Monday, March 30, 2020

Today's intersection: genocide and the Morrill Land Grab

Last December in an episode of The Keepers, a podcast produced by the Kitchen Sisters and NPR, the lead Archivist at the National Archives told listeners lawyers are combing the records for treaties with tribal nations none of which have been honored by the United States. Now, in a story told by Robert Lee and Tristan Ahtone, a former reporter at Wyoming Public Radio, the Morrill Land-Grant Acts are linked to the Native American Genocide.
In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, which distributed public domain lands to raise funds for fledgling colleges across the nation. Now thriving, the institutions seldom ask who paid for their good fortune. Their students sit in halls named after the act’s sponsor, Vermont Rep. Justin Morrill, and stroll past panoramic murals that embody creation stories that start with gifts of free land. “It’s called genocide,” admitted California Gov. Gavin Newsom, D, last year when he issued a formal apology for the “dispossession and the attempted destruction of tribal communities.” [Land-grab universities: Expropriated Indigenous land is the foundation of the land-grant university system]

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Governors step up environmental enforcement after Trump Organization suspends protections


Global pollution levels have taken a temporary nosedive but that hasn't stopped the Trump Organization's war against the states. Now some governors are fighting back against the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has been a constant critic of the president, said water is the most important natural resource for the arid state, and stripping protections is an affront to all who call New Mexico home. “My administration is committed to protecting New Mexico’s precious waters and will consider all legal options to prevent this rule from going into effect. This is far from over,” she proclaimed in a statement. [New Mexico officials call US water rollbacks 'disastrous']
Michigan's governor has been targeted by the Trump regime.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy is still trying to figure out all the implications of the USEPA’s decision to end enforcement of some of its regulations. Hugh McDiarmid is Communications Manager for the state agency. “EGLE is still actively providing regulatory oversight and is responding to pollution events to protect Michiganders’ health and the environment. We’re still on the job. More than 90 percent of our staff is working remotely, but we are still enforcing pollution laws and continuing to do work,” McDiarmid said. [Michigan agency stepping up while U.S. EPA is stepping out]
Gina McCarthy, head of the Obama Administration's EPA now president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), lashed out at the new enforcement discretion policy.
This is an open license to pollute. Plain and simple. The administration should be giving its all toward making our country healthier right now. Instead it is taking advantage of an unprecedented public health crisis to do favors for polluters that threaten public health. We can all appreciate the need for additional caution and flexibility in a time of crisis, but this brazen directive is an abdication of the EPA’s responsibility to protect our health. [press release]
Washington's governor has also pledged to stand up to the Trump White House.
Governor Jay Inslee took a few minutes Wednesday to sign an important long-term measure passed by the legislature before the COVID-19 crisis intensified. Washington’s move is further demonstration of the fact that while the Trump administration is moving to stall progress on vehicle pollution standards, state leaders are continuing to step up, recognizing that cleaner vehicles lead to cleaner air, more jobs and investments and less dangerous carbon pollution. [NRDC]

Friday, March 27, 2020

Nurses, medical professionals are now never-Trumpers


The mother of my daughters, the Odd Goddess of Basin and Our Lady of the Arroyo are all registered nurses, so are neighbors and friends Tim, Micki, Lisa, Matthew, Leslie, Nancy, Joan, Lori and Sarah. Each one loathes Trump as does every other medical professional they know who will never, ever vote for a Republican again.






Thursday, March 26, 2020

Federal judge orders environmental review of Dakota Excess pipeline


Energy Transfer Partners is an earth hater based in Texas and infamous for brutalizing water protectors near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. In 2017 a US District Court ordered the US Army Corps of Engineers to finish a review of ETP's Dakota Excess pipeline, its impact on tribal interests and how a spill under the Oahe Dam would impact water rights for the Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Yankton and Oglala Lakota nations. Mercenaries and National Guard troops used chemical weapons on many of the thousands of peaceful demonstrators camped on federal land near Cannon Ball where some 761 people were arrested between early August, 2016 and late February, 2017.

