Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Candidate for BLM director joins legal team in Snake River ranch dispute

The lawyer representing a Pomeroy, Washington, rancher at the center of a legal dispute with the federal government has joined forces with one of the nation’s top rancher-rights advocates, who could soon become President Donald Trump’s pick to run the Federal Bureau of Land Management. Karen Budd-Falen, who practices law with her husband, Frank, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, filed paperwork Friday with U.S. District Court in Spokane to help represent Walter “Sonny” Riley along with Riley’s current attorney, Toni Meacham, of Connell, Washington. The attorneys have until March 22 to respond after the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Spokane filed a civil action last month that is asking a federal judge to sanction Riley for “trespass, encroachment, damages.” The suit also seeks to make Riley pay the legal costs incurred by forcing him to abide by the rules on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property that is adjacent to Riley’s River Ranch near the closed Central Ferry State Park on the Snake River. “Karen is a phenomenal attorney,” Meacham said of Budd-Falen. “She’s one of the top attorneys in the nation on federal ag issues. Why not get someone on the team that’s going to do a good job?” Budd-Falen said she remains in consideration to be tapped by Trump to become the director of the BLM, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Interior under Secretary Ryan Zinke. In a move that sparked controversy, Zinke named Brian Steed as interim BLM director last November, according to the Washington-Post. “I can’t say that moving to Washington (D.C.) from Cheyenne excites me,” Budd-Falen said. “But if I can help and have something to contribute to the Department of Interior, I’m willing to do that.”,,,more

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

After a three day weekend, this tune may apply to some listeners: Deuce Spriggins 1952 recording of Hungover.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Trump is breaking the environment beyond repair

The article is in the Boston Globe and is the usual laundry list of supposed environmental wrongs committed by the Trumpistas. But look at that image. Can you believe that is the image conjured up by the enviro-left? Its amazing. How do you "collaborate" with folks of that ilk?

New film sheds light on the disappearance of Colorado snowpack

Jane Zelikova’s The End of Snow will be one of many award-winning films set to play at the Colorado Environmental Film Festival this week. The picture premiered at the Boulder Adventure Film Festival in 2016 and has been on tour with the Telluride and Back Country Film fests over the past year. “It’s been viewed by people all over, people we would never have thought, I got an award in Estonia which is weird but wonderful,” said Zelikova. Zelikova is an ecologist who studies climate change. She has a Ph.D. from CU Boulder and has an active project at the University of Wyoming looking at the impacts of dust deposition on snowpack. Her film, The End of Snow, focuses on the effects of dust deposition in mountainous regions. Skiers and snowboarders in Colorado may have noticed the thin layer of red dust that cakes the modest amount of snow this year, especially in the Southwest region of the state. This red dust is blown from land in Arizona and Utah where farmers and ranchers are grazing cattle too early in the winter, when there isn’t enough rain to wet and maintain the soil. Grazing when it’s too dry creates a large amount of dust that is then carried and absorbed into our snowpack. The soil is dark — leading to a higher absorption of heat — which then melts the snow much quicker than normal. Even so, Zelikova understands the difficulty farmers face because of the incredible amount of work they have to finish in a time costly manner. Furthermore, adapting to the changing climate needs a reform on all levels of the farming industry. “It’s not to vilify—it’s ranchers and farmers who have BLM leases that, in the past, would’ve been able to graze without having so much soil disturbance. But because the climate is changing, plants are growing earlier, [animals are] grazing earlier,” she stated. Her movie, The End of Snow, was filmed in the mountainous regions of Wyoming and Colorado, where many ranchers live. It tells the story of three men whose lives are interlinked with the decreasing levels of snow across the Rocky Mountain Region. “As we were thinking about how to structure the film I kind of realized that me talking about dust deposition would be maybe a little bit boring,” Zelikova said. She wanted to give viewers an insight into her research through telling the stories of real people...more

