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Browsing the archives for the Endangered Species Act category.

How environmentalist litigation is sending our national forests up in smoke

Endangered Species Act, FIRES, Forestry & USFS, Lawsuits

PNP comment: Unfortunately, this has been happening for 30 years! — Editor Liz Bowen

Free Range Report

June 10, 2017

“Our national forests are dying from neglect. Rather than channeling dollars to active forest management to reduce the risk of wildfire, the Federal government must spend its funds defending sound management practices from this perpetual environmental litigation machine.” ~Rep. Tom McClintock

House Committee on Natural Resources Press Release

Policy Overview

♦The U.S. Forest Service is entrusted with managing 193 million acres1 of mostly forested areas in 43 states and Puerto Rico.

♦Currently, Fifty-eight million acres of national forest are at high or very high risk of severe wildfire3 due in large part to a lack of active management of the landscape.

♦When District Rangers, Forest Supervisors and their staffs attempt to advance forest thinning and other active management projects, their efforts can be significantly delayed or derailed due in large part to ever increasing environmental analysis requirements resulting in longer, more costly planning timelines and significantly increased regulatory complexity.

♦Ever-increasing analyses are a direct result of attempts by the Forest Service to make environmental analysis documents “bullet-proof” in an increasingly litigious landscape.

♦As reported in the Helena Independent Record, “the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National Forest Management Act (NFMA) are most often cited as the basis for litigation.”

♦Vegetative management activities account for more than 40 percent of all lawsuits brought against the Forest Service.

♦According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) analysis of data provided by the National Association of Environmental Professionals, the Forest Service produced 572 Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) between 2008 and 2012, nearly 25 percent of all draft and final EIS produced during that time period.

Panel Examines Negative Impacts of Excessive Litigation on Forest Health 

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 8, 2017 –

Today, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing to examine how litigation and increasingly excessive environmental analysis facing the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has exacerbated the ongoing forest health crisis.

♦“We are bankrupting the future,” witness Lyle Laverty, Certified Forester and President of the Laverty Group, said. “America’s green infrastructure is on life support, perhaps even on the brink of ecological collapse.”

58 million acres of national forests are at high or very high risk of severe wildfire. Despite deteriorating forest health and the increasing potential for catastrophic wildfire, USFS employees spend more than 40 percent of their time conducting planning and analysis instead of managing our federal forests and rangelands.

♦“[O]ur national forests are dying from neglect,” Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock (R-CA) said. “[R]ather than channeling dollars to active forest management to reduce the risk of wildfire, the Federal government must spend its funds defending sound management practices from this perpetual environmental litigation machine.”

Environmental laws originally intended to protect the environment, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, are now working against the USFS, significantly hindering active management.

♦”This has contributed to the decline of the very resources the laws are intended to protect,” Laverty stated. “Unnatural fuel accumulations lead to the uncharacteristic wildfires that can and will ultimately harm listed species and water quality.”

The panel outlined how excessive lawsuits and vague statutory authorities force the USFS to make environmental analysis documents “bullet-proof,” in fear of litigation.

In this litigation-prone climate, Laverty argued the federal focus “has been mostly prevention of harm from action. The potential for harm from inaction has largely been ignored.”

Another witness, Lawson Fite, General Counsel for the American Forest Resource Council, argued that a large percentage of lawsuits aren’t targeted as specific legal violations, but are instead used by self-proclaimed environmental groups to halt or prevent restoration activities.

♦“They force the agencies into years-long paperwork exercises that result in no project changes or conservation benefit,” Fite said.

♦“They have succeeded...  It might be making environmental attorneys rich, but it is  killing our forests,” McClintock added.

♦Fite, however, offered hope, describing forestry as “an area of bipartisan progress” noting: “There are a number of measures with support from Republicans and Democrats, environmentalists and industry, which can streamline environmental compliance while preserving a right of review and protecting resources such as watersheds and wildlife. The time for action is now.”

♦”Healthy forests are a win-win-win situation,” Rep. Westerman (R-AR) stated“We should all be able to work together to manage our forests in a healthy, sustainable manner for everyone’s benefit.”


