11/30/20

Passed along without comment

 


US House will pass MORE Act but Senate likely won't yet

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019 or MORE Act removes cannabis from Schedule 1 and legalization remains in the hands of the states. The bill's lead sponsor in the Senate is Vice President-elect Sen. Kamala Harris. 

It's unlikely the bill will pass in the current Senate but after the Georgia runoffs in January Vice President Harris will vote to break a 50-50 tie.

The Act:
replaces statutory references to marijuana and marihuana with cannabis, 
requires the Bureau of Labor Statistics to regularly publish demographic data on cannabis business owners and employees, 
establishes a trust fund to support various programs and services for individuals and businesses in communities impacted by the war on drugs, 
imposes a 5% tax on cannabis products and requires revenues to be deposited into the trust fund, 
makes Small Business Administration loans and services available to entities that are cannabis-related legitimate businesses or service providers, 
prohibits the denial of federal public benefits to a person on the basis of certain cannabis-related conduct or convictions, 
prohibits the denial of benefits and protections under immigration laws on the basis of a cannabis-related event (e.g., conduct or a conviction), 
and establishes a process to expunge convictions and conduct sentencing review hearings related to federal cannabis offenses.

11/29/20

CWD in South Dakota cervids adds more evidence of red state failure

Mule deer romp through the returning aspen in the Jasper burn zone in the southern Black Hills. 

Kill off apex predators like wolves and cougars; spray neonicotinoids, glyphosate and atrazine on everything then wonder why deer and wapiti contract a prion contagion like Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). I have been covering effects of the surfactant POEA for nearly three decades. Today, wapiti (elk) in the Mountain West are dying en masse from CWD that some researchers say results from the federal government feeding those cervids in close proximity. Hay fed to those animals is likely contaminated with Monsanto's Roundup® and POEA now banned in Europe.

It takes at least 1,000 degrees to kill the prions that cause CWD to prevent spreading them to humans.
Samples were obtained from two male white-tailed deer by hunters in Lyman County and one male mule deer from sick surveillance in Sully County. Fourteen counties in South Dakota are now known to be infected with CWD, which includes eight counties added during the fall of 2019. [Dakota Radio Group]
Humanity has wiped out half the world's wildlife population just since 1970.

11/27/20

Biden EPA expected to overturn Trump attempt to mine Black Hills uranium


Pants Butte in northwest Nebraska just south of Ardmore, South Dakota

South Dakota is no stranger to ecocide because it's a way of life in the chemical toilet. Under the General Mining Act of 1872 even foreign miners have carte blanche to rape the Black Hills, so they are. 

Nearly all of the 300 mile long Cheyenne River flows through Indian Country. Powertech USA, part of Canadian firm Azarga Uranium, wants to mine near a tributary of the river even though tailings from uranium mining near Edgemont have been detected for years in Angostura Reservoir on the Cheyenne River in the southern Black Hills.
In addition, Powertech/Azarga Uranium needs 10 permits before it could begin any mining operations. So far, it has a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is tied up in litigation. And it has two EPA permits, which can be appealed and, hopefully, withdrawn. So, despite over a decade of trying to start this project, the company has gotten nowhere. A poorly thought-out project that could have disastrous impacts for our water is right where it belongs – still on the drawing board. And we will continue to work with our allies to oppose it. [press release, Black Hills Clean Water Alliance]
Recall that the South Dakota Republican Party ceded regulatory authority to the US Environmental Protection Agency for uranium mining after the legislature realized there is no competent oversight from state agencies.

It's widely expected the incoming Biden Administration will overturn most of the damaging policies wrought by the Trump Organization including this ridiculous ploy to mine uranium in the sacred Black Hills.