Justice Department attorney Matthew Marinelli said in a status report to Judge James Boasberg the Corps had met with representatives of each tribe and made progress on their concerns. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe wasn't satisfied and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe created a website to raise funding and awareness for the dispossession of treaty land, natural resources and to provide information about the nation's battles against the Dakota Excess and Keystone XL Pipelines. A lawyer for the Corps said they would "finish its consideration and analysis of the information submitted by the tribes and consider issues identified at the meetings with the tribes" by 10 August, 2018.

The same geology that thwarts railroads and forces engineers to rebuild I-90 between Reliance and Rapid City, South Dakota, I-94 between Mandan, North Dakota and Billings, Montana every year also makes construction of the Keystone XL pipeline untenable. But, attorneys for the Trump Organization will stop at nothing to erase Barack Obama's legacy including accelerating the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, warming the climate and driving an eventual American Indian rebellion to protect treaty lands. Trump apparatchiks have even referred to Native Americans and their compatriots as jihadists and insurgents. In the US genocide, sovereignty rights, culture, language resurgence and growing capital resources from burgeoning black markets are building alternatives to hopelessness, suicide, and repression in Indian Country where deaths from firearm violence are higher than in any ethnic group.

Trump Organization propaganda has gotten so false and misleading Seattle public radio station KUOW has suspended any broadcasts dispatched from the White House.
Nearly three years after crude oil started to flow through the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, a federal judge has ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a full environmental review. It's a major victory for the Native American tribes and environmental groups who have been fighting against the project for years. [NPR]

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Flooding during virus outbreak will test red state mettle


Human-caused climate catastrophes are wreaking havoc on already-stressed systems in red states where Republican governors have fallen down on infrastructure improvements.

According to the US Army Corps of Engineers even though all of 2019's floodwater has passed through the dam system on the Missouri River 2020's deluge is just beginning yet the Corps has cancelled all public meetings in early April because of a virus outbreak.
For local leaders in the Midwest, this situation is offering a crash course in how to plan and respond to multiple types of disasters simultaneously. And in a warming world, overlapping and compounding disasters will likely be the new normal. In some areas, the distribution of premade sandbags to vulnerable communities has already started to avoid a last-minute rush if and when catastrophe strikes. There’s a big range in how prepared Mississippi River communities are for juggling the disasters, according to their mayors. Even the ones that said they were currently prepared expressed uncertainty about the future. [Zahra Hirji, BuzzFeed News]

Monday, March 23, 2020

Obamacare still strong at ten years


Recall former Montana Sen. Max Baucus threw President Barack Obama's pick for Health and Human Services Secretary, former Senate Majority Leader and fellow Democrat Tom Daschle, under the bus during a pre-confirmation quarrel in 2009. Daschle was widely expected to push Congress toward a Medicaid-for-all health care plan in the weeks before Big Pharma-backed Baucus soundly rejected single-payer medical insurance and guided the passing of what would become the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Obama later admitted he "screwed up" by pushing Timothy Geithner's confirmation as Treasury Secretary first in a effort to reverse the economic catastrophe left by the previous administration. Daschle withdrew after Obama put off his confirmation hearing and after Baucus stabbed Daschle, the American people and the new president in the back.
At a moment when anxiety over coronavirus is paramount, it is worth noting on the Affordable Care Act’s tenth anniversary that it will provide important coverage and access protections in this pivotal moment. This would be the first recession since the ACA was implemented, and the health law will provide a safety net that never existed before for those losing job-based health insurance. However, despite the gaps, the ACA has led to improved access to care for millions in the United States. [Kaiser Family Foundation]
The military loves TRICARE, veterans mostly like the VA and most Native Americans won’t support a copay because We the People are responsible for their medical care so Medicaid for all is the real choice of progressives.


Friday, March 20, 2020

Red state Oklahoma has loosest therapeutic cannabis rules


In 2016 the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe of Oklahoma, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota teamed up and bought 1,020 more acres of ranch land north and east of Mato Paha (Bear Butte) where off-reservation cannabis sales could test tribal sovereignty in states that haven't legalized.
And times have changed since Merle Haggard sang about it. They do now smoke marijuana in Muskogee, Oklahoma, with no fewer than a dozen dispensaries, including a Minerva Canna shop. Oklahoma, with perhaps the loosest regulations for medical cannabis in the country, ranks second, with 15.6 dispensaries per 100,000 residents.
Read more at the Albuquerque Journal.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Pandemic pits Keynesianism against moral hazard


Yes, when the going gets tough the tough turn to —gasp— socialism?




