All western waterways are endangered

American Rivers released its annual list of most endangered rivers in the United States naming five at-risk western waterways but isn’t every watershed in the West threatened, if not endangered? Industry and agriculture threaten rivers in the East while grazing and mining are killing waterways in the West. 

Preservationists say hundreds of horses are altering the Lower Salt River in Arizona and are suing the US Forest Service. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is taking water from the most-endangered Colorado River to ship oversees. The Rio Gallinas in New Mexico that accounts for 90% of the clean water for 13,000 residents is America's 9th most endangered waterway.

Invasive species plague nearly every waterway but Earth haters are suing the Bureau of Land Management because conservation has been elevated as an antidote to livestock grazing and in part because of a shuttered pulp mill in Montana the Clark Fork River has been named fifth most endangered. A Montana Republican wants to end appropriations for the Land Conservation and Wildlife Fund despite a portion of the Gallatin River being named as impaired from cattle manure and septic system leakage.

The Snake River through Idaho, Oregon and Washington that was dammed to deny Indigenous salmon fishing is now the 4th most endangered as drought seizes the region. The US Army Corps of Engineers counts almost 90,000 dams in its database. The Eel River in California is also at risk to dams belonging to the Pacific Gas and Electric’s Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project but nitrates in water supplies threaten rivers and millions of people, too.
Reno, Denver, Salt Lake City and Boise were among the 25 cities most impacted by short-term particulate pollution. “The other thing we have going on in the western U.S. is we have a lot of oil and gas around and they can emit plenty of VOCs in that process,” University of Utah atmospheric scientist Jessica Haskins told the Mountain West News Bureau. [Report: Western cities continue to dominate rankings of most polluted by ozone, particulates]
American Rivers named the Gila the most endangered in 2019 because of livestock pollution but today the waterway is nearing protection under the M.H. Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. In 2020 Rapid Creek in occupied South Dakota was named the 7th most endangered waterway and the federal government has taken steps to protect at least some of it. 


Preservation a weak spot in Republican agenda

I was shocked reading about the overwhelming response to save the Pactola Lake area. That there are people still living in the Black Hills who care enough to defend some of it from destruction might be a watershed moment in South Dakota politics. 

Often powerless to resist the extractive industry the Black Hills National Forest took comments on a 2021 proposal from F3 Gold to drill on 2,500 sites near Silver City and explore above the Rapid Creek inlet to Pactola Reservoir on claims that actually extend into the lake. But on 17 March, the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service announced a proposal to protect tribal, cultural and natural resources in the reservoir recharge.

Today, putting the country on the path of protecting at least 30 percent of our land and 30 percent of our ocean areas by 2030 (30×30) is imperative to preserving public lands especially now as the worst megadrought in at least 1200 years is driving desertification in most of the western United States. A supermajority of registered voters in the Mountain West agrees according to bipartisan polling conducted by the Colorado College State of the Rockies project.
The New Mexico and Nevada legislatures recently considered constitutional amendments to guarantee the right to a clean environment, and while the bills didn't pass, they reflect a national trend as environmentalists seek legal leverage under state law to fight polluters. So-called "green amendments" highlight a person's inherent rights to clean air, water and soil. State constitutions in Montana and Pennsylvania, written in the early 1970s, were the first to guarantee the right to a clean environment. Other states that have introduced green amendment legislation include Iowa, Texas, Maine, Connecticut and Tennessee, according to the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. [Mountain West states at center of movement to make a clean environment a constitutional right]
See why the first lines of political defense are county commissions and why environmental lawyers are essential to democracy? The US Environmental Protection Agency gets involved when the process breaks down. The US Fish and Wildlife Service enforces critical habitat and Democrats care more about this stuff than the redstaters do. I'm a single-issue voter. Earth first. See how simple?

This is a weak spot in the Republican agenda and if enough people believe preservation is a bankable position the South Dakota Democratic Party needs to exploit it by fielding candidates who can convince voters to reject politicians like John Thune, Kristi Noem, Mike Rounds and Dusty Johnson who work for the grazing, mining and logging profiteers at the expense of public lands. 

Interior is far more responsive to public outcry than USDA is, for sure. The Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service should be merged and become the US Forest and Land Management Service. 

Expect discussions about the USFS to heat up during farm bill negotiations as wildfire season flares says Dave Mertz.