11/26/20

Executive clemency for Leonard Peltier within President Biden's wheelhouse

Leonard Peltier is a Prisoner of War.
Born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Peltier attended school in Flandreau, South Dakota and lived in Washington state for years. He has denied being involved in the execution-style killing of the FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams. But his accounts have varied and in his 1999 memoir, admits he shot his rifle during the shoot-out with the FBI agents while saying he didn't hit them. His son, Chauncey Peltier, said there is no evidence his father killed anyone. He has been exhibiting his father's paintings around the country to raise awareness about his father's attempt to gain a presidential pardon. [Pierre Capital Journal]
Former GOP South Dakota legislator, Steve Hickey who is now living and teaching in Alaska has given voice to executive clemency for Peltier. 
In 1986, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged there had been the fabrication of evidence, withholding of exculpatory evidence, coercion of witnesses, improper conduct by the FBI and willful illegality on the part of the government. His trial is certainly one of the lower moments in American justice. [Hickey]
In a letter dated April 24 US Representatives Deb Haaland (D- NM, 1st District) and RaĂșl Grijalva (D-AZ, 3rd District) asked for a grant of clemency and the release of Peltier, a 75-year old tribal citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. In May Peltier applied for a compassionate release because of the coronavirus outbreak but it was denied by the Trump Organization. 
Over the course of the last 16 months, Peter Clark, the former director at International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, who resides in Albuquerque, N.M., which is part of Haaland's congressional district met with the congresswoman and her staff, and provided information to the New Mexico congressional delegation regarding the various avenues of relief for Peltier. Leonard Peltier's eldest son Chauncey Peltier is a co-founder of the Indigenous Rights Center located in Albuquerque. Leonard's daughter, Kathy Peltier, is an enrolled citizen of the Navajo Nation, and had recently written to Rep Haaland seeking support for her dad. [Native News Online
It's not impossible President Barack Obama was fearful that executive clemency for Peltier would have siphoned moderate support from Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Native Americans overwhelmingly turned out to vote for Joe Biden and Representative Haaland is on the short list to be his Secretary of the Interior. 

11/22/20

Water protector jailed in Philip after locking herself to pipeline pump station

Man camps are vectors for disease and violent crime. 

Montana and North Dakota have both suffered the effects of the camps that prey on women and girls where rapes and murders committed by predatory criminals have become commonplace. 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, a warming climate and an eventual American Indian rebellion to protect treaty lands. The Bad River country in Haakon County is pretty awesome that includes millennia of human history with bison habitat expanding into the horizon. 

Genesee & Wyoming, the parent company of the Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern Railroad, conducts the business on the west end of its holdings and operates on the right of way that intersects the proposed Keystone XL pipeline at Philip. Rail cars carrying diluted bitumen could be loaded there then be transported through Pierre, Huron and maybe Brookings then south through Sioux Falls to the depot at Cushing, Oklahoma. But, running a bomb train through white towns won't fly when you can build a leaky pipeline through stolen treaty ground so it's hard to imagine these projects going through cemeteries where people of European descent are buried.  

If the Quinn Dam fails one of its first casualties would be the KXL pipeline where it's proposed to cross the Bad River.
Jasilyn Charger, of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe said she felt it in her heart to make a stand for her people, her Homelands and all the children who have no say about the destruction currently happening to their home. Today 11/21/20 She locked herself down to one of the pipes at the Royer road KXL Oil Pumpstations to stop the illegal construction happening. A complaint was filed to the states attorney in Haakon County but no action has been taken yet. So Jasilyn felt it was her civic duty to act and make a stand for those who cant. We stand with her.. solidarity ✊đŸŒ❤ Keep her in your prayers and keep eyes on KXL and the desecration happening to UNci Maka. [Faceberg post
The same geology that thwarts railroads and forces engineers to rebuild I-90 between Reliance and Rapid City and I-94 between Mandan, North Dakota and Billings, Montana every year also makes construction of the Keystone XL pipeline untenable.

 

President-elect Joe Biden has said he will terminate both the Keystone XL and Dakota Excess pipelines. 
Speaking to reporters alongside Biden, who was then serving as vice president, Obama said the pipeline would not provide a long-term boost to the economy, did not increase US energy security and did not help the fight against climate change.
 Read the rest here.

