NOT FAMILY FRIENDLY: National Parks, Monuments sucked into #LGBT social agenda

Posted by in Federal Abuse, National Parks, Sexual Predators

June 28, 2016

Sure, Theodore Roosevelt was a Progressive, but did he really want National Parks and Monuments to be laboratories for sex-identity social experimentation?

by Fred Lucas

as published by Daily Signal

Visitors to national parks are free to use whichever public restroom they believe matches their gender identity, the Department of Interior says.

“As it relates to recently passed state laws relating to the transgender community, visitors to public lands and water sites are welcome to use restrooms that best align with their gender identity,” an Interior Department spokesperson told The Daily Signal in an email.

But a national policy expert says visitors to national parks should be concerned that others can enter the restroom of their choice regardless of their biological sex.

“It is troubling because national parks have traditionally been family-friendly destinations,” said Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Washington-based Family Research Council, which advocates conservative social values. “Now women and girls will have to worry about sharing a restroom with biological males.”

Public restrooms have become a national political issue in recent months after President Barack Obama’s administration took legal action against North Carolina for a state law that requires people to use public restrooms that correspond with their biological gender.

Then, the administration threatened to withhold federal money from schools if students were not allowed to use the restroom they thought matched their gender identity.

No matter which state a national park is in, federal law and regulations govern activity there.

The Interior Department is charged with stewarding the nation’s public lands, waters, parks, and wildlife. The government maintains 58 national parks across the United States, visited by 307.2 million people in 2015.

In an email responding to The Daily Signal’s question about transgender bathroom policy, the department spokesperson also said:

We welcome all visitors regardless of their race, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity to visit public lands and waters in their back yard and beyond. … We remain committed to appropriately representing our nation’s diversity on our public lands, and continue to work alongside local communities and leaders to find meaningful ways to preserve and tell the stories that reflect the narrative of all Americans.

National Park Service spokesman Jeremy K. Barnum said this is not a new policy.

“People have always been able to choose the public restroom within the national park system that aligns with their gender identity,” Barnum told The Daily Signal in an email. “The National Park Service has never had a rule that determined nor designated what restroom someone should use according to their gender identity.”

Another department spokesperson also said restroom use by gender identity is not a new policy for national parks, but a continuation of existing nondiscrimination policy.

The Daily Signal sought comment from other federal agencies to determine whether a uniform bathroom policy exists for all federal buildings and federally maintained public restrooms, and whether the administration would hold these federal buildings to the same standard it applies to local schools.

The General Services Administration, responsible for overseeing federal property and procurement; the Justice Department, which enforces civil rights laws; and the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the federal workforce, did not respond to multiple phone and email inquiries from The Daily Signal.

Simply extending the Obama administration’s school bathroom policies to national parks is problematic, the Family Research Council’s Sprigg said.

“This is another illustration of how extreme the Obama administration is in pushing this radical agenda in the last few months in office,” he told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

In the North Carolina case and its transgender policy mandate for schools, Sprigg noted, the administration relied on provisions of U.S. law known as Title VII and Title IX.

Title VII prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex, race, national origin, or religion. Title IX specifically prohibits education institutions from getting federal funding if they discriminate on the basis of sex.

The administration counts gender identity under sexual discrimination, reasoning that many scholars and lawyers reject.

“I’m not sure how either apply to national parks,” Sprigg said. “It would be tragic if we have a sexual assault in a national park public restroom before the administration takes this seriously.”

On Friday, Obama declared federal land at Christopher Park, across the street from where the Stonewall Inn riot in New York took place in 1969, as the Stonewall National Monument in honor of an event that sparked the gay rights movement. Obama said in part, referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans:

The Stonewall uprising is considered by many to be the catalyst that launched the modern LGBT civil rights movement. From this place and time, building on the work of many before, the nation started the march—not yet finished—toward securing equality and respect for LGBT people.

National Parks Service staff hanging the temp. banner on the first LGBT National Monument I the US!

Reposted by  6/28/16

What’s really behind the Malheur federal land grab?

Posted by in Land Grabs, Radical Environmentalism, Range Wars

June 27, 2016

Op-ed by Argus Observer

What’s really driving Merkley/Wyden’s 2 million acre Malheur bill?

Wait … what?

That was our reaction upon learning Oregon’s two U.S. senators want to withdraw more than 2 million acres in Malheur County from mineral exploration. Democrats Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden say the proposal would protect public lands from threats “including the possibility of foreign companies who want to parachute into the state to explore for minerals such as uranium.”