Hunhoff: ASL agitprop “nutty,” “poison"

Last year a Texas group calling itself American Stewards of Liberty with ties to the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion presented anti-Earth resolutions to a receptive Otero County Commission and the San Juan County Commission heard two resolutions dealing with land use issues after watching ASL's Margaret Byfield's dog and pony show. Byfield is lobbying the Yankton, South Dakota County Commission appearing for a second time in the mostly Democratic district near the Yankton Sioux Nation.
I left the state Legislature in 2016 partly because the atmosphere in Pierre was getting as ugly and nutty as Washington. Outside agitators were arriving to push their agendas, interrupting our work on real issues. Three weeks ago, I attended a Yankton County Commission meeting to report on historic preservation issues; also on the agenda that night was a woman from Texas who wants our county to pass a resolution opposing what she calls President Biden’s 30x30 “Land Grab.” Her accusations are outlandish. The “land grab” amounts to the same conservation programs that have been benefiting our farmers and landowners under Republican and Democrat administrations. I write to simply caution our local boards and commissions to be wary of well-funded outsiders who come here with their hidden national agendas. They will poison our local politics, just as they’ve poisoned Pierre and Washington. [Bernie Hunhoff]
Byfield spoke in La Junta, Colorado last week.

ip photo: Scott Parsley, Bernie Hunhoff and Pat Garrity pose during the 2014 Democratic State Convention in Yankton.


Lack of clean water driving obesity and worse in Indian Country

Way back in 2015 this blog covered how researchers learned that the consumption of sugary drinks fattened and killed some 25,000 people in the United States every year. 

Forty percent of cancers are caused by obesity so Coca Cola, Archer Daniels Midland, Nestle, American Crystal Sugar and Pepsico are all part of an ethnic cleansing campaign especially on reservations. Even Mexico does more for her population by taxing sugary drinks and doctors in the United Kingdom urge increased taxes on bottled sugar, too.

On the Navajo Nation a third of the people don't have access to clean drinking water so sugared drinks purchased from dollar stores and obesity are an epidemic comorbidity.
In 2021, the New Mexico Department of Health found that childhood obesity for American Indian third graders increased to more than 42%. In addition, the NB3 foundation reports that more than 85% of Navajo kids have at least one sugary drink a day. Overall, American Indian and Alaska Native kids are 30% more likely than non-Hispanic white kids to be obese. “They know that water is a connection to their body, to the land, to the community, and how important it is to kind of nourish your body with that,” said Simone Duran, the grant program coordinator at NB3 and a member of the San Felipe Pueblo. One group from the Jemez Pueblo ran a school water challenge to encourage kids to drink fruit-infused water. Another group, the Tamaya Wellness Center in the Santa Ana Pueblo of New Mexico, put up signs at the center to prevent students from having sugary beverages at center events. [KUNC]
Autism is caused by faulty gut/brain connections so genetically engineered sugar beets, infant formula and high-fructose corn syrup contribute to the spectrum in kids and phthalate-laden plastic bottles drive gender dysphoria.


Earth haters declare war on endangered bat as WNS spreads

Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) is the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome and in part because of WNS the US Fish and Wildlife Service extended Endangered Species Act protection in 2016 for the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) despite protestations from Republicans.

Then in 2018 WNS was detected in a western smallfooted bat (Myotis ciliolabrum) at Badlands National Park in occupied South Dakota. Wind Cave National Park is home to nine species of bats, including the threatened northern long-eared bat. The infection was detected there in 2021 and Wyoming Game and Fish discovered it at Devils Tower National Monument that same year.

In January of this year the US Fish and Wildlife Service extended the date to the end of March for reclassification of the northern long-eared bat from threatened to endangered.
U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis has once again expressed her disapproval of the decision to upgrade the northern long-eared bat’s status to endangered – this time, in the form of a joint resolution. Lummis has railed against the listing upgrade since it was listed, sending a letter of concern alongside 11 other senators that the listing will leave “countless infrastructure project consultations in limbo." [Sundance Times]
Insects coated with industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals in water supplies are weakening immune systems spreading WNS to bats as part of Earth's anthropogenic-driven sixth mass extinction. Last year Colorado officials found Pd in Baca, Larimer and Routt Counties now the National Park Service has detected the disease in a Yuma bat (Yuma myotis) near La Junta.
Colorado makes 39 states and seven Canadian provinces with the disease. [Colorado Sun]
Imagine what herbicides are doing to species like Townsend’s Big-eared bats (Corynorhinus townsendii) on the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming.


South Dakota could become farmland for KSA after loss of Arizona irrigation permit

About 3 million acres of irrigated ag land in Western states are planted to alfalfa and it takes 3 to 6 acre-feet every year to water an acre of it — more in hotter, drier climates. An acre foot is about 326,000 gallons.

