Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Trump: “It’s a horrible, horrible rule".

President Trump signed an order Tuesday directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to formally reconsider former President Barack Obama’s Clean Water Rule. The executive order is an opening shot by Trump against the EPA, which was a frequent target of criticism from Republicans for alleged overreach under Obama’s tenure. It’s the first step toward repealing the 2015 water rule, which asserted federal power over small waterways like wetlands and streams for the purposes of controlling pollution under the Clean Water Act. Trump promised on the campaign trail to repeal the regulation. “It’s a horrible, horrible rule. Has sort of a nice name, but everything else is bad,” Trump said at a White House signing ceremony, surrounded by Vice President Pence, first lady Melania Trump and top opponents of the regulation, including newly installed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio.). “ Farmers, homebuilders and county commissioners were also present. “The Clean Water Act says that the EPA can regulate navigable waters, meaning waters that truly affect interstate commerce. But a few years ago, the EPA decided that navigable waters can mean nearly every puddle or every ditch on a farmer’s land, or any place else that they decide,” Trump said before signing the order. “It was a massive power grab. The EPA’s regulators are putting people out of jobs by the hundreds of thousands.”...more

North Dakota Pipeline Protesters Not Only Left Mountains of Garbage, They Also Abandoned Their Pets

The environmentalists came to North Dakota to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and lost. Now, as the cleanup of their protest camp begins, authorities have found it to be a disaster zone. There’s enough garbage and human waste to fill 2,500 pickup trucks. With the ending of the winter months approaching, they fear the spring flooding could wash this waste into the Missouri River, polluting it and other waterways. Yet, efforts to prevent an environmental disaster before the spring have hit another obstacle. Besides leaving heaps of garbage, protesters have left their pets. Now, volunteers at a local animal rescue group—Furry Friends—are conducting searches to make sure there are no more missing animals (via West Dakota Fox):

A hectic week as law enforcement worked to clear the Oceti Sakowin protest camp. As officers moved in, and protesters moved out, garbage wasn't the only thing abandoned. Two dogs and six puppies were found and rescued at the main Dakota Access Pipeline Camp by Furry Friends Rockin Rescue. The rescue has been working hard to catch ALL the animals that were left behind at the camp, but Furry Friends Rockin Rescue isn't giving up on these abandoned pets.

Trump Repeals Waters of the U.S. Rule

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) applauds an executive order issued today by President Trump that begins the process of rescinding or rewriting a controversial Clean Water Act regulation that would have given the government broad jurisdiction over land and water. The order directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a formal review of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which took effect Aug. 28, 2015, and ostensibly was implemented to clarify the agency’s authority over various waters. That jurisdiction – based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions – had included “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. But the regulation broadened that to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters...more

The New Trail of Tears - book review

By William Perry Pendley

"You don't need to travel to Beijing to see central planning at work," writes Naomi Schaefer Riley in The New Trail of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians (Encounter Books, 2016). "It's everywhere on [American Indian] reservations."

Riley, a weekly columnist for the New York Post, provides a reality check for those whose nostalgic but erroneous image of American Indians derives from Chief Seattle's (falsified) "environmental" speech. It's a wake-up call for a Congress that in recent years enacted unconstitutional laws adversely affecting American Indians. Congress then salved its conscience by throwing money at circumstances that, at their roots, involve fundamental freedoms, and "get over it" tough love for a patriotic people — their willingness to fight and die in defense of their country is second to none — whose leaders seek perennial title as the most deserving of "victim cultures."

In the process, Riley provided a to-do list for the Trump administration.

Recognition of the problematic way modern Americans treat American Indians is old.

Stephen F. Haywood tells "shopworn" Ronald Reagan's 1975 tale, while campaigning in New Hampshire, of the tearful Bureau of Indian Affairs employee "[whose] Indian died." Reagan knew about the broken promises — after all, he won acclaim for killing a California dam that violated an agreement with a tiny tribe. ("We've broken too damn many treaties," he once said.)

Reagan went further by lamenting the government-fostered "primitive lifestyles" and urged that American Indians "join us." Earlier, Reagan's Interior Secretary Jim Watt decried their circumstances with, "If you want an example of the failure of socialism, don't go to Russia, come to America and go to the Indian reservations." Both drew only enmity.

In 1996, however, in Killing the White Man's Indian: The Reinvention of Native Americans at the End of the Twentieth Century, Fergus M. Bordewich furnished a fresh, factual, and freedom-based discussion of American Indians.

Now comes Riley's The New Trail of Tears, which credits Bordewich as well as Terry L. Anderson of the Property and Environmental Research Center. Anderson inspired and informed Riley, and Anderson's book Unlocking the Wealth of Indian Nations (Lexington Books, 2016) serves as a companion to The New Trail of Tears.

Riley sees the problems facing the 562 federally-recognized Indian nations and the 310 reservations that are home to roughly 1 million Indians, as "lack of economic opportunity, lack of education, and lack of equal protection under the law." It is not "the history of forced assimilation, war, and mass murder that have left American Indians in a deplorable state; it's the federal government's policies today [that are] a microcosm of everything that has gone wrong with modern liberalism."

End the "misguided paternalism," demands Riley, as well as the bloated bureaucracies. Reagan joked, but there is one Bureau of Indian Education employee for every 111 reservation Indians. Riley also says to end the profligate federal spending that in 2015, for example, gave the BIE $20,000 per pupil to provide the nation's worst public schools (the national average is $12,400 per pupil).

Today, Indian reservations in the western U.S. are, quoting Anderson, "islands of poverty in a sea of wealth," because individual American Indians are denied the "magical force" that is private property and thus suffer from what Hernando de Soto labeled "dead capital." The misery reaches the tribal level where layers of "federal oversight" make American Indians "the highest regulated race in the world."

William Perry Pendley is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is president of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, has argued cases before the Supreme Court and worked in the Department of the Interior during the Reagan administration. He is the author of "Sagebrush Rebel: Reagan's Battle with Environmental Extremists and Why It Matters Today."

Trump’s Interior Pick Is One Step Closer To Confirmation

Ryan Zinke is one step closer to becoming President Donald Trump’s secretary of the interior after the Senate moved Monday to end debate on the former Republican congressman to head the department. The Senate’s 67-31 vote to end questioning sets up 30 hours of debate on Zinke’s nomination followed by a mid-week confirmation vote. Many Democrats believe they can work with Zinke, even though his views on climate change are not entirely in line with theirs; the former congressman believes climate change is an issue but is uncertain about what is causing the change. He will oversee energy development on federal lands, the protection of endangered species and the operation of the country’s national parks. The Montana Republican’s opposition to divesting large swathes of federal land runs contrary to many in his own party who want to shift ownership of federal land back to the states...more

Washington State Professor Finds Sky-high Opportunities for Drones in Agriculture

