High Gas Prices Result of Huge U.S. Oil/Gas Exports; New Drilling/Pipelines Obviously Not Meant for U.S.

 

U.S. oil and gas exports are at their highest in 62 years! http://sfgate.bloomberg.com/SFChronicle/ Story?docId=1376-M03ZSG0YHQ0X01-5JR0G692MBGTE60AIHP5SP9EJ8.  Demand for oil/gas from foreign countries has increased tremendously while the U.S. has drastically reduced demand over a short period of time. What does this mean? It means that the big push to open up drilling in pristine Arctic wildlife areas, or to abscond land from private citizens in order to run a new pipeline, or the rounding up and slaughter of our free range wild mustangs, bison, wolves, etc., in order to clear them from the land like scooping up garbage instead of living creatures has nothing at all to do with our own energy welfare but for foreign countries.  It means we’ve pretty much gained energy independence from terrorist nations.  It means that we’re not running out of oil for our own consumption or that we need to drill baby drill. It simply has to do with big oil supplying that which we no longer need to foreign nations for big profits because there is demand out there. And when supply keeps up with increasing demand prices go up everywhere. It’s economics 101 http://www.investopedia.com/university/economics /economics3.asp#axzz1ny6hzw4F plain and simple that has little to do with us, except the fact we pay for it dearly at the pumps, while we still subsidize big oil. http://thinkprogress.org/green /2012/03/01/436001/obama-tells-congress-to-eliminate-outrageous-big-oil-tax-breaks/.

Now do we understand why there is such an outrage among some of us over subsidies, over the destruction of wildlife, and over the destruction of land for drilling/pipelines for a private, wealthy industry like big oil? Subsidies are taxpayer dollars to help big oil find new places to drill, places we do not want them to drill, places we do not want pipelines, yet we help these mega, mega rich private entities with our money. Feels like some sort of investment to me. We helped the U.S. auto industry out one time with a finite sum of money, most of which has been paid back, but not before there was a huge outcry that we’d better get it back and we shouldn’t have done that. Yet our taxpayer dollars consistently fund big, mega rich entities like big Ag and big Oil. Our payback right now from big oil is a continual increase in gas prices at the pumps. One would think that we should have some say so over that. Oh that’s right in most of the commercials about taxing big oil, or stopping subsidies, the people on the street remark, “Oh, don’t do that. That would mean a big increase for us and we can’t afford it.” So who’s the bully here and why is the bully so free to raise prices whenever? Oh that’s right too, we’re told those pesky government regulations/interference hinder big business and jobs. What’s happening at the gas pumps is what unfettered capitalism looks like. If Obama stepped in on our behalf, all hell would break lose. http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2012/01/oil-lobbyist-publicly-warns-president-obama-xl-pipeline-or-lose-presidency/.

Now that we’ve seen the proof that there is enough U.S. oil/gas to export so much of it, we must also be aware that any new pipelines from new sources of oil, like Canada’s tar sands via the XL pipeline, isn’t destined for us either. As I explained in another blog the XL pipeline will be carrying filthy tar sands to China mostly http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2011/11/xl-pipeline-looks-to-be-a-good-deal-for-china-not-americans-alternate-route-through-british-columbia-being-considered/.  It will cause demand for the stuff to go sky high, with a huge supply in the waiting, and we’ll see another hike at the pumps.

It’s almost as if this is big oil’s payback to us for declining use of their product for environmental reasons. It looks that way in congress too with lackeys for big oil stifling any incentives for wind projects even though wind looked like the most promising alternative for the U.S.  The U.S. mid-section is a corridor of constant wind, as well as, our huge shoreline. But congress stifled wind subsidies/incentives http://www.democraticunderground.com/101454189. And solar, well, solar is quiet right now after the dragging of feet to get Solyndra going before China flooded the market with their cheap, incomparable products http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2012/01/solyndra-a-model-of-why-the-u-s-wont-be-a-contender-in-the-new-world-order/.  All of these scenarios–threatening commercials to raise prices if subsidies decline or taxation increases, stamping out the competition through congress, and creating more and more demand abroad, look as if we’re being coerced back to using oil. And if demand for our oil gets too outrageous, a shortage crisis will emerge—MARK MY WORDS—where it will be imperative that we drill everywhere and anywhere. We will be told our own resources are dwindling and there just aren’t enough alternatives to take up the slack. What a setup. If incentives to create and nurture a new green sector for the U.S. are cut out of the picture what choice will we have though? Looks like a plan to me.

Throughout my previous blogs I made comments about the progression of control I was seeing relative to energy and the environment. I began in the Bush era by saying, “The kings are polishing their crowns. From there it was, “The kings have donned their crowns but just haven’t announced it yet.”  When SCOTUS announced corporations are considered citizens, my comment was, “This is the announcement (new kings).” Now we’re seeing a little more clearly those that are sporting crowns and one of them is big oil, king and ruler of U.S. energy, whether we want to move away from it or not.

Read more about U.S. oil exports:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/story/2011-12-31/united-states-export/52298812/1

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/30/column-us-exports-energy-independence-idUSL5E7MU6OT20111130

 

 

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PBS Nature: Christmas in Yellowstone

If you can, watch this wonderful presentation by PBS Nature series called “Christmas in Yellowstone” about wildlife and one of the U.S. most famous parks. It has breathtaking scenery and wonderful accounts of animals in the wild. Hopefully, it will remind viewers of all that’s at stake relative to the plight of our LIVING natural resources in the U.S. and how some have lost protection and are facing ill managed plans by state agencies.

Watching the film, it’s easy to see and understand better that nature balances itself. These ecosystems should be preserved and protected for generations to come. I can’t imagine a world without wonderful places like this.

Link to the schedule for this PBS presentation in your area: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/schedule/.

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Sweltering Heat Worldwide as U.S. House Tacks Anti-Environmental Riders to Budget Bills.

Headlines from around the globe show nothing but sweltering heat.

 From the NOAA website:

 Heatwave sweeps across the U.S.

http://www.noaa.gov/heat/index.html

Europe’s heat wave hit earlier in June this year:

Heat wave has Europe Sweltering

http://www.torontosun.com/2011/06/28/heatwave-has-europe-sweltering

 Europe hit record highs just last year along with Russia!

 Record-Breaking 2010 Eastern European/Russian Heatwave

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110318091141.htm

As of today an estimated 10 million people already need humanitarian aid in eastern Africa but extreme drought conditions along the borders of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia are exacerbating the situation.

Somalia drought forces more people into displacement camps

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2011/jun/28/somalia-drought-appeal-in-pictures

After suffering a tsunami, Japan hasn’t been spared. The final days of June in Japan were 6 degrees higher than the 30 year average:

Japan struggles to cope with heatwave, with 26 dead of heatstroke

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8645326/Japan-struggles-to-cope-with-heatwave-with-26-dead-of-heatstroke.html

Drought continues in SW Australia where rainfall in some places is at all time record lows:

Long-term dry conditions continue in southwest WA

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/drought.shtml

 And the cool weather of Northern Canada—not so much:

Heat scorches Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/07/17/cda-weather-heat.html

But instead of posting headline after headline across the earth, the Union of Concerned Scientists has a worldwide heat map:

http://www.climatehotmap.org/

One would think that in light of what the world is experiencing as far as climate change that our government would heed Mother Nature but new corporate lackeys in the House persist in adding anti-environmental riders to budget bills.