But, after draining fragile aquifers and lobbying for more water from the Gila River Arizona has revoked irrigation permits for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 2018 the Saudi Ministry of Energy and Agriculture banned the use of groundwater for alfalfa production and in August of 2022 the Democratic candidate for Arizona Attorney General, now AG Kris Mayes called for an investigation of KSA's sweetheart deal to pump Phoenix's reserves for free.
“We know by anecdotal evidence that wells are being de-watered by these big farming operations. We know that land is subsiding. We can see that with our eyes,” Mayes said. “We have existing law that we don’t think [is] being followed.” County leaders have voiced concerns over the future water supply. [Water permits for Saudi Arabia-owned farm in Arizona revoked]
In South Dakota growers need to apply to irrigate more than one acre of land and allows for up to 24 inches or two acre feet per acre but a permit can take years to be approved. Most East River aquifers are fully appropriated but are believed to be more sustainable. Older permits even allow for the pumping of surface water and in 2022 the state had 5,532 active irrigation permits on about 836,000 acres.
Rather than fears over an expansionist Chinese Communist Party, the discussion at that time centered around fears that nations flush with oil cash were planning to buy up land in the Midwest and drive up prices for local farmers. “There was talk that Saudi Arabia had a lot of extra money and they were going to start to buy up land in rural states,” Kent Frerichs, a sponsor on the 1979 law dealing with foreign ownership of agriculture land, recalled. “And that was what spurred my thought at the time.” [South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's new ag land proposal rehashes old debate]
The Marquis de Saud, Dan Lederman, is an agent for KSA. He spent $50,000 to buy a seat in South Dakota's corrupt legislature flaunting the same class by throwing it away resigning after the 2015 session then forcing his way into the chair of South Dakota's Republican Party. As President Biden puts the screws to Lederman’s bosses in the KSA Mrs. Noem is distracting some attention from her own foibles by pecking at Uncle Joe. That Lederman would steer criminals like Mohammed bin Salman into South Dakota is completely within his crooked wheelhouse. 

Lederman's replacement is Earth hater John Wiik. His twitter feed reads like Kyle Rittenhouse and Kaitlin Bennett resurrected the remains of an abortion from the union they botched in a church bathroom and he’s now running the most dysfunctional romper room in South Dakota.

Image lifted from the Shad Olson Show.


Recycling update: SFC is trying harder

Santa Fe County ships nearly all the aluminum and steel harvested from the municipal waste stream to Colorado where Denver and Boulder are among the best cities for doing recycling right. Reunity Resources has stepped up to compost food scraps, organics, wood and yard waste for garden soil.

Operated jointly by the city and county the Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency, Buckman Road Recycling and Transfer Station recycles 10,400 tons of material annually and contracts with Albuquerque-based Town Recycling to run it. 

While all of the cardboard sorted out stays in New Mexico to become packaging and newspapers mixed baled cardboard, paper or containers, some of which includes both plastics and metals, are shipped to Waste Management in Denver where it is further sorted or to Mexico and is turned into egg cartons or cellulose insulation. 

Electronics are trucked to Natural Evolution in Tulsa, Oklahoma and tires go to Texas where they're shredded and added to asphalt. In 2022 the agency recycled 1,702 tons of glass or about 76 truckloads sold at $36 per ton to a Broomfield, Colorado company where it is turned into new bottles. In Pueblo, Ecologic Materials Corp. is recycling shrink wrap and adding it to asphalt.
Greater federal protection is overdue. Until that happens, Santa Fe County, along with federal managers and nearby tribal officials, should develop strategies to reduce dumping in the short term. Start with more frequent patrols by law enforcement, and be strategic. It’s also time to consider increasing fines for illegal dumping. In other words, stop littering. Stop dumping. Love the Earth — she’s our mother, right? [editorial, Santa Fe New Mexican]
A plastics to fuel refinery emitting unchecked carcinogens has plaintiffs suing the US Environmental Protection Agency.


Big Sioux River contamination unsurprising and unchecked

Our farm near Elkton, South Dakota had Big Sioux River tributary Medary Creek flowing through it and we thought nothing of swimming in that goo loaded with manure, DDT and atrazine. Dad would even pump water from a flooding Medary Creek into our cistern for taking baths and watering the garden. 

