Today's intersection: bats and bumble bees

White River at Stamford, South Dakota where the only sound was that of bees working the record sweet clover.

On orders from the Trump Organization’s Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and Governor Mark Gordon, the Forest Service, the US Department of Agriculture and the Wyoming Game & Fish Department sprayed the herbicide Rejuvra® with a helicopter on cheatgrass in a 9,200 acre area within the Mullen Fire scar near Laramie, Wyoming. People recreating on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest were urged to avoid the kill zone so imagine the effects on native pollinators and cervid genetics.
The western bumble bee was once common in western North America, but increasing temperatures, drought, and pesticide use have contributed to a 57% decline in the occurrence of this species in its historical range, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey-led study. The research team found another reason for the reduced distribution of the once common western bumble bee in a pesticide use dataset spanning 2008-2014: a group of insecticides called neonicotinoids, which are commonly used in agriculture. In areas where neonicotinoids were applied, the western bumble bee was less likely to occur and as the rate of neonicotinoid application increased, the bumble bee’s presence declined further. [Climate change and pesticides imperil a once common pollinator]
Insects contaminated with industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals in water supplies are weakening immune systems spreading white nose syndrome to bats as part of Earth's anthropogenic-driven sixth mass extinction.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is delaying the effective date of the final rule to reclassify the northern long-eared bat from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The agency is extending the effective date by 60 days, from Jan. 30, 2023, to March 31, 2023. The extension will allow the Service to finalize conservation tools and guidance to avoid confusion and disruption for landowners, federal partners and industry with projects occurring in suitable habitats within the northern long-eared bat’s 37-state range. The rule reclassifying the northern long-eared bat from threatened to endangered was published in the Federal Register Nov. 30, 2022; the bat remains protected as a threatened species with a 4(d) rule until the reclassification becomes effective on March 31. The northern long-eared bat was listed as threatened in 2015. It now faces extinction due to the range-wide impacts of white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease affecting hibernating bats across North America. [Effective date to reclassify northern long-eared bat as endangered extended]
It’s not just private property owners, the US Forest Service and the other public land managers buy and apply millions of tons of chemicals every year including fire retardants.

Carbaryl (1-naphthyl methylcarbamate) is a white crystalline solid commonly sold under the brand name Sevin®, a trademark of the Bayer Group. It kills beneficial insects like honeybees as well as crustaceans not to mention its havoc wreaked on fungal communities and amphibians. Sevin® is often produced using methyl isocyanate the chemical that Union Carbide used to kill thousands of people in Bhopal, India. 

The deadly chemicals migrate easily into waterways then into groundwater. The US Environmental Protection Agency has found that virtually all endangered species are threatened by pesticides like Carbaryl.


Republican governor, legislators continue to wage war on South Dakota's tribal communities

Insurance agent Ryan Maher is an Earth hater state senator from Isabel, South Dakota who is greased by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Qochtopus. Maher's political party is all about South Dakota being a perpetual welfare state and permanent disaster area where socialized agriculture, socialized livestock grazing, socialized coal, socialized military insurance, socialized timber harvest and a virtual medical industry triopoly are simply ways of life. 

Maher's far white wing of the Republican Party wants a not so civil race war because oligarchs fear an admission of guilt implies liability and they will be compelled to pay reparations to Indigenous and to the descendants of enslaved people.
Dewey County is one of a few South Dakota counties that is within a Native American reservation, in this case the Cheyenne River Reservation. The county’s population is 79% Native American, according to the 2020 census. Maher, who lives in Dewey County and whose district includes Dewey, Butte, Corson, Harding, Perkins and Ziebach counties, filed the bill in response to the effort, citing the potential cost associated with moving the county seat and the influence of non-Dewey County residents on the process. Eagle Butte straddles the Dewey and Ziebach county lines, and some petition signers last year were Eagle Butte residents of Ziebach County.  [Bill would make it harder to move county seats; opponents call it ‘antidemocratic]
The Wanblee district should be in Oglala Lakota County then Jackson should be rolled into Stanley, Haakon, Jones and Lyman Counties. Mellette, Bennett, Todd, Gregory and Tripp should be one county. Dewey, Ziebach and Corson should be a county. Butte, Harding and Perkins should be one. Lawrence and Meade should be one; Fall River and Custer should be one. 

We all know Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is a racist but now my home state has gone from being America's laughing stock to becoming a co-conspirator in ethnic cleansing. She backs the repeal of the tax on groceries so tribal entities weren't even consulted on the bill's impact. SB 56 passed with 31 Earth haters voting for it while four Democrats said no. It goes back to the Republican-glutted South Dakota House of Representatives for further insult to the tribal nations trapped in the state.

During the Trump era the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe was heavily targeted with biological warfare.
Each tribal government in South Dakota has an agreement with the state to receive a portion of the food sales taxes that originate on its reservation. The loss in revenue would be “devastating” for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, according to Lynette Dupries of the Cheyenne River revenue department. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe also had a representative oppose the food sales tax bill at the House Taxation Committee. The Cheyenne River Reservation is part of District 28, which includes most of northwestern South Dakota. [SD tribes would lose millions for tribal government if state eliminates food sales tax]
Learn more at Indian Country Today Media

ip photo: Mato Paha is dwarfed by Wakíŋyaŋ.


