Sep 08 2016

When Nobody’s Happy …

by Caren Cowan, Executive Director,
New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association
Read this article & more in New Mexico Stockman Magazine

It has become common in dealing with thorny issues with federal and state agencies, for there to be the belief that no one is happy with the outcome, it is a fair outcome and a good compromise. I recently challenged that statement on the theory that if that is how a marriage works, there aren’t going to be many lasting marriages.

It is true that most issues require compromise, but there needs to be a lot more equal compromise as we move forward. I think it was Bud Eppers that said ranchers are always being invited to the table by their detractors for a “compromise.” The problem was and is that ranchers got to the table with their families, their businesses, their generational life’s work and their economic security at risk. The other side generally comes to the table “compromising” by taking some but not all… and with no promise not to come by for more tomorrow.

The federal government is getting a dose of this medicine.

CBD Threatens…

You may remember, and are often reminded of the mega species settlement the U.S. Justice Department reached with radical environmental groups, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the WildEarth Guardians (WEG), that is creating havoc with land management and wildlife. At the time of the settlement it was clear that there was no way that the list of species could be addressed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) in the timeline agreed to.

To add insult to injury, there wasn’t even a clause in the settlement that prevented the radicals from continuing to sue.

According to Corbin Hiar, E&E News, in August the CBD threatened legal action against the FWS to jump-start the stalled Endangered Species Act (ESA) status reviews of 417 imperiled species — a move that could set the stage for another major legal settlement between the conservation group and the agency.

The species listed in the notice of intent to sue were all flagged for ESA protection by CBD and other nonprofits over the past eight years. They include coastal flatwoods crayfish, eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, panhandle lilies and hundreds of other species.

After 90-day reviews, FWS found that all of the conservation groups’ ESA petitions presented “substantial scientific or commercial information” that the animals or plants should be added to the endangered or threatened species lists. But the agency then failed to complete more rigorous 12-month reviews of the imperiled species to determine whether listing is not warranted, warranted or warranted but precluded by other priorities.

The notice calls for FWS to “make the required 12-month findings for these 417 species or contact us to develop a legally binding timeline for making these findings within the next sixty days.”

The legal maneuver comes as CBD,
WildEarth Guardians and FWS are reaching the end of a pair of landmark settlements that set listing decision deadlines over six years for 251 species that the agency had determined warranted ESA protection but were not high priorities for listing. Those “sue and settle” deals, as conservative critics have described them, also limited the number of lawsuits that the radical environmental groups could file against FWS.

How Many Hate Groups Are There in the US?    

It is not enough that we have a group called Black Lives Matter (BLM — not to be confused with the federal land management who uses the same acronym) that is making it difficult find common ground with real and perceived problems in our country. I was shocked to hear on a news show this morning a gentleman who seemed to think because the United States got its start with unrest — the Boston Tea Party — that what is happening today is just natural.

Back to the subject at hand, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) there are 892 hate groups. I don’t think they are including either BLM in their count. I also don’t think groups like the CBD and the WEG are included although these groups make no bones about the cultural genocide they are attempting to perpetrate on western ranching families of all races.

It is interesting that SPLC says White Lives Matter (WLM), a white nationalist group based in Tennessee, should be considered a hate group. I certainly am not supporting the WLM any more than I do the BLM (not the land folks), but clearly what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander according to the SPLC.

What makes a hate group? Again, according to SPLC, “These groups espouse a variety of rather unique hateful doctrines and beliefs that are not easily categorized. This list includes a “Jewish” group that is rabidly anti-Arab, a “Christian” group that is anti-Catholic and a polygamous “Mormon” breakaway sect that is racist. Many of the groups are vendors that sell a miscellany of hate materials from several different sectors of the white supremacist movement.”

The SPLC monitors these groups via the HATEWATCH tab on their website that says, “Hatewatch monitors and exposes the activities of the American radical right.”

The SPLC calls itself the premier U.S. non-profit organization monitoring the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists — including the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazi movement, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, black separatists, militias, Christian adherents and others.

They are currently tracking more than 1,600 extremist groups operating across the country. They publish investigative reports, train law enforcement officers and share key intelligence, and offer expert analysis to the media and public.

You may remember that in about 1998 the SPLC circulated a Wise-Use Terrorist report for New Mexico — that was distributed to law enforcement across the state, identifying potential right-wing terrorists. Among these groups were the NMCGA, the New Mexico Wool Growers, Inc. and the Production Credit Association. Some of us are still stinging that our state would consider us as “terrorists.” The NMCGA hosted a Wise-Use Peace Conference complete with Chuck Cushman, American Lands Rights Alliance, in Albuquerque and called the then New Mexico Secretary of Public Safety to task. In reality no one in authority had even read the document before it was distributed.