Most Anti-Environment House of Representatives in History Tries to Do More Damage

According to Frances Beinecke, of NRDC, and a barrage of email from my environmental charities our new U.S. House of Representatives is the worst on record for assaulting clean air, water, and our public lands.

Tea Party leaders in the House have dramatically stepped up their assault on America’s environmental and public health safeguards. Last week alone they used about 50 floor votes and more than 30 policy riders on spending bills to undermine the protections that keep our air safe, our water clean, and our public lands intact.

Another barrage of anti-environment bills is on its way. The upcoming debate in the full House on funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department will likely feature votes on even more policy riders designed to prevent the government from upholding basic environmental standards.

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/fbeinecke/most_anti-environment_house_of.html

Clean water is specifically under attack by new house member (R) Ohio, Bob Gibbs according to the NY Times. He thinks there may be too many clean water regulations. Bob is a former hog farmer. An enlightening read from a former post of mine relative to the hog industry, particularly CAFOS, applies here. Smithfield Foods polluted waterways clear to the ocean with runoff from their hog industry. So we see where Bob the former hog farmer might be coming from. And reading what Bob had to say in an excerpt in the NY Times, it’s all about money first, pollution later.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2006/12/spreading-pig-poo-who-knew/

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/05/03/03greenwire-anti-environmental-house-freshman-leads-charge-98149.html

The problem is that Bob isn’t alone. It looks like there may be complicity among state’s leaders with the idea that water has too many regulations. Just the other morning I caught that little ticker on GMA that stated several states have failed to report clean water violations? Hmmm. Found the story by the AP on Yahoo.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Feds-in-dark-about-some-apf-2889953000.html?x=0&.v=1

My guess is that some of the under-reporting by states is due to problems with fracking for natural gas. Fracking is a drilling process that wastes millions of gallons of clean water to blast each well with enough pressure  to fracture dense shale to release natural gas. The water mixes with gases and chemicals and is toxic. This practice has been blamed for spoiling residential water wells due to leaching from the fractures. The process pollutes nearby streams and water areas also. Exxon claims they recycle some of the water but “some” isn’t all and when we’re dealing with millions of gallons of water in exchange for a fossil gas—it’s unconscienceable. Children die from lack of water everyday.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=13353997

Besides compromising or possibly depleting our clean water supplies, fracking and drilling are costing us our public lands leased to the oil/gas industry. The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for leases for drilling/fracking.

Ah, so now it’s clear why all those pesky WILD MUSTANG HORSES had to go. Thirty year-old laws protecting those horses were just brushed aside while helicopters were used for roundups into overcrowded conditions.  We were told wild mustangs were too numerous and destroying precious grasslands. But the BLM is leasing our public lands right from under us while we’re occupied with the economy. That land will never be the same.

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2011/march/energy_publiclands_teleconf.html

http://wilderness.org/content/wild-lands-under-attack-budget-2011

The idea that it’s OK to keep forging ahead with filthy fossil fuel  as long as the fuel is our own is ludicrous and at least a decade old, a decade out of touch with the environment. By using fossil fuel we’re affecting other natural resources in the worst way.  We’re invading areas that we hold dear, tainting both water and land, and destroying animal/plant life in the process. We can’t drink natural gas or oil and that’s basically the tradeoff.  Without water we die. Without gas/oil –we’re inconvenienced. The U.S. House doesn’t have life’s best interests at all.

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Blame for Oil Spill Continues to be a Mix

Petro giant BP didn’t file a plan to specifically handle a major oil spill from an uncontrolled blowout at its Deepwater Horizon project. We know that from my last blog. The whole investigation is centering on “the blowout rules,” and a blowout preventer. It’s really the “blowout scenario rules” where a company files a plan for clean- up if and when a blowout occurs. BP didn’t file a plan for that because they evidently “didn’t fit at least one of five conditions” set by MMS for those rules to apply. Mineral Management Services changed its mandate two years ago in April 2008 “to exempt certain projects in the central Gulf region from having to file a specific plan for cleaning up an oil spill”, according to an Associated Press review of official records. Unfortunately, the article didn’t offer a pdf of those records. I’ve looked through tons of mandates on MMS website and can’t find those 5 conditions. I’d really like to see how a deepwater drilling project like this didn’t meet conditions to have a spill cleanup plan if the blowout preventer (BOP) didn’t work. BOP’s are known to be faulty. I think one condition for exemption was the rigs proximity to land. The reasoning by BP was that they were almost 50 miles out from shore in the Gulf. Evidently no one expected an oil slick to make it to shore easily from that distance. We know better now.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/05/many-share-the-blame-for-the-oil-spill/.

http://www.pnj.com/article/20100506/NEWS01/100506044.

Meanwhile, a backup plan to activate the BOP’s shear ram (acoustic) in case the BOP fails to engage is not required in the U.S. either. It’s a requirement elsewhere, but not here. Evidently the 6 valves and pipe rams along the blowout preventer pipe should stop the leak, but they failed to do the job too. So this giant shear ram is supposed to engage through a control panel button acting like a cigar cutter or sideways guillotine that cuts through the drill pipe at the head with extreme force shearing through and then remains in place as a cap on the pipe. End of leak. The shear ram didn’t engage and since the U.S. isn’t required to have a back up plan to activate that shear ram, the oil keeps coming. Even if it did activate, it may or may not have the force at that depth to actually cut through.

According to an Associated Press (AP) review:

Reliability questions have long shadowed blowout preventers:

Accident reports from the U.S. Minerals Management Service, a branch of the Interior Department, show that the devices have failed or otherwise played a role in at least 14 accidents, mostly since 2005.

Government and industry reports have raised questions about the reliability of blowout preventers for more than a decade. A 2003 report by Transocean, the owner of the destroyed rig, said: ‘Floating drilling rig downtime due to poor BOP reliability is a common and very costly issue confronting all offshore drilling contractors.’

Lawsuits have fingered these valves as a factor in previous blowouts

http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2010/05/08/general-energy-us-oil-spill-blowout-preventers_7588751.html.

The BOP on the Deep Horizon rig was tested, however, the test is obviously only for function or pipe would be damaged. A survivor of the explosion stated: “We had set the bottom cement plug, [and] at that point the BOP stack, the blowout preventer, was tested.” But the shear ram didn’t engage through the normal controls. Robots on the ocean floor tried for days to engage it.

