Monday, June 29, 2015

Appeals court revives NM tribe claim to federal land, hope for Black Hills claim

Ernestine Chasing Hawk, Native Sun News Managing Editor sent this story to the Missoula-based Buffalo Post:

In 2008, during a campaign stop in Sioux Falls then Sen. Barak [sic] Obama gave Great Plains Indian tribes a ray of hope on the outcome of the century’s long legal battle over “theft of 48 million acres of their homeland.” However one of the key elements to resolving the issue is “bringing together all the different parties” and with each passing day their “window of opportunity” shrinks as time ticks away for the Obama-Biden administration.
Attorney Mario Gonzales has been litigating the "Black Hills Claim" for most of his life. He contends that the commission charged to make peace with tribes inserted language into the document signed in 1868 that Red Cloud had neither seen nor agreed to in negotiations.
A federal appeals court has revived an effort by a Native American community in northern New Mexico to reclaim the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Jemez Pueblo considers the nearly 140-square-mile swath of federally-managed public land as a spiritual sanctuary and part of its traditional homeland. The ruling comes as the National Park Service works to take over management of the preserve under legislation approved last December. While the agency hasn’t commented on the litigation, it says it has a good relationship with the pueblo. [Albuquerque Journal]

Ms. Chasing Hawk goes on to say:

The 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty gave the Sioux 60 million acres of land west of the Missouri. Gonzalez points out that the Sioux were never militarily defeated by the U.S. and would never have signed the 1868 Treaty had they thought they were ceding any land to the U.S. Arriving at Fort Laramie via Cheyenne in November, the Commission under General W. T. Sherman was dismayed to find no Sioux to parley with as planned. Red Cloud refused to come in until the garrisons at Forts Reno, Phil Kearny and C. F. Smith were withdrawn. The Commission acceded and in March, 1868 the President ordered their abandonment.

The legal battle over what has been referred to as Docket 74-A which began in 1922 is based on the argument that the Sioux never gave up any land and that the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty was treaty of peace, not a treaty of cession. In 1980 Supreme Court said the Sioux were entitled to a mere $40 million dollars (Docket 74-A) for the “ceded land’ and na-cu (using a Lakota lexicon, na is and, cu is dew) the government wanted money back for the rations and other annuities they gave the Sioux in the 1800’s. This government action attests to the origin of the cliché, “Indian givers.” In 1980, the Supreme Court also awarded the tribe $106 million dollars (Docket 74-B) on the ground the U.S. had taken the Black Hills and paid no just compensation in violation of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment. As a result, the tribe realized almost none of the vast mineral wealth yielded by their stolen land.
One paragraph really caught my eye:
And according to Edward Lazarus during his last days in office, Democratic “Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle did a neat little favor for one of his corporate constituents. As a rider to the defense appropriation bill, he attached a provision granting absolute immunity to the Barrick Gold Company of Toronto for any liability arising from the 125-year operation of its Homestake Mine, a gold-bearing gash in the Black Hills of South Dakota.”
Mr. Obama, it's time for for you, Mr. President, to dissolve the Black Hills National Forest; and, in cooperation with BIA Forestry and Wildfire Management, rename it Okawita Paha National Monument then make it part of the Greater Missouri Basin National Wildlife Refuge.

ip images of Valles Caldera.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Nanny state hypocrisy: bikers and FLDS good, hippies bad

A shootout in Waco, Texas has resulted in the deaths of and injuries to several members of motorcycle clubs encouraged by a law enforcement industry that benefits from programs like Policing for Profit. Cops usually just turn away from the misery of forced prostitution that often plies kidnap victims to become playthings for abusive men.

The same is the case during the Sturgis Rally where girls as young as ten are bought and sold like methamphetamine, Wild Turkey or souvenir t-shirts.

Thanks to selective enforcement white thugs have carte blanche to commit flagrant criminal acts during the Rally. A long history of lawlessness can make the event highly virulent attracting common parasites who breed in the cesspools of human existence.

Gangs of armed men with mental illnesses and addictions to meth power their way into western South Dakota every year; and, an accepted outlaw biker culture routinely traffics illicit behaviors that would otherwise be subject to legal interdiction.

But, a red moocher state like South Dakota is powered by sin: video lootery, a loan shark industry that preys on the least fortunate and a too-big-to-jail banking racket fill in the gaps created by lobbyists who enjoy the protection of single-party tyranny. Desperate to pay off those who benefit the entrenched Republican establishment criminals have a champion sitting as attorney general.

