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PNP comment: The Greenie – Enviro NGOs have become a huge capitalistic money-grabbing machine. Talk about hypocrites! Dam destruction will do huge damage to the wildlife and rivers. — Editor Liz Bowen
Published Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012
WASHINGTON – Hydropower dams would get a boost, while their skeptics would get punished, under a controversial new bill backed by Western conservatives in Congress.
In a bit of tit for tat, the legislation introduced this month would strip federal funding from environmental groups that have challenged hydropower facilities in court over the past decade. The bill further would block federal money from being used to study or undertake dam removals, save for the rare occasion when Congress has authorized the action.
“This bill would … help eliminate government roadblocks and frivolous litigation that stifle development,” Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said in a statement when he introduced it.
The chairman of the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, Hastings has convened a panel hearing for Wednesday in Pasco, Wash., that will be stacked with hydropower supporters, providing a hint of legislative momentum.
But with little time left in a Congress now mostly focused on campaign season, and with the 17-page Hastings bill poisonous to prominent environmental groups, the legislation appears fated for now to serve primarily as debate provocation.
“This is incredibly extreme,” said Jim Bradley, the senior director of government relations for American Rivers. “I haven’t seen anything quite like this. It’s a little bit shocking for a member of Congress to create this kind of blacklist.”
American Rivers, the National Wildlife Federation and Trout Unlimited are among the organizations that could be cut off from federal grant funding under the bill; each has been party to a suit potentially challenging hydropower generation, and each has received federal money.
“We’re very concerned about it,” said Steve Moyer, Trout Unlimited’s vice president for government affairs.
It’s all a reminder that hydropower, however fresh it sounds, can generate political heat as well as occasional cooperation.
In June, for instance, a sharply divided House passed a bill by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, that would permit the Merced Irrigation District to raise the spillways on the district’s New Exchequer Dam. That would increase power production and water storage, but it also would temporarily inundate part of a protected “wild and scenic river.”
The Obama administration opposes the Denham bill, which faces an uncertain future in the Senate.
Hydropower rhetoric, too, can get heavy. At a hydropower hearing last year, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, the chairman of the House Water and Power Subcommittee, denounced American Rivers, which advocates for protecting river habitat nationwide, as an “extremist organization.”
Last year, on a closely divided vote, McClintock won House approval for an amendment blocking the removal of what he called “four perfectly good hydroelectric dams” in the Klamath River Basin. Congress later dropped the amendment; but, as with the new Hastings bill, a point had been made about an important part of the nation’s energy mix.
In a more collaborative vein, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., won unanimous House support in July for a bipartisan bill that streamlines licensing for small hydropower projects. The legislation would exempt from federal licensing requirements the nation’s 1,100-plus hydro projects that aren’t operated by the federal government and that generate less than 10 megawatts of electricity; the current exemption is limited to projects that generate less than 5 megawatts.
“Notwithstanding all of (the) benefits, the regulatory approval process for hydropower development, especially for smaller projects, can be unnecessarily slow, costly and cumbersome,” Rodgers said during House debate.
Her bill awaits Senate action.
Hydropower accounts for about 8 percent of all electrical production nationwide. California has more hydropower facilities than any other state, while Washington state leads in overall power production. Lawsuits periodically have challenged these dam operations, directly or indirectly, and supporters of Hastings’ bill say the litigation slows energy development and increases consumer costs.
Groups that file lawsuits that “if successful would result in” a reduction in hydropower generation would be covered by the federal grant cutoff, under the new bill. Attorneys for such groups likewise would be cut off.
Spencer Pederson, a spokesman for the House Natural Resources Committee, said the panel didn’t have a list of which organizations might be affected.
“It is a policy statement about the importance of hydropower and how taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to destroy that resource,” Pederson said of the bill.
Court and federal grant records show that American Rivers would be affected because the group has litigated and it received federal funding, including a $1 million National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant last year. The 110,000-member Trout Unlimited likewise has sued and has received federal grants, records show.
Serving on Redding City Council, Rick Bosetti has always taken a proactive stance on Job Creation. In 2012 alone, Rick’s initiative has created over 750 new jobs and infused over $20 million of private investment into the local economy.
Rick is running for the California State Assembly District 1, and would appreciate your vote in November. For more information on the campaign, please visit:
PNP comment: Yes, this “fee” is really another tax. — Editor Liz Bowen
By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press
Posted: 08/13/2012 08:26:10 AM PDT
Updated: 08/13/2012 08:26:11 AM PDT
SACRAMENTO — More than 800,000 Californians who own property in wildfire country will begin receiving bills this week for a new annual fire-protection fee, rekindling outrage among rural residents and leading to a likely lawsuit seeking to overturn the surcharge.
