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Browsing the blog archives for October, 2014.

California diverts water from farmers to wildlife refuges

Agriculture - California, State gov, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality, Wildlife

Washington Examiner.com

By Paul Gonzalez | October 30, 2014 | 2:01 pm

As California’s Central Valley struggles through one of the worst droughts in state history, a group of farmers say the region was illegally denied access to water by the state.

The Friant Water Authority, a water-rights advocacy group representing thousands of farmers from the San Joaquin Valley, has filed a suit against the California State Water Resources Board, which took emergency measures this year to ration California’s dwindling water reserves.

An executive order issued in late April by California Gov. Jerry Brown increased the scope of the agency’s authority, but east Valley farmers say ration policies from the board prevented farmers, including those with “senior water rights”, from getting any of the water needed to sustain their farms.

While farming operations suffered and unemployment rates approached historical highs in the Valley, wildlife refuges and California’s State Water Project which provides water to Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco were given priority over the senior water-rights holders whose claims reach as far back as the 1800s.

The decisions forced lawmakers to aggressively tap water supplies in Northern California such as Millerton Lake, literally leaving high and dry not only farmers but also cities dependent on those reservoirs. The resulting “zero water allocation” policy levied against these communities was the first in over 60 years for the region.

In a statement to the Fresno Bee, Friant Water Authority representative Jennifer Buckman summarized the situation stating “the state’s orders had the effect of putting birds on the refuges ahead of people in small east-side communities.”

While state policy has unquestionably had a crippling effect on Valley farming communities, its legality has yet to be determined by the Fresno County Superior Court.


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Bear in fatal, unprovoked New Jersey attack acted ‘predatory,’ authorities say


Fox News

Associated Press

Authorities say the first known fatal bear attack in New Jersey was unprovoked and the bear was acting in a “predatory” manner.

Officials attribute the death of a 22-year-old Rutgers University student from Edison to “mauling.”

Darsh Patel was hiking with four friends in the Apshawa Preserve last month when they noticed the bear following them. The group scattered, and Patel’s friends, who were not injured, called police when they realized he was missing.

A search team found Patel’s body, which showed signs of a bear attack. A nearby bear was destroyed.

The Record newspaper reports West Milford police and the Environmental Protection Department issued a statement saying the bear did not seem interested in food. Officials said the bear exhibited “stalking type behavior.”


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KNF – Community After Action Reviews for the 2014 Season Klamath Fires

FIRES, Forestry & USFS

Oct. 30, 2014

Klamath National Forest News Release

Yreka, CA – The Klamath National Forest has scheduled eight community meetings for community discussion regarding the Little Deer, Logs, Whites, and Beaver Fires as well as Happy Camp Complex. The goal of these meetings is to reflect upon experiences from the 2014 fires and share lessons learned; use the experiences from 2014 to improve wildfire response, ecosystem resilience and fire adapted communities; and to continue to build fire-related partnerships in local communities.

Presentations are planned in the following communities:

November 7th 5:00-7:00pm Yreka at Winema Hall at the Fairgrounds
November 10th 12:00-2:00pm Klamath River at the Klamath River Community Center
November 10th 5:00-7:00pm Macdoel at the Butte Valley Fire Hall
November 11th 6:00-8:00pm Seiad at the Seiad Fire Hall
November 12th 4:00pm-6:00pm Sawyer’s Bar at the Salmon River Restoration Council
November 12th 12:00-2:00pm Happy Camp at the Happy Camp Grange Hall
November 13th 6:00pm-8:00pm Scott Bar: at the Community Hall

November 14th 2:00-4:00pm Fort Jones at the Fort Jones Community Center

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Help start a Siskiyou County Chapter of the California Republican Assembly on 11-6-14

Siskiyou County





The Informational Meeting will be:
Thursday, Nov. 6th 2014
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Purple Plum Restaurant
105 E. Miner St.
Yreka, CA. 96097

No host social hour at 5:30 PM
Meeting starts promptly at 6:30 PM

Please consider attending and become a founding member.