So far, we know BP had a blowout preventer that was tested beforehand but failed, and a shear ram that fails to engage so far. BP didn’t go out of its way to fulfill any more regulatory obligations than it had to. And BP may have been negligent by removing the mud before the final cement plug was in place, that mud being the first, but probably too small to matter, defense against the gas explosion according to the very detailed and informational article on NOLA.com, a New Orleans news website.

http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/05/safety_fluid_was_removed_befor.html.

Still, what caused the whole shebang was a giant methane gas bubble that made it way up. We’re back to Halliburton. They haven’t come under full scrutiny yet. BP appears to be first as the overall responsible party. So we have to leave Halliburton on the list of blame too. A bad cement job more than likely caused the bubble to come up in the first place.

We’re also back to Mineral Management Service (MMS), an agency that according to NOLA.com, and other websites “is known for its cozy relationship with major oil companies.” Let me just say this. Ever since I started researching and blogging during the Bush Administration until now, a lot of the bureaus/agencies under the Interior Department are industry friendly and at ethical odds with what they purport to protect. USFWS appears to love the sport/hunting industry more than the wildlife it seeks to conserve. The BLM has done a heinously cruel job of rounding up our wild mustang horses and slaughtering them on behalf of the cattle industry. The Office of Surface Mining relative to mountaintop removal favors the coal industry’s practices more than protective measures for the surrounding environment it invades. We’ve heard about mountain top removal destruction, especially in Appalachia. And the MMS favoritism and lack of oversight for the oil industry is being highlighted now.

As the current head of the Department of Interior, Ken Salazar is almost indistinguishable from the Bush Administration’s Gale Norton or Dirk Kempthorne, still killing off wildlife (called management), and absconding public land for big industry.

During this oil spill fiasco, there was confusion as to whether the Deepwater Horizon rig was covered by the regulation to have a backup plan in case of a blowout. According to the Pensacola New (PNJ) article: “Following a tour of a boom operation in Gulf Shores, Ala., Salazar said that he understood BP was required to file plans for coping with a blowout at the well that failed. “My understanding is that everything was in its proper place,” said Salazar. He didn’t know that he didn’t know. What’s Ken been doing? His Chief of Staff, Tom Strickland, sure couldn’t help him on this gas explosion/oil leak mess.

Right after the explosion, Tom, also the “Department of Interior’s Ass’t. Sec’y for fish, wildlife and parks, traveled to the Grand Canyon on official business on April 27, three days after the oil leak was initially discovered.

Strickland’s Grand Canyon trip focused on management issues, including water flows, beach erosion and endangered species, but Strickland remained in ‘constant contact by satellite phone with Interior HQ as well as Fish and Wildlife Service and NPS operations in the Gulf,’ Interior Department spokeswoman Julie Rodriguez said.

So the oil spill couldn’t divert Strickland from his more pressing duty, there’s that word again, “management” as it relates to “endangered species” perhaps? If you’ve been reading my blogs you know management means “kill” for industry sake. As for endangered species this group in the Interior seems no different than the last and would probably like to see the list disappear altogether.

Jake Tapper of ABC News first reported the trip, but here’s the article about it.
http://www.pnj.com/article/20100506/NEWS01/100506009.

Most environmentalists or citizens that care about wildlife, parks, and public land see much of a change since Salazar took over, I say now is a good time to clean house at the Interior Department. The Obama Administration promised to be science based. There is no science behind the treatment of wildlife and our public lands at the hands of Salazar. He and his department are industry friendly period. The Department of Interior’s involvement with industry must end if it is to fulfill its mission statement. As it stands, that department has been detrimental to our lives, the lives of animals, and wildlife habitat, as well as, the public lands we pay to sustain.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Mission Statement says it “protects and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage; provides scientific and other information about those resources; and honors its trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated Island Communities.”

Suuuure. I don’t see them protecting the American heritage that is wild mustang horses. And Alaska’s native population is currently in a heated battle to keep Shell Oil out of the Arctic. How about the science behind taking the wolves off the endangered list way before recovery population numbers were reached, leaving the wolves susceptible to individual state’s thirst for money from sport/trophy hunters? Wolves are supposedly hunted because they pose a threat to deer, moose, and elk populations. Well, the BLM “proposes to offer parcels for lease at its May, 2010 auction. These parcels were protested by Colorado’s Wildlife Federation because 2 impact greater sage grouse leks, and two are within a bighorn sheep migratory corridor. Others impact moose production areas, pronghorn and deer severe winter range, and elk winter concentration areas. The cumulative impact upon wildlife from these parcels and the cumulative effect of earlier leases in addition to these proposed leases is of great concern to the Wildlife Federation in Colorado.” It should be. Down the road when deer and elk populations decline because of these leases, wolves or some other wildlife predator will be blamed by the Interior.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103119177.

http://coloradowildlife.org/news/cwf-nwf-submit-protest-of-blm-proposed-lease-sale.html.

This Interior Department’s brand of protection and management leaves much to be desired in an intelligent, science based administration. According to the PNJ article, “U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.V., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has asked the Interior Department to turn over documents that explain why MMS decided to exempt some Gulf operators from being required to provide blowout scenarios. Rahall expressed concern Thursday that MMS ‘has become an enabler of bad practices by the industry.’” Really. While Rahall is at it, he should check out all the agencies under Department of the Interior.

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It’s All About Money When it Comes to Hunting Wolves in Michigan

Comments are open to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding hunting gray wolves in Michigan. The fear mongering about wolves is beginning in Michigan. The papers report, “A few have been spotted in the lower peninsula.” So is MI DNR suggesting that we hunt wolves to keep them out of the lower peninsula? The implication that the wolves will wreak havoc with farm animals, kill dogs and cats, which would be more than likely coyotes, is purposely misleading. Since there are a little over 4,000 wolves in the combined western Great Lakes, to think there are only a few in the LP is ludicrous. Michigan’s own 50-year study of predator/prey behavior on Isle Royale confirms a direct ratio between wolves and moose. Michigan’s DNR should surely know this. Michigan’s LP is full of deer. So there are probably more than a few wolves in the LP that have been there all along without incident.

http://www.defenders.org/newsroom/defenders_magazine/fall
_2009/royale_challenge.php
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A 3-year USDA study I’ve presented below is pretty hard to dismiss. It shows very little predation of cattle by radio collared wolves living around the perimeter of cattle fields. The argument that there are far more wolves than when the study took place in 98 is redundant. Many studies show that wolves are territorial. Wolves keep populations of coyotes down because of it. Many organizations and wolf researcher Sean Ellis report that wolves honor each other’s territory, so the likelihood that wolf packs would have increased around that same cattle field today is unlikely.

I doubt MI DNR truly has a handle on wolf numbers since they are just now spotting wolves in the LP. I’ve noticed parvo virus is seldom in the conversation about wolf populations. Parvo can and has taken up to 25% of all wolf pups periodically and was introduced by dogs/pets, another horrible experience we’ve given to wolves that greatly reduces their numbers. Has MI DNR reported about parvo among wolves at all?

