Noem shuts barn door after horses incinerated

So, what do all the counties in today's critical wildfire risk have in common? With the exception of a few in California and reservations on the High Plains they're all Republican. 

It was virtually impossible to expect a worse Republican than Denny Daugaard as South Dakota governor but here we are. No emergency declaration for a pandemic but when private property is threatened so be it.

Recall candidate Daugaard drew gasps from a South Dakota State Fair audience in 2010 when he said: “I am skeptical about the science that suggests global warming is man-caused or can be corrected by man-made efforts." Joe Lowe called Daugaard incompetent and uninterested in governing.

Yes, as the horses are incinerated the current Republican South Dakota governor finally orders the barn door closed until at least June 1st. The Divide Fire in Perkins County has consumed at least 8000 acres of invasive grasses and the Dry Creek Fire northwest of Murdo has cleared almost 10,000 acres. Livestock producers in Perkins County alone have received over $14 million in subsidies since 1995.

The cost per acre of conducting a prescribed burn can top $2,000 per acre but because of contributions from FEMA and other sources wildfires can cost less than $50 an acre to manage. But if you live in the wildland-urban interface government can't always protect you from your own stupidity. The Rapid City and Pennington County Fire Departments have plenty of funding to help property owners to remove combustibles. But volunteer fire departments are irreplaceable as first responders to unexpected blazes and they should convince Congress to make sure the resources are there to sustain rural firefighters.

So, science was certainly not on my Kristi Noem political future bingo card but readers can learn more here


Dry Creek, Schroeder Fires burn 10,000 acres in stupid red state

Moral hazard is driving early wildfire season again. Republicans in South Dakota can't control wind and temperature but they can control fuels. Second growth ponderosa pine is a weed. The faster Rapid City learns that the fewer wildland fires will threaten the Black Hills.

It has been confirmed that the 1900 acre Schroeder Fire near Rapid City started on private land. The Dry Creek Fire, five miles north of Okaton or about nine miles northwest of Murdo is currently estimated at 9,400 acres. A very large range fire is burning in Perkins County. 

Round Two is expected today.


DoE awards $22 million to European company to begin rare earth demo plant

Under the General Mining Law of 1872 even foreign miners have carte blanche to rape the Black Hills, so they are. At least five transients want to poke the Black Hills but it's happening throughout the Intermountain West. 

A Wyoming strip mine intended to remove Bull Hill from the Bearlodge Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest then replace it with a pile of waste rock could pollute the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne Rivers even worse than they are now. 

Without further permitting from the US Forest Service Europe’s GA Umwelt-und Ingenieurtechnik GmbH (UIT) proposes to use a $22 million award from the US Department of Energy to move rare earth oxides mined in 2015 and stored in those tanks clearly visible in the above photo. A demonstration-scale separation and processing plant is expected to cost $35-40 million and a site in Upton, Wyoming near the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) is a prime candidate.

In January of 2016, the Forest Service suspended the Draft Environmental Impact Study for the Wyoming Black Hills mountaintop-removal mine that would extract more minerals containing elements like neodymium and praseodymium from the Belle Fourche watershed. In 2017 Rare Element Resources said its mine just upstream of the South Dakota border in the headwaters of the Redwater River, a tributary of the Belle Fourche/Cheyenne, announced financial backing from General Atomics and applied for enough water for the mineral separation process despite widespread contamination in Crook County wells. 

The US is beginning to get religion on existing rare earth stocks and we have more buried in landfills than all other developed countries combined. Japan recovers most of her needs from the waste stream. 

Acid mine drainage can kill or cause birth defects in the birds and mammals that happen into contaminated standing water on these sites but Wyoming Senator John Barrasso and other Earth raping Republicans are working overtime to defund environmental protection, especially on public lands. 

Learn more at the Sundance Times.


Navajo cannabis grower consulting Oglala Lakota Nation

In March of last year the Oglala Lakota Nation voted overwhelmingly to legalize cannabis. 

Consultants from the industry have traveled to that part of South Dakota to advise tribal communities on cultivation and marketing including Indigenous firebrand, Dineh Benally, who with help from a Chinese syndicate had been growing cannabis on the Navajo Nation. Despite being banned from conducting business on the Pine Ridge Benally gave a February 6 presentation to tribal members on behalf of the Palliation Collaborative.

Since then, Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has softened her stand on simple possession giving tribes further incentives to build the industry even as legal cannabis sputters elsewhere in the state. 

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. 

Learn more at High Country Today.


BHNF has been broken for decades

Aspen, Rocky Mountain juniper, white spruce and bur oak were at least as abundant as ponderosa pine was in the Black Hills during pre-settlement times. 