The fee, passed by Democrats in the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, is intended to raise an estimated $84 million in its first year for fire-prevention efforts. The annual charge can run as high as $150 for property owners with a single occupied dwelling, although there is a $35 discount for those who already pay a local tax for fire protection.
The discount will apply to about 95 percent of rural property owners, but it’s not enough to quell the anger in the parts of California where the fee will apply.
“Everybody that knows about it is upset, but I think 90 percent of the public has no idea it’s coming. It’s going to be quite a shock,” said John Little of Laytonville, chief of the Long Valley Fire Protection District in rural Mendocino County.
He said the $115 annual bill will hurt residents in his 250-square-mile district. The region, between the Mendocino National Forest and the Pacific Ocean, has a jobless rate of 18 percent and many seniors living on fixed incomes.
The bills start going out Monday and will have been issued to more than 825,000 property owners by year’s end. They are being sent to counties in alphabetical order, so residents
of Alameda, Alpine and Amador counties will be first in line.
The fee was imposed on those who own property within the 31 million rural acres covered by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, a responsibility area that includes about one-third of the state.
Fire danger there is growing more extreme, according to a recent University of California, Merced study prepared for the California Energy Commission. Climate change, development and changes to the landscape may double the fire risk to rural homes over the next 40 years, researchers found. They predict the greatest increase in risk in Northern California’s foothills and mountains.
Brown sought the fee mostly to help close the state’s budget deficit, calling it “a fee consistent with the ‘beneficiary pays principle’,” in his signing message. If additional money can be raised and dedicated to CalFire, he reasoned, a similar amount could go to other state services that have experienced deep budget cuts.
The fee will help prevent more spending cuts for state firefighters, department spokesman Daniel Berlant said.
Over the last 18 months, the department has dealt with an $80 million budget cut by hiring 700 fewer seasonal firefighters, closing an air base in Fresno and mothballing five bulldozers and both of its fire engines serving the Lake Tahoe area because it lacked enough firefighters to operate them. Fire protection around Lake Tahoe is now provided by local fire districts and the U.S. Forest Service.
The fee will pay for the department’s existing fire-prevention efforts, including thinning brush and trees and clearing around homes.
Soon after the bills go out, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association plans to file a lawsuit to have the fee declared unconstitutional.
Association president Jon Coupal said the fee is actually a tax, which requires a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to enact. The fire fee passed on simple majority votes in the Assembly and Senate, without support from any Republican lawmakers.
There are two stories that have come to light recently, the first is the awarding of a contract to a munitions manufacturer for 450,000,000 hollow point rounds for the .40 caliber. The second story which I wrote, is how the Department of Homeland Security had already ordered 200,000,000 rounds of .40 caliber, but also ordered 15,000 gun cleaning kits for the .40 caliber weapons, and has put a request out for a virtual shooting gallery for the .40 caliber handguns.
650,000,000 round of ammunition is quite a bit of lead and brass. It will sure to drive the price of copper and brass way up. But Homeland Security is not alone in their requests. The other departments, the ones that handle mundane things like meat quality – believe they need to be armed to the teeth. It’s enough to make a non-paranoid person, well, paranoid.
The US Department of Agriculture put a bid in for a wide variety of ammunition. I guess raiding farms and raw milk dairies can be VERY dangerous work. The required rounds are listed below, and include shotgun slugs.
Frangible rounds – for those who don’t know, are rounds that are designed to break apart when they hit walls or other hard surfaces to prevent ricochets during close-quarters combat.
Added: Sep 28, 2011 5:15 pm
(1) 40 caliber, 180 grain, 120,000 rounds or equivalent,
(2) 9 mm, 124 grain, 50,000 rounds or equivalent,
(3) .38 caliber, 135 grain, 10,000 rounds or equivalent,
(4) .380 caliber, 90 grain, 6,000 rounds or equivalent,
(5) .223 caliber, 64 grain, 87,500 rounds or equivalent,
(6) 12 gauge 00 buck, 15,000 rounds or equivalent,
(7) 40 caliber frangible, 10,000 rounds or equivalent,
(8) 9 caliber frangible, 10,000 rounds or equivalent,
(9) .223 caliber frangible, 10,000 rounds or equivalent,
(10) 12 gauge 1 oz slug, 7,500 rounds or equivalent
The cartridges shall be delivered to Albuquerque, NM.
And the Department of the Interior needs ammunition as well, but much less, and put the order out on September 2011:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services require the following items, Exact Match Only, to the following:
2. Remington .40 Caliber Pistol Ammunition (180 grain) Full Metal Jacket – 6,000 rounds
3. Remington .223 Caliber Rifle Ammunition (62 grain) Full Metal Jacket – 3,000 rounds
4. Remington FX Marking Cartridges (9 mm) – 2,000 rounds
These requirements seem normal considering the possibility of running into grizzly bears and wolverines. These, to me, are acceptable quantities to order.