Even now, the president of the United States is lost in a fantasy world. Even worse, Trump’s fantasy is shared by many Americans. In this imaginary world, we can all get rich if the little flickering numbers on our iPhone’s Stocks app go up. It’s therefore also a disaster if the little numbers go down. [Jon Schwarz, The Intercept]

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Lujan Grisham issues guildlines





Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Sen. Udall, New Mexico moving to reduce plastic pollution

Japan recycles nearly 100% of her glass but the United Snakes has thousands of mountains of glass cullet from the municipal waste stream just waiting to be repurposed.

After my 1997 vision at Orman Dam, a quest for redemption overtook me. I pursued numerous concepts nearly simultaneously including a recycling initiative that would look much like Rapid City's Material Recovery Facility does today but would have been based in Lead where the mining infrastructure vacated by Homestake's closure would have been adapted. Metals, paper, plastics, glass, the whole schmear, but the Janklow administration, right?

It takes trucks, tub grinders and balers dedicated to specific materials on a regional scale. There should be a kitchen appliance that turns plastic packaging back into petroleum for use as a stove fuel. We sell millions of tons of salvage material to India and Asia to be recycled while tearing up our own ground mining for virgin minerals while steel, and plastics that could be fuel or added to asphalt, are buried in landfills.

In my home state of South Dakota the Socialist People's Republic of Brookings began the process of banning single-use plastic bags since at least 2016. In Canada, Goodwood Plastic Products Ltd. harvests shopping bags, food containers and peanut butter jars from the municipal waste stream then turns that material into synthetic lumber, wharf timbers, guardrail posts and agricultural posts. Sweden and the European Union generate electricity through waste-to-energy technology at some four hundred sites but here in the US there are only 77 such generators. In 1997 I tried to get Rapid City to build a waste-to-energy facility to do this and now its landfill is out of space. In 2011 I lobbied Huron, South Dakota to build a recycling hub.
Sen. Tom Udall is focusing attention on one of the biggest problems of our time — curbing plastic pollution around the globe. His proposed legislation, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020, is designed to go beyond individual action and put the muscle of the federal government behind finding solutions to this scourge. With House co-sponsor Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., the legislation seeks to move responsibility for solving the plastic crisis from individuals to the producers of such products. Santa Fe has banned single-use plastic bags. In fact, less than 8 percent of U.S. plastic waste is actually recycled. [Santa Fe New Mexican]
Photo: glass sculpture at Tinkertown Museum near Sandia Park, New Mexico.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Red state counties among Trump's worse-off


So, what’s not to like about six (seven? eight?) month winters, rampant racism, chilling effects on civil rights, extremist legislatures, living in chemical toilets, sacrifice zones, perpetual welfare states and permanent disaster areas?
Many of these worse-off counties are in two regions: a northern cluster in Nebraska, the Dakotas and Montana; and along the Lower Mississippi River in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. But nearly all states have at least one worse-off county. Worse-off counties have a higher-than-average share of agricultural and manufacturing jobs — despite the manufacturing boom of 2018 — and relatively few tech, arts and media jobs. Worse-off counties share something else, in addition to being rural and weighted toward agricultural and manufacturing jobs: They lean Republican.
Read it all here.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