Marty Jackley has proved his commitment to his political party while ignoring the plights of those living at the margins of South Dakota society and lives to reap the spoils of those exploits. His minions are going through the motions of pretending to care about order during the Rally even as the state plots the financial gains from rape and plunder.

The Sons of Silence, Bandidos and Hells Angels control organized crime in the Black Hills area where members have infiltrated nearly every community even operating Rapid City's Cornerstone Rescue Mission as a front for their activities. The Bandidos have a fortified compound in Rapid Valley and the Hells Angels own many properties in the area including the Cottonwood in Spearfish.
Thank you for your help Larry. I hadn’t even seen the story Todd Epp (a part-time contributor) had posted about the Sturgis Rally. When I received your email commenting on Todd’s “opinion” I immediately went to our KSOO 1140 web site and read the story. Faster than Todd Epp could say, “HUH?” I took the story down. I need to apologize and take responsibility for the story being posted. I’m Don Jacobs, the Market Manager/VP of the Eight Results Radio/Townsquare Media Radio Stations in Sioux Falls. [I Wish Had Eight Sets of Eyes & Eight Sets of Ears.]
No, not this Larry.

While Todd and I disagree on many things he is a lawyer with integrity, I am not; but, we're singing the same tune to his libretto narrating another Sturgis Rally as a bacchanal contradicting South Dakota's purported wholesomeness.

Epp's previous post on the Rally still survives linked here.

South Dakota's mainstream media are flooded with assurances that law enforcement have plans to keep a million drunken bikers well-corralled and to pay no attention to the rocket launchers behind the curtain.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a known criminal enterprise living in the Black Hills, and the Sturgis Rally, a gun-toting, alcohol-frenzied, drug-induced, sex-trafficking white supremacist's wet dream, both enjoy the blessings of South Dakota's law enforcement industry.

Bikers are domestic terrorists.

My inbox is on the media list for the Strong Heart Warrior Society along with some fifty other news outlets and journalists.
A delegation of the Traditional Lakota Oyate in collaboration with supportive Rainbow Family members will move to evict the Black Hills "Occupy Rainbow" Gathering on Thursday. This follows twelve days of intense action to encourage the Rainbow gathering to leave the unceded Lakota Territory. [press release, Cante Tenza]
There is no reason to copy and paste the entire letter since you can read it here.
According to Capt. Jay Evenson with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Department, deputies have been assigned to patrols every day into the evening near the gathering spot. “To ensure public and employee safety, and cultural and natural resource protection, Forest Service personnel are on-site daily,” said BHNF supervisor Craig Bobzien. [Hill City Prevailer-News]
As hypocrisy reigns supreme at the highest levels of power in South Dakota residents will endure another Sturgis Rally where this year up to a million attendees will spend an average of a thousand dollars each so the sitting governor can crow about his leadership and self-reliance while moral hazards pay the bills.

Crimes are what the other guy does but in South Dakota during the Rally nobody cares.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Nothing gay about Monsanto, Syngenta marriage

Bayer could be Monsanto's next target if the Syngenta deal fizzles according to the St. Louis Biz Journal.
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson noted that agriculture has faced a concentration of economic power over the past 30 years and such a merger would be another step in that direction. The new entity created by this merger would dwarf other agribusinesses and eliminate a competitor in the marketplace, potentially resulting in an increase in price for seeds and other inputs. [press release]
As South Dakota's GOP congressional delegation rail against federal oversight pollution, dead soils, habitat destruction and a regressive tax structure are wreaking havoc on cropland values in the chemical toilet. Republicans in farm states are stumbling all over themselves trying to protect donors like Monsanto and Syngenta from their accountability for impaired watersheds.