There isn’t any real science behind this proposed hunt if you look at all the studies of wolves. It’s about the sport hunting industry and money. Michigan needs money. What science looks to cull a species that just came off the Endangered List, which means danger of extinction, especially when a major premise in court battles over wolves is premature delisting? The wolves stay on the list until their numbers are sustainable and right away they need to be culled? That’s illogical and cruel. This is about the big sport hunting lobby again.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance or USSA has advised that “it is preparing comment supporting Michigan and Wisconsin’s effort to gain the ability to manage wolves that are killing PETS, INCLUDING HUNTING DOGS, AND ALSO LIVESTOCK. What did I tell ya? The sport hunting industry is sounding the alarm and creating a facade of need. They like to promote Teddy Roosevelt’s “conservation through hunting” when it is nothing but lobbying for the right to kill anything, a far cry from Teddy’s idea of conserving so to hunt that which is bountiful and plentiful. The ability to hunt anything, endangered, struggling, near extinction, exotic, trapped in a fenced area/canned, baiting, etc., is what the USSA and the like donate the really big money to for conservation.

According to HSUS:

The USSA supports the trophy hunting of threatened and endangered species.

The USSA has supported amending the Marine Mammal Protection Act to provide for the import of sport-hunted polar bear trophies from Canada.

The USSA fiercely opposes federal legislation to halt the shooting of tame, exotic animals in fenced enclosures or CANNED HUNTS.

The USSA has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars opposing efforts to limit bear baiting.

The USSA has opposed the creation of any new national parks that restrict hunting, even though national parks—from Yellowstone to Yosemite to the Everglades—have long restricted the hunting of wildlife, both for the benefit of wildlife and the public safety of visitors.

The Ohio-based USSA has led the charge to open sport hunting seasons on mourning doves. Michigan voters finally ended that quest showing that the general public does not condone sport/trophy hunting.

http://www.hsus.org/wildlife_abuse/campaigns/ussa/us_sportsmens
_alliance.html
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Conservation by its very definition is an occurrence of improvement by virtue of preventing loss or injury or other change. Hunting on the other hand is the pursuit and killing or capture of wild animals regarded as sport. The two don’t mix and never have. Yet, conservation through hunting ideology is misconstrued by the general public to mean much needed management that improves the species somehow. The best creature at doing that is the wolf that serves to prey on the unguarded young or the feeble (through age and sickness), yet we seek to eliminate wolves and use man for management instead. Man by contrast as a predator seeks the biggest and best for trophy. It’s hardly the way to improve the health and well being of a species taking the very best. So sport/trophy hunting has no valid scientific or natural value for any species including wolves.

Hunting across the nation is down, a real minority at 5-7% of the population. Although more people view hunting as favorable, a drastic drop in favorability happens when it’s sport or trophy hunting. So overall hunting to most Americans is all right if it serves a real purpose. This is where fear mongering about wolves and the misconception of conservation through hunting becomes real handy to spread around.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07182/798452-358.stm.

So when hunters claim they pay for “conservation” by buying hunting licenses, duck stamps, etc., the relatively small amount each hunter pays does not cover the cost of hunting programs or game warden salaries. The public lands many hunters use are supported by taxpayers. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service programs, which benefit hunters, get most of their funds from general tax revenues, not hunting fees. Funds benefiting “non-game” species are scarce. Hunters kill more animals than recorded tallies indicate. It is estimated that, for every animal a hunter kills and recovers, at least two wounded but unrecovered animals die slowly and painfully of blood loss, infection, or starvation. Those who don’t die often suffer from disabling injuries,” according to In Defense of Animals or IDA. Also, culling animals that mate for life like wolves is cruel. It fractures packs/families, and by doing so seeks to destroy more wolves than the one that is killed, like the abadoned wolf pup pictured below. It’s hardly scientific to indiscriminantly kill wolves.

If taxpayers pay for much of the ground being hunted, big, big donations by the wealthy minority of trophy hunters is more or less buying the right to hunt anything and everything without basis.

http://www.idausa.org/facts/hunting.html

Michigan’s UP has the greatest concentration of wolves. According to Defenders of Wildlife, “livestock owners in the western Great Lakes region are searching for ways to share the landscape with this top-level carnivore. Although livestock losses to wolves are rare (less than 1 percent of livestock losses are caused by wolves), even one loss to a farmer can be a financial burden.”

Sharing the landscape can be accomplished. Michigan farms experiencing conflicts with wolves have had great results using Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs—no predation at all. The use of fladry works, bright red/orange flags on a thin rope. The movement scares wolves. There are proven methods to live together peacefully with nature, especially when predation is so low.

http://www.defenders.org/newsroom/defenders_magazine/fall_2009/
royale_challenge.php
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And if a loss to livestock does occur how much of a financial burden is it?

More livestock subsidies by the Federal Government April 6, 2010 — Ken Cole.

5-year “demonstration project” to compensate ranchers and fund proactive, non-lethal activities.

The USFWS has announced how it will disperse $1 million annually to the states with wolves for 5 years. This funding was approved in the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 which created several wilderness areas such as the Owyhee Wilderness in southern Idaho.

The law specifies that equal amounts of the funding must be used “(1) to assist livestock producers in undertaking proactive, non-lethal activities to reduce the risk of livestock loss due to predation by wolves; and (2) to compensate livestock producers for livestock losses due to such predation.”

One comment from a blogger: “No doubt there will be pressure to change how the money is spent so that more of it will go towards compensation of ranchers rather than proactive, non-lethal activities.”

Has MI DNR or USFWS bothered to advance any of the techniques above like providing and/or instructing farmers about the use of Great Pyrenees dogs, or fladry among the farmers in the Upper Peninsula where wolf concentration is higher? Or does the DNR just want to shoot them—for the money?

http://wolves.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/more-livestock-subsidies-by-the-federal-government/.

It’s odd to me that the USFWS just received a million dollars annually for 5 years to assist livestock producers in undertaking proactive, non-lethal activities to reduce predation by wolves that’s estimated to be only around 1% in this area, and then turns around an opens the subject of wolf hunts in Michigan for comment before wolves are ever off the Endangered List.

This new federal money is even more taxpayer dollars to avert hunting wolves. But then again maybe it isn’t enough compared to what USSA or some other huge sport hunting entity is offering?

I’m a little disgusted with our federal and state agencies who are not working on behalf of wildlife at all at this point under Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar. The Obama Administration pledged it would make decisions based on science. Wolves are being unscientifically singled out again because they are easy to demonize yet the wolf is part of Native American heritage no different than the eagle. In some native cultures, the wolf is part of their creation story, and/or regarded as a teacher of mankind. Imagine the fuss if we opened trophy hunting on eagles like we’re quick to do to wolves. Eagles are plentiful, and growing even larger. Look at the damage eagles cause:

Golden eagles are more likely to prey on livestock than are bald eagles. Both species readily feed on livestock carrion and carcasses left by foxes and coyotes, although some individuals prefer live prey to carrion. Eagles are efficient predators and can cause severe losses of young livestock, particularly where concentrations of eagles exist. Generally, they prey on young animals, primarily lambs and kids, although they are capable of killing adults. Eagles also take young deer and pronghorns, as well as some adults.

http://icwdm.org/handbook/birds/Eagles.asp.
.
Why aren’t we hunting eagles? Do we really know what kills livestock, cats, or dogs, if it’s even happening, or is it more profitable just to blame wolves? The USDA bothered to radio collar wolves to be sure who the culprit was when livestock were found dead.