General strike would bring Trump Organization to its knees


So, watching the entire GOP circling the drain while they drown their comrades trying to flounder from the maelstrom is the schadenfreude we Democrats need right now. Donald Trump's installation and downfall is the biggest political sting in the history of the United States. Trump and the GOP were set up by superior forces then were given enough rope to hang the entire cabal. He knows he’s caught and will do anything to save his ass. In poker they say, “you can keep the cheese if you just let me out of the trap.”
Donald Trump is shrinking before our eyes. The coronavirus is quite likely to be the Trump presidency’s inflection point, when everything changed, when the bluster and ignorance and shallowness of America’s 45th president became undeniable, an empirical reality, as indisputable as the laws of science or a mathematical equation. His administration may stagger on, but it will be only a hollow shell. The Trump presidency is over. [Peter Wehner, The Atlantic]
Anyone who believes a single word coming out of the Trump White House is delusional. Trump is certifiably unwell but remember christians believed Barack Obama would bring the Second Coming and Herr Trump will deliver them from it.
In the 2015 book Countdown to the Apocalypse: Why ISIS and Ebola Are Only the Beginning, Robert Jeffress described a world on the brink of chaos. Jeffress, one of Donald Trump’s most full-throated evangelical supporters, plans to preach a sermon on the coronavirus this Sunday at his church, First Baptist Dallas. Its title is “Is the Coronavirus a Judgment From God?” Jeffress strongly suggested to me that the answer is no: “Many times illness is just a consequence of living in the fallen world.” In other words, the virus is nothing to fear nor anything to draw theological or political conclusions from. [Why Trump-Friendly Christian Leaders Are Feeling Totally Fine About the Coronavirus]
The rise of companies like Amazon suggests many people are simply too afraid to go into town to shop. I’m hardly the first person to say this but with the right messaging we could call all this social distancing and these quarantines a general strike in protest of Trump’s authoritarianism. It would not only destroy the entire Republican Party it would bring American capitalism to its knees.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Labor shortages driving foreign workers into US agriculture


An East River farmstead crumbles into the prairie.


As the Trump Organization covers up its ties to sex trafficking and bumbles a virus containment commodities prices are in free fall and workers are fleeing red states for bluer pastures.

Now National Milk Producers Federation member cooperatives are begging the US Senate to import foreign labor.
U.S. dairy producers face labor shortages that are more intense than those felt in agriculture as a whole because they cannot use the H-2A farmworker program, which only provides for seasonal labor rather than the year-round workers dairy needs. With domestic workers in short supply and foreign labor difficult to employ under current policies, dairy farmers are urging lawmakers to find real solutions. “The situation is dire,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, the biggest U.S. dairy-farmer organization. [Farm Forum]
One North Dakota welfare farmer had to hire men from South Africa and Ukraine.
Currently, workers can stay in the U.S. for three years — shifting seasonally among employers — but then go back for three months. They can reapply for their visa and come back, but they can be denied a visa. Visas have become tighter with current immigrant restructuring in the Trump administration. [Pierre Capital Journal]
Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has gleaned nearly $4 million in federal subsidies.
U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., said her brothers used the H-2A program to bring in workers during planting and harvest season. Lately, farmers - particularly those using the H-2A program - have been a target of the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. [Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
In 2012 a Custer State Park resort was fined for abusing workers under the H-2B program.
At the peak season at Mt. Rushmore, Xanterra needs 255 employees. Xanterra manages the retail space, cafeteria, parking lot and is also in charge of cars entering the facility at Mt. Rushmore. There are around 120-140 people hired at Mt. Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch for the season. A quarter of those workers are foreign help, a quarter is work campers and the other half is local students or other locals. [Challenges with finding employees cause employers to advertise often]
The crony capitalism that keeps South Dakota the 8th worst state for the working class is destroying lands promised to native peoples by treaty and Elkton is struggling to find enough housing for migrant workers often living in squalor. Infrastructure is crumbling and the state's bureaucracy is overbearing and unwieldy. Ag groups want federally subsidized crop insurance and the right to pollute. Corruption and graft are commonplace.
When faced with an influx of students whose first language was not English, the Elkton School District turned to South Dakota State University for help. “Teachers had told me over the years that ‘I don’t know how to help my ELL (English-language learners) students, I don’t know how to reach my ELL students or I’m struggling how to do this,’” said Kelly Neill, Elkton’s principal. [Brookings Register]
In South Dakota principled West River conservatives have had it with the Republican Party establishment.


Friday, March 13, 2020

Priest convicted of stealing from international crime syndicate

In South Dakota at least thirty two members of the Church of the Holy Roman Kiddie Diddlers have been credibly accused of preying on children and vulnerable adults but don't expect suspected incel Jason Ravnsborg, Attorney General and former altar boy to take on both South Dakota Dioceses. Cleric Don DeGrood has just replaced Paul Swain and was installed to lord over some of the slush fund that buys South Dakota's corrupt legislature.