Wait … what?

First, we’re not sure anyone is out to mine Malheur County’s uranium. On Friday, uranium’s market value was $26.4 per pound, not worth the work it would take to get it out of the ground.

Second, no new leases have been taken out on Bureau of Land Management land for about a decade. Merkley and Wyden are particularly concerned about those public lands. The threat from foreign companies “is deeply troubling because these mining operations are dangerous — to the existing local economies as well as to the overall environment,” Wyden said in a prepared statement.

Third, there’s a temporary moratorium on all new mineral leases for two to 20 years already in much of the land Merkley and Wyden’s bill would cover. That plan, courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, seeks to protect high-risk greater sage grouse habitat. While the bill’s effects would be more widespread — and permanent — we can’t help but question the rush to introduce this new bill.

It’s no coincidence that it comes when environmental groups are pushing to create a national monument in Malheur County. Merkley and Wyden’s bill doesn’t cover exactly the same area — it calls for protection in 2.065 million acres, not the 2.5 million the monument would include — but the areas involved are similar enough to raise eyebrows, especially since this mineral lease proposal seemed to come from out of nowhere.

“It is not based on community input, nor have there been the type of meetings that need to occur if a comprehensive plan is to be developed,” state Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, told the Argus.

That’s especially disheartening considering Merkley was in Ontario for a town hall meeting three weeks before he and Wyden announced their bill. We’d call that a missed opportunity to solicit community input.

That lack of input didn’t stop the senators from using Malheur County to sell their bill on the Senate floor. Wyden described the “hundreds of millions of acres of public lands that have hosted cattle ranching and visitors and locals for generations. These lands are supported by Oregonians who grew up there and who rely on them as a longtime linchpin for their local economies.”

That’s a true statement. But the prevailing sentiment of the people who rely on that economic linchpin is that the proper way to protect our local economy is to stop placing restrictions on the public lands that support it. Without actually talking to the people who live here, we have to ask, who are these senators representing? And what is actually driving this bill?

Reposted by  6/27/16


BLM’s Massive Power Grab 2.0

Posted by in Bureau of Land Management, Federal Land Grabs, Regulations

June 25, 2016

Press Release

as published by Sweetwater Now

Rock Springs Native Testifies on BLM’s Planning 2.0 Initiative

“This change would result in plans that don’t reflect on-the-ground realities and ultimately will disenfranchise knowledgeable local agency employees.”

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) welcomed Executive Vice President of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) Jim Magagna before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Senator Barrasso invited Magagna to testify on how the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Planning 2.0 initiative will impact ranchers in Wyoming and across the country. Magagna testified alongside BLM Director Neil Kornze and three others.

Barrasso praised Magagna’s extensive background in agriculture and public land management.

“A native of Rock Springs, Wyoming, Jim has served as the executive director of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association since 1998,” said Barrasso. “He is veteran witness before congressional committees. He provides an invaluable perspective on all things related to agriculture and public land management. So I’m happy, Jim, that you could join us today to share your thoughts with us and with the rest of the panel.”

Barrasso talked about how the BLM’s proposed rule will take authority away from local land managers who have the most knowledge and experience managing the resources in their own districts.

“As written, Planning 2.0 will effectively ignore expert knowledge in both local agency offices – and among local land users – and I believe compromise the ability of state and local governments to represent the people and resources in their own districts. In an effort to make its goal of a transition to what’s called ‘landscape-scale’ planning, BLM proposes to shift authority from local and district offices to Washington, D.C.,” said Barrasso.


“Now I appreciate that the BLM wants to make management plans more cohesive among local offices, but developing sweeping, landscape-scale plans from the director’s office in Washington, D.C., I believe, will result in the failure to use invaluable, localized knowledge of ecosystems and resources,” Barrasso continued. “This change would result in plans that don’t reflect on-the-ground realities and ultimately will disenfranchise knowledgeable local agency employees.”

Magagna echoed Barrasso’s comments about how the BLM’s Planning 2.0 initiative will result in less input from local land managers.

“A central component of Planning 2.0 introduces the concept of landscape level planning. We find several dangers inherent in this approach. Attempts to implement broad management plans will necessarily often result in less attention to the resource management needs of a particular land area,” said Magagna. “Landscape level planning moves the input and decision-making processes further from those agency personnel with a working knowledge of the resource, the resource challenges and the resource dependent community.”

