on Congress for letting it happen.

In January the new Congress should pass the Reins Act. It requires congressional approval of all new regulations costing more than $100 million. It should do so, then cut the budgets of agencies that don't comply.

Last time we checked, Congress still has the power of the purse. It should start using it.

USDA Buys Cranberries For Food Pantries And School Lunches: ‘It’s A Win-Win’

USDA Cranberries - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agreed to purchase up to $55 million in cranberry products to the Congressional Cranberry Caucus. The USDA doubled with this buy the previous one, which was in January. The agreement ended up with the Agriculture Dept. getting 68 million pounds of surplus cranberries, Green Bay Press Gazette reported. The U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said on a press release on Monday that Wisconsin is the main producer of cranberries and the decision of the USDA is to help growers at a tough time. The USDA doubled with this buy the previous one, which was in January. The agreement ended up with the Agriculture Dept. getting 68 million pounds of surplus cranberries, Green Bay Press Gazette reported. The U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said on a press release on Monday that Wisconsin is the main producer of cranberries and the decision of the USDA is to help growers at a tough time. The result of this buy will be more stable cranberry growers. The USDA became proprietor of the oversupply of the fruit, so this means that the growers are getting from 10 to 19 cents a pound, Local 12 noted...more

Yes, we have a "Congressional Cranberry Caucus" and they're making sure those surplus cranberries are gobbled up by USDA.  A nice picture of what the DC Deep Thinkers have wrought.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Gun sales boom on Black Friday: Almost 3 background checks per second

The busiest shopping day of the year also saw a major boom for gun sales, with the federal background check system expected to set a record of more than 144,000 background checks Friday, according to the FBI. The staggering number of checks -- an average of almost three per second, nearly three times the daily average -- falls on the shoulders of 600 FBI and contract call center employees who will endure 17-hour workdays in an attempt to complete the background reviews in three business days, as required by law, FBI spokesman Stephen Fischer said. Last year, the agency completed 21 million background checks, and about 1.1% of those purchases were denied, the agency said. Firearm background checks have doubled from the more than 9 million conducted when the system was implemented in 1999. Ten factors can disqualify a purchase: felony conviction, arrest warrant, documented drug problem, mental illness, undocumented immigration status, dishonorable military discharge, renunciation of U.S. citizenship, restraining order, history of domestic violence or indictment for any crime punishable by longer than one year of prison...more

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks, Property Rights!

by John Stossel

This Thanksgiving, I give thanks for something our forebears gave us: property rights.

People associate property rights with greed and selfishness, but they are keys to our prosperity. Things go wrong when resources are held in common.

Before the Pilgrims were able to hold the first Thanksgiving, they nearly starved. Although they had inherited ideas about individualism and property from the English and Dutch trading empires, they tried communism when they arrived in the New World. They decreed that each family would get an equal share of food, no matter how much work they did.

The results were disastrous. Gov. William Bradford wrote, "Much was stolen both by night and day." The same plan in Jamestown contributed to starvation, cannibalism and death of half the population.

So Bradford decreed that families should instead farm private plots. That quickly ended the suffering. Bradford wrote that people now "went willingly into the field."

Soon, there was so much food that the Pilgrims and Indians could celebrate Thanksgiving.

There's nothing like competition and self-interest to bring out the best in people.

While property among the settlers began as an informal system, with "tomahawk rights" to land indicated by shaving off bits of surrounding trees, or "corn rights" indicated by growing corn, soon settlers were keeping track of contracts, filing deeds and, alas, hiring lawyers to sue each other. Property rights don't end all conflict, but they create a better system for settling disputes than physical combat.

Knowing that your property is really yours makes it easier to plant, grow, invest and prosper.

In Brazil today, rainforests are destroyed because no one really owns them. Loggers take as many trees as they can because they know if they don't, someone else will. No one had much reason to preserve trees or plant new ones for future harvests; although recently, some private conservation groups bought parcels of the Amazon in order to protect trees.

The oceans are treated as a commons, and they are difficult to privatize. For years, lack of ownership led to overfishing. Species will go extinct if they aren't treated as property. Now a few places award fishing rights to private groups of fishermen. Canada privatized its Pacific fisheries, saving the halibut from near collapse. When fishermen control fishing rights, they care about preserving fish.

Think about your Thanksgiving turkey. We eat tons of them, but no one worries that turkeys will go extinct. We know there will be more next year, since people profit from owning and raising them.