Part of the international crime syndicate that is the Roman Church Avera Health is a federally-subsidized hospital operating as an oligopoly, funneling money to parishes paying settlements or hush money for the sins of predatory priests paid for by insurers and patients.

Marcin Garbacz has been bleeding the beast, though. When it was the bishopric of Bob Gruss, Garbacz liberated at least $260,000 from the Rapid City Diocese. Gruss has since been shuffled into the Saginaw, Michigan diocese, itself wracked with abuses committed by predator priests. Mike Mulloy is serving as interim sermonizer in Rapid City.
On Tuesday, March 12, a federal jury in Rapid City convicted the 41-year-old priest of 50 counts of wire fraud, nine counts of money laundering, one count of transporting stolen money. Garbacz was imported, in a sense, as a priest from Poland to help the Rapid City diocese cope with a shortage of priests that is common in America, especially in rural areas. But he remains a priest, in the essential and technical teaching of the church, although he has no permission to function as a priest. [Pierre Capital Journal]
Thoughts? Prayers?


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Contamination concerns threaten New Mexico's therapeutic cannabis patients

New Mexico has more patients in her therapeutic cannabis program than Colorado has: 82,147 - 81,871 but according to Duke Rodriquez, CEO of Ultra Health, Colorado has 286,000 plants being produced while New Mexico only has about 26,000 in production.

Speaker of the New Mexico House Brian Egolf not only supports legalization for all adults he serves as legal counsel for the state's therapeutic cannabis leader, Ultra Health. A failure to reach a consensus on legal cannabis in New Mexico last session was due in part to Rodriguez' objection to home growing.

Contaminated dietary supplements, vapes, ointments and edibles are unacceptable in a country with a long history of snake oil salesmen. If people want to grow commercially that’s where the state is paid to conduct inspections for purity and standards through a tax on sales. Cannabis vaporizer cartridges from China have become a source of concern as a novel virus sweeps the globe.
“So for a 30-day supply in New Mexico, we’d have to have 13,862 pounds of product,” Rodriguez says. “But the entire state sold 23,000 to 24,000 pounds through all of last year. Our fear is not completely based on coronavirus, but on the low canopy policy by the Department of Health. February was our biggest month ever, and that was a little bit of a surprise,” Rodriguez said. “And March has continued that trend upward.” Another big issue for the dispensary industry is the cash nature of the business. Cash is notoriously dirty, often carrying traces of fecal matter and cocaine, and it’s just as easy for coronavirus to hitch a ride from somebody’s dirty hand into the cash drawer. [Santa Fe Reporter]

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Natives still underrepresented on the federal bench

In 2011 this blog noted the absence of Native Americans on the federal bench then in 2013 President Barack Obama nominated Judge Diane Humetewa, Hopi, to the US District Court of Arizona and she was confirmed by the Senate in 2014. She remains the lone active American Indian on the federal bench today.
“Being female and Native American, people aren’t used to seeing us as lawyers, at least when I was practicing back in the 90s,” she said. Humetewa said Native American judges are needed in states that have Native populations like North Dakota, New Mexico and Arizona. “It gives the community the perception that people that they see on the district court reflect their community and some familiarity with the environment,” she said. “Sadly if you don’t have the right political affiliations, that is going to be a detriment to any Native American person if they are of the wrong political stripe,” she said. [Indian Country Today]
Mato Standing High practically lived at our house in Spearfish from 1983 until he and my stepson graduated high school in 1994. As both my step kids did he got his Bachelors of Science at the University of Wyoming. A Bush Fellow and a member of the Sicangu Oyate, he is an attorney having received his Juris Doctor at University of Montana Law School. He has also taught at Black Hills State University, a leader in American Indian Studies.
Underperforming South Dakota schools with majority American Indian student populations will be able to apply for $2 million in state grants to overhaul their curricula this summer. Standing High said the alternative model schools and another grant program that will offer state-subsidized scholarships for paraprofessionals working in majority American Indian schools could help boost South Dakota's American Indian retention rates. The Indian Education Advisory Council has visited schools in New Mexico and Colorado that focus more on Native culture and yield higher graduation rates for American Indian students. “We’re barely scratching this surface with these two programs, but if we’re successful, legislators are already asking what’s next," Standing High said. "So we’re planting the seeds.” [Dana Ferguson, Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
Standing High is a human rights activist who participates in the Lakota Omniciye Wacipi. No doubt he has heard me expounding on the importance of preserving indigenous languages as i have been ranting about it for over twenty five years. My young nephews called him "My Toad." Mato is Lakota for bear.