Magagna also discussed how the BLM’s proposed rule will actually decrease the amount of time the public has to comment on proposed rules.

“A second component of Planning 2.0 addresses so-called improved opportunities for public input. While Planning 2.0 may engage a greater breadth of the public to provide input, it actually significantly lessens the ability of those most directly involved in multiple use of the resource and therefore most significantly impacted to have meaningful substantive impact,” said Magagna.


“One example of this is in the reduction in the minimum formal comment periods from 90 days to 60 days in terms of a draft proposed plan. Even today with 90 days, there are typically requests for extended periods of time – those are often granted. If we reduce this to 60 days, those requests will increase,” said Magagna.

You can listen to Magagna’s entire committee statement here, and Senator Barrasso’s opening statement here.

Reposted by  6/25/16

Obama policies trap Native Americans in Third World conditions

Posted by in Federal Abuse, Native Americans, Obama

June 25, 2016

Freeing Indians From Obama’s Grip


Freeing Indians From Obama’s Grip
Chairman Rob Bishop

“Poor access to health care, drug and alcohol abuse, teen suicide, and a lack of job opportunities plague Indian reservations across the country. With unemployment rates in a number of large Indian communities well over 50%, many tribes live in conditions that resemble Third World countries. The causes of these conditions are complex but generally stem from federal paternalism. And yet, despite centuries of evidence to the contrary, the current administration is unshakable in its belief that government knows what’s best for Indian tribes.”


Poor access to health care, drug and alcohol abuse, teen suicide, and a lack of job opportunities plague Indian reservations across the country. With unemployment rates in a number of large Indian communities well over 50%, many tribes live in conditions that resemble Third World countries. The causes of these conditions are complex but generally stem from federal paternalism. And yet, despite centuries of evidence to the contrary, the current administration is unshakable in its belief that government knows what’s best for Indian tribes.

Take a basic issue for tribes: economic development. Although the Obama administration pays lip service to tribal self-determination, its treatment of tribes belies its rhetoric. There are 56 million acres of land belonging to tribes and individual Indians, but the titles to these lands are held “in trust” by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). This policy was intended to protect Indians from trespass and encroachment by states and non-Indian settlers. Yet recently it has become a way to control what a tribe can do with its own lands.

For example, the Government Accountability Office released a little-publicized report in June, which found that the BIA has hindered energy development on Indian lands. Oil, natural gas and coal—the energy sources that have the greatest economic potential—were especially targeted. According to the report, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe estimated that, due to an eight-year permitting process, it lost “more than $95 million in revenues it could have earned from tribal permitting fees, oil and gas severance taxes, and royalties.”

On Oct. 8, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Native American Energy Act, which seeks to “facilitate the development of energy on Indian lands by reducing Federal regulations that impede tribal development of Indian lands.” The bill is supported by a broad cross-section of Indian Country. The Obama administration opposes it.

As long as the federal government owns the title to Indian lands, special interests close to the administration—such as radical environmental organizations—may influence what is permitted on their lands. As a result, tribes, many of them poverty-stricken, have missed the jobs, revenue and economic opportunities of energy production. America’s energy boom has slowed amid a global drop in oil prices, but the cyclical nature of the industry makes it imperative that Indian tribes are able to profit from the next energy upturn.

This administration has also unilaterally made drastic amendments to the tribal recognition process, a move that gets at the foundation of all tribal policy with profound consequences on existing tribes, the federal budget, and state civil, criminal and tax jurisdiction. These changes, finalized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in June, were opposed by many federally recognized tribes. Yes, the application process must be modernized, but Congress should do so, not bureaucrats behind closed doors.

This is why, on Oct. 20, I introduced the Tribal Recognition Act of 2015, which states that “an Indian group may receive Federal acknowledgment as an Indian tribe only by an Act of Congress.” Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution—commonly known as the “Indian Commerce Clause”—clearly gives Congress authority over Indian affairs.

Yet this administration has proven that it will go to great lengths to control Indian affairs. Since the House Committee on Natural Resources began oversight of tribal policy, top BIA officials have made multiple disrespectful comments about the committee, including thinly veiled accusations of racism. In a recent interview, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn even accused the committee of “statements and questioning that harkened back to the termination era.”


No longer can Congress be bullied into standing by as the Obama administration dictates tribal policy. The Native American Energy Act and the Tribal Recognition Acts should come to a vote and be signed into law, if not by this president then the next. The U.S. government’s legacy of subjugation and failure regarding Native Americans is a stain on America’s history. Tribes must be offered the same opportunities as the rest of the country to chart their own destiny.