This morning the Big Sioux is again out of its banks contaminating everything in its path with poisonous effluent including that generated by non-point sources. Back in 2018 South Dakota State University President Barry Dunn said the chemical toilet that is my home state should simply accept that fact because of more confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Today, every body of water in eastern South Dakota is a shithole because Republican is just another name for Earth hater.
Analysis by district consultant Jack Little, a retired U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist, showed the 1997 flood dumped the equivalent of all sediment contributed by river flows in the prior 50 years. In the first 1,600 feet out from where the Big Sioux enters Lake Kampeska at state Highway 20, the study said nearly 4 feet of sediment was dumped by flood events between 1951 and 2000. It is more lucrative to farm to the river’s edge and easier to plow through tributaries. As long as our legislators and governor continue to condone agricultural pollution, our lakes and streams will continue to die. [Brad Johnson, Pollution carried by major floods is killing our lakes]
See why the first lines of political defense are county commissions and why environmental lawyers are important to democracy? The US Environmental Protection Agency gets involved when the process breaks down. The US Fish and Wildlife Service enforces critical habitat and Democrats care more about this stuff than the redstaters do. I'm a single-issue voter. Earth first. See how simple? 

It's about time South Dakota's press investigates the collusion between the state and polluters instead of pandering to the South Dakota Republican Party as it destroys watersheds by deconstructing the Waters of the United States rule protected under the 1972 Clean Water Act. South Dakota will flout WOTUS until the cows come home unless or until downstream states cry foul.

In the above image a farmstead crumbles near the divide between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers on Buffalo Ridge over Oak Lake, part of a Brookings water supply and tributary of the Big Sioux River in extreme eastern South Dakota. 

The Mississippi is the third most polluted waterway in the United States and five of the tributaries of the Minnesota and Mississippi River system rise in South Dakota where Big Stone Lake is filling with silt.


BLM, BIA, NPS finalizing Chaco protections

In 2021 Democratic New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich asked Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to end leasing within a 10-mile radius of Chaco Culture National Historic Park — an International Dark Sky Park at risk to oil and gas flaring. So, in partnership with the Bureau of Indian Affairs the Bureau of Land Management completed a draft resource management plan for Chaco and a decision was released. 

Citing the scarcity and fragility of water supplies in the region a three-judge panel on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled BLM didn’t properly gauge long-term impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act so it suspended some 200 permits and blocked permits issued by the Trump Organization. 

Chaco is managed within the Interior Department through the National Park Service headed by Chuck Sams, a member of and former executive director for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Nation.
The Interior Department affirmed on Thursday its commitment to the Chaco initiative, saying leaders with the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have been working with tribal preservation officers and tribal groups. Federal officials have billed the Chaco initiative as a novel effort that could provide a roadmap and lessons learned for future collaborations with tribes. Pueblo preservation experts also are working on finishing a first-of-its-kind ethnographic study of the region that they hope will be used as part of the initiative and in future decision making. [Groups push US land managers for lasting Chaco protections]
When Laguna Pueblo citizen, Deb Haaland was the US Representative for New Mexico's First District she was one of the sponsors of the Chaco Culture Heritage Protection Act of 2019 that would have codified the 10-mile buffer zone around Chaco Canyon.

ip photo.


Monday cannabis smoke out

Cannabis sales on the Oglala Lakota Nation totaled $1.3 million for the first two quarters and projections are for $4 million in their inaugural year according to the Lakota Times.

Veterans could receive free green cards as the Arizona Legislature takes steps to revive that state's therapeutic cannabis program after sales for all adults carved into patient applications. 

Minnesota is nearing the passage of a 291 page bill legalizing for all adults and lawmakers are hearing testimony on social equity questions and home growing. 

New Mexico's dope duke is warning the industry is underperforming even as more retailers are entering the market amid declining therapeutic cannabis applications while the University of New Mexico is offering a Cannabis Compliance and Risk Management Certificate Program.

Montana's Republican-glutted legislature is fighting over allocations now that cannabis sales are generating over $50 million in revenue annually.

Colorado Cannabis Tours has added two more buses just in time for 4/20.


Scientists: USFWS not doing enough to protect vulnerable species in red states

Martha Williams is Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, an arm of the Interior Department. The agency is responsible for protecting plants and animals listed under the Endangered Species Act and oversees national conservation efforts, fisheries, hatcheries, migratory birds, ecological services and federal wildlife refuges.

But at least a hundred scientists believe the Service isn't doing enough to crack down on red states that flout or simply ignore protections for vulnerable species. 

In Montana, where Director Williams was an attorney for Fish, Wildlife and Parks for over twenty years Republican welfare ranchers find great joy in slaughtering wolves from aircraft. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) recommended her for confirmation and said she "has brought collaborative, science-based solutions to the tough problems facing our wildlife and public lands." 

But, Center for Biological Diversity governmental affairs director, Brett Hartl said that despite their early support for Williams his group is disappointed with the Biden administration's failure to replace a rule that weakened protections for many species, including gray wolves and grizzly bears. The Center called the Trump Organization's Fish and Wildlife director an "industry shill" because of her past work with Earth killer Monsanto.

