The Damage Done by Trump’s Department of the Interior

by Elizabeth Kolbert as published in The New Yorker

Under Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior, it’s a sell-off from sea to shining sea.

“Killing Innocent Animals is KOOL!” ~ Dinky Zinke

On his first day as Secretary of the Interior, last March, Ryan Zinke rode through downtown Washington, D.C., on a roan named Tonto. When the Secretary is working at the department’s main office, on C Street, a staff member climbs up to the roof of the building and hoists a special flag, which comes down when Zinke goes home for the day. To provide entertainment for his employees, the Secretary had an arcade game called Big Buck Hunter installed in the cafeteria. The game comes with plastic rifles, which players aim at animated deer. The point of the installation, Zinke has said, is to highlight sportsmen’s contribution to conservation. “Get excited for #hunting season!” he tweeted, along with a photo of himself standing next to the game, which looks like a slot machine sporting antlers.

Nowadays, it is, in a manner of speaking, always hunting season at the Department of the Interior. The department, which comprises agencies ranging from the National Park Service to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, oversees some five hundred million acres of federal land, and more than one and a half billion acres offshore. Usually, there’s a tension between the department’s mandates—to protect the nation’s natural resources and to manage them for commercial use. Under Zinke, the only question, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters, is how fast these resources can be auctioned off.

One of Zinke’s first acts, after dismounting from Tonto, was to overturn a moratorium on new leases for coal mines on public land. He subsequently recommended slashing the size of several national monuments, including Bears Ears, in Utah, and Gold Butte, in Nevada, and lifting restrictions at others to allow more development. (In December, acting on these recommendations, President Donald Trump announced that he was cutting the area of the Bears Ears monument by more than three-quarters and shrinking the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument, also in Utah, by almost half.) Zinke has also proposed gutting a plan, years in the making, to save the endangered sage grouse; instead of protecting ten million acres in the West that had been set aside for the bird’s preservation, he’d like to see them given over to mining. And he’s moved to scrap Obama-era regulations that would have set more stringent standards for fracking on federal property.

All these changes have been applauded by the oil and gas industries, and many have also been praised by congressional Republicans. (Before Zinke became Interior Secretary, he was a one-term congressman from Montana.) But, to some members of the G.O.P., Zinke’s recent decision to open up great swaths of both coasts to offshore oil and gas drilling represents a rig too far.

Last week, Zinke backtracked. Following a brief meeting with the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, at the Tallahassee airport, the Secretary said that he was removing that state’s coastal waters “from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.” The move was manifestly political. In the past, Scott has supported drilling for oil just about everywhere, including in the Everglades, but, with Trump’s encouragement, he is now expected to challenge Florida’s senior senator, Bill Nelson, a Democrat, in November.

“Local voices count” is how Zinke explained the Florida decision to reporters, a remark that was greeted with jeers from elected officials in other states, who noted that some “local voices” were more equal than others. “Virginia’s governor (and governor-elect) have made this same request, but we have not received the same commitment,” Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, tweeted. “Wonder why.” Walter Shaub, the former head of the Office of Government Ethics, noted that the Florida coast happens to be home to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s winter White House cum dues-collecting club. He suggested that the Secretary “look up ‘banana republic’ ” and then “go fly a Zinke flag to celebrate making us one.”…(CONTINUED)

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/22/the-damage-done-by-trumps-department-of-the-interior/amp?__twitter_impression=true

The Private Company Selling Off America’s Public Lands

story by Mya Frazier as published on OutsideOnline.com

EnergyNet, an online auction company from Amarillo, Texas, is set to make a fortune from oil and gas leases.  And good luck finding a way to protest.

When Texas oilman Bill Britain started the auction site EnergyNet in October 1999, it wasn’t exactly a state-of-the-art operation. Its homepage used a generic design template, an add-on to the Virtual Auctioneer software Britain bought from a Dallas firm. Like hordes of other entrepreneurs at the time, Britain hoped to bring the billion-dollar auctioneering model of eBay to an industry where he had a toehold. A decade and a half after graduating from West Point, Britain had started J-Brex Co., an Amarillo-based energy company, and had oil wells scattered all over Texas. If there was one thing he knew well, it was how to buy and sell drilling leases.

