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Friday, April 11, 2008

America’s Hatred Towards Big Oil And The Endangered Species Act

From Tom Remington at Black Bear Blog
"...America’s ongoing hatred of big oil companies may be at an all-time high...We’re an odd lot, us Americans. We love to express our anger at big oil because they make billions of dollars - by the minute using some people’s reasoning - yet we refuse to do anything about it...."

Visit Tom today... and read the rest of his awesome article.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Misguided land-use

An interesting article was in the Seattle Times April 9th is titled "Misguided land-use regulations push middle class out of King County"
with information from the King County Annual Growth Report showing that...
"...the middle class is getting squeezed out...
what an additional $340,854 over 30 years could buy the average family:
• 4.27 four-year college degrees at the UW or 12.71 two-year degrees from Seattle Central Community College; and,
• 76 gallons of gas every month for 30 years; and,
• Seven years of health insurance; and,
• A latte every week for a year; and,
• 13 Metro ACCESS bus passes; and,
• Half the cost of a fitness membership for 30 years; or,
• An extra $1.7 million dollars for retirement.
Economists call this an "opportunity cost."

Other actions encouraged in this article include:
• "King County's new Permit Fee Task Force should find ways to streamline permitting and reduce costs;
• Executive Ron Sims should more fully analyze the market impacts of the new proposed Comprehensive Plan regulations he recently introduced to the King County Council;
• The city and county should adjust zoning codes to allow for more housing opportunities in urban centers.
Ultimately, most of the cost of land-use regulations stems from how local governments implement Washington's Growth Management Act (GMA). We urge the state Legislature and the governor to do a full cost-benefit assessment on the impacts of the GMA. We can protect our environmental quality of life without giving up the opportunity to own a home in reasonable proximity to our job.
Let's get a grip on our costs before we end up with no middle class at all."

Read the entire article at the Seattle Times

Save The Earth — Hug A Logger

Interesting article from INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY |

Climate Change: As environmental alarmists entertain themselves by turning off lights, their efforts sometimes lead to unintended consequences. A new study, for example, shows they may be warming the earth by saving trees.

On Global Warming

The latest effort to save the earth, something called Earth Hour, asked people around the world to turn off their lights for an hour to reduce carbon emissions and draw attention to climate change. An initiative of the World Wildlife Fund, this rolling blackout began in New Zealand at 8 p.m. Saturday and moved west as other time zones reached that hour. As reported by CNSNews.com, municipal authorities in Sydney, Australia, turned out the lights on that city's famous Harbor Bridge and Opera House. In last year's Earth Hour (yeah, we missed it too), organizers claimed 2 million people took part and Sydney's emissions of greenhouse gases were reduced by 10% during that hour.

Get this:

NBC host Bob Costas sat in a darkened studio for a full minute as an energy-saving gesture while millions watched on their energy-consuming plasma TVs.
Never mind that it involved flying rock stars around the planet in emission-spewing private jets to plug their electric guitars into Godzilla-size amplifiers. Everything was fine, we were told, because everyone was buying "carbon offsets," a scam that lets warming hypocrites continue their energy gluttony because they're paying somebody somewhere to plant a tree.

Statement of the century:

In the green scheme of things, trees are a good thing and deforestation is bad. We must plant as many trees as we can to suck up all that CO2, the pollutant that sustains all plant and therefore all animal life on earth. Old-growth forests must be protected from those nasty loggers.

Forests left in "pristine" condition, ie no logging, provides for lotsof trees and lots of deadfall making fuel for devastating forest fires. Another study (calforestfoundation.org) shows 4 California wildfires

produced 38 million tons of greenhouse gases through fire and subsequent decay of dead trees — 10 million from the fires themselves and 28 million from the post-fire decay. This is equivalent to the emissions from 7 million cars for an entire year.