A minimum of 15 members are required to officially form the Siskiyou County Chapter of the California Republican Assembly. The California Republican Assembly is a socially conservative Republican group for men and women. Ronald Regan called the California Republican Assembly the “conscience of the Republican Party.”

For more information, please contact:
Louise Gliatto (530) 842-5443

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The Bundy Affair – The Revenge of the BLM

Agriculture, Bundy Battle - Nevada, Bureau of Land Management, Constitution, CORRUPTION, Federal gov & land grabs

The Bundy Affair – The Revenge of the BLM


By Gary Hunt  October 30, 2014

The Bundy Affair - The Revenge of the BLM

Do you understand the difference between Rules and Laws? Laws are enacted in accordance with the Constitution, where the House of Representatives and the Senate concur on a Bill. The Bill then goes to the President, who can sign it into law. We needn’t discuss veto, here, as that has nothing to do with what we need to understand.


A Rule (Note: Rule includes regulations) is the desire of unelected officials in Administrative Agencies to implement laws without Constitutional authority. They become Rules when they are posted in the Federal Register, opened for comment, and then, after 90 days(with various exceptions, extensions, etc.), they are entered in the U. S. Code, having all of the appearance of Laws. The comment period, however, is only token—unless there is a major outcry.

Congress created the Administrative Agencies in their current form in 1946, and the Congressional Record shows that Congress admitted that they were creating a Fourth Branch of Government in the Administrative Agencies. So, put behind you the notion that the Congress enacts all “Laws” (forget that School House Rock stuff). They have abrogated their Constitutional obligation to be the only source of Laws. There is absolutely no authority to delegate that responsibility.

Article I, Section 1—All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

“All” used to mean ALL, when it was written.


The process of Rulemaking is ripe for intervention by lobbyists

Congress, however, has “plausible deniability”, since they don’t enact the “Rules”, only the laws that gave the agencies the power, as unelected officials (hired underlings), with no real allegiance except to their power, to take advantage of their position and assumed authority. Congressional representatives can be “fired” at the polls, though these administrative minions are protected by the Civil Service Act (”The act provided selection of government employees by competitive exams, rather than ties to politicians or political affiliation. It also made it illegal to fire or demote government employees for political reasons…” – Wikipedia), and are almost impossible to get rid of.

An interesting aspect of the Rules is that many Rules have punitive actions if you fail to comply, but there are no punitive actions if the agency/agent fails to comply. There is also no means to punish those agents/agencies that violate their own Rules. It is sort of like the King and his minions can do no wrong. However, we subjects of his government, had better lockstep in obedience, or we will be punished.

A recent example is the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the Bundy Affair. BLM solicited certified inspectors to violate the law regarding both brand and health inspections. They also arranged for an auction house to ignore laws that require brand and inspection certificates before the cattle could be legally auctioned. Finally, the BLM killed privately owned livestock, and no one on the government side is being prosecuted for their crimes against both Rules and Laws.

The process of Rulemaking is ripe for intervention by lobbyists. They are paid “representatives” of clients who seek an advantage, either economic, social, or ideological. The last two will, most often, result in economic advantage, at least indirectly.

Plight of the Desert Tortoise

Another problem is Rules being promulgated for revenge. Let’s take, for instance, the result of the Bureau of Land Management’s effort, last April, to give the Desert Tortoise a “preserve”, by removal of the Bundy cattle from their historical grazing allotment. Fact has no role in their decision, since a study (Plight of the Desert Tortoise) suggests that since the deer and the antelope don’t play there anymore, the cattle do more to provide for the Desert Tortoise than any harm they might cause. This is demonstrated in the fact that the Deseret Tortoise has co-existed with the cattle, for over a century, with no apparent damage to the Tortoise population.

Now, in transparent vindictiveness, and seeking revenge for the embarrassment the BLM suffered when the rustled cattle were unrustled (when the cattle were taken back from the rustlers – BLM). That was when America stood, in an act of Civil Defiance against them, forcing them to put their tails between their legs, cower, and slink away, the BLM has another means of retaliation for the defeat that they suffered.

