Application deadline extended for more than 300 temporary jobs
LAKEWOOD, COLORADO –The Rocky Mountain Region of the USDA Forest Service announced today the availability of 300 temporary jobs in a variety of exciting and rewarding occupations for the 2018 field season throughout national forests and grasslands in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Temporary jobs are available in a variety of exciting and rewarding occupations such as trails, forestry, engineering, wildlife, recreation, fisheries, archaeology and administrative support.
Job seekers can apply for temporary jobs Jan. 31-February 6, 2018. Temporary job opportunities are searchable online atwww.fs.usda.gov/main/r2/jobs. Job seekers can apply through USAJOBS www.usajobs.gov through February 6.
Below are resume tips and application resources to support job seekers in applying for jobs with the Rocky Mountain Region.
· Include all required information (e.g., name, address, previous work history with dates and hours worked per week, etc.)
Forest Managers are working to reduce hazardous fuels across the Black Hills National Forest.
Hell Canyon Ranger District (southern Black Hills)
Hell Canyon fire will be igniting Hahn piles East/North East of Custer, if conditions warrant and around 50 Hahn piles, 3-4 miles west of Custer.
Mystic Ranger District (central Black Hills)
Hand piles located ½ mile east of Hill City and south of 12491 Old Hill City Road. Smoke may impact the communities of Hill city and/or Keystone for several days; it may also impact Old Hill City Road, Highway 16, 16A, 385, and 244.
Hand piles within a ½ mile of Silver City and in and around Sunnyside Gulch area. Smoke may impact the community of Silver City, Silver City Road, Jenny Gulch and Highway 385.
Burning machine piles 2 miles north and northwest of Johnson Siding if conditions allow. Smoke and flames may be visible from the following areas: Johnson siding, Norris Peak Road, Bogus Jim Road and Nemo Road.
Burning machine piles 1 mile west of the town of Blackhawk if conditions allow. Smoke and flames may be visible from the following areas: Blackhawk, Interstate 90, Peaceful Pines area, Woodland Drive area, High Meadows area Canyon Place and Nemo Road.
Burning machine piles 3 miles west of Red Rock Subdivision if conditions allow. Smoke and flames may be visible from the following areas: Sheridan Lake Road west of Countryside Subdivision, Red Rocks, Dark Canyon Road off Hwy 44, Nordsmen Road, Victoria Lake Road and Hisega.
Burning piles 2 miles west of Hwy 16 on White Horse Road. Smoke may be seen from Hwy 16 Spring Creek Road, Hwy 244 and Hwy 89.
Burning machine piles around the Tigerville area, 5 miles west of Hill city. Smoke and flames may be visible from Deerfield Road, Mystic Road, Tigerville, Newton Fork Road and Hill City.
Burning piles 1 mile NW and 1 mile NE of Hill City. Smoke and flames will be visible from Hill City, Marshall Gulch Road, China Gulch Road, Hwy 16 and Deerfield Road.
North Zone Fire (northern Black Hills)
North Zone Fire will be burning machine piles in the Boundary Gulch area today provided snow conditions and other burn parameters are favorable. Piles will be visible from I-90 on the South Dakota/Wyoming border.
Conditions permitting, piles will also be burned on both sides of north Rochford Road, south of Custer Crossing Road turnoff, Nemo Road Elk Creek Subdivision East, north of Dalton Lake Road turnoff and the west side of Vanocker Road.
Brief Heavy Snow Expected this Afternoon ...
At 330 PM...A line of brief heavy snow extends across western South
Dakota from Lemmon to Union Center to Rapid City to Custer to Hot
Springs. This snow squall was moving east at 15 mph and should only
last for a few hours. Wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph will accompany the
snow, which will reduce the visibility.
LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
Rapid City, Spearfish, Sturgis, Belle Fourche, Hot Springs, Pine
Ridge, Lead, Custer, Lemmon, Hill City, Edgemont, Dupree, Faith,
Rapid Valley, Ellsworth Air Force Base, Box Elder, Black Hawk,
Summerset, Oglala and Deadwood.