Soils are worn out from decades of pesticides, poor farming practices and manufactured fertilizers. Shallow wells and waterways suffer impairment from nitrate pollution making water less available especially where aquifer levels are dwindling.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has taken steps to reverse the effects of nitrogen pollution in the Prairie Pothole Region; but, South Dakota's Republican At-large US Representative Kristi Noem says to hell with that:
Small ditches that flow through our backyards, prairie potholes, and streams that only run during heavy rains could now be subject to Clean Water Act regulations, meaning everyday tasks like spraying your lawn for mosquitos or your crops for disease could potentially require new federal permits. [Noem staffer release]
Monsanto's flagship product, Roundup® has recently been cited as containing a compound that is incompatible with life and is known to cause birth defects and spontaneous abortions. The company that owns a strain of Franken-maize, the only genetically modified product approved for cultivation in the European Union, is looking to acquire rival Syngenta.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer recently re-classified glyphosate as a carcinogen. The National Corn Grower’s Association is disappointed with that decision. NCGA Board member and South Dakota Corn Grower’s President Keith Alverson says IARC ignored the findings of more than four decades of credible scientific research and needs to reconsider studies that back the products safety. Alverson says glyphosate has been an important tool for producers who’ve been trying to do the right thing with their control of weeds, especially those corn and soybean growers who use no till or limited tillage in their operations. [WNAX]
Virtually every ag producer in South Dakota uses glyphosate, now the compound inculcates every point in the water cycle including in falling rainwater.
Roundup, or the same glyphosate herbicide now available from a host of other brands other than Monsanto, is used on most acres farmed in South Dakota every year, Sharon Clay, a professor of weed science at South Dakota State University in Brookings, told the Capital Journal on Friday. In the past two years or so in South Dakota, farmers are seeing kochia and ragweed and other weeds that can't be killed by glyphosates, she said. [Pierre Capital Journal]
In 2010, after another GOP governor gutted environmental protection in South Dakota, the Big Sioux River was named the thirteenth most polluted river in the US and nearly every waterway in the state suffers impairment.

South Dakota deserves a US Representative who would stand up to a chief executive who cares more about the state's residents than about his out of state campaign donors like his party's congressional comrades are.

Even the Supreme Leader of the Roman Catholic Church is calling on his American flock to turn out Republicans for their belligerence on human-caused climate disruptions.

Dr. Vandana Shiva is the author of Ecofeminism and Stolen Harvest. The internationally known advocate for sustainable agriculture and opponent of genetically engineered crops brought her message to South Dakota State University's Harding Lecture Series.

The university's chair sits on the board of Monsanto.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mahto Tipila: proposal could rename Devils Tower

Update, 24 June, 1110 MDT: this post has been edited after further readings.
The Canadian corporation that wants to start mining 15 miles southeast of Mahto Tipila (Bear’s Lodge also known as Devil’s Tower) announced June 11 that it has named a high-profile, world-class advocate of nuclear power and its raw material, uranium, to chair the board of directors. The National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) dictate that project approval can be granted only after government-to-government consultation between federal and tribal officials to avoid or mitigate destruction of cultural assets posed by mining. [Talli Nauman, Native Sun News]
Runoff from mining in the Belle Fourche watershed threatens communities in South Dakota, too.


Imagine pulling a clan up the Little Missouri River in dugout canoes 12,000 years ago.

Exploiting the gap between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets during the Wisconsin Glacial Episode those Clovis People were the first humans to see the Missouri Buttes and Devils Tower. They settled Paradise only to have their descendants watch it be destroyed by colonization.

With the Oglala Lakota Nation as an interested party Chief Arvol Looking Horse has submitted a request to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names saying the words “Devils Tower” are a malapropism.

The tower, a remnant of an intrusive laccolith, has been called Mahto Tipila or Bear Lodge for centuries by the Lakota.
Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, has a family ranch at the base of the tower. “If they want to find something offensive, they ought to look at Custer, South Dakota,” he said. “Custer obviously had a problem with the Sioux, and I’ve heard nothing about renaming of Custer, South Dakota.” [Laura Hancock]
In the occupied Black Hills of South Dakota descendants of European colonizers are apoplectic over the proposal to restore the state's highest point to its Lakota name, Hinhan Kaga or A Making of Owls.

The ancestors of all American Indians living east of the Rocky Mountains saw that peak when the Clovis Culture crossed into the Cheyenne/Belle Fourche drainage then into the Missouri/Mississippi River system. Lakota is an Algonquin-based tongue and is spoken by a majority of South Dakota’s tribal nations. After migrating into present-day North Carolina and forced westward by manifest destiny then acquiring horses from Spanish exploiters the Lakota reclaimed the Black Hills.

Senator Lisa Murkowski and the US Park Service are doing what Alaskans are asking of Congress urging the body to approve a name change for North America's highest peak.
The Athabascan name, meaning “the high one,” has been a bone of contention between Alaska’s congressional delegation and Ohio’s, which has sought to preserve the current name honoring assassinated U.S. president William McKinley. “At home in Alaska, we just call it Denali because it’s part of our history,” Murkowski said, according to the statement. “Officially changing the name from Mount McKinley to Mount Denali will show the long-standing significance that the name Denali holds for Alaskans.” [KTUU teevee]
The ancestors of all American Indians living east of the Rocky Mountains saw that peak about 12,000 years ago after coming up the Little Missouri then crossing into the Cheyenne/Belle Fourche drainage. Lakota is an Algonquin-based tongue and is spoken by a majority of South Dakota’s tribal nations.