We charged a fee for lunch, just so we could keep track of those in the room. I must admit that was the first time that I became aware of the challenges of putting strangers, many of them carrying boxes and big brief cases, in a room with our friends. It was a day full of tension.

According to HATEWATCH, there are now three (3) hate groups active in New Mexico, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, located statewide, Aggressive Christianity in Fence Lake, and Aggressive Christianity in Berino. The Klan has its own separate classification. The other two are listed as “general hate” groups.   

I looked at the website several weeks ago when it first came to my attention. I could swear that there were 14 New Mexico groups listed at that time. I should have copied it then. Perhaps some of the attention that has spotlighted HATEWATCH has caused them to pull some of their identified groups down… because they aren’t hate groups, just law abiding citizens exercising their right to free speech.

You are going to have to look up their website for yourself if you want to know more, but remember hits on websites are often considered as “supporters.”    

Although we cannot document a connection between the SLPC and the New Mexico Law & Poverty Center (NMPLC) and it isn’t worth the time trying, that names do make one wonder. It seems clear that the NMPLC has some strong negative feelings toward those producing food and fiber in our state.

I have come to the conclusion that before you start calling anyone names, it is best to look in the mirror first.

A Sippy Cup Probably Won’t Work

The U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) is admitting to another spill from a treatment plant it set up after the agency dumped three million gallons of toxic wastewater into a Colorado river last year, according to a Washington Times article by John Siciliano.

The EPA reported on August 26 that the spill happened on August 23, and officials are still attempting to determine how much and what metals were contained in the sludgy discharge, according to the Associated Press.           

The spill occurred near the site of last year’s spill at the abandoned Gold King Mine in Silverton, Colorado, where agency contractors didn’t adequately check the mine’s pressure before attempting to open it up after several years of being idle. The result was a massive mine blowout that sent three million gallons of metal-tainted water into the waterways of three states.

The Navajo Nation sued the agency over the spill August 23 after the EPA inspector general and the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into the incident a few days before the Aug. 5 anniversary of the 2015 spill. The Navajo argue in their lawsuit that the spill significantly harmed the tribe’s primary source of revenue from crops and other agricultural products.

Local officials said this recent release was not large enough to warrant a public advisory.

Last year’s spill sent nearly one million pounds of metals into the waterways of the Animas and San Juan rivers, which traverse three states. The metals include arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc.

This latest spill came from the treatment plant that the EPA set up near the mine to filter water coming from the mine before releasing it into the creek and river systems. A large amount of rain in Colorado caused the treatment facility to overflow and some of the untreated water to spill into the waterways.

EPA said the water that spilled from the plant was partially treated, and the metals present in it should quickly settle to the bottom of waterways where they are less harmful.

Want more youth interested in agriculture?

At the 2016 Eastern New Mexico State Fair (ENMSF) a new concept was born. There was a desire to maintain a calf scramble identity AND open up the pool of those who could participate in the event as well as how the funds won in a scramble could be used.

The ENMSF, along with the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association (NMCGA) and the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau (NMFLB) solicited sponsorships totaling $10,000. The scramble was open to entries from 40 youngsters at the beginning of their 4-H career to compete for $500 to be devoted to any livestock project of their choosing to be shown at any fair in the 2017 season. There were enough interested youth that some late entries had to be turned away.

The 40 youngsters were turned out in the rain in an arena that was about three feet deep in sticky mud with 20 dairy calves and a halter. The 20 that caught calves were awarded $500 upon the proof of purchase of livestock, including rabbits and chickens, or proof of purchase of feed for a livestock project.

While there probably is no truth to the rumor that the arena is going to be flooded if it doesn’t rain just because last year was so much fun, there will be another great scramble benefiting youngsters and their livestock projects at Eastern and the concept is expanding to the Southern New Mexico State Fair too.

The Southern event is scheduled for Saturday, October 1, 2016 during the Turquoise Circuit Rodeo Finals. Eastern will hold theirs on Friday, October 7, during the Chisum Challenge Ranch Rodeo

To help sponsor either or both of these calf scrambles, please contact the NMCGA or the NMFLB to make your donations. As a sponsor to this event you or your company will be paired up with one of the scholarship winners so you can monitor their progress. One of the participant responsibilities is to provide you (the sponsor) a timely progress report on their animal care activity until they show/sell their animal. As a sponsor, you are also invited to join the fun at the rodeos.

To enter the competition at either Fair, please contact the Fairs directly.

Hope to see you at the Fair in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and/or Roswell!      

Source: New Mexico Stockman, September 2016