25 Mar 2010, 3:11pm
Too Ludicrous For Words
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Las Vegas to Lead the World in Turning Off Non-Essential Lighting

City of Las Vegas, LasVegasNevada.gov, March 25, 2010 [here]

The city of Las Vegas along with other local government agencies and businesses including many major hotel / casinos have signed on to flick the switch and celebrate Earth Hour 2010, a global effort organized by the World Wildlife Fund.

On Saturday, March 27, at 8:30 p.m. Las Vegas will lead cities and countries throughout the world as individuals, businesses, government buildings, schools and major landmarks turn off non-essential lighting in what will be the largest climate event in history.

Las Vegas was selected by the World Wildlife Fund as a showcase city for 2010. Last year, Las Vegas served as a flagship city.

SUV’s Kill Baby Seals

Climate Change Catastrophe: Worst Ice Year on Record Leads to Harp Seals’ Demise

International Fund for Animal Welfare, PRNewswire-USNewswire, March 25 2010 [here]

CHARLOTTETOWN, Canada — Thousands of harp seal pups are presumed dead in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence and starving pups are being found abandoned on the beaches of Prince Edward Island, tragic victims of the worst ice conditions recorded in eastern Canada.

IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) reports that the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which is the annual birthing ground of hundreds of thousands of harp seals, is essentially devoid of both ice and seals.

“The conditions this year are disastrous for seal pups. I’ve surveyed this region for nine years and have never seen anything like this,” said Sheryl Fink, a senior researcher with IFAW. “There is wide open water instead of the usual ice floes, and rather than the hundreds of thousands of seal pups that we normally encounter, only a handful of baby harp and hooded seals – animals that are normally found on ice – remain on the beaches.”

Extremely high pup mortality is expected this year, making this one of several such occurrences in the past decade. In 2007, 99% of harp seal pups born in the Southern Gulf of St Lawrence are thought to have died due to lack of ice. In 2002, 75% of pups are thought to have suffered the same fate. Scientists with IFAW are concerned that the cumulative effects of high pup mortality due to the poor ice conditions, and high numbers of pups killed during Canada’s commercial seal hunt could be devastating. … [more]

Note: Arctic ice extent it at its greatest since 2003 [here], just in case you want some facts to go along with the mindless hysteria.

25 Mar 2010, 3:04pm
Latest Forest News
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Biomass subsidies threaten Oregon wood plants’ supplies

By Amy Hsuan, The Oregonian, March 21, 2010, [here]

At Flakeboard’s Albany and Eugene plants, 188 workers make particleboard from the same sawdust and scrap that could one day be a major part of the nation’s energy supply.

Over the coming years, billions of dollars in federal subsidies aim to turn the leftovers of forests, including those in Oregon, into rich sources of renewable power.

But they could also put companies such as Flakeboard, the nation’s largest particleboard manufacturer based in South Carolina, out of business if their suppliers opt to sell into more lucrative energy markets.

“There’s already a lot of competition,” said David Leding, a Flakeboard plant manager in Albany. “And now all of a sudden, we have to compete with our federal government.”

As Congress moves to kickstart the biomass market — the burning of waste wood to generate electricity — its incentives and subsidies stand to make winners and losers out of players within the same industry. So far, its attempts have not been entirely successful, leading to unintended consequences.

A now-expired tax credit for paper mills to use black liquor, a waste product of the pulping process, helped to send at least one Oregon manufacturer that didn’t qualify for the tax break into bankruptcy, claiming it could no longer compete on price. Another tax credit, reinstated last week, to boost the production of biodiesel caused an uproar among soap and cosmetic makers because it threatened their supply of animal fat.

Particleboard and wood products manufacturers fear the same, as the federal government seeks to open new fiber supplies to feed boilers with woody waste, considered carbon-neutral because the carbon emitted in burning the fiber will be offset by the carbon pulled from the atmosphere by growing trees. But it raises a fundamental question asked by many in the wood products industry.

“What is the future of wood?’” said Tom Julia, president of the Composite Panel Association, which represent 40 makers of particleboard, medium-density fiberboard and hardboard. “Do we use it to build things or burn it? We are on the cusp of a major public policy direction on the future use of wood, and we’ve got to get it right.” … [more]

25 Mar 2010, 3:03pm
Latest Wildlife News
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Lawsuit challenges bison transfer to Ted Turner

Billings Gazette, March 23, 2010 [here]

A coalition of wildlife advocates Tuesday asked a Montana judge to overturn an agreement that allowed dozens of Yellowstone National Park bison to be transferred onto billionaire Ted Turner’s private ranch.