As many readers are aware the first US Forest Service timber sale took place in the Black Hills near Nemo but only after nearly all the old growth of every native tree species had been cleared for mine timbers, railroad ties and construction. Native Douglas fir and lodgepole pine are virtually extirpated from the Hills.

After the wells for Ellsworth Air Force Base were drilled many aquifer recharges were no longer able to keep up with demand robbing scant groundwater for the numbers of second-growth pine that had been allowed to overrun the region promoting pine beetle outbreaks.

After a prescribed burn got away from the Forest Service in the 1980s a moratorium on non-mechanical fuel treatments just exacerbated the problem. Ronald Reagan was president in 1988 when wildfires in Yellowstone National Park burned nearly 800,000 acres and also during the arsonist caused Westberry Trails Fire that destroyed 15 homes, 45 outbuildings, 40 vehicles and burned almost 5,000 acres near Rapid City.

In 2002, the National Forest Protection Alliance (NFPA) named the Black Hills National Forest the third most endangered. In July of that year a power line owned by Black Hills Energy caused the Grizzly Gulch Fire that could have burned deep into Deadwood had the wind not switched. The Grizzly Gulch Fire opened nearly 13,000 acres of overgrown and beetle-killed ponderosa pine but invasive weeds and cheatgrass moved in because cars and hunters have killed off the elk, white-tailed and mule deer that control grasses.

Now, after closing his sawmill in Hill City, Jim Neiman admitted 80% of the timber he has taken comes from public lands owned by the Forest Service. I've known Hulett, Wyoming's Jim Neiman for nearly fifty years. He's a ruthless negotiator and committed capitalist who would log the Black Hills into the dirt since he controls the BHNF leadership and South Dakota's Republican congressional delegation. 

So, Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is correct when she said the BHNF has been poorly managed. I maintain that has been happening since 1899 and Forest Service Case Number One

The South Dakota Democratic Party should lobby the Biden administration to free Leonard Peltier, pay the tribes and settle the Black Hills Claim, dissolve the Black Hills National Forest, move management of the land from the US Department of Agriculture into the Department of Interior as a national monument in cooperation with the 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.

Photo: shot of 2002 Grizzly Gulch Fire from the '59 Deadwood burn. The spot fire is on Pillar Peak, at least a mile downwind of the main fire.


WaPo: 'silver spoon' tax would stop South Dakota banks from making national policy

According to accountant and former State Senator Susan Wismer there is about $900 billion in 105 South Dakota dynasty trusts alone. It's obvious this phenomenon is no accident: it has been manufactured to make the state a corporatist tax haven for an exclusive set of Republicans while over $3 trillion languishes in South Dakota banks.
We all suffer high and hidden costs from this parallel legal system — paying more in taxes and getting less in government services. And by hyper-concentrating wealth, South Dakota locks away resources that could spark entrepreneurial innovation. Effectively, South Dakota is setting national policy. Ditch the existing estate tax and replace it with an inheritance tax on those who receive the wealth. Answer the GOP’s bogus “death tax” claims with a “silver spoon tax” — such as that proposed by Lily Batchelder, Biden’s nominee to oversee federal tax policy — that reins in windfalls to kids of super-wealthy family dynasties.
Read the rest here.


EWG: US still using pesticides known to alter hormones, harm kids


The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been analyzing pesticide data from the federal Department of Agriculture and the results are alarming. 

Particularly concerning is Imazalil, a carcinogenic fungicide that can alter hormone levels especially in children and adolescents. It was detected last year on 90% of citrus not grown organically in the United Snakes. DCPA, sold under the brand name Dacthal, was banned in Europe in 2009 but is still widely used in the US on kale and other greens as are neonicotinoids, pyrethroids and some 20 other pesticides. Also banned by the European Union are the organophosphate insecticides acephate and chlorpyrifos that can harm developing brains but the Trump Organization refused to block chlorpyrifos from being used on US produce. 

High levels of glyphosate, a known endocrine disruptor, are also found in oats, chickpeas and corn sugars.

These findings come at a time when Republicans in dangerous red state legislatures, including South Dakota's, are targeting kids. But South Dakota Republicans don't want schools to even talk about the causes of gender dysphoria. Why? Because their campaign dollars come from white christianists like the Family Heritage Alliance, the LGBT-bashing Family Research Council and especially the hate group that calls itself Alliance Defending Freedom.

Learn more about the EWG findings linked here.