Cheyenne on board with Front Range passenger rail

Look on the bright side, South Dakota. It's not in President Biden's rail plan but if someday Amtrak connects the Southwest Chief at Pueblo or Trinidad, Colorado to the Empire Builder at Shelby, Montana through Denver and Cheyenne there might be a depot at Edgemont

Coal is dying but thanks to union members and Joe Biden the infrastructure and rail rights-of-way remain intact.
“Cheyenne’s economy is inextricably linked to the Front Range,’’ Dale Steenbergen, president and CEO of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, said. “It is important for us to keep our efforts aligned and on track. Passenger rail is a major step in building the future of transportation in our region.” Tom Mason, director of the Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization, said his office has been closely involved with the Colorado project from the beginning. Once the Cheyenne leg is established, the rail service could eventually go on to Casper and into Montana, he said. [Passenger Rail is On Track between Wyoming and Colorado]
Nineteen Montana counties plus the Confederated Salish and Kootenai, Northern Cheyenne and Apsáalooke Nations have joined Big Sky’s march towards the restoration of the North Coast Hiawatha. Lewis and Clark County is home to the state capital and has yet to support the concept citing lack of service while Yellowstone County, the state's most populous, is holding out for more money. 

All Aboard Arizona says passenger rail between Phoenix and Tucson is closer than ever.

ip photo: locomotives from the SFSR and New Mexico Rail Runner idle in the Santa Fe Railyard.


Noem directly responsible for college closing

In my home state of South Dakota the Republican governor chose to infect thousands (some reports say millions) with the Trump Virus putting its entire population at risk. Kristi Noem's biological war on her own constituents created dire circumstances sending nurses out of state, forcing people over 65 into the workplace and driving the closure of nursing homes.

Without butts in the pews the Rapid City Diocese even received almost $400,000 in aid from the Trump Organization but it was too little, too late according to President Paula Langteau at Presentation College in Aberdeen.
“We streamlined leadership, renegotiated vendor contracts, reduced operating budgets, really brought down our budgets to about two and a half million dollars – and things were starting to look better, our accounts payable was up to date. Things were turning around," Langteau said. "At that time, as you know, COVID hit. That was the spring of 2020. That has been devastating for our institution.” [Bill Janklow's idea of public radio]
Catholicism is hope like gonorrhea is charity. 

The Roman Catholic Church is funneling money from parishes meant for elderly nuns and paying settlements or hush money for the sins of predatory priests and the sect's leader is slowly cleaning house of pederastic predators but is taking heat from Republicans for his stance on curbing human-induced climate change and from progressives for his intent to canonize a colonizer accused of raping children. 

The Order of the Presentation opened St. Mary’s in Elkton where I attended grade school but the nuns were from the Dominican and Benedictine Orders, too. They were Commies who taught us Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Puff, the Magic Dragon.


Sen. Tester's approval rating high in Montana as election looms

President Joe Biden struggles for the approval of a majority of Americans hovering near 41 percent while Democratic senators are overwhelmingly favored in their own states. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) are doing great jobs according to pollsters at FiveThirtyEight. 

In 2011 this interested party met Senator Tester when sixty five Democrats welcomed him to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. An organic farmer, Tester even shared a stage later that year with then-Prince Charles and addressed the Future of Food conference at Georgetown University. 

Today, Sen. Tester still does the work and enjoys the highest approval rating of any US Senator among the members of our party. Even a majority of unaffiliated and sixty percent of all Montana voters support his efforts in an increasingly hostile red state. 

Montana is second behind Louisiana where people are leaving their jobs in droves as a so-called 'Freedom Caucus' is actively disenfranchising Native voters, ending civil liberties, stoking violence against medical providers and driving up the cost of real estate.
When Jon Tester returned from a White House meeting last month, Amy Klobuchar congratulated him for his “nice quote” about the debt ceiling. As Klobuchar read back Tester’s expletive-infused words, he recalled protesting: “‘Come on. I didn’t say fucking.’ And she said, ‘Oh no, you said fucking.’” After digesting that Klobuchar was right, Tester kicked himself: “‘Goddammit. I’m trying to wean myself off of this.’” And as for whether Tester’s alignment with Biden and relatively liberal voting record is a clue about whether he’ll retire rather than run again … well, throw another quarter in the swear jar: “Oh, no, fuck that. That’s not my style.” [POLITICO]
Senator Tester has been a veterans advocate since before he even went to Congress. His VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act directs the Veterans Administration to begin clinical trials to test the effects of cannabis as therapy for chronic pain and to treat the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disease (PTSD).


Qochtopus sets up shop in NE Wyoming


Influenced by the theosophists, the Klan, John Birch Society, the TEA movement and now by the extreme white wing of the Republican Party Koch crusaders are rousing the rabble again.

Americans for Prosperity is a Koch-soaked dark money group masquerading as grassroots that now has an agent in tiny Sundance, Wyoming and the far white wing of the Wyoming Republican Party wants to ban electric cars even as the state mines lithium and rare earth metals to make EVs.

As an imperative to protect and preserve public spaces like the Bear Lodge District of the Black Hills National Forest and Thunder Basin National Grassland in Wyoming the Biden administration has directed nearly $5 billion to steer the country on a path of protecting at least 30 percent of its land and 30 percent of its ocean areas by 2030 (30x30). But Earth haters funded by the Koch and DeVos cabals through Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund and scattered in the American West are aiming to derail President Joe Biden's America the Beautiful Initiative. 

One veteran Wyoming legislator said screw it after the Freedom Caucus sank its claws into Cheyenne.

South Dakota's GOP legislators and candidates enjoy millions in lobbyist benefits from the Kochs and their American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC and if South Dakota had a Democratic attorney general she'd sue Montana and Wyoming for the toxic legacy created by Colstrip, Basin Electric and Black Hills Energy. In 2020 Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison sued ExxonMobil, Koch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute for lying to residents of that state.

Tyler Lindholm was defeated in the 2020 primary in Wyoming District 1 by an Earth hater even more insane than he is. While in the nutball Wyoming Legislature Lindholm introduced the “Defend The Guard Act” that would have prevented members of Wyoming’s guard from being deployed by their government to serve overseas without the signing of a formal declaration of war by Congress.


Tribes, tree huggers, fishers united in stopping another foreign miner

The Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming are hardly the only public lands plundered by foreign companies under cover of the General Mining Law of 1872 that was enacted to settle Civil War debt and rob Indigenous peoples of their homes and human rights.