In my home state of South Dakota over a hundred native species are at risk to the Republican Party including the endangered pallid sturgeon, paddlefish, black footed ferret, northern long-eared bat, the black-backed woodpecker that feeds on bark beetles and a bird that actually walks underwater – the American dipper, just to name a few. 

To prop up the pheasant industry the state's Republican governor put bounties on raccoons and skunks known to feed on prolific invasive zebra mussels. 

In 2020 with the Endangered Species Act nearing extinction while still in the clutches of the Trump Organization the USFWS submitted a recovery plan for the Topeka shiner (Notropis topeka) nearing extirpation from the tributaries of the James, Vermillion and Big Sioux Rivers, some of the most polluted waterways in the United States but to zero consequence.

Threatened by the increased conversion of native prairie to cropland the most endangered plant in the chemical toilet that is South Dakota is the white-fringed orchid (Platanthera praeclara) found mainly in tallgrass prairies west of the Mississippi River. 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.

Director Williams has no plans to step down and her impeachment is unlikely.

ip image: a blue heron fishes at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.


Designated Survivor is a blueprint for the Trump insurgency

Tom Kirkman was Secretary of Health and Human Services when the entire federal government died in a massive attack on the US Capitol during the State of the Union address. As designated survivor he is immediately sworn in as POTUS then cast into the crocodile-infested swamp that is US politics. 

Every day brings a new crisis heaped onto national tragedy while the White House assembles a new federal government as state governors appoint new senators and arrange for the elections needed to rebuild the House of Representatives. The Supreme Court of the United States is slowly and achingly refilled amid the rubble of American democracy where an untested former academic sorts through the conspiracy that took down the federal establishment. 

A Republican former POTUS is an antagonist with ties to the conspiracy who beguiles then thwarts President Kirkman at nearly every opportunity and Democrats prove to be equally treacherous.

The West Wing is a virtual war zone as staff with their own story arcs scramble to prop up a beleaguered chief executive widowed in a suspicious car crash while a few trusted aides investigate then uncover the Russia-backed billionaire who destroyed the Capitol and blamed Islamic militants. 

Often prophetic, it’s as if Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, Patrick Davis and Brad Parscale memorized the entire script then put every villainous catastrophe they concoct into play. In the penultimate episode there is even a racist who engineers a virus to sterilize or kill people of color to erase the Democratic voter base — the defining feature of the Trump term

Republican 44th POTUS, Texan Cornelius Moss is a conniving, deceitful traitor who ultimately runs against Kirkman. Tom is a committed social justice warrior who grows into the office as a fiercely independent anti-partisan politician who’s not afraid of a fight — the betrayal of his late wife’s transgender sister notwithstanding.

Donald Trump's designated survivors were VA Secretary David Shulkin (2017), Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue (2018), Secretary of Energy Rick Perry (2019) and Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt in 2020 — a veritable Who's Who of Earth haters.

Honestly? I’m terrified the GOP will assassinate our POTUS and VPOTUS then install the Republican Speaker of the House who would name Herr Trump his Veep then step down so having Kevin McCarthy second in line for presidential succession should scare the spit out of every American.


Hey Joe: remand Lincoln National Forest to Mescalero Apache

Putting the country on the path of protecting at least 30 percent of its land and 30 percent of its ocean areas by 2030 (30x30) is imperative to preserving public spaces. 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.
Ski Apache is a popular destination for skiers in Southern New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico. The ski area is located on the Lincoln National Forest and operated by the Mescalero Apache Tribe under a special use permit. The Tribe and the Lincoln National Forest will continue to work collaboratively to restore the ski area landscape including tree planting, addressing a spruce beetle outbreak, and aspen restoration work. [Village of Ruidoso]
Last year a Texas group calling itself American Stewards of Liberty with ties to the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion presented anti-Earth resolutions to a receptive Otero County Commission and the San Juan County Commission heard two resolutions dealing with land use issues after watching ASL's Margaret Byfield's dog and pony show. 