Four wildlife groups that opposed last month’s transfer filed a lawsuit in Gallatin County claiming that the animals are a public resource that should be shielded from privatization.

Turner has agreed to take care of the animals for five years. In exchange, he gets 75 percent of their offspring, or an estimated 150 animals.

The suit’s plaintiffs said the state should either move the animals onto public land or pay Turner to take care of them rather than give up their young as compensation.

“They need to remain in public hands,” said plaintiff Glenn Hockett with the Gallatin Wildlife Association. “Paying him by bartering the public’s wildlife is a violation of the public trust.” …

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the Western Watersheds Project, Buffalo Field Campaign and Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation. … [more]

25 Mar 2010, 3:02pm
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Idaho, Chicago try to woo Oregon business away over taxes

By Jeff Manning, The Oregonian, March 23, 2010, [here]

The young CEO runs a successful technology company southwest of Portland employing hundreds and boasting a bright future. But if the executive has his way, he’ll be moving the company out of Oregon this year or next.

The passage of tax Measures 66 and 67 has convinced him a better, more profitable future lies elsewhere.

“I’m happy to pay taxes,” said the executive, who asked that neither he nor his business be identified. “But the Oregon system is broken, and I know there are a lot of other businesspeople who feel like I do, that it doesn’t make sense to stay.”

Oregonians voted in January to extract an additional $733 million a year in new taxes from business and high-earning individuals. The election results, and the bruising campaign that preceded them, have some influential voices in Oregon’s business class simmering with discontent.

In response, states including Idaho, Montana and Ohio are on the recruiting offensive, taking dead aim at Oregon businesses. They could well find a receptive audience. Conservatives and moderates alike bemoan the message sent by the tax hikes.

“Oregon’s economy is already on the wrong side of the tracks,” said Roy Tucker, managing partner of the Perkins Coie law firm in Portland. “The last thing we need is one more reason for entrepreneurs to decide not to do business here.”

Measures 66 and 67 “established battle lines that did not need to be drawn,” added Portland venture investor David Chen. “The damage is not monetary in terms of the increased taxes. The far greater damage is in how it disenfranchised business.” … [more]

25 Mar 2010, 2:05pm
Latest Wildlife News
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Stimulus Funding for Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge

Companies Awarded $613,000 in Stimulus Funding for Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, and Fence Removal Projects at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge

USFWS News Release, March 25, 2010 [here]

Cheney, Washington State - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior, has awarded two contracts totaling $612,648 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to Northern Management Services and Jenks, Inc., for improvements at the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.

Jenks, Inc. used the funding to provide materials to replace a 3-mile stretch of boundary fence to prevent the unintentional trespass of grazing animals from neighboring landowners. Northern Management Services (NMS) will engineer geothermal and solar systems to take advantage of existing renewable energy resources for the refuge. In addition, NMS will help the refuge decrease its energy use through the installation of insulation, light fixtures, solar tubes and the replacement of outdated windows and cooling units. These projects are expected to employ approximately 21 workers.

We have been forced to use staff time to round up these cattle in the past, and this takes away from our stated mission at Turnbull,” Refuge Manager Dan Matiatos said. “The renewable energy and energy efficiency projects will definitely help us use less energy, improve the work we do and save the American public money.”

“This project is exciting for us here at NMS, not only in that it keeps our employees busy and gives them a job, but that it [also] focuses on alternative energy sources,” NMS project manager Larry Smith said. “Renewable and alternative energy seems to be the way things are going, and we want to be at the forefront of that modernization effort.”
more »

25 Mar 2010, 10:52am
Latest Wildlife News
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Did Obama Bribe California Reps with Water for Health Care Votes?

By Lonely Conservative, March 17, 2010 [here]

It sure sounds that way. What a vile human being.

Water in California’s San Joaquin Valley was essentially turned off because the Obama administration values smelt over people. It’s been devastating to the economy. But now it looks like they value destroying freedom more than they value the smelt. …

Who’s to say the Obama folks won’t shut the water off again once ObamaCare passes?