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Agriculture has been hammered by environmental water regulations

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, California water, Endangered Species Act

New report shows thousands of California jobs lost due to water cuts


A report released today by the Southern California Water Committee and the Committee for Delta Reliability exposes the unintended consequences of nearly two decades of water cuts caused by environmental regulation – showing the hardest hit are those who rely on agriculture to survive, such as farmworkers, food processors, truck drivers and warehouse workers, among many others.

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Judge dismisses lawsuit against grazing on eight Oregon allotments

Agriculture, cattle, Courts, Endangered Species Act, Lawsuits, Liberty

PNP comment: Finally, a judge that makes some sense from outrageous claims — the claims are just plain wrong! — Editor Liz Bowen

A federal judge has rejected arguments that cattle grazing hurts endangered sucker fish in violation of forest management law.

Capital Press

Mateusz Perkowski

Published on March 11, 2017 2:39PM

A federal judge has rejected environmentalist arguments that cattle grazing has unlawfully harmed endangered sucker fish in Oregon’s Fremont-Winema National Forest.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke has thrown out a lawsuit by three environmental groups — Oregon Wild, Friends of Living Oregon Waters and the Western Watersheds Project — which claimed that grazing was unlawfully authorized on eight allotments in the Lost River watershed.

The plaintiffs accused the U.S. Forest Service of “ignoring widespread evidence of riparian problems” that adversely affected the Lost River sucker and shortnose sucker, which are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act.

However, the judge has ruled that plaintiffs failed to prove that grazing degraded streams in violation of the National Forest Management Act.

Conditions have improved in many riparians areas despite continued grazing while recovery trends are “not significantly different” among sites that are grazed and those that are not, Clarke said.

“This would tend to indicate grazing is not the reason for any failure to attain (riparian management objectives) in streams found on the challenged allotments,” he said.

While the environmental groups have pointed to evidence of deterioration along portions of some creeks, they haven’t shown “watershed level” and “landscape-scale” failures to live up to fish-recovery objectives, Clarke said.

The “creek-specific observations” by environmental groups aren’t enough to “successfully rebut” the Forest Service’s interpretation of the data, he said.

“Finally, many of the creek assessments plaintiffs point to as evidence of a failure to attain (riparian management objectives) actually show improving or stable trends,” the judge said.

The Forest Service’s decision to authorize grazing on the eight allotments was based on “reasonably gathered and evaluated data” related to fish recovery strategies mandated under the National Forest Management Act, he said.

Clarke also dismissed the plaintiffs’ Endangered Species Act arguments, ruling they were moot because future grazing approvals will rely on a new consultation among federal agencies on the two fish species.

The environmental groups’ claims of National Environmental Policy Act violations were likewise dismissed because the plaintiffs hadn’t fully “exhausted” administrative challenges against grazing plans, the ruling said.

New information that’s emerged about threats to the fish and their critical habitat doesn’t rise to the level of requiring additional environmental analysis of grazing, Clarke said.

For example, although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reached the “alarming” conclusion that shortnose suckers face a “high degree of threat of extinction,” this finding doesn’t influence the Forest Service’s assessment of grazing, he said.

“While FWS concluded that significant threats to shortnose suckers’ viability remain and thus that their chance of extinction is high, it did not identify grazing as one of those threats; in fact, it made no mention of grazing at all,” the judge said.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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ESA fraud will continue

CORRUPTION, Endangered Species Act

PNP comment: Oh no! Species can be listed without real factual threats, just someone’s idea of a perceived threat? The fraudulent listings will, unfortunately, continue! — Editor Liz Bowen

Species may be listed as threatened based on climate change projections, court says

Los Angeles Times

Federal authorities may list a species as “threatened” based on climate models that show habitat loss in the coming decades, an appeals court decided Monday.

The state of Alaska, oil company groups and Alaskan natives had challenged a decision by the federal government to list a sea ice seal subspecies as threatened and deserving of protection.

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Who will go extinct first, salmon or Valley farmers?

Agriculture - California, Endangered Species Act, Hypocrisy, State gov, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

PNP comment: Enviros and government agencies NOT sharing the water is an issue throughout California. — Editor Liz Bowen

Who will go extinct first, salmon or Valley farmers?

Modesto Bee

Here, on the front lines of the state’s recently declared water war, we have more questions than ammunition. Is the State Water Resources Control Board serious? Is the water board even in charge? Was Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for “voluntary agreements,” instead of regulatory demands, a suggestion or an order? Who will go extinct first – salmon or farmers?