Judging by the attitude and arrogance demonstrated by the BLM agents and their hired help during the first two weeks of April, it was understood and often stated that they would retaliate by whatever means they had at their disposal. Predictably, those who direct BLM have joined the fray, using their “Rulemaking Authority” to punish not just the Bundys – nearly every person in Clark County, as well as some in Lincoln and Nye Counties who lives in a rural or agricultural area. They are restricting uses of substantial portions of the public land in Southern Nevada. The entire: Federal Register Notice.

They are doing so by proposing Four Alternatives (PDF file) based upon a government concept called Zero Based Budgeting (ZBB). ZBB begins with a status quo alternative, then proposes alternatives that are greater than what is current. Usually, there is an escalation in the various alternatives. In the instance, Alternative #1 is status quo. Alternative #2 is the greatest amount of change; Alternative #3 is less change, and finally Alternative #4, with the least change. In Alternatives 2, 3, & 4, there is a very pronounce inclusion into what is referred to as “Cultural/Biologic” area, the most severe restrictions, including trail, roads, camping, and essentially any human activity, and all three completely surround the Bundy Ranch. That Cultural/Biological area that abuts the Bundy property is, by far, the largest area of change in any of the Alternatives (shown below), and the only one, with a few very minor areas, that is consistent through all three plans.

So, someone could argue that there is remote possibility that this is not directed (revenge) at the Bundys, you can weigh the evidence, yourself, and decide.

Considering that all Alternatives afford protection for the Desert Tortoise and other critters, birds, insect, reptiles, etc., perhaps the government wants to amend the Preamble to the Constitution to:

“We the Animals of the United States…”

Therefore, we find that it is up to us, “We the People”, to do what is necessary to put the government back in its proper role as servants of, not master of, the People.

A start would be to play their game, by their rules…for the time being

How can we achieve this? A start would be to play their game, by their rules, for the time being. We can see if the voice of the People will have weight on the final decision of those unelected bureaucrats at the BLM. As stated above, there is a 90-day period where this proposed rule is open to comments. So, rather than resorting to an effort that might lead to a violent confrontation, at this point, our energy should be directed at asserting our feelings on this matter. There are a number of ways to register your comment, for the record, though all of them will identify you. There is no means of anonymity, but, heck, they know who you are, anyway. The following is from the Federal Register Notice:

  • You may submit comments related to the Las Vegas and Pahrump Field Offices Draft RMP/Draft EIS by any of the following methods:

  • Web site: www.blm.gov

  • Email: sndo_rmp_revision@blm.gov

  • Fax: 702-515-5023

  • Mail: BLM Southern Nevada District Office, Las Vegas/Pahrump Field Offices Draft RMP/Draft EIS, 4701 N. Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89130.


  • Lee Kirk, RMP Team Lead, telephone: ; address: 4701 N. Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89130; email: sndo_rmp_revision@blm.gov.

To make comments, begin with reference to the:

Notice of Availability Las Vegas and Pahrump Field Offices Draft Resource Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Nevada

My suggestion, to regain what was and should be, would be along the lines of:

* * *

I demand that you retain the status quo, also known as Alternative #1. Further expansion of restrictions on OUR Public Lands is unacceptable.

Further, since it has been proven that ranging cattle are beneficial to the Desert Tortoise, that any grazing allotments, past or present be reopened for grazing, under the original conditions, and that any future request, within such Desert Tortoise protection areas, be granted, when requested.

Please record my comment, as stated above.

Molon Labe (Come and Take It)

* * *

Now, this may seem like a waste of time. But, please, think again. If we set forth our position in sufficient numbers, and they fail to heed, then we have justified any subsequent action, and they have proven that we are merely specks unworthy of consideration.

Between now and January 10, we can participate—and, plan for the eventuality that we will be ignored on paper—but not in fact.

The question we must understand, and answer properly, is, “Are the people to serve the Government, or, is the government to serve the People?”