Our tax money pays for the public lands, funding USFWS programs, and the current 5-year “demonstration project” to fund proactive, non-lethal activities and most taxpayers do not condone sport/trophy hunting . . Yet more credence seems to be given to the big hunting industry than the average American footing the bill, or the subject of hunting wolves in Michigan wouldn’t even be open for comment. This needs to stop. Michigan does not need to go the way of Idaho, or Wyoming where wolves have been ruthlessly slaughtered for sport and trophy with major events scheduled and promoted by the likes of Cabela’s.

http://www.thehungersite.com/clickToGive/campaign.faces?siteId=3&campaign=DOWWolfHuntingDerbies.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/02/gray-wolves-of-yellowstone-getting-a-bad-deal-hunting-looks-to-be-for-sport/.

If people were more informed, wolves wouldn’t be under the gun. There is no solid reason for hunting them here or elsewhere. There is no evidence that the USFWS directed Michigan’s DNR to instruct farmers or those supposedly threatened by gray wolves with non-lethal deterrents or programs like it like it either. Our money pays for the USFWS to do that. Quite frankly there has been very little reported about wolf problems in Michigan until now when delisting wolves looks likely. Right off the Endangered List wolves are being targeted again in yet another state because they are easy to demonize.

Whenever and wherever men have engaged in the mindless slaughter of animals (including other men), they have often attempted to justify their acts by attributing the most vicious or revolting qualities to those they would destroy; and the less reason there is for the slaughter, the greater the campaign for vilification. ”
— Farley Mowat

READ THE USDA STUDY OF RADIO-COLLARED WOLVES:
ANDREAS S. CHAVEZ,1 Department of Forest, Range, and Wildlife Sciences, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
ERIC M. GESE,2 United States Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center,
Department of Forest, Range, and Wildlife Sciences, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA

Abstract

Wolves (Canis lupus) have expanded their distribution into areas of the midwest United States that have not had wolves for several decades. With recolonization of wolves into agricultural areas, there is increasing concern of wolf–livestock conflicts. To assess the risk wolves may pose to livestock, we initiated a 3-year study investigating the activity patterns, movements, habitat use, visitation to livestock pastures by wolves, and the occurrence of depredation events in an agricultural–wildland matrix in northwestern Minnesota, USA. From June 1997 to November 1999, we captured 23 wolves, including pups, from 3 packs; we radio collared 16 of these wolves. We tracked radioed wolves intensively on a 24-hour basis during the spring, summer, and autumn of 1998 and 1999. We found wolves passed directly through a pasture containing cattle on 28% of the nights of tracking; 58% and 95% of the wolf locations were _1 km and _5 km from a pasture, respectively. Space use of wolves showed that while they visited livestock pastures during the 24-hour tracking sessions, they apparently were passing through these pastures with cattle and not preying on livestock. When compared to random simulations of movements, wolves appeared to encounter livestock pastures randomly. Thirty percent of random movements passed directly through a pasture; 65% and 95% of random movements were within _1 km and _5 km of a pasture, respectively. Wolves were more active at night than during the day. Wolves avoided pastures during the day and visited pastures at night when depredations were most likely (i.e., human presence was low). Visitation of livestock pastures was not related to any discernible characteristics of the pastures (i.e., pasture size, cattle density, distance to human habitation, percent forest cover, index of deer abundance). However, pastures in which livestock were killed by wolves contained more cattle than pastures without depredations, but in 1998 only. While the risk of wolf predation on livestock was potentially high (wolves were within _1 km of a pasture on 58% of nights), few livestock were actually killed. During the 3-year study, only 8 animals (all young or vulnerable livestock) were depredated by wolves. Maintaining healthy wild prey populations, removing offending wolves that kill livestock, and encouraging effective and proper husbandry practices (e.g., disposal of carcasses) among livestock producers, should allow for the persistence of wolves in northwestern Minnesota, USA, while minimizing their impact to farmers in this agriculture–wildland matrix. (JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT 70(4):1079–1086; 2006).

http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/15500/1/IND43998265.pdf.

This is a picture of unlikely animals friends. The wolf pup was abadoned and this male Rottweiler adopted it, cleaning and guarding the wolf pup. They live at Kisma Preserve in Maine. The two were inseparable playing together and howling at the moon in duet. The founder of the preserve, Heather Grierson, says the pup has been spending time with other wolves now to learn the ropes. Other photos like this appeared in the May 10th Woman’s World. They are adorable pictures, especially a chimp cradling a baby tiger cub, one of a set of twins adopted by the chimp.

Send comments against open trophy hunting to permitsR3ES@fws.gov

By regular mail to:
Regional Director
Attn: Peter Fasbender
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services
1 Federal Drive
Fort Snelling, MN 55111-4056

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Gray Wolves of Yellowstone Getting a Bad Deal; Hunting Looks to be For Sport

The gray wolves of Yellowstone Park are being slaughtered for not other reason than sport hunting anymore. Montana originally claimed it was targeting wolves that preyed on livestock. I wrote a blog about a 3 year Dept. of Agriculture study of collared wolves that lived around the perimeter of cattle fields. Those wolves crossed those fields nightly. In 3 years time 8 cattle were found dead. Around 2.5 cows per year for multiple wolf packs is a pretty cheesy argument to be making to annihilate the wolves. As a matter of fact some radio collared wolves being studied by biologists were gunned down recently too.

Montana’s proclamation about purposefully targeting wolves was bull. Montana permitted wolf hunting in backcountry wilderness areas 6 weeks before opening its front ranges for cattle according to the NRDC. So a bunch of wolves that were minding their business staying far away from any cattle were gunned down anyway. And those wolves happened to be Yellowstone’s beloved Cottonwood Creek pack.

The NRDC got national media coverage for what they termed that “debacle.” Of course the gaming officials in those states were “shocked” that too many of the wrong wolves were killed. Wrong wolves? Like the NRDC said, “Wolf hunts should not be taking place at all right now.” Yet it looks like almost 40% of the entire population will be killed. Montana isn’t the only culprit.

I’ve posted the deer and elk populations per Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming via their respective government websites. There is no threat of a shortage. One state was over quota for either elk or deer. I blogged about the fact that Michigan has 4,000 of the critters with little problem. Livestock and wild game populations relative to too many wolves just doesn’t muster argument when we look at the facts. The wolves are being hunted for sport. The states hunting the wolves should just admit it.