11/21/20

Lawsuit paid for by the State of South Dakota will allow tribal nations to be sole cannabis producers

As expected the Pennington County Sheriff and Superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol have asked a Hughes County judge to toss Amendment A since it violates the state's constitution by addressing multiple topics. 

Paid for in part by the State of South Dakota the lawsuit will compel Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge Bobbi Rank to nullify Amendment A thus empowering the tribal nations trapped in the state to be the sole cannabis industry leaders.   

 A 1986 amendment to federal law allows tribes to acquire off-reservation land to serve the needs of its people so 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. 

A well-funded court fight over Amendment A is a masterful political maneuver engineered by Democratic former US Attorney Brendan Johnson and others to drive public support from the South Dakota Republican Party after voters from three political parties overwhelmingly approved the change to the South Dakota Constitution.

In a Yankton Press and Dakotan interview Chamber of Commerce President David Owen said South Dakota's insane legislature will simply repeal Initiated Measure 26 like it did with voter-approved IM22 nearly two years ago. 

Judge Rank worked for eight years as an assistant attorney general in the offices of Republicans Larry Long and Marty Jackley before being named to lead the Sixth Circuit. Incel AG Jason Ravnsborg is required by law to defend Amendment A against legal challenges so despite killing Joe Boever with his car Republican Governor Kristi Noem needs him because he will ensure a shitty defense.

If Amendment A survives all the expected court challenges South Dakota's law enforcement industry is pushing for potency caps and state-owned dispensaries but Big Dope Columbia wants to control legal cannabis in South Dakota.

As President Joe Biden is taking the Oath in January Trump Organization-appointed US Attorney for the District of South Dakota Ron Parsons will be leaving office freeing tribal governments to better exercise their sovereignty.

11/20/20

Longest known fossilized human trackway lends more clues to Clovis migration, hunting practices

Somewhere between 15,560 and 10,000 years ago human footprints were pressed into the mud along the shore of prehistoric Lake Otero now called Alkali Flat just west of the gypsum dunes of White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. It's believed the hunters who made that trackway carried spears tipped with the large fluted stone points of the Clovis culture.
The ice age ended because of changes in the earth’s climate. Environments once rich in lush green life began to disappear. The reason for the disappearance of the great beasts of the ice age is still debated among scientists. More than likely, it was the combination of both the changes in climate and the overhunting by skilled people. [National Park Service
A Clovis site in Alaska dated to about 12,400 years ago has led most archaeologists to believe the culture arose only after their arrival to North America.

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 Mahto Tipila in Wyoming. The Clovis culture thrived on the high plains and in the Black Hills before settling the rest of the Mississippi basin but those pioneers had already explored parts of Montana long before they found Clovis, New Mexico where their stone tools were unearthed in the 1920s. Before US 14 was widened a team led by Adrien Hannus from Augustana University uncovered evidence of human habitation from over 12,000 years ago in a cave in Boulder Canyon near Sturgis, South Dakota. 

At one excavation site in Wyoming evidence revealed that humans killed a mammoth with a Clovis pointed spear launched from an atlatl, a type of throwing stick.
...he also radiocarbon-dated the humerus of the mammoth, which places the animal’s life (12,694 to 12,863 years ago and within 100 years of the LaPrele mammoth) during the Clovis period and right in the time frame that humans could have killed it. [University of Wyoming]
I believe the ancestors of the Chacoans came up the Columbia and the Snake Rivers then into ancient Lake Bonneville and down the western slope of the Rocky Mountains into the Four Corners Region. At the southern terminus of the Rockies near Santa Fe interaction with the Clovis culture seems perfectly likely.
It’s easy to see how seafaring people might have reached Cooper’s Ferry, says Loren Davis, an archaeologist at Oregon State University in Corvallis who led the excavations. Although the site is more than 500 kilometers from the coast, the Salmon, Snake, and Columbia rivers link it to the sea. [First people in the Americas came by sea, ancient tools unearthed by Idaho river suggest]



11/19/20

Weaponized dogs, potency caps, Big Dope all at play for South Dakota's cannabis plan

So, the guy driving legal cannabis in North Dakota and the guy who opposes it in South Dakota are both named David Owen.