Gary Hunt was a Professional Land Surveyor. Having been the County Surveyor for Orange County, Florida from 1974 to 1978, he began private practice in 1978 and continued as such until 1993, when events in Waco, Texas caused him to leave his business in pursuit of restoring the Constitution.

In 1989, he began researching, investigating and studying history, law and events where the government was “pointing its guns in the wrong direction”. He began publishing a patriot newspaper, “Outpost of Freedom”, in February 1993.

Since that time, he has investigated numerous occurrences, including, Waco, the Murder of Michael Hill, Ohio Militia Chaplain, Oklahoma City Bombing, and other events. He has attended the sites to investigate the events, and has reported on his investigations.

He has continued to report on his findings on the Internet, as well as write articles about other current events; about the history of the Revolutionary era; and the founding documents.

His Internet home page is outpost-of-freedom.com

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State Sovereignty at Its Most Basic: Control of Land

American Lands Council, Constitution, CORRUPTION, Federal gov & land grabs


by Karla Jones

State sovereignty at its most basic is the ability of a state to control its own land. Earlier this month, 95 state and locally elected officials joined a variety of experts from 14 states in Salt Lake City to draft and ratify a statement calling for land currently held by the federal government to be transferred to the states. Officials at the summit included Alaska’s Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell; Utah Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart and state Senator Jennifer Fielder of Montana.

The statement, which was ratified unanimously at the gathering, calls for the federal government to honor the agreement it made with all states upon their establishment to transfer public land over to

American Lands Council Public Policy Statement

This is an old problem that is rapidly gaining momentum. The federal government held the lands that would become the United States of America in trust, but agreed to transfer control in a timely fashion as this land had been apportioned to establish states. While land control in Eastern states, where the federal government manages only three to four percent of land, was successful, the federal government failed to transfer management of land in Western states. The federal government controls over 50 percent of the landmass in Western states, and in states like Nevada, the percentage is far higher.

The signatories to the public policy statement point out that states can manage their lands more responsibly and productively than the federal government. They also argue that, contrary to the claims of environmental activists, there is little incentive for states to sell off public lands because of the Statehood Enabling Acts. The Enabling Acts require that 95 percent of the proceeds from federal land sales must be deposited in the national treasury.

There is also an economic incentive to land transference. Lt. Gov. Treadwell remarked that Canada’s Yukon and Northwest territories now control lands previously held by the Canadian federal government, making it difficult for Alaska’s energy industry to compete with Canadian energy producers that can offer consumers more certainty.

The cost to the states of the federal government’s mismanagement goes beyond revenue, presenting an environmental and safety hazard as well. For instance, the signatories cited numerous instances where federally managed forest land has been allowed to grow unchecked, presenting a regional wildfire hazard.

National parks, Indian Reservations, Military Posts and congressionally designated wilderness areas are excluded from the Statement’s requested transfer.

Eastern states also have a stake in this issue. During the post-Summit press conference, Rep. Alan Clemmons (R-SC) observed that the federal government manages the public lands at a loss, meaning that all American taxpayers ultimately pay for federal mismanagement.

Control over land is one of the most fundamental rights of the states. No entity exercises better stewardship over the land than the citizens who live there and know it best. It is time for the federal government to honor its promise to transfer control of public lands to the respective states.

This article was originally published at American Legislator.


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Obama ‘not finished’ naming monuments