Many farmers and ranchers are already benefitting from drone technology, but the work of researchers like Dr. Lav Khot is showing that we’ve only scratched the surface of what this relatively new technology can do for agriculture.  Khot is involved with several projects that delve into how drones can help with many aspects of Washington’s diverse agriculture industry—from grapes, apples and cherries to winter wheat, potatoes, pinto beans and more. One of the most prominent ways in which drones are used in agriculture is for thermal imaging. Multi-spectral sensors mounted on a drone can give users like Khot a good picture of how crops, specifically crop canopies, fare under different growing practices. Two of the projects in which Khot is involved look at how crops react to different irrigation techniques. Teaming up with his colleague Dr. R. Troy Peters, irrigation engineer and Extension specialist, Khot is evaluating which of two irrigation techniques—mid-elevation irrigation or low-elevation irrigation—is more suitable for a chosen site. With the low-elevation irrigation, the sprinklers are positioned close to the canopy so there are very few evaporation losses. According to Khot, drone-gathered multi-spectral and thermal imaging data is a good indicator of crop vigor and canopy stress as the team evaluates this cost-effective practice in potato and mint production. Another irrigation-related project uses drones to see how wine grapes respond to subsurface irrigation, in which water is applied at various levels to the root of the plant-30 centimeters down, 60 centimeters down and 90 centimeters down. In addition, Khot is looking at how drone imaging can help winter wheat farmers decide whether to forge ahead or reseed their fields after an earlier-than-expected cold snap. Such a cold snap could cause a hard layer to form on the winter wheat seed, preventing plant emergence. Drone imaging can give winter wheat farmers a better view of where and how many of their winter wheat plants may be sprouting toward the end of the winter season, when the weather warms up...more

Agents detail 'daily' border fence battle, seek post-Obama 'restart'

In the tiny Arizona city of Douglas, a Border Patrol surveillance camera is trained on a 10-foot-high fence with Mexico. After a few seconds, footage shows a figure appearing out of nowhere and the fence suddenly opens to allow a pickup truck through. A car follows, and they speed off into adjoining neighborhoods while the makeshift gate slams shut. The Wild West still has a foothold here, more than 100 years after gunslingers Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday called Douglas home. Only the outlaws are cartels and traffickers. And while President Trump is vowing to step up enforcement and seal off the southern border, agents in Border Patrol say they are still grappling with fallout from the Obama years – which they contend allowed security problems like this to fester. “We weren’t allowed to do our job,” Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the border agents’ union, told Fox News. Judd said the agency is now seeking a “restart” after years of neglect. In his last term, President Obama’s so-called ‘catch and release’ policies often allowed illegal immigrants to go free awaiting court dates, while most asylum seekers were accepted. The border itself continued to suffer as it has for years from gaps exploited by drug and human traffickers – like the breach seen in the exclusive November 2016 footage from Douglas, Ariz. That ‘gate’ was created by perpetrators on the Mexican side using a blowtorch to cut a metal panel and then affixing hinges and latches. Putty and paint are used to touch up the American side, making the gate almost indiscernible. Further, agents have grappled with a shift of resources from the field to the office. According to Judd, only 20 percent of the workforce was actually patrolling the border toward the end of the last administration due to extensive paperwork required to process asylum seekers and high attrition tied to low morale. “We just cannot continue with the same management that we’ve had, which created our problems,” Judd said. “We expect the president to drain the swamp – ours should be the first one drained. We have to hit the restart button.” Since taking office, Trump has ordered an end to “catch and release,” and the promise of reinforcements generally has boosted spirits inside the agency. But even as the new president moves to empower agents, it takes a year to hire and fully train personnel -- so a ramped-up border force is still in the distant future, Judd said. The Border Patrol currently has 19,700 agents, far below the allotted number of 21,370. Trump wants to hire another 5,000, which is what Judd said is needed...more

Why farmers and ranchers think the EPA Clean Water Rule goes too far

Industry and agriculture groups believe the new rule defines tributaries more broadly. They see this change as unnecessary overreach that makes it difficult to know what is regulated on their lands. Western farms are laced with canals that provide critical irrigation water during the growing season. These canals and ditches divert water from streams and return the excess through a downstream return loop, which is fed by gravity. Because they are open and unlined, they also serve as water sources for wildlife, ecosystems and underground aquifers. And because they are connected to other water bodies, farmers fear they could be subject to federal regulation. The only way to surface-irrigate in western valleys without affecting local water systems would be to lay thousands of miles of pressurized pipes, like those that carry water in cities. This approach would be impractical in many situations and incredibly expensive. More generally, farmers and ranchers want to be able to make decisions about managing their land and water resources without ambiguity or time-consuming and expensive red tape. In spite of EPA assurances, they worry the Clean Water Rule could include agricultural ditches, canals and drainages in the definition of “tributary.” They fear EPA will use vague language in the rule to expand its power to regulate these features and change the way they are currently operated. They also fear becoming targets for citizen-initiated lawsuits, which are allowed under the Clean Water Act. Moreover, they are skeptical the outcomes will significantly benefit the environment...more

Willie Nelson, Miranda Lambert lead star-studded Merle Haggard tribute

Merle Haggard would have turned 80 years old on Apr. 6. That day — which is also the first anniversary of the country music legend's death — his legacy will be celebrated during a tribute show at Bridgestone Arena. The star-studded lineup of "Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard" currently includes Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, John Mellencamp, Dierks Bentley, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams Jr., The Avett Brothers, Alison Krauss, Ronnie Dunn, Warren Haynes, Jamey Johnson, Kacey Musgraves, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lucinda Williams, son Ben Haggard, John Anderson, Connie Smith and Bobby Bare. More performers will be announced in the coming weeks. Haggard, a man who influenced country music like few others, recorded more than three dozen No. 1 hits over the course of his half-century career. Many of his songs, including "Sing Me Back Home," "Mama Tried" and "Today I Started Loving You Again" are some of country music's most beloved and enduring classics...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1792

I've always liked this version of Crafton Blues by Jimmie Revard & His Oklahoma Playboys. Recorded in San Antonio 80 years ago (October 26, 1936). 


Monday, February 27, 2017

Lincoln County urged to dig for answers about targeted land

New Mexico’s land commissioner is proposing an exchange of tracts along the state’s border with Mexico for federal holdings in the counties of Lincoln, Otero and Chaves. A communications spokesman for the office of Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn said Friday that the exact federal tracts proposed for a swap have not been identified. “This is all very preliminary and the commissioner hasn’t identified any specific areas of interest,” she said. A local resident told Lincoln County commissioners at their meeting last month that they should not accept the official “obviously false” response from Dunn’s office...more

Sometimes you just have to wonder about folks. I understand their opposition to the disposal of federal lands, but I do question their understanding of federal land law and policy, with which they ought to acquaint themselves before calling out public officials.

The article continues:

During the public forum portion of the Lincoln County Commission meeting last month, Tony Davis and his wife, Joyce Westerbur, asked if commissioners might be interested in finding out what and where the “more desirable land assets” for which Dunn proposes a trade are located. They wondered if the tracts were the same assets proposed for sale by the federal government by U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, in a bill he quickly withdrew when it hit a wall of opposition. In that bill, 813,531 acres for potential sale were listed in New Mexico, she pointed out, including 47,482 acres in Lincoln County in 500 parcels, estimated in 1997 at a value of $2.275 million. The sale would be part of a total 3.3 million acres of public land put on the block in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada. New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.
Let's get some facts out there before responding to these folks.

A section in the 1966 Agriculture Reform Act required the Secretary of Interior to file a report to Congress on lands "which may be suitable for sale or exchange..." The report was sent to Congress in May of 1997 and contained a list of lands already identified by BLM for sale or exchange in their existing land use plans. Section 202 of FLPMA directs the BLM to prepare land use plans, wherein they identify lands suitable for disposal by sale or exchange. Section 203 of FLPMA grants authority to sell lands so identified and Section 206 of FLPMA grants authority to dispose by exchange those lands. This is a process that goes on across the West and is independent of anything proposed by Congressman Chaffetz or Commissioner Dunn.