This Includes Interstate 90 in South Dakota between Mile Markers 5
USE EXTRA CAUTION IF YOU MUST TRAVEL INTO OR THROUGH THIS DANGEROUS
SNOW SQUALL. RAPID CHANGES IN VISIBILITY IS LIKELY TO LEAD TO
ACCIDENTS. CONSIDER DELAYING TRAVEL UNTIL THE SQUALL PASSES YOUR
Donald Boesch, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
The Trump Administration is proposing to ease regulations that were adopted to make offshore oil and gas drilling operations safer after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. This event was the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Eleven workers died in the explosion and sinking of the oil rig, and more than 4 million barrels of oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists have estimated that the spill caused more than US$17 billion in damages to natural resources.
I served on the bipartisan National Commission that investigated the causes of this epic blowout. We spent six months assessing what went wrong on the Deepwater Horizon and the effectiveness of the spill response, conducting our own investigations and hearing testimony from dozens of expert witnesses.
Our panel concluded that the immediate cause of the blowout was a series of identifiable mistakes by BP, the company drilling the well; Halliburton, which cemented the well; and Transocean, the drill ship operator. We wrote that these mistakes revealed “such systematic failures in risk management that they place in doubt the safety culture of the entire industry.” The root causes for these mistakes included regulatory failures.
Now, however, the Trump administration wants to increase domestic production by “reducing the regulatory burden on industry.” In my view, such a shift will put workers and the environment at risk, and ignores the painful lessons of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The administration has just proposed opening virtually all U.S. waters to offshore drilling, which makes it all the more urgent to assess whether it is prepared to regulate this industry effectively.
Separating regulation and promotion
During our commission’s review of the BP spill, I visited the Gulf office of the Minerals Management Service in September 2010. This Interior Department agency was responsible for “expeditious and orderly development of offshore resources,” including protection of human safety and the environment.
The most prominent feature in the windowless conference room was a large chart that showed revenue growth from oil and gas leasing and production in the Gulf of Mexico. It was a point of pride for MMS officials that their agency was the nation’s second-largest generator of revenue, exceeded only by the Internal Revenue Service.
We ultimately concluded that an inherent conflict existed within MMS between pressures to increase production and maximize revenues on one hand, and the agency’s safety and environmental protection functions on the other. In our report, we observed that MMS regulations were “inadequate to address the risks of deepwater drilling,” and that the agency had ceded control over many crucial aspects of drilling operations to industry.
In response, we recommended creating a new independent agency with enforcement authority within Interior to oversee all aspects of offshore drilling safety, and the structural and operational integrity of all offshore energy production facilities. Then-Secretary Ken Salazar completed the separation of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement from MMS in October 2011.
Officials at this new agency reviewed multiple investigations and studies of the BP spill and offshore drilling safety issues, including several by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. They also consulted extensively with the industry to develop a revised a Safety and Environmental Management System and other regulations.
In April 2016, BSEE issued a new well control rule that required standards for design operation and testing of blowout preventers, real-time monitoring and safe drilling pressure margins. Prior to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the oil industry had effectively blocked adoption of such regulations for years.
About-face under Trump
President Trump’s March 28, 2017 executive order instructing agencies to reduce undue burdens on domestic energy production signaled a change of course. The American Petroleum Institute and other industry organizations have lobbied hard to rescind or modify the new offshore drilling regulations, calling them impractical and burdensome.
In April 2017, Trump’s Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, appointed Louisiana politician Scott Angelle to lead BSEE. Unlike his predecessors – two retired Coast Guard admirals – Angelle lacks any experience in maritime safety. In July 2010 as interim Lieutenant Governor, Angelle organized a rally in Lafayette, Louisiana, against the Obama administration’s moratorium on deepwater drilling operations after the BP spill, leading chants of “Lift the ban!”
Even now, Angelle asserts there was no evidence of systemic problems in offshore drilling regulation at the time of the spill. This view contradicts not only our commission’s findings, but also reviews by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and a joint investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Interior Department.
Fewer inspections and looser oversight
On December 28, 2017, BSEE formally proposed changes in production safety systems. As evidenced by multiple references within these proposed rules, they generally rely on standards developed by the American Petroleum Institute rather than government requirements.
One change would eliminate BSEE certification of third-party inspectors for critical equipment, such as blowout preventers. The Chemical Safety Board’s investigation of the BP spill found that the Deepwater Horizon’s blowout preventer had not been tested and was miswired. It recommended that BSEE should certify third-party inspectors for such critical equipment.