Until it closed in 1939 the Tererro Mine in the headwaters of the Pecos River took gold, lead and other metals then left piles of toxic waste rock in their place. After major flooding in 1991 when sulfuric acid, aluminum and zinc swept into the river miner Freeport-McMoRan was held responsible for the deaths of some 100,000 Rio Grande cutthroat trout and for the subsequent decades of acid mine drainage. 

Today, thanks to the Trump Organization the United States is in debt to the tune of $31 TRILLION so the US encourages mining companies from outside the country to drill more holes in the Earth looking for gold and silver. Repeal or even reform of the 1872 statute has been thwarted repeatedly and the US Forest Service is often powerless to stop the extractive industry from permanently altering sensitive watersheds because of the 1872 law.

The archaic legislation enables Australian miners like Jervois Global to gouge ore containing cobalt from the homelands of the NimĂ­ipuu or Nez Perce at a Superfund site near the Frank Church Wilderness in Idaho. At Harshaw, Arizona, South32 Ltd. is ripping into Sobaipuri O’odham and Hohokam ancestral lands at the old Hermosa Mine for manganese and nickel. A Canadian miner paid a settlement to mitigate and remediate portions of Colorado's San Juan County where the 2015 Gold King Mine spill polluted the motherlands of the Ute people. 

In southeastern Arizona operations owned by Freeport-McMoRan Inc, Morenci and Miami are ravaging water supplies and reducing entire mountain ranges to piles of waste rock in Tonto Apache lands. Apsáalooke and Lakota ground near Silver City in my home state of South Dakota is under assault from Canadian miners, too. Much to the frustration of locals, the US Environmental Protection Agency moved most of the contaminated soil from the home of the Blackfeet above Rimini, Montana to a mine in upper Basin Creek where it was encapsulated so EPA has allocated more resources to clean up sites in that state. 

In 2019, despite opposition from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Senator Martin Heinrich, an American subsidiary of Australian company New World Cobalt, was granted twenty federal permits to drill test holes into the Sangre de Cristo mountain range on the Santa Fe National Forest in the Jones Hill area north of Pecos, New Mexico.
The 1872 Mining Act is a formidable foe, but the Stop Tererro Mine coalition has alighted on a strategy to fight it, according to Lela McFerrin, vice president of the Upper Pecos Watershed Association. Numerous tribes — from the Jemez, Tesuque and Santa Clara Pueblos to the Hopi and the Comanche — registered disapproval or called for government-to-government consultations to stop the project. Along with local community organizations, they demanded a full environmental assessment, which significantly slowed the permitting process. Until then, it’s painful to watch distant companies like New World Resources be given the benefit of the 1872 Mining Act, coalition members lamented. Many felt as if the Australian company had more say on the future of their lands and water than they did. [Can a mine near the Pecos River be stopped?]


Devils Tower lawgiver backs horse slaughter resolution

In 2013 the Oglala Lakota tribal council heard testimony from members with a plan to operate an abattoir on off-reservation land that would process horse meat for human consumption. 

In 2021 alone some 24,000 horses were exported to Mexico and Canada for slaughter but legislation to prohibit the export of horses for meat has been introduced in the Colorado Legislature.

As of October, 2022 the US Bureau of Land Management has removed over 19,000 horses and burros from public land and holds over 64,000 in confinement although the data clearly show domestic cattle are far more destructive. Although officials at North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park dispute it the nuisance horses there are believed by some to be the descendants of those belonging to Sitting Bull.

Ogden Driskill is an Earth hater Wyoming legislator running cattle near Devils Tower National Monument in the Belle Fourche River watershed. Driskill has adamantly resisted renaming America's first national monument and Senators Cynthia Lummis and co-sponsor John Barrasso introduced a bill to permanently cancel Indigenous culture by blocking the name Bear's Lodge or Mahto Tipila in the occupied Wyoming Black Hills. But even Driskill isn't white enough for some Trumpers and faced a solid write-in campaign from a former chair of the Crook County Republican Party.  

During the current session of the Wyoming Legislature Driskill is co-sponsor of a resolution that calls on the federal government to amend the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 and allow horses wrangled from public lands to be diverted to meat processing domestically for shipment abroad. Wyoming's wild or feral horse population has been as high as 7,000 but is about 4,000 now and the Arapaho and Shoshone tribes manage some mustangs on their reservations. 

Even in Wyoming the resolution is only symbolic as the Democratic-led US Senate is unlikely to pass any laws that would alter America's obsession with Equus ferus.

Anyone who believes political retribution for the removal of invasive cattle or feral goats from public property will go without retaliation is probably already dead.

ip photo: beyond the Belle Fourche River Paha Sapa rises above the surrounding prairie as seen from Thorn Divide in a Wyoming county named for a war criminal.


Park Service wants to reduce or remove invasive livestock from TRNP

The modern horse was introduced to North America by the Spanish late in the 15th Century and then by other European colonizers. Acquiring the horse in the 1740s enabled the Lakota to win the Black Hills. 

But, today in an era when western states are scrambling to preserve habitat for bison, wapiti, bighorn sheep, pronghorns, deer, the threatened Greater sage grouse and all the other wildlife at risk to the Republican Party how is running nurseries for introduced species like wild horses and burros either conservative or sustainable? Because they have no natural predators wild and feral horse herds double in size every four to five years. “You don’t have wild horses anymore. You have their bodies, but they are … domesticated,” said one researcher. Ironic that in a country that exports more weapons of mass destruction than all others combined and relentlessly hunts nearly anything that moves Equus ferus is still seen as a pet. 

As of October, 2022 the US Bureau of Land Management has removed over 19,000 horses and burros from public land and holds over 64,000 in confinement although the data clearly show domestic livestock are far more destructive

Democracy is messy business and it takes political courage to just say no to livestock on public lands and pass legislation that compensates for depredation but bravery is a trait conspicuously absent in Congress right now. 