Britain boasted of “changing the way the oil and gas industry did business.” He pitched his auctions as “ON LINE REAL TIME,” but the technology was hardly game-changing—bidders were notified by email when they were outbid—and his timing, at the apex of the dot-com bubble, was terrible. “It burst almost the moment we got started,” Britain recently told Forbes.

Despite such inauspicious beginnings, by 2012 EnergyNet had become one of the industry’s biggest auction sites for oil and gas leases, even if overall sales on the platform were relatively modest. But over the next couple years, Britain began inking exclusive contracts to host lease auctions of public lands, including with state land agencies and, most notably, in 2015 with the Bureau of Land Management.

The platform took off. Less than a year into the Trump administration, transactions have risen to $1.25 billion. About half the transactions through the first three quarters of 2017, or about $600 million, were leases of public lands.

EnergyNet typically earns a 2 percent commission with state agencies; federal land commissions are set at 1.5 percent. By October of 2017, EnergyNet had earned an estimated $9 million auctioning off America’s public lands, based on an Outside analysis. Once fourth-quarter transactions are finalized, earnings could potentially rise to $15 million or more. (EnergyNet, a private company, doesn’t disclose profits.)

Donald Trump campaigned on the promise to unleash America’s estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves—a vision now being executed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Once-protected national monuments, like Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, are now vulnerable to drilling. And Britain’s once-obscure auction site provides the platform through which this massive opening of federal lands for energy extraction will happen—all without the pesky problem of public protests.

So how did a private company become the biggest seller of America’s public lands?…(CONTINUED)

https://www.outsideonline.com/2269336/obscure-texas-company-selling-public-land

THE TRUTH #12 – The BLM has opened Pandora’s Box to sell wild horses & burros overseas: The BLM sold 21 wild horses to American Mustang Germany in March, 2017

Wild Horse Freedom Federation issues THE TRUTH to share Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and information with the public. Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

THE TRUTH #12 – The BLM has opened Pandora’s Box to sell wild horses & burros overseas: The BLM sold 21 wild horses to American Mustang Germany in March, 2017.

There has been a BLM policy to not sell wild horses or burros overseas, so WHAT CHANGED to allow this sale to Germany? What loopholes is the BLM using?

Wild Horse Freedom Federation has received Freedom of Information Act records of a BLM sale log that indicate that the BLM’s SE States District Office sold 21 wild horses to an organization/company called American Mustang Germany.  The website for American Mustang Germany is HERE.

And now, American Mustang Germany is selling our wild horses.  See it HERE.

We do not want our wild horses & burros to be sold overseas.  In 2011, when Lon Ball contacted the BLM to request that the BLM sell him wild horses to be used as prey on a Siberian Tiger refuge (see THE TRUTH #7), there were a series of emails between BLM employees and they were all very aware they could not protect wild horses sold overseas.

Remember, wild horses & burros are STILL wild and under the BLM’s “protection” while the BLM is making decisions to sell them where they cannot be protected.  So, while under the BLM’s “protection,” the BLM is making a decision NOT to protect the wild horses.

A few examples of what was stated in the 2011 emails between BLM employees are:

“The idea is if we sell horses to over seas recipients knowing we have no authority as to how they are treated or dealt with it is the same as selling without limitation and we are not allowed to do that under the omnibus.

I think we all know they are no longer wild horses once they are purchased.” – Zach Reichold

“Zach is exactly right. We’ve looked at this issue before, because of the excess horse challenge. We’ve advised that the BLM would have limited ability to protect horses’ welfare once they’re out of the country.” – Greg Russell

“One of the problems I read about with this was was the inability of to enforce private care and maintenance agreement terms outside of the US or the wild horse and burro act. The Advisory board has requested this before and that is the last comment for the solicitors office.” – Zach Reichold

“…our requirements for not selling to slaughter or proper treatment could not be enforced. Even if it is private property we could not enforce anything the individual signed. A person could buy a horse and march it right over to a slaughter house or rodeo and we would have no recourse. That is the point.” – Zach Reichold

Karla Bird, who was the Acting Division Chief of the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program, then wrote “Looks like we won’t be going overseas at this time. this same answer then would affect MHF idea of going to Calgary Stampede.”