Another proposal would relax requirements for onshore remote monitoring of drilling. While serving on the presidential commission in 2010, I visited Shell’s operation in New Orleans that remotely monitored the company’s offshore drilling activities. This site operated on a 24-7 basis, ever ready to provide assistance, but not all companies met this standard. BP’s counterpart operation in Houston was used only for daily meetings prior to the Deepwater Horizon spill. Consequently, its drillers offshore urgently struggled to get assistance prior to the blowout via cellphones.
On December 7, 2017 BSEE ordered the National Academies to stop work on a study that the agency had commissioned on improving its inspection program. This was the most recent in a series of studies, and was to include recommendations on the appropriate role of independent third parties and remote monitoring.
Minor savings, major risk
BSEE estimates that its proposals to change production safety rules could save the industry at least $228 million in compliance costs over 10 years. This is a modest sum considering that offshore oil production has averaged more than 500 million barrels yearly over the past decade. Even with oil prices around $60 per barrel, this means oil companies are earning more than $30 billion annually. Industry decisions about offshore production are driven by fluctuations in the price of crude oil and booming production of onshore shale oil, not by the costs of safety regulations.
BSEE’s projected savings are also trivial compared to the $60 billion in costs that BP has incurred because of its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Since then explosions, deaths, injuries and leaks in the oil industry have continued to occur mainly from production facilities. On-the-job fatalities are higher in oil and gas extraction than any other U.S. industry.
Some aspects of the Trump administration’s proposed regulatory changes might achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency in safety procedures. But it is not at all clear that what Angelle describes as a “paradigm shift” will maintain “a high bar for safety and environmental sustainability,” as he claims. Instead, it looks more like a shift back to the old days of over-relying on industry practices and preferences.
Donald Boesch, Professor of Marine Science, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
This article was originally published on The Conversation.
After decades of bitter struggle, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge seems on the verge of being opened to the oil industry. The consensus tax bill Republicans are trying to pass retains this measure, which was added to gain the key vote of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
This bill, however, stands no chance of being the final word. ANWR has been called America’s Serengeti and the last petroleum frontier, terms I’ve seen used over more than a decade studying this area and the politics around it. But even these titles merely hint at the multifold conflict ANWR represents – spanning politics, economics, culture and philosophy.
Differing views from the start
Little of this debate, which stretches back decades, makes sense without some background. Let’s begin with wildlife, the core of why the refuge exists.
With 45 species of land and marine mammals and over 200 species of birds from six continents, ANWR is more biodiverse than almost any area in the Arctic. This is especially true of the coastal plain portion, or 1002 Area, the area now being opened up to exploration and drilling. This has the largest number of polar bear dens in Alaska and supports muskoxen, Arctic wolves, foxes, hares and dozens of fish species. It also serves as temporary home for millions of migrating waterfowl and the Porcupine Caribou herd which has its calving ground there.
All of which merely suggests the unique concentration of life in ANWR and the opportunity it offers to scientific study. One part of the debate is therefore over how drilling might impact this diversity.
At the same time, debate over this area’s mineral resources has existed since even before Alaska’s founding. An effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to withdraw part of northeast Alaska from mining (later drilling) was eventually passed by the House in 1960 but then killed in the Senate, on the urging of both Alaska senators. It was resurrected by President Eisenhower through an executive order establishing a wildlife range (not refuge, which requires government protection and study).
ANWR thus began as a battleground over state versus federal control of resources. Change came with the oil crises of the 1970s. After much debate, Congress passed and President Carter signed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980, increasing the size of the area to 19.4 million acres and changing it to a “refuge.” ANILCA also mandated an evaluation of wildlife, oil and natural gas resources, and impacts if drilling occurred.
Such evaluation was delivered to Congress in 1987, with three principal conclusions. First, the 1.5 million-acre 1002 Area, had “outstanding wilderness values.” Second, it also had large hydrocarbon resources, likely tens of billions of barrels. Third, oil development would bring widespread changes in habit, but adequate protection for wildlife was achievable and leasing should proceed.
Made public, these results ignited major opposition from environmental groups. However, low oil prices meant that no companies would be interested in drilling so no action toward leasing was taken. Over the next 20 years, Congress and the President traded blows over drilling, with Republicans passing or proposing legislation in favor and Democrats voting down or vetoing or the relevant bills.