Restoring the dignity of endangered cultures is one tiny part of eliminating suicides and despair in South Dakota and Wyoming.

ip photo: Missouri Buttes and Devils Tower at sunset. Click on the image for a better look.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Domestic terrorism realm of young white men

In 2014 among 382 law enforcement agencies 74 percent reported anti-government extremism as one of the top three terrorist threats in their jurisdictions, according to the New York Times.

Let's review:

Adam Lanza was 20, James Holmes was 25, Anders Breivik was 32, Timothy McVeigh was 27, Eric Robert Rudolph was 30, Seung-Hui Cho was 23, Nidal Hasan was 39, Jared Loughner, 22. Wade Michael Page, 40.

All these men were victims of bullying, isolation, and ostracism. All had histories of extensive video game exposure and easy access to firearms. Distrust of government was a factor in most, if not all of the episodes for which they are infamous.

Eric Frein is 31: his right wing views led him to assassinate a state trooper and the attempted murder of another.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the brothers suspected of carrying out the Boston bombings, subscribed to right-wing American publications that espouse white supremacy and government conspiracy theories.

Bombs, wildfires, and mass shootings are just some of the tools of terror. It's likely that the FBI is stretched too thin to get ahead of the curve and it is hiding the scope of its findings to mask the extent of the hatred.

The sovereigns are overwhelmingly white christians using a maladapted interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment to rationalize its commitment to a pending race war using links to the federal storming of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas and culminating in the Oklahoma City bombing. Many are either convicted felons no longer able to vote or have been marginalized by those who believe that the democratic process is ineffective especially since a person of color is President of the United States.

The American Left poses no violent threat to the United States while the hate-filled right wing of the Republican Party always will.

Dylann Storm Roof is 21: he just killed nine people in a state where guns are god.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

South Dakota tribe legalizes cannabis

How the Flandreau Santee Sioux Nation will get seeds and clones while being surrounded by Jackley-booted thugs remains a mystery.

Banking will be a challenge but the tribe trapped in South Dakota is approaching the cannabis on-ramp after voting to take another step.
The ordinance approves marijuana consumption only inside of a single facility that has yet to be determined. Members of the executive committee describe the proposed facility to function similarly to a bar. Tribe officials said that marijuana will not be allowed to leave that location. [KELO teevee]
The economic development potential is nearly limitless for the small tribal nation already operating a casino, perhaps where proceeds from a cash-only enterprise might enter the financial system. The tribe's charter (pdf) seems to allow access to banking.

The tribe recently severed its relationship with the community's police department.
The initial agreement, back in 2000, aimed to consolidate resources, law enforcement services and train officers to deal respectfully and responsibly with all citizens, Native and non-Native. And, it has accomplished many of those goals over the years. But both city and tribal officials agree an ongoing lack of good communication probably led to a breakdown in the partnership. City officials.. and tribal officials would all argue they've tried to communicate. There are simply differences of opinion and quite honestly, laws and goals when it comes to tribal entities versus non-tribal. [KSFY teevee]
The Moody County Enterprise has a story linked here.

A former chairman of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate is a tribal liaison for a cannabis development firm.
Tex Hall, the former chairman of the oil-rich Three Affiliated Tribes, and Robert Shepherd, former chairman of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate tribe in northeastern South Dakota and southeastern North Dakota, are trying to recruit and assist tribes in producing high-grade marijuana products. [Associated Press]
US tribes are considered the 51st State by federal agencies including the Department of the Interior.
Mnì, Grassroots for Water Justice, has invited Alex White Plume, Oglala Lakota hemp revolutionary, to speak of the many beneficial uses and properties of the cannabis plant, most particularly industrial hemp and medical marijuana, and the legalization of its growth and industry under tribal law. Mni will host and feed at a meeting on June 19, 2015 from 5-10: 00 p.m MDT, at the Cheyenne River Motel Conference Room, in Eagle Butte, SD. [West River Eagle]
Former US Attorney for the District of North Dakota, Timothy Purdon is representing White Plume who has been trying to grow cannabis on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota for at least twenty years. An injunction filed in federal court forbids White Plume from cultivation.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

ExxonMobil gets wrist slap for 2011 Yellowstone leak

The US Department of Transportation is swatting ExxonMobil with a million dollar penalty after the Environmental Protection Agency released an overview of cleanup efforts in the aftermath of the 2011 breach of the Silvertip pipeline that spilled 63,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River upstream of Billings, Montana.
EPA continues to oversee the response to the ExxonMobil Silvertip Pipeline Spill on the Yellowstone River. Sampling data results will be made available as quickly as validated results permit. A decision was made by Unified Command early on to ensure that all the response data associated with this incident be consistent with Montana DEQ methodology and standards. As such, we are using only certified labs in Montana and those businesses have been working diligently to process samples and data packages. When data becomes available it will immediately be posted to the maps section of the EPA website.
Regulators said the company failed to adequately heed warnings that the line could rupture and there were no safeguards to minimize the spill when the line broke.