Federal gov & land grabs

10-27-2014 » Page 20
Western Livestock Journal

President Obama’s recent designation of a 350,000-acre national monument in southern California has many westerners wondering, “What’s next?” Since taking office, Obama has created or expanded 13 national monuments, primarily located in the West and totaling over 3 million acres. “And I’m not finished,” Obama said at the announcement of the San Gabriel Mountains monument designation in California this month.
What is a national monument? What’s in store for the local people who live near a monument? We spoke with Dave Eliason, a Utah rancher and Public Lands Council (PLC) Vice President, who has testified before Congress on the subject.
“It’s basically another way to put public lands off-limits,” said Eliason, who testified before Congress last year on behalf of PLC. He described monuments as an effective wilderness designation—but without the deliberation of Congress. In his state’s experience, he said national monuments have detrimental effects—socially, economically, and environmentally.
Under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906, U.S. presidents may designate a monument with the stroke of a pen and without the consent of Congress, local governments or affected citizens. According to the Act, national monument designations of federal property are meant to ensure the “proper care and management” of “historic landmarks” and other “objects of historic or scientific interest.” The law also states that monuments “shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects.” But in recent decades, presidents have begun designating thousands—sometimes millions—of acres at a time. At times, these designations have affected water rights, grazing rights, and access to state and private land.
Eliason cited an example from his state: the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, designated by President Clinton in 1996. This nearly 2 million-acre national monument took the state of Utah and local citizens by surprise. The monument still draws the ire of affected locals. Since the 1996 designation, traditional uses such as livestock grazing have sharply dropped off on the Grand Staircase. Eliason told WLJ that some schools in the surrounding area may be forced to close, and ranching families with private property within the boundaries of the monument have had to sell out. The area’s abundant oil and coal deposits are also off limits, thanks to the designation.
Despite the negative economic effects of the Grand Staircase example, a White House press release issued after this month’s monument designation stated that a recent study of over a dozen monuments found that “without exception, local economies grew following the monument’s designation.” However, Eliason said there’s plenty of research refuting that assertion. Researchers at Utah State University and Southern Utah University found in 2011 that per-capita income in counties within the Grand Staircase monument was $1,799 below that of comparable counties. The group referenced in the White House press release, Headwaters Economics, is biased against productive multiple uses such as grazing, Eliason said. The professors at Utah State University and Southern Utah University have reportedly not been able to duplicate their findings. According to the Utah professors’ research, counties in the vicinity of special land designations have overall lower per capita income, lower total payroll, and lower total tax receipts when compared to analogous counties not encumbered by special designations.
“All this doesn’t even begin to take into account the environmental damage that’s done when the federal government starts taking a ‘hands-off’ approach to land management,” Eliason said. “The ironic thing is, most of these areas are in the ‘special’ state they’re in precisely because managers, such as ranchers, have been stewarding them for decades. Monument designations, by definition, mean a change in that management.”
The debate about the economic and environmental effects of existing monuments is important. A document leaked by the administration in 2010 revealed that many more thousands of acres could be slated for designation in the remaining two years of Obama’s presidency. That’s why, Eliason said, he testified on behalf of PLC in support of legislation to reform the Antiquities Act.
“We’ve got to amend the language so that the Act is implemented the way Congress intended,” he said.
“The bill I testified in support of would do that.”
That bill, the Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act, was introduced by U.S. Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT), the chairman of the public lands subcommittee. Among other safeguards, the bill would require NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) analysis on proposed monument designations larger than 5,000 acres.
“NEPA is supposed to be required any time the federal government takes a major action that is likely to significantly impact the human environment—and a large monument designation certainly does that,” Eliason said.
Representative Bishop’s bill passed the House of Representatives this spring, but has seen no action by the Senate. PLC has supported other bills this session that would ensure state and local government approval of monuments, but so far none of them has been made law.
“We’re hopeful something moves before the end of President Obama’s term,” Eliason told WLJ. “He’s made it no secret that he intends to lock up more acres with this misapplication of the Antiquities Act.”

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Cattle shootings worsen in remote areas of northern Nevada