Southeastern New Mexico is home to many descendants of the Confederacy and are resisting the Lincoln National Forest's plan revision. On Monday county commissioners from Chaves, Eddy, Lincoln and Otero counties heard an update to the 1986 forest management plan, a revision that began in 2015. Byfield was also there.
Mandated by federal law, the updated plan will determine how the Forest Service manages the 1.1 million acres that spread over portions of Chaves, Eddy, Lincoln and Otero counties. The forest is divided into three ranger districts, the Guadalupe District around the Carlsbad area, the Smokey Bear District around the Ruidoso area and the Sacramento District. A small part of the eastern section of the Sacramento Range District is in Chaves County. Alternative A would leave the plan as it is now, which includes having no wilderness areas designations. Alternatives C, D and E reflect public feedback and would add wilderness areas from as small as 21,000 acres to as much as 402,000 acres. Alternative B is the Forest Service plan and originally recommended adding about 40,500 acres as wilderness. [Roswell Daily Record]
In March the Jemez Pueblo was granted title to a portion of the Valles Caldera National Preserve after the Court of Appeals issued a split ruling creating a precedent for other tribes seeking to regain rights to their traditional homelands.
The Sacramento Mountains and the surrounding area were historically inhabited by the Mescalero and other groups of Apache prior to colonization. The Mescalero Apache lived a nomadic hunting and gathering existence. Their name for themselves is ‘Shis-Inday’ meaning “People of the Mountain Forest. [Lincoln National Forest]
Byfield is lobbying the Yankton, South Dakota County Commission appearing for a second time in the mostly Democratic district near the Yankton Sioux Nation.

Lawyers representing the Pueblo of San Felipe are suing the Department of Interior over a federal land patent from 1864 after the Trump Organization's Bureau of Land Management illegally took nearly 700 acres in 2017.
Conserving land, especially on private land which made up almost half, or 34 million acres, of New Mexico’s total area of about 78 million acres, per a data reported to committee from the University of New Mexico, often takes the form of conservation easements purchased by landowners. [Land grab or environmental justice? New Mexico moves forward with 30X30 conservation plan]
President Joe Biden should immediately create a new national monument from the Lincoln National Forest and remand management to the Mescalero Apache.


SDSU racing to save limber pine from invasive fungus

For the last four thousand years as the Anthropocene intensified in the Rocky Mountain region limber pine (Pinus flexilis) receded north and left a few isolated pockets high in the Black Hills, the easternmost population of the five needle white pine species. The oldest known specimen in the US is two thousand years.

Cronartium ribicola or white pine blister rust is native to China but was accidentally introduced to North America around 1900 and can be deadly for limber pine.
John Ball, a professor in the department of agronomy, horticulture and plant sciences, is part of a team working to save them. Julie Leidholt, an SDSU graduate and drone pilot, is working with Ball to keep the species in the hills. “We core sampled all limber pines that were of adult age … and we saw that the average age of the tree was quite old,” Leidholt said. “I think the oldest living tree was over 166 years old.” [South Dakota State University Collegian]
Professor Ball has a history of taking on the Republican establishment in the Black Hills. 

Native Douglas fir and lodgepole pine are virtually extirpated from the Black Hills National Forest but the agency is trying to restore limber pine in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve.


Today's Easter intersection: Spanish Equus and the Discovery Doctrine

With help from dogs for some fifteen thousand years Indigenous people hunted and butchered the horses that evolved in North America but by about 5000 years ago American Equus were extinct or had migrated across Beringia into Asia. 

At one excavation site in Wyoming evidence revealed humans killed a mammoth with a Clovis pointed spear launched from an atlatl, a type of throwing stick. The ancestors of the Crow, Arikara and others drove bison over cliffs or into sinkholes like the Vore site near Beulah, Wyoming.
It wasn’t until 1519 C.E., when Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, that horses entered the Americas again. His 16 horses stunned local people, and the shock helped him defeat the Aztec Empire just 2 years later. Dates of horse remains from sites in Wyoming and Nebraska, for example, show people far beyond the Spanish frontier were breeding, feeding, herding, and caring for horses—and probably riding them—beginning sometime after 1550, and had thoroughly incorporated them into their societies by 1650 at the latest. [Horse Nations]
I believe the ancestors of the Chacoans came up the Columbia and the Snake Rivers, through the Red Pass in Idaho then into ancient Lake Bonneville and down the western slope of the Rocky Mountains into the Four Corners Region. 

A Clovis site in Alaska dated to about 12,400 years ago has led most archaeologists to believe the culture arose only after their arrival to North America. Exploiting the gap between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets during the Wisconsin Glacial Episode those Clovis People were the first humans to see the Missouri Buttes and Mahto Tipila in Wyoming. The Clovis culture thrived on the high plains and in the Black Hills before settling the rest of the Mississippi basin but those pioneers had already explored parts of Montana long before they found Clovis, New Mexico where their stone tools were unearthed in the 1920s. 