Elk herds horn in on cattle pastures


The mild winter in Western Oregon has produced plenty of green pasture forage for livestock, but some elk herds are also loving it. The elk rest and relax during the day in nearby forested area and then dine on the green grass during the night. Many of the ranchers who own those pastures and the livestock are not too pleased with the wildlife intrusion. “They’re robbing feed that is intended for livestock,” said Veril Nelson of elk. Nelson is the owner of a red Angus operation east of Sutherlin, Ore. His pastures have had many nightly visits from a herd of 50 to 60 elk over the past couple of months. “One of those mature elk weighs as much as a yearling cow, 600 to 700 pounds,” the rancher said. “They certainly eat as much as a yearling beef animal. They hide in the timber during the day to rest and ruminate, then they’re back out at night, eating enough for a 24-hour meal.” Tim Miller of Siletz, Ore., runs cattle on five properties. He said he has elk issues at four of those locations. “If I can’t keep the elk out, I’m a month later getting the cattle onto those pastures,” he said. Miller is working to keep the elk out. He has built 6-foot electric New Zealand fence around two of the pastures and is in the process of fencing a third property. He has also obtained a hazing permit. Those permits allow ranchers to run or scare off wildlife with vehicles or shotgun blasts. Craig Herman, a rancher in the Bandon, Ore., area, is chairman of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association’s Private Lands Committee. He said there has been “a lot of frustration” with elk herds on private property. He explained in addition to losing pasture forage, fence damage caused by elk is also a major issue and expense for ranchers...more

Interior looks to make mining a matter of national security

The Interior Department on Friday issued a list of rare metals and minerals deemed critical to the U.S. economy as part of the Trump administration's agenda to support mining as a national security priority. “Any shortage of these resources constitutes a strategic vulnerability for the security and prosperity of the United States,” said Tim Petty, assistant secretary of the Interior for water and science. The draft list of 35 minerals published Friday are deemed "critical" to the U.S. and include such highly prized metals such as aluminum, the platinum group of metals used for catalytic agents, and rare-earth elements that are used in batteries and such high-tech devices as smartphones and missile guidance systems. The work in compiling the critical element list was done by the U.S. Geologic Survey, an agency that "is at the heart of our nation’s mission to reduce our vulnerability to disruptions in the supply of critical minerals,” Petty said. The list will be available for comment by industry and the public until March 19. The National Mining Association, the lead industry group for mining in the U.S., on Friday said the list isn't extensive enough. Hal Quinn, the head of the mining group, urged Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to expand the scope of "criticality" by broadening the list of metals and rare earth elements to include "all minerals." “All minerals are ‘critical’ when we need them and can’t get them,” Quinn said. The Interior Department "should act to address the greatest threat to U.S. mineral security: the broken domestic mining permitting process.” Quinn appeared hopeful that the Interior Department may consider a broader definition of criticality when it finalizes the list later this year, saying the Friday notice from the agency acknowledges "the drawbacks" in the methods used to define what constitutes a critical element or metal...more

Turmoil Marks Zinke's 1st Year In Charge Of Interior Department

A year of upheaval at the U.S. Interior Department has seen dozens of senior staff members reassigned and key leadership positions left unfilled, rules considered burdensome to industry shelved, and a sweeping reorganization proposed for its 70,000 employees. The evolving status quo at the agency responsible for more than 780,000 square miles (2 million square kilometers) of public lands, mostly in the American West, has led to praise from energy and mining companies and Republicans, who welcomed the departure from perceived heavy-handed regulation under President Barack Obama. A year into his tenure, Zinke, a former U.S. Navy SEAL and Montana congressman, has emerged as the point person for the administration’s goal of American “energy dominance.” He’s targeted regulations perceived to hamper development of oil, natural gas and coal beneath public lands primarily in the West and Alaska. He’s also made plans to realign the agency’s bureaucracy, trimming the equivalent of 4,600 jobs — about 7 percent of its workforce — and proposed a massive overhaul that would move decision-making out of Washington, D.C., relocating headquarters staff to Western states at a cost of $17.5 million. The intent is to delegate more power to personnel in the field who oversee activities ranging from mining to livestock grazing to protecting endangered plants and animals. At the agency’s highest levels, 11 leadership positions are vacant a year after Trump took office, including the directors of the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service...Similar action has been promised for idled advisory boards at the Bureau of Land Management. Under Trump, the charters for 22 state-level resource advisory councils — composed of local officials, representatives of business and environmental groups and others — expired in January. Some expired months ago and at least 14 remained so as of Friday. Interior representatives did not respond to numerous requests for information on the status of the other councils. The councils make recommendations on activities on public lands, such as whether off-road vehicles should be allowed in wildlife habitat or whether logging could help prevent wildfires. Zinke suspended the panels for five months in May as part of a review of more than 200 boards and advisory committees. Some had not met in years. Congressional Democrats objected, saying the move would stifle non-governmental views on how U.S.-owned land is used. Swift said it was “common practice” to periodically renew and refine the panels’ charters...more