The US Army Corps of Engineers had been tinkering with the upper Yellowstone River as the Billings Gazette's Clair Johnson tells us:
The plan, called the Upper Yellowstone River Special Area Management Plan, directs the Corps to evaluate how a project may affect the entire watershed, flood plain and valley before approving a permit. “The road map is here,” said Todd Tillinger, program manager for Corps’ Montana Regulatory Branch in Helena. “Our goal is to keep it (the river) as intact as we can.” The Corps study began after two consecutive years of record flooding in the late 1990s triggered a rash of bank stabilization permits to prevent further erosion or property damage.
Talli Nauman at Native Sun News told us that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is the Department of Transportation's regulatory body:
“We will hold pipeline operators accountable when they put the public or the environment at risk,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Pipeline operators must be vigilant about following safety regulations to prevent accidents and keep our communities safe without disrupting energy supplies.”
Reuters brings this:
After inspecting the pipeline in July 2009, PHMSA issued a warning letter to Exxon a year later about oil leaking from some of the valves on the pipeline. Exxon resolved all the concerns raised by the agency and no fine was issued.
The Button Valley Bugle has superlative coverage of the Silvertip Pipeline saga:
You would think that a company with record profits of $11 billion in the first quarter of this year and $45 billion in 2008, a company that can afford to pay its CEO $29 million last year, could afford to put a few million into its aging infrastructure. ExxonMobil Corporation has a problem keeping it’s products out of our waterways.
From a post in Switchboard, the blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Anthony Swift says:
An accident that should have been prevented is not really an accident. Tragedies like the Yellowstone River spill can be prevented by strong safety regulations and the proactive action of regulators. Today we are in desperate need of both.
Pipeline accidents involving crude oil grew 87 percent from 2009 to 2014.
At least 73 incidents occurred last year, including the Bridger Pipeline LLC failure at Poplar. Almost half the incidents in the past five years involved pipelines installed more than 40 years ago. [Rob Chaney, The Missoulian]
Water crossings where ice floes bash moorings and flooding causes scouring of fill from river bottoms are particularly vulnerable to failures.
Eight months before the spill, the Army Corps of Engineers seemed the most likely agency to help repair the eroding riverbanks. "Their response back to us was that should there be an imminent danger then (they) would respond," said Olson, "unfortunately, when you have a flood, imminent danger signs are too late." [Laurel Voiced Pipeline Concerns Well Before Spill]
The corps have been very quiet about a breach under its purview. Wouldn't Exxon have had to consult with the corps before restarting the pipeline and how could they not have known the potential for scouring on a flooding Yellowstone River?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Alaska peak's name change foreshadows Black Hills place of owls

Senator Lisa Murkowski and the US Park Service are doing what Alaskans are asking of Congress urging the body to approve a name change for North America's highest peak.
The Athabascan name, meaning “the high one,” has been a bone of contention between Alaska’s congressional delegation and Ohio’s, which has sought to preserve the current name honoring assassinated U.S. president William McKinley. “At home in Alaska, we just call it Denali because it’s part of our history,” Murkowski said, according to the statement. “Officially changing the name from Mount McKinley to Mount Denali will show the long-standing significance that the name Denali holds for Alaskans.” [KTUU teevee]
But in the occupied Black Hills of South Dakota descendants of European colonizers are apoplectic over the proposal to restore the state's highest point to its Lakota name, Hinhan Kaga or Place of Owls.
The name of South Dakota’s tallest mountain should be changed from Harney Peak to “Hinhan Kaga,” the state Board of Geographic Names recommended by unanimous vote Thursday in Pierre. The state board, which met in the Becker-Hansen Building Commission Room, needed only 30 minutes to make its recommendation. The relatively quick decision followed the receipt of hundreds of written comments in recent weeks and five public hearings across the state since April 28 at which dozens of people testified. [Rapid City Journal]
The mountain was made taller than South Dakota's highest natural point, Odakota Mountain, by white people with concrete and stone. It is not the highest US point east of the Rocky Mountains, either: Guadalupe Peak in Texas is.