At the southern terminus of the Rockies near Santa Fe the southwest ancients’ interaction with the Clovis culture seems perfectly likely.
The most adept country at eliminating the language and customs of the [I]ndigenous people was Spain. When Spain invaded Native nations from South America to California the first thing they did was to separate the children from their parents, use the parents as slave labor even separating husbands from wives, and begin a process of total immersion in the religion and language of Spain. The US set about eliminating the customs and language of the Indian tribes by following the proven methods of the Spaniards: separate the children from their traditional teachers, their parents and grandparents, force them to speak English only, and coerce them into accepting a new religion by catechists skilled in the art of mind control. [Tim Giago]
It's believed by most anthropologists the Indigenous population in the Americas when Spain invaded was about 60 million people.
Finally, as the Joint Statement indicates, the centuries of history at issue are complex, and the term “doctrine of discovery” has taken on various legal and political interpretations that merit further historical study and understanding. We hope for more dialogue among Indigenous and Catholic scholars to promote greater and wider understanding of this difficult history. [USCCB Statement on “Doctrine of Discovery”]
Buoyed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and General Michael Flynn are modern Falangists financed by the John Birch Society. Many catholic schools are in the Hillsdale bubble because the curriculum ignores the church’s role in the Native American Genocide.

ip image: the descendants of Spanish Equus continue to proliferate.


Sorry, not sorry: Wyoming, Arizona Democrats poke gun humpers

Wyoming State Representative Karlee Provenza (D-Laramie) posted an apology of sorts on her Faceberg page.
For National Trans Day of Visibility, I shared a meme on my personal social media featuring an older woman, “Aunty Fa,” wearing trans pride colors and holding an assault rifle with the message: “Protect trans folks against fascists and bigots.”
The meme is a nod to a cause I have long supported: Armed self defense for the LGTBQ community. Queer and trans people are disproportionately victims of violence, targeted because of their sexuality and gender expression, including in Wyoming.
Members of the LGBTQ community and their allies depend on Second Amendment rights for protection. Some even organize armed groups to ensure that events like drag shows and Pride parades can proceed without fear of violence. Last year, 31 members of a white nationalist militia were arrested for conspiracy to attack a Pride parade in Idaho, including two Wyoming residents.
The meme I shared acknowledges the sad truth that LGBTQ people and their allies need protection, but luckily in the United States we have the Second Amendment for just that purpose. Hence the message: Protect trans folks.
Shortly after I posted the meme, the Wyoming Freedom Caucus shared it with its national partners and claimed that it was an attempt to incite violence, since the week before a trans person had been the perpetrator of a mass shooting in Tennessee.
Defenders of the Second Amendment, including the Freedom Caucus, have for decades pointed out the clear difference between using guns for mass shootings and using them for self defense. I respectfully encourage my colleagues in the Legislature to remember these conversations, and to remember their response when anti-gun groups tried to use tragic mass shootings to paint all gun owners as violent.
I support the Second Amendment. I co-sponsored successful legislation this year to give non-violent felons their gun rights back. I do not wish violence on anyone, but I believe that Americans have the right to defend themselves and their communities—and that right extends to all of us.
That said, I apologize for failing to recognize the potential impact of my actions on social media, which have contributed to inflammatory and distracting online discourse. Especially in these divisive times, we must always maintain focus on working toward collaborative solutions to the problems facing our state and its residents. [Representative Karlee Provenza]
A social media post from Gov. Katie Hobbs' spokesperson suggesting the use of violence against those who disparage transgender people has prompted a backlash and calls for the governor to take action. Hobbs spokesperson Josselyn Berry late Monday posted an image on Twitter from the 1980 movie "Gloria," showing a woman with a handgun in each hand. "Us when we see transphobes," Berry wrote in an accompanying post that followed a prior message. The post was made hours after a mass killing at a Nashville school where the shooter was identified by law enforcement authorities as a transgender person. [AZ Central]


Republicans admit colossal failures in girl's disappearance

In South Dakota local control is Republican control.

Republican former State Senator Lynne DiSanto has been raising awareness of the abuses committed by the Children's Home Society that led up to the 2019 disappearance of Serenity Dennard. 

CHS has been under the regulatory microscope before for violations of trust and one former executive director is none other than Republican former South Dakota Governor Denny Daugaard. Billionaire Republican Denny Sanford, an accused child pornographer, has given millions to the organization that owns a facility outside Rapid City, just for instance. As the story of Sanford's pedophilia broke Carmel, Indiana-based private investigator Veracity I-I-R confirmed that they were hired by Serenity’s adoptive family to revisit the steps that led to her disappearance and explore likely outcomes. 

Later in 2019 SD News Watch ran a series of articles highlighting South Dakota as a hellhole for kids. 

Before her disappearance Serenity Dennard spent time in a dozen foster homes in a state where the industry is a pet project of Republican Daugaard's wife. It's estimated that the United States foster care industry supplies some 88% of sex-trafficked children some of whom are raped for money at the annual Sturgis Rally. 