Reposted by  6/25/16

BLM gives okay for globalist mining company to rip into sacred Shoshone sites

Posted by in Bureau of Land Management, Globalism, Native Americans

June 23, 2016

Gods and Monsters: Bulldozer Rips Into Ancient Sacred Site

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the Te-Moak Band of Western Shoshone’s request for an emergency injunction to stop the destruction of an ancient trail in the Tosawihi Quarries, a 10,000-year-old sacred site. Though a legal appeal and an over-arching lawsuit concerning the entire project are still pending, an international gold-mining consortium’s bulldozer is already at work constructing a power line along the doctoring trail, said the Band’s attorney, Rollie Wilson, of the law firm Fredericks Peebles & Morgan.

The construction equipment was fired up within days of the court’s June 8 order, according to Wilson. The one-page decision did not detail the court’s reasoning.

Destruction of the doctoring trail, which connects healing places, means irreparable harm to the culture and identity of the Western Shoshone, said Joe Holley, a member of the Band’s council and a former chairman. The Band is now asking for a rehearing by the full court, a legal process that may take several months. Unless the rehearing is granted on an emergency basis, construction is likely to continue, and the trail may well be obliterated, said Wilson.

The entire cultural landscape, including the doctoring trail and additional related places, is revered by numerous Plains tribes in addition to the Western Shoshone. The Tosawihi Quarries currently sit on federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which has declared them eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

“To get a rehearing, you have to cite a clear error of law,” said Wilson. “Once properties are deemed eligible for the Historic Register, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires that you determine whether an undertaking like the power line will have an effect on them and then figure out how to mitigate or avoid the effects. BLM, which issued the permit for the power line, along with other mining activities in the Quarries, did not take that final step. They determined the trail eligible, then let the mining company bulldoze right through it.”

The Bureau of Land Management has allowed a mining company to destroy an ancient doctoring trail in a 10,000-year-old sacred site revered by the Western Shoshone and numerous other Plains tribes. (Courtesy Te-Moak Band of Western Shoshone)

The Bureau of Land Management has allowed a mining company to destroy an ancient doctoring trail in a 10,000-year-old sacred site revered by the Western Shoshone and numerous other Plains tribes. (Courtesy Te-Moak Band of Western Shoshone)

BLM documents show that the agency appears to keep the mining consortium’s concerns top of mind. In March 2014, BLM approved the current round of gold mining after a telephone call from the company’s legal counsel to a BLM staffer to advise that the consortium needed the Record of Decision (ROD) for Tosawihi mining activities in time for a quarterly report to investors. Emails with the subject line “urgent”—which were part of the court record and shared with ICTMN by the Band’s attorney—began flashing among BLM employees, warning against delay.

“They are requesting that the ROD and approval be signed or dated no later than March 31. March 31 is the end of the first quarter,” emailed one BLM staffer.

Another BLM employee joined in, warning of tribal concerns. Despite the statutory requirement to consider them, the BLM got the ROD signed in time for the quarterly report.

The Band has engaged in a multi-generational fight to protect the Quarries, Holley said. For decades, BLM has tried to limit recognition of sacred sites in the area, Holley charged; earlier mining activities had scarred much of the landscape and depleted its waters, but the Band hoped to prevent further destruction, he said. Ted Howard, cultural resources director and member of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes, has called the Quarries “the center of our spiritual being.”

RELATED: Lost Bones, Damage and Harassment at Ancient Sacred Site

“They tell us this power line is only a temporary impact,” Holley said. “But for 20 or 30 years—an entire generation—the line’s presence means we will not be able to practice our culture, religion and spirituality in this important place. We will lose the chance to pass these practices and traditions to the next generation, and that means they will be gone forever. We will lose another piece of our culture, which we are working hard to maintain, and which the United States has a trust responsibility to protect.”

The Bureau of Land Management has allowed a mining company to destroy an ancient doctoring trail in a 10,000-year-old sacred site revered by the Western Shoshone and numerous other Plains tribes. (Courtesy Te-Moak Band of Western Shoshone)

The Bureau of Land Management has allowed a mining company to destroy an ancient doctoring trail in a 10,000-year-old sacred site revered by the Western Shoshone and numerous other Plains tribes. (Courtesy Te-Moak Band of Western Shoshone)

Matt Spangler, spokesperson for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, described the BLM as the “federal agency lead” on the project and deferred to it for questions about the effects on the trail and the BLM’s relationship with the mining company. Spangler added that questions of broad tribal trust policy were outside ACHP’s purview.