OK, that’s a rhetorical question; salmon have a huge head start. But the race isn’t over. To recap: Battle was enjoined Sept. 15 when the water board re-released its justification for taking more water from the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers – which combine to create the San Joaquin before it reaches the Delta.

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‘Massive’ ESA lawsuit threatened—again

Agriculture, Congress - Senate, CORRUPTION, Courts, Endangered Species Act, Greenies & grant $, Lawsuits


Western Livestock Journal

AUG 26, 2016


—History set to repeat itself; environmental group tries to force USFWS’ hand

Is it 2016 or 2011? Or perhaps just a bad case of déjà vu?

Last Tuesday saw the history of 2011 repeated as an environmental litigation group threatened to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to force Endangered Species Act (ESA) decisions on 417 species.

Five years ago saw an ESA “mega-settlement” which forced USFWS to crank out over 1,200 backlogged listing and critical habitat decisions. In return, the two environmental groups that brought the case—Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and WildEarth Guardians—were expected (although not required) to back off on further litigation and additional listing petitions.

But now, the CBD is threatening to sue again, hoping to force “12-month finding” decisions on this new group of species. In fact, CBD and other groups never did stop filing petitions or lawsuits. Since the 2011 settlement, CBD and others have petitioned roughly 140 species, and CBD and WildEarth Guardians alone have filed over 130 of them since 2013, according to CBD’s own website.

Legal details

The 12-month finding is one step in the ESA listing process. One year after a species is petitioned for listing, USFWS is required to determine whether listing is “not warranted;” “warranted,” which leads to 60 days of public comments, then a final listing decision; or “warranted but precluded,” which places the species on the “candidate” list.

According to CBD, those 12-month findings on the 417 species are anywhere from one to seven years late. The species’ locations span from Washington State to Florida. They include 235 invertebrates (mussels, snails, beetles, etc.), 87 plants, 58 amphibians and reptiles, 27 fish, six birds, and seven mammals.

“This is precisely why the [ESA] is broken,” said Ethan Lane of the Public Lands Council (PLC) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) in the groups’ statement.

“Groups like [CBD] are attempting to force their agenda on [USFWS] through litigation abuse. Substantive ESA reform is needed now to allow [USFWS] the autonomy necessary to prioritize species conservation according to need, rather than political agenda.”

Litigation: exception or rule?

CBD cites a recent study that found that “lawsuits from conservation groups … have played a key role in speeding protection for imperiled species.” The study was co-authored by CBD’s own Endangered Species Director, Noah Greenwald, and published last month in the academic journal, Biological Conservation.

Under the ESA, anyone can petition to list a species as threatened or endangered. From that point on, USFWS faces multiple deadlines and must issue multiple decisions. Wyoming attorney Karen Budd-Falen, who testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on April 20, said the listing process for just one species provides environmental groups with eight different opportunities to sue USFWS. And, she added, the ESA allows litigants to reap attorney fees. She told WLJ that she has seen groups charge $775 per hour for attorney fees. ESA litigation, she said, is a “business decision” on the part of environmental groups, and said it’s having the effect of “shutting down the [USFWS] from implementing the entirety of the ESA.”

Budd-Falen said USFWS is so swamped with petitions and the ensuing lawsuits that species recovery has become an afterthought. As of April, only 63 of the total 2,258 listed species had been delisted. Many of those delisted were not actually recovered; 19 of them were removed because of an error in the original data, and 10 of them, she said, had gone extinct.

Budd-Falen said USFWS is trending away from creating species recovery plans, which are usually a prerequisite to delisting a species.

In the 1990s, 843 species had recovery plans. From 2010 to today, only 177 species have been included in recovery plans.

The ESA requires USFWS to develop recovery plans and measurable objectives that would trigger a species’ delisting. However, the law doesn’t put a time frame on recovery plans and objectives. The lack of an enforceable time frame, Budd-Falen said, adds to USFWS’ propensity of putting recovery plans on the back burner.

Litigation versus science

Budd-Falen stated that one effect of all the litigation has been a shift away from science-based decision making and recovery plan development. Instead, USFWS has turned its focus to meeting court-ordered deadlines.