11/17/20

Rapid City Council to find land to swap with Native community

In 1948 Congress gave the land belonging to the Indian Boarding School in west Rapid City to the City, the School District, the South Dakota National Guard, various churches and the Native Community - except the Native Community never got theirs.
The land in question is the Canyon Lake Activity Center, Clarkson Mountain View Health Care Facility, and Monument Health Behavioral Health Center worth more than twenty million dollars. “We’re not taking the land away, it’s going to be a land exchange for maybe some land that the city has somewhere else," says Council Member Darla Drew. "So don’t think we’re going to tale [sic] those centers and take them down, make the senior center move, make the hospital move. That’s not the point.” [KEVN teevee
Charmaine White Face sees a land swap differently and calls some involved in the negotiations "opportunists." 
Both sets of White Face’s grandparents were children who attended the Rapid City Indian Boarding School, and her mother worked at the sanatorium when it was a tuberculosis clinic. “I say opportunists because the community cannot and did not have an opportunity to meet about this when, if they were working on this a long time as the mayor said, then why didn’t they come to our community meetings and talk to people?” she asked. White Face went on to note that the 2017 letter which the Rapid City Indian Boarding School Lands Project presented to Rapid City Council was addressed to the superiors of tribes and the only people addressed in Rapid City was the superintendent of the Rapid City Area Schools and the mayor of Rapid City. [Native Sun News Today]
After the 1972 Flood that wiped out Teepee Town and killed some 238 people, mostly poor American Indians, the feds gave Rapid City rent supports to house those displaced by the disaster but currently the Rapid City Police Department is staffed by white supremacists and bigots. A former police chief now Mayor Steve Allender has been accused of managing "a bunch of racists." Now he's saying it costs Rapid City some $15 million every year to address homelessness.

Today, the State of South Dakota still seizes about 750 American Indian kids every year reaping at least a billion federal dollars since the Indian Child Welfare Act was passed.

11/16/20

Researchers: socialized agriculture treadmill killing High Plains Aquifer


So, doing the same shit over and over expecting different results is madness, right? 

Desertification driven by livestock grazing and industrial agriculture has turned parts of the high plains into scorched earth. Moral hazard is the flip side of self-reliance and the livestock industry knows emergency declarations will provide bailouts for those who chose risk instead of burning off dry grasses minimizing losses. 

Republican welfare ranchers are the real ecoterrorists who hate subsidies unless they benefit from them but real conservatives at the Heritage Foundation have called for subsidy reform for years. Republicans Kristi Noem and Mike Rounds have taken federal handouts amounting to nearly $5 million.
Government payments create a vicious cycle of overproduction that intensifies water use. Subsidies encourage farmers to expand and buy expensive equipment to irrigate larger areas. Forty years is long enough to learn that the Ogallala Aquifer’s decline is not driven by weather or by individual farmers’ preferences. Depletion is a structural problem embedded in agricultural policies. Groundwater depletion is a policy choice made by federal, state and local officials. [excerpt, Farmers are depleting the Ogallala Aquifer because the government pays them to do it
Photo: Kevin Woster.

