Thursday, May 9, 2019

Udall joins Grijalva in protecting public lands from foreign miners


Wyoming blasts through treaty lands and leaves mercury trails in its wake but the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming are not the only public lands plundered by foreign companies under cover of The General Mining Law of 1872. Arizona and New Mexico are being ravaged by mining, too.

The US Forest Service is often powerless to stop the extractive industry from permanently altering sensitive watersheds because of the 1872 law. Thunder Basin National Grassland west of Devil's Tower is at risk to the legislation, not to mention the ground impacted by another Canadian invasion in the form of a proposed strip mine for rare earth minerals north of Sundance.

In 2018 the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe passed resolutions condemning what they say are abuses of the General Mining Law of 1872 passed to pay Civil War debt leading to the Custer Expedition's discovery of gold in the Black Hills. Another earth hater wants to mine the Rochford area not far from Pe 'Sla on Forest Service ground:
[South Dakota] Department of Environment and Natural Resources engineer Eric Holm said this week that Dakota Resource submitted applications for permits for its project from the state in early August and that the applications were reviewed, site-inspected and approved, and only await deposit of a $20,000 reclamation bond before taking effect. [Tom Griffith, Hunting for the second Homestake]
The GOP-owned South Dakota Department of Ecocide and Natural Ruination (DENR) is a rubber stamp for earth scorching. I almost peed my pants when the Rapid City Journal editorial board said:
The 1872 Mining Act was signed by President Ulysses S. Grant at a time when the government was trying to encourage people to settle and develop the West. Updating it to shift cleanup costs and extract royalties would generate millions in federal revenue. Nearly 1,000 recent mining claims have been filed in the watershed of Montana's Blackfoot River (PDF). Congress should undertake a long overdue revision of this antiquated law.
Repeal or even reform of the 1872 statute has been thwarted repeatedly: only affected tribal nations who lost treaty ground and environmental lawyers can stop mining on public lands.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Black Hills Institute T-rex in New Mexico News

A 12 by 40-foot model of Stan, the Tyrannosaurus Rex whose fossilized bones were found by amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison in the Hell Creek Formation near Buffalo, South Dakota in 1987, was moved from the lobby of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science to Farmington to make room for Albuquerque's new Bisti Beast exhibit.

A team led by Pete Larson excavated and restored Stan then created models of what some call the world's second-finest T. rex fossil even after a politically motivated acting US Attorney for the District of South Dakota named Kevin Schieffer upended local control in 1992 and seized a T-Rex fossil named Sue from Pete Larson and the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in Hill City.
Unlike Fred Nuss, Larson had felt that Sotheby's estimate was overly optimistic, and he'd somehow talked an elderly South Dakota businessman named Stanford Adelstein into traveling to New York to bid on Sue and hopefully to bring the bones back to Hill City in triumph. Larson and Stan [Sacrison] had met in 1992 in Rapid City. A mutual friend and fellow fossil hunter had introduced them, and soon Stan was taking Larson out and showing him some bones that Larson immediately recognized as a T. rex. Larson named it after Stan. In 1993, Stan led Larson to another T. rex, which they named Duffy, after Larson's lawyer, Patrick Duffy, who was handling the criminal aspects of the Sue imbroglio. [excerpt, John Tayman, Boneheads: A tale of big money, prison, Disney World, and the world's foremost dinosaur-hunting twins]
Patrick Duffy v. Kevin Schieffer:
If you haven't had a chance to watch the amazing documentary Dinosaur 13 on CNN or elsewhere, you're missing out on an in-depth look at one of the most compelling but also agonizing incidents in Black Hills history. Despite the fact we benefit from a major federal military base, and are a recipient state when it comes to taking in federal money, and we benefit from several national parks, forests and monuments, many South Dakotans would rather that "the feds" keep their hands out of our business. [editorial, Rapid City Journal]
No shit, right? In 1990, Bush 41 was wimping out by not marching on Baghdad and Mike Verchio still owned the Continental Cafe in Hill City before it burned to the ground. In 2013 then-Governor Denny Daugaard appointed the disgraced Schieffer to the South Dakota Board of Regents.

Larson has just co-authored and published findings from a study of the effects that the Chicxulub impact had on the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction and on the Hell Creek Formation near Tanis, North Dakota: A seismically induced onshore surge deposit at the KPg boundary, North Dakota.







Wednesday, April 17, 2019

More wildlife pix uploaded


Cattle egret, Bosque del Apache



Turkey tom and harem, Bosque del Apache



Blue heron, Bosque del Apache



Pronghorn near Magdalena, New Mexico




Scott's Oriole near Red Rock Road, Santa Fe County, New Mexico



The Three Sisters are winter squash, maize, and climbing beans - food staples originating in Mexico but traded to the Mandan, Iroquois and others for thousands of years. Neighbor Lori is adding their spirits to the casita.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Therapeutic cannabis being considered for New Mexico inmate patients

Opioids are now killing more Americans than guns and car crashes so last month the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board recommended that both opioid and general substance abuse disorders should be qualifying conditions for cannabis as therapy.

Now, after Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 406 into law interpretations of the seminal Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act might apply to patients incarcerated in the state's corrections facilities.
Jessica Gelay, New Mexico policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, said her group would like to see inmates have access to any needed medication, including cannabis, but also said she would leave it up to state officials to interpret the law. “The Drug Policy Alliance firmly believes that people should not lose their rights when they are incarcerated and should not be prevented from using medicine that they need,” Gelay said. “Medical cannabis patients face discrimination in all walks of life, which is why protections are needed in policy in order to dismantle stigma and permit access.” [Interpretation of updated medical cannabis law could allow all inmates access]
Keeping the industry from the clutches of a monopoly has been contentious and lawmakers in New Mexico's Democrat-dominated legislature rejected a Republican plan that would have established state-run cannabis retail operations but they did decriminalize possession of up to one half ounce.

Ketamine, a Schedule III substance long considered a 'street drug' by some lawmakers and the law enforcement industry, is now being used to treat depression.

Tweaker Ed Laird's addiction to meth drove him to burglarize a still unknown number of properties to feed his madness so perhaps his rehabilitation will include therapeutic cannabis while he serves his sentence.

New Mexico's therapeutic cannabis program is nearing 71,000 patients.