So was Dunn's spokesperson saying something "obviously false" in responding to the press? Of course not. Dunn's letter describes in general those lands he would offer up for exchange and identifies those lands in general which he would like to acquire in the exchange. He doesn't identify by legal description "specific" parcels or tracts of lands for either acquisition or disposal by exchange. And he is wise not to do so. To spend the time and effort to identify specific parcels when he doesn't even know if the feds will entertain such a proposal would be a huge waste of taxpayer funds.

Are these the same lands listed by Congressman Chaffetz in his legislation to dispose of certain lands? I certainly hope so. As previously stated, these lands have already been through the land use planning process, allowing for public input, and are available now for disposal by sale or exchange. If Dunn were to identify other lands, it would require an amendment to the existing plan, creating lengthy delays and more expense to any exchange.

One of the commentors, "asked commissioners to use their power to get answers from Dunn and possibly from U.S. Rep Steve Pearce, a Republican representing the 2nd Congressional District of New Mexico about the tracts location." That is totally unnecessary. They need to contact their local BLM office and request a copy of the land use plan, which will identify those lands suitable for disposal. Its all public information. 

Finally, they state, “Lincoln county residents deserve transparency on this..."

Dunn posted a press release and a copy of his letter on the SLO website. I don't know how he could be more transparent than that. The press release and letter are embedded below.

Trump plans to ditch Obama’s protection for small wetlands and waterways

On the campaign trail, President Trump promised to get rid of regulations, especially those designed to protect the environment. One of those regulations has to do with water. In fact very small bodies of water. It’s often referred to as the Waters of the U.S. Rule (WOTUS), or the clean water rule, and it’s the Obama administration’s attempt to define which isolated wetlands, or intermittent streams, are regulated under the Clean Water Act, passed in 1972. The Trump administration is expected to announce this week a reversal of the rule, which was challenged in court soon after it was enacted in 2015 and has since been blocked from enforcement. When Congress passed the Clean Water Act 25 years ago, it defined waters that would need some protection from pollution as “navigable.” For most of us that means big enough to float a boat. But when it comes to pollution sources, the need to provide clean water extends upstream of large river systems. “Everyone agrees it doesn’t strictly mean navigable anymore,” says Owen McDonough, with the National Association of Home Builders – one of the industry groups that opposes WOTUS. “We’re not talking about, for instance, things like the Susquehanna River, or Chesapeake Bay. But as you get farther and farther upstream, into headwaters of streams, that’s been a pretty difficult line to draw.”. McDonough says the gray area included intermittent or ephemeral streams, those that may not flow unless there’s a heavy rain, or isolated wetlands, or ponds. Those areas that are sometimes land, sometimes water. Over the years, Congress tried and failed to clarify the rule. Past administrations tried and failed as well. And the courts seemed to add to the confusion over what among these tiny waterways deserved protection from pollution discharge and run-off, and what didn’t...more

It would appear, based on this article any way, the difficulty and "confusion" in drawing the jurisdictional line began after everyone agreed navigable "doesn’t strictly mean navigable anymore.”

What an interesting concept. Would this apply to other words in other statutes? If everyone agrees a word or phrase no longer means what it says then the original intent of Congress can be changed without amending the statute? And just when did this agreement about the meaning of navigable occur?  The Constitution says that all legislative powers are vested in Congress. Is that no longer the case?

Whenever I encounter this "words no longer mean what the say" phenomenon,its always in the context of expanding the powers of government.  It seems to never occur when it comes to limiting those powers.

George Leef writes:

When Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, it was exercising its power to regulate interstate commerce by prohibiting discharges into the nation’s “navigable waters.” If a body of water could be used to transport goods from one state to another, it was covered by the Act.

Like so many other statutes enacted over the last 80 years – that is, since the advent of the administrative state under FDR – the Clean Water Act (CWA) depends on bureaucratic interpretation and enforcement.

The two entities involved with the CWA are the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. Both have tried to expand the scope of their regulatory power by issuing rules that defined “navigable waters” so broadly that they have (or at least claim to have) authority over many bodies of water that couldn’t possibly be used to transport so much as a paper clip between states.

Twice, the Supreme Court has slapped down rules that amounted to a rewriting of the law to suit the zealous regulators.

First, in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. Army Corps of Engineers (2001), the Court ruled that the Army Corps had no authority to assert control over isolated bodies of water – in that particular instance, an abandoned sand and gravel pit.

You might think that the lesson would have sunk in, but in 2006 the Court had to deal again with another creative interpretation of the CWA in Rapanos v. United States. The EPA had asserted that it could prevent a landowner from doing anything with a wetland that was near a ditch that eventually drained into navigable water. The Court again ruled that the agency had overstepped its bounds.

And here we go again, with a new definition that would include, "...virtually any wet spot – or occasionally wet spot – in the country, including ditches, drains, seasonal puddle-like depressions, intermittent streams, ponds, impoundments, prairie potholes, and large ‘buffer areas’ of land adjacent to every waterway.” When will Congress act to resolve this situation? If they don't, we'll all continue to be the victims of this bureaucratic battle to limit our property rights and other freedoms.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1791

Its Swingin' Monday and from his 2002 CD Touchstones here is James Talley  performing W'Lee O'Daniel And The Light Crust Doughboys. THE WESTERNER http://thewesterner.blogspot.com/


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

For what it’s worth 

by Julie Carter

I wander through my days pretty much like everybody else. Making a living, taking care of the day-to-day and each week, finding inspiration to share something with you here.

Usually I’m as surprised as you are at what might finally hit the page and it’s not uncommon to come to the keyboard with a hodgepodge of ideas – or none at all.

A writer’s prompt showed up in my email box that asked, “what is the best advice you ever received?” I queried a few friends with the same question and each answered true to their personalities.

  • Marry you a good man. In 20 years, their looks will be gone but if you marry a good man, he will still be a good man in 20 years.
  • Stand straight. Tall girls don’t have to be beautiful. The boys see them first.
  • I get so much advice from my husband and he assures me it is all wonderful.
  • No matter who says what, don’t believe it if it doesn’t make sense.
  • When someone shows you what they are, don’t ask them to show you again.

One cowboy, who is clever with his short, direct answers simply said, “Never saddle a horse named Bucky. I fell for that once, thinking that the horse’s name, Buck, was for his color.” The bad advice that follows is always, “Just turn your toes out. There ain’t nothing to him.” It sometimes works out, but it isn’t always pretty.

Along those same lines, there are some classics among cowboys that are worth repeating. I credit most of these to Texas Bix Bender’s book, Don’t Squat with your Spurs On! – A Cowboy’s Guide to Life.

  • Don’t believe all that you hear, spend all that you have, or sleep all that you want.
  • Don’t judge folks by their relatives.
  • There are three kinds of men. Some learn by reading, some by observation, and the rest have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
  • If you get to thinking you are a person of influence, try ordering somebody else’s dog around.
  • It’s best to keep your troubles to yourself because half the people you tell them to won’t give a darn and the other half will be glad to hear you’ve got them.
  • Most folks are like a barbed wire fence. They have their good points.
  • The best way to keep your word is not to give it foolishly.
  • The easiest way to eat crow is while it’s still warm. The colder it gets, the harder it is to swallow.
  • Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
  • If it doesn’t seem like it’s worth the effort, it probably isn’t.

