26 Mar 2011, 11:06am
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Northwest Energy plans $300M Oregon biomass investment

By Erik Siemers, Sustainable Business Oregon, March 25, 2011 [here]

A Bellevue, Washington, energy developer is proposing a pair of $150 million biomass plants it believes will generate a combined $1 billion in economic impact for Oregon.

Northwest Energy Systems Co. LLC hopes the two 40-megawatt plants — to be located near Klamath Falls in southern Oregon and Warm Springs in central Oregon — will be operating by the end of 2013.

Each would provide enough electricity to power 35,000 homes.

Once running, the plants would mark the culmination of a year-long effort by Northwest Energy Systems’ parent company, Jones Holding Co., to develop a biomass facility in forest-rich Oregon.

Jones Holding Co. dates back to the 1930s, when it owned several sawmill operations across Washington.

After nearly four decades in the wood products industry, the company branched into the world of independent power producers in the early 1980s, leveraging its ties to the logging industry to develop co-generation electricity plants tied to sawmills.

Over a 28-year period, the company built five power plants: biomass operations in Wyoming and Michigan, natural gas-fired plants in Washington and California and a coal-diesel plant built for the federal government in Alaska, said Bruce Thompson, a senior vice president with the company. … [more]

26 Mar 2011, 11:02am
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County commission stands strong against federal land grab

By Dianne Stallings, Ruidoso News. March 24, 2011 [here]

Following the lead of Lincoln County Commissioner Mark Doth, the commission approved a resolution opposing relinquishing the power to create a national wilderness area to the Secretary of the Interior.

Doth called the DOI Secretarial Order 3310, a land grab, and contended Monday that only by action of the U.S. Congress with the signature of the President can a wilderness area be declared.

“At the end of January, the governor of Utah met with Secretary Ken Salazar to try to come to come compromise,” Doth said. “They left with irreconcilable differences and it continues to be a problem, fighting the government. The Wilderness Alliance is intent on closing all public land to public access.

“It makes my blood boil.”

Over the past 15 years, the environmental group continues to file lawsuits to close roads, to ban logging and to prohibit energy development, he said, citing an article about the Otero Mesa in a statewide newspaper that morning and the group’s effort to fight any development there.

“I agree totally,” said Commission Chairman Eileen Sedillo. “I’ll jump on the soapbox, too.”

The resolution was approved unanimously. … [more]

26 Mar 2011, 10:36am
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Sen. Murkowski Questions Need for Federal Government to Acquire More Land

The State Column, March 10, 2011 [here]

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today questioned Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on why the Interior Department (DOI) was asking for a substantial increase in taxpayer funding to buy land now in private hands when it was cutting money, for the second year in a row, for long-overdue land conveyances in Alaska.

“In order to fund these large increases for land acquisition DOI has cut other programs,” Murkowski said. “The Bureau of Land Management’s Alaska conveyance program was slashed by over 50 percent. The state’s 50th anniversary was two years ago and the state, native corporations and others have yet to receive the patents to lands they were entitled to under the Statehood Act.

“Instead of accelerating the transfer of lands, BLM is slamming on the brakes In fact, at this rate, all the lands selected in Alaska won’t be transferred until after 2075,” Murkowski added.

Murkowski made her comments during Wednesday’s Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on DOI’s 2012 budget proposal.

The DOI budget request includes a 100-percent increase ? to $675 million ? to the Land and nd Water Conservation Fund, with more than half, $360 million, dedicated to buying more land for the federal government.

In order to avoid increasing DOI’s budget for 2012 but still fund new land acquisitions, Salazar made a number of cuts to existing programs.

“Other cuts are also troubling. Every one of the department’s construction accounts has been cut significantly at a time when there is a multi-billion dollar maintenance backlog at the Park Service, BLM and Fish and Wildlife Service,” Murkowski said. “It begs the question of how you can place such a high priority on acquiring more land when you have to cut the very funds you need to take care of your current infrastructure in order to do it.”