Comment: bear bait says:

March 25, 2010 at 12:19 pm

What really happened is the Oregon farmers are getting their water from Klamath river tributaries cut and the largest tributary, the Trinity River, will continue to provide at least 2,500,000 acre feet to the souther SJ Valley, and more if they can steal it. In Oregon, cutting water got Democrat votes, and in California, allowing diversion of water that sorely impacts ESA listed species is increased. The loser is Chinook salmon, more so than Delta smelt, and that loss extends clear to the Columbia River because both Sac-SJ salmon are caught in the ocean off Oregon as are Klamath River and Trinity River stocks, both included in the Klamath River restoration plans. Egregious misuse of water for political purposes to buy votes is just what we expect from the slime bag of spent calamari named Pelosi… She who has denied wage protections for Marshall Islanders who man her husband’s tuna canneries, is hard at the extinction of salmon and all the species dependent upon a healthy SF Bay, and the estuarial plume from runoff to the ocean. Just another San Francisco madame, pimping for the President. And the ESA be damned!!!

25 Mar 2010, 10:22am
Too Ludicrous For Words
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Madam Pelosi’s House Of Ill Repute

Investors Business Daily, 03/22/2010 [here]

The Vote: Conned by the promise of an ephemeral executive order, the last holdouts cave and ObamaCare advances. It doesn’t add a single doctor or hospital room, but needs 17,000 new IRS agents to enforce it.

Congressman Bart Stupak, D-Mich., spent months spelling out in minute detail how the Senate version of the health care overhaul permitted federal funding of abortion through its failure to expressly prohibit it.

In the end, he cashed in his principles for an unenforceable executive order that is trumped by the Senate bill he voted to pass.

An executive order is not the law of the land. Neither can you amend a law via executive order. The Senate version of socialized medicine will be the law of the land. It trumps any executive order, a ruling every court will make every time. As Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., reminded Stupak before the vote, this executive order can also be erased by another executive order at any time. It has the strength of gelatin and the life expectancy of a fruit fly.

Stupak was had. So was a bare party-line majority of the House of Representatives, in the face of bipartisan opposition, which proved the adage about everyone having a price, whether it be increased water rations for California’s San Joaquin Valley or a bank in Rep. Earl Pomeroy’s North Dakota that’s now the only one in the country that can still issue student loans.

Such bribes were necessary because the Democrats’ “reform” doesn’t improve care, expand coverage or reduce costs. As GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin recently stated, “If you take all the double counting out of the bill, which the (Congressional Budget Office) can’t do because that’s the way it’s put in front of them, this thing has a $460 billion deficit in the first 10 years, a $1.4 trillion deficit in the second 10 years.”

With accounting tricks that would make Bernie Madoff blush, revenue and savings from the feds taking over student loans is counted as medical savings. A $250 billion dollar “doctor fix” to compensate for $500 billion in Medicare cuts is not counted as an increased cost.

This legislation will cause doctors to flee in droves. The New England Journal of Medicine just released a survey, confirming our own polling, finding that 46% of primary care physicians would consider quitting medicine under this bill.

House Subcommittee on Oversight ranking member Charles Boustany, R-La., said the Internal Revenue Service provision in the bill “dangerously expands, in an ominous way the tentacles of the IRS and its reach into every American family.” … [more]

24 Mar 2010, 10:43am
Latest Climate News
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Killer icicles terrorise Russians

by Marina Koreneva, AFP, Yahoo News, March 24, 2010 [here]

SAINT PETERSBURG (AFP) – Walking along a Saint Petersburg Street immersed in music, Milana Kashtanova, became the latest victim of falling icicles and ice blocks that have killed five people and injured 147 in the city following Russia’s coldest winter in 30 years.

Kashtanova, 21, has been in a coma since February when she was hit by the ice which was being cleared from a rooftop.

“Milana was just walking past a building in the city centre… There was no warning tape, nothing to alert people that people were working on the roof,” Kashtanova’s boyfriend, Irinei Kalachev, told AFP.

The toll has prompted residents and relatives of victims to demand action against those responsible for what they believe to be careless clearing of ice from rooftops.

“Every day, I go out into the street as if I was entering a war zone,” complained resident Boris Ilinsky, 28. … [more]

18 Mar 2010, 11:09pm
Latest Wildlife News
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North Rim wolf revival?

by ERIC BETZ, AZ Daily Sun, March 6, 2010 [here]

The last, best place to release wolves in the United States might be right in our own back yards.

The Flagstaff-based Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project wants to allow the beleaguered Mexican gray wolf to migrate northward and establish packs on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Wilderness advocates contend the wolves are struggling, in part, because they are bottled up in the Blue Range Recovery Area on the Arizona-New Mexico border.

“We are expecting the Mexican wolves to recognize an invisible line on a map and live by our rules, rather than be the wild animals that they are, just struggling to survive,” said the group’s education and outreach coordinator, Emily Nelson.