So what changed from 2011 to 2017 to allow the sale of wild horses to Germany?  And, more importantly, did this sale of wild horses to Germany open the door for wild horses to now be sold to Lon Ball to be used as prey for the Siberian tiger refuge in Russia?  And where else will wild horses & burros be sold in the future?

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AND SEE THE FOIA DOCUMENTS HERE.

Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

Read all of THE TRUTH and see other FOIA documentation HERE.

Donate Here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/donate/

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) spreads false information in New York Times OpEd, but researcher Marybeth Devlin counters his opinion with facts

Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah deceived Congress by implying there was a 41% increase in wild horse & burro population in only 5 months, and by showing a photo of one thin horse and claiming that a majority of the wild horse population on the range were starving or dying from dehydration.

Stewart authored the recent Amendment in the House that would lead to 46,000 healthy wild horses & burros in BLM holding facilities and tens of thousands more on public lands being “euthanized” (killed).

Now Stewart has stooped to spreading false information about wild horses in an OpEd that appeared to in the New York Times titled “The Hard Truth About the West’s Wild Horse Problem.”  Stewart continues to push for the killing of healthy wild horses & burros, both in his OpEd and in Congress.

Researcher Marybeth Devlin submitted her remarks (below) countering Stewart’s OpEd to the New York Times via its “we want to hear from you” page.  However, when I clicked on the link to the “we want to hear from you” page, it was gone (so apparently, the New York Times doesn’t want to hear from anyone).  Marybeth also commented on The New York Times Opinion Section on Facebook, where Stewart’s piece is listed (among others, halfway down the page).

Our thanks to Marybeth Devlin for exposing the misinformation opined by this squirrelly politician (my apologies to squirrels).   Stewart’s own constituents even booed him in Salt Lake City this year.

“No birth control, no euthanasia, no slaughter: None of them fixes fraud.  The problem is fraud – BLM’s fraud – not overpopulation.  What is needed is honest management of our wild horses and burros.” – Marybeth Devlin

by Marybeth Devlin

The Bureau of Land Management’s wild-horse fraud: The “overpopulation” of wild horses is a pernicious lie, a concocted “crisis”. The government doesn’t have a wild-horse problem — wild horses have a government problem.

Arbitrary management level (AML): The maximum number of wild horses that BLM declares the Western range can sustain — 26,715 — is a political construct. Per the 31,583,386 acres — 49,349 square miles — of dedicated wild-horse habitat across the Western states, the AML establishes a maximum stocking density of 1 wild horse per 1,182 acres — nearly 2 square miles! Even if the wild-horse population really were 72,000 (hint: it can’t be), that would mean a stocking density of 1 horse per 438 acres (⅔ of a square mile). No reasonable person would consider that excessive.

Sparsely populated, widely dispersed: Wild horses are few and far between. While the arbitrary maximum density that BLM begrudges is about 1 wild horse per 2 square miles, many herds are restricted even more severely. Here are examples of stocking densities that BLM deems “appropriate,” and down-to-which it strives to reduce them:

1 wild horse per 3,102 acres — 5 square miles — Antelope Complex — NV
1 wild horse per 3,566 acres — 5½ square miles — Triple B Complex — NV
1 wild horse per 4,381 acres — 7 square miles — Beatys Butte — OR
1 wild horse per 4,500 acres — 7 square miles — Warm Springs — OR
1 wild horse per 5,062 acres — 8 square miles — Paisley Desert — OR
1 wild horse per 6,606 acres — 10 square miles — Eagle herd — NV
1 wild horse per 9,591 acres — 15 square miles — Silver King herd — NV