A graduate of Lyman (South Dakota) High School now a New Mexico attorney has been hearing cases on the tribal bench. She says she "kindly and humbly" takes the time to learn each name and doesn’t "always get it right, but I have received more thanks for that than any other work."

Monday, March 9, 2020

More tribes will test cannabis sovereignty

The Oglala Sioux Tribe in occupied South Dakota, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Nations in occupied Wyoming are nearing votes on legal cannabis.

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana and the Arapaho Tribe of Oklahoma teamed up and bought 1,020 acres of ranchland north and east of Mato Paha (Bear Butte) adding significantly to their holdings West River. Last year the Oglala Lakota Oyate bought off-reservation property on I-90 just outside Badlands National Park. The Fort Peck Tribes in occupied Montana have legalized therapeutic cannabis and the Northern Cheyenne have been mulling the concept. As co-owners of Pe'Sla the Minnesota-based Shakopee Mdewakanton Nation could bring that state's medical cannabis and reproductive rights freedoms to the Black Hills. Lower Brule has struggled with synthetic cannabinoids but that community has off-reservation property in Fort Pierre to test their sovereignty. Legalization, inspections and regulation of a product that so many people enjoy is reasonable public policy that would align with our life safety goals.

A 1986 amendment to federal law allows tribes to acquire off-reservation land to serve the needs of its people so last year the Oglala Lakota Oyate bought property on I-90 just outside Badlands National Park. The Isanti Dakota Oyate or Flandreau Santee Sioux Nation has also taken steps to resume their cannabis initiative. A former chairman of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate is a tribal liaison for a cannabis development firm and South Dakota Secretary of Tribal Relations Dave Flute is also a former chairman of the SWO.

The moves are considered tests of Trump Organization resolve where Republican US Attorneys would be pitted against sovereign nations.

A proposal that would have empowered tribes and pueblos in New Mexico to develop therapeutic cannabis programs failed legislative approval this year.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Black Hills Energy being driven from Colorado city


Rapid City-based Black Hills Corp is reaping the cannabis whirlwind in Colorado selling many megawatts of electricity to grow/ops. Recall that in 2014 nerdling Howdy Doody Dusty Johnson accompanied South Dakota's Republican former governor to a taxpayer-funded Western Governors Conference soiree in Colorado Springs where the pair met with industry mucky-mucks. Guess what: it paid off. Dusty hauled in at least $14,150 from those dudes last cycle. Xcel Energy is another utility reaping the green windfall so they gave Dusty $2500.

Black Hills Energy and the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission lubricate each other regularly and after priming the election pump, achieved a happy ending at the hands of Chris Nelson, Chairman Gary Hanson and Kristie Fiegen. The energy monopoly just moved into a $70 million facility in Rapid City financed mainly on the backs of subscribers without choices.

Even as prices plummet, Black Hills Energy remains focused on its substantial oil and natural gas holdings in the Mancos Shale within the San Juan and Piceance basins in the Four Corners region. The Trump Organization wants three thousand new oil and gas wells in the area surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park but regulators and market forces in Colorado are driving the Rapid City-based utility from coal-fired electricity generation.

A recently conducted survey revealed a majority of Pueblo, Colorado residents wants the city to end its agreement with Black Hills Energy and create a municipal electric utility.
Of the responses received to that question, 266 people said they favored terminating the franchise, while 151 opposed it. “The responses to our survey mirror other surveys that have been conducted over the past year,” Mayor Nick Gradisar said in a statement. “The city of Pueblo survey began after Black Hills Energy began airing television commercials in Pueblo against municipalization, so it appears the advertising has not had the desired effect.” [City of Pueblo survey indicates support for municipalization]
Santa Fe-based Wild Earth Guardians has joined other interested parties in suing the Bureau of Land Management to stop oil and gas encroachment on Chaco Culture National Historic Park.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Republican plan could be test case for restoring public lands to tribal control


Slippery Ann Creek at the confluence with the Missouri River in east central Montana

Restoring and rewilding American ecosystems are parts of the Green New Deal.