The move has the backing of the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Scientists [sic] have identified a vast area that stretches from the Mogollon Rim to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park as the last, best place for wolves in the United States due its low human and livestock density and abundance of elk and mule deer. Nelson said the area could support a long-term population of as many as 200 wolves. … [more]

18 Mar 2010, 10:51pm
Latest Forest News
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City won’t join suit on watershed - U.S. Forest Service had sought council’s support

By Vickie Aldous, The Ashland Daily Tidings, March 18, 2010 [here]

The Ashland City Council … decided on Tuesday not to join the U.S. Forest Service as a defendant in a lawsuit over thinning in the Ashland Watershed.

In January, Ashland City Councilor Eric Navickas and Arizona ecologist Jay Lininger, a former local resident, sued the Forest Service over plans to conduct thinning and prescribed burning on 7,600 acres to reduce wildfire risk. …

Note: Jay Lininger [here, here] works for the Center for Biological Diversity. He was formerly the executive director of Cascadia Wildlands Project in Eugene

An Ashland City Council majority had previously endorsed the Forest Service’s plan, which was developed after years of community input from city officials and others.

The City Council has also agreed to help the Forest Service carry out the plan, with further help from The Nature Conservancy and the Lomakatsi Restoration Project ecological repair company.

Because Navickas is a party in the lawsuit against the Forest Service, he was excluded Tuesday from the City Council’s discussion over whether to join the federal agency in the case.

Councilor Kate Jackson said the thinning project is essential to the health of the Ashland Watershed, but the city’s legal department doesn’t have expertise in the environmental laws that are at issue in the lawsuit.

“I’m not convinced our intervening will have much effect on the case,” she said.

Like Jackson, Councilor Russ Silbiger said he was conflicted about whether to join with the Forest Service on the case.

He said the City Council needs to take a strong stand in support of the thinning project. But taking part in the case would eat up the city legal department’s time and could prove costly if the Forest Service and city lost the case.

Navickas and Lininger are seeking payment of their attorneys’ fees if the Forest Service loses, as well as payment for any other damages the court deems appropriate. …

Instead of joining the Forest Service in the watershed thinning case, councilors Jackson, Silbiger and David Chapman voted to send a letter in support of the thinning project. The Forest Service could use the letter in the case. … [more]

See also:

USFS cuts $2 million from Ashland project [here]

City leaders urge thinning of watershed despite lawsuit threats [here]

18 Mar 2010, 10:22pm
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USDA Announces $2 Million Initiative To Help Drought-Stricken Klamath Farmers

NRCS News Release, March 18, 2010 [here]

Klamath Falls, Oregon - USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) California State Conservationist Ed Burton and Oregon State Conservationist Ron Alvarado today announced $2 million is available from for a special drought initiative for the Klamath Basin.

“Ron and I encourage all eligible producers in the Klamath Basin to apply for this additional funding to assist them in establishing necessary cover crops because of decreasing soil moisture and the risk of productive topsoil loss due to wind erosion,” said Burton.

The sign up continues through April 9, 2010. Applications will be ranked and selected for funding every Thursday throughout the sign-up until available funds are depleted.

“We are encouraging folks with bare fields to come in as soon as possible to utilize this assistance prior to the depletion of adequate soil moisture,” said Alvarado.

This Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) initiative will provide farmers in the reclamation project area with technical and financial assistance to address the most immediate and critical drought-related soil erosion concerns. Producers will be eligible to receive EQIP payments up to 75 percent of the average estimated cost for implementation of approved conservation practices.

In addition, historically underserved producers may be able to receive payments up to 90 percent of practice implementation costs.

Available practices under the EQIP Klamath Drought Initiative will establish conservation cover that minimizes the effects of wind erosion on bare fields. Producers irrigating from the reclamation project area with highly erodible soils will receive the highest priority.

This initiative includes farmers in parts of Klamath County in Oregon and Modoc and Siskiyou counties in California.