Serenity's adoptive mother has admitted to suicide attempts because of all the Republican bunglings so the SDGOP finger-pointing continues to the present day. The federal center for Medicaid Services intervened in 2019 and excoriated the CHS for its indifference to client protection. 

Another Republican, a former captain in the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office says the failures to locate the young girl still haunt him. Investigators say it's doubtful she was abducted by strangers but her history of running away means her planning an escape is entirely possible. That Serenity was lured away by Bandidos with help from the Children’s Home Society crossed my mind very early in her disappearance. 

Spokesperson for the department, Republican Helene Duhamel insists the case is still open. In 2020 Republican then-Sheriff Kevin Thom admitted the failures of his department in the case and denied an interview for a recent update. In 2020 a Republican former Rapid City police chief resigned to become a CHS employee.

Current Republican Black Hills Children’s Home director, Michelle Lavallee insists security at the de facto children's prison has been tightened but refuses to elaborate.

Whistle-blower DiSanto was forced from the state's demonic legislature then changed her name and moved to Montana but has since returned to sell real estate in Rapid City.


New Mexico signs on to new interstate highway

Senator Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) is cosponsor of S.992, A bill to amend the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 and formally name the Ports-to-Plains Corridor Interstate 27. 

Signed into law by President Joe Biden in 2022 as part of the federal appropriations bill funding is available for an existing portion of US 87 to become a newly constructed I-327 connecting I-27 at Dumas, Texas with I-25 at Raton, New Mexico. 

According to the Ports-to-Plains Alliance I-27 would someday connect with the Heartland Expressway at Limon, Colorado at the intersection of I-70 and State Highway 71 then cross I-76 at Brush and I-80 at Kimball, Nebraska. There is already a four lane from Kimball to Scottsbluff so the proposal is to go east from there to US 385 then north through Alliance. The system would ultimately connect to the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway at Rapid City and reach the Canadian border at Raymond, Montana. 

In August, 2017 this blog proposed an interstate highway that would connect I-25 at Trinidad, Colorado to Rapid City, South Dakota. 


Republicans rail against WOTUS rules as uranium, nitrates threaten High Plains Aquifer

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 new federal rules protecting small streams, tributaries and wetlands. Sackett v. EPA is being heard currently in the Supreme Court of the United States 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.

Today, the Ogallala or High Plains Aquifer is being depleted six and a half times faster than its recharge rate and nearly all the groundwater sampled from it is contaminated with uranium and nitrates from industrial agriculture. 

Nebraska signed the South Platte River Compact with Colorado in 1923. In 1998, when Kansas sued Nebraska over its High Plains use SCOTUS didn't even mention the word "groundwater" and although it never appeared in the initial 1943 Republican River compact the Court ruled its use affects flows. 

In 2008 after Nebraska's 1978 median nitrate level doubled lab tests showed a few municipal wells were exceeding the US Environmental Protection Agency limit for uranium when samples jumped as high as 57 parts per billion. In 2011 one irrigation well just four miles from a municipal water source tested 322 parts per billion of uranium or more than 10 times the legal limit for drinking water set by EPA. 

In a 2015 study researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln reported that 78 percent of groundwater samples from the Ogallala Formation found with unsafe concentrations of uranium were also contaminated with nitrates from industrial agriculture. Researchers learned that nitrates at levels near the 10-parts-per-million legal limit release uranium into the state’s groundwater, which provides drinking water for 85 percent of Nebraskans. 

On Thursday Nebraska joined 24 other red states in a lawsuit against the Biden administration’s new WOTUS safeguards.
Nitrate, largely from commercial fertilizers and manure, may then prompt the release of uranium by assisting in converting solid uranium to a state more poised to jump off the aquifer sediments and dissolve into water. The uranium problem appears to be worst in areas surrounding the Republican River valley and parts of the Platte River valley in central and south-central Nebraska. Parts of northwest Nebraska have tested high for uranium as well. Sitting next to the Platte River, Grand Island has been grappling with uranium in its water for more than a decade. [Flatwater Free Press]
At a defunct AltEn ethanol plant just west of Omaha in eastern Nebraska 150 million gallons of water contaminated with 84,000 tons of pesticide residue have been determined to be too toxic to be spread on area farm ground. In February, 2021 two tanks at the facility burst releasing some 4 million gallons of polluted slurry downstream. Minnesota has taken steps to head off such red state disasters.

EPA leveled its 2015 environmental justice actions in Region 8 against two offenders in South Dakota: Tronox, Inc. at the North Cave Hills/Flat Top Mine Sites and a criminal action against a City of Pierre employee.