Analysis: fuel treatments in Santa Fe Fireshed prove positive investment

New Mexico has been home to much larger aspen communities in the fairly recent past. Because it reproduces clonally underground from adult trees aspen (Populus tremuloides) is one of the first plants to reestablish after fire. 

The timber industry doesn't like prescribed fire because burns release aspen and kill pine species. Ponderosa pine sucks billions of gallons from aquifer recharges, needles absorb heat and accelerate snow melt while aspen leaves reflect sunlight in the summer months and hold snowpacks in winter. Insects like the mountain pine beetle and spruce bud worm can help promote drought- and fire-tolerant species like aspen.

The US Park Service has resumed burning in the Pecos National Historical Park, the Santa Fe National Forest is burning slash piles in the Jemez Mountains and reducing fuels on the Rowe Mesa and in the Santa Fe Fireshed. In southwestern New Mexico the Gila National Forest is also gearing up for fuel reduction

Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed House Bill 57 or the Prescribed Burning Act to help reduce fuel loads and establish training and certification programs to conduct burns on private land.
The U.S. Forest Service engaged Earth Economics to conduct an analysis of the social, environmental, and economic benefits that the fireshed provides for the surrounding community, and to explore the impact of the proposed fuel reduction treatment on these benefits. This conservative analysis found that the proposed fuel treatments are estimated to generate between $1.44–$1.67 in benefits for every dollar invested in treatment. The majority of these benefits directly accrue to the Santa Fe community, through avoided air quality impacts, recreational losses, damages to structures, and source water impacts. [GREATER SANTA FE FIRESHED: TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE ANALYSIS OF FUEL TREATMENTS | 2021]
Learn more about the effects of fire on aspen linked here.


Addicted to therapeutic cannabis in South Dakota? You still can't legally buy a gun

Still believe the Second Amendment is absolute? 

Think again. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) will make sure you lose your Second Amendment rights if you admit to an addiction to cannabis, therapeutic or otherwise. “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, [cannabis] or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” 

That's State Senator Jessica Castleberry (R-35/Rapid City) in the photo. She tried to convince South Dakota's deranged legislature to erase federal control over firearms but Senate Bill 149 was deferred to the 41st day effectively killing the measure.

When KELO teevee asked cannabis advocate Drey Samuelson about it last year he said, “Amendment A and Measure 26 make no changes to gun laws in South Dakota. This is a federal issue that affects all states. As is the case in all 34 states that have legalized [therapeutic cannabis] and in the 11 states that have legalized [cannabis] for adults, state policies do not change the fact that [cannabis] remains illegal under federal law.”

As Garrison Keillor opened A Prairie Home Companion in the Rapid City Civic Center Theatre on November 20, 1999 he cited a statistic that Pennington County has the highest per capita gun ownership in the United States. A nervous chuckle rolled through the audience.
Pennington County now joins Bennett and Fall River Counties as 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Counties in South Dakota. “It’s an expression and statement that we’re trying to make to the country of saying, we were given these rights, we want to retain these rights,” said Gary Drewes, the Chariman of the Pennington County Commission. “Leave the 2nd Amendment alone. Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean that nobody else does.” [KEVN teevee]
Maybe someday South Dakota will jury rig a mechanism that allows pharmacies to dispense edibles and topicals but no flower or smoking.

But until Congress legalizes on the federal level you still can't buy a gun if you admit being addicted to cannabis.


SD Stockgrowers join other Earth haters in resistance to Haaland

South Dakota Stockgrowers Association Executive Director James Halverson says his white nationalist cabal is concerned by Deb Haaland's confirmation because of her advocacy for wildlife and her support for the Green New Deal. 

In 2019 Democratic New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland led a House subcommittee hearing on anti-government extremism emphasizing that the violent ideologies expressed by the Bundy clan were spurred by white elected Republicans in the Mountain West. The Bureau of Land Management has even hired a security specialist to outline strategies to defend federal employees and property. 

Herr Trump's first Interior secretary blamed wildfires in the West on those he called “radical environmentalists” despite most acres burned were on private ranch land in Republican counties. On the final day of Trump’s presidency his last Interior secretary even restored a grazing permit to the Hammond Ranch who had set fire to federal land. Only a tiny fraction of public lands offered by the Trump Organization to the extractive industries were even leased yet Republicans see the Biden White House as hostile to their causes especially after the Hammonds' grazing permits were again rescinded. 

Deb Haaland was confirmed as Secretary of Interior despite the racist bents of Republican South Dakota Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds, Wyoming Senators John Barrasso, Cynthia Lummis and the extreme white wing of the Republican Party. Montana Sen. Steve Daines, even called Rep. Haaland a “far-left ideologue” and a radical threat to the American “way of life,” another racist dogwhistle.