The author of this study says

the four fires studied involved forests averaging 350 trees per acre where 50 an acre is considered normal. Some California forests, he says, have more than 1,000 trees per acre, with young trees growing under big trees, serving as "ladder fuel" and dead trees and woody debris on the ground. He advocates "thinning" the forests so they're less like time bombs waiting to explode. "Harvested trees can be turned into long-lasting wood products that store carbon," he notes, adding that it's important to remove trees destroyed by fires and insects "so that they don't decay and send more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere." So it just might be forest fires that are causing global warming, not the other way around, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently claimed. Study author Bonnicksen concludes by saying that "reducing the number and severity of wildfires may be the single most important short-term action we can take to lower greenhouse gas emissions and really fight global warming." Even more important than throwing rock concerts and turning your lights off for an hour.

A great Blog


You will find such great information like this.

Submitted by R L Possey.

There is a very strong misconception that all of the lands in the United States that are managed by the Federal Government are “Public Lands”.
Actually there are very few Public Lands and the vast majority of lands managed by the Federal Government are “Federal Lands”.
“The term public lands, as commonly perceived by the public, indicates lands owned entirely by the federal government and by extension of the citizens of the United States who supposedly own equal shares of the federal government’s assets. Certain federal lands do meet this criterion such as some portions of our national parks and some portions of some game refuges. These are areas where the federal government owns all of the values of the land. However, even in national parks private concessioners own a possessory interest in their visitor facilities that is fully protected by the Concession Policy Act of 1965.
However, the vast majority of our federal lands do not meet the criterion of total ownership in fee. Most of our federal lands, particularly those under the management of the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service, are split estate lands. Lands in this category constitute nearly one third of the land area of he United States.
The federal land management agencies have for the past two decades followed a policy of attempting to deny the existence of private rights in the federal lands. They have attempted to eliminate private rights by one device or another, the establishment of wilderness areas, the protection of wild horses and burros, and the creation on many other special designations that appeal to “the public good” but in fact act to destroy existing private rights. The agencies have attempted to encumber private rights in the federal lands with an overkill of regulations. This attempt to render existing private rights uneconomic has for all practical purposes become the major focus of current federal land policy.”

“Storm Over Rangelands – Private Rights in Federal Lands”
Wayne Hage
Second Addition – Pages 91 & 92
Free Enterprise Press – Bellevue

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Land Grab Alert Alert Alert!

From the American Land Rights Association

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne supported the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS HR 2016) and is supporting other bills that hurt. Kempthorne's staff testified before the House Natural Resources Committee in favor of the NLCS. He recently supported a proposal to increase Federal land acquisition. His actions will do great damage to rural America, private property rights and access to Federal land. Contact Kempthorne through his staff:
Phone: (202) 208-7551Fax: (202) 208-5048 E-mails: brian_waidmann@ios.doi.gov donnadeen@ios.doi.gov patriciaconnally@ios.doi.gov douglasdomenech@ios.doi.gov doris_Johnston@ios.doi.gov david_lehman@ios.doi.gov
To see a map of all the areas affected by the NLCS, go to ALRA where a nationwide map with the NLCS on it is posted. If NLCS (HR 2016) passes, it will hurt your state and community. You must call, e-mail and fax any Members of the Committee from your State urging him or her to vote no on HR 2016. They will be the leaders both for and against HR 2016 on the House Floor. Call at least five neighbors, friends and business associates to urge them to call, fax and e-mail against HR2016.

Massive areas of Wilderness Study Areas will be changed into full Wilderness bypassing the normal state-by-state Congressional vote. Seventeen House members from both parties teamed up in April, 2007 to introduce legislation (HR 2016) that would give the NCLS official Congressional certification. The system, administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), was created administratively by former Interior Secretary Babbitt during the Clinton years. In June 2000 the Interior Department under the guidance of former Secretary Babbitt established the 26 million acre NLCS in BLM to protect what they called special areas. The NLCS consists of major conservation areas in 12 western states, including 15 national monuments, 13 national conservation areas, Steens Mountain area in Oregon, Headwaters Forest Reserve in northern California, 36 wild and scenic rivers, 148 wilderness areas, 4,264 miles of national trails, and more than 600 wilderness study areas.Making the NLCS permanent threatens recreation, access, grazing, mining, oil and gas and many other uses. Gradually these areas will be turned into parks with traditional uses strangled and roads cut off. Private property owners and inholders in the areas can say so long to their property rights. You will see new areas nominated for NLCS status gradually eroding BLM multiple-use. Four Democratic senators introduced counterpart legislation (S 1139) in April, 2007.