25 Mar 2011, 3:03pm
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Nevada lawmakers seek to sever ties with TRPA

By Jeff DeLong, Reno Gazette-Journal, March 22, 2011 [here]

Characterizing the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency as a heavy-handed bureaucracy treading on property rights and overly influenced by California, Nevada lawmakers are seeking to pull the state from the organization.

Legislators from Southern Nevada, Washoe County and Douglas County are backing legislation to withdraw Nevada from the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact, ratified by Congress in 1969 as a needed step to protect an endangered Lake Tahoe.

Supporters insist a pullout is needed to allow long-stifled property improvements on Tahoe’s Nevada side. Detractors say the bill stands to endanger a carefully engineered approach to regulating land use while protecting the environment.

SB 271 — the seventh attempt to distance Nevada from TRPA — is needed to rescue Tahoe’s Nevada side from a stifling regulatory environment largely controlled by California interests, said the bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas.

“The pendulum has swung so far it won’t swing back,” Lee said. “We no longer want to be told by California what we can and cannot do. The thrust of this is Nevada just wants to control Nevada.”

The Legislation would create a new Nevada-based planning body, with members appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, state forester, administrator of state lands, and Washoe, Douglas and Carson City counties. … [more]

25 Mar 2011, 3:00pm
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Lawsuit challenges new wilderness rules

By Jeremiah Stettler, Salt Lake Tribune, Mar 23 2011 [here]

With the U.S. Department of Interior considering new wilderness protections for potentially millions of acres of public lands, a coalition of Utah counties filed a lawsuit this week accusing federal officials of overreaching their authority and threatening the state’s economy.

The Utah Association of Counties and Uintah County are suing the Department of Interior to reverse its new wildland policy, which could restrict oil and gas development and off-road recreation on up to six million acres.

The lawsuit claims the policy violates a 2003 agreement between then-Gov. Mike Leavitt and former Interior Secretary Gale Norton to abandon wilderness consideration for vast tracts of Utah lands.

The controversy over wilderness policy is no more personal than in Uintah County, where Commissioner Mike McKee warns that the economic repercussions could be far-reaching. He testified before Congress that the policy threatens at least $15 billion worth of investment in his community’s oil and gas industry over the next decade.

“These decisions very much affect the economy of our county, of the Uinta Basin and of the state of Utah,” he said Wednesday. “These companies are fully willing and prepared to make major investments into eastern Utah if they can have a measure of predictability.”

Although the Department of Interior declined to comment on the dispute because it involves litigation, a Bureau of Land Management spokesman defended the changes as a more “balanced” approach to public lands stewardship. … [more]

25 Mar 2011, 2:54pm
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Sen. Feinstein hits Drakes Bay oyster farm report

by Peter Fimrite, SF Chronicle, March 23, 2011 [here]

Sen. Dianne Feinstein accused the U.S. Department of the Interior on Wednesday of downplaying evidence of misconduct by National Park Service scientists who apparently wanted to get a popular shellfish operation kicked out of Drakes Bay.

The Interior Department’s office of the solicitor released a report Tuesday outlining what it termed biased, improper, mistake-ridden work by scientists. But it concluded that the behavior did not rise to the level of intentional “scientific misconduct” - and that nothing criminal occurred.

“The National Park Service and the Department of the Interior have once again failed to grasp the severity of recent misconduct at Point Reyes National Seashore,” Feinstein wrote in a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Peggy O’Dell, the park service deputy director. The senator demanded immediate steps to eliminate political agendas and instill in employees “a rigorous and objective pursuit of scientific truth.”

“It is critical,” she said, that the government “publicly disavow the practice of selectively misusing and misconstruing science to achieve a desired outcome.”

Feinstein’s angry reaction to the report is the latest in a seething controversy over efforts by the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. to extend a lease past 2012 to harvest shellfish in the bay where Sir Francis Drake landed more than four centuries ago. … [more]

25 Mar 2011, 2:49pm
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Obama Plan to Cap Funding for Endangered Species Act Petitions Angers Litigants

By Lawrence Hurley, New York Times, March 24, 2011 [here]

A [U.S.] Fish and Wildlife Service proposal that would give the agency more leeway to delay considering new endangered species petitions is getting a chilly reception from environmentalists and others involved in litigation on the issue.