Today, restoring and rewilding American ecosystems are parts of the Green New Deal and with cooperation from Democratic South Dakota State Senator Troy Heinert more bison are coming home to the Nations.

In 2016 the SD Stockgrowers pressed officials at Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City to keep ranchers informed of the Combat Raider exercises over the Powder River Training Complex. Those war games have since been suspended after public pressure and the failures of the Trump Organization to maintain military readiness.

If cattle grazing is the key to preventing wildfires why is Republican ranch country still suffering near daily high or even extreme grassland fire danger indices so often even during winter? 

Cartoon: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune.


Lawrence joins kurtz in calling for removal of war criminal's name from South Dakota

Veteran South Dakota reporter and columnist, Tom Lawrence agrees that it's time to erase another war criminal's name from South Dakota maps.

A state park, a peak, a county and a town in the Black Hills, a county and national forest in Montana are named after a murderer. During the Battle of Greasy Grass on the banks of the Little Bighorn River in Montana George Custer attacked the encampment where the elderly, women and children were hidden and during the Washita Massacre he held a similar contingent as hostages and human shields. 

George Custer, Phil Sheridan, George Crook and William Harney all committed crimes against humanity yet their names still besmirch numerous government and geographical features. Crook City near Whitewood and Crook's Tower, one of the 7000 footers in the Black Hills, were named after a war criminal. 

Revisionist history turned the Wounded Knee Massacre into a battle now Senator Mike Rounds (NAZI-SD) said he won't vote for the Senate companion to the Remove the Stain Act that would rescind Medals of Honor for twenty war criminals responsible for the slaughter of children, women and men in 1890 at Wounded Knee in occupied South Dakota. But he and the South Dakota Republican Party are hardly the only racists in the colonized American West. 

After successes by tribal nations renaming geographical features in Alaska and South Dakota Yellowstone National Park could see at least two name changes. Hayden Valley memorializes Ferdinand V. Hayden who advocated for the extermination of tribal people and Mount Doane is named for Lieutenant Gustavus Doane who led a massacre of the Piikani, part of the Blackfoot Confederacy. 

Senator Lisa Murkowski and the US Park Service succeeded in what Alaskans asked of Congress after urging the body to approve a name change for North America's highest peak to Denali, an Athabascan name meaning “the high one.” 

Senators Cynthia Lummis and co-sponsor John Barrasso have introduced a bill to permanently cancel Indigenous culture by blocking the name Bear's Lodge or Mahto Tipila from Devils Tower National Monument in the Wyoming Black Hills.  With Democrats controlling the White House, both chambers of Congress and after a tribal member just became Interior Secretary with Park Service oversight the Wyoming Republicans' bill is likely doomed.
Custer spent precious little time in our state, and when he did he was breaking the law and hunting the people who called this land home. He was an Ohio native who attended school in Michigan and roamed the nation as a soldier. The current leadership of South Dakota would surely protest, saying this would erase history. That’s wrong, of course. Custer would still exist in the books and legends — he just wouldn’t be honored in South Dakota. It took 50 years to rename Black Elk Peak. Why not get started with the crusade to erase the name Custer from our map? [column, Tom Lawrence]
Learn more about efforts to compel Congress to the Remove the Stain linked here.

Photo: Black Elk Peak in the occupied Black Hills.


Segall: Biden administration inherited depleted civil service, hostile judiciary, Jim Crow relics

Craig Holt Segall is Assistant Chief Counsel of the California Air Resources Board, a Visiting Assistant Scholar at UCLA Law, and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh Law School and is married to Lilly Allen, who grew up in our Red Rock Road/Baja Waldo neighborhood. She is the recently resigned Chair of the Sacramento County Parks and Recreation Commission now a Master’s candidate at the University of Edinburgh. They stayed at our casita before disembarking on their sojourn in Scotland. Photo lifted from Lilly's Faceberg page. Her dad sent me the link to Craig's paper.
The climate problem is too big for any one government to take it on—including the federal government. The Biden administration, as it confronts this challenge, should embrace the irony that the Trump administration has left it a gift: an engaged, effective, and growing network of subnational actors. [Segall, conclusion, Networked Federalism: Subnational Governments in the Biden Era]


Jemez lawsuit is test case for Land Back movement

The Jemez Pueblo considers the nearly 140-square-mile Valles Caldera National Preserve a spiritual sanctuary and part of its traditional homeland. In 2019 lawyers presented oral histories as proof of its claim to the parcel but a federal district judge dismissed them under the so-called "hearsay rule" and an appeal is pending in the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Indigenous history in the caldera goes back at least 11,000 years and obsidian quarried there for projectile points is found throughout the region. The ancestors of the Jemez Pueblo or Walatowa migrated into the area in the late 13th Century after Mesa Verde was laid bare

Native Americans overwhelmingly turned out to vote for Joe Biden now New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland is waiting to be confirmed as Secretary of the Interior with oversight of the National Park Service and land repatriation as part of her wheelhouse. 