11/15/20

Wioweya Najin Win walks on

Indigenous activist, author, artist and revolutionary Wioweya Najin Win or Debra White Plume has walked on to the Holy Road. Born and raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation White Plume led many of the fights against uranium mining, fossil fuel extraction and pipeline construction. 
Debra White Plume (Wioweya Najin Win), Executive Director of Owe Aku, is an Oglala Lakota grandmother and water rights activist who is taking on Cameco, the world’s largest producer of uranium, near her homeland on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in South Dakota. From traveling through the lands, providing training camps, speaking engagements, strategic planning meetings, prayer circles with the Cheyenne Nation, Lakota Nation, DinĂ© Nation, Apache Nation, Annishanabe Nation (Canada), Gila River Nation and Palestinian allies, the message is out there to continue to resist, to engage, to empower, to act collectively, to never give up. [Indian Country Today]
Nearly all of the 300 mile long Cheyenne River flows through Indian Country. Powertech USA, part of Canadian firm Azarga Uranium, wants to mine near a tributary of the river even though tailings from uranium mining near Edgemont have been detected for years in Angostura Reservoir on the Cheyenne River in the southern Black Hills. 

South of Edgemont at Crow Butte near the headwaters of the White River above Crawford, Nebraska Canada-based Cameco, Inc. obtained rights to use 9,000 gallons of water per minute to extract raw uranium ore through 8,000 holes bored into the Ogallala and Arikaree Aquifers. The foreign miners have already pumped over half a billion gallons of radioactive waste water into disposal wells and have rights to bury more. In 2014 Cameco, the world’s largest uranium producer, paid a million dollar fine for environmental damage in Wyoming. The White River also flows through much of Indian Country in South Dakota. 

In northwestern South Dakota radioactive waste in the Cave Hills area went for decades without remediation because the Board of Minerals and Environment is an arm of the Republican Party that ceded regulatory authority to the US Environmental Protection Agency for uranium mining after the legislature realized there is no competent oversight from state agencies.

Funeral arrangements for White Plume are pending with the Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge.

 

11/14/20

Republican welfare ranchers are driving the desertification of the West

If livestock grazing is the key to preventing wildfires why is ranch country still suffering from near daily extreme grassland fire danger indices? Because Republicans are evil.
None of the studies that promote grazing to reduce fuels considers the unavoidable ecological impacts that accompany grazing. These include water pollution, soil compaction, trampling of biological soil crusts, the spread of weeds (as with cheatgrass), the social displacement of wildlife (like elk), and the loss of forage wildlife and insects, and costs. While targeted grazing and the ecological impacts that result might be acceptable for small areas, say to reduce vegetation around a home or some other limited area, it is not effective or acceptable on a landscape scale. As such, it cannot aid in reducing large wildfires. [Targeted Livestock Grazing Won’t Preclude Large Wildfires]
Just 150 years ago bison would be clearing the grasses that drive large wildfires. Indigenous peoples set at least 47% of fires in the Interior West between 1776 and 1900 because smoke from Indigenous cultural fire has been long-applied to control tree pests. Today, restoring and rewilding American ecosystems are parts of the Green New Deal.

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.

11/13/20

Poll: Noem's indifference to leadership turns off women

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.

In 2018 South Dakota ranked 50th in women's 'workplace environment‘ and 38th overall in WalletHub's Best & Worst States. The red moocher state climbed to 32nd in 2019 but sank again in 2020 to surf the bottom for women’s equality at 38th and 41st in empowerment.

Kristi Noem has never supported the Violence Against Women Act and if her #metoo abusers were Democrats she'd be singing like a cardinal. Kristi Noem is a MILF. Is she compliant, infidelitous, or simply a jaded career politician who's used to trading her favors for advancement? Republican former South Dakota Secretary of State Shantel Krebs was driven from South Dakota politics for outing Noem as a philanderer. It's common knowledge that Krebs, Joni Cutler and other South Dakota legislators loathed Noem.