One of USFWS’ documents says as much: A memorandum from May 20, 2014 states, “Our primary (and perhaps only) focus will be on meeting court-ordered and settlement deadlines for findings…we do not plan to carry out… non-[2011 settlement] findings and proposed rules, or recovery plan revisions.”

The imposition of litigation deadlines has been felt on the ground in various ways, according to Budd-Falen. For example, according to the USFWS, the 2011 settlement prevented it from delaying its listing decision on the lesser-prairie chicken, rather than give the locally-driven and USFWS-approved range-wide conservation plan a chance to work (the decision has since been overturned nationwide by court order).

Similarly, the agency did not have enough time to update the Mexican wolf recovery plan in light of litigation-imposed deadlines.

“In other cases, USFWS has denied requests for extensions of time to comment on [experimental population rules] or has stated that certain activities have not been done because of the requirement imposed by litigation deadlines,” Budd- Falen testified.


In May of 2015, the Obama administration proposed new regulations to slow down listing petitions by requiring more scientific documentation and consultation with state wildlife agencies. However, Budd-Falen told WLJ that USFWS backed off on their proposal after receiving pushback from environmental groups. The revised proposal, she said, makes very little changes to the current procedures.

“Congress needs to fix [the ESA] so that there’s either an annual limit on petitions, or added flexibility on time frames,” she told WLJ.

Budd-Falen reported she has testified at least seven times on ESA problems over the years, but that so far Congress hasn’t enacted any reforms to the 1972 act. Several worthy bills have been introduced in recent years though, she said. They would have required more scientific rigor in ESA decisions; public posting of scientific documentation; capping of attorney fees; and specific involvement of state, local and tribal governments for species on their land.

“Congress has got to take away the cause of action— the courts can’t do it,” Budd- Falen said. “Congress has got to get its collective act together.” — Theodora Johnson, WLJ Correspondent

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Fish disease prompts river flushing

Air, Climate & Weather, California water, Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs, Hypocrisy, Klamath River & Dams, Salmon and fish, Trinity County, Water, Resources & Quality

PNP comment: While it is commendable to want to help inland resident trout, low summer flows are the typical type of summer environment they live in — and do survive. Anyone claiming there is a need to artificially pulse the rivers — in hot August and September — are buying into the lie that it helps salmon.

It actually targets and stimulates the salmon that are happily playing in the ocean to start swimming inland, when there is not sufficient water flows for them. (Pulsing artificially suggests that the autumn rains have arrived  — of which they have not!)

So the salmon will begin swimming up river, when the trouts’ disease and the back-to-normal low water flows will greatly endanger the lives of the salmon. What a bunch of disgusting bunk and fraudulent science pulsing truly is. Why would anyone want to bring the salmon up river before the real autumn rains naturally raise the water flows? — Editor Liz Bowen


By Damon Arthur of the Redding Record Searchlight

Posted: Yesterday 6:58 p.m.

To prevent an outbreak of a deadly fish-killing disease, federal officials plan to begin tripling the amount of water flowing out of Lewiston Dam and into the Trinity River.

Starting Thursday, the amount of water coming out of Lewiston Dam will increase from 450 cubic-feet per second to about 1,300 cfs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the dam.

The Trinity River flows into the Klamath River and the higher flows in the Trinity are meant to aid salmon and trout in the Klamath.

Federal officials and others are worried about an outbreak of a disease called ich, which spreads among fish crowded into slow-moving pools of warm water in the river. The higher flows from the Trinity are supposed to flush out the lower Klamath with cooler water and reduce crowding among the fish.

A small number of fish have become infected in “extremely warm water” in the Klamath, said Michael Belchik, a senior fisheries biologist for the Yurok Tribe, which is based on the Klamath River.

An ich outbreak in 2002 killed some 35,000 salmon and steelhead trout in the river.

“We take this threat to our fish very seriously, and we’re looking at every option to protect our fish,” said Thomas P. O’Rourke, Yurok Tribe chairman. “We don’t want to go through another catastrophe like the fish kill in 2002, and we will do anything we can to avoid that outcome this year.”

The Klamath Fish Health Assessment Team, which monitors fish fitness in the river, rated danger in the stream on Wednesday at “yellow” because of unfavorable physical and chemical conditions in the stream.