In Theodore Roosevelt National Park horses believed by some to be the descendants of those belonging to Sitting Bull have reached nuisance level.
The National Park Service says there is no legal basis to keep horses and longhorn cattle that roam freely in the North and South Units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Officials during a Thursday night virtual public meeting that included about 160 participants also said there is no ecosystem benefit to keeping livestock in the western North Dakota park. The first alternative would reduce the horse herd from 186 animals to 35-60. The second alternative, which would remove all livestock within two years, would include live capture of the horses; American Indian tribes would be given first opportunity to receive them. The third alternative involves capturing the horses, giving tribes first opportunity to purchase them, implanting contraception to prevent future breeding, and allowing the reduced herd of non-reproductive horses to live out their lives in the park. [Park officials: No legal or ecosystem basis to keep horses, cattle at Teddy Roosevelt]
David Treuer was born of a Holocaust survivor and Ojibwe mother. He wrote in The Atlantic that he believes that most land held in America's national parks should be remanded to Indigenous peoples but it's my view that the most of the land held in the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service should also be part of that trust. 

ip image: mustangs range freely on a Kewa Nation pasture.


Robbing Peter to pay Paul: drought driving water thefts through geoengineering

In 2020 University of Wyoming researchers learned that seeding clouds with silver iodide did increase snowfall about ten percent in some experiments but has failed to reduce drought conditions. Nevertheless, North Dakota conducts geoengineering exercises in parts of that state every year ostensibly to reduce hail damage and enhance rainfall potential. 

Daniel Swain is a climate scientist at UCLA and with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He says the 3-5% bumps in water that weather modification squeezes from clouds isn't worth the gamble with water equity.
North Dakota state Rep. Matt Ruby says the bottom line is that we shouldn’t be messing with Mother Nature. What Ruby’s bill would do is require the county commissioners to vote to approve participating in the program each year and get approval from neighboring counties in order to get state funding. Ruby’s home county, Ward, dropped out of the program in 2020 and Burke County left in 2019. “We can watch the storms coming from the Montana border and you can even watch the flight data for those (cloud-seeding) airplanes. You can watch them go up and then you can watch the storm dissipate right as they get over my area,” Ruby said. [Bill could limit cloud seeding in North Dakota]
William R. Cotton is Professor Emeritus of Meteorology at Colorado State University. He says the practice can produce minimal results in winter and summertime seeding is probably fruitless but now there are eight state-permitted cloud seeding generators across Colorado.
While Texas uses cloud seeding to help irrigate fields for farmers, it’s more common in the West, where states like Idaho, California, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming use it to help fill up their rivers and reservoirs. Idaho Power spends about $4 million a year on its cloud-seeding program, which yields an 11% or 12% increase in snowpack in some areas, resulting in billions of gallons of additional water at a cost of about $3.50 per acre-foot. That compares with about $20 per acre-foot for other methods of accessing water, such as through a water supply bank. [How states across the West are using cloud seeding to make it rain]
In parts of the Southwest some authorities are so fearful of deficits in water supplies they've entertained Durango, Colorado-based Western Weather Consultants' pitch to acquire a “weather control and precipitation enhancement license" from the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission but after criticism for not consulting with pueblos the application was withdrawn. Now, over objections from the environmental community the commission has approved weather modification in Chavez, Curry, De Baca, Lea, Quay, and Roosevelt Counties. 
Dan Martin, a research engineer with the Agricultural Research Service, recently patented the new technology using electrified water. "The conventional technology yields about a 10 to 15% increase over the untreated clouds. And with our technique, it was yielding 25 to 30% increase in precipitable water," Martin said. Researchers say the 25% to 30% increase in moisture being reported with the new technique is not conclusive, given the initial test was done on only 13 clouds.[Initial results from new cloud-seeding method produce more rain, researchers say]
Watersheds in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico provide between 50-75% of the water found in the Rio Grande but irrigators in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas take at least 80% of that from the 1,885 mile long river. A compact limits Colorado to 100,000 acre feet and New Mexico to 200,000 acre feet each year. An acre foot is almost 326,000 gallons. 

A lawsuit that could settle a river allocation dispute between New Mexico and Texas is being heard by the Supreme Court of the United States but a deal has been announced and if approved could end the squabble.


NM Democrat sees big future for state

Imagine a time when portions or all passenger rail in the United States are elevated for wildlife egress and a corridor between Mexico City and the Amtrak station in Shelby, Montana is a route to the Yukon River in Alaska intersecting with a bridge over or a tunnel under the Bering Strait connecting South and North America to Russia and the rest of Eurasia.

Las Cruces Democrat, Bill Soules already sees that time.
Two bills pre-filed in the state Legislature ahead of the session that starts Tuesday may pave the way for expanded rail service in New Mexico. Sen. William Soules (D-Las Cruces) introduced the proposals to bring a high-speed rail line through the entire state, and into Colorado to the north and Chihuahua, Mexico, to the south. The bills would allocate $500,000 for a feasibility study and $1 billion for the rail project itself. A feasibility study from the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority found that construction of a high-speed rail line in Colorado was doable and foreshadowed a possible vote on a plan in 2020. [NM train riders want to see investment in high-speed rail make it out of the station]
But wait, there's more! 

