N.M. Federal Lands News

by Frank DuBois

The Federal Land Council News

My column this month includes wolves, jaguars, green energy, 176 dead sheep, the three little pigs and BLM cookies

Coalition requests field hearing

The Coalition of Arizona/New Mexico Counties has written to the House Resources Committee and requested hearings on how the Fish and Wildlife Service is managing the Mexican wolf reintroduction program and their proposed rule for critical habitat for the jaguar.
The Coalition tells the Committee, “The wolf reintroduction program has been a study in fraud, waste and abuse. The ‘Mexican wolf’ recovery program is a miserable failure because the animals being bred and turned out, both in the U.S. and Mexico, are not Mexican wolves but are, instead, highly inbred, wolf/dog hybrids that should have never been eligible for protection under the endangered species act (ESA).”
The Coalition said ranchers have been forced to watch their livestock depredation increase multifold, mothers have had to increase their vigilance over their children at play and family pets and working dogs have been severely wounded and killed.  The Coalition wrote that the Fish and Wildlife Service has ignored complaints and even had the audacity to claim these impacts are nothing more then contrived hysteria. “These impacts have created severe social, cultural and economic impacts without proper NEPA analysis and failure to properly involve state, tribal and local governments” the Coalition said.

Not so sunny at SunZia

SunZia Transmission, LLC. plans to construct and operate two 500 kilovolt (kV) transmission lines originating at a new substation in Lincoln County in the vicinity of Corona, New Mexico, and terminating at the Pinal Central Substation in Pinal County near Coolidge, Arizona. The BLM has completed the NEPA process and issued a final EIS in June.
However, at the last minute and even though the Dept. of Defense was a cooperating agency, the DOD has come out against the preferred route through White Sands Missile Range and that has certainly stirred things up.
New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich says the project is “critical to New Mexico’s renewable energy development”, that the transmission line “will help deliver wind and solar energy generated in New Mexico to the major western energy demand centers”, and that without access to those markets “New Mexico’s renewable energy resources will remain isolated and largely untapped. “

Representative Steve Pearce, on the other hand, says “the route as proposed would impede the military’s ability to complete testing that cannot be done anywhere else in the United States. The result would cause a devastating impact on national security.” Two West Texas congressmen, freshmen Democrats Beto O’Rourke and Pete Gallego, also have publicly opposed SunZia’s preferred route and New Mexico Senator Tom Udall wants President Obama jump in and resolve the dispute.
Even the enviros can’t agree. One Colorado group says “It opens the floodgates for renewable energy development and a new route toward a clean energy future” while an Arizona group says “The BLM has advanced this project without realistically or honestly assessing its actual use, need, or feasibility in order to expedite a wishful policy.”
The decision should be made by the time you read this. Who will win: the greenies or the generals? I’m betting a compromise will be reached. Better get ready for some solar-powered missiles flying overhead.

Idaho wolves & BLM cookies

Two Idaho wolves are responsible for the deaths of 176 sheep. The wolves ventured into a 2,400-head herd owned by the Siddoway Sheep Company of St. Anthony, Idaho as they were bedding down. Running downhill in a panic, about 165 sheep from the Siddoway herd were  killed, trampled and smothered in their terror. Two wolves, which were witnessed by a herder at the scene, killed about another dozen sheep. The final tally: 119 lambs and 57 ewes dead.
Sometimes I can’t help but think Obama and the feds are the wolves and we’re the sheep. Are we heading for a similar pile up?
Idaho’s director of Wildlife Services says, “I can’t believe how many wolves we’ve got in there.” You could certainly say the same about the feds.
We need to find that little piggy with the brick house.
Recently Rudy Barbosa’s fifth grade class of 25 students from the Mescalero Apache School District met with BLM State Director Jesse Juen to express their support for protecting Otero Mesa. The children stated their case, provided posters they had made and presented Juen “with a a medicine bag with pollen, turquoise and tobacco.” Not long after the meeting, the fifth grade class received a package from Juen. Inside were 25 cookies that “Jesse Juen himself made in his kitchen.”
Hey Jesse, that was a classy move and a cool thing to do. You might consider sending some to the Dept. of Defense. Also, I don’t have a medicine bag but I do have some tobacco . . . and I really like the chocolate chip type cookies.

Till next time, be a nuisance to the devil and don’t forget to check that cinch.

Frank DuBois was the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003, is the author of a blog: The Westerner (www.thewesterner.blogspot.com) and is the founder of The DuBois Rodeo Scholarship (www.nmsu.edu/~duboisrodeo).