If Wyoming doesn’t admit it, it’s going to look pretty bad using the lame excuse about wolves threatening game and cattle because BP and EnCana Oil and Gas in Wyoming displaced thousands of game out of their home/habitat, and cattle grazing ground with one of their largest oil and gas projects of 30,000 acres once known as “The Upper Green River Basin.” Not green anymore.

It wasn’t until after the companies were approached by local gov’t. and environmental groups about displacing wildlife, and ruining habitat, that the oil/gas companies wanted to set up a conservation area 20 MILES AWAY at Cottonwood Ranch. It’s working out well for some of the animals that were already migrating to that area but the jury is still out if what is being replaced in any way can make up for robbing that basin that was home to:

[A] major pronghorn migration corridor, sage grouse, pygmy rabbits, and burrowing owls, and is used by local ranchers for grazing cattle. According to the Wyoming Outdoor Council, it is also the largest publicly-owned winter range for big game. Hundreds of thousands of moose, elk, and mule deer retreat to the valley during the snowy months.

See what I mean about unfair? Wolves are supposedly being hunted in Yellowstone because their numbers are 2.5 times less than the number of gray wolves in Michigan, and because wolves are supposedly indiscriminate killers of cattle and the game that sportsmen like to hunt. Yet we see here that it’s all right for oil and gas companies to abscond acres of “publicly-owned” habitat stressing populations of the very same game animals especially during brutal winter months. We expect them to just go elsewhere? The cattle that used to graze there are you know what out of luck too.

So there you have it, a double standard. The wolf loses now, and we eventually lose as a nation because Ghandi once said: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” He’s not the only one that got it:

“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”
–Abraham Lincoln

“I care not much for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.”
–Abraham Lincoln

“He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”
–Immanuel Kant

“Until he extends the circle of compassion to all livings things, Man will not himself find peace.”
–Albert Schweitzer

“If all the beasts were gone, man would die from loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beast, happens to the man.”
–Chief Seattle

These are only a few quotes. Look how old they are and how far we’ve gone in the opposite direction? We aerial hunt wolves and bear, have canned hunts, Internet hunting, horrible road side zoos, haze wild mustang horses and buffalo with helicopters, purposely poison wildlife in our parks, and our shelters are bulging with abandoned companions. “What happens to beast, happens to man…”

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/science/jan-june09/wyoming_03-27.html.

https://secure.nrdconline.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1711&s_src=nrdchpa.

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Another Yellowstone Icon Dies in Wolf Slaughter

I wrote about Limpy the wolf when he was shot to death in a previous planned wolf hunt in Yellowstone that lasted briefly until it was halted. Limpy was a crippled wolf that many, many visitors to Yellowstone Park looked forward to catching a glimpse of when visiting.

I’ve written many blogs on the plight of one of native America’s icons, the gray wolf.
And now I’m writing about a really special wolf that was sniped down by rifle in the latest wolf slaughter in Yellowstone. Anyone who has ever owned more than one pet knows that pets are not all the same. We can replace them with look alikes, or the same breed, but seldom do we get that special personality back again. If you’ve ever owned a remarkably smart animal you know what I’m talking about. Somehow they transcend the animal/human experience. They connect and show emotion often so much so we view them as almost human. I truly believe there are exceptional animals in the wild that are the same.

The NRDC recently reported that Wolf 527 was among the wolves gunned down and that she originated from the Druid pack, “one of the best known wolf packs in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, the scene of numerous National Geographic and PBS documentaries.” Biologists and wolf watchers monitored the movements of the Druid pack for years and one of them KNEW 527. When I write that he KNEW the animal, it’s in the same sense I speak of the animals we’ve known that were exceptional and irreplaceable.

527 was a wolf that marched to the beat of a very different drummer. As a yearling, 527 left the Druids to join the Slough pack — where she quickly became the beta (second-in-command) female. Then in 2007, she and a male wolf set off to found their own pack — the Cottonwood Creek pack — where she became the alpha (first-in-command) female.

As a leader of the Cottonwood pack, 527 was known to be a master of survival strategies. While four other packs that inhabited the same area suffered dismal fates, her pack thrived. As her biographer recounts, “She was a genius wolf in her tactics. Strategy was her game and she was a master at it. She would return to feed her pups in the dark of night because she would not take the risk of crossing the road.”

But in the end, despite 527′s “unbelievable survival strategies,” this resilient wolf “was not able to outthink a rifle” and was killed on October 3 when Montana unleashed its first public wolf hunt in modern times.

Since the public hunts began, 156 wolves in the Northern Rockies have met 527′s fate. And over the next year, more than 500 wolves could be shot to death by hunters and government agents … reducing the region’s wolf population by a staggering 40 percent!

Wolf 527′s death has stirred a lot of dissent. If you go to NRDC’s website via the link at the bottom, the picture there of 527 is of a beautiful black wolf that could be any of those in the above video. Since this obituary went out to NRDC members thousands have written to Sec’y of the Interior Salazar to stop the Yellowstone wolf hunt. If you ever owned a special animal think of 527 and write to Salazar to stop the wolf hunts and return their protection.

When we read here that 500 gray wolves comprise almost 40% of all of the Yellowstone wolves being hunted then we know that collectively there weren’t even 1500 gray wolves in Yellowstone Park. Yellowstone Park is predominantly in Wyoming and only extends into Idaho and Montana. Yellowstone Park is 3,468 sq. miles and 2,219,789 acres. What is wrong with this picture when the western half of Michigan is nowhere near that vast an area but boasts over 4,000 gray wolves roaming freely? So far they haven’t eaten all the deer in Michigan. Deer are so prevalent they show up in the middle of towns. And Michigan has its fair share of farms with little to no altercations with wolves???

So it’s pretty evident there is no science behind the decision to hunt the gray wolves of Yellowstone. The fate of this beautiful animal has always been decided by the whim of man. We shipped them here not long ago, nurtured them, and allowed them the freedom to run and procreate. As visitors to the park we delighted in watching the wolf transplants. And Yellowstone Park rangers documented the benefit the wolves brought to the park. Many species of trees, plants, shrubs, and grasses that disappeared from overgrazing by elk and deer were thriving again. Wolves actually helped to alter the landscape of Yellowstone for the good not to mention the ability to relocate and disperse herds of elk and deer around the park so that they are better able to survive winters. Then during a presidency that had little regard for natural resources that weren’t oil, coal, or natural gas the tide turned for the wolf again and man decided to slaughter what it nurtured. We’re as dangerous as we are fickle.

The wolf hunts are a travesty for America. We hunted them to extinction before and didn’t learn our lesson. What’s happening right now belongs to the mentality of the 1800′s not the 21st century. I have to wonder where Salazar’s head is—oh that’s right it’s under a cowboy RANCHER’s hat. Salazar’s is an example of the conflict of interest we see too many times in public office as he neglects thousands of emails, phone calls, and petitions to stop the wolf hunt.

Tell Salazar to stop the wolf hunts: https://secure.nrdconline.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1643&autologin=true.