Contrast with livestock density: To put this in perspective, nationally, BLM allows a stocking density of 1 cow-with-calf pair (or 5 sheep) per 76 acres, which means 8 cow+calf pairs (or 40 sheep) per square mile. Further, within dedicated wild-horse habitats — where the mustangs are, by law, supposed to receive principal benefit of resources — livestock are often awarded most of the grazing slots. Examples:

89% of AUMs to livestock — Red Desert Complex — WY
91% of AUMs to livestock — Checkerboard — WY
94% of AUMs to livestock — Triple B Complex — NV
96% of AUMs to livestock — Antelope Complex — NV

Normative annual herd-growth = at most, 5%: Horses are slow to reproduce. Gestation lasts 11 months, and a mare produces 1 foal. By analyzing BLM’s own raw demographic data, Gregg, LeBlanc, and Johnston (2014) found the average birth rate across wild-horse herds to be just under 20%. But they also found that 50% of foals perish before their first birthday. Thus, the birth rate is just a temporary blip in the data. Starting with the surviving-foal rate (10%), and then subtracting a conservative estimate of adult-mortality (5%), the expected normative herd-growth rate would be, at most, 5%. At that rate, it would take 14 years for a wild-horse herd to double. Meanwhile, the corresponding growth-rate for wild-burro herds is 2%. At that rate, it would take 35 years for a burro-herd to double.

Fraudulent figures on the range: BLM’s herd-growth figures are falsified. Repeatedly, we find BLM reporting one-year increases that are 50, 100, even 200 times the norm, far beyond what is biologically possible. Examples:

237% — 47 times the norm — Great Divide Basin — WY
256% — 51 times the norm — Beatys Butte — OR
260% — 52 times the norm — Shawave Mountains — NV
293% — 59 times the norm — Diamond Hills South — NV
317% — 63 times the norm — Jackies Butte — OR
418% — 84 times the norm — Black Rock Range East — NV *
522% — 104 times the norm — Salt Wells Creek — WY
525% — 105 times the norm — Carracas Mesa — NM **
1,218% — 244 times the norm — Centennial — CA
1,257% — 251 times the norm — Carter — CA

* BLM claimed the Black Rock Range East’s population grew from 88 horses to 456 horses in one year, an increase of 368. If so, that would mean each filly and mare gave birth to 17 foals.

** BLM claimed the Carracas Mesa population grew from 12 horses to 75 horses in one year, an increase of 63. If so, that would mean each filly and mare gave birth to 21 foals.

Fraudulent figures off the range: A report has just been released after a 5-year investigation by Wild Horse Freedom Federation. It revealed that BLM has been publishing fictitious figures regarding the number of wild horses removed from the range and now supposedly boarded in private pastures. BLM is paying, but where are the horses? http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/white-paper/

Fraud and embezzlement are crimes: BLM’s representations with regard to wild horses and burros are false and misleading. Making false and misleading representations = fraud, which violates Title 18 USC 1001 of the Federal criminal code. Embezzlement and theft violate various sections of Title 18 USC Chapter 31.

Adoptions: The adoption-market has not “dropped.” There’s just been a change in the definition of an “adoption.” Back-in-the-day, BLM actually used to count sales-for-slaughter as “adoptions.” Nowadays, only true adoptions — forever-family placements — qualify. However, wild horses are not homeless horses. They have a home — where they belong — on the range.

No birth control, no euthanasia, no slaughter: None of them fixes fraud. The problem is fraud — BLM’s fraud — not overpopulation. What is needed is honest management of our wild horses and burros.

Researcher Marybeth Devlin corrects the misinformation in a biased OpEd written by Barry L. Perryman

Researcher Marybeth Devlin has corrected the misinformation in an OpEd in the Daily Caller, found HERE.   This inaccurate OpEd, titled “It’s Five Minutes To Midnight: The Wild Horse And Burro Tragedy,” more aptly should’ve been titled “It’s Five Minutes to Bullshit: Let’s Ignore The Livestock Grazing Tragedy on Public Lands ”  The OpEd was written by Barry L. Perryman, a professor of rangeland ecology at the University of Nevada, Reno.  Our thanks to Marybeth Devlin for setting the record straight, and for allowing us to share her comments (below) with you.