In Recent Prairie Dog Case, the Federal Government Admits Something it Tries to Cover-Up

Little noticed in the recent court decision about the Utah prairie dog, which struck down for the first time the listing of a species under the Endangered Species Act, is the federal government admitted something that it and other proponents of the Act have long tried to conceal: the Act restricts and prevents otherwise normal and legal forms of land and resource use, such as agriculture and construction. The case, argued successfully by Jonathan Wood of the Pacific Legal Foundation, elicited some telling responses from the government. Proponents of the Endangered Species Act have long claimed that the Act does not restrict or prevent normal and legal land and resource use, in an effort to shield the Act from legal challenge that it violates the Constitution’s Taking’s Clause, which states “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Despite this plain language, and that landowners, such as those in southern Utah with prairie dogs on their land, have had significant portions of their property converted into de facto federal wildlife refuges for endangered species, proponents of the Endangered Species Act maintain otherwise. While the Utah prairie dog case disproves the patently false claim that the Endangered Species Act does not restrict land and resource use, the government ironically put itself in the position of having to admit this. The crux of the government’s case is that federal protection of the prairie dog is legally justified because the rodent is involved in interstate commerce. According to this line of thought, this triggers protection under the Act because the Commerce Clause of the Constitution gives Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.” Over the years, and especially since the New Deal era, the scope of the Commerce Clause has been expanded so massively that the federal government feels it can regulate just about anything, however tenuous or even nonexistent its links to interstate commerce. The problem with the government’s Commerce Clause claim in the case of the Utah prairie dog is that the rodent lives entirely within Utah and is not involved in, or has any effect on, interstate commerce. Yet because the federal government put itself in the untenable position that protection of the prairie dog under the Endangered Species Act is legally justified due to the Commerce Clause, the feds had to admit the Act prevented otherwise normal and legal forms of land use in order to try to create a “nexus,” or link, to interstate commerce...more

Officials say economic outlook good for public land transfer, but keep study under wraps

The costs of transferring 30 million acres of public lands to Utah pencil out for the state, according to a team of economists. But state officials are not quite ready to release the 800-page study that backs up those findings. State lawmakers pushing the idea — and the public — will have to wait a little while longer to see the proof, officials told an interim legislative panel Wednesday. The Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office intends to complete an "analytical summary" of the long-anticipated report, freshly completed by economists at three Utah universities after more that a year of data gathering and number crunching, office director Kathleen Clarke told lawmakers. The economists said Utah could manage federal public lands to harvest oil and gas and timber while providing outdoor recreation and preserving "unique landscapes and ecosystems." "We want Utah to be prosperous. This requires an enduring and diversified economy," the economists wrote in their conclusion, quoting the Governor’s Council of Balanced Resources. "To get there we need to pursue development and the recreation economy and ensure our efforts to promote one economic sector do not unduly restrain another." The 13-chapter study is intended to guide decisionmaking surrounding the state’s quest, codified in a controversial 2012 state law, to gain control of most of the land administered by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Each chapter tackles a critical public lands issue — including wildfire management, quality of life issues, mineral resources and outdoor recreation...more

Backers of Alaska gold mine win court battle with EPA

Pebble Partnership, the Canadian company behind the project, which would take place near Anchorage, claims the regulatory agency has conspired illegally with opponents of the mine to devise scientific and environmental justifications for blocking it. Salmon fishermen in Washington state and Alaska, Native American groups and environmental organizations have opposed the massive project for several years, and had appeared to have gotten it scuttled prior to Tuesday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Russel Holland, in Anchorage. “We expect the case may take several months to complete,” Pebble Partnership CEO Tom Collier said Tuesday after the U.S. District Court ruling in Anchorage. “This means that, for the first time, EPA’s march to preemptively veto Pebble has been halted.”  Holland's ruling stops the EPA from taking action against the project until he makes a decision on Pebble’s lawsuit claiming the agency broke the law to stop the mine. Pebble Partnership's lawsuit claims the EPA secretly relied on opponents of the mine to help craft a “patently biased” environmental assessment that determined the project could be devastating for the salmon of Bristol Bay. “Instrumental to this scheme was EPA’s clandestine use of the de facto advisory committees – made up of individuals and groups who have been vehemently opposed to any mining of the Pebble deposit – to help the agency plan and then implement unprecedented steps designed to guarantee that no mining of the Pebble deposit would ever take place,” the company’s lawsuit claims. Holland’s preliminary injunction order indicates he believes Pebble Partnership has a chance to prove its case. But EPA spokeswoman Jennifer Colaizzi expressed doubt that the judge will ultimately side with the mining company...more