Republican leadership is an oxymoron. Like most, if not all, Republicans holding office today Noem is milking the prosperity gospel for every dime using every trick in the Koch playbook. Kristi Lynn Arnold Noem (KLAN) is a one woman death panel

Which part of ethnic cleansing do you like best, Republicans?
While a majority of South Dakotans continue to approve of the overall performance of Gov. Kristi Noem, a new poll shows that women are far less supportive than men of the governor, her handling of health-care issues and the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Since the pandemic began, Noem has espoused and also boasted about her approach to the coronavirus, which has been to allow businesses and schools to remain open, to promote large gatherings such as the Mount Rushmore fireworks and the Sturgis motorcycle rally, and to recommend the wearing of masks but not require it while also casting doubt on the efficacy of masks in protecting wearers from the virus. But the gender gap in support of Noem is also certainly tied to the greater negative impacts the pandemic has had on the lives of many women and a sense among women that the governor has not been proactive enough in pushing precautions or restrictions to limit the spread of the virus. [SD News Watch]
Photo: South Dakota Republican Party.

11/10/20

White South Dakota Republicans are failing to become volunteer firefighters

The grassland fire danger index will reach the high category again tomorrow for much of the permanent disaster area that is South Dakota but if you live in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) government can't always protect you from your own stupidity. Volunteer fire departments are irreplaceable as first responders to unexpected blazes and if the Federal Emergency Management Agency survives a Trump presidency it should convince Congress to make sure the resources are there to sustain rural firefighters. 

Keystone, Hot Springs, Custer, Pringle, Argyle, Hill City, Hisega, Rochford, Nemo, Galena, Silver City, Hanna, Cheyenne Crossing, Savoy, Deadwood, Lead, Whitewood, Newcastle, Alva, Aladdin, Hulett even parts of Sundance, Rapid City, Piedmont, Sturgis and Spearditch are at extreme risk from the tactical use of wildfire. Just six strategically-placed improvised fuel air explosives (FAEs) deployed during red-flag conditions have the potential to create a firestorm that would be virtually unstoppable.

Recall the 2016 Crow Peak Fire near Spearditch affected mostly Republican landowners who built in the WUI and begged the feds to protect their properties. Most of the vegetation on some 274,000 surface acres in the South Dakota Bureau of Land Management's Field Office is prairie grassland or juniper woodlands but the trees at the Fort Meade Recreation Area are mostly ponderosa pine and bur oak. Around Lead and Deadwood pine and oak are mixed with spruce, birch, and quaking aspen. 

91% of fire departments in the chemical toilet are staffed by volunteers in a state where white old Republicans are giving up the ghost. 
As volunteers leave or retire, it has been getting more difficult for many rural fire departments to replace them. “Across the state it’s a challenge in getting individuals in that 25 to 40 age range,” said Charlie Kludt, the president of the South Dakota Firefighters Association and member of the Viborg Fire Department. South Dakota has 337 fire departments and 324 of them are all volunteers departments, according to the SDFA.
 Read the rest here.

11/9/20

Spanish firm to buy PNM; regulators will be appointed not elected


Utilities are not your friends. 

Avangrid, Inc., a US-based subsidiary of Spanish energy giant Iberdrola with a base in my home town of Elkton, South Dakota plans to spend at least $216 million on a wind farm. That amount of cash would take nearly 17,000 electric subscribers completely off the grid. 

Pending approvals Iberdrola and Avangrid will acquire Public Service of New Mexico (PNM) for about $4.3 billion. The move came just before voters changed the state's regulatory body to an elected five-member board to a three person governor-appointed commission. 
The constitutional amendment will not impact the currently serving commissioners, who will serve out the remainder of their terms and leave office in 2023. The two newly-elected commissioners, incumbent Cynthia Hall and newcomer Joseph Maestas, both Democrats, will serve two year terms ending in 2023. At that point, a nominating committee will provide the governor with a list of qualified nominees. The governor will appoint one for a two-year term, another for a four-year term and the final commissioner will be appointed for a six-year term. After those terms are completed, all of the commissioners will serve six-year terms and no commissioner can serve more than two consecutive terms. The governor cannot appoint more than two members that have the same political affiliation and the nominees must be approved by the state Senate. ['We need professionals rather than politicians.' Voters approve change to an appointed PRC]
Recall that in 2018 Black Hills Energy sold some of its 700 oil and gas wells in New Mexico and the Powder River Basin in Wyoming to help finance a $70 million monolith headquarters in Rapid City. It was built there on the backs of subscribers without choices because out of state Republicans who write the tax law own South Dakota and because the state ended environmental oversight. BHE raised much of its construction cash on Colorado cannabis