In 2021 the Bureau of Land Management sold a geothermal lease in Hidalgo County, New Mexico despite a 2016 blowout near a $43 million geothermal electricity plant erected by Cyrq Energy in 2013 when Republican Susana Martinez was governor. Cyrq Energy has four working geothermal projects including Lightning Dock Geothermal Power Plant near Animas. It's a 15.3 MW binary geothermal plant with two production wells and 7 injection wells that sells power to Public Service of New Mexico (PNM) with firm baseload power.
With New Mexico’s 60-day legislative session approaching, lawmakers have begun pre-filing bills in hope of getting them over the finish line and to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk this year. Among them, from state Sen. William Soules, D-Las Cruces, is a proposal to extend up to $16 million in tax credits for geothermal energy development at homes, businesses or agricultural facilities through 2033. The bill would authorize up to $9,000 per taxpayer investing in ground-coupled heat pumps tapping reservoirs of water brought to high temperatures by heat from the Earth’s core. If the credit exceeds what the taxpayer owes, the balance would be paid to them as a refund, under the draft bill’s language. The initial phase would expand on existing infrastructure used to heat greenhouses, hot springs and spas. A second phase, projected to take place during the 2030s, would be to develop advanced production capable of yielding 1 to 3 gigawatts of energy. [New Mexico lawmakers eye geothermal investments]
Also in 2021 the US Department of Energy awarded $12 million to seven projects intended to accelerate development of geothermal potential including $2 million to the University of New Mexico and $1.5 million to Montana State University. Geothermal mining has been a topic of keen interest in Montana for decades where radioactive decay heats groundwater.

ip photo: the Alvarado Transportation Center in Albuquerque is a multimodal transit hub.


Mass incarceration of Indigenous Americans still plaguing US prison system

The Supreme Court of the United States is hearing arguments in Brackeen v. Haaland to determine whether the Indian Child Welfare Act or ICWA violates the constitution by considering placement of Indigenous children solely based on race. Tribal nations are recognized by the federal government as political sovereigns, not a racial group.

Anyone believing that African-Americans, Latino-Americans, or American Indians are disproportionately imprisoned because they are more often criminals is wrong. In fact, white people per capita commit at least as many drug-related crimes than their non-white brethren o amigas.
A newly released report by the MacArthur Foundation shows that Native Americans are incarcerated at a rate 38 percent higher than the national average. The report, commissioned as a part of the MacArthur Foundation’s commissioned as part of its Safety and Justice Challenge, also found that Native Americans were overrepresented in the prison population in 19 states compared to any other race and ethnicity. [Native Americans are Incarcerated at the Highest Rate, New Report Reveals]
A plank of the Southern Strategy seeking to assuage poor white people in the wake of the civil rights movement, the so-called 'War on Drugs' declared by the Nixon White House, then institutionalized by the Reagan and Clinton Administrations, redefined caste in the United States becoming a policy tool for the mass incarceration of non-white men

In 2012, Professor Michelle Alexander reminded her audience at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in downtown Santa Fe that had Barry Obama been raised in the 'hood his chances would have been unremarkably grim.

It's estimated that the United States foster care industry supplies over eighty percent of sex-trafficked children. In South Dakota alone mass incarceration fuels the white foster home industry: a pet project of a Republican former governor's wife and the state's relations with tribal nations trapped there are at historic lows. 

South Dakota's school to prison pipeline accelerated in 1983 when Republican Governor Bill Janklow concocted a plan to convert the University of South Dakota at Springfield into a prison. Then the state killed Gina Score in a boot camp, ended environmental protection and accelerated the red moocher state's descent into the hellish chemical toilet it is today. 

Racism is endemic in South Dakota, especially in reservation border towns like Rapid City and with guidance from the Koch's American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC Republicans routinely pass legislation that disenfranchises Native voters.

New Mexico is far from blameless as schools in the state expel Indigenous kids at least four times more often than white students.

ip photo: a dancer joins in at the Santa Fe Indian Market.


Furnish: GTR findings likely to be upheld on BHNF

After a century of fire suppression, a decades-long moratorium on prescribed burns, a lack of environmental litigators and GOP retrenchment the Black Hills National Forest has been broken for decades but the Black Hills Resilient Landscapes (BHRL) project was intended to fix some of that. 

The first project to receive a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) categorical exclusion (CE) on the Black Hills National Forest was the Tepee Canyon project approved by the Trump Organization in July, 2018. The BHNF is in Region 2, based in Colorado and today is struggling to hire personnel because a Republican governor is driving young people from South Dakota.

Hulett, Wyoming-based Neiman Enterprises seeks to modify the Forest Service's General Technical Report (GTR) that significantly reduces logging on the BHNF but GTR-422 remains intact.

Jim Furnish was deputy chief of the US Forest Service from 1999 to 2002 and believes all the fuel treatments in the area before the Jasper Fire were entirely ineffective in preventing the blaze. He lives in southwestern New Mexico.
As to the Black Hills harvest levels, facts are stubborn things. The fire cited above, coupled with bark beetle mortality, and departure ABOVE ASQ [Allowable Sale Quantity] for several years (BH Resilient Landscape projects to reduce stocking levels) succeeded to the degree that Research GTR said such harvest levels were unsustainable and needed to drop by about 60%. FS is finally dealing with this in anticipation of Plan Revision. Tool most prominently used for last several years has been overstory removal of all sawtimber leaving nuked landscapes; in effect clearcuts of several hundred acres. Very tragic what happens when timber industry is appeased. [Jim Furnish, blog comment]
Despite whining from Republican governors in South Dakota and Wyoming Furnish believes Neiman Enterprises will ultimately close its Spearditch sawmill.

The BHNF is burning hand and machine piles as snow levels permit but every watershed on the Forest is at grave risk. Preserve the mature, old growth and legacy pine by saving them from the Neimans, clear cut without building new roads especially where doghair guzzles water supplies, chokes aspen, birch or hazelnut and burn, baby, burn.

ip photo: aspen emerges as the mountain pine beetle erases overgrowth atop the Limestone Plateau on the Black Hills National Forest.


Old and in the way: retirees crowding chemical toilet

Earth haters: we need migrant farm labor! 

Also Earth haters: Joe Biden is letting too many people into the US! 