Revisionist history turned the Wounded Knee Massacre into a battle where soldiers were awarded medals of honor then a peak or town in the Black Hills and a national forest were named after a murderer like George Armstrong Custer. Crook City near Whitewood and Crook's Tower, one of the 7000 footers in the Black Hills, were named after a war criminal.

This blogger has been arguing for Lakota names on South Dakota's geological features for at least twenty years.

It's time for the State of South Dakota to abandon Bear Butte State Park that it claimed through colonization and remand it to the tribes for governance.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

SCOTUS ObamaCare ruling won't affect New Mexico

Say what you want about GOP Governor Susana Martinez but stupid she ain't.
Although New Mexico uses the federal website to enroll individuals in insurance plans, it is classified as having a state exchange because state officials perform all other duties, such as marketing, information outreach, compliance and research. The health exchange won’t have to start paying to use the federal website until 2017. Linda Wedeen, the exchange’s communication and outreach director, said state and federal officials are in negotiations now to set a price. She said the exchange is seeking an annual cost in the range of $3 million to $5 million. [Albuquerque Journal]
The GOP governor in my home state of South Dakota is a killer.

New Mexico's GDP grew twice as fast as South Dakota's did in 2014.

From the Karma is a bitch file two New Mexico-based US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services employees died after they augured their plane into the ground while hunting coyotes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Litigation bond stumping logging reformers

Logging is an essential evil to restore forests in the West. New growth conifer species can easily overwhelm hardwoods like aspen and oak.

Republicans in the US House like Ryan Zinke (earth hater-MTAL) seek to expedite contracts with the US Forest Service while the Obama Administration holds common ground on the need to reduce forest fuels. A vote in the House Natural Resources Committee is expected today.
This year, the Republican-led push is focused on slimming down and streamlining environmental reviews for projects and by making a lawsuit to stop a project potentially much more expensive to file. When the U.S. Forest Service currently wants to undertake major work on a national forest, it talks with stakeholders such as the timber industry, local residents, and environmental groups to develop a plan that addresses their concerns and uses the best science available. 
Nearly three dozen environmental groups wrote McClintock and Tsongas to oppose the bill, including the Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and Defenders of Wildlife. Kyle Tisdel, an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, said groups that end up suing the federal government to stop a project must take part in an extensive public participation process before they can go to court. He said the additional hurdle of requiring an insurance bond would have a substantial chilling effect on the public's ability to engage the government and take their case to a final arbiter. [Associated Press]
From one forest policy expert:
The bond in this case isn’t to cover losses or costs to the defendant, instead the bond is for the government’s attorney’s fees. That would arguably be unconstitutional under Boddie v. Connecticut precisely because the defendant is the government and the bond was designed as a barrier to court access. [comment, Andy Erickson, A New Century of Forest Policy]
The Black Hills National Forest looks better than it has in years after the mountain pine beetle has thinned vast swaths and opened view sheds. This bill in committee doesn't really apply in South Dakota because litigation is so rare that the timber industry has virtual free rein from BHNF Supervisor Craig Bobzien.

But on forests in the greater Mountain West there are far many more stakeholders to guide the process of selecting new timber sales and letting private contractors have their way with managers won't happen without fights.

As long as there is a process to protect and preserve the oldest trees then fires lit after mechanical harvest where roads already exist timber sales could just as easily be called fuel treatments.

Recent rainfall is delaying the wildfire season but forecasters are warning of increased likelihood as grasses dry.

Habitat restoration and biological diversity should be the ultimate goals in public lands stewardship not short-time profits for GOP donors.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Holy Roman Kiddie Diddlers charged after pedophilia probe

South Dakota's legislature is hiding clergy crimes while Minnesota is prosecuting predator priests. A Sioux Falls cleric is closely tied to Archbishop John Nienstedt, a defendant in the case.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi on Friday criminally charged the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for its "role in failing to protect children and contribution to the unspeakable harm" done to three sexual abuse victims of former priest Curtis Wehmeyer. Wehmeyer said he asked the archbishop a couple of times, 'Are you aware of my past? Are you aware of my record?' Wehmeyer said that Nienstedt brushed it off and replied, 'I don't have time to look into that stuff.'" [Minnesota Public Radio News]
Nienstedt is Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the University of St. Thomas where Sioux Falls Bishop Paul Swain serves on the Institutional Advancement Committee. They are standing together in the front row in the above photo.
Pope Benedict XVI appointed Paul J. Swain as the eighth bishop of Sioux Falls on August 31, 2006 and he was consecrated as Bishop of Sioux Falls on October 26, 2006. Bishop Swain previously served as a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People.--bio, Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls.
Catholic congregations and South Dakota's legislature have engaged in obstruction of justice for decades.