Microgrid technologies are destined to encourage self-reliance, 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. 
Public Service Company of New Mexico announced plans Monday to transfer its 13 percent ownership share of the Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington to the Navajo Transitional Energy Company by the end of 2024. [Santa Fe New Mexican]
The average cost of a household photovoltaic system is about $3/watt or around $12,810 before tax credits are factored in. 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.

11/6/20

Woster gets on board with kurtz cannabis plan

Despite lies from the South Dakota Republican Party video lootery, payday loan sharks, domestic violence and homelessness are inextricably linked putting children at risk to more catastrophic consequences far more often than has happened in states that have legalized or lessened penalties for casual use of cannabis. 

The Family Heritage Alliance, a conservative group with a large following in South Dakota, estimates video lootery costs the state far more in real dollars than it generates in revenue yet the governor says cannabis is bad. If their numbers are accurate video lootery costs the state at least $280 million each year.
WHEREAS, video lottery is often referred to as the crack cocaine of gambling because it is recognized as the most addictive form of gambling; and WHEREAS, South Dakota is now estimated to have between 13,000 and 26,000 pathological gamblers; and WHEREAS, South Dakota now has the undesirable distinction of being ranked second in the nation with respect to gambling addiction; and WHEREAS, research indicates that the annual cost to a state for each pathological gambler is in excess of fourteen thousand dollars; and WHEREAS, crime statistics confirm significant increases in armed robbery, burglary, theft, embezzlement, and family violence, as well as suicide, since the institution of video lottery; and WHEREAS, since the institution of video lottery, the exorbitant and ever-increasing social costs associated with this form of gambling have taken their toll both directly and indirectly on individuals, on families, on our businesses and communities, and on the health and well being of our state. [The Deleterious Effects of Video Lottery]
Since at least 2011 I've taken my proposal to mirror state gaming statutes and make Deadwood the non-tribal cannabis market to mayors and several commission members but they have always blown me off because they want the sports betting gig. So my position today is that the tribes must have exclusive production and distribution privileges. If the Neanderthal South Dakota Legislature had any integrity or ethics (they don’t) they would empower Indigenous communities to be the sole producers and marketers of legal cannabis in the state (they won't). But, since the perpetual welfare state is owned by the out of state Republicans who make the laws an attorney general probably guilty of manslaughter will sue to block either or both of them from taking effect.

 

11/3/20

Minnesota grower learns industrial cannabis is a gamble

Industrial cannabis (hemp) seeds with decent cannabidiol (CBD) producing genetics are a buck apiece costing about $50,000 to sow 20 acres. One grower gets $5 a seed, a pretty spendy investment for any farmer but putting any cannabis industry into the hands of a few oligarchs is stupid policy. 

This crop is not the benign introduced species it’s cracked up to be and stray pollen from the hemp industry can wreak havoc on growers of therapeutic and “recreational” cannabis. Medicine and a potential revenue source are being put at risk by an experiment that makes Jerusalem artichokes and Belgian endive look like safe investments.

Alex White Plume of the Oglala Lakota Nation in occupied South Dakota planted his grow/op on May 30 and on August 1st he tested the THC level to be sure his crop conforms to tribal code. He said the original law was 1% but the "lawyers got a hold of it and rather than act sovereign they went .3%." His clones are bred to be high in CBD. In a Faceberg post White Plume told journalist, Tim Giago that growers are governed by heavy-handed policy from the federal government and the tribal councils so there is little will to deviate from the rules. White Plume has since harvested and sold his crop to a Colorado processor.