Coburn Comes Calling April 7, 2008 By John Stanton
Simmering tensions between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid(D-Nev.) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) could boil over on the floor as early as this week, with Reid planning to bring a stalled public lands bill (S 2739) to the floor - despite accusations from Coburn and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)...

See the complete message from

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Decade After Reintroduction of the Wolf, Environmentalists, Ranchers Continue to Play Tug of War Over Program

Wolf Crossing has a post today:

By Rene Romo
Copyright © 2008 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Southern Bureau

LAS CRUCES— Ten years into a federal-led effort to reintroduce the endangered Mexican gray wolf into its former territory in the Southwest, the divide between the program’s supporters and critics seems as wide as ever. And the recovery effort has made fitful progress, at best, since March 29, 1998, when biologists opened three holding pens in the mountains of southeast Arizona and released the first 11 wolves into the wild....Read the rest...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Secretary Kempthorne Announces $57.9 Million in Grants to Support Land Acquisition and Conservation Planning for Endangered Species

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced more than $57.9 million in grants to 23 states and one territory to support conservation planning and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants. (a list of states receiving grants is included below) The grants, awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, will benefit numerous species ranging from the red-cockaded woodpecker to the Lake Erie watersnake.

“These grants build long-term partnerships with landowners who help to conserve our nation’s imperiled species,” said Secretary Kempthorne. “They are important tools that empower landowners and communities to safeguard habitat and foster conservation stewardship efforts for future generations.”

Authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, the grants enable States to work with private landowners, conservation groups and other agencies to initiate conservation planning efforts and acquire and protect habitat to support the conservation of threatened and endangered species.

This year, the cooperative endangered species fund provides $8.6 million through the Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program, $35.3 million through the Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants Program and $14 million through the Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program, which includes approximately $1.5 million of funds carried over from previous years or recovered from previous projects. The three programs were established to help avoid potential conflicts between the conservation of threatened and endangered species and land development and use.

Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) are agreements between a landowner and the Service, allowing a landowner to undertake otherwise lawful activities on their property that may result in the death, injury or harassment of a listed species, when that landowner agrees to conservation measures designed to minimize and mitigate the impact of those actions. HCPs may also be developed by a county or state to cover certain activities of all landowners within their own jurisdiction and may address multiple species. There are more than 675 HCPs currently in effect covering nearly 600 species on approximately 42 million acres.

Under the HCP Land Acquisition Program, the Service provides grants to states or territories for land acquisition associated with approved HCPs. The grants are targeted to help landowners who volunteer to conserve imperiled species on their lands. Among recipients of today's HCP Land Acquisition grants is the state of Georgia, which is receiving a $2,000,000 grant to acquire 8,430 acres of mature pine habitat in Decatur County to benefit the red-cockaded woodpecker. The land will be protected in perpetuity as a State Heritage Preserve and will be managed as a State Wildlife Management Area. This project ensures permanent conservation for lands that provide connecting habitat for red-cockaded woodpeckers in this area. This grant also benefits the wood stork, Eastern indigo snake, Flatwoods salamander and state protected species including the gopher tortoise and southern hognose snake.