Agriculture, cattle

10-27-2014 » Page 8

Western Livestock Journal

— Ranchers of shot cattle suspect environmentalists, pot growers
Ranchers are fit to be tied about the indiscriminate shooting of some 65 cattle in recent months across a wide swath of remote northern Nevada. A reward for the arrest and conviction of the culprits has climbed to more than $25,000 since last week’s coverage.
“If frontier justice were still in force, it probably would not be good if they were caught,” said Stephanie Licht, Executive Director of the Elko-based Nevada Cattlemen’s Association (NCA) since July. “It just makes you sick to heart.”
Licht estimates Nevada’s livestock losses from the shootings exceed $250,000 when calving potential and production are factored into the equation. Of the 65 head shot, 10 were killed and 55 are walking wounded with several sustaining gut shots, she told the Western Livestock Journal.
One bull was shot three times, and the entrails of some cattle are hanging from their wounds. Others have scabbed over. All of the shootings have happened on either U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public range lands, none on private property.
The first 22 head of cattle shot late last summer were found on three ranches in the Susie Creek area of Elko County. Five were killed; 17 injured. The shootings have continued through Oct. 15. Many of the animals have been shot on their right sides by either shotguns or small caliber weapons.
“We have not polled our members at this time because they are bringing cattle off the range. Some don’t know about it until they run their cattle through the chutes” and discover their wounds, Licht said, noting the NCA has about 525 members.
Ranchers, hunters, business people, state officials and others have kicked in funds to boost the reward’s amount, hoping that will halt the cattle abuse. Under a revised Nevada statute, harassing, maiming, mutilating or killing cattle are Class D felonies with stiff penalties.
Other shootings have been in Humboldt County’s Martin Basin about 125 miles due west of Elko and 25 miles north of Winnemucca. The cattle of four ranchers there were involved. Another rancher northeast of Battle Mountain “lost a bunch of cattle.” Nine cattle north of Wells also were hurt.
Licht suspects someone on trail bikes has been inflicting the harm, chasing the cattle until they drop. The assailants also have vandalized gates and fences.
Licht noted that Nevada is one of the most arid, mountainous states in the union.
She earned degrees in animal science and general agriculture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She and her late first husband started working as itinerant ranch hands in 1975, working 10 ranches in Utah and Nevada for 12 years.
Licht also worked as Executive Secretary for the Nevada Woolgrowers and Sheep Commission, and as a field representative for the Nevada Farm Bureau for nine years.
Making matters worse for ranchers is the BLM using outdated drought information to force cattle producers off public lands despite good rains in August and September, she said. The Nevada Land Action Association has filed an appeal against the BLM using such data and coercing ranchers to either voluntarily cut their herds or be forced to reduce them.
“So, we’re between a rock and a hard place. Some don’t realize people have been herding cattle for meat, milk and clothing since the eighth day. Now they want to tell us we can’t,” Licht said, estimating Nevada cattle numbers are down 40 percent since 1970. “There are still guys plowing with yaks and water buffalo elsewhere in the world.”
Kris Stewart and her husband Fred run the 96 Ranch north of Winnemucca in Paradise Valley. The ranch is more than 150 years old. Fred’s great grandfather started it the same year Nevada became a state. Fred is a fourth generation rancher. Their daughter, Patrice, 16, is a fifth generation one.
Kris Stewart told WLJ that the Nevada cattle being intentionally wounded outnumber those being killed by a 3:1 ratio. As cattle are being rounded up, some are showing fresh wounds while others have scabbed over. Birds and coyotes quickly clean the cattle’s skeletal remains when the livestock die.
“The way we believe they were killed and why we think there were gun shots is they dropped where they stood, landing on top of their own chests,” Stewart said about the cattle.
The Stewarts have lost 13 cattle, with three shot dead and the rest injured, out of a herd of 700 mother cows. Because of Nevada’s significant drought, the Stewarts turned out a reduced number—between 500 and 540 pairs—on range land.
When her husband noticed milk squirting from the mouth of one calf, he discovered that the calf had part of its jaw shot off. It was hit by either shotgun pellets, bird shot or small caliber bullets.
“When you see a little calf with its jaw blown off, you think: ‘What kind of a person does that?’” she said, stressing she does not think hunters, campers or recreationalists are to blame.
Stewart suspects those guilty of the crimes are either marijuana growers in the area trying to protect their pot crops or radical environmentalists who want to purge livestock from public lands. The Western Watersheds Project the past four years has more aggressively sought to remove grazing cattle from public lands.
Bow hunters, whose hunting season is among the earliest to start, have accidentally stumbled on pot farms only to have rifles pointed at them by proprietors. Nevada’s remoteness, desert environment, high elevation, steepness and water sources have made it a good area to secretly grow marijuana plants the past six or eight years, she said.
The growth in Nevada’s marijuana operations has coincided with the Western Watersheds Project’s lawsuits against federal agencies to protect riparian areas, Stewart noted.
“I think that there’s sort of a renewed feeling that maybe you ought to pack (guns for protection) when you ride up there,” she said, wondering if she should take GPS readings for water rights by herself. “It’s a bad deal. It makes you wonder if you’re safe. It makes you rethink how you work your permits.”
Most ranchers expect the loss of one or two animals a year from hunters accidentally shooting them or other mishaps. Negative economic conditions also can cause cattle losses to climb.
“Particularly when the economy is bad, people kill and butcher the cows right there and the meat is gone. We don’t get too upset. More than the killing of the animals, which is upsetting, is watching the animals come home hurt and wounded. It seems to be some type of a campaign,” Stewart said.
She hopes those shooting and killing the cattle will either be caught or driven out of the area by the increased publicity. “We don’t think it’s sportsmen. … This is way beyond the tiny losses we might take year to year with accidents up there.” — Mark Mendiola, WLJ Correspondent