The BLM refused to comment, citing the ongoing lawsuit. At press time, the Nevada-based mining company, Carlin Resources, an arm of Toronto-based Waterton Global Mining Company, which is part of a firm headquartered in the Cayman Islands, had not responded to requests for a comment.

Reposted by  6/23/16

BLM: The poster child for federal waste, mismanagement, corruption and thuggery

Posted by in Bureau of Land Management, Federal militarism, Sagebrush Rebellion

June 23, 2016

BLM: Epic Mismanagement, Waste, And Corruption

Capt. William E. Simpson

as published by Western Journalism

The United States government and its agencies are in no position to be wasting hard-earned taxpayer dollars. As it stands, many taxpayers are severely over-taxed as a result of reckless spending by bureaucrats without any regard for the fiduciary duty that the Government and its many agencies are bound to observe. In fact, if any corporate CEO ran things the way many of these politicians and administrators are running the public’s agencies, those CEOs would likely end up in jail for criminal malfeasance. Let’s face the facts; some of the politicians and agency administrators are as bad as, and in some cases worse than, the crooks at Enron.

Recently, the news was abuzz with the findings of government waste by Senator John McCain, who has issued a report titled ‘America’s Most Wanted’. McCain cites that: “Government spending is spiraling out of control… The national debt recently exceeded $18 trillion, while our $486 billion deficit is projected to reach $1 trillion over the next decade.” He went on to say that: “Washington’s repeat fiscal offenses are leading us down a dangerous path — sending hard-earned American tax dollars to mismanaged and wasteful programs.” I am glad to see that McCain is at least doing something that could be seen as helpful; but it’s the follow-through that counts, not the political arm-twisting used to ‘get the goods’ on someone you want to leverage later on. McCain will have my respect if he manages to throw some crooked administrators or politicians in jail… until then, it’s merely pre-election window-dressing.

The Bureau of Land Management (‘BLM’) is just one example of an autocratic government agency that seems to operate as if it answers to no one and regularly wastes money and resources as it seems to concurrently violate U.S. laws and the rights of American taxpayers (talk about biting the hand that feeds). And as a result of this pervasive attitude combined with the growing number of government agencies that act as if they were fiefdoms, America is languishing under a wave of epic waste of resources and taxpayer dollars. Let’s look at just a couple glaring examples.

According to Hope Yen at the Associated Press: “Significant amounts of natural gas on federal lands are being wasted, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year and adding to harmful greenhouse gas emissions, a congressional investigation has found. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office also said the Bureau of Land Management failed to conduct production inspections for hundreds of high-priority oil and gas wells – roughly 1 out of 5 – to ensure full payment of royalties to the U.S.” The article goes on to say that: “The GAO report said it had been urging BLM, an agency of the Interior Department, to update guidelines for the burning or venting of natural gas since at least 2010, when it found 40 percent of it could be captured economically and sold. BLM has yet to do so, although agency officials now say they are in the process of putting together various orders and a proposed rule for comment later this year. Until then, government investigators called BLM’s management of oil and gas “high-risk” for waste and fraud.”

Wasting millions of tax dollars, failure to properly manage public resources–and the risk for fraud and corruption seem to be the normal course of business for the BLM:

Concurrently, with the forgoing malfeasance and waste of millions of tax dollars, we have the BLM mismanaging the federally-protected wild horses; they are spending millions more tax dollars to hold wild horses in captivity, horses that should be running free on the public range-land, according to the Federal ‘Wild Burro and Horse Protection Act’. On top of this, the BLM is not providing transparency into their operations, including and with respect to over 1,700 federally-protected wild horses that seem to have beenillegally sold for slaughter!


Then we have one of their latest transgressions, where the BLM is accused of trying to usurp and circumvent the Constitutional rights of the owners of the Sugar Pine mine in Galice, OR, a mine that has been in operation for decades prior to the formation of the BLM.

Of course, who can forget the Bundy ranch showdown, where the BLM brought in snipers and armed agents as they attempted to use the appearance of force and intimidation to get their way, a way not authorized under the U.S. Constitution; a way that is unAmerican!