Under the plan discussed in a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing last week, the service has asked Congress to cap funding for the processing of new Endangered Species Act petitions (E&E Daily, March 17).

Such a move would have legal significance because the agency routinely struggles to meet court deadlines dealing with ESA issues. Lack of funding could be a formidable defense that would yield more time for juggling its caseload, the service maintains.

It is a move that lawyers that face off against the agency in court — including those representing environmentalists, property owners and industry groups — do not like. They say it gives the government more excuses not to act.

Under the ESA, the agency must make a determination within 90 days as to whether the petition is “substantial.”

If that is the case, the agency then has 12 months from the petition date to issue a proposal to list the species.

The service has had ESA-related caps before, but not on the processing of petitions specifically. FWS has requested $282 million for the administration of ESA in the coming year.

On Capital Hill, the proposal is likely to attract the support of those who claim environmental groups have been gaming the system — deliberately clogging up the courts so that the government cannot hit deadlines, which in turn means they can win attorneys fees (Greenwire, March 3).

One of the lawmakers who has been most outspoken on the issue, Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), said in a statement the cap could be used as a tool to “combat the lawsuit frenzy.” … [more]

Kootenai National Forest drops appeal of decision blocking logging in grizzly habitat

By Tristan Scott, the Missoulian, March 22, 2011 [here]

Kalispell, Montana - Forest Service officials have withdrawn their appeal of a federal judge’s decision halting several logging projects that threatened grizzly bear habitat in the Kootenai National Forest.

U.S. District Judge Don Molloy blocked the projects last June in a lawsuit between the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Kootenai Forest Supervisor Paul Bradford. In his 64-page ruling, Molloy said the Forest Service was unable to show it had properly assessed how the projects would affect the dwindling population of grizzly bears.

Bradford appealed the ruling to the 9th U.S. District Court of Appeals, but attorneys with the Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted a request to dismiss the appeal Friday. The appellate court granted the request Monday.

Speaking by telephone from his office in Helena, Michael Garrity, executive director of Alliance for the Wild Rockies, said he was pleased with the decision and hopes it will encourage more thorough environmental assessments of future logging proposals and their effect on wildlife species.

“We feel that Judge Molloy’s ruling was very strong and we hope the Forest Service complies with his order and designs timber sales in the future that don’t violate the Endangered Species Act,” Garrity said.

Kootenai Forest spokesman Willie Sykes said the office had no information about the motion or the appellate court’s ruling, and did not return calls for comment after being provided with the documents.

If they had been allowed to proceed, the three projects would have affected about 4,000 acres in the mountains of Lincoln County. Besides creating 14 miles of new roads, the logging proposals would have reopened and reconstructed approximately 10 additional miles of closed roads.

“The Forest Service knows most grizzly bears are killed because of encounters with humans near roads,” Garrity said in a news release announcing the decision. “But the agency nonetheless wanted to build 14 miles of new logging roads for these projects. Besides costing taxpayers millions of dollars, these roads would have definitely threatened extinction of the isolated Cabinet-Yaak grizzly bear population.”

The Little Beaver project would have allowed commercial thinning on 780 acres, along with construction of 5.5 miles of new permanent roads and 2 miles of temporary road. The Grizzly project involved timber harvest, prescribed burning and thinning, and habitat restoration on 2,360 acres. The Miller West Fisher project would have permitted timber harvest on 2,506 acres, with road storage and removal and other restoration work on 3,148 acres. … [more]

25 Mar 2011, 2:42pm
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Agency Begins Review on Texas Kangaroo Rat

By Travis Sanford, Courthouse News Service, March 14, 2011 [here]

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will review whether the Texas kangaroo rat should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

According a petition by the WildEarth Guardians to list the rat as threatened or endangered, the tiny rodent is threatened by loss of habitat because its native range is being converted to crops, used for domestic livestock grazing and altered by brush removal for fire control.