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Ranchers talk transferring fed’s land to states

Agriculture, Constitution, Federal gov & land grabs, State gov

10-27-2014 » Page 1
Western Livestock Journal

Better access, healthier resources, and more productivity on public lands: These are the benefits westerners can expect if federal lands are turned over to the states, according to the American Lands Council.
At a recent council meeting in Salt Lake City, UT, some 90 individuals from 14 states convened to discuss the prospect of transferring the majority of federal lands to state ownership. The federal government owns at least 30 percent of each state west of the Rockies—all told, about 50 percent of the West. The result, according to nonprofit groups like American Lands Council and the Sutherland Coalition for Self-Government in the West, is that those states are losing out on millions of dollars of revenue each year. The revenues brought in from state lands are typically used chiefly for public schools, among other public services.
The movement to transfer federal lands to state control is founded on the contention that federal land ownership is preventing citizens of the western states from fully benefiting from the natural resources in their states. The American Lands Council meeting in Salt Lake brought together state and county representatives to discuss ongoing actions and strategies in various western states to bring about the transfer of some 640 million total acres of multiple-use federal lands.
In attendance was Demar Dahl, a Nevada rancher, county commissioner, and Chairman of American Lands Council’s board. Hailing from a state that is roughly 85 percent federally owned, Dahl knows well the challenges that accompany federal land ownership. He was one of many to have joined part of the “Grass March” this month, a coast-to-coast horseback ride held by ranchers to protest a BLM drought policy that’s threatening generations-old ranch operations in Nevada.
Dahl acknowledged that many ranchers are concerned that grazing rights may be threatened if the status quo of federal land ownership is altered. But he noted that, even in spite of the Taylor Grazing Act and other federal laws meant to protect grazing rights, federal regulations and litigation are eliminating federal land grazing at an alarming rate.
“It’s time for us to take our heads out of the sand and face the facts,” Dahl said in an interview. “The federal agencies are stealing our grazing permits—that’s the elephant in the room that we can’t afford to keep ignoring.”
Dahl chaired a task force created by the Nevada Legislature to study the predicted effects of transferring the federal lands in Nevada to the state. The task force, which is comprised of representatives of 17 Nevada counties, recently released its study. The study took a phased-in approach that would first transfer about 10 percent of the state’s federal lands to Nevada. Transferring those 7 million acres alone could bring in anywhere from $31 million to $114 million a year, the report found. Dahl said he expects Nevada Legislature to consider a resolution asking Congress to transfer Nevada’s federal lands to the state.
Dahl said other states have either passed similar legislation or are in the process of crafting it. Utah is the first state to have passed legislation calling for a land transfer. American Lands Council promoted that legislation; in fact, the bill was originally introduced by the Council’s President, Utah state Legislator Ken Ivory. Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming have also created task forces to study the transfer concept. Others reportedly working on legislation or resolutions include New Mexico, Arizona and Alaska, which was represented in Salt Lake by nine people, including the state’s lieutenant governor. Washington, Oregon and Colorado are looking closely at the issue as well, according to Dahl.
Even South Carolina was represented at the Salt Lake City meeting. While the state is not directly affected by large federal land holdings, the legislature passed a resolution of support for the western states’ efforts. Dahl also noted that several large organizations have ratified policy supporting the land transfer, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Association of Counties, and the Republican National Committee.