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Cutting Down a Tree

I didn’t blog last night because I was down in the dumps. I had to have a perfectly good tree taken down in my yard whose roots got under my pool. It wasn’t any ole tree but one of two that I planted years ago from a twig from the Arbor Day Foundation. The other is a pin oak that is suffering from disease and I fear I’ll have to take it down also.

It’s my fault the tree had to go. I planted it on the berm to my canal and figured the roots would head that way eventually. Well, wrong. The roots headed under the pool. The tree grew so tall that the leaves floated into the pool too easily. The tree had to go although I considered shutting the pool down for good. That’s how much I cared for the tree.

I’m not alone in my feelings for live things I’ve grown. My husband was bummed too. When you raise something from a twig that is a straight 25 ft. tall beauty, it becomes part of your home’s landscape. This particular tree is or rather was a hybrid poplar—no floating cotton. I love poplar leaves. They blow in the wind all dangly like drop earrings. I took offense when the tree service referred to it as simply “an ole cottonwood” and quickly interjected that it was a hybrid poplar that I raised from a twig.

Well, it’s gone now. Besides missing it on the bank, I wondered just how much that one tree filtered the air. I’ve seen statistics but couldn’t remember. I also wondered if evergreens did a good job filtering since needles are a much smaller surface area than leaves where all the pollution control basically takes place. We just put in a nice, live, green, “noisy neighbor” fence of 5 Canadian Cypress (love the texture of this evergreen) and about 15 arborvitae. Maybe they collectively took the poplar’s place for pollution control.

I found some interesting things about all trees and their ability to filter pollution rummaging around for the evergreen vs. deciduous answer to my question. Someone else wanted to know the same and also if air pollution goes up in cold winter areas when deciduous trees are bare? I found some answers:

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service describes how trees reduce air pollution as follows: Help to settle out, trap and hold particle pollutants (dust, ash, pollen and smoke) that can damage human lungs.

Trees remove gaseous pollutants like CO2 by absorbing them through the pores in the leaf surface. Particulates are trapped and filtered by leaves, stems and twigs, and washed to the ground by rainfall. At the same time trees replenish the atmosphere with oxygen.

They produce enough oxygen on each acre for 18 people every day.

And, absorb enough CO2 on each acre, over a year’s time, to equal the amount you produce when you drive your car 26,000 miles.

Although evergreen trees have needles rather than large “typical” leaves, they also fulfill the air pollution reduction that is described for other trees. In winter evergreen trees do photosynthesis, but to a lesser extent than in summer so they also contribute, to some degree, in reducing air pollution.

http://www.rtpi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=12908.

I also found on americanforests.org that “Professor David Nowak of the USDA Forest Service conducted research in 50 US cities and developed a methodology to assess the air pollution removal capacity of urban forests with respect to pollutants.” This research is then used to determine how much city parks with trees do to clean the air using what is called “CITYgreen software—a desktop GIS program that calculates the value of trees to urban environments.” This program can estimate the amount of pollution deposited in a given area based on pollution data from the nearest city. Then it estimates how much is being removed based on the amount and coverage trees. The trees can then be assigned a dollar value relative to cleaning up pollution.
http://www.americanforests.org/graytogreen/air/.

I read that this dollar value is what is effectively driving areas of Africa to adopt a plan to stop the pillaging of land, forests, and especially animal life. It’s a shame to have to put a price tag on something in order to preserve it, but at this point I’m in—whatever works. Personally, I think land, forests, and creatures have inherent priceless value just because they exist for us. The beauty of these living ecosystems/creatures will be sorely missed in years to come. One third of all mammals are already on the path to extinction. Mankind is taking too much and not giving enough back. Balance is necessary, something Native Americans tried to tell us about from the get go. We either slaughtered or rounded up the Native Americans.

So we may not be getting it right yet, but there is some amazing work being done that constantly improves the data we have to determine how much we are actually polluting, how much is cleaned by forests/trees, and how pollution is affecting the general climate and for how long. Hopefully an informed public will move toward what is right for the earth more quickly than a neglectful public driven by climate change that gets horrendously worse.

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Reason for Wolf Hunts in Rockies Doesn’t Hold Water to Michigan Wolf Study

Michigan has a lot of wolves—the most in the lower 48 states! Over 4,000 wolves live in the western Great Lakes region. Livestock owners in this area want to share the landscape with wolves. Their losses to wolves are rare only 1%. So who’s lying about livestock losses? Michigan or Idaho? Surely Idaho has as many deer, elk, and moose as Michigan, and livestock ranches and wolf packs share the area just the same. Heck Idaho has Yellowstone Park for the wolves to roam. So what’s wrong with this picture? Because from what I’ve read, the wolves of the Rockies are being hunted because of livestock losses and because as wolf numbers grow they supposedly pose a threat to deer and elk populations.

Michigan has a lot of deer! Cars hit them. They enter buildings. I recently watched a video where a deer waltzed through a diner, in the front door and out the back. So why aren’t 4,000 wolves wiping out our deer population?

The answer lies on Michigan’s Isle Royale, a 45-mile long island off the UP (Copper Harbor) in the western part of Lake Superior. According to an article by Heidi Ridgley of Defenders of Wildlife, “Isle Royale is the least visited National Park in the country.” But it is the lab where the longest ongoing wolf study is being conducted by biologists from Michigan Tech. The co-director of the wolf program at Michigan Tech, Rolf Peterson continues the work pioneered by Durward Allen in 1958, as an “uninterrupted study of a predator and its prey.” There is 51 years of expertise here involving the gray wolf and the moose of Isle Royale. This study produced facts that are inconsistent with the reason for hunting the Great Rockies’ wolves. Wolves prey predominantly on old and/or debilitated animals. And when the prey declines the wolf population also declines. It’s nature’s balance.

So if the Great Rockies’ wolves are as prolific as we’re lead to believe than Idaho’s deer and elk populations should be thriving—and are. That’s what I found to be true when I looked at the state stats of deer and elk populations in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. It simply is not true that the wolves threaten deer and elk populations at this point at all. So that leaves the rancher’s losses and we have to wonder about that reporting because it’s the same type of wolves, same ole cattle, just different states reporting very different loss statistics.

In the meantime, the latest wolf hunts will have detrimental affects on the gray wolf farther down the line than just this hunting season. Oh, the wolves will rebound eventually but fractured wolf pack families, and packs that are disjointed from other wolf packs do not survive well. The study on Isle Royale confirms that wolves will interbreed for survival. The biologists in this study have already found spine and hip deformities in the carcasses of dead wolves from interbreeding on Isle Royale where populations of wolves are endangered as global warming has had a horribly detrimental affect on their main prey, the moose.

The biologists have tracked the summer seasons on this island national park. There have been shorter winters almost every year since 1998 and it shows in the decline of moose populations on Isle Royale. In Minnesota where there is a lot of prairie and scattered trees that does not offer enough shade, “moose numbers have dropped from several thousand to 100 in recent years.” Moose need frigid climates. Frigid climates kill fleas and ticks, another horrible parasitic problem plaguing Isle Royale’s moose that I blogged about.