The agency disputes some of the claims presented in the petition, specifically that livestock grazing has a negative impact on the rat, because the grazing results in dense interspersed vegetation which is in fact ideal habitat for the rat.

As part of the 12-month review, the agency is asking for public comment on the life cycle and habits of the Texas kangaroo rat and data on the impact of crop conversion, livestock grazing and fire suppression on its range. … [more]

25 Mar 2011, 2:40pm
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Oil Riches Let North Dakota’s Governor Dalrymple Bank Surplus in Hard Time

By Bill Heltzel, Bloomberg.com, March 21, 2011 [here]

Rancher Michael Brew can survey North Dakota’s oil boom from the saddle. As he checks on his cattle, he sees seven drill rigs, a dozen gas flares and convoys of trucks rumbling down the road.

“I used to ride out on my horse and not see anyone for hours,” Brew, 52, said at Nana Lil’s cafe in Killdeer. Now gas flares tint the night sky orange and obscure the stars. The staccato of air brakes and the slamming of drill pipes pierce the breeze. “There is no peace and quiet anymore.”

Oil has created a $1 billion budget surplus and presented Governor Jack Dalrymple with a question: How to keep up with the boom while keeping the money flowing. Only North Dakota and Montana have reported surpluses from 2009 to 2011, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. As states face what may be more than $112 billion in deficits in the coming fiscal year, Dalrymple’s dilemma is one many governors might envy.

“The number one priority is to keep up with the infrastructure,” Dalrymple said in a February interview in Bismarck. “That growth cannot continue if we do not keep up with all the impacts that happen on communities out there.”

Dalrymple, a 62-year-old Republican, was elected lieutenant governor in 2000 and moved up after his predecessor, John Hoeven, was elected to the U.S. Senate in November.

Amber Waves

North Dakota and its 672,591 residents grow more wheat, barley, sunflowers, canola and flaxseed than any other state, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Wheat futures increased 47 percent last year, to $7.94 per bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.

And then there’s the oil. The state sits atop the Bakken shale formation, one of the country’s largest reserves and the reason the state has vaulted to the nation’s fourth-largest producer from ninth in six years.

The spot price of light sweet crude oil like that in the Bakken rose 221.78 percent from December 22, 2008, through March 18, 2011.

Gross state product increased 75 percent, to $31.9 billion from 2000 to 2009, compared with 42 percent nationally. Unemployment in January was 3.8 percent, the country’s lowest, as the national rate was 9 percent. … [more]

Gas pipeline company blasted for its role in purchasing Idaho grazing leases

By Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter, March 24, 2011 [here]

To say that El Paso Western Pipeline Group President Jim Cleary was met with an unfriendly welcome at the Idaho Capitol Wednesday might be an understatement.

Cleary, whose entity is building the Ruby gas pipeline that will run underground from southwestern Wyoming to northwestern Nevada, stood before lawmakers Wednesday to discuss his company’s agreement with the Western Watersheds Project (WWP), an environmental group characterized as “domestic terrorists” by Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale.

The agreement — a settlement of a lawsuit WWP filed over the construction project — forces El Paso to pay $15 million through a 10-year time span to the Sagebrush Habitat Conservation Fund. The fund is intended to be used solely conservation efforts, but several lawmakers on the House and Senate resource committees inferred that the money and the partnership are being used to force ranchers out of business by buying up federal grazing permits.

The intriguing thing is that the project doesn’t even touch Idaho soil; it runs through northern Utah. The settlement allows for the fund to conduct conservation activities in the five southern Idaho counties because they are adjacent to counties where pipeline construction is taking place.

It is also interesting that — as noted by Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby — El Paso is already required to restore the disturbed lands once construction is completed. Wood questioned the need for the conservation fund if mitigation is already taking place in affected areas. Cleary said that WWP was concerned with animals and plants that inhabit the area might be adversely affected by construction and that the fund will help soften the blow to native species.

The fund is prohibited from using litigation — or threats of it — to engage in conservation efforts, but lawmakers are skeptical there isn’t some tag-teaming going on between WWP and the fund over grazing permits. …

Rep. Scott Bedke, R-Oakely, was one of the most outspoken critics of Leary, El Paso, and the $15 million fund. Bedke said that the by working out a deal with WWP, El Paso sacrificed the interests of Idaho. “You got yours and we didn’t get ours here,” said Bedke. “You had the ability to cut your deal, and the rest of us were left to twist here.”

Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, echoed Bedke’s sentiments. “That land is completely out of production now,” said Siddoway.

Rep. Lenore Hardy Barrett, R-Challis, didn’t mince words when it came her turn to speak. “You dodged a bullet, but you funded the firing squad that’s coming for the rest of us,” said Barrett, saying that El Paso got everything it wanted from the deal. … [more]

25 Mar 2011, 1:36pm
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Ancient trash heaps gave rise to Everglades tree islands

American Geophysical Union Release No. 11–12, 21 March 2011 [here]

SANTA FE, N.M.—Garbage mounds left by prehistoric humans might have driven the formation of many of the Florida Everglades’ tree islands, distinctive havens of exceptional ecological richness in the sprawling marsh that are today threatened by human development.

Tree islands are patches of relatively high and dry ground that dot the marshes of the Everglades. Typically a meter (3.3 feet) or so high, many of them are elevated enough to allow trees to grow. They provide a nesting site for alligators and a refuge for birds, panthers, and other wildlife.

Scientists have thought for many years that the so-called fixed tree islands (a larger type of tree island frequently found in the Everglades’ main channel, Shark River Slough) developed on protrusions from the rocky layer of a mineral called carbonate that sits beneath the marsh. Now, new research indicates that the real trigger for island development might have been middens, or trash piles left behind from human settlements that date to about 5,000 years ago.

These middens, a mixture of bones, food discards, charcoal, and human artifacts (such as clay pots and shell tools), would have provided an elevated area, drier than the surrounding marsh, allowing trees and other vegetation to grow. Bones also leaked phosphorus, a nutrient for plants that is otherwise scarce in the Everglades. … [more]


The Human Trigger for Development of Tree Islands in the Florida Everglades

by G. L. Chmura1, 2; M. Graf1, 2
1. Department of Geography, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.
2. Global Environmental and Climate Change Centre, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Mar 22, 2011 Presentation, American Geophysical Union’s Chapman Conference on Climates, Past Landscapes, and Civilizations, Sante Fe NM.


During the last glacial, the vegetation of South Florida was arid steppe distributed across a karst landscape. Over the Holocene rising sea levels caused the water table to rise, eventually creating a landscape with saturated soils and a “river of grass”, i.e., marsh vegetation dominated by sawgrass. The modern Everglades also contains elevated areas that serve as islands of terrestrial vegetation, many high enough to support trees. The slightly higher elevation (1-2 m) and vegetation diversity of the islands provides refuge for wildlife avoiding seasonal high waters and the islands are highly valued as hotspots of diversity within the Everglades system.

Sediment coring for paleoecological studies indicated that peats of the islands were younger and shallower than those of the surrounding marsh, supporting a widely held belief that the tree islands formed over localized high points in the underlying carbonate bedrock. More recent discovery of a hard mineral layer perched within the peat soils of many islands reveals that depth to bedrock, and age of islands has been misinterpreted, calling for a new theory of tree island development. The ~40-75 cm thick layer, a “pedogenic calcrete” is composed of reprecipitated calcium carbonates and calcium phosphates interspersed with bone, charcoal, and human artefacts. Below is a midden with cultural artefacts that date to the origin of the Everglades wetland system about 4,000 years ago.

It is likely that early human occupation on the landscape was responsible for development of the Everglades large tree islands as well as island stability and productivity. The elevated surfaces of middens provided refuge for terrestrial vegetation as surrounding soil became saturated. Bones in the middens provided additional bulk as well as phosphorous for plant growth in the otherwise phosphorous-depleted wetland. These better soil conditions allowed establishment of trees which were key to development of the perched mineral layer. Trees are known to play a major role in pedogenic calcrete formation, particularly in areas with pronounced wet and dry seasons, such as the Everglades. Transpiration by the trees draws carbonate-rich water through the soil and carbonates and phosphates excluded from the roots are deposited within the rooting zone. Our research indicates that this process probably began with establishment of trees on the island and is an ongoing process.

Fire is a regular phenomenon in the Everglades, resulting in combustion of peat soils. Because it does not burn, the calcrete layer protects the underlying soil, maintaining elevation and allowing regrowth of terrestrial vegetation. Ironically, it is human disturbance that now threatens these valuable ecosystems. Urban development has displaced much of the Everglades and water control systems threaten the remainder. The calcrete layer is subject to dissolution under extended flooding and if not maintained by tree growth. This is likely occurring in South Florida’s water control districts today, where high water levels are maintained and tree islands are disappearing.

Buttermilk Creek TX People 15kya

Evidence for Neanderthal in America

by Xeno, Xenophilia, March 25, 2011 [here]

The long-held theory of how humans first populated the Americas may have been well and truly broken.

Archaeologists have unearthed thousands of stone tools that predate the technology widely assumed to have been carried by the first settlers.

The discoveries in Texas are seen as compelling evidence that the so-called Clovis culture does not represent America’s original immigrants.

Details of the 15,500-year-old finds are reported in Science magazine.

A number of digs across the Americas in recent decades had already hinted that the “Clovis first” model was in serious trouble.

But the huge collection of well-dated tools excavated from a creek bed 60km (40 miles) northwest of Austin mean the theory is now dead, argue the Science authors.

“This is almost like a baseball bat to the side of the head of the archaeological community to wake up and say, ‘hey, there are pre-Clovis people here, that we have to stop quibbling and we need to develop a new model for peopling of the Americas’,” Michael Waters, a Texas A&M University anthropologist, told reporters. … [more]


Texas Site Confirms Pre-Clovis Settlement of the Americas

by Heather Pringle, Science 25 March 2011 Vol. 331 no. 6024 p. 1512 [here]

Summary: Near the headwaters of a small creek, a group of hunter-gatherers made their camp and began to craft stone tools, leaving thousands of sharp stone flakes and chips discarded on the ground. At one time or another, similar scenes have played out almost the world over. But the remarkable thing about this one, as detailed on page 1599 of this week’s issue of Science, is that it happened near Buttermilk Creek, Texas-about 15,500 years ago. That’s long before the Clovis hunters, once thought to be the very first people in America, had appeared. The ancient tools also offer a first glimpse into how the distinctive fluted Clovis points may have developed over millennia. Although some previous claims of pre-Clovis artifacts have been controversial, other archaeologists say the new research is highly convincing.


Michael R. Waters, Steven L. Forman, Thomas A. Jennings, Lee C. Nordt, Steven G. Driese, Joshua M. Feinberg, Joshua L. Keene, Jessi Halligan, Anna Lindquist, James Pierson, Charles T. Hallmark, Michael B. Collins, and James E. Wiederhold (2011) The Buttermilk Creek Complex and the Origins of Clovis at the Debra L. Friedkin Site, Texas. Science 25 March 2011: Vol. 331 no. 6024 pp. 1599-1603 DOI: 10.1126/science.1201855

Abstract [here]

Compelling archaeological evidence of an occupation older than Clovis (~12.8 to 13.1 thousand years ago) in North America is present at only a few sites, and the stone tool assemblages from these sites are small and varied. The Debra L. Friedkin site, Texas, contains an assemblage of 15,528 artifacts that define the Buttermilk Creek Complex, which stratigraphically underlies a Clovis assemblage and dates between ~13.2 and 15.5 thousand years ago. The Buttermilk Creek Complex confirms the emerging view that people occupied the Americas before Clovis and provides a large artifact assemblage to explore Clovis origins.

Judge Allows Spring Grazing In Malheur National Forest

By David Nogueras, OPB News, March 18, 2011 [here]

A Federal judge has amended a ruling that bars livestock grazing in the Malheur National Forest. Ranchers can once again put their cattle back on Federal land this spring. But as David Nogueras reports, a final decision will depend on further environmental review.

Back in December, Judge Ancer Haggerty barred ranchers from grazing on the land because of concerns about endangered Steelhead trout.

The lawsuit was brought by the Oregon Natural Desert Association and the Western Watersheds Project.

This latest modification gives ranchers at least one more season out on the land.

Ken Holliday is a rancher in John Day. He calls the modification only a “partial victory” since four out of the 19 ranchers involved in the case still won’t be able to make use of the allotments.

Ken Holliday: “You know this was a favorable ruling for us. But we’ve just got to keep on fighting. And we will keep on fighting.”

Holliday says his family has already spent nearly $20,000 in legal fees on the case. … [more]

Note: The El Paso Corp, builders of the Ruby Pipeline, have not offered to pay the ranchers’ legal costs. The El Paso Corp did, however, gift $22 million to the Plaintiffs. See [here, here, here, here, here]

Thanks for the news tip to Julie Kay Smithson, Property Rights Research [here, here]

19 Mar 2011, 10:11am
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Bill to Prevent EPA from Regulating Greenhouse Gasses Moves to House Floor

McMorris Rodgers Votes for Energy Tax Prevention Act at Energy & Commerce Committee Markup

CathyMcMorrisRodgers News Release, Tuesday March 15, 2011 [here]

Washington, DC – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, voted for the Energy Tax Prevention Act at a Committee markup today. This bill clarifies that the Clean Air Act of 1990 authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to monitor and regulate pollutants; not to address climate change through the regulation of greenhouse gasses. The bill passed the Committee and now moves to the House floor.

“We need to strike the proper balance between job creation and environmental protection,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers. “Unfortunately, the EPA’s repeated attempts to impose a ‘Cap and Trade-like system’ through the backdoor will upset that balance to the tune of higher energy prices and the loss of thousands, if not millions, of jobs. We cannot allow what happened to America’s health care industry to happen to our energy industry. The bill we passed today merely clarifies existing law to protect our economy, preserve jobs, and reduce the risk of higher energy prices.”

On Feb. 9, 2011, Rep. McMorris Rodgers endorsed the Energy Tax Prevention Act at a Republican Leadership press conference. “At a time when there are 28 million Americans who would like a full-time job but don’t have one, we can’t afford another job-crushing Big Government scheme,” she said. … [more]


Dear Friend:

I wanted to give you a quick update on my work to reduce energy prices.

As you know, over the past three weeks the average price of gas has risen by 35 cents per gallon. Experts from the Energy Information Agency predict that gas prices will average at least $3.70 per gallon over the peak summer driving months. Rising fuel costs affect us all. Whether you’re a mom driving your kids around town, a business owner deciding whether to expand, or a farmer working the fields, we each share the need to lower fuel costs at home and on the road.

The time for action to prevent higher energy prices is now. That’s why I recently cosponsored two important bills: H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 and H.R. 909, A Roadmap for America’s Energy Future. The first, H.R. 910, which the Energy and Commerce Committee approved today, would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing greenhouse gas regulations that would undoubtedly cost jobs and raise energy prices.

The second, H.R. 909, is an innovative approach to our nation’s energy future that opens up our nation’s vast resources for exploration and development while recognizing that dependence on any one fuel source - especially a finite resource - is not the way forward. The Roadmap takes a free-market approach to our energy crisis to ensure that the necessary investments are made in alternative energy sources.

Lastly, the Pacific Northwest is blessed with an abundance of hydropower. As the founder of the Congressional Hydropower Caucus, I firmly believe that hyrdo – a clean, renewable energy source – should play a major role in our nation’s energy future. That’s why I am continuing to work to expand hydropower use in Eastern Washington and across America.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5th Dist.)

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