And in 2013, Robert C. Jones, chief judge of the United States District Court of Nevada, issued a bench ruling that stated: “So I’m finding and concluding as a matter of law… that the government and the agents of the government in that locale, sometime in the ’70s and ’80s, entered into a conspiracy, a literal, intentional conspiracy, to deprive the Hages of not only their permit grazing rights, for whatever reason, but also to deprive them of their vested property rights under the takings clause, and I find that that’s a sufficient basis to hold that there is irreparable harm if I don’t — and it’s in the public interest, if I don’t restrain the government from continuing in that conduct.” The Judge went on to accuse the federal bureaucrats of “racketeering” under the federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations) statute, extortion, and mail fraud.

And as a part of the same proceeding, Tonopah BLM manager Tom Seley, and Forest Ranger Steve Williams were both found to be in contempt of court, and were referred to the U.S. attorney for possible prosecution for criminal obstruction of justice. Noting that Seley and Williams knew of ongoing litigation between the parties in this court and the CFC, they “took actions to interfere with the defense of the present trespass action by intimidating witnesses.”


As we see with these tough cowboys and miners, it seems that these days, the only way Americans can get justice is to take a tough stance and don’t let anyone try to separate them from their Constitutional rights. If the feds try, they should get in touch with their local Constitutional Sheriff, and their local Oath Keepers.

Reposted by  6/23/16

Radical anti-fracking group “employs” La Plata Commissioner Gwen Lachelt

Posted by in Colorado Politics, Energy Policy, Radical Environmentalism

June 22, 2016

by Simon Lomax

as published by Complete Colorado

Who does La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt really represent: Taxpayers or environmental activists?

The question has lingered ever since Lachelt – alongtime activist with the national anti-fracking group Earthworks – was elected to office in November 2012. But it recently took on new urgency after a curious political contribution was discovered in the Colorado Secretary of State’s campaign finance database.

Lachelt, a Democrat who is running for reelection this year, listed Earthworks as her employerwhile reporting a September 2015 donation to her own campaign. It was puzzling, because Lachelt supposedly quit her career in activism to become a county commissioner. Could she really have been working as an environmental activist, as well as a public official, all this time?

Intrigued, I decided to review her track record, starting with out-of-state speaking engagements. In December 2013, for example, Lachelt touredVirginia and North Carolina with a number of environmental activist groups. At a series of events, she spoke both as a county commissioner from Colorado and as the founder of the Earthworks Oil & Gas Accountability Project,according to press accounts. One of the organizers went further, calling Lachelt the “founder and director” of the Earthworks anti-drilling program alongside her elected role.

According to a local newspaper, The Caroline Progress, Lachelt’s presentation included claims of falling property values, and she also called the industry “self-policing” when it comes to environmental regulation. “What I say everywhere I go is: take a deep breath, and never, ever, ever sign the documents that the landman gives you,” Lachelt said, referring to representatives from oil and gas companies who negotiate leases with landowners.

Lachelt’s speaking tour was organized by the Southern Environmental Law Center, a group that’s received more than $800,000 in funding from the anti-fracking Park Foundation. With assets ofmore than $400 million, the Park Foundation finances “the rock stars of the anti-drilling movement,” according to E&E News, and led the campaign to ban shale gas development in New York. Not surprisingly, Earthworks is also a major recipient of anti-fracking grants from the Park Foundation.

Closer to home, Lachelt has also maintained ties to activist groups since becoming a county commissioner. In 2014 – two years after her election – she still served on the board of the San Juan Citizens Alliance, which hascalled the campaign against drilling a “bar fight,” “street fight” and “back-alley fight.” Lachelt even served as the group’s spokesperson to the The Denver Post after her connection to the group became an issue in the 2014 gubernatorial race between Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez (R).

Hickenlooper appointed Lachelt as the co-chairman of a special task force on oil and gas development in a deal that kept two anti-fracking measures off the statewide ballot in 2014. At the first meeting, Lachelt was visibly annoyed when most of the speakers during the public comment period were pro-industry, and tried to limit their participation, according to The Daily Caller. “[I]f you agree with what someone has already said, please just briefly state that so we can get through everybody tonight by six,” Lachelt said.

I remember the moment well, because I was one of those tiresome pro-industry voices, speaking on behalf of Energy In Depth, a program of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. Later, after the task force rejected a number of anti-industry proposals, Lachelt joined activists in dismissing its work. “It’s just a really big disappointment,” she told Colorado Public Radio, setting the stage for the return of anti-fracking ballot measures in 2016.