As young people and Democrats flee South Dakota more brown people are doing the work in the red moocher state. The resultant soaring median age of the retirees seeking deliverance from the cultural diversities thriving in Colorado, California, Minnesota, even Arizona and Oregon drives the exploitation of South Dakota's regressive tax structure and reinforces the racially insulated Nazi enclave that Spearditch is today.
The state is drawing more older residents than younger residents, according to the United Van Lines data. The top state for move-in growth was Vermont followed by Oregon. Of those who moved, 58.5% moved into South Dakota while 41.5% moved out of state. The United Van Lines’ data shows that older people are moving to South Dakota at a greater percentage than younger people. In the 35 to 44 age range, 37.5% moved out compared to 4.7% who moved in. The 45 to 54 age range accounted for 19% of all who moved in and 12.5% of all who moved out. About 76% of all who moved in were 55 and older. And about 12.5% of those who moved out were in that age range. [Older people moving to SD, United Van Lines says]
When the U-Haul data popped up in my twitter feed the other day it reported New Mexico is a growth state and South Dakota jumped from #25 in 2020 to #11 in 2021 so it looks like migrants are using U-Haul and retirees are paying United Van Lines to move households.
Between 2010 and 2020, South Dakota saw a population increase of 56,543 non-white people in the state, while the state’s white population grew by 15,944, according to the 2020 census. The state’s population of Spanish speakers increased by 75.1% in that same timeframe. New residents can’t easily take hours off their jobs each week to attend classes, and evening weekday classes are difficult because many Spanish-speaking residents have two jobs or are taking care of their families at that time. South Dakota Voices for Peace was one of over 50 organizations that received funding from the state Department of Health to develop a community health worker workforce, part of a federal grant. [South Dakota’s multilingual population is growing. Advocates say more resources are needed.]
$20 says migrants headed north to work but that’s slowing now as another eight month winter grips my home state.

Deadwood is home to a significant number of service workers from outside the US including the Philippines: Filipino is the largest detailed Asian group in South Dakota. 

Yes, to little surprise the assisted living, funeral home and florist industries do very well and now that brown workers can take the driver's license exam in Spanish white people can spend more time snorting and shooting meth.

ip photo: a thunderstorm looms over Deadwood.


Hypocrisy: thy name is Miranda

In 2019 Corey Day, a former executive director of the state Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) party formed Cannabis for Economic Growth and made the dollars and cents case to legalize for all adults in Minnesota

But, Miranda Gohn is a rabid anti-cannabis crusader who believes ten year olds can declare their gender identities and adults have no cannabis rights. Gohn even does more drugs than most of us do: estrogen, antiretrovirals, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotics and anti-depressants.

And, for someone who says she's private and isn't looking to lead a movement Gohn has become a serial internet troll. So, in a series of rants at the Dakota War Toilet LGBTQ activist, Gohn pleads with readers to defy ballot measures legalizing cannabis for all adults while arguing her gender reassignment surgeries were essential to curing her dysphoria and clinical depression!
What the DFL has done by advocating, legalizing and pushing for full commercialization of THC (marijuana) betrays what it historically stood for and counters any social justice argument. This is a predatory poverty industry, backed by big money, running on an addiction-for-profit business model. It is as if the DFL is determined to be a victim-creating political party generating more dependency and placing at higher risk of widening economic and educational disparities in Minnesota. [Miranda Gohn, Litchfield, Minnesota, Paid political letter: DFL Hypocrisy With Recreational THC]
What else, Miranda? A transgender Republican? How does that even work? Your liver must look like a wad of pork sausage and that you've chosen to alter your consciousness and your body in ways most of us shudder to imagine is hypocrisy even Earth haters can comprehend.
This week DFL lawmakers rolled out the 243-page marijuana legalization bill they hope to pass in the current legislative term. Minnesota’s bill would allow adults age 21 and over to purchase and possess up to two ounces of cannabis flower or edible products from a licensed retailer and grow up to 8 plants at their own home. It would also establish a statewide Office of Cannabis Management to oversee the new industry, with authority to grant licenses, tax sales, test product purity and set limits on labeling, advertising and potency. There are also limits on how many and what types of licenses individuals can obtain, making it difficult for any one person or entity to become the Cannabis King of Minnesota. [DFL marijuana bill a Minnesotan twist on legalization]
Dispensaries in both New Mexico and Montana have each sold over $300 million in cannabis since legalizing for all adults. Arizona has sold over $2.1 billion in cannabis since January, 2021.

Cannabis is a safe, effective palliative but black market product not tested or subject to regulation makes America and Minnesota less safe.


POTUS, VPOTUS at risk to Earth haters

Republican is not just another word for Earth hater; it's another word for Nazi. The American Left poses no violent threat to the United States while the hate-filled far white wing of the Republican Party always will.

After a 2019 shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas asked the NM Legislature for funding to form a "special investigative unit to guard against hate crimes and terrorism."  But then, after being inspired by spiteful, vindictive bombast from Donald Trump the hate group New Mexico Civil Guard abandoned lawful protest and started shooting protesters.
On Dec. 4, Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa’s southeast Albuquerque home was hit by eight rounds and on Dec. 11 then-Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley’s North Valley home was struck more than a dozen times, according to an APD news release. The third incident was after midnight on Jan. 3 at state Sen. Linda Lopez’s southwest Albuquerque home where at least eight shots were fired at her home. Another shooting incident was reported Thursday at State Sen. Antonio “Moe” Maestas’ office. That shooting is still being investigated. Like the others, Maestas is a Democrat. [Police investigating after shots fired at Democratic politicians’ houses]
And now that the Earth haters have elected a Speaker Americans need to brace for attempts on the lives of our POTUS and VPOTUS. Joe is traveling to Texas tomorrow where he will be smack dab in the middle of harm’s way. We all know Trump isn’t above doing it but how can any Republican Speaker of the House not want it to happen?