Before planting just one and a half acres Minnesota grower Phil Reed hired Luis "Lulu Magoo" Hummel as a consultant whose own crop tested above the .3% THC threshold which led to criminal charges so attorney's fees keep the industry a gamble. 
Hemp is a "challenging grow" that's not for everybody, said Reed. According to Margaret Wiatrowski, program coordinator for the Industrial Hemp Program with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, there were 580 hemp licenses issued this year. That number includes both hemp growers and processors. An MDA inspector must sample each hemp lot produced in Minnesota, and the lots are sampled within 30 days of harvest, said Wiatrowski. Wiatrowski said over 700 samples had been collected by MDA inspectors this year, and estimated between 5-10% of the samples had failed THC threshold testing. In 2019 there was a 12% failure rate of the THC tests, she said. After being charged in Fillmore County, Hummel felt that state officials had forced him to destroy his crop without due process or clear rules in the industry. 

Photo: top bud from a plant of an OJ Kush strain.

11/2/20

Native Sun News Today reaches out to NM Rep. Haaland to advance land-back legislation



On this date in 1889 President Benjamin Harrison signed the proclamation creating South and North Dakota from stolen treaty lands giving Republicans four more US Senators.
The Editorial Board of Native Sun News Today and its Publisher Tim Giago sent the Bill Bradley Bill and the history of the illegal taking of the Black Hills to Deb Haaland, (D-NM) Congresswoman from New Mexico, a Native American woman, and we are encouraging her to study them and perhaps meet with some of the leaders of the tribes of the Great Sioux Nation, in order to discuss the idea of putting together another Bill in the fashion of the Bradley Bill, in an effort to get some of the stolen lands of the Black Hills returned to the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people. [Making an effort to get legislation for the return of land in the Black Hills]
It’s been 40 years since attorney Mario Gonzalez filed the federal court case stopping payment of the Black Hills Claim award to the Oglala Lakota Nation. Gonzalez contends that the commission charged to make peace with tribes inserted language into the Fort Laramie Treaty signed in 1868 that Red Cloud had neither seen nor agreed to in negotiations. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has passed resolutions condemning what they say are abuses of the General Mining Law of 1872 that led to the Custer Expedition's discovery of gold in the Black Hills. 

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. 

Rewild it and rename it He Sapa or Paha Sapa National Monument eventually becoming part of the Greater Missouri Basin National Wildlife Refuge connecting the CM Russell Wildlife Refuge in Montana along the Missouri River to Oacoma, South Dakota combined with corridors from Yellowstone National Park to the Yukon in the north and south to the Canadian River through Nebraska, eastern Colorado, western Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. 

11/1/20

Bison come home to Sicanju Oyate



In 2010 then-Democratic Senator Tim Johnson tried to make a portion of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland adjacent to Badlands National Park part of the Tony Dean Wilderness Area and in 2011 Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) revived the idea. 

Led by The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit that began buying land in that part of South Dakota in 2007, sold some of it to Badlands National Park in 2012. Conata Basin in occupied South Dakota is on the top ten ecotourism sites chosen by the University of Nebraska's Great Plains Center. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Defenders of Wildlife and the Nature Conservancy teamed up with the National Park Foundation, Badlands Natural History Association, Badlands National Park Conservancy and the National Park Service Centennial Challenge fund to expand the bison range at Badlands National Park by nearly 35 square miles. 

Today, with cooperation from South Dakota State Senator Troy Heinert more bison are coming home to the Nations.
Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), the economic arm of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, has secured nearly 28,000 acres of native grassland for the creation of a new plains bison herd with the support of the Rosebud's Tribal Land Enterprise. With a capacity to support 1,500 animals, the Wolakota Buffalo Range will become North America's largest Native American owned and managed bison herd. Over the past five years, WWF has invested more than $2.2 million in bison restoration efforts with Indigenous communities in the Northern Great Plains. This new opportunity, which aligns strongly with Lakota foundational values and beliefs, will become a model for cultural and ecological restoration efforts by Native American nations across the U.S.