The leader of the Roman Church is cleaning house of pederastic predators but is taking heat from Republicans for his stance on curbing human-induced climate change and from progressives for his intent to canonize a colonizer accused of raping children.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Prairie dog in eye of ESA storm

Marty Jackley is one of nine Republican attorneys general joining a lawsuit that could undermine the Endangered Species Act by excluding private property from enforcement.
They argue states should manage animals that live only within their borders. This type of prairie dog can only be found in a southwest portion of Utah. But federal attorneys counter that most protected species live only in a single state and courts have long upheld federal authority to manage them. [KJZZ]
In the event the case gets to the Supreme Court of the United States environmentalists see hope from Chief Justice John Roberts.
Roberts wrote that the ruling leads to "regulating the taking of a hapless toad that, for reasons of its own, lives its entire life in California" and "constitutes regulating" interstate commerce. If the government loses at the 10th Circuit, it's unclear whether it would want to take the case to the Supreme Court for fear of Roberts and the conservative majority setting a more far-reaching precedent. The law defines a "take" as killing, harassing, harming, pursuing, shooting, wounding, trapping or capturing a protected species. Violations carry stiff financial penalties and in some cases jail time. [excerpt, Jeremy P. Jacobs, Legal fight over prairie dog could chew hole in ESA]
South Dakota had made modest improvements raising its grade from 'F' to 'D' on WildEarth Guardians' 2015 Report from the Burrow (pdf). The state's GOP-owned wildlife 'management' agency allows wholesale slaughter of the keystone species on private land; but, habitats and colonies on public lands often overlap where selective killing can disrupt entire ecosystems.

Jackley's actions come after the next step has been taken in the Cain Creek Land Exchange, a public-private land ownership swap in the Conata Basin. Led by The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit that began buying land there in 2007, sold some land in 2012 to Badlands National Park.
“Where we can consolidate land ownership and have less interface with private landowners and less issues with boundaries and prairie dogs, we’re hopeful that will help alleviate problems,” said Cindy Hockelberg, the U.S. Forest Service project manager for the swap. [Rapid City Journal]
Conata Basin is on the top ten ecotourism sites chosen by the University of Nebraska's Great Plains Center.

Sylvatic plague has been confirmed in prairie dogs in Oglala National Grassland upstream on the White River from Conata Basin. The disease kills black-footed ferrets, the prairie dogs' natural enemy reintroduced by wildlife officials for prairie dog control.
Only 150 years ago, the prairies of Nebraska and South Dakota were a part of a multi-state sea of native grasses laid out below an upside-down bowl of blue sky, with antelope, songbirds, prairie dog colonies and herds of buffalo roaming miles upon miles of the expanse and not a fence in sight. Agriculture and urban development have overcome the symbolic prairie, replacing hills of grass with crop and pastureland, taming the rivers and wetlands and breaking up the remaining ecosystems with roads, fences and other features of human civilization. Land use is changing in the Great Plains,” said Dirac Twidwell, rangeland ecologist with the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. “There is considerable momentum for further conversion of our nation’s rangelands to support energy demand.” While development did not seem adverse when examined locally, he and others on the research team led by the University of Montana found that ecosystem degradation was evident when viewed from a large scale via high-resolution satellite measurements of vegetation growth. [Yankton Press & Dakotan, links added]
Prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets are critical to sustain the reintroduction of bison in sage grouse habitat as the West is rewilded.

The Bureau of Land Management has caved to domestic terrorists in Nevada allowing cattle onto drought-wracked public lands.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

EPA enacts stronger monitoring of Wyoming uranium mines

Following a Wyoming Public Radio story in situ uranium mining sites like one in Johnson County will see stricter scrutiny under new guidelines enacted by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Research on the process is ongoing in Los Alamos, New Mexico and at the University of Colorado.
The EPA’s proposed rule change would set a three-year monitoring standard, followed by 30 years of stability monitoring. Companies could decrease the 30-year monitoring minimum by providing sufficient evidence of the well field’s long-term stability. The EPA contends that current regulations were set before in situ recovery was developed and do not take the unique risks of that extraction method into account. According to the proposed rule, current remediation standards do not address the long-term possibility of the radioactive mineral impacting groundwater and surface water. Further, Proposed Rule 192 does not hold the uranium licensee fiscally responsible for clean up should long-term contamination as a result of ISR occur, the rule says. [Buffalo Bulletin]
In other radioactive news, one community in eastern Montana wants to build a dump for waste from the Bakken oil patch.