Cannabis sales growth breaking New Mexico records but competition is tough

New Mexico dispensaries have sold over $350 million worth of cannabis since April, 2022 when sales began for all adults and the state is lauding boosts to the economy, burgeoning revenues, erasing the inequities left by the war on drugs and balancing the state's water crisis with growers.
Indeed, small towns have fared well month over month in recreational cannabis sales – especially those that border Texas. Sunland Park had its best month to date, surpassing $2 million in recreational sales for the first time. Hobbs also had a record-breaking sales month, standing at $1.7 million last month. And Clovis did $831,975 in recreational sales, its best month to date and the first time the town has surpassed $800,000 since April. Las Cruces did nearly $2 million in recreational cannabis sales, its second-best month to date. And Santa Fe did $1,997,410 in sales, its best month to date. [Recreational cannabis sales finish year on a high note]
New Mexico's Cannabis Control Division created rules based on the state's compliance with the Obama era Cole Memorandum and its existing therapeutic cannabis regulations. The New Mexico Department of Health maintains the patient registry for the therapeutic cannabis program while ensuring those sales remain tax-free.

But not all operators are feeling the buzz.
Some new operators spoke of problems obtaining building leases or navigating local zoning rules. Others may be stumbling with poor business plans in a competitive industry that could quickly become oversaturated with dispensaries, as well as unexpected wait times to receive licenses and difficulty accessing water rights for production, said Ben Lewinger, president of the New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce. As of mid-December, the state Cannabis Control Division has authorized just over 1,800 licenses for producers, manufacturers, couriers, testing labs, retailers and others involved in the industry. More than 550 cannabis dispensaries are open, a number some industry insiders and experts say could be more than the market will support. [Start up of cannabis industry has posed challenges for small operators]
The Picuris and the Pojoaque Pueblos have entered agreements with State of New Mexico to market cannabis product outside tribal borders. The Tewa words wõ povĂ­ translate to “medicine flower” and so far half of Pojoaque's clients are from Texas and other red states. 

Democratic then-Representative from New Mexico's First District, now-Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham worked with Republican-now-Libertarian former Gov. Gary Johnson to legalize cannabis for some patients but Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, signed it into law in 2007. The Cannabis Regulation Act was signed by Governor Lujan Grisham and became effective June 29, 2021.


New Mexico Earth hater attempting to further divide scientists, conservation groups

ip photo: autumn and gambel oak emerge on a portion of the Santa Fe National Forest after the Las Conchas Fire.

Last June US Forest Service Chief Randy Moore told a congressional committee that before widespread settlement in the West populations of ponderosa pine were about forty per acre but are as high as 600 per acre today so every incident like the Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak Fire is a teaching moment. These are episodes where humans are humbled by climate disruptions created by our own failures. But sitting around waiting for a few lightning-caused wildfires to fix a century of human mistakes on the Santa Fe National Forest will burn thousands more houses in the wildland-urban interface or WUI. 

Dense stands of water-sucking, heat island-creating ponderosa pine concentrate volatile organic compounds or VOCs that become explosive under hot and dry conditions. The aerosols are like charcoal starter fumes just waiting for a spark. 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 resistant and fire tolerant species like aspen. 

Land managers have climate change guns to their heads so it’s usually damned if you do and damned if you don’t conduct prescriptive burns. But it’s probably a straight line from the previous administration’s Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and crashes in morale within the US Forest Service to current conditions on the Santa Fe National Forest so pillorying former Supervisor Debbie Cress solves nothing. She predicted conflagrations whether the Forest Service sets fires or not.

There is even a row between publicly funded scientists and NGOs with loads of lawyers competing for the same foundation money and doing nothing is one option but little is ever resolved.
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]
Fuel treatments and burns on the Santa Fe National Forest helped contain the Rio en Medio Fire in 2020 and the Cerro Pelado Fire last year. Now, those of us who live in Santa Fe County are seeing the aspen bowl above The City Different holding snow and the pine accelerating the sublimation of critical water supplies. 

Tribes, well-funded local and volunteer fire departments could conduct prescribed fires and burn road ditches to create buffers where contract fire specialists don’t exist. But even government can’t always protect you from your own stupidity.
Sen. Ron Griggs, a Republican from Alamogordo, prefiled legislation on Tuesday that would prohibit the use of prescribed burning during the spring by any government entity. The bill, if passed into law as written, would preclude federal, state, local and even tribal governments from conducting any burns in the spring. Whether such a law could be legally enacted or enforced is not clear. [Legislator seeks to ban springtime burns like the ones that sparked the state’s largest wildfire]
After a stand-replacing fire the mycorrhizal network tells which trees to grow where and the southeastern slope of the Sangre de Cristos has been neglected and overgrown for decades. Next spring will be different as all the runoff will help charge depleted aquifers and fill empty reservoirs and the Santa Fe Fireshed is watching closely.

Comments where insular ideologues poke at competitors and declare their derision for those in public service simply reinforce my quest to move the Forest Service into Interior as a sister agency or even married to the Bureau of Land Management in cooperation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and local tribal governments. 

Tribal nations should secede from Montana

Montana Republicans have apparently forgotten that the ground they live on was seized from aboriginal cultures by liberal democrat, President Thomas Jefferson through an executive order that even he believed was unconstitutional. 

In Montana there are twelve tribal nations living on seven reservations. But, rabid Republicans in that state aren't just fearful of government overreach; they're frightened public lands now held by the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and the US Forest Service will be remanded to the First Nations. 

In 2021, Montana's Republican legislature passed regulations that restrict each tribal nation to a single permit to cultivate and market cannabis. Under state law tribes aren't even allowed to build facilities on their own reservations but in defiance, the Apsáalooke or Crow Nation maintains that as sovereign it doesn't need permission from state authorities and so far no tribe has even bothered to apply.