Former pastor and South Dakota legislator, Steve Hickey has asked me not to publish it but I have a rough draft of an abstract written by his daughter, Katherine, that seeks reconciliation with tribal nations whose lands were seized through colonization with land repatriation as reparation.

The South Dakota Democratic Party should advocate for paying the tribes and settling the Black Hills Claim, dissolving the Black Hills National Forest, moving management of the land from the US Department of Agriculture into the Department of Interior in cooperation with Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Forestry and Wildfire Management. Mato Paha (Bear Butte), the associated national grasslands and the Sioux Ranger District of the Custer/Gallatin National Forest should be included in the move.

The Anthropocene is now and time to rewild some of the American West eventually becoming part of a Greater Missouri Basin National Wildlife Refuge connecting the CM Russell in Montana along the Missouri River through North Dakota to Oacoma, South Dakota combined with corridors from Yellowstone National Park to the Yukon in the north and south to the Pecos River through eastern Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, western Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Clear the second growth conifers and restore aspen habitat, prescribe burns, begin extensive Pleistocene rewilding using bison and cervids, empower tribes, lease private land for wildlife corridors, turn feral horses from Bureau of Land Management pastures onto other public land to control exotic grasses and buy out the welfare ranchers Tony Dean warned us about.
A proposal by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) to transfer the National Bison Range – 18,800 acres – to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) has run into opposition on the grounds that it is simply another part of the Republican Party’s federal land “give away” program. Such claims are nonsense. Moreover, if the transfer happens, the land will still be under the trusteeship of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The case for transferring other federal lands to Indian tribes applies to national monuments. [The case for transferring federal lands back to Native Americans]

Friday, March 6, 2020

Despite Trump Organization tariffs tax credit driving New Mexico solar market


Utilities are not your friends.

The cost of subsidizing, manufacturing, transporting, erecting and maintaining just one wind farm turbine bat and bird killer would take a thousand subscribers to energy self-reliance. Microgrid technologies are destined to enhance tribal sovereignty, free communities from electric monopolies and net-metering only gives control back to utilities enabled by moral hazard. Ice storms routinely knock out electric power on American Indian reservations often resulting in lost lives and the inevitable cyber attacks on the US will take down the grid for days, even months causing food shortages and mayhem.

The average cost of a household photovoltaic system is about $3/watt or around $12,810 before tax credits are factored in.
To help sustain industry momentum beyond the loss of federal credits, the governor and legislators pushed in this year’s legislative session to reinstate the 10% state income tax credit that ended in 2016. The Legislature approved the legislation, Senate Bill 29, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed it into law Tuesday. “There’s a lot of backlog demand built up since the tax credit went away in 2016, so we believe we’ll reach the $8 million cap every year,” said SB 29 sponsor Senate Majority Whip Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque. “But we lowered the upper limit from $9,000 per system under the previous law to $6,000 now to spread the wealth around and finance more systems.” [Albuquerque Journal]
Leaving the grid has never been easier so anyone who can afford to it should do it now and with Trump still in the White House it's never been more urgent.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Bullock expected to enter Montana Senate race; whither Brendan Johnson?


This interested party met Montana Governor Steve Bullock in 2011 when he was attorney general. He isn’t a progressive by any measurement and in 2012 when Bullock was running for governor he failed to show up for the rights of same-sex couples to marry and for an initiated therapeutic cannabis law. I have been urging him to run for US Senate since 2016 but President Obama and Senator Schumer have lobbied him to get into the race, too. He has until March 9th to get into the Democratic primary.