New Jersey Hiker Photographed Bear Before It Killed Him

A New Jersey hiker killed by a bear in September took a series of photos of the animal with his cellphone before it mauled him to death. Police in West Milford have released five photos taken by 22-year-old Darsh Patel before he was killed by the 300-pound black bear while hiking with four friends in the Apshawa Preserve. The photos show the bear behind a fallen tree in the woods. Investigators say the phone was found with puncture marks from the bear. The photos were released after filed an open records request. West Milford police and the state Environmental Protection Department said last month that the bear did not seem interested in food and exhibited “stalking type behavior.” Patel, a senior at Rutgers University, and his friends were hiking when they noticed the bear following them, authorities said. The group scattered and they called police when they realized Patel was missing....more

Monday, November 24, 2014

USFWS Says Wolf Spotted On North Rim Of Grand Canyon Is A Rocky Mtn. Gray Wolf

A female gray wolf that dispersed from the Rocky Mountains, presumably in search of a mate and new territory, has been roaming the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, according to a DNA analysis performed for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The confirmation announced Friday came from analysis on a scat sample conducted by the University of Idaho’s Laboratory for Ecological, Evolutionary and Conservation Genetics. The lab now will turn to comparing that DNA to DNA samples taken from other female Rocky Mountain gray wolves to see if it can pinpoint where the North Rim wolf came from. “The DNA results indicate this wolf traveled at least 450 miles from an area in the northern Rocky Mountains to northern Arizona,” Benjamin Tuggle, the Fish and Wildlife Service's Southwest regional director, said in a release. “Wolves, particularly young wolves, can be quite nomadic dispersing great distances across the landscape. Such behavior is not unusual for juveniles as they travel to find food or another mate.” The scat sample was obtained Nov. 2 by researchers. Efforts to capture the wolf to obtain a blood sample and replace a worn radio collar were unsuccessful and suspended due to cold weather, the agency said. With the confirmation, the wolf automatically gains protection under the Endangered Species Act, according to Defenders of Wildlife...more

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Thankful is the cowboy way

By Julie Carter

As a rule, a cowboy is a man of few words.  His thankfulness for his life is heartfelt but will be expressed in a simple manner.

The job doesn’t pay much, but the air is clean. The benefit package is limited, meaning ranch rules are he can have two horses, one dog and he must use both for work. If he happens to get hurt or sick he will just have to get better and sooner rather than later.

His clothes don’t have designer labels. He has one “town” shirt and Lord willing, he will have saved enough for new chaps by Christmas.  A pair of clean jeans, a mostly ironed shirt and the dust knocked of the toe of his boots make him ready for polite company.

He gets mail once in a while. The latest catalog from the veterinary supply is the highlight in the week.

His schedule is pretty simple. It coincides with Mother Nature and Father Time. If the weather lets him and there is any daylight left, he will get it done. Once in a while he is forced to meet a deadline set by an arriving load of feed or the cattle trucks at shipping time.

His pickup is old but it still runs good enough to get him where he needs to go. His horse is young and still has a little buck in him. For a cowboy, it doesn’t get much better.

The roads out at the ranch don’t have traffic lights and there are definitely no heavy traffic issues.  A traffic jam to a cowboy is when he needs to move a large herd of cattle through a small gate.

Neighborhood gangs are made up of the neighbors coming to help. The closest thing to smog arrives in the spring in the form of blowing dust and smoke from the branding irons. Sometimes when he starts up the old pickup it belches a little black smoke. Some might call that smog.

Office politics don’t exist and a nylon rope keeps things politically correct with a cow.
There are no lines to stand in to wait for anything.  Back of the line to a cowboy means riding drag behind the herd.

His outlook on the weather sums it up in an ever optimistic attitude of “maybe it’ll rain one of these days. It always does eventually.” In the meantime, its winter and time to chop a little fire wood before it gets dark and keep the axe handy to break ice on the water tanks in the morning.

He sees in one day more of creation than most will see in a lifetime of the Discovery Channel. He watches natures cycle in wildlife of all kinds as the coyote hunts, the deer and elk graze and hawks on the wing observe from above.

For this life he is most thankful. He knows he can ride to the top of a ridge and be just about as close to his Lord as he is going to get on this earth. His prayer for himself is that Lord willing, he’ll be here next year to say thanks again.