Leaders in the movement acknowledge that national legislation will have to be enacted in order for the transfer to take effect. Building that support is a primary goal of the American Lands Council and the Sutherland Coalition for Self-Governance in the West.
“The time has to be right before we expect anyone to come forward with national legislation,” said Carl Graham, who directs the Sutherland Coalition and works closely with American Lands Council. “We have supporters in Congress, but we want to be sure we have a strong base of support coming from the grassroots.”
Graham told WLJ that he knew the movement had no legs if the livestock industry opposes it. Some 22,000 ranchers hold grazing rights on federal land. While transferring the lands might be appealing to ranchers in many states, some in the industry are concerned about how long-held grazing rights will be safeguarded in the process.
Utah rancher Dave Eliason, Vice President of Public Lands Council, attended the Salt Lake City meeting and spoke to these concerns. PLC is a Washington, DC-based organization representing ranchers with federal lands grazing rights. Eliason said that while the Utah Cattlemen’s Association (a PLC affiliate) has policy supporting the land transfer concept, PLC does not currently have policy on the issue.
“At this point, PLC is looking at the idea, and we’re watching to see what our other affiliates (western state cattlemen’s and woolgrowers’ associations) might adopt as policy,” Eliason said. “Protecting our water rights and our grazing rights under the Taylor Grazing Act is our main concern, and there are questions as to how that will be ensured.”
Eliason and Dahl both pointed out that American Lands Council’s policy statement, adopted at the Salt Lake meeting, specifically calls for the safeguarding of existing rights and multiple uses, such as grazing.
“But the devil’s in the details, and how those rights would be secured in each state,” Eliason said.
While the livestock industry is eyeing the concept, Carl Graham said “the long knives are out” for the idea when it comes to certain other groups—members of what he calls the “for-profit environmental industry.” These groups, Graham says, oppose the concept because they will no longer be able to profit from litigating the federal government based on federal regulations.
“Laws like the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act give these groups endless opportunities to sue the government when it comes to federal land management,” Graham said.
“And then laws like the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) and the Judgment Fund allow these groups to get reimbursed with taxpayer dollars.”
Graham said the “for-profit environmental industry” stands to lose big if these lands get transferred, so they’re trying to control messaging to scare the public about the transfer idea.
“These groups talk about environmental destruction and loss of access if the transfer happens, when in fact we expect the exact opposite to happen,” said Graham. “States are more accountable to their citizens than the federal government is, and are more likely to respond to citizens’ needs. Ken Ivory said it best when he said that ‘access, health and productivity’ are going to increase on these multiple-use federal lands, if we can get them turned over to the states.” — Theodora Dowling, WLJ Correspondent

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Go shooting on Nov. 15


Sporting Clay Tournament  is Nov. 15 in Corning

Also on Nov. 15, the Tehama Jefferson Committee is hosting a Sporting Clay Tournament as a fundraising event. Time is 8 a.m. for signups.

It will be held at the Rolling Hills Casino. Each county is invited to send delegates to shoot for a great cause. Lunch and awards ceremony will take place after the shooting and non-shooters are welcome.

Cost per shooter is $100 and $20 for non shooter.

Lunch is included for both.

Spaces are filling up, so get entered today!

Call Karin Knorr at 530-824-4035 to enter. Please enter or RSVP by Thurs. Oct. 30, 2014.

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