Producers can apply for assistance through NRCS at their local USDA Service Center. NRCS field office phone numbers for counties within the EQIP Klamath Drought Initiative are: Klamath Falls Service Center, Oregon: 541-883-6924, Ext. 118 and Tulelake Service Center, California: 530-667-4247, Ext. 102

18 Mar 2010, 10:17pm
Latest Wildlife News
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Coordinated Federal Effort Allows for Klamath Project Water Deliveries in Drought-Stricken Basin

DOI News, March 18, 2010 [here]

Washington, D.C. - A coordinated Obama Administration effort will allow for meaningful water deliveries to Klamath Project water users, despite ongoing drought conditions that have severely impacted all Klamath Basin parties.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced expected Klamath Project allocations of 30 to 40 percent of average annual releases — approximately 150,000 acre feet — to be made available to Upper Klamath Lake irrigators.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) also announced that drought-impacted farmers in the Klamath Project will be eligible to apply for $2 million in special drought-related funding under its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), $1 million for Oregon farmers and $1 million for California farmers. …

An additional 50,000 acre feet or more could be added through a water bank funded by the Bureau of Reclamation, boosting overall deliveries to approximately 50 percent of average annual deliveries. …

Reclamation and NMFS executed a new biological opinion that protects downstream fisheries, and based on its consultation with FWS and current modeling forecasts, Reclamation estimates that irrigation deliveries could begin as soon as May 15, depending upon additional precipitation in the Klamath Basin and Upper Klamath Lake levels. … [more]

Weyerhauser Joins Enviro-Industry Climate Coalition

By DARREN SAMUELSOHN of Greenwire, NY Times, March 18, 2010 [here]

Global timber giant Weyerhaeuser Co. said today it has joined the U.S. Climate Action Partnership group that is lobbying for comprehensive climate and energy legislation on Capitol Hill.

The Federal Way, Wash.-based company becomes the 29th member of the business-NGO lobbying coalition, alongside General Electric Co., General Motors Co. and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The forest products industry will play a leading role in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and reducing emissions of carbon dioxide using biomass from forests, a sustainable resource and one of the best at sequestering carbon,” Weyerhaeuser CEO Dan Fulton said in a press release. “The role of forest fiber in a low carbon economy will depend on the public policy concepts under debate in Washington, D.C.”

“USCAP,” Fulton added, “has successfully integrated the expertise of numerous stakeholders, and we believe our membership will help positively position sustainable forestry, biomass and forest products in these important policy discussions.”

Membership in U.S. CAP has more than doubled since its inception just prior to then-President George W. Bush’s State of the Union speech in January 2008. The group played a critical role in pushing the House toward passage of climate legislation last June.

But the group has also seen some of its power dwindle after recent defections. Two big oil companies, BP America and ConocoPhillips, and Caterpillar Inc., withdrew last month from the $100,000-a-year membership club. And Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) recently questioned GM and Chrysler LLC’s participation after they received $17 billion in federal bailout funds. Barton also helped drive insurance giant AIG Inc. out of the group after it got $85 billion from the Treasury.

U.S. CAP officials insist they are still playing a big role in the climate debate on Capitol Hill that has been largely in standby mode in the Senate. The coalition’s CEOs are expected to participate today in a conference call with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), a lead author of the Senate proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions. … [more]

18 Mar 2010, 10:14pm
Latest Wildlife News
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Almost 40 wolves live in Fremont County

Area wolves killed 107 domestic animals last year

By ELIZABETH LADEN, Island Park News, March 18, 2010 [here]

ISLAND PARK — Five wolf packs were documented in Fremont County in 2009, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report released Thursday, March 11. These are the Henry’s Lake, Bishop Mountain, Fogg Butte, Biscuit Basin, and Bitch Creek packs. The total number of wolves counted in these packs was 29 adults, eight pups. They are in the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s (IDFG) Upper Snake wolf management unit.

The Bitch Creek and Fogg Butte packs contained a confirmed breeding pair in 2009, according to the report. The Henry’s Lake pack had at least six wolves. The Bishop Mountain pack had at least five adults and at least one pup. The Fogg Butte pack count was at least seven adults and three pups; Biscuit Basin had at least four adults and two pups, and Bitch Creek had at least seven adults and two pups.

The report lists the management unit’s confirmed wolfcaused livestock losses as four cattle, 97 sheep, one goat, and five dogs. IDFG took out six wolves in control actions, hunters killed five, and three others are listed as “human-related deaths,” which includes road kills.

The report states that the Northern Rockies wolf population rose last year, but at the slowest rate in nearly 15 years. At least 1,706 wolves were living in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and parts of Oregon and Washington in 2009, compared to at least 1,650 wolves the year before. The number of breeding packs increased from 95 to 115.

The population estimates are included in the 2009 Interagency Annual Wolf Report, compiled by state and federal governments and Native American tribes.

The report attributed agency control, new hunting seasons in Idaho and Montana, and the wolves’ territorial behavior in slowing the population growth to less than 4 percent last year, the lowest growth rate since 1995.

Until 2009, the wolf population had been on an upward trend, at times increasing 30 percent in a single year. … [more]

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