There are four “levels of readiness,” for the river, starting at green, the lowest level and best conditions for fish. Levels increase to yellow, orange and red, which means a fish kill is imminent or underway, according to the team’s website.

During the past several years of warm summer weather and drought, the higher releases from Lewiston Dam have been an annual event in August and September.

This year’s higher flows, which could go as high as 3,500 cfs, are expected to last until late September.

David Coxey, general manager of the Bella Vista Water District in Redding, said sending more water down the Trinity River means there will be less water for cities and agriculture in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys.

Nearly all the municipal water districts in the Redding area get water through the bureau.

“It’s disheartening how our supply reliability continues to erode,” Coxey said.

There is also less hydropower generated when more water is sent down the Trinity River, Coxey said.

Water is shipped via large pipes from Lewiston Lake to Whiskeytown Lake, where it is used to also generate power at the Carr Powerhouse. The water is then shipped by pipe again from Whiskeytown to Keswick Reservoir, where power is generated again at the Spring Creek Powerhouse.

Higher flows into the Trinity and Klamath rivers also ultimately mean less water flowing into the Sacramento River to aid endangered winter-run chinook salmon that spawn in the river in Redding, Coxey said.

“This is a discouraging decision that further hurts the salmon over here,” he said.

# # #

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Judge refuses to overturn Oregon grazing plans

Agriculture, cattle, Courts, Endangered Species Act, Greenies & grant $, Lawsuits

PNP comment: Wow, what a concept! The fish doesn’t even live in the area, so how can cattle harm the fish if it isn’t there? Now this is a sensible judge! — Editor Liz Bowen

Mateusz Perkowski

Capital Press

Published on June 22, 2016 10:59AM

Ranchers, environmentalists and federal agencies recently engaged in oral arguments at the James A. Redden U.S. Courthouse in Medford, Ore., as part of a lawsuit over grazing’s effects on bull trout habitat in Oregon’s Fremont-Winema National Forest.

A federal judge has rejected environmentalists’ arguments that grazing along Oregon’s Sprague and Sycan rivers unlawfully harms bull trout habitat where the fish doesn’t live.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke has held that grazing plans for 10 federal land allotments comply with the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws.

Several ranching families, who had intervened in the case to defend the grazing plans, are relieved by the judge’s ruling, said Scott Horngren, an attorney with the Western Resources Legal Center, who represented them.

“An adverse decision would have been very disruptive and harmful to their grazing plans this year,” Horngren said.

If the judge had found the grazing plans were unlawfully approved, the environmental plaintiffs likely would have sought to curtail grazing at a time when the ranchers are preparing to release cattle onto public land, he said.

Horngren noted that ranchers already face restrictions on grazing duration and grass stubble height, among other factors.

“This isn’t uncontrolled grazing,” he said.

Last year, Oregon Wild, Friends of Living Oregon Waters and the Western Watersheds Project filed a complaint against the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for approving the grazing plans in the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

The plaintiffs argued that bull trout, a federally protected threatened species, wasn’t occupying its “critical habitat” in the area due to degradation caused by grazing.

Clarke said the environmental groups raised “legitimate concerns” about the future of bull trout populations due to higher water temperatures and sediment in streams.

However, he said the federal agencies adequately studied whether grazing would adversely affect the fish’s critical habitat.

“While plaintiffs disagree with the Forest Service’s conclusion that grazing can continue despite these concerns, they have not demonstrated that the agency disregarded or irrationally analyzed them,” the judge said.

Capital Press was unable to reach an attorney for the environmental groups as of press time.

Aside from the Endangered Species Act allegations, Clarke also rejected the environmentalists’ claims that grazing was authorized in violation of the Clean Water Act.

The “best management practices,” or BMPs, for protecting water quality in the national forest were approved by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality, which administers the Clean Water Act, he said.

“Though plaintiffs speculate that the Forest Service has not fully implemented its BMPs, there is no evidence that the agency has failed to undertake any specific commitment or otherwise acted in bad faith,” Clarke said.

Clarke ruled that environmental groups “have not connected” water quality problems with the grazing plans.

“As such, the court cannot conclude that authorized grazing is to blame,” he said.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Human toll of Washington D.C. edicts — especially Siskiyou Co.