Robert Hershey is professor emeritus with the University of Arizona's Indigenous Law and Policy Program.
Hershey said there is a "prejudice" in non-Native society that casts oral histories as less credible than testimony provided by non-Native anthropologists, ethnographers and historians. "You can't divorce these stereotypes from the colonial structures, and by colonial structures I mean, for example, evidentiary rules that prevent the admission of a great amount of oral and traditional history in court," Hershey said.The land in question in the Jemez case was declared "vacant" and sold to a private owner by the federal government in 1860, an event Jemez leaders described as a "a culture shock" in court filings. The federal government re-acquired the land in 2000. The Jemez Pueblo made its first legal claim to aboriginal title in 2012, after plans were announced to transfer management of the land to the National Parks Service. [Law Scholars Argue For Admissibility of Indigenous Oral Histories As Land Claim Evidence]
Photo is from Valles Caldera National Preserve where some scenes from the teevee series Longmire were produced.


Farm Forum: socialized agriculture still growing food deserts, wreaking habitat havoc

See that severe wildfire risk over southern Iowa? That's evidence of desertification in a state that doesn't give a shit about land use. Ethanol being grown for motor fuel is produced by burning diesel fuel. How is that conservative or sustainable? 

South Dakota's socialized dairies are wreaking habitat havoc all along the state's border with Minnesota and like most of the state, southwestern Minnesota and northwestern Iowa are Republican strongholds where dairies, swine units and other concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have devastated water supplies by contaminating wells with nitrates. Now, because of environmental degradation driven by CAFOs officials with the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System (LCRWS) want to expand output from its current 45 million gallons per day to 60 million gallons per day.
Just 1% of farm aid recipients collected 23% of subsidy payments in 2019, up from 17% in 2016, as former President Donald Trump’s trade bailout swelled payments to farmers. Their portion crept up to 24% in the first half of 2020, the most recent period covered in the data, as farm aid hit a record level with coronavirus relief payments, according to the Environmental Working Group analysis. [Farm Forum]
If this were happening under President Obama it would be called socialism or worse. Democratic former US Senator Tom Daschle gave the keynote address at the South Dakota Farmers Union's virtual December 9th convention where SDFU President Doug Sombke learned members overwhelmingly oppose merging the SD Departments of Agriculture and Environment and Natural Resources.
Sombke and NFU are spearheading a “Repeal & Replace” campaign along with ethanol producers and other organizations to ensure the announced revision of the previous administration’s Safe Affordable Fuel Efficiency rule increases the minimum octane standard in U.S. gasoline and recognizes the significant carbon sequestration benefits of corn ethanol. [Farm Forum]
On this date in 1973 Democratic South Dakota Governor Richard Kneip lost his bid to create a state income tax believing it would easily pass the Democrat-controlled legislature. Today, South Dakota's maniacal legislature is dominated by Republicans who ignore the effects of the Anthropocene and lobbyists line up to stuff their pockets with cash. The Chinese ring-necked pheasant isn't wildlife but it is a canary in a chemically and genetically engineered corn mine as industrial agriculture is driving soil salinity and the eutrophication of the Gulf of Mexico.
If you think growing food in rural America is a tough business, you should trying selling food — groceries — in rural America. Rural America doesn’t need more national, mini-everything stores that haul out a fresh batch of greenbacks everyday without ever hauling in green vegetables or fresh meat. It needs more locally owned grocery stores selling more locally grown food to more local friends and neighbors. [Farm Forum]


Racism driving resistance to Haaland confirmation

The Government Accountability Office documented more than 350 incidents of threats and assaults against federal land management employees during the Obama years but spurred by Donald Trump there have since been many more culminating in an attack on the US Capitol. 

Trump's first Interior secretary blamed wildfires in the West on those he called “radical environmentalists” despite most acres burned were on private ranch land in Republican counties. On the final day of Trump’s presidency his last Interior secretary even restored a grazing permit to the Hammond Ranch who had set fire to federal land. Only a tiny fraction of public lands offered by the Trump Organization to the extractive industries were even leased yet Republicans see the Biden White House as hostile to their causes especially after the Hammonds' grazing permits were again rescinded. 