Barry L. Perryman, who did not mention livestock grazing on public lands once in his inaccurate OpEd
by Marybeth Devlin
Tragedy … or travesty?  The “overpopulation” of wild horses and burros is a pernicious lie.  The government doesn’t have a wild-horse problem — the wild horses have a government problem.  Overpopulation is a fraud.  Birth control and roundups do not fix fraud.
Arbitrary management level (AML):  The maximum number of wild horses that BLM says the Western range can sustain — 26,715 — is a political construct.  BLM uses the AML to concoct the perception of a crisis.  BLM must have a crisis.  Why?  Politically, agencies have to justify their existence.  They must show they are needed.  Nothing works better than a perceived “crisis” to secure continued and even increased funding.  It’s a way to protect jobs and paychecks.  BLM then chooses high-cost management-methods, such as multi-million-dollar contracts for helicopter-roundups — contracts against which the agency can add on its 20% administrative fee.
Sparsely populated, widely dispersed:  Wild horses are few and far between.  Per the 31,583,386 acres — 49,349 square miles — of dedicated wild-horse habitat across the Western states, the AML establishes a maximum stocking density of 1 wild horse per 1,182 acres — nearly 2 square miles.  Imagine if cattle were held to the same standard!  However, many herds are more severely restricted.  Here are examples of stocking densities that BLM deems “appropriate” in Nevada.
1 wild horse per  3,102 acres  ( 5    square miles) — Antelope Complex
1 wild horse per  3,566 acres  ( 5½ square miles) — Triple B Complex
1 wild horse per  6,606 acres  ( 10  square miles) — Eagle herd
1 wild horse per  9,591 acres  ( 15  square miles) — Silver King herd
Contrast with livestock density:  To put this in perspective, nationally, BLM allows a stocking density of 1 cow-with-calf pair (or 5 sheep) per 76 acres, which means 8 cow+calf pairs (or 40 sheep) per square mile.  Further, within dedicated wild-horse habitats — where the mustangs are, by law, supposed to receive principal benefit of resources — livestock are often awarded 90% or more of the grazing slots.  Examples from Nevada:
96%  of  AUMs  to livestock — Antelope Complex
94%  of  AUMs  to livestock — Triple B Complex
Normative annual herd-growth = at most, 5%:  Gregg, LeBlanc, and Johnston (2014) found the average birth rate across wild-horse herds to be just under 20%.  But they also found that 50% of foals perish before their first birthday.  Thus, the birth rate is just a temporary blip in the data.  Starting with the surviving-foal rate (10%), and then subtracting a conservative estimate of adult-mortality (5%), the expected normative herd-growth rate would be, at most, 5%.  At that rate, it would take 14 years for a wild-horse herd to double.  Meanwhile, the corresponding growth-rate for wild-burro herds is 2%.  At that rate, it would take 35 years for a burro-herd to double.
 