I add to it:

·                          Don’t trespass and always close the gate.
·                          No matter the look of the weather, never give away your slicker.
·                         Saddle early and ride out without a concern of when you’ll be back.
  • Always help the cook with wood and water and don’t ever get into his grub unless he asks. Always put your plate and silverware in the roundup pan (dishpan) after you eat.
  • Don’t ever take a dog when you go to help another outfit and never yell at another man’s dog.

The best advice my mentors offered me was to always be respectful, dependable and do your best at whatever it was you were asked to do. Still good advice today.

Julie can be reached for comment at jcarternm@gmail.com

Baxter Black: Gimp

I was out in the driveway scattering stove ash when I heard the geese. It was three days until the end of the season and I was still zero for 6. They rose from the field to the north, squawking raucously and aimed straight over the house.

I dropped the coal bucket in the snow and raced back in the front door! I careened off the furniture like a bad billiard shot! At the back door I grabbed the big twelve gauge leaned against the wall and three shells that I had conveniently placed on the top of the window ledge. Crashing off the back porch, I loaded the gun with the relaxed ease of a 13 year old on his first date! The geese beat the air above me as I swung the shotgun skyward. Boom! Boom! The geese sailed over the barn like a giant manta ray. Nary a feather fluttered to the ground but my two horses thundered from the barn!

I was in a funk that evening when I went to feed. But I noticed that my new rope horse was packin' his right hind. After a thorough lameness exam I concluded he musta slid on the ice and pulled a muscle. Possibly, I admitted, the result of a sudden fright.

Join the club. My old dog was favoring his left front. Considering his long history of bein' shot and run over, I wasn't surprised.

The cat Lefty, got stepped on a couple years ago and the Doc amputated her right hind.

Adding my bilateral bursitis, Pablo's bad back and my teenager's loss of memory, my place looks like a World War I field hospital. It's a hazard of country life.

My friend Charlie has a cowdog named Gimp. He has established a breeding program and now has produced a litter of pups that all limp. He wrote me of his success predicting that he will make a million selling them to cowmen. His theory is that it will save an enormous amount of time getting a cowdog to the bum leg-ged stage.

Lee Pitts: One Man’s Trash

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you may have a ticking time bomb on your ranch.

Several years ago on a place we leased we were visited by aliens in spacesuits who arrived in otherworldly vehicles and spoke an indecipherable language. No, I'm not some UFO nut who was abducted by martians, these guys were remediaters, which are far spookier. I know, I'd never heard of them before either. They were there because somehow they'd discovered that there was an old underground fuel tank on the premises. This came as a complete surprise to my landlord. 

The remediaters brought in all sorts of heavy equipment to dig out the tank and to remediate the soil that had been "contaminated." Once out of the ground they discovered that the tank was full of fuel which to you and me might suggest that the tank didn't leak. To the remediaters it meant practically all the soil in the township had to be removed and cleansed. In other words, they had to clean the clean soil that had NOT been contaminated.

While they were at it the remediaters discovered a dump on the ranch, which to the sanitation engineers in environmental services is like finding a fresh cow pie in the living room. They were so upset all they could see were dollar signs! 

These days Americans produce three and a half pounds of trash daily that is filling up our landfills but ranchers in the PS period (pre-styrofoam), had other ways of dealing with the politically incorrect trash. Newspapers, magazines, and catalogs were "recycled" in the outhouse while rougher recyclables went up in smoke in the burn barrel on foggy days. There was no such thing as disposable diapers or food waste like brussel sprouts, liver and lima beans, which were fed to the hog. Everything else went to the dump.

Our dump contained things like decaying corral boards, a wringer washer, green appliances, irrigation pipe twisted up like pretzels, concrete chunks, an old chicken coop, bed springs, tires, buckets with holes in them and parts of an airplane that landed far short of the nonexistent runway. We also found many valuable antiques like chicken feeders and waterers that you see in antique shops for sixty bucks apiece. There was also an old calf table that two ropers had probably headed and heeled and drug to the dump in disgrace. I sold it to a bad-roping neighbor for a quick $100. Cows had pretty much sorted through the decaying trash and destroyed a lot of the "good stuff" but we did find a big rusty roll of valuable barb wire that's now safe in our house rising in value faster than my IRA. Hey, some folks have annuities, I have twenty yards of Glidden's flat line four point (1876).

Being an environmentalist, I made few contributions to the dump although it did serve as a final resting place for my Grandpa's old horse trailer that hadn't been registered for 40 years. First, I had to haul it 30 miles on the freeway so to avoid the cops I smeared a little cow poop over the spot where the current tag was supposed to be. (Note: If you try this at home use baby calf manure as it sticks better.)

"Cowboy Days" Coming To Las Cruces

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum’s 18th Cowboy Days festival will have some extra flavor. The Museum in Las Cruces has added the first-annual Cowboy Days Chili Cook-off, sanctioned by the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI), to its exciting, two-day schedule of activities. Cowboy Days is March 4-5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 for everyone 5 and older. There are no passes or coupons for this event. The public is invited to sample the chili entries from 2-3 p.m. on March 4and from 12-1 p.m. on March 5. The cost to sample all of the entries is $5. CASI-sanctioned chili cook-offs are intended to bring local communities and competitive cooks together to raise awareness of the awesomeness of chili and raise funds for local charities. This cook-off will benefit the ACTion Program for Animals in Las Cruces and the Friends of the Museum. While chili is the main category in the cook-off, there also will be competition for cooking beans, and for making salsa on Saturday. The cook-off is open to anyone. The beans and salsa competitions have no rules and can be pre-made. The sanctioned chili competition has rules in that it has to be made on-site and cannot have "fillers" such as beans, peppers, hominy, etc. -- only the meat and sauce. The turn-in time for salsa is 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and beans is 12 p.m. on Saturday. The chili turn-in time is 2 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. on Sunday. Awards will be given at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. A saloon tent featuring beer will be part of the chili cook-off area. “These CASI cook-offs are such fun events,” said Stephanie Johnson-Burick, who is organizing the cook-off. “It’s an opportunity to compete and enjoy the fellowship of others while raising funds for local charities. We (the cooks) compete in order to win points to qualify for the Terlingua International Chili Competition, which is considered the "granddaddy" of chili cook-offs and held the first Saturday of November. There is lots of camaraderie among the cooks and we are always looking for new members to join us. We are also a 501 (c) (3) organization.” Another new activity for Cowboy Days is horseshoes. Families also will enjoy the many children’s activities, as well as pony rides ($5), mechanical bull rides ($3), miniature train rides ($3), stagecoach rides (free), gold panning, chuck wagon cooking, and other demonstrations, including blacksmithing, wood carving, weaving, and wool spinning. The Borderland Pistoleros Mounted Shooting group returns to Cowboy Days and will demonstrate their skills of shooting from horseback in the Museum’s roping arena twice each day. The Museum’s livestock staff hosts the popular Parade of Breeds program twice each day, as well. Each of the museum’s seven different breeds of beef cattle will be brought into the round pen individually where each breed’s unique characteristics and history will be discussed. Enchantment Historical Productions will provide the popular Old West Thunder gunfight re-enactments each day at noon, and will put on the 19th-Century Fashion Show, and a musical play called “Pangur Ban’s Irish Story and Song.” Pat Howard of Las Cruces will have his herding dogs at the Museum on Sunday-only for demonstrations, and there will be a plant sale both days. Arts and crafts vendors, and food vendors also will be part of the event. Several of the area’s top cowboy singers and musicians will perform, and members of the Western Writers of America will be on hand to sign and discuss their books. Musical performers include Kenny Arroyos, Eddy Harrison, Voz Vaqueros, Washtub Jerry and the Ramblin’ Rangers. The featured authors are Melody Groves, Ralph Estes and Stephen Zimmer. Other participants at Cowboy Days include cowboy cook Dave Harkness, the Back Country Horsemen, Fort Selden, and U.S. Customs & Border Protection horses. For more information about Cowboy Days in general, call (575) 522-4100 or visit www.nmfarmandranchmuseum.org. For more information about the Chili Cook-Off, please contact Stephanie Johnson-Burick at (575) 649-8487 or email her at sjohnsonb@outlook.com. Sponsors for Cowboy Days include The Friends of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, Tharp Farm, Mayberry Farms, T-4 Cattle Company, Citizens Bank of Las Cruces, and Kohl’s. The Museum is located at 4100 Dripping Springs Road in Las Cruces.  Press release

Salt harvest a colorful chapter in state

by Marc Simmons

One of the colorful chapters in the history of New Mexico that is scarcely remembered now involved the annual cosecha de sal, or salt harvest, regularly undertaken by our pioneer settlers. I’ve long thought that the many details surrounding this fascinating activity could easily be turned into a small book.

In prehistoric times, both Pueblo and Plains Indians collected salt at saline lakes in the area. It became a major trade item, transported in baskets on Indian backs and widely distributed.

Incoming Spanish colonists quickly identified prime salt sources, to meet their own needs. The most accessible was found in the southern end of the Estancia Basin, where a cluster of saline ponds and small lakes offered a never-ending supply of the essential mineral.

Salt for man and beast, of course, is a nutritional necessity, not a luxury although many people are prone to use it simply because it enhances the taste of food. Colonial Spaniards, like other people, put it to a variety of uses.

As a preservative, dry salt was rubbed into green beaver pelts or buffalo hides, and various foods could be kept for long periods in salt brine. For example, buffalo tongues, a major export product, were pickled in barrels of brine and shipped south down the Camino Real.

Pure white salt also served a variety of uses in our local folk culture. A small bowl of it was often kept on the narrow shelf above a fireplace opening. Before the family went to bed, someone would toss a pinch of salt onto the red embers in the belief that doing so would prevent flying witches from descending the chimney during the night.

A man from Truchas once told me that when he was a boy his aunt always stood in front of her house whenever a storm gathered above the village. As the thunder cracked, she tossed a handful of salt in the air, in the form of a cross, saying “Santa Barbara, libranos de rayos!” (Santa Barbara, save us from lightning.) Her house was never struck.

When time came for the yearly harvest, the royal governor, through town criers, announced the date of departure for the cart caravan that always assembled at the village of Galisteo. To protect the convoy, he sent a squad of soldiers and sometimes a small cannon, since the salines were in dangerous Apache country.

As many families as possible sent at least one representative to join the workers, so they could receive a share of the harvest. Range sheep required about a quarter ounce of salt per day, so ranchers with large flocks needed huge quantities.

Leaving Galisteo, often after a wild fandango the night before, the throng of salt gatherers was in a festive mood. The men knew that weeks of hard work lay ahead, but they were accustomed to that.
A three-day march brought them to the Laguna del Perro, the largest salt lake. After camp was pitched, everyone got busy. Some gatherers went along the shore, raking encrusted salt into piles which could then be scooped into wool or leather sacks.

Others waded out into the shallow lake where the fresh salt was quite pure and shoveled it from the bottom. Ox carts waited at water’s edge, dried hides having been tied to their open rails and the bed to create a leathern tub to receive the wet salt.

After several weeks, the job was completed and the caravan made its return. Because of the danger and labor involved, this salt sold for $1 a bushel in towns along the Rio Grande.

A territorial law passed in 1854 provided that all citizens could freely collect salt at the lakes. But not everyone got the word. Years ago I heard an older resident of Galisteo relate how her grandfather had been conned into buying the lakes for a princely sum.

“That was not uncommon,” she said with a chuckle. “In those days, purchasing the New Mexican salt lakes was equivalent to a New York visitor buying the Brooklyn Bridge.”


Marc Simmons is a retired historian and author of thirty-five books I was honored to present The Rounders Award to him in 1991.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1790

From his 1968 album Amazing Grace here is Jimmie Davis performing Back In The Fold Again


Friday, February 24, 2017

EPA Union Urges Employees to Rally on Capitol Hill for ‘Respect’

Environmental Protection Agency employees are being urged to join a rally on Capitol Hill next month by a union representing the agency, according to an email obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. The National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 280 sent an invitation to the rally on the EPA email system during work hours, encouraging employees to rally for "respect." "Please join NTEU members from across the country as we rally at the U.S. Capitol for fair pay, a secure retirement, and respect," the email, which was sent Wednesday, states. "We really need you to come for this," the union said. "Now, more than ever it's important that EPA employees stand together." The rally comes at a time when government bureaucrats, including career employees for the EPA, are vowing to resist the new Trump administration. In an unprecedented effort, EPA employees called their senators last week pressing them to vote against Scott Pruitt as the new EPA administrator. The New York Times called it "a remarkable display of activism and defiance that presages turbulent times ahead for the EPA." Pruitt was confirmed by a vote of 52-46. Other EPA employees were still crying at work more than two months after Hillary Clinton's election loss...more

Do they really think this is the way to gain the respect of Trump and others?...by being a pawn in the union's agenda?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rancher claims cartel activity captured on camera

A southern Arizona rancher is sharing video, he says, that shows cartel activity happening on his property. Jim Chilton has a 50,000-acre ranch in Arivaca. He claims game cameras mounted throughout the property captured various groups of drug smugglers in 2016. "Hundreds and hundreds," says Chilton. "The most obvious is the big 70 lb packs of marijuana." Chilton says border-crossers have cut through his ranch for years, but times have changed. "The number of people coming across who are just good people coming across as immigrants has decreased dramatically," says Chilton. "I think that it's mainly drug-packers now." Chilton says he communicates with the border patrol and fellow ranchers. He says the answer is a border wall with agents right behind it. "I would like to see Trump build a wall and put forward operation bases at the wall, not 80 miles in Tucson," says Chilton. "Get the border patrol off their wazoos in Tucson and out to the international boundary." Chilton provided video of the international boundary bordering his property. The video shows where the wall ends with parts of the border protected only with a barbed wire fence. Chilton is part of a coalition of ranchers urging Arizona congress members to get behind Trump’s immigration proposals, no matter the cost. "What's the social cost?” asks Chilton. “I mean hundreds of billions of dollars of social costs, people being on heroin, cocaine, we've got to eliminate as much as possible.”...more

Here is the TV news report

azfamily.com 3TV | Phoenix Breaking News, Weather, Sport

Ranchers criticize wilderness proposal by Udall, Heinrich

New Mexico’s two U.S. senators have introduced legislation they say has been years in the making to set aside tens of thousands of acres as wilderness on opposite ends of the state in areas already designated as national monuments. But ranchers from some rural communities fear the new designations will amount to another layer of bureaucracy aimed at pushing them from the land. Their concerns mark just the latest battle over public lands in the West, where the federal government already controls millions of acres. The Northern New Mexico Stockman’s Association has passed a resolution against future wilderness and monument designations, and its members, along with groups representing ranchers from elsewhere in the state, are standing up to the latest wilderness proposal. Dave Sanchez, vice president of the stockmen’s group, said wilderness designations have been used as a tool by the federal government to terminate grazing permits and suggested that as many as 80 percent of permits on national forest land have been lost over the years in the Southwest region alone. “The economy of rural New Mexico cannot afford any more wilderness designations,” Sanchez said. The association maintains that U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, both Democrats who were advocates of efforts by the Obama administration to add more wilderness to the nation’s conservation system, are aware of the group’s opposition and that Heinrich declined a request for a meeting to discuss public land matters. While the legislation allows for existing grazing rights to be managed under the provisions of the federal Wilderness Act, ranchers say making the areas off limits to vehicles and other mechanized equipment would make their jobs more difficult. “This continues to put layer after layer of federal discretion over land that doesn’t do any more to protect it but places more constrains on the people who have been living off the land for generations,” said Caren Cowan, former executive director of the New Mexico Cattlegrowers’ Association. U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, the lone Republican in New Mexico’s congressional delegation, has been an outspoken critic of federal efforts to lock up more land in the West and is concerned about the legislation, said spokeswoman Keeley Christensen. “New Mexicans want more access to federal lands for recreation, hunting, grazing and economic opportunity for local communities,” she said. “This bill is out of step with our values and where we want to be going as a state.” ...more

West's challenge is still water scarcity, wet winter or not


Pioche, Nev.—The number of “For Sale” signs compete with “Open” in the storefronts along the main street in this hilly town, where fortunes evaporated with the silver and zinc mines that created it. There’s no bank or grocery store. Mining has mostly vacated the area, leaving a clutch of retirees, some county workers, and not too many others. But this part of Nevada still has one resource that residents to the south in glitzy Las Vegas desperately want and need – water. A controversial proposal would send a big chunk of this region’s water southward, through a 250-mile pipeline that, critics say, would dry up ranchers and farmers to supply a sprawling metropolis defined by its embrace of nightlife and all-day pool parties. “The people in Clark County want to put a pipeline in here to drain our water. We don’t want to give it away to them. We do just fine up here,” says Don Spaulding, a retiree in Pioche. But there’s a larger reality, too: Whatever happens with the pipeline, water has been getting harder to find for urban and rural residents alike. Even with big snows and rains across parts of the West this winter, aquifers and forests remain taxed. Long term, the water challenges of the American West look increasingly beyond the scale of traditional infrastructure projects to resolve. Lake Mead, a major reservoir serving the Southwest, has recently been at record lows, pressuring Las Vegas to look for water sources outside the Colorado River system. And here in Pioche, residents say a long drought has taken its toll. “We’re not getting as many tourists,” says Ann Mills inside her trinket shop called Rag Doll. “They come up for recreation, but even the lakes are low. Echo Lake gets really low. It’s not even good for fishing anymore. Eagle Valley is getting mossy and stinky.” A new era of water management Yet in the face of these challenges, residents of the West aren’t resigning themselves to a bleak future. Instead, states in the Colorado River basin have been turning a page toward a new era of water management. With climate change affecting water supplies that are already strained by urban growth, the region is being forced to innovate and adapt. •Cities are conserving through steps like encouraging desert landscapes, by prohibiting grass lawns for newly built homes, and paying people with existing lawns to abandon them. •Advancements in treatment technology are making it more possible to recycle water and harness rainfall for later use. •Farmers are shifting to drip irrigation and other methods to use less water.  •Increasingly farmers are trading water through formal and informal markets to use it more efficiently, shifting away from a system of use-it-or-lose-it allotments. •Water managers are making dams more efficient at serving both hydropower and irrigation needs.•And a pragmatic outlook is prompting states, cities, and rural areas to bargain over water, not just fight over it. Behind all this is a slow, cultural shift that recognizes conservation and scarcity – and the need for innovative and multi-layered responses.

Clarence "Yunk" Griffin, 1942-2017

Clarence "Yunk" Griffin of Snyder, Texas went to be with our Lord and Savior on February 18, 2017 in Lubbock, Texas after a series of health complications.

Yunk was born May 1, 1942 in Corona, NM to Clarence & Eileen Griffin. Growing up on a ranch, Yunk and his brothers had no choice but to be cowboys. After moving to Fort Hancock, TX, the Griffin boys began strenuous training with World Champion Trick Rider Dick Griffith, and became "The Four Little Men" and traveled to rodeos all over the US performing their stunts. Upon graduating from Moriarity High School in 1960, Yunk began working odd jobs until starting college at NMSU in 1963. He began saddle bronc riding and was a member of the NMSU rodeo team, where he won the Southwest Region twice. He graduated from NMSU in 1967 with his Bachelors in Ag Business. Yunk soon joined his dad and brothers in the family stone business where they worked alongside each other for forty years. Yunk married Patricia Abney on August 13, 1983. When he was 45 years old, Yunk accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, which was the most important decision he ever made. In 1998, he began New Heart Cowboy Church which he pastored until retiring and moving to Snyder, TX in 2011 to be closer to his grandkids. The last few years of his life were spent in Texas with his wife enjoying their grandkids.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia Griffin; daughter, Becky Collier and her husband, Bronc; son, Cody and his wife, Sara; son, Todd and his wife, Michelle; brothers, Pete and his wife, Susie; Cleve and his wife, Donna; grandchildren, Steeley and Clarence "CJ" Collier, Isaac Griffin, Caitlin Myers, and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Jean Duncan; brother, Garvin Griffin, and his parents.

Visitation will be Friday, February 24 from 9 to 10 am at New Heart Cowboy Church. The funeral service will follow at 10 am with Couy Griffin officiating. A meal will follow after the service. Burial will be at the Corona Cemetery following the meal.

Pallbearers include: Bronc Collier, Mac Griffin, Travis Griffin, Trey Griffin, Matt Griffin, Ty Griffin, Ross Griffin, Shawn Griffin, Ryan Griffin, and Scott Miller.

The Griffin family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Hamilton-O'Dell Funeral Home to direct the funeral services.

To sign the online register book, please visit www.hamiltonodell.com. -

Hatch tells state lawmakers Trump looking at Bears Ears, Grand Staircase

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told state lawmakers Wednesday that even though President Donald Trump may irritate some people, "in a lot of ways, we're taking on things that we've never been able to take on before." Hatch highlighted Trump's willingness to take a look at the designation of two national monuments in southern Utah by past presidents, the newly designated Bears Ears and the 20-year-old Grand Staircase-Escalante. He said he spent an hour in the Oval Office with the new Republican president discussing the state's efforts to rescind or at least reduce the size of the monuments, noting that the designation of Grand Staircase shut off a coal reserve. "I'd like to see us have access to that," Hatch said in the Utah Senate. Mining the clean-burning coal will help the state "taxwise and so forth. It will also help the country when we need that energy." Later, Hatch told reporters he's "very confident" Trump will rescind the Bears Ears National Monument designation made by President Barack Obama in the final days of his administration. The president "may very well rescind that, and we’ll work at doing it the way it should be done," Hatch said during the daily state Senate media availability, "in a way that will be just, right and in accordance with feelings of Utah." Utah's senior senator also said he believes Trump has the authority to create a route to the coal reserves within Grand Staircase by modifying the national monument. "He would be able legally to create the access to this great treasure that may save Utah and the country someday," Hatch said. The coal would not be mined "at the present time," he said, but instead be "a resource already ready." Such an action by Trump "certainly would right a wrong that occurred without any consideration," Hatch said, a reference to Clinton's surprise announcement of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument...more

Study on grazing in the West

On the 20th I linked to a column by Matthew Anderson, Grazing should be critical piece of lands management. The column referred to a new study released by the Coalition For Self-Government In The West, wherein they looked at the number of aum's and grazing permits authorized and issued by the BLM from 1949-2014.

The study, Dusty Trails: The Erosion of Grazing in the American West, is now available on their website. Data is available on the eleven Western states and for individual states. Westwide, the number of aum's authorized has declined from 14,572,272 to 7,160,432 and the number of permittees has gone from 21,081 to 10,187. In New Mexico, the number of aum's has declined by 46% and the number of permittees by a whopping 65%.

Many thanks to the author, Matthew Anderson, for sharing this information with The Westerner. Let's hope their next study will look at the Forest Service.

Two children burned after Dakota Access protesters set 20 fires during evacuation

Two children were burned, one of them severely, at the Dakota Access camp evacuation Wednesday after remaining activists set fire to about 20 shelters and a vehicle in what was described as a departure ceremony. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said a 17-year-old girl was airlifted to a hospital in Minneapolis, and that a seven-year-old boy was also hurt as most of the activists left the camp in compliance with a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers eviction order. Most of those remaining at the camp left peacefully, but 10 protesters were arrested after making their way onto Highway 1806 and refusing to disperse. “In the intentional burning of some of the buildings, which may have been ceremonial in nature … there was apparently either a fire out of control or an explosion,” said Mr. Burgum at a livestream press conference after the evacuation. “There was a 17-year-old woman who was severely burned.” The North Dakota Joint Information Center reported at least two explosions at the Oceti Sakowin camp, the largest of the pipeline protest camps located on federal land in a floodplain near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. “We’re sharing that because obviously it’s very sad for all the people involved,” the Republican governor said. Those arrested were charged with obstructing a government function, which is a misdemeanor, bringing the total number of arrests since August to about 720, said Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier. Mr. Burgum said that those who were arrested “really had to be trying to get it done.” “For someone to be arrested on the road today, they had to have interaction with law enforcement within the arrest zone with the intention of being arrested,” Mr. Burgum said. “In the true North Dakota way, they had every opportunity to walk away and not be arrested. So this is clearly a case where to be arrested today you really had to be trying to get it done because that was not part of our operational plan.” While most of the remaining 200-300 protesters exited the camp, some aided by free travel, food and hotel vouchers from the state, as many as 50 people remain, the smallest number since protest activity against the pipeline kicked into high gear in August...more

No home on the range - BLM, powerball, pzp & pine nuts

There are an estimated 100,000 wild horses in the Western United States, but only a little more than half of them actually live in the wild of the vast range lands. The rest are kept in corrals and long-term pastures run by the Bureau of Land Management—whose job it has been to manage wild horses since 1971. These numbers represent a real and growing problem... In 2015, the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program spent nearly two-thirds of its roughly $72 million annual budget on housing the horses it has taken out of the wild. And, as of August 2016, the agency estimated its holding facilities were nearly 80 percent full. What’s more, according to its figures, the number of horses left on the range is fully two times what’s ideal...In an email interview, BLM spokespersons Jenny Lesieutre and Jason Lutterman provided an update on what’s happened in the interim, noting that “the BLM has acquired more off-range pastures to reduce the number of horses in higher-cost corrals.”... An October article in South Dakota’s Butte County Post about one of these pasture acquisitions, reported a Powerball jackpot winner had agreed to let the BLM pasture a herd of 917 horses on roughly 50 square mile of privately owned grassland 75 miles north of Rapid City, South Dakota—for a price of $2 per horse, per day. The BLM also puts some wild horses up for adoption and sale. According to Lesieutre and Lutterman, until the BLM has “better tools to manage wild horses on the range,” the agency has capped the number of horses that can be removed each year at 3,500, “about the same number that leave the system through adoption, sales and natural mortality.” In 2015, the BLM reported the roundup of 3,093 horses—nearly half from Nevada. The same year, 2,331 were sold or adopted. Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates—a non-profit—began darting mares with PZP in 2012. In 2014, a pilot program to control the population of wild horses near the Pine Nut Mountains was officially established with the blessing of the Wild Horse and Burro Program’s Nevada office. The program was established at no cost to BLM. The Pine Nut group’s members use donated funds to pay for PZP training and certification from another nonprofit, the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, Montana. They also use fundraising to pay for the vaccines, which according to Deb Walker, the group’s president, cost about $25 per dose. A mare needs two doses in the first year, and one every year thereafter. But it has been almost a year since the group’s members have darted a mare. Their carbon dioxide powered dart guns—some on loan from the BLM—have sat unused, save for target practice, since another advocacy group threatened the BLM with a lawsuit. Friends of Animals cited concerns over alleged side effects of the treatment and a belief that the program violated a judge’s court order forbidding the roundup of horses from the area east of Gardnerville. Now, members of the Pine Nut group worry the PZP they’ve administered to 36 different mares from four bands is wearing off...more

Giffords promotes gun bills in NM Legislature

Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords – who barely survived an assassination attempt six years ago – joined the debate Wednesday over gun proposals moving through the New Mexico Legislature. Giffords, a Democrat who once represented a chunk of southern Arizona, visited the Roundhouse to lobby in favor of bills that aim to keep guns away from domestic abusers and require background checks on the sale of firearms at gun shows and in private transactions. She also announced the formation of a new coalition in New Mexico, including prosecutors, gun owners and others. The New Mexico Coalition for Common Sense, which Giffords announced Wednesday, includes Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torrez, at least two ranchers, a representative of the NAACP and others. Their goal is to advance policies that “help keep guns out of the wrong hands,” according to a news release. New Mexico is at the center of a national debate over gun control. Democrats reclaimed a majority in the state House and expanded their majority in the Senate ahead of this year’s session. Everytown for Gun Safety, a New York-based group, says it spent more than $250,000 on New Mexico campaigns last year...more

"New York-based group" means former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his rabid gun control agenda. Worth $33.7 billion, he's turned away from the Republican-controlled Congress and focused his efforts on various states. Lucky New Mexico. So far, it appears his $250,000 is paying off.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1789

Today we have a fiddle tune by Chubby Wise: Stone's Rag. The tune is on his 1969 album Chubby Wise and His Fiddle (Nuff Said).  


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wyoming Farm Bureau Defeats EPA Wyoming Land Grab

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 
Contact: William Perry Pendley, 303/292-2021, Ext. 30
Wyoming Farm Bureau Defeats EPA Wyoming Land Grab
February 22, 2017 – DENVER, CO. The Wyoming Farm Bureau today celebrated the 2-1 ruling of a three-judge panel of a Denver-based federal appeals court that struck down an edict from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the Northern Arapahoe Tribe and the Eastern Shoshone Tribe—of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Fremont and Hot Springs Counties in west central Wyoming—have jurisdiction over 1.48 million acres of Wyoming. In early 2014, the group petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit contesting the EPA’s December of 2013 decision to grant “Tribe-as-State” status under the federal Clean Air Act. The Farm Bureau, some of whose members live, work, and own property in and near Riverton, argues that the EPA’s decision ignores more than one hundred years of actions by Congress, Wyoming, the Tribes, and various rulings by a host of federal and state courts including the Supreme Court of the United States. During arguments in November of 2015 the parties were asked to file supplement briefs on whether the withholding of Clean Air Act funds by the EPA mooted the lawsuit, which the Farm Bureau filed on December 1, 2015.
“We are thrilled with the ruling by the panel that 1.48 million acres of Wyoming are no longer considered ‘Indian country’ and therefore the subject of controversy and conflict over whether the Tribes have jurisdiction over non-Indians and non-reservation lands,” said William Perry Pendley of Mountain States Legal Foundation, which represents the Farm Bureau.
In December 2008, both Tribes sought Tribe-as-State status under §301(d)(2) of the Clean Air Act, which provides an “express congressional delegation” to tribes of the EPA’s authority to regulate air quality on fee lands located within the exterior boundaries of a reservation. The tribes expended 82 of their 87-page application arguing that they possessed jurisdiction over Riverton. Because their application ignored a host of federal statutes and federal and state court rulings, in 2009, the State of Wyoming, the Wyoming Farm Bureau, and other entities filed comments opposing the application.
The Reservation, which is shared by the Tribes, was established in 1868. In 1904, the Tribes signed an agreement with the federal government ceding 1,480,000 acres of land, which were to be opened for sale under the homestead, townsite, coal, and mineral land laws, which was entered into with the United States Indian Inspector in exchange for per capita payments to tribal members and capital improvement projects inside “the diminished reserve” or Reservation. In 1905, Congress ratified the 1904 agreement.
In 1906, the ceded lands were opened for settlement by a Presidential Proclamation and allotments were sold to non-Indians in an area that today makes up Riverton. In 1939, some unsold ceded lands were restored to the Reservation, but a significant portion was not. Riverton is located wholly on lands ceded in the 1904 agreement and never restored to the Tribes.
Mountain States Legal Foundation, created in 1977, is a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are in suburban Denver, Colorado.

DuBois column

The Zinke hearings plus collaboratin’ compensatin’ and stickin’ it to stakeholders

Zinke hearings

The Senate hearings on Ryan Zinke’s nomination as Secretary of Interior was relatively uneventful, with the Montana Congressman surviving unscathed.

Zinke testified he was an “unapologetic admirer of Teddy Roosevelt” and believes Roosevelt “had it right” when he set aside “millions of acres of federal lands” for protection. It was on these lands where “my father taught me to fish and hunt and the Boy Scout’s taught me the principles of environmental stewardship,” he said.

Zinke also reiterated his opposition to the transfer of lands out of federal ownership. “I want to be clear on this point: I am absolutely against transfer or sale of public land. I can’t be any more clear,” he said.

There would be three immediate priorities, he said.  First would be to restore trust. Second would be to prioritize the $12.5 billion backlog in Park Service maintenance, including making that a part of a proposed infrastructure bill. And third is “to ensure the professionals on the front line, our rangers and field managers, have the right tools, right resources, and flexibility to make the right decisions that give a voice to the people they serve.”

Sounds like he’s planning on having plenty of money to spend.

Those who rely on federal lands remaining federal lined up to support the nominee.

"The Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable supports Secretary-designate Zinke and looks forward to working with him and his team at the Department of the Interior to advance the outdoor recreation sector, grow jobs in the U.S. and ensure that all Americans have access to healthy, active outdoor fun on their public lands and waters," said Derrick Crandall, President of the American Recreation Coalition.

"RVIA unwaveringly supports the nomination of Representative Ryan Zinke to serve as Secretary of the Interior," said Frank Hugelmeyer, President, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.

"Because the Department of Interior oversees water management and its policies directly impact Americans' access to federally managed waterways and fisheries for recreation, the role of Secretary of the Interior is of critical importance to the U.S. recreational boating industry and its 35,000 marine businesses and 88 million boaters," notes Thom Dammrich, President of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. "We stand behind President-elect Trump's nomination of Ryan Zinke of Montana for Secretary of the Interior given his proven passion for and commitment to the outdoors.

Welcome to the New West. 

The livestock producers chimed in, with Tracy Brunner, NCBA president saying, “During his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Zinke has consistently advocated for our western communities, economies, and ranchers. He has demanded transparency and the inclusion of stakeholders when it comes to land management decisions, and has a strong understanding of the challenges that come with stewarding the West.” And PLC president Dave Eliason stating, “We are excited for Representative Zinke to refocus the agency’s efforts to their core mission, and to have someone in this role that understands the unique challenges we face in the West.”

As predicted, there were plenty of hosannas to collaboration and inclusion of all stakeholders. Zinke said he would be “working with rather than against” local communities and states by being “a listening advocate rather than a deaf adversary.”

Those are pretty words, but most of us will be more interested in what he does after listening.

And speaking of collaboration…

Collaborating and compensating?

On August 5, 2015, near Silverton, Colorado, EPA personnel and employees of an EPA contractor caused the release of wastewater and tailings, including toxic levels of lead and arsenic and other harmful elements.  The spill affected the waterways of municipalities in the states of Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, as well as the Navajo Nation.   

The Animas River turned orange but the EPA didn’t notify New Mexico and Colorado until the next day after the spill. But hey, who said all this collaboration had to be quick.

The EPA initially set the spill at one million gallons. They lied. The USGS determined the spill was triple that size at over three million gallons. But hey, who said all this collaboration had to be accurate.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy stated the agency accepted “full responsibility” for the spill. Well, cry me a polluted river if she didn’t lie. The EPA has just announced attorneys at EPA and the Justice Department have determined EPA can’t pay the over $1.2 billion in claims for damages because of sovereign immunity. But hey, who said all this collaboration had to be truthful.

Congress can waive sovereign immunity, and if they chose to collaborate with the states and the river users, they will do so. Congress should also pay these claims out of EPA’s budget.

This whole episode is a prime example of collaboratin’, compensatin’ and stickin’ it to the stakeholders.

BLM brown baggin’ with Bigfoot

The press has reported on a January BLM Brown Bag Lecture in Safford, Arizona. The event had a documentary on Bigfoot, and featured “a Bigfoot lookalike contest, door prizes, popcorn, Bigfoot cookies, and more.”

Brown baggin’ with Bigfoot, including Bigfoot cookies, at the BLM office. Nice to see their budget’s not in the dire straits they often claim.

I wonder what their February brown baggin’ will feature. A BLM Break with Big Bird?

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 (www.thewesterner.blogspot.com) and is the founder of The DuBois Rodeo Scholarship and The DuBois Western Heritage Foundation

This column originally appeared in the February editions of New Mexico Stockman and the Livestock Market Digest.