In 2019 Democratic New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland led a House subcommittee hearing on anti-government extremism emphasizing that the violent ideologies expressed by the Bundy clan were spurred by white elected Republicans in the Mountain West. The Bureau of Land Management has even hired a security specialist to outline strategies to defend federal employees and property. 

Not just the BLM, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service and at least 15 other federal agencies also suffered hits to morale while in the clutches of the Trump Organization. 

Haaland will be confirmed as Secretary of Interior despite the racist bents of Wyoming Senators John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis and the extreme white wing of the Republican Party. Montana Sen. Steve Daines, even called Rep. Haaland a “far-left ideologue” and a radical threat to the American “way of life,” another racist dogwhistle.
"I have a letter from the Northern Arapaho Business Council in Wyoming, and they are opposing the President's ban on leasing," Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso told Haaland before reading a section of the letter, which was addressed to the acting Secretary of the Interior. But Barrasso left out a key fact: The Northern Arapaho Business Council had written to him directly asking him to vote "yes" on Haaland's confirmation. "It was disheartening and disappointing," said the council's chairman, Jordan Dresser. According to Dresser, Barrasso entered the letter as evidence without the council's permission and used it in a way that was counter to the tribe's stated interest. [In Haaland, Republicans See A Threat To Fossil Fuels. Tribes See An Opportunity To Diversify]
Learn more about the Republican Party's war on the Earth linked here.

Photo: eastbound US20 on public lands in Wyoming.


South Dakota expected to have the strictest therapeutic cannabis law in the US

Republican lawmakers and Governor Kristi Noem want to put off cannabis legalization for some patients until at least 2022 defaulting to tribal nations in South Dakota a strong leadership role. But even tribal member and Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert (D-Mission) and Republican Assistant Senate Majority Leader Mike Diedrich of Rapid City acknowledge huge differing opinions on how therapeutic cannabis will be implemented in deep red South Dakota. 

Maybe someday South Dakota's lunatic legislature will approve a bill that would adopt statutes like Kansas' therapeutic cannabis law where medicine would be sold by pharmacies, ie. edibles and topicals only, no flower or smoking.

Cannabis is a safe, effective palliative but black market cannabis not tested or subject to regulation makes America and South Dakota less safe. Legalization, state or tribal inspections and regulation of produce that so many people enjoy is reasonable public policy that aligns with prudent life safety goals. 

Contaminated dietary supplements, vapes, ointments and edibles are unacceptable in a country with a long history of snake oil salesmen. CBD products being sold in South Dakota and other states are little different from raw milk, preserves, pies or juices that are often tainted with hormones, pesticides and worse but sold at farmers markets anyway. Giving the products as gifts is one thing but selling untested product especially through interstate commerce is completely different.

I knew Mike and Connie Diedrich from contracting the drywall finish and paint at their ski cabin on Terry Peak. Mike is a serial philanderer and his reputation for boinking staff at Sodak Gaming was an open secret. Connie suffers from the same malady as public radio personality, Diane Rehm. Spasmodic dysphonia or SD is a neurological condition that affects her voice. Mike always rolled his eyes when trying to describe it. Anecdotal evidence suggests cannabis provides temporary relief for SD.

Chairman of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Delbert Hopkins, Jr. recently toured the Flandreau Santee Sioux grow/op facility.


White nose syndrome introduced to Wind Cave

The collapse of select Black Hills ecosystems has been evident since at least 2002 but they're still home to the endangered or threatened black footed ferret, the northern long-eared bat, the black-backed woodpecker and the American dipper.  

Wind Cave in occupied South Dakota is home to nine species of bats, including the threatened northern long-eared bat, one species most impacted by White-nose syndrome or WNS—a fatal disease caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans. The fungus was detected on a western small-footed bat (Myotis ciliolabrum) in South Dakota in 2018. It's believed insects contaminated by industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals in water supplies are weakening immune systems and spreading WNS to bats as part of the sixth mass extinction. 

Recall that during a field hearing in Rapid City back in 2016 South Dakota's Republican junior US Senator Mike Rounds said, "I agree with the goals of the Endangered Species Act but I am concerned with the low success rate" so he wants to end the ESA. Fact is: according to the Center for Biological Diversity the ESA has been resoundingly successful up until the Trump Organization, the Republican Party, Kristi Noem and South Dakota Game, Fish and Plunder (GF&P) declared war on the Earth. 

Add the very high number of private inholdings within the Black Hills National Forest that make the wildland urban interface (WUI) very large to one of the highest road densities in the entire national forest system and Region 2 to lots of logging, hardrock mining and pesticides like imidacloprid then understand why over a hundred species in South Dakota alone and a million worldwide are at risk to the Republican Party. 

Blend the slaughter of apex predators, the resulting rise of mesopredators, increasing numbers of domestic dogs and cats then stir in a melange of industrial chemicals with climate change and voila: red state collapse on parade!

Wind Cave is part of the Lakota Emergence Story. Learn more about WNS at Wind Cave linked here.


Republicans committed to making Black Hills a sacrifice zone

South Dakota's Republican politicians are just pawns of the intense timber lobbying efforts of Hulett, Wyoming based Neiman Enterprises, the extraction industry and from welfare ranchers addicted to cheap grazing fees. They have teamed up with Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney to make sure the Black Hills are reduced to piles of timber slash and mine waste. 

Instead of allowing native aspen to be restored, stands of doghair ponderosa pine (ladder fuels that feed wildfires) cover much of the Black Hills National Forest. Spurred by the Neimans the Forest Service is still planting pine in the Jasper Fire area. 

Thanks to the Trump Organization the United States is in debt to the tune of $22 TRILLION and US consumer debt is north of $74 TRILLION so the US is encouraging mining companies from outside the country to drill more holes in the Earth looking for gold and silver. The surging price of gold means Republicans and foreign miners see the sacred Black Hills as a sacrifice zone so now they want to buy land south of Lead from the Forest Service and deed it to the State of South Dakota. Brohm was an Australian company recruited by a now-dead Republican governor who gutted environmental protection in South Dakota.

Acknowledging there will always be acid mine drainage in the Black Hills the Republican-owned South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment is dealing with still another devil who wants to strip mine the Gilt Edge Superfund site hoping the US Environmental Protection Agency becomes a tool of the extraction industry. South Dakota is no stranger to ecocide because it's a way of life in the chemical toilet. Under the General Mining Law of 1872 even foreign miners have carte blanche to rape the Black Hills, so they are. At least five transients want to poke the Black Hills but it's happening throughout the Intermountain West.

The Republican South Dakota Department of Ecocide and Natural Ruination has even awarded a water permit to a Canadian miner drilling test holes near Keystone and Rochford. Mineral Mountain Resources has been trucking water in 3000 gallon tanks from Lead for lubrication and wants to take at least ten gallons a minute from wells near the test holes. While exploratory holes normally take millions of gallons of water they tend to have minimal impact on the Forest itself but the drillers usually sell their data to bigger miners like Barrick, a Canadian earth raper. 

Rochford area residents say British Columbia-based Mineral Mountain Resources destroyed Forest Service Road 184A during their drilling of some 7,500 acres in the Homestake Gold Belt on public lands and at a private site known as the Standby Mine Target. 

Wharf Resources has filed a Notice of Intent to do exploratory drilling in a new area close to its current strip mine and cyanide leach pads in the Northern Hills where it recorded $72.5 million in profits for 2020.

Jim Neiman’s Devils Tower Forest Products enjoys a virtual timber monopoly in the Black Hills whose customers include Pella Windows and fellow Republican backer Menards.

Photo is of a meadow west of Rochford near Pe'Sla.

Learn more about the war on the Black Hills here and more about the rape of water supplies here.

Tribes endorse Acoma attorney to replace Haaland

New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland is expected to become Secretary of Interior after Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced her support for the nomination. 

State Representative for New Mexico's 26th District, Georgene Louis is a citizen of the Acoma Pueblo. Her bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctor are from the University of New Mexico and she serves as general counsel of the Pueblo of Tesuque. 
The Georgene Louis for Congress campaign today announced a major new endorsement from the Coalition of Large Tribes, a critical coalition of tribes that advocates for issues facing American Indian tribes with land bases exceeding 100,000 acres. “As a proud member of the Pueblo of Acoma, I’m so grateful to have gained some exciting support this week from the Coalition of Large Tribes,” said Georgene Louis. “If I’m fortunate enough to become the newest Congresswoman from New Mexico, I will fight every day to build off the important work of Congresswoman Haaland, serve as an effective Native voice in Congress, and deliver on the issues important to our communities." [Indian Country Today Media]


More ag poisons found in South Dakota wildlife, urban yard waste

Every ag product, meats both wild and domestic not grown organically in South Dakota is contaminated with atrazine, neonicotinoids, glyphosate, dicamba, DDT, mercury, lead, cadmium, PFAS, E. coli, Shigella, Legionella and other toxins. That's probably true everywhere in the United States. Country of Origin Labeling was repealed in 2015 to shield American meat from scrutiny.
After a 2019 study in South Dakota raised questions about potential health effects on white tailed deer, the DNR asked Minnesota hunters to collect spleens from the deer they killed. The agency received 800 spleens and testing found the insecticide imidacloprid in 61 percent of the samples. The South Dakota study did not find a direct link between the insecticide and health effects, but found a correlation between insecticide levels in deer and increased fawn mortality. [Common insecticide widespread in Minnesota deer herd]
David Ellingson and his Ortonville, Minnesota-area honey-producing family sued the US Environmental Protection Agency for not regulating the neonicotinoids killing their bee colonies. I worked for their operation one summer between semesters at South Dakota State University. It was one on the most fascinating lessons of this life. South Dakota beekeeper Adee Honey Farms also blames neonicotinoids for colony losses. 
Rapid City Solid Waste has seen an increase in harmful, persistent herbicides in its compost. Healthy compost will always contain herbicides that deteriorate before causing harm, but persistent herbicides degrade much slower and last long enough to damage plants, causing plants to curl, slow their growth and kill younger plants. It’s not just here in Rapid City, these herbicides are showing up all over the nation. [Harmful herbicides found in Rapid City Solid Waste compost]
Democratic former US Senator Tom Daschle gave the keynote address at the South Dakota Farmers Union's virtual December 9th convention where SDFU President Doug Sombke learned members overwhelmingly oppose merging the SD Departments of Agriculture and Environment and Natural Resources.
A resolution of disapproval filed by Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert, D-Mission, opposes Gov. Kristi Noem’s joining of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, a move that’s been met with skepticism since its proposal. Heinert noted the resolution has the power to stop the merger of the two state departments with a simple majority vote by the senate.
Republican leadership is an oxymoron. Kristi Lynn Arnold Noem (KLAN) is a one woman death panel and the Koch soaked South Dakota Legislature will ignore all pleas to keep the departments separate.  

Read more about Noem's intent to poison wildlife linked here.


From GOP to goat: Ravnsborg should join Benda, Westerhuis in South Dakota history


Watching Jason Ravnsborg tearing the South Dakota Republican Party asunder is making Joe Boever a martyr. 

South Dakota's crusade against equal rights for women was being propelled by incel Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg — an obese, extraordinarily homely confirmed bachelor, killer and member of the Church of the Holy Roman Kiddie Diddlers with little hope of attracting a mate himself because he's just so creepy. 

Republican South Dakota former and probably next Attorney General Marty Jackley has said that the Melody Schopp/Scott Westerhuis outrage was important because wrongdoing and stolen taxpayer dollars attracted too much national attention. Jackley alleges Scott and Nicole Westerhuis stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Mid-Central Educational Cooperative, an organization that ran the GEAR UP program designed to empower American Indian high school students. 

Like the narratives explaining the deaths of Brady Folkens and Rich Benda are sketchy Jackley's story is that Scott Westerhuis was tipped off then killed his family, set fire to their house then shot himself and that the safe likely holding evidence went missing. 

The killing of Joe Boever is just another chapter in the history of FUBAR in the South Dakota Republican Party. And they just keep getting away with it. 

Ravnsborg's political career is over. He should simply join Scott Westerhuis and Rich Benda at their places in South Dakota history.


Religious cult will stay in South Dakota county named for a war criminal

Sharia Law? Nah. Sons of Perdition. 

Recall the mother of former legislator, now Republican Fall River County State's Attorney Lance Russell sold property to the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) where minor girls have been trafficked and raped. In 2011 Russell was censured by the state's judiciary for leaking grand jury testimony. 

Polygamy and pedophilia are apparently protected religious freedoms in South Dakota as far as incel and Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is concerned. In South Dakota where corruption drives the Republican Party the FLDS uses Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollars to bleed the beast. It's a community where counterfeit plural marriages of children to old white men are not only accepted they're encouraged. 

Last Thursday at the courthouse in a South Dakota county named for a war criminal members of the splinter group bought the 140 acre compound for $750,000 Thursday despite its $9 million valuation. The cult was not delinquent on property taxes but the acreage was sold at a sheriff's auction to settle a $2.1 million judgment against the FLDS, the towns of Hildale, Utah and Arizona City, Colorado. It's believed some twenty adults live on the parcel but they're expected to leave before close of escrow according to buyer Patrick Pipkin, manager of Blue Mountain Ranch of Colorado — a summer camp for at risk adolescents, no less.

Over three years later there are only three possible outcomes for Serenity Dennard's disappearance: she perished in another brutal South Dakota winter, she hooked up with a Jeffrey Epstein-type character or was lured into the fold by a representative of the FLDS Church.