Agenda 21 & Sustainable, Agriculture, CORRUPTION, CRIMINAL, Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs

PNP comment: The below info was recently brought to our attention by Pearl Hewett in Clallam County, Washington, who stated her county has the same problems as Siskiyou in California and Josephine Co. in Oregon. Below is the link to Pearl’s webpage connecting the dots. Also, a BIG thank you to our local KARE Assoc. for putting these facts together. They have followed and documented the destruction to the environment by the Greenies and government for more than 25 years! — Editor Liz Bowen



From KARE, Klamath Alliance for Resources and Environment in Siskiyou County, CA.

The Human Toll in Siskiyou County

Siskiyou County has been hard hit by the environmental movement during the past twenty years. Time and again, we are promised that tourism will rise and offset any damage to our resource driven economy, and yet those dollars refuse to materialize. For 20 years, timber has been excluded from our national forests (see this shocking graph) which consume nearly two thirds of our entire county. Mining has been all but eliminated, agriculture (the largest remaining industry in this county) and now KS Wild has the temerity to claim that our county will be better off with another 200,000 acres (of 600,000 total) of timberland locked up in some “climate refuge?” Next time somebody trots out that line, give them some of these demographic statistics:

Unemployment, July 2011

(State wide data by county: PDF file)

  • California: 12.4%

  • Siskiyou Co: 16.6%

  • Shasta Co: 15.0%

  • Modoc Co: 13.9%

  • Humboldt Co: 11.9%

  • LA Co: 13.3%

  • Sacramento Co: 12.9%

  • San Franscsco Co: 9.0%

Siskiyou County 2010 Snapshot

(PDF file)

  • Population: around 48,000

  • The median age of the population is 43

  • 36% of the population is employed

  • Unemployment is 18.5%

  • Median Household Income $35,692 ($59,928 for CA)

  • 28% of households have children under 18 (46% USA)

  • 18% of the population lives below the poverty line (13% CA)

  • 27% of children live below the poverty line (18.5% CA)

  • 18% of the population is eligible for food stamps

  • 22% are eligible for Medi-Cal programs (18% CA)

  • Substantiation of Child Abuse and Neglect 31.7 per 1,000 ( 9/1,000 for CA)

  • Siskiyou Co. has higher rates of all violent crime (aggravated assaults, forcible rape and robbery) except homicide than Los Angeles Co. 11% of Seniors aged 60 and above have been abused.

  • Methamphetamine accounts for 44% of substance abuse treatment admissions. Roughly 11.9 percent of adolescents under 18 reported binge drinking over the past month (CA 6.6 percent.)

  • Of youth between age 10-17 admitted for treatment, 72% were for marijuana, 17% methamphetamine, and 11% alcohol. 83% were male. This age group also accounts for 13% of drug-related arrests.

  • Individuals between 25 and 34 years account for 25 percent of admissions to alcohol and drug treatment. This age group also accounts for 22 percent of drug related arrests

  • Individuals between 35 and 44 years accounts for 27 percent of alcohol-related arrests

Twenty Year Trends

(PDF file)

  • Demographic Trends — Age distribution: The census indicates that between 1990 and 2008, Siskiyou County experienced a 25% loss in the population of children under the age of 18. The County saw a 45% increasein the population age 45-64 and an 18% increase of those age 65 and older. This sh“““““““““““““““ows that our population is aging dramatically, and younger family wage earners are migrating elsewhere.

  • Income Trends; The BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis) indicates that in 1987, the average wage for jobs in Siskiyou County were 73% of the California average. There was a steady decline down to as low as 57% in the year 2000, then the percentage stabilized at 61 % with an increase to 63% in 2008. This shows that our wages are depressed, not keeping pace with inflation and the rest of the state.

  • Unemployment — The EDD statistics indicate that from 1990-2009, the highest rates of unemployment occurred in individual months in 1991-1993 (19.3-21.1%.) The average rate of unemployment for 1991 was 13.2, for 1992 — 15.8 and for 1993 -15.6. This high rate likely reflects the closure of the four timber mills in Siskiyou County between 1989-1999. The rate of unemployment then very gradually decreased each year until it plateaued around 2001 -2007 at 8-9.5% It climbed to an average of 10.2% in 2008 and was at 15.8% average in 2009.

  • Median Household Income The census (SAIPE) reports that in 1989, the median household income of Siskiyou County residents was $22,077. This was 66% of the California median, (down $11,000 from the CA median.) In 2008, the Siskiyou County median was $36,823. It had decreasedto 60% of the California median, (down $24,000 from the CA median household income.) Siskiyou County ranks 51 out of 58 California Counties in median income.

  • Poverty Rates — The census (SAIPE) reports that in 1989, 14.4% of Siskiyou County residents lived below the poverty line. This was 1.7% higher than the poverty rate for California in general. In 1989, 23.5% of children under 18 in Siskiyou County lived in poverty. This was 2.2% higher than the California rate. In 2008, 16.4% of all residents in Siskiyou County lived in poverty. This is a 2 percent increase in the rate over that of 1989 and is 3.1% higher than the California rate. In 2008, 25.4% of children under the age of 18 in Siskiyou County lived in poverty. That is a 2 percent increase in the rate over that of 1989 and is 6.9% greater than the California rate.

Summary Comment: Siskiyou County is an aging county. A large percentage of children in the county live in poverty and this is getting worse. Average wages are poor compared to the rest of California and getting worse. The household median income in the County has historically lagged far behind that of California and is getting worse. Unemployment has always been substantially higher than California in general. After stabilizing from high employment in the aftermath of mill closures and Forest Service layoffs, unemployment has substantially increased in the past two years and is climbing. It is currently 15.6% (May 2010.) The well-being of a substantial number of Siskiyou County residents is depressed and trending downward.

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Lawsuit: US grouse protections driven by politics, not science

CORRUPTION, Endangered Species Act

RENO — Rural Nevadans suing to block the Obama administration’s greater sage grouse protection plan say a trail of internal government documents shows politics drove a predetermined policy that conflicts with scientific findings.

The federal court motion seeks to void the protections that have restricted the development of millions of acres of federal land across the West. In some cases, the protections have made sections of federal land off limits.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt and lawyers for nine Nevada counties, ranchers and miners say three top Interior Department officials who dubbed themselves the “Grouseketeers” illegally sought opinions from conservationists outside the planning process.

The motion for summary judgment filed in Reno last week also says the U.S. Bureau of Land Management ignored its staff’s advice to do more scientific study and “reverse-engineered studies with pre-determined conclusions designed to defend the land management restrictions.”

“There was a political agenda rather than a scientific basis for requiring withdrawals and absolute prohibitions on development and use,” Reno attorney Laura Granier wrote on behalf of the plaintiffs, who first sued in September to block sage grouse protections.

They argue the public has been “unlawfully deprived of the disclosure and impact analysis required” under federal law. They’ve asked Judge Miranda Du — twice before, unsuccessfully — to suspend the protections until the government conducts another study to analyze changes made to the protection plans after they were submitted to the public.

Administration officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. They have said agency officials do not comment on pending litigation. Judge Du gave the government until April 25 to respond.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell decided in September that Endangered Species Act protections were not needed for the chicken-sized bird that inhabits sage brush ecosystems across 11 Western states. North America’s greater sage grouse population, once estimated at 16 million, is down to 200,000 to 500,000 birds because of lost habitat.

Officials want to withdraw 10 million acres of land from future mining claims, prohibit oil and gas drilling near the bird’s breeding grounds and impose new reviews on livestock grazing permits to avoid the need for more severe restrictions endangered species protection would bring.

Environmentalists argue Jewell had no basis to reverse her department’s earlier finding in 2010 that listing the bird was warranted but precluded. They recently filed their own lawsuits saying the land-use rules don’t offer enough protection.

The ranchers, miners and Nevada counties say the Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management rushed through the process because they considered meeting a deadline for a listing decision more important than complying with the law.

“The administrative record reveals astonishing overreach and disregard for public involvement and statutory requirements to impose a top-down policy engineered by three officials in the Department of Interior,” Granier wrote.

She identified the three “Grouseketeers” — a phrase apparently based on the “Mousketeers” of “The Mickey Mouse Club” — as Deputy Assistant Interior Secretaries Jim Lyons and Michael Bean, and Sarah Greenberger, legal counsel to Jewell. She said the trio met after the public comment period with environmental leaders to “get insight as to what would be required for (them) to ‘buy-in”’on the plans.

Laxalt said the protections halt development on nearly 3 million acres “that Nevadans depend on for their economic livelihood.”



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