It's been said countless times that The Last Best Place is not Oregon (even though the states show commonality in the white nationalist bloc) and elects Democrats with Blue Dog credentials. Both Senator Jon Tester and Bullock believe that with vigilant environmental oversight they would support TransCanada's tarsands enema beginning in Montana. Montana's Left has a hard-on for what it perceives as Democrats being GOP-lite who have deserted progressive ideals just to woo centrist voters.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics Bullock still has $122,762 in his federal campaign account that can be used to run for Senate.
“He would be a viable, strong candidate and has a very good shot of winning that race, so it would immediately expand the map,” said Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a former chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “If Steve Bullock’s in the race, it pretty clearly puts the state in play.” [Bullock reignites Democrats' hopes of Montana Senate run]
As Partner Attorney at Robins Kaplan LLP, Brendan Johnson, former US Attorney for the District of South Dakota and son of retired Democratic Senator Tim Johnson, helped the South Dakota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union win the Constitution and Libertarian Parties' lawsuit against Republican former Secretary of State Shantel Krebs.

This interested party has been lobbying Johnson to get in South Dakota's Democratic US Senate primary, too. At the end of last year Sen. Tim Johnson's Political Action Committee had just over a half million dollars in cash on hand and Brendan's kids are old enough now for him to run. The deadline for him to enter the primary is March 31st.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Study fingers cattle industry in devastation of water supplies


So, if domestic livestock grazing really reduces fuel loads why is extreme fire danger still a thing in ranch country?
We find irrigation of cattle-feed crops to be the greatest consumer of river water in the western United States, implicating beef and dairy consumption as the leading driver of water shortages and fish imperilment in the region. We assess opportunities for alleviating water scarcity by reducing cattle-feed production, finding that temporary, rotational fallowing of irrigated feed crops can markedly reduce water shortage risks and improve ecological sustainability. Long-term water security and river ecosystem health will ultimately require Americans to consume less beef that depends on irrigated feed crops.
Read the rest here.


South Dakota Republicans are getting bailouts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and welfare ranchers prone to climate change are getting handouts from the US Department of Agriculture.
The City of Dell Rapids will find out this summer whether FEMA will help pay to remove 10 flood-damaged homes along the Big Sioux River. Homeowners who want to take part in the FEMA buyout have until March 13 to apply. Dell Rapids should find out by mid-July whether the applications are approved. [KELO teevee]
If this were happening under President Obama it would be called socialism or worse.
To shore up support in farm country for his self-inflicted trade war, which has cut many growers off from lucrative export markets, President Trump has directed billions of dollars in bailout payments to thousands of agribusinesses through the Market Facilitation Program, or MFP. These year-after-year farm subsidy recipients aren’t ineligible for payments unless their adjusted gross income tops $900,000 a year – but the rule doesn’t apply if three-fourths or more of their income comes from farming. [Don Carr, AgMag]
At least one climate scientist believes the American Corn Belt will be a dust bowl by 2025.

Why is the cult of Trump so supportive of him? Because the extreme white wing of the Republican Party is willing to destroy the Earth to own the libs.



The will to build KXL pipeline is diminishing


Attorneys for the Trump Organization will stop at nothing to erase Barack Obama's legacy including accelerating the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a warming climate and an eventual American Indian rebellion to protect treaty lands. But building the KXL pipeline will depress oil prices even more and anger Trump's handler, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Weak oil demand and cheap alternative sources mean pipeline developer TC Energy should consider putting construction plans on pause — perhaps forever, said Charles Mason, chair in petroleum and natural gas economics at the University of Wyoming. “I don’t know if it’s dead,” Mason said of the pipeline. “It’s absolutely on life support.” Those contemplating new oil sands projects face similar arithmetic. Spending more than $60 to extract a barrel of oil that’s worth less than $50 is a tough way to make money, after all. “The Canadian oil sands aren’t the only game in town, and I think their time has sort of come and gone,” Mason said. “It’s a remote deposit that’s hard to get to market in a world in which there are increasingly more attractive and more accessible sources of supply. The economics just don’t really stack up for the oil sands right now.” [Will simple economics deal fatal blow to long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline?]
Montana and North Dakota have both suffered the effects of man camps that prey on women and girls where rapes and murders committed by white walkers have become commonplace.
In these filings, the Tribes highlight that TransCanada admitted that the Keystone XL pipeline would cross Rosebud mineral estates held in trust by the United States. [Native American Rights Fund]
As ice floes bash moorings and flooding causes scouring of fill from river bottoms the disasters befalling the Missouri basin should be a stern warning to erstwhile pipeline operators: it's not nice to fool Mother Nature.