In December, an Earth hater with political aspirations mused during public remarks whether members of tribes living on reservations in Montana should even be able to vote in state elections. Now another Montana Republican has drafted a joint resolution that “urges Congress to investigate alternatives to the American Indian reservation system.”
Sen. Shane Morigeau, D-Missoula, said he was not surprised when he read the draft. “When I first saw it, I thought it was a (public relations) stunt,” he said. “You know, attack the Indians to muster excitement from your base. And if that’s the case, it’s really sad. … Unfortunately, in this political game, people just want attention. It’s disappointing, but we expected this.” Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder, said Native people have “been under attack for centuries. The atrocities our people have endured over the years have been horrific at best,” Windy Boy said on Wednesday, citing federal Indian policy, voter suppression efforts and forced sterilization of Native women. [‘When will this end?’: Native caucus condemns resolution on reservation system]
Every federal department and agency already recognizes Native America as the 51st State so progress toward resolutions of Native trust disputes would have far more political traction after tribes secede from the States in which they reside and then be ratified to form one State, the 51st, sans contiguous borders with two US Senators and three House members as there are an estimated 2.5 million Indigenous Americans living on reservations.


Forever chemicals lurking in every American waterway

In 2017 a Minnesota-based company with an operation in Brookings, South Dakota hoped to drive attention from its manufactured forever chemicals that cause cancers and spontaneous abortions and a $5 billion lawsuit.
The per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are known as forever chemicals because the substances do not break down quickly and have in recent years been found in dangerous concentrations in drinking water, soils and foods across the country. 3M’s current annual net sales of manufactured PFAS are about $1.3bn. The company expects to incur related total pre-tax charges of about $1.3bn to $2.3bn over the course of its exit from PFAS. [3M sets 2025 deadline to stop making ‘forever chemicals’]
In 2020, the Trump Organization's Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the final pool of cash in the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments aimed at buying off welfare farmers even as Trump continued his war on the poor

With drought taking hold in the upper basin we should be sending thoughts and prayers in advance for the wretched masses that have poisoned their own wells and tapped into big gubmint to water lawns while they complain about Waters of the United States or WOTUS.
-- PFAS in livestock is an "emerging concern as a source of dietary exposure to humans."
-- There have been relatively few investigations over PFAS in livestock.
-- The Natural Resources Conservation Service does not have any PFAS experts.
-- NRCS policy actually prohibits the agency in assisting with the removal of hazardous waste material.
-- Few studies have been done on safe PFAS concentration levels in soil.
-- APHIS does not have any authority since PFAS is not a disease pathogen.
-- The Department of Defense has taken a greater lead than USDA in providing details on contamination to agricultural producers near military installations. [PFAS Contamination and USDA's Lack of Engagement]
There are 679 military bases in the United States with known or suspected PFAS contamination and according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) the Department of Defense has not fully briefed farmers about the likely pollution of surface and groundwater near some 36 of 126 military bases with the highest parts per trillion of PFAS contamination.


EPA reaffirms 'significant nexus;' Earth haters howl

Republican is simply another word for Earth hater.

Throughout its history the US Army Corps of Engineers has had purview over water that flows into bodies that can support navigation and in 2014, through the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Water Act, the Obama White House moved to identify more closely the sources of non-point pollution. Despite a judge's ruling EPA went forward with a new federal rule protecting small streams, tributaries and wetlands. 

Sackett v. EPA is in the Supreme Court of the United States today as a test of the authority of the agency to regulate wetland protection when 'significant nexus' or a scientific connection is established to downstream waters of the United States

Earthjustice attorney, Stuart Gillespie is concerned the Court will dial back protections, revert the rules to the bad old days during the Trump years and erase consistency from one administration to the next. "The court's move and the views expressed by some justices at oral argument, raise further concerns about the court's willingness to disregard traditional principles of judicial restraint in service of a deregulatory, pro-industry, and anti-environment agenda," he said.
The final rule includes eight CWA exclusions as part of the text. Most notably, prior-converted croplands are exempt, and EPA adopted USDA's definition. The EPA said wetlands converted to croplands prior to Dec. 23, 1985, are excluded from regulation. The remaining seven exclusions written in the new rule include waste treatment systems, ditches, artificially irrigated areas, artificial lakes or ponds, artificial reflecting pools, or swimming pools, water-filled depressions and swales and erosional features. The standard was a key reason why the 2015 WOTUS rule faced numerous legal challenges. It was eventually replaced by the Trump administration's Navigable Waters Protection Rule. During the 2015 rulemaking, a map of the state of Iowa was circulated by members of Congress showing the entire state as jurisdictional because of the significant-nexus test adopted in the new final rule.[Significant Nexus Now WOTUS Law of Land]
In Iowa voluntary buffer strips and other conservation practices have simply failed desertifying parts of the state and causing the Raccoon River to be named one of the most endangered waterways in the US. 

But, Earth haters in Congress wanted the US Environmental Protection Agency to wait on new Clean Water Act legislation in anticipation that a Trump-packed SCOTUS will reverse 2015 Obama-era environmental protections for a majority of American citizens and enable the corporatocracy to pollute at will.
Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said the new rule is a federal "overreach.""The Biden administration's untimely and out-of-touch new waters of the U.S. rule is ambiguous and expansive," she said in a statement. "Our farmers and business owners are suffering from regulatory whiplash and continue to bear the brunt of the left's radical climate agenda." [Ag Groups: WOTUS Complicates Farming]
The number of acres in 'agroecosystems' has tripled since the 1940s but poor ag practices like tiling have made soils unable to absorb rainfall creating toxic runoff and flooding.
The Army Corps of Engineers will authorize up to $40 million on coastal and river restoration demonstration projects on the lower Mississippi River meant to help reduce the hypoxia zone in the Gulf of Mexico. [WRDA Bill Close to Final Passage]
Yes, Republican welfare farmers are the real ecoterrorists who hate subsidies unless they benefit from them. 

ip photo: a farmstead crumbles on the divide between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.