Matters of wilderness
These struggles added support to a larger view: that wilderness is incompatible with any level of development. The stance is often referenced to the 1964 Wilderness Act, a venerable law protecting wildlands but one whose definition of “wilderness” is ambiguous: “an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character…[that] generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable.” The vagueness here allows for ANILCA’s position that drilling could happen so long as protection of wildlife and reclamation of land occurred.
Today, however, no such allowance is accepted by pro-wilderness organizations and the FWS. “You can have the oil. Or you can have this pristine place. You can’t have both. No compromise,” as put by Robert Mrazek, ex-chair of the Alaska Wilderness League.
Saving ANWR has thus become an effort to save the very idea of wilderness, culturally and philosophically.
How much oil?
The most recent comprehensive assessment of oil and gas in the 1002 Area was by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1998. This work shows a mean estimate of 10.4 billion barrels of oil and 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which at today’s prices ($57/bbl oil, $3/kcf) equals a total value of about $600 billion before drilling.
If well costs were $50 a barrel (low for onshore Arctic drilling today but possible with cost reductions spurred by 1002 development), the value after extraction would be $100 billion, from which a federal royalty of 12.5 percent must be subtracted, yielding $87.5 billion – a significant sum. Obviously if well costs are higher, this figure would be lower. Note that Alaska gets 90 percent of that federal royalty and pays a yearly dividend to every state resident – one reason many Alaskans favor drilling and reject the uncompromising wilderness position.
When considering how oil and gas is available, the USGS estimates should be considered low, even minimal. This is because they were made well before the current era of shale oil and gas and tight oil and gas development. New discoveries and use of fracking to the west of ANWR suggest there is more accessible petroleum. How much more? It’s impossible to say, given the many uncertainties.
Though only one well has ever been drilled in the 1002 Area, dozens have been sited in surrounding onshore and offshore areas. These have resulted in a number of limited discoveries and one substantial field, Point Thomson, which is estimated to have recoverable reserves of up to 6 trillion cubic feet of gas and 850 million barrels of oil plus condensate. It began producing in 2016, yet its reservoir is geologically complex, challenging and insufficiently understood, causing difficulties and raising costs.
But Point Thomson’s larger significance could stem from its location: Close to the northwestern margin of 1002, it has brought a pipeline connection to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline right to ANWR’s doorstep.
But will they come?
Given the substantial possible reserves and at least some pipeline access, how interested might energy companies actually be in ANWR? The answer for now seems to be: not very. This comes from my own discussions with industry personnel and from the results of a recent lease sale in NPR-A, the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska to the west of ANWR: Out of 900 tracts offered, only seven received bids (0.008 percent). A December 7, 2017 lease sale on state lands did only somewhat better (0.04 percent), with a single company bidding on tracts near the 1002 Area, adjacent to the Point Thomson field, and in the immediate area of two small, undeveloped discoveries (Sourdough and Yukon Gold) made by BP in 1994.
If this be any indication, another multiyear period of high oil prices – in a range, say, over $80 per barrel – needs to arrive before 1002 looks attractive. Leasing and drilling in an area with extreme weather, little detailed data on the subsurface geology, no discoveries or production, and no existing infrastructure is considered high risk, all the more so in an uncertain price environment like today’s.
My own guess is that the estimated $1.1 billion revenue from an ANWR leasing program has roughly the same probability of coming true as the discovery that climate change is indeed a Chinese hoax. Similarly, we should probably view with a dash of skepticism Sen. Murkowski’s statements that opening ANWR will “create thousands of good jobs … keep energy affordable for families and businesses … reduce the federal deficit, and strengthen our national security” by reducing foreign oil. Regardless of what claims are being made now, one can say the measure would undoubtedly deliver on a long-standing promise to Alaskan voters.
Meanwhile, from an environmental perspective, climate change continues to alter and damage the Arctic, even if no development happens. As such, it is hard not to hope that we will never need the oil that lies beneath the refuge.
In the end, whichever way we turn, no stable compromise exists in this conflict. Opening the area to leasing now will not prevent a closing or ban later on. Even native voices are divided on the issue: The Inupiat who live in Kaktovik, who depend on sea life for sustenance, would welcome the work that drilling could bring, while the Gwich’in to the south, who rely on the caribou, see development as jeopardizing their culture.
Legal challenges to any level of leasing are certain, including those intended to slow the process until drilling opponents will win later elections, if they can.
The one truth all can agