30 Mar 2010, 4:53pm
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Wolves back in cattle country

By KARL PUCKETT - Great Falls Tribune March 28, 2010 [here]

Ross Williams and his son, Sterling, set out to feed the cattle on their Blackfeet Indian Reservation ranch 25 miles northwest of Browning on a zero-degree day in March 2009.

As usual, the peaks of Flattop and Triple Divide mountain in nearby Glacier National Park poked into the sky like spires, but the real eye-opener was yet to come.

Father and son arrived at a draw where the cattle were bunched within view of the family’s log cabin. Near the top of a hill, 200 yards above the cows, was a pack of gray wolves.

Williams managed to count 14 wolves in all.

“Just lookin’ like they were ready for dinner,” he said.

The longtime rancher had seen wolves around before, but he was shocked by this pack’s size.

“We’re going to have problems,” he told his son.

He was right.

May marks the one-year anniversary of the state and tribes taking over management of the once-endangered wolves from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The big Livermore pack, which once numbered more than 20 animals, exemplifies the successful return of wolves to Montana.

But the Livermore pack’s near demise after three years — 24 members were killed for killing livestock in 2009 — exemplifies the challenge of managing wolves now that they’re back for good in Montana, where the livestock industry is a $1.5 billion annual enterprise. … [more]

Note: Oh, oh, Marlboro cowboys. What about the profound loss of “wildness” that preserves the world? (see Danny’s effulgent crapola below).

300 Wolves in Yellowstone

A predator’s welcome

By DANIEL PERSON, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, March 28, 2010 [here]

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — In the wide swath of grassland and marsh that is the Lamar Valley, groups of bison, elk and pronghorn antelope bed down under an unseasonably warm March sun as an occasional coyote darts across the rolling prairie.

But on a rocky knoll beside the highway that gives park visitors a good vantage point on the landscape, sleek scopes and telephoto lenses are trained not on the lounging herds but on a steep draw on the far side of the Lamar River.

There, a pack of gray wolves has been visible, on and off, since about 9 a.m. Even as the wolves, like their prey, lay low for the afternoon, the scopes and eager visitors stay focused on the far hillside in hopes of catching a glimpse of the animal that had recently been the stuff of bedtime stories.

Fifteen years ago this month what has been called the most controversial feat of conservation in United States’ history took place in this valley.

On March 21, 1995, the gates of three acclimation pens holding 15 Alberta-born wolves were opened, reintroducing the gray wolf to a prized ecosystem that had not seen the keystone predator for 70 years.

For at least half a century prior, scientists had hypothesized on what was lost when the wolves disappeared. Did it allow for too many elk? How about deer? If so, at what cost? The loss of a native grass? Or was it more profound? Was it the loss of “wildness,” wherein, Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “is the preservation of the world”?

Fifteen years after reintroduction, with more than 300 wolves now in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the region still grapples with the question: What do wolves mean for this slice of America famous for both the wilderness tamed by Marlboro cowboys and the wilderness yet untouched by man? …

“The historical expectation people had — the system is no longer able to produce that,” said Carolyn Sime, wolf program coordinator for FWP. “We are no longer offering the Gardiner late hunt because the elk aren’t there.” … [more]

Note: Marlboro cowboys? Wilderness yet untouched by man? Global warming after the coldest winter in 30 years? The degree of flowery ignorance and mythology expressed here is off the charts. Danny must have gone to public schools. Also, he sees things, like elk herds, that aren’t there. Probably the drugs.

3,000 Wolves in Minnesota

Predator’s comeback is an inspiring success.

Editorial, Minneapolis -St. Paul Star Tribune, March 25, 2010 [here]

The gray wolf, a stirring icon of Minnesota’s north country, is back. Returning with the majestic predator is the question whether the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources should manage the state’s wolf population, now estimated at about 3,000. Two previous attempts to normalize the wolf’s status were reversed due to lawsuits. This time, management should stay with the state.

Along with providing more-flexible rules for balancing protection of the wolf against protection of property, restoring state management would also constitute a symbol as inspiring in its way as the wolf itself — a symbol of how splendidly wildlife protection can work. …

Not every animal stirs the imagination as the gray wolf does. During tough economic times, especially, it will be tempting for some to choose jobs or economic development over endangered species. … [more]

Note: Spendid, just splendid. Stirs the imagination, which is what irrupting predator populations do. Let’s go for 30,000.

Note2: Over the past year Minnesota has lost almost 30,000 manufacturing jobs, or more than 8.5 percent of its manufacturing job base. Almost 90 percent of the producer job losses were among durable goods manufacturers. For the second quarter of 2010 minimal manufacturing job gains and very modest overall job gains are expected. [here]

30 Mar 2010, 2:18pm
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Guv approves use of eminent domain to take federal land

Brock Vergakis, Salt Lake Tribune, 03/29/2010 [here]

Fed up with federal ownership of more than half the land in Utah, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert on Saturday authorized the use of eminent domain to take some of the U.S. government’s most valuable parcels.

Herbert signed a pair of bills into law that supporters hope will trigger a flood of similar legislation throughout the West, where lawmakers contend that federal ownership restricts economic development in an energy-rich part of the country.

Governments use eminent domain to take private property for public use.

The goal is to spark a U.S. Supreme Court battle that legislators’ own attorneys acknowledge has little chance of success.

But Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and other Republicans say the case is still worth fighting, since the state could reap millions of dollars for state schools each year if it wins.

More than 60 percent of Utah is owned by the U.S. government, and policy makers here have long complained that federal ownership hinders their ability to generate tax revenue and adequately fund public schools. …

Initially, the state would target three areas for the use of eminent domain, including the Kaiparowits plateau in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which is home to large coal reserves.

Many people in Utah are still angry that then-President Bill Clinton’s designated the area as a national monument in 1996, a move that stopped development on the land and greatly pleased environmentalists as he ran for re-election.

Utah lawmakers contend the federal government should have long ago sold the land it owns in the state. Because it hasn’t, the federal government has violated a contract made with Utah when statehood was granted, they say.

Eminent domain would also be used on parcels of land where Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last year scrapped 77 oil and gas leases around national parks and wild areas. … [more]

30 Mar 2010, 2:17pm
Latest Climate News
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Global Warming Advocates Threaten Blizzard of Lawsuits

By Gene J. Koprowski, FOXNews.com, March 29, 2010 [here]

Environmentalists, unable to squeeze “cap and trade” rules through the U.S. Senate, have a new strategy for combating what they believe is man-made global warming:

They’re going to sue.

They’re revving up their briefs and getting ready to shop for judges who will be sympathetic to their novel claim that the companies they believe contribute to global warming are a “public nuisance.”

The environmentalists allege that individual companies are responsible for climate change because they have emitted greenhouse gases during the course of their operations. Those gases, they say, have “harmed” them by fostering Hurricane Katrina, eroding the shorelines of America’s coasts and causing global warming.

“People have a right to sue for redress of grievances,” said Lee A. DeHihns III, a partner with law firm Alston & Bird’s environmental and land development group and a former associate general counsel with the EPA. He said global warming is a “public nuisance,” just like a neighbor with a loud stereo. “You can sue for an intentional infliction of harm, a nuisance,” said DeHihns, whose firm is consulting with defendants in these types of cases.

The lawyers seek a “consent decree,” an agreement from the defendants to stop causing global warming — even though the theory that mankind causes global warming is hardly settled science.

“There is some dispute whether greenhouse gas is a source of global warming at all,” said John Heintz, chairman of the Washington D.C. law firm Kelly Drye Warren. “Even if these defendants were to stop emitting greenhouse gases altogether, it is exceedingly unlikely that the severity or frequency of hurricanes will be affected. Or that the sea coasts of Alaska will change.”

There currently are three lawsuits in different parts of the U.S. pushing this agenda, and more cases could be filed soon. Environmental law experts say one of the cases may make it to the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming years:

- Connecticut v. AEP. Plaintiffs sued electric power producers to cap and then reduce their carbon emissions. Public nuisance tort law suit.

- Corner v. Murphy Oil. Plaintiffs sued oil company, blaming the energy producer for causing Hurricane Katrina. Plaintiffs are seeking damages for the hurricane.

- Kivalina v. Exxon. Alaska natives sued oil companies and power companies and coal company alleging that greenhouse gases they emit contribute to global warming and threaten their existence.

Some lawyers objects strongly to this line of attack. Richard O. Faulk, chairman of the litigation department at Gardere Wynne Sewell, objects to the legal tack and is filing a court brief in the Corner v. Murphy Oil case.

“The three cases are all based on the ancient tort of public nuisance,” Faulk told FoxNews.com. “It’s a centuries-old claim that has, until now, always been used to deal with localized activities, caused by a limited number of identifiable defendants.

“The global warming cases erroneously expand the theory to planetary dimensions and apply it arbitrarily to an isolated group of parties, as opposed to the universe of actors, animals, and events such as volcanism that release CO2 and allegedly cause global warming.” … [more]

30 Mar 2010, 8:33am
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Day of the Grasshopper Looms

Western Farmers, Ranchers Worry an Expected Infestation Could Ravage Crops, Cattle

By STEPHANIE SIMON, Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2010 [here]

DENVER—Farmers and ranchers across the West are bracing for a grasshopper infestation that could devastate millions of acres of crops and land used for grazing.

Over the coming weeks, federal officials say, grasshoppers will likely hatch in bigger numbers than any year since 1985. Hungry swarms caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage that year when they devoured corn, barley, alfalfa, beets—even fence posts and the paint off the sides of barns.

A federal survey of 17 states taken last fall found critically high numbers of adult grasshoppers in parts of Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. Each mature female lays hundreds of eggs. So “the population could be very, very high this year,” said Charles Brown, who manages grasshopper suppression for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. … [more]

30 Mar 2010, 8:31am
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Arizona Rancher’s Killing Sparks Calls to Beef Up Border Security

FOXNews.com, March 29, 2010 [here]

Three members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation have asked for an increase in the Border Patrol’s presence in the Boot Heel of New Mexico, about 10 miles from where the rancher was shot to death over the weekend. U.S. Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, along with Rep. Harry Teague, say Napolitano’s agency needs to take more security steps.

And former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration, called on Napolitano to “reject politics and do the right thing” by dispatching the National Guard to the Arizona border.

Cochise County Sheriff’s Office deputies and detectives responded to an area northeast of Douglas on Saturday after searchers found the body of 58-year-old Robert Krentz inside his all terrain vehicle on his property. Detectives were able to determine that Krentz apparently came upon one person when he was fatally shot and his dog was wounded.

Cochise County investigators said Monday that Krentz likely was killed by an illegal immigrant, but there’s no evidence to suggest there was any confrontation that led to the shooting.

Bingaman, Udall and Teague urged a forward operating station for the Border Patrol in the region. Such outposts put agents closer to the international border. Teague — whose district includes the border area — says a station in the Antelope Wells area would better protect people and property.

Tancredo, who attended a Tea Party event over the weekend in Arizona, blasted Napolitano for not doing more to secure the border.

“As governor of Arizona, Napolitano deployed the National Guard to help the Border Patrol do its job… Three days ago, Napolitano told an audience at Arizona State University that the border is more secure than ever,” Tancredo said Sunday through his Rocky Mountain Foundation. “I challenge her — no, I dare her — to come to this community and try to sell that lie.” … [more]

30 Mar 2010, 8:29am
Latest Climate News
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Freeing Energy Policy From The Climate Change Debate

Environmentalists have long sought to use the threat of catastrophic global warming to persuade the public to embrace a low-carbon economy. But recent events, including the tainting of some climate research, have shown the risks of trying to link energy policy to climate science.

by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Mhellenberger, Environment 360, 29 Mar 2010 [here]

The 20-year effort by environmentalists to establish climate science as the primary basis for far-reaching action to decarbonize the global energy economy today lies in ruins. Backlash in reaction to “Climategate” and recent controversies involving the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s 2007 assessment report are but the latest evidence that such efforts have evidently failed.

While the urge to blame fossil-fuel-funded skeptics for this recent bad turn of events has proven irresistible for most environmental leaders and pundits, forward-looking greens wishing to ascertain what might be salvaged from the wreckage would be well advised to look closer to home. Climate science, even at its most uncontroversial, could never motivate the remaking of the entire global energy economy. Efforts to use climate science to threaten an apocalyptic future should we fail to embrace green proposals, and to characterize present-day natural disasters as terrifying previews of an impending day of reckoning, have only served to undermine the credibility of both climate science and progressive energy policy. … [more]

28 Mar 2010, 2:02pm
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Wilderness On The Border?

10 Articles On Border Violence

by Frank DuBois, The Westerner, March 28, 2010 [here]

Senators Bingaman and Udall have introduced S.1689 which would create a 400 square mile swath of land along and near our southern border where law enforcement would be denied access with motorized vehicles or the use of mechanical equipment. In other words, our officers would be limited to being either horseback or afoot as they confronted the cartels and traffickers. Keep that in mind as you peruse these articles. … [more]

Note: See also PRESERVE THE LAND FOR THE PEOPLE, NOT FROM THE PEOPLE, People For Preserving Our Western Heritage [here]

Senator Jeff Bingaman and Senator Tom Udall have introduced Wilderness legislation for Dona Ana County. S 1689 - the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks Wilderness Act.

This bill imposes federal Wilderness designation on 259,000 acres of lands in Dona Ana and Luna counties, along with 100,850 acres of National Conservation Area (NCA).

The area affected covers over 560 SQUARE MILES of Dona Ana County. …

Read the written testimony and the senate hearing transcripts.

Jim Switzer, National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, “The presence of any wilderness on the Mexican border is a danger to the security of the United States”

View our “Wilderness On The Border” presentation for a more detailed explanation of the issues with Wilderness designation on the border.

26 Mar 2010, 9:40pm
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AT&T to Book $1 Billion Cost on Health-Care Reform

By Amy Thomson and Ian King, Bloomberg Business Week, March 26, 2010, [here]

AT&T Inc. will book $1 billion in first-quarter costs related to the health-care law signed this week by President Barack Obama, the most of any U.S. company so far.

A change in the tax treatment of Medicare subsidies triggered the non-cash expense, and the company will consider changes to the benefits it offers current and retired workers, Dallas-based AT&T said today in a regulatory filing.

AT&T, the biggest U.S. phone company, joins Caterpillar Inc., AK Steel Holding Corp. and 3M Co. in recording non-cash expenses against earnings as a result of the law. Health-care costs may shave as much as $14 billion from U.S. corporate profits, according to an estimate by benefits consulting firm Towers Watson. AT&T employed about 281,000 people as of the end of January.

“Companies like AT&T, that have large employee bases, are going to have higher health-care costs and, therefore, lower earnings unless they can negotiate something or offer less to their employees,” said Chris Larsen, an analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co. in New York, who rates AT&T shares “overweight” and doesn’t own any himself.

AT&T previously received a tax-free benefit from the government to subsidize health-care costs for retirees, who would otherwise be on a Medicare Part D plan. Under the new bill, AT&T will no longer be able to deduct that subsidy.

“As a result of this legislation, including the additional tax burden, AT&T will be evaluating prospective changes to the active and retiree health-care benefits offered by the company,” the carrier said in the filing. … [more]

Note: At $100,000 per job, $14 billion represents 140,000 jobs lost already due to Obamacare. Just like that. And more to come. The total cost of Obamacare will exceed $1 trillion. That’s 10 million jobs.

26 Mar 2010, 1:56pm
Latest Climate News
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The Climate Swindle

By Todd Wynn, Cascade Policy Institute, March 26, 2010 [here]

Are you worried about your carbon footprint hurting the earth? Don’t worry. Now climate doomsayers can sleep easy at night. For a fee a carbon offset provider will gladly funnel your money into earth friendly projects aimed to reduce greenhouse gases, such as planting trees in Ecuador or supporting a wind farm in Texas. But are carbon offset providers really delivering what they claim? Studies of international carbon offset schemes have revealed examples of widespread fraud and abuse. And now, investigations into two of the most prominent carbon offset providers in the U.S. have revealed that neither of them actually offers real reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Many environmental organizations and governments around the globe advocate restricting fossil fuel consumption and using carbon offsets via a cap-and-trade-type model to decrease overall human-emitted GHGs. This trend is born of fears of human-induced climate change, despite the lack of any statistically significant global warming since 1995. …

The implications are very clear. If offsets do not result in real, verifiable reductions in GHGs, then not only would billions (if not trillions) of American dollars be completely wasted, but the goals (whether they be of merit or not) of such a cap-and-trade program could not be reached. The climate policy would accomplish nothing but inflicting significant economic hardships upon recession-ridden Americans.

Cascade Policy Institute’s research has concluded that would be the case, exposing the failures by the nation’s leading carbon offset providers, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) and The Climate Trust, which undermine the entire carbon offset industry.

The two key principles of carbon offsets are additionality (i.e., a project would not be completed without carbon offset funds) and proper monitoring/verification of results. If these two principles are not met in entirety, then the offset is not a real reduction in GHG emissions, according to industry experts. Cascade’s audit of BEF and The Climate Trust projects reveal that they failed to prove additionality or to show proper monitoring or verification for all of their claimed carbon offsets. …

The investigation revealed carbon offsets funding Native American canoe journeys, wind projects that had already been built, and passing out bicycle helmets. Accordingly, offset purchasers are not buying a real, verifiable product, though they do get to feel as though they are reducing GHGs so long as the mirage stays in place. …

Currently, consumers should not have any confidence that their purchase of carbon offsets has any effect on GHG emissions whatsoever.

The problems that plague the carbon offset concept most likely will never be solved. Even the Federal Trade Commission, which investigates cases of market deception, warns that carbon offsets carry a high risk of fraud, yet all climate policies introduced on the state and national level call for the use of carbon offsets. Although it may allow a few climate hypochondriacs to sleep well at night, billions of dollars will be wasted in projects that accomplish nothing and only serve to enrich the few companies that successfully have duped politicians into forcing citizens to purchase a bunch of hot air. … [more]

26 Mar 2010, 1:41pm
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DWP plans 37% rate hike over four years to cover cost increases

The L.A. utility’s managers unveiled the plan as the council’s Energy and Environment Committee debated the mayor’s proposal to boost rates to pay for renewable energy.

By David Zahniser, LA Times, March 26, 2010 [here]

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is planning to boost the electricity bills of its customers by 37% over the next four years as part of its effort to cover steadily rising costs.

Officials with the city utility divulged their plans Thursday as the City Council’s Energy and Environment Committee debated Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s plan for boosting rates to help pay for renewable energy. Villaraigosa is seeking a 21% increase over the next year. That effort will be followed by other rate hikes by 2014, however. …

Thursday’s meeting took place an hour after former Vice President Al Gore appeared with Villaraigosa via satellite in support of the mayor’s plan, which would help the mayor meet his goal of ensuring that the DWP secures at least 20% of its energy from renewable sources by Dec. 31.

Villaraigosa has warned that the DWP would renege on a promise to have the utility send $73 million to the city’s troubled general fund, which pays for basic services, if the first increase is not approved by March 31. That money is enough to pay for 1,000 jobs in a year when the city is pondering layoffs.

Council members chastised the mayor for saying in a 14-page briefing paper that a rejection of the rate hike would force the city into bankruptcy since the utility would no longer be able to afford to make the general fund contribution. On Thursday, Villaraigosa disavowed use of the word “bankruptcy” yet continued to warn that unless his plan is approved, the city would run out of money by June 30. … [more]

Note: “Green” energy is a monumental swindle. The purpose of the rate hikes is to fund the insatiable bureaucracy, not to provide “renewable” energy.

26 Mar 2010, 10:06am
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55% Favor Repeal of Health Care Bill

Rasmussen Reports, March 25, 2010 [here]

Just before the House of Representatives passed sweeping health care legislation last Sunday, 41% of voters nationwide favored the legislation while 54% were opposed. Now that President Obama has signed the legislation into law, most voters want to see it repealed.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, conducted on the first two nights after the president signed the bill, shows that 55% favor repealing the legislation. Forty-two percent (42%) oppose repeal. Those figures include 46% who Strongly Favor repeal and 35% who Strongly Oppose it.

In terms of Election 2010, 52% say they’d vote for a candidate who favors repeal over one who does not. Forty-one percent (41%) would cast their vote for someone who opposes repeal. … [more]

25 Mar 2010, 3:13pm
Latest Climate News
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Why the Mediterranean climate message is all wrong

We have a job to convince people of the gravity of climate change if the worst that is predicted for the UK is a future of balmy Mediterranean summers

George Monbiot, guardian.co.uk, 18 June 2009 [here]

The problem with persuading people in the UK to take climate change seriously is that, as far as we are concerned, it sounds quite attractive. The government’s new climate projections predict drier summers and a possible 5C temperature rise in the south of England by 2080. Isn’t this what we have spent our lives hoping and praying for?

I am writing this (such are the wonders of mobile broadband) on a promenade bench in a windy Welsh seaside town. I can’t sit indoors because the signal’s not strong enough. I’ve buttoned up my jacket and raised the collar, but I’m still freezing. It looks as if the great British summer has struck again. Even as I demand drastic action to forestall the events the government predicts, a small, guilty part of me hopes that they come to pass. … [more]

Note: Don’t feel guilty, George. Warmer Is Better. Go with the flow. Besides which, there is no empirical evidence that higher levels of CO2 (whether natural or manmade) will have any discernible impact on the climate.

25 Mar 2010, 3:12pm
Latest Climate News
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Wyden and Merkley: No Drilling!

10 Dems warn Kerry: Don’t expand offshore drilling in climate change bill

By Ben Geman, The Hill, 03/25/10 [here]

Ten coastal state Senate Democrats say they’ll oppose a climate bill if it greatly expands offshore oil and gas drilling.

The warning was issued to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and the two other architects of upcoming energy and climate legislation. …

Wider drilling is part of the compromise bill that Kerry and Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) are drafting and hope to bring to the Senate floor this year.

The coastal Democrats, in a letter to the three this week, laud the effort to write a climate bill, noting their states are at risk from sea level rise, but say a major expansion of offshore drilling will cause them to drop their support.

The letter is signed by Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson (Fla.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Barbara Mikulski (Md.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Ted Kaufman (Del.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Jack Reed (R.I.). … [more]

 
  
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