The HCP Planning Assistance Program provides grants to states and territories to support the development of HCPs through funding of baseline surveys and inventories, document preparation, outreach and similar planning activities. For example, the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia will receive $3,007,270 to assist in the development of a landscape level, multi-species HCP covering a 15,500-mile planning area. The HCP will cover 6.4 million acres of land that has the potential to affect 74 federally listed species habitat in a total of 17 states. The NiSource HCP will be designed to avoid and minimize impacts to endangered and threatened species associated with construction, operation and maintenance of its natural gas transmission lines and ancillary facilities running from Louisiana to Indiana, and Ohio and throughout the northeast to Maine. NiSource will work in collaboration with The Conservation Fund, who will lead a strategic conservation planning process that focuses on integrating species needs with potential habitat mitigation across the landscape, providing multiple species benefits and addressing needs in a cumulative and comprehensive fashion. Species expected to benefit from the NiSource HCP include the Indiana bat, copperbelly watersnake and numerous species of federally listed freshwater mussels.

The Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program provides funds to states and territories to acquire habitat for endangered and threatened species with approved recovery plans. Habitat acquisition to secure long term protection is often an essential element of a comprehensive recovery effort for a listed species. One of this year’s grants will provide $1,471,500 to acquire a conservation easement over 654 acres of high-priority private forestland in the Kootenai Valley of northern Idaho. The property provides a critical link between the higher elevation public lands of the Selkirk Mountains and more than 2,000 acres of low-elevation protected areas owned by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Vital Ground Foundation and the Owens Foundation for Wildlife Conservation. The protection of this property will contribute to the recovery of grizzly bear, mountain caribou, bull trout, Canada lynx, and gray wolf.

Below is a list of the states that received funding and the amount awarded for species conservation.

Individual States
Arkansas $ 225,500 California 17,945,231 Florida 1,134,605 Georgia 2,717,772 Hawaii 2,101,196 Idaho 1,471,500 Michigan 689,305 Montana 6,515,319 Nebraska 385,911 Ohio 1,835,000 Oklahoma 186,000 Oregon 306,000 Puerto Rico 1,500,000 Tennessee 1,763,450 Texas 6,324,500 Utah 458,080 Virginia 704,000 Washington 8,435,081 Wisconsin 88,355
Multi-state grants
Tennessee and Kentucky $129,150 Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia $3,007,270

See a complete list of the 2008 grant awards for these programs (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 15.615).

USSA Briefs Senators on Connection Between Endangered Species Recovery and Sportsmen

U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance
801 Kingsmill Parkway
Columbus, OH 43229
Ph. 614/888-4868 • Fax 614/888-0326
Website: www.ussportsmen.org • E-mail: info@ussportsmen.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Cory Johnson (614) 888-4868 ext. 214
April 2, 2008 Sharon Hayden (614) 888-4868 ext. 226

USSA Briefs Senators on Connection Between Endangered Species Recovery and Sportsmen

(Washington, DC) - America’s premier sportsmen’s rights organization today testified before U.S. Senators on the key connection between hunting and successful wildlife conservation.

United States Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) Director of Federal Affairs William P. Horn testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and why the proposed listing of polar bears as threatened throughout its range will prove detrimental to healthy and presently sustainable polar bear populations.

Horn was invited to testify by Senator Barbara Boxer, Chairman of the Committee and Senator James Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Committee. Horn served as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the agency responsible for the ESA, from 1985 to 1988, before joining USSA. He is considered one of America’s top lawyers on endangered species law, and also serves on the Board of Environmental Sciences and Toxicology of the National Academy of Sciences.

Environmental organizations want polar bears listed as threatened because of projections that Arctic sea ice will diminish in 50-plus years as a result of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

In his testimony Horn pointed out that listing polar bears as threatened based on a 50-year prediction would produce adverse consequences, not only for polar bears, but for all wildlife. Environmentalists plan to use the listing as a means to force reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and power plants among other things. The groups will likely bring lawsuits to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to enforce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions regulations. The enormous costs of overhauling and fundamentally changing the FWS mission will leave little if any money for actual endangered species or other traditional fish and wildlife programs.

“The USSA is committed to making sure that lawmakers are aware that sportsmen continue to be the key element in the conservation of wildlife,” said USSA president Bud Pidgeon. “Listing the polar bear as threatened will stop limited hunting, and cut off key revenues that fund vital polar bear research. We are proud to represent sportsmen before Congress on this critical issue.”

Science shows that many polar bear populations are at historic highs and that there are no imminent threats to the healthy, huntable populations.