More recently, in the wake of the 2015 Gold King mine spill, Lachelt used a New York Times op-ed to promote Earthworks and lobby for a mining bill the group wants to get through Congress. She has also worked closely with environmental activists to sell the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory agenda to the public. In May, for example, aConservation Colorado press release on new EPA oil and gas regulations hailed Lachelt as an “environmental leader” and even listed her as a press contact. Lachelt also served on the host committee for Conservation Colorado’s annual awards dinner – Rebel With a Cause – held this month in Denver.

Now, in fairness, as a recovering news reporter and an advocate for limited government, I have a natural suspicion of the environmental left and their allies in government. I have also taken Lachelt to task before through my work with Energy in Depth. But even so, it’s still hard to ignore the time and effort this county commissioner has devoted to environmental activism since taking office.

So I asked Lachelt to explain what’s going on.

“I’m not an employee of Earthworks,” Lachelt replied in an e-mail. “I’ve received no compensation from Earthworks since 2012.” She suggested there must have been a mistake when the campaign contribution was entered. “I will double check my employer in the database and make any necessary corrections,” Lachelt said.

Fair enough. But when I asked if “compensation” included travel expenses, either directly covered or reimbursed, I got no reply. Likewise, when I asked about any income and travel expenses from other environmental groups – like the ones who sponsored her speaking tour in Virginia and North Carolina – Lachelt declined to comment.

lachelt house hearing

Source: Lachelt campaign website

I also asked her about her trip in late April to Washington, D.C. where she testified at a hearing of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee. Lachelt, in her official capacity as a county commissioner, spoke in favor of another set of proposed regulations from the Obama administration targeting oil and gas development. How much did the trip cost and who paid for it? Again, Lachelt declined to comment.

I have since learned, by means of a public records request, that La Plata County did not pay for Lachelt’s trip to Washington to testify in favor of those Obama administration rules. So who did? Lachelt herself or someone else?

And there’s something else, too: The online version of Lachelt’s truth-in-testimony form blacks out her contact information, but the unredacted version shows a personal e-mail address, not her official government account. Why was that necessary?

Putting aside the accuracy of Lachelt’s campaign finance reports, it’s clear she has made time to pursue her old job – environmental activism – while serving in her new job. Maybe that’s what taxpayers expected when she took office almost four years ago. Maybe it isn’t. But either way, the taxpayers deserve a full accounting of whose time and money was spent in the process.

Reposted by  6/22/16

BLM launching drone program to monitor public lands

Posted by in Bureau of Land Management, Federal militarism, Range Wars

June 22, 2016

The Bureau of Land Management has already promoted a notorious thug agent, Dan Love, to head up its new Protective, Security and Intelligence (think Spy) division, and now the federal agency is launching a drone program to monitor various activities and conditions on public lands under BLM control. Do you trust this agency, headed by Harry Reid lackey, Neil Kornze, to use surveillance drones for the limited and specific purposes they profess?

The following story is written by Gary Harmon, as published by the G.J. Daily Sentinel

MEEKER COLORADO — A drone could do in minutes the work of several federal employees to monitor pipeline reclamation efforts, identify and provide a count of endangered plants, watch over raptors, even in their nests, and go where literally no man has gone for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Drones were doing just those things, and more, recently, in northwest Colorado, as a team of drone operators and supervisors tested the craft under the deep blue Colorado sky and buffeting spring winds.

“We’re just testing the technology to see how well it works,” Kent Walter, manager of the Bureau of Land Management’s Meeker Field Office, said before heading to the Hay Gulch area to see a drone, or unmanned aerial system, do its stuff over a stretch of the Overland Pipeline.

On a dusty road through a meadow, a crew of BLM employees ran through a checklist, much as a pilot on manned aircraft might do, in preparation for a UAS flight to survey about 400 yards of pipeline.

Once clear, the drone was released to shoot up to 100 feet — the pre-set altitude for the survey — and then down to another pre-set point, where it began a series of transects back toward its starting point.

Think of a transect as one might mow a yard, said Gil Dustin, the BLM’s air tactical program manager. The drone flies a pattern just as a lawnmower would cut a strip, turn and cut a return strip parallel to the first, gradually working its way back to the crew.

In the drone’s case, the swaths are some 40 feet wide across the pipeline and the camera aboard takes high-resolution photos according to a program built into the flight plan. Those photos then are studied by experts to determine whether the earth above the pipeline is indeed being reclaimed according to BLM requirements.