Fraudulent figures on the range:  Why am I and other advocates persuaded that there can’t be anywhere near as many wild horses as BLM alleges?  Because BLM’s herd-growth figures are falsified.  Repeatedly, we find BLM reporting one-year increases that are 50, 100, even 200 times the norm, far beyond what is biologically possible.  Examples:
   237%  —     47 times the norm — Great Divide Basin — WY
   260%  —     52 times the norm — Shawave Mountains — NV
   293%  —     59 times the norm — Diamond Hills South — NV
   317%  —     63 times the norm — Jackies Butte — OR
   418%  —     84 times the norm — Black Rock Range East — NV *
   522%  —   104 times the norm — Salt Wells Creek — WY
   525%  —   105 times the norm — Carracas Mesa — NM  **
1,218%  —   244 times the norm — Centennial — CA
1,257%  —   251 times the norm — Carter — CA
*   BLM claimed the Black Rock Range East’s population grew from 88 horses to 456 horses in one year, an increase of 368.  If so, that would mean each filly and mare gave birth to 17 foals.
** BLM claimed the Carracas Mesa population grew from 12 horses to 75 horses in one year, an increase of 63.  If so, that would mean each filly and mare gave birth to 21 foals.
Fraudulent figures off the range:  A report was just released following a 5-year investigation by Wild Horse Freedom Federation.  It revealed that BLM has been publishing fictitious figures regarding the number of wild horses removed from the range and now supposedly boarded in private pastures.  BLM is paying, but where are the horses? http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/white-paper/
Fraud and embezzlement are crimes:  BLM’s figures with regard to mustangs are false and misleading.  Making false and misleading representations = fraud, which violates Title 18 USC 1001 of the Federal criminal code.  Embezzlement and theft violate various sections of Title 18 USC Chapter 31.
Lagomorphs:  Jackrabbits, cottontails, and hares — the lagomorphs — are dominant herbivores on the Western Range.  A recent study in Utah found that jackrabbits were consuming 34% of the forage on local grazing-allotments.
Locusts:  In normal times, grasshoppers and crickets — locusts — consume 20-to-25% of the forage in areas where they are present.  However, in times of outbreaks, locusts can devour nearly all of it.  The 2017 USDA map shows locust-infestations in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.  The 2016 map revealed that Nevada was experiencing an outbreak.

Giving Tuesday: Please donate to Wild Horse Freedom Federation

 

Please DONATE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation on Giving Tuesday.

We’ve documented BLM roundups. (photo below is of two helicopters behind the huge group of horses. Photo by Carol Walker)

We’ve documented the BLM’s radio collaring of wild horses. (photo by Carol Walker)

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We issued a White Paper that has been sent to members of Congress.  You can read our White Paper HERE.  You can see the White Paper Exhibits HERE.

Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, is a plaintiff in lawsuits trying to stop the roundup of wild horses in the Checkerboard area of Wyoming, and in a lawsuit to stop the BLM from rounding up more horses than were slated to be rounded up per BLM’s NEPA documentation. (Below: Horses running in front the of the gas pad.  Photo by Carol Walker)

Wild Horse Freedom Federation has filed, and is working on, seven Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits.  We post THE TRUTH, to make FOIA documents available to you and to make the activities of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse & Burro Program more transparent for you.

As an educational outreach program in 2017, we produced 23 radio programs on Wild Horse & Burro Radio, featuring 23 other advocacy groups and authors, and covering issues regarding wild horses & burros and public lands.

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_Logo

Thanks to Marjorie Farabee, our Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs, we’ve been a voice against the eradication of the world’s donkeys, being killed by the millions for their skins (to make the “traditional Chinese medicine” called ejiao).

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We want to thank all of you for joining us in the fight to save our wild horses & burros.

Please help us to do more, by making a donation or buying a Wild Horse Freedom Federation 2018 calendar:

You can donate HERE.

If you donate through the Wild Horse Freedom Federation facebook page, donations will be matched.

Or, you can buy our 2018 calendar HERE.   50% of proceeds will go to benefit Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

Over 60 beautiful and moving photos by Carol Walker, of the wild horses living in the Sand Wash Basin Herd grace this 2018 calendar! From the small foals to the powerful, mature stallions, Carol’s images capture the spirit and beauty of these colorful wild horses in this northwestern Colorado herd.

Ryan ” Dinky” Zinke Just Might Be the Trump Cabinet’s Most Deplorable Member

by as published in The Daily Beast

“Zinke minted his own coin, and has the flag of the Interior—which he is personally redesigning—raised when he arrives there…”

Ryan “Dinky” Zinke

Like an actor who puts a homburg on his head and a cigar in his mouth to play Winston Churchill, Ryan Zinke galloped into the Capitol his first day on the job as Interior secretary on the back of a brown gelding, 17 hands tall, named Tonto. That two-block trip pretty much ended any resemblance to Teddy Roosevelt, a passionate conservationist who founded the national park system.