Julie can be reached for comment at


Rain running off the eaves
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            Let’s begin where this isn’t supposed to start … it’s raining.
            Water is running off the eaves as if it is serious. The matter is supported by the drumming on the metal roof. It could be classified as dreary, but I sense no such description. These kinds of mornings can only be described as joyful.
            I love the rain.
            I know exactly where if not when metal roofs became my preference, too. My grandparents’ place on Bell Canyon remains my claim on such matters. Sleeping out on the porch was the genesis that elevated tin roofs to importance. When just a hint of sprinkle gave way to a full blown storm, nothing can compare to those old strong barn tin roofs. The wafting of the smell of night showers with the impact of cool air across that screened porch while in that warm bed with fresh sun dried sheets was nothing short of glorious.
            Pulling the covers up to be consumed by that cavalcade of sensory explosion gave rise to why rainy mornings can be described as joyous. Maybe New Mexico has something to do with it as well. There is no place on earth that I have experienced that has offered such parallel natural exultation. Call it bias, it remains the basis to judge many things.
            Maybe it is just memories of home …
On a grand morning not long ago we moved a pasture in the rain, and, while the folks from town that came to help lacking cowboy logic and protection suffered mightily, I savored the morning. I was warm and comfortable in my slicker and horse and I both enjoyed everything about the experience.
Exposure to real conditions is the best teacher.
Dusty and I have stripped off more than once to build a fire to dry our clothes and warm our bodies. Two most memorable times were both on the sides of mountains. Both were deer hunts.
One was on School House Mountain and that juniper fire saved the day and our spirits. The other was on the side of Granny Mountain and there was nothing on us or around us that wasn’t dripping with water.
The latter had started with a ride from Corral Canyon down into the Sapillo and on up the river to the old Heart Bar round corral across from to the mouth of Fall Canyon. We arrived in mid afternoon and had time to put the wall tent up, get our camp in order, and cut and stack firewood. We cooked a good supper and were inside the tent when the rain started. The patter on that wall tent grew to a pounding, but we remained dry and comfortable. We commented that if wanted to rain for two days, let it rain!
It let up enough to allow us to rim out onto Granny and spend the next day hunting before we got wet. We dried by the fire and came off the mountain in the dark in a high trot.
Another grand lightning display and hard rain was experienced at the Trotter Place on the Middle Fork. Hugh and I had arrived at sundown and unsaddled and fed the horses just before the storm hit. We felt our way around the inside of the cabin and got a lantern lit. We ate and decided to go to bed and listen to it rain. In the midst of the display that lit up the meadow outside the old cabin like day, I glimpsed a visitor to my bed. It was a rat sitting on my sleeping bag in upright pack rat fashion just staring at me. When the lightning lit the backdrop, I could see him silhouetted there on my midriff. I mentioned it to Hugh and he told me to shut up and go to sleep. Eventually, the rat left, and the rain continued.
Perhaps the most enduring memories, though, came from wet corrals and the smell of horses. Once, my granddad and I had come in to unsaddle at the headquarters on the Mangus only to get caught in a rain at the barn. We sat there protected and looked out into the storm through the big open door. I suspect not much was said. Grandpa was not always talkative on those occasions. When it was over, we probably went to house to get in the pickup to “go see where it rained”.
That simple thing we did with regularity. Rain was so important to our lives, and that included therapy for our souls … nostalgia.
            I started this with the intention of Thanksgiving.
            The rain changed the course of events, but not the intent. In fact, the same natural inclination has everything to do with Thanksgiving. The same basis of nostalgia emerges.
With our increasingly gray heads, a different dynamic is developing. Certainly, we refer to the importance of the renewal of ties to family and friends created by Thanksgiving, but those that made it most appealing to us are now largely gone.
            Seldom is there a day that goes by that I don’t think about one of my grandmothers. Unequivocally, they were the forces that kept our families together and Thanksgiving was hugely important in that regard. Those celebrations were prompted by those who came before our grandmothers and instilled in them the same thing.
            We are now the caretakers.
            With that responsibility, what was it that created that sense of awe and excitement of this holiday? It wasn’t a Detroit Lion football game because, in the early years, none of us had a television much less interest in a Thanksgiving Day football game.
            Games were played. Rousing games of Pitch were played by the men on the card table set up in the living room. The women cooked, talked, and laughed in the kitchens. Almost universally, the kids were outside. We were on our own until Nana or Grandma called us to the meal.
            Outside, we did what we always did at the ranch on the Mangus or the farm on the Gila … depending on the grandmother’s house we had made the first stop. We had our BB guns or .22s depending on the age and the year. We caught a horse or went to the barn or the creek or river to pursue our self evolving agenda.
            Whether we knew it or not, the day was interwoven with fall and harvest and the conclusion of the yearly cycle. If it was at the Mangus, the meal was largely a function of what Grandma had ‘put up’ and retrieved from the cellar. If it was at Cliff and the Gila River, the meal was a function of canned mincemeat, ham from a butchered hog, eggs from the henhouse, or what was retrieved from the freezer and the shelves of home canned larder in the pump room. A major portion of the pending feast was raised or processed by our grandmothers’ hands. It had come from harvest of our immediate control.
            Implicit in that whole process, the ties to our surroundings were direct and the results were chained to generational connectivity. Home was sanctified and all the attachments therein defined the matter of … nostalgia.
            I miss my grandmothers.
            I have come to recognize the immensity of their impact on me and, for that, I am eternally grateful. I also give them most of the credit for creating the backdrop of importance attached to this holiday.
            The changes that have occurred from then until now worry me. Certainly in my family there is no longer a strong connection to our surroundings. It has been a long time since the meal was fashioned largely from harvest managed from our own hands.
Football is on the television. Youthful memories are not derived from wet leaves, fresh air, creek banks, or a horse caught on which to play cowboys and Indians. The connection of harvest is at best an abstract notion, and, in that, there is danger and loss.
            It is seen in the corrupted opinions of how our lands should now be managed, the distance from things actually natural, and the plunging numbers of those who have direct connections to the past through skills and ethics of those who preceded us.
            If we are judged on the basis of maintaining what once were simple but have become esoteric traditions of value, we have failed.
            The most valued memories of this holiday and all that frames it are the most simplistic. Just like the rain that has finally stopped dripping off the eaves, memories and the security of the circumstances that emerged as representing home are the real basis for this celebration.
It has meaning to this gray headed rancher, and I pray that a semblance of it remains with those whom I actually have some … influence.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “In memory of my grandmothers …”

Baxter Black: If organic movement took over home building

In the land of Nod a movement sprung up to build houses without the use of power tools. The advocates of organic construction (OC) supported the movement because it prohibited the recovery and use of the carbon.

To be OC any lumber used must be hand-hewn, saws must be manually operated. Mule power is approved.
Machine-made tools must be made by a blacksmith and made from stones, dug and formed by hand.

Electricity must be generated by wind power or water wheel. Those who live in the OC Stone Age houses glory in their contribution toward low environmental impact. They expect the government to give them tax breaks (think Al Gore) and to subsidize the craftsmen who do the grueling everlasting sawing, shimming, pounding and digging to build their houses under OC rules.

Well, we don't live in a land of Nod. There is no movement to build houses like the Native Americans before Columbus arrived. But that thought occurred to me when I read a newspaper article titled, "Don't let your children grow up to be farmers." It was written by a Connecticut man who, according to his story, was inspired by what is being called today, "The Food Movement." He threw himself joyously into the cause!

The government and many private entities have established foundation grants or donors to support "small farming." He was given financial help to encourage his venture. As he cleared his small acreage and learned first hand the effort it takes to farm, he avoided anything with the word "chemical" in it. No fertilizer unless it was from an organic source; no antibiotics, medicine, anesthetic or parasiticide to care for his sick animals, no insecticides, GMO's, no herbicides for his crops, he didn't even use rat poison.

                                                     READ ENTIRE COLUMN

$200,000 of Homeland Security funds spent on jaguar “attitudes” surveys

by Cindy Coping

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has given the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) more than $2 Million of its own funding to spend on jaguar recovery in the United States border region instead of securing the border. USFWS has already spent $775,000 of that funding to place camera traps around southern Arizona and New Mexico in hopes of photographing jaguars and ocelots. More recently, according to Greenwire, another $200,000 of Department of Homeland Security funds were spent to study ranchers’ attitudes toward jaguars. The survey results are to be incorporated into a jaguar recovery plan that is likely to be released in 2015.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) claims that human hunting and habitat destruction is a primary threat to jaguars. The linked article from the news service Greenwire spins this global statistical finding into misleading  innuendo that ranchers and hunters are the primary threat to jaguars in the southern USA. To the contrary over  the last 28 years, no jaguars have died at the hands of poachers, hunters or ranchers in the United States. In contrast, unprofessional, unethical and even illegal attempts by biologists to snare jaguars for study have inhumanely finished off at least four of the endangered beasts in the United States, northern Sonora and the Yucatan within the last decade.

This is not to say that information quoted directly from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees is by any means accurate. The Greenwire article quotes Mary Anderson, FWS border mitigation coordinator as stating,
“There’s a lot of concern by the public regarding the presence of jaguars in their area, and we’re just trying to find out what those concerns are so that we can educate the public.”
For instance, she said, if people don’t realize that jaguars mainly eat deer and javelinas, then that fact could “lessen concerns of the public regarding the threat of jaguars to humans.”
Apparently Ms. Anderson is unaware of the recent study by Cavalcanti and Gese showing that in Brazil, nearly one-third of a jaguar’s typical diet is beef cattle. She may also be unaware of several lethal attacks on humans by jaguars in Colombia, Belize and Guayana in the last five years, in addition to a three year old child that was taken from the front steps to her grandmother’s home by a jaguar that fractured her skull with its massive jaws. When we interviewed the world-class 1960’s-era jaguar hunting guide Curtis Prock, we learned that he was called upon twice in British Honduras to track down jaguars and recover the remains of children they had taken.

More importantly, lives are threatened directly by the failure of the U.S. Government to secure our southern border. The current policy compromises the safety and security of the nation so that transient, lone male jaguars can cross the border to hunt for nonexistent mates in Arizona and New Mexico. No naturally occurring female jaguar has been seen in Arizona since at least 1949, and that one is questionable. No naturally occurring female jaguar has ever been documented in New Mexico. There is no verifiable evidence that breeding populations of jaguars ever occurred naturally in Arizona or New Mexico. Many ranchers live between the border and the so-called “forward operating bases” of the U.S. Border Patrol. One of those ranchers, Robert Krentz, was murdered on his own property by a man he identified in his last radio transmission as an illegal immigrant. SACPA opposes this perversion of the Endangered Species Act which seems to be employed as a political excuse for continuous border insecurity.


Renewable energy 'simply won't work' says top Google engineers

Two highly qualified Google engineers who have spent years studying and trying to improve renewable energy technology have stated quite bluntly that renewables will never permit the human race to cut CO2 emissions to the levels demanded by climate activists. Whatever the future holds, it is not a renewables-powered civilisation: such a thing is impossible. Both men are Stanford PhDs, Ross Koningstein having trained in aerospace engineering and David Fork in applied physics. These aren't guys who fiddle about with websites or data analytics or "technology" of that sort: they are real engineers who understand difficult maths and physics, and top-bracket even among that distinguished company. The duo wrote, "Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach."...more

We need to raise the price of water

by Randy Simmons

Last January, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency following projections of severe drought. State bureaucrats and local officials jumped into action and mandated any number of water conservation tactics. While some have been relatively successful, most will do nothing. In fact, it appears that despite the drought, water use may have actually increased in the past year.

So, exactly how much do Californians value their decreasing supply of drinkable water? According to the California Water Service Company, it is valued at less than a penny per gallon. If water were plentiful, an almost-zero price would not be a problem, but under the current situation it is truly a catastrophe. The average American uses 100 gallons per day, Californians average 124, and in some regions of California up to 379 gallons per person per day. That sounds a bit outrageous for a state experiencing a drought of Biblical-plague proportions, doesn’t it?

The solution to rectifying California’s abysmal water conservation record might be found in California’s agricultural sector. In just the past year, prices for irrigation water have risen from ten to almost forty times last year’s price. Those who have the water to spare can make a sizable profit by selling it to those who need it. Thus, because the value of water has significantly increased, every gallon is a precious commodity that is not wasted.

But won’t raising prices only hurt the poor and have little effect on those who have the money to afford it anyways?

Charging more for water need not create undue hardship for poor or lower middle class families. Establish a minimal per capita water use level and then charge progressive water rates so that any extra water used is billed at a higher rate. This allows consumers to choose if they are willing to pay for an extra long shower, to water their lawn or to wash their car.

Randy T. Simmons is a political scientist who emphasizes the importance of economic reasoning to better understand public policy. He believes the study of politics cannot be separated from the study of markets. Simmons uses this framework to evaluate environmental and natural resource policies.