Final Report Yellowstone Fenn Treasure Death

A search for the Forrest Fenn treasure ended in death in Yellowstone last spring. That is confirmed by the park investigation that was kept private. The report was acquired through a Freedom of Information Act Request. Yellowstone Park officials started a search for 53-year old Jeff Murphy June 8. He had hiked up Rescue Creek Trail near Mammoth the day before. Yellowstone’s investigative report reveals Murphy’s wife told Park authorities Murphy was looking for the Forrest Fenn treasure when she called to report him missing. Murphy’s body was found June 9th. The park report contains pictures of the path his 500 foot fall from Turkey Pen Peak. The incident report says “it appeared he stepped or hopped into the chute from the less steep slope above.” But, the report makes clear that the fall was an accident. It says Murphy did not commit suicide. The official report was often redacted, and it withheld Murphy’s wife’s name. But, she called Penny Preston in October. Preston contacted her recently after receiving the Park report. Murphy’s wife said she did not want to comment on the report. However, she didn’t disagree with the findings. The report shows that Murphy emailed Forrest Fenn in the days before Murphy’s death. It also shows emails from Fenn to Yellowstone officials during the search. The man who invited people to look for his chest of gold and jewels in the Rockies was very concerned about Murphy, and also offered to help pay for a helicopter to find the missing man. He also wrote that he had never been to the area where Murphy fell...more

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Cancels Trip to Israel as Furor Over His First-Class Travel Habits Grows

Environmental Protection Agency chief and climate change denier Scott Pruitt, who has drawn increasing amounts of ire this month over stretches of extremely expensive, often first-class travel that he’s justified on dubious security grounds, will no longer go on a five-day trip to Israel. Per the Washington Post, which originally broke the news of Pruitt’s minimum of $90,000 in taxpayer-funded upscale travel, EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman told the paper on Sunday via email that “We decided to postpone; the administrator looks forward to going in the future.” The paper reported Pruitt and support staff from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv were originally scheduled to stay at the Jerusalem-based King David Hotel for the duration of the trip, which would involve tours of a water recycling facility and a toxic waste site, as well as meetings with Israeli public and private sector officials...more

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Its Swingin' Monday and the Boys In The Bunkhouse are looking for One Scotch One Bourbon One Beer. The tune is on their 1977 album.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy (revisited)

Pretty is as pretty does -- just who is the amateur?

By Julie Carter 

The pickup looked a little "ranchy" and had been re-painted several times. The last time it got a fresh coat, its appearance suggested a whiskbroom had been used to apply the faded blue paint. 

The wobbly single-horse trailer had never been painted and was complete with wood-slatted sides and the metal bows over the top - no top of any kind, not even a tarp. The gate was crooked and needed to be wired shut and one could only imagine if the floor was solid enough to hold anything heavier than a small dog. 

The oversized-palomino roping horse looked better suited to pull a plow, but the poor boy from down on the river managed to use him to compete quite handily in the calf roping. 

"Snoopy" he called him. The only explanation he would give was: "Every time someone tells me I need to get a new truck and trailer, I tell them there is nuthin' wrong with the one I got. But, I do worry about my horse a little so I'm in the hunt for some big Snoopy goggles and a Red Baron scarf for him." 

Knowing the true path to the pay window, this cowboy didn't waste much on frills but more than paid his way with skills. Pretty is as pretty does. 

The other side to that story is another story. 

It's not uncommon for cowboys going down the rodeo road to pencil their travel plans around a stop at a buddy's place. 

There, they will run his cattle for practice, eat at his table, and sleep in his bunkhouse - all in the name of a last minute tune-up before the "big one," - rodeo or roping. 

It was Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) time in Las Vegas and behind every rodeo hand that qualified, there were legions who wished they could. 

Some marketing genius decided to offer the "wish I could" ropers a place to compete, close to Las Vegas so the fun and atmosphere was a perk, but the roping was open to anyone with a pulse and checkbook. 

David and his partner, whose name I never did catch, stopped off to tune-up for this big "also ran" roping. They arrived in separate $50,000 pickups, pulling $50,000 aluminum trailers and if rig shopping was a contest, they had it won. 

The first session went badly. Missed heads, missed heels, missed dallies, missed everything, half heads, bad handle ... you get the idea. 

After a day, the unnamed header loaded up and headed for the city of lights but David stayed a little longer to perfect his uncountable imperfections. 

The first two steers that were headed for him, David completely missed the heels. 

No one is quite sure what happened next, but the resident header nodded, roped, turned off and when everyone looked David's way, he was lying in the dirt and so was his horse. The horse got up but David continued to lay there like a dead tuna. 

This was not his shoulder's first encounter with the arena floor and David was in bad shape. 

A bag of ice, some high voltage Motrin and a shot of Tennessee whiskey later, David was absolutely positive he'd never been better. 

Assured that his horse was fine, his friends unsaddled him, lifting the gear into the trailer for him because David couldn't lift his arm to poke his own eye. 

Asking "how do I get to Vegas from here, " David waved good bye with his good arm which did not happen to be the arm he needed for roping. 

A little detail like a wrecked roping arm that didn't work very well even without injury wasn't about to keep him from his dreams of winning the world. Or at least seeing Las Vegas when it teemed with cowboy hats, pretty girls and lots of possibilities. 

You gotta love'm. 

© Julie Carter 2006

Wilmeth - Ride ‘em, Cowboy!

Lessons in Reality
Ride ‘em, Cowboy!
Attitude Adjustments
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            Hank and I were buds.
            Our lives were resistant to the proximity of a town. We didn’t live “in” Silver City. We lived up Little Walnut Road and our outward bearing from anything “town” was constant. Hank’s parents bought the old Hanslik place and it provided a buffer against stuff we disliked. The only shortfall to it was glancing southward and seeing humanity.
            Truly, we would have preferred the freedom of the end of 16 miles of dirt road.
            Lessons in Reality
            We even had a bucking arena.
            It was behind the barn. The chute was cobbled together out of lumber. Our pursuit wasn’t classic because we didn’t have a bronc saddle, but we did have a bareback riggin’. It was a dandy, and, speaking of Dandy, it was he, the little Shetland cross stud horse, we used as our bucking horse.  He was a tobiano sorrel paint and he was pure “D” Shetland. He was a cutthroat little beggar that would take two jumps and then wait to plot his chance to chingele you.
            We’d make a couple of rides each before we would start losing interest. Hank would invariable pull the hotshot out to get a little more action, but, by that time, we’d be ready to go on to the next big invention. Dandy would go back to plotting his next attempt to murder one of us.
            We had a big idea one time, though, when a kid’s saddle too small for us, my brother, Paul, and Dandy all lined up in one frame of reference from our lofty, heavy thinking perch in a tree.
            “Let’s see how that saddle works on that horse!”
            So, we caught Dandy, saddled him, decked Paul out, and prepared for the event. The flat between the house and the road was better suited for the ride than the rocky arena behind the barn so that is where we got our little cowboy mounted and turned Dandy loose. He immediately headed for the barn and the trot turned into a lope and from the lope he started bucking going straight away.
            “Ride him, Paul!”
            He did for several jumps but then the little horse ducked out from under him and off he went hanging in the near side stirrup. The wreck was immediately more serious. Paul was hitting the ground every once in a while and taking a beating trying to dodge flying hooves.
            Carrying our ropes, and, to make a longer and scary story short, we forefooted that horse and got him thrown while afoot without getting Paul loose. He was as white as a sheet and not anywhere near coherent when we pulled him from under the horse.
            “You’ll be alright, but don’t you go and tell your mother about this!” Hank was saying as he fanned him with his hat.
            Another lesson in reality was etched into our being. Paul survived. We all survived, but that doesn’t suggest it was always easy sailing. What I find interesting, however, are the tendencies of each and every person I have closest contact in my life who can share and relate similar experiences.
We all vote the same!
Ride ‘em, Cowboy!
Late this week, a group of us gathered to discuss issues. We do it once a month in a formal setting. We start with a prayer and pledge our allegiance to our flag and our country. As I sat there listening, it occurred to me how much I have come to respect this little band of brothers and sisters. Our being is dictated by our surroundings and the unbroken and direct links to our past. We have no problem “finding” ourselves and, without exception, don’t rally to force some contrived new wave logic on somebody else. We have more than enough to do without getting in somebody’s business.
That doesn’t suggest our lives are static, though.
On the contrary, traditional and everyday demands are now layered with other things. CRMPs, EQIP, CSP, HAACP, PILT, 8100 funds, 6011, NAP, 1099s, 1080, DR11 200PSI, dole valves, and NOAA are acronyms or code talk that are too commonplace amidst the other regulatory BS. Every one of us is in the midst of installing or maneuvering to install next generation infrastructure. Pipelines, erosion control devices, fences, brush control projects are all heavily on our minds at 3:00 AM.
“Turn us loose!” was not our plea, but we understand the implication and agree. Those words came from a sheep man from Montana in recent congressional testimony. It could have been any one of us, though, who would have been willing to belly up to the table and microphone and say the same thing in generally the same vernacular.
Turn us loose!
We have seen the world from a different perspective. We have lived through wrecks and storms that not just formed our image but shaped our entire perspective of the world around us, the natural world … the real world.
Attitude Adjustments
One can’t help to ponder, however, how much good would come out of a simple, everyday encounter for our ruling class. Take, for example, the experience Mrs. Pelosi would gain by repairing a prolapse on a high headed horned cow. Or, how about the simple task of sorting bulls in an alley by the New York Chuckster? Foghorn could be required to assist a difficult heifer birth, and Bernie could milk out a tight bagged cow before he went to town to pay his property taxes. We wouldn’t trust any of them to ride the fresh colt, though, and that is not because we care about them.
It would be the horse we worry about … we don’t’ want him ruined!

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Jupe used to say that a man was not worth a damn until he was 43. None of us have figured out what the hurdle is for a politico.”

Baxter Black: Advice Column

As a fellow veterinarian, I am hoping you can help me. My wife Nancy has two cow dogs that will readily obey commands to sit and stay until they get near a cow. Then they chase the critter and can't hear a word we say. It's very obvious to me that they go deaf near livestock.
So, what's your diagnosis? I've considered cow dander allergies, pour on irritation and ear infections to name a few. If possible, send a note or RX.
Signed Anxious in Tie Siding, Dr. L.W.
Dear L.W.
I am pleased to inform you that your wife's two cow dogs are suffering from a malady that is common in Blue Heelers. It also occurs in species further down the food chain such as backyard horses, bird dogs and teenagers.
Your suggested diagnosis associates their problems to the nearness of cattle. However, research at the NASA Cow Dog behavioral Institute in Homer City, PA indicated a relationship more closely related to the proximity of the dominant figure. i.e., the greater the distance between master and dog, the less your influence.
The technical name for the syndrome is called Progressive Dumb Dog Detachment Amnesia or PDA. There are some social scientists who believe PDA is a result of a broken home, a puppyhood trauma or sucking hind tit. Others, with only a Master's Degree prefer to think it is a biological defect like damaged chromosomes, lack of a braun or too much Co-op dog food.

Lee Pitts: Let’s Sue Someone.

Hi ladies, it's me, the wife of the slob who usually writes this column. He's resting now, getting his beauty sleep and believe me, he needs all he can get. Unbeknownst to him, I'm taking over the column this week because what I have to say is much more important than any gibberish he'd have written.
Are you keeping up on all the reports of evil athletes, actors, politicians and businessmen who've been harassing and discriminating against women? Do you know who you haven't heard one peep from? The wives of farmers and ranchers that's who, and yet there is not a group in America who's been harassed or discriminated against more than us.
I consulted with an attorney who said we'd have a great discrimination case in court against our husbands but there's one small problem. In his words, "You can't get any blood out of a turnip." The attorney said we'd need to go after "deeper pockets" and suggested a class action lawsuit. To win we'd have to prove guilt in just one of the following areas:
• Hostile work environment- Have you ever been yelled at because some cows leaked through the gap in the fence you were supposed to be blocking? Has your husband ever used foul language in your presence when you accidentally slammed the squeeze chute door on his hand or accidentally vaccinated him against lepto-vibrio? Do you work in a clean environment or are you constantly being bombarded by cow poop? Has he left you in a seedy motel room without feed or water while he went to "an important committee meeting" in a saloon? Are you referred to as "hired help"or a "peon"? If so, you're rights have been violated.
• Missed meals and potty breaks – While on a bull buying trip in your car you informed your husband you needed to pull over at the next rest stop for a bio-break did he tell you to just "hold it"? That's criminal abuse! If you are not given an hour for lunch and at least two breaks lasting 15 minutes you. need to be suing someone.
• Pregnancy discrimination- Did you get six months maternity leave prior to having your last child and were you also given six months after the baby's birth? Or, instead were you given one of those backward papoose thingies with your baby strapped to the front of your body and put back on a horse or tractor one week after popping out the kid? If so, you should be squalling louder than Meryl Streep about having been abused.
• Working off the clock- I know what you're thinking, what clock?...

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Don Edwards provides our gospel tune today - Drift Along Lonely Cowboy. The tune is on his 2009 CD Heaven on Horseback.