For his part, Zinke is intent on shrinking national monuments lands, opening up the Arctic to drilling, and allowing lead bullets in wildlife refuges, among other actions inimical to his job definition which is, simply, to protect the Interior. He used to believe climate change was a real and present danger but gave that up to join Trump’s Cabinet. The best hope of those who care about wildlife, federal lands, endangered species, and open space is that Zinke will soon leave town on the horse he rode in on.

They may get their wish—not because of what Zinke has done in office but because of a problem endemic among Trump appointees. Zinke has a private-jet problem, as does his wife, Lolita. They’ve mixed business, politics, and pleasure on trips that sometimes end suspiciously close to one of their homes in Montana or California.

In investigating the trips, the department’s inspector general has run into another Trump administration problem. Some of the documents needed to justify traveling on the taxpayer’s dime are nowhere to be found. The IG said it had “discovered several issues that need prompt attention and changes to current IOS procedures,” including travel documents involving Mrs. Zinke when she accompanies her husband on official travel.

It’s no surprise that Zinke tried the “dog ate my file” excuse for not producing the information, the default response of people in the Trump administration from Jared Kushner on down. Zinke’s aides went a step further and blame-shifted the whole mess onto the Obama administration. Deputy David Bernhardt said Zinke “inherited an organizational and operational mess from the previous administration,” and that there were “documentation holes” in the records of the previous interior secretary, Sally Jewell.

You can be sure that Jewell didn’t fly to Las Vegas to quickly read a press release related to public lands before celebrating the Vegas Golden Knights hockey team owned by a major donor to his prior congressional campaigns as Zinke did. In doing so, Zinke may have violated the Hatch Act, which frowns on government officials making political appearances.

In any case, the trip exposed the hollowness of Zinke’s other excuse, that an Interior secretary travels to places that are hard to get to. There are daily commercial flights between Las Vegas and Kalispell, Montana, costing $300. His chartered flight there cost taxpayers $12,375.

Zinke is part of an administration that thinks emptying your pockets at security and sitting near a crying baby is for chumps. So far Zinke’s escaped the noose that tightened around former Health and Human Services Secretary Price and the ridicule directed at Treasury Secretary Mnuchin who asked for a plane for his honeymoon and who has had to reimburse the Treasury for wife Louise Linton’s travel (she was the one in the black gloves holding the newly minted dollar bills last week).

But he does have a spouse issue. A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that forced Interior to release 100 pages of documents contains emails from staffers exasperated at Mrs. Zinke’s needs, like adding guests to official dinners, and her political activity. In September, Mrs. Zinke became chair of the campaign of the Republican challenging incumbent Montana Sen. Jon Tester who, incidentally, voted to confirm her husband.

Then there’s the question of how a two-year-old company with two employees in Zinke’s hometown ended up getting—and then losing—a lucrative, no-bid contract to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric grid. And his attempt last week—which Trump seems to have kiboshed—to lift the ban on trophy-hunting elephants and lions. Just how delicate does a hunter’s manhood have to be to celebrate hitting the broadside of a barn by hanging proof on the wall of your den? Ask Donald Jr. or Eric Trump.

Zinke is pretentious for a guy who likes to play Every Cowboy in a Stetson and boots. He had a personalized coin minted bearing his name. When he arrives in the morning, staff raises a flag (which he is redesigning) over the Interior building. When he is not there, it is taken down. If he doesn’t stop acting like a Saudi prince, it might come down for good.

Wednesday, he was seen wearing jeans and carrying a copy of Rough Riders: Theodore Roosevelt, His Cowboy Regiment, and the Immortal Charge Up San Juan Hill at Ronald Reagan National Airport headed home for Thanksgiving.

Just maybe he’s learned his lesson. He was on a commercial airline, flying coach.

 https://www.thedailybeast.com/ryan-zinke-just-might-be-the-trump-cabinets-most-deplorable-member

Feel Good Sunday: A Veterans Day Prayer

“To those who look forward to a smile, a snicker and a little laugh on Sunday mornings I apologize, we will not be able to give that to you this morning.  Instead, we offer up warmth, moist eyes and a glow in your soul as I just cannot let Veterans Day drift off into the darkness for another year, not yet.