All I know is that the wolf hunts are political in origin. It’s got little to do with the poor wolf. Big hunting lobbyists were anxious for the wolf hunts and the NRA is never far behind them. They won for now. However, as stated in the Los Angeles Times and quoted in an article in discovermagazine.com ‘Judge Donald Molloy also wrote that the Fish and Wildlife Service, in continuing to list Wyoming wolves under the Endangered Species Act while delisting them in the two neighboring states, “has distinguished a natural population of wolves based on a political line, not the best available science.’

What I’m concerned with is man’s interference with natural balance. Suppose the wolves do interbreed more and more. Can there, will there eventually be wolves mentally impaired and unpredictable as interbred dogs? It gives a whole new meaning to the “Big Bad Wolf.”

Read the whole story about what’s happening up north in Isle Royale:
http://www.defenders.org/newsroom/defenders_magazine/fall_2009/royale_challenge.php.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2009/09/10/wolf-hunt-in-the-rockies-can-continue-judge-rules/comment-page-1/#comment-62547.

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Forty Million Acres of National Forest Get a Reprieve While Our Biggest Rainforest Gets the Ax and We’re Paying for It.

Thanks to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals 40 million acres of national forest get a reprieve from the ax. According to an Earthjustice e-mail, the court stated: “The watered-down roadless policy put forth by the Bush administration was illegal and reinstated the original 2001 Roadless Rule throughout the country except for Alaska’s Tongass National Forest and Idaho.” Why not the Tongass? Well that’s an interesting story.

In 2002 Alaska Growth Capital in partnership with Alaska’s Forestry Service set up a program to help rural communities in Alaska. Federal funding was leveraged to help produce a variety of forest–based goods and services to meet domestic and international needs. This program also granted loans for business start-ups. Steve Seley secured an $800,000 loan and put up $800,000 of his own money for his company’s (Pacific Log and Lumber) sawmill on Gravina Island in the Tongass. http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:8LQDo7Unq4MJ:www.fs.fed.us/r10/spf/publications/spf_2002AccompReport
_finalbyUntalaso_090503.pdf+who+is+Steve+Seley+related+to+in+government%3F&cd=6&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
.
An odd place to plan on making money since the Tongass was protected by the roadless rule in 2002.

In 2003, Bush decided to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the 2001 Roadless Rule in the late afternoon, the day before Christmas. http://www.nativeforest.org/action_alerts/archive/wildlands_1_13_04.htm .
That’s a little curious. He also announced that he planned to allow the governors of the lower 48 states to have the last say so as to what is protected by the Roadless Rule. In short, he effectively repealed the Roadless Rule by relinguishing Federal Power over NATIONAL parks. What does a state have any business deciding what happens in a NATIONAL PARK? National parks go over state lines, and are therefore shared by other states. That would be like Michigan deciding everything to do with the Great Lakes just because we have the most shoreline.

By 2006, Steve Seley’s business, all of 23 people, was in trouble. A timber sale that was supposed to happen did not happen yet. http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/373461/gravina_island_mill
_owner_hardened_by_hardship/index.html
. But a little farther on in the year, the U.S. Forest Service signed an agreement with Alaska that assures Seley’s company will get the timber sales agreement in exchange for biological data of the Tongass area. Alaska and the USFS stated: “‘This is a cooperative agreement that accomplishes two things: to provide a timber supply, and to collectively share state data on all biological information gathered and collected with the Forest Service to help rewrite the Tongass Land Management Plan,’ said Michael Menge, commissioner of the state Department of Natural Resources. Oh I’m sure they would love to rewrite the plan and open up a heck of a lot more of Tongass National Park to useless logging. One of the Forest Service’s sticking points in offering sales, according to industry and state officials, is the rewrite of the plan.” http://www.alaskajournal.com/stories/020506/hom_20060205005.shtml.
In the same Alaska Journal article it was noted: “Gov. Frank Murkowski’s chief of staff, Jim Clark, who was the former chief lobbyist and attorney for the Alaska Logging Association, signed the memorandums for the state, and that Jack Phelps, special projects manager for the state, is the former executive director of the Alaska Forest Association.” We can see that the state of Alaska relative to this agreement was pretty much represented by the logging industry. So we can basically say that the logging industry cut a deal with the U.S. Forestry Service to give timber sales to the logging industry while they collect biological data of the habitat in and around the Tongass. Isn’t that a little backward?

Usually data like this is collected in order to understand what and how many species and/or ecosystems will be impacted by the logging business. To log first and study the impact during or afterward is ridiculous. And do you think it’s ethical to allow members of the logging business to be the ones to collect data in the first place that might possibly influence decisions made by the USFS in the future relative to the Tongass? The data might be a little skewed in the lumber industry’s favor.

Well, I guess we’ll see because our Secy. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack agreed to a new plan using taxpayer dollars to allow logging in the Tongass basically so that Steve Seley and others like him can stay afloat. So our taxpayer dollars are financing logging that is not really needed so that small businesses in rural areas of Alaska can stay working? http://www.examiner.com/x-13344-Wildlife-Conservation-Examiner~y2009m7d27-Obama-administration-clearcutting-Tongass-National-Forest-with-taxpayer-money. A sweet deal for Steve, but why was it we didn’t bail out the auto industry? Citizens of Alaska have the 5th highest median income of all the states.

Surely keeping the Tongass in an unprotected state for 6 years to ultimately allow unnecessary logging to take place in our largest U.S. temperate rainforest is not about Steve Seley. He’s the door that just opened. The data collected about environmental impacts will more than likely be watered down in the logging industry’s favor and slowly we will destroy a rainforest for no good reason than to give someone a job. For all that I read and there is much in the articles just cited here, the Tongass area lumber cannot compete with others between the quality of wood, and the shipping distance. As taxpayers we should not be happy about this.

As the Chicago Examiner asked: Why should we care about protecting Tongass National Forest from logging?

For one, this ancient, vital forest ecosystem belongs to all Americans. It’s our own 17 million acre lush, cool shaded rainforest. It is supposed to exist for all Americans for all time, not as a quick cash-cow for a few greedy businesses. There are endangered wildlife
like the Alexander Archipelago Islands Wolf, which exists nowhere else on earth, and black-tailed deer, grizzly bears, wolverines, black bears, timber wolves and bald eagles.

But oh, that’s right, Alaska aerial kills wolves and bears like they are rodents. We’re not going to get a lot of empathy for these critters out of the logging industry.

Finally this is a shady, cool, forest canopy. If it’s destroyed the area will dry out. There is a likelihood that the dried mosses, and needles could ignite no differently than down here.

Americans, the environment, the wildlife and their habitat are being swindled on this one. There is more natural resource wealth in the Tongass National Forest than will be made on lumber sales. Call your congress people before the door opens too wide on this one. It’s a real travesty.

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