And of course the FBI needs about 100,000,000 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition for law enforcement needs. It posted the request November 15, 2011 and the order will be awarded this week. Oddly, it states a fixed price indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity type contract; however the pricing requirements go up to 100,000,000 rounds.
So with that large order, we now can move the total “excess” number of .40 caliber rounds that is needed by this administration to 750,000,000 rounds.
Because we live in a free society they feel they must be armed against Amish folk who want to sell people raw milk, like most humans on this planet drink. Maybe the USDA needs the ammunition to fight the evil cadre of “Lemonade Stands” that will soon be terrorizing people walking down sidewalks in Suburbia America.
How can a government justify 2.2 rounds per American citizen? Granted, ammunition does have a great shelf life, but this is utterly ridiculous!
PNP comment: Stan and Sharon Meagon live on the Klamath River near Ft. Geoff, which received lightning strikes last week. The fire has grown and is threatening homes. — Editor Liz Bowen
Hi everyone! Sure is good to have friends, I received many good e-mails and I appreciate each one. We are still at home, the smoke is getting thicker, and the fires getting closer. Thank goodness, there hasn’t been any wind so far. For a week now it has almost been windless, and that’s the good news.
There are two homes between us and the fire and last night assistance was called for the last of the two homes to save his structures. I have yet to go up and talk to anyone to find out how it’s going. I don’t think he lost anything because they’re are dozens of trucks and about 300 personnel on the scene. There is one more home between us and the fire and the fire seems to be closing in on that, although slowly.
At night the site is magnificent, if you can call it. The deadhead trees blaze up and light the night sky and the battle line for the fire seems to be about a half a mile long. We ran out of water yesterday because the forest service trimmed our ditch and left the trimmings in the ditch and the water backed up and left us dry.
My son-in-law and grandson went up and cleared a path for the water to come down, now we have water again, don’t know for how long. Funny thing about water. It’s kind of needed to fight fires. If you separate the elements of water you get hydrogen and oxygen. Separately they make deadly fires but together they put fires out, strange isn’t it? My grandson, Christopher, has just been called out to work on a fire in southern Oregon. The pay is good, but don’t know how long he will be gone. He runs a three-quarter ton pickup to take supplies back and forth.
We still have to stay home and be ready to move out at a moments notice. I have a filter set up in our home to filter the smoke out or we couldn’t breathe. Well, that’s the update, we are still alive and kicking and hoping the wind will not pick up. If it does everyone here is in a whole bunch of trouble. If we get a strong downriver or up River wind, like we sometimes do, I think some of the firefighters may pay the ultimate price. I hope not. Got to go, love to all of you.
PNP comment: With the amount of attacks by sharks on humans, it looks like the humans should be listed to the Endangered Species Act! This is just another pack of lies. — Editor Liz Bowen
By Jason Hoppin Bay Area News Group
Posted: 08/13/2012 01:11:35 PM PDT
Northern California environmentalists are teaming up to ask the state and federal government to step up protections for great white sharks, seeking to have them declared an endangered species deserving of the highest level of regulatory safeguards.
The request was filed with the federal National Marine Fisheries Service by Monterey-based Oceana and the San Francisco-based Center for Biological Diversity. If the federal agency decides to take up the petition, a decision would take more than a year.
“Our end goal is both the federal and state government listing the U.S. West Coast population of great white sharks as endangered,” said Ashley Blacow, a spokeswoman for Oceana, saying the groups are seeking added
California Shark Attack map
conservation measures, particularly when it comes to drift net and gill net fisheries.
Miyoko Sakashita, the Center for Biological Diversity’s oceans director, said the science around white sharks is only now emerging, including how distinct the West Coast population is and their relatively low numbers.
If approved, the designation could lead to greater habitat protections, stronger limits on bycatch and increased funding for studies.
“We do a lot of Endangered Species Act requests and it does tend to increase the science around a species,” Sakashita said.
The commercial and recreational fishing of white sharks is illegal in California, and the practice of shark-finning is banned along the western U.S.
But a handful of juvenile sharks are mistakenly caught in nets, an average of about 10 a year, Blacow said. Oceana suspects more incidental catches go unreported.
Like many areas of the United States, citizens in Siskiyou County are finding government regulations are destroying their RIGHTS. This includes Water Rights, Property Rights and Individual Rights. We believe in the Constitutions of the United States and State of California that provide RIGHTS for its citizens. We also believe these RIGHTS are being systematically reduced, which is resulting in tyranny from our governments -- at all levels.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the government should serve the people!