I cannot do it today, of all days, where spoiled, privileged, do-nothing ingrates take to a field to play a game we played as children and disrespect those who gave their lives so that they can make 30 times the annual salary of average Americans, just can’t do it.  Wrong place, wrong message, wrong audience…just plain wrong.

So today we offer a prayer that was given by a true American; one that pushes us forward to save the spirit of America and the National icons that we hold dear.  It is our duty, our mission and our obligation to give our all to save the last of our wild horses and burros for future generations to experience, to enjoy and to love.

For the sake of those who died to keep us free, we work with earnest to keep free the wild horses and burros of the United States of America, it is our calling.  God Bless.” ~ R.T.


House Committee Chairman Attacks Reporter for Doing His Job

By Greg Zimmerman as published on Medium’s Westwise

Rep. Rob Bishop goes after Washington Post’s accurate account of Bishop’s legislative agenda

Utah Congressman Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has made no secrets about his disdain for America’s foundational conservation laws.

On the Endangered Species Act: “I would be happy to invalidate [it].”

On the Antiquities Act: “It is the most evil act ever invented.”

On the Land and Water Conservation Fund: it is a “slush fund” and we should instead “plow some money back into [the oil and gas industry] to make sure that it’s there.”

(See the bottom of this post for for a summary of each law and its importance to American conservation.)

Even though these positions are extremely unpopular with voters across the West and the American public, Congressman Bishop has built his political career proudly working to undermine national public lands and weakening or invalidating a slew of environmental laws.

That’s why it was so bizarre when the House Natural Resources Committee personally attacked a Washington Post reporter for simply writing a story about Rep. Bishop’s agenda. Darryl Fears, a reporter with more than three decades in the news business, published a piece about the congressman’s work on the Endangered Species Act. The article is summarized by the story’s headline:

Fears is reporting on the five pieces of legislation (HR 717, HR 3131, HR 1274, HR 2603, HR 424) that Rep. Bishop has moved through his committee to accomplish the stated goal of defanging and, ultimately, “invalidating” the Endangered Species Act.

Rather than owning his agenda, Rep. Bishop and his staff at the House Natural Resources Committee decided to attack Fears and his reporting. In its weekly email blast — The Source — the committee doesn’t dispute the accuracy of Fears’ story, but nonetheless accuses him of “fervently [swallowing] the tired shticks of the radical Left.”…(CONTINUED)

View story at Medium.com

Dr. Ann Marini to discuss the drugs that the BLM gives to wild horses & burros (Wed., Nov. 8, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio)

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Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us for Wild Horse Wednesdays®, this Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017

5:00 p.m. PST … 6:00 p.m. MST … 7:00 p.m. CST … 8:00 p.m. EST

This radio show was hacked.  Our apologies to people who were unable to listen to the show.

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

Our guest tonight is Ann Marini, Ph.D., M.D. and she will be talking about the drugs that the Bureau of Land Management gives to wild horses and burros.  We compiled a list of drugs from information on FOIA requests and from verification by BLM staff.

Dr Marini earned both her Ph.D. degree from the Department of Biochemistry, 1978, and her medical degree from the Georgetown School of Medicine in 1980.  She completed a residencies in medicine at UMASS Worcester, Massachusetts; 1980-1983; and in Neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, 1983-1986.  She was a Senior Staff Fellow at NINDS/NIMH, 1986-1993.  Her research interests include neuropharmacology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, Mechanisms of Neuronal Cell Death and Neuronal Intrinsic Survival Pathways.  Dr. Marini’s group published the peer-review article: Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk authored by Nicholas Dodman, Nicolas Blondeau and Ann M. Marini and this manuscript was published in the peer-review journal Food and Chemical Toxicology in 2010.

This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey (V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs) of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE.

To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit www.WildHorseFreedomFederation.org

Donate Here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/donate/

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