Azarga, the company that wants to mine yellowcake in the southern Black Hills reports that one of its investee companies, Anatolia Energy Limited, announced a proposed takeover by Uranium Resources Inc. Azarga's investment is valued at $3.2 million.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Azarga have filed petitions for review of the April 30, 2015 decision of the United States Atomic Safety and Licensing Board to rule on contentions raised by the Oglala Sioux Tribe about the Dewey Burdock Uranium Project.

Radioactive decay is the heat source for geothermal water: Wyoming and other Mountain West states should leave uranium, thorium and potassium in the ground then generate electric power using naturally produced steam. Fall River and Custer Counties in South Dakota have that potential so does Buffalo, just like many other communities in Wyoming do.

Friday, June 5, 2015

American Prairie Reserve 'finding success, fueling controversy'

Rewilding is happening!
Sportsmen for Bison’s initial focus is the tremendous opportunity to restore bison at Montana’s million-acre Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge (CMR). The refuge – which, yes, hunters helped pay for – is ideal, prairie bison habitat adjacent to several million additional acres of public lands. And, in case you’re wondering, the CMR welcomes hunting and is regarded as one of North America’s premier big-game hunting areas. The area could easily accommodate thousands of wild, wide-ranging bison. [National Wildlife Federation]
On the cold and stormy evening of Oct. 20, 2005, 16 American bison were released on the grasslands of northeast Montana. The bison, from Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota, roamed out into a prairie landscape the species had not inhabited for 120 years. In the midst of the herd a calf bolts, its rust-colored coat standing out from the nearby adults. The calf finds its mother and begins to nurse. The herd moves quietly beneath an impossible sky.
Read the rest here.

We all know this: unless the West embraces rewilding on portions of the Missouri River basin west of a north/south line from Oacoma, South Dakota through the CM Russell National Wildlife Refuge to Yellowstone National Park water wars will clog the courts leaving violent armed vigilantism to settle disputes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Maine tribal nations dissolve ties to legislature, study legal cannabis

The Marijuana Policy Project will petition Maine residents if the question of legalization should be on the ballot in 2016.

Red states do diddly squat for tribal nations often competing for resources instead of creating lasting partnerships.
The Penobscot Indian Nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribe took history into their hands last week when they permanently withdrew their representatives from the Maine legislature, ending almost two centuries of participation in the state’s political process. The rift has been building since the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act – MICSA – passed in 1980. In the end the tribal nations gave up their claim to around two-thirds of the state –more than 12 million acres – and settled for several hundreds of thousands of acres and around $81 million. The tribal-state relationship became so frayed that the Penobscot Indian Nation severed all ties with the state in 2008, after the governor worked during the last hours of the legislative session to block bills that would have benefited tribal nations and had been passed by both chambers of the legislature. [Indian Country Today]
While the Palestinian homeland looks like holes in the slice of Swiss cheese analogous to the illegal Israeli state, progress toward resolutions of Native trust disputes would have far more political traction after tribes secede from the States in which they reside and then be ratified to form one State, the 51st, sans contiguous borders with two Senators and two House members as there are an estimated 2.5 million indigenous.

The Passamaquoddy at Pleasant Point, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and the Aroostook Band of Micmacs say they are studying and discussing legalization of cannabis.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Heather Wilson: will she stay or will she go?

Yes, her one year contract with the South Dakota School of Mines is just about toast and her career is in the toilet.

So, why should she stay in a town where diversity is abhorred when she could just go home?

Monday, June 1, 2015

New poll: with whom should Clinton run?

Sure, Bernie Sanders is a great US Senator and all around swell guy; but neither he nor Martin O'Malley can beat whichever earth hating clown the other side will nominate. Elizabeth Warren would be crazy to leave the US Senate from a state that could put a Republican in her seat.

Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar can leave the US Senate because Minnesota would elect Democrats to replace them. Either would balance an East/West ticket. It's an historic presidential race regardless of the outcome so why not two women on top?

Jared Polis, US Representative from Colorado's Second Congressional District is my third choice for Veep bringing unprecedented diversity to a presidential team.

Fourth for my dream team is Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, who would bring voters from all sectors of the economy. He has executive skills and brings unique geographical perspective to a national Democratic contest.

Former New Mexico governor, Gary Johnson, has announced his run as a Libertarian Party candidate.

So, ip readers: whom would you like running with Secretary Hillary Clinton?

Stupid comments will be deleted.