It is well established that many polar bear populations are at or near record highs, have increased substantially since the 1960s, and sustain carefully managed subsistence and sport hunting programs. The latter programs, conducted primarily in Canada, generate important local income and ensure that Native communities are vested in polar bear conservation. The partnership between these communities and Canadian wildlife officials has yielded effective scientific bear conservation and management resulting in improved sustainability of 11 of 13 polar bear populations in Canada.

American sportsmen comprise approximately 90 percent of the foreign hunting clientele in Canada, pouring millions of dollars into polar bear conservation and management, not to mention the financial benefits to the local communities. American hunters are the primary source of essential funding for conservation and research that allows for continued success of the populations.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen’s organization that protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. For more information go to the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, or call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website, www.ussportsmen.org.


For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Contact: Carol Goldberg (202) 265-7337

Law Enforcement Wants "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles" Hovering Above Forests
Washington, DC - The U.S. Forest Service has purchased pilot-less aircraft to provide day and night photo reconnaissance for its law enforcement program, according to agency records released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The two "unmanned aerial vehicles," or drones, may represent the beginnings of wider conversion of military robotic technology for civilian uses.

The two "Sky Seers" were obtained by the Forest Service on December 10, 2007 at a cost of $100,000 from Chang Industries, Inc. of La Verne, California. The package includes one "day version" and one "night version" of the drone, together with a "Pan/tilt thermal camera" to record heat signatures at night.

A March 12, 2007 purchase request from the Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations (LE&I) program states it "has been monitoring and evaluating UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] intermittently since 1997, when their use was considered in support of Operation Linebacker, a border enforcement initiative." While this "Sole Source Request" details desired equipment specifications, the Forest Service could produce no documents spelling out what they want to use drones for or why pilot-less craft are preferred, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from PEER.

The drones purchase took place shortly after Forest Service LE&I spent $600,000 buying tasers for its entire enforcement staff, without any guidelines or training program. The tasers are still sitting in storage cartons. After PEER revealed the taser fiasco, LE&I staff told PEER about the drones and suggested a records request in order to validate staff concerns that the purchase -

Has little practical law enforcement application in the national forests and reflects a "boys with toys" mentality among LE&I leadership;
May also sit in storage because LE&I lacks qualified personnel to operate the drones. Although the purchase package includes training, LE&I notes that new Federal Aviation Administration rules "could make it more difficult to obtain Certificates of Authorization to fly the UAVs"; and
Is a low priority when the Forest Service is cutting back on the number of Special Agents and law enforcement officers. Forest Service law enforcement force levels have shrunk by more than one-third over the past 15 years. LE&I is holding more than 200 positions vacant, even as President Bush is proposing further cuts in the next fiscal year.
"As with tasers, a cash-starved Forest Service is buying glitzy hardware with zero justification as to why this is a good use of tax dollars," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "Why stop at drones? Are they going to buy Robo-Rangers next?"

In contrast to LE&I, Forest Service Fire Management is making a relatively modest investment in drones as a possible tool to aid fighting wildland fires. In 2005, the agency's fire program spent $10,560 on a Cyber Bug drone to begin developing greater command and control capacity in fast-moving fires.

Unlike fire uses, law enforcement application of aerial monitoring raises privacy issues for forest visitors who may not realize that they are being watched, photographed and cybercast from an elevation of 7,000 feet by a drone. The Sky Seers can hover for more than one hour and have quiet electric motors.

"The use of spy technology in the domestic U.S. should not be undertaken lightly," Ruch added. "Before the Forest Service deploys eyes in the sky, the agency should write some basic rules to prevent abuse."

Today, the Chief of the Forest Service appears before two U.S. Senate committees to justify its budget request for the coming fiscal year.

Read the Forest Service LE&I Sole Source Request for UAVs, view the invoice and purchase receipt for the Sky Seers, compare the cost of the fire management drone, see the fire management plan for drones, & look at the Forest Service purchase of $600,000 worth of tasers.