It would require several hours with a crew of employees on foot to conduct the same survey, Walter said.

The same territory could be surveyed again, using GPS, to determine what kinds of change have occurred over the intervening time.

The UAS crew didn’t limit itself to a reclamation survey. It also flew a nearby canyon in search of cultural sites, capturing views of rugged country no human — in centuries — has seen, Walter said.

“We’ll see country that has never been seen before, using the drone’s camera, Walter said.

It also was used to study raptor nests in the piñon-juniper forest — “It doesn’t seem to bother raptors,” said Walter — as well as other tasks.

The drone crews file flight plans with the Federal Aviation Administration, just as they would if flying manned craft.

Reposted by  6/22/16

With Bundy men imprisoned, BLM, enviros move in for “Gold Butte” land grab

Posted by in Antiquities Act, Federal Land Grabs, Ranching

June 20, 2016

BLM succeeds in driving ranchers off land in Nevada, moves forward with plans for federal land grab

by Matt Piper

as published by Salt Lake Tribune

With southeast Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy behind bars as he and his four sons await trial, the Bureau of Land Management announced Friday that it plans to resume work in the Gold Butte region for the first time since an armed standoff near Bundy’s Bunkerville ranch in spring 2014.

The BLM said in a news release Friday that “[w]ith the support of the community, BLM officials have determined that the conditions are now right to resume work. BLM archaeologists, law enforcement officers and local agency leadership have all visited the area over the past month.”

The release says BLM Director Neil Kornze was among a group that visited the popular Whitney Pockets area — on the eastern edge of Gold Butte next to Virgin Mountain — where some of Gold Butte’s distinctive red sandstone formations had been vandalized and a felled Joshua tree had caught the attention of Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, who shared a photo on the Senate floor. The group saw evidence of overgrazing and trampling by cattle, the release said.

Reid has called for President Barack Obama to use his executive powers to designate the Gold Butte area a national monument.

Bundy’s 1,000-odd cattle have been trespassing throughout hundreds of thousands of acres since he refused to abide by federal administration in 1993. When the BLM gathered about 400 of his cattle at an impound site in April 2014, Bundy and hundreds of protesters — some of them armed — demanded that the cattle be returned. The BLM stood down.

Bundy was arrested for his role in that standoff in Portland, Ore., this February, when he flew to visit sons Ammon and Ryan, who are indicted for their participation in a 41-day standoff at a federal wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon.

All told, three dozen people have been indicted by the federal government in relation to the standoffs.

In Cliven Bundy’s absence, Bundy Ranch has been managed by his wife, Carol, with the assistance of his 18-year-old son, Arden.

The BLM news release said that among its plans for the Gold Butte region are to assess damage to cultural heritage sites, partner with the National Park Service to make repairs to communications infrastructure, coordinate with Clark County for road maintenance and establish a system to help area visitors better map their location and destinations.

Future projects will target the spread of noxious weeds and the threat of wildfire, the release said.

The release makes no mention of a repeat attempt to gather Bundy’s trespassing cattle. Previously, Utah companies have won bids for both the gather and sale, but the BLM’s southern Nevada office reiterated last month that it had no active plans or requests for proposals at that time. As of Friday afternoon, the office had yet to return another request for comment.

Greta Anderson — deputy director of the Western Watersheds Project, one of nine conservationist groups that in May sent a letter to Kornze urging the removal of Bundy’s cattle — said that while Friday’s release is good news, the BLM remains “20 years late” in removing cattle that endanger the habitat of the desert tortoise.

Members of the Bundy family were not immediately available for comment Friday, and a BLM spokesman said Kornze would not be available for further comment.

See the full story HERE

Reposted by  6/20/16

VIDEO: The appalling economic, environmental and social costs of federal control

Posted by in Constitution, Economy, Federal Land Grabs

June 18, 2016

Don’t let the cheery opening graphic fool you. This video chronicles the crushing cost to counties in the West of federal control over lands and resources. Ideologically-driven, unscientific policies formulated by left-wing special interests have devastated counties and communities throughout the West, with the most heartbreaking instances coming from formerly great timber towns in Washington and Oregon.

This video examines the progressively weakening and increasingly threatened circumstances of U.S. counties that host national forests. It was produced by the Not Without a Fight! Coalition, an informal group comprised of Shoshone County, Idaho’s county commissioners and three of the county’s four school district superintendents. This is a noncommercial documentary; it runs just under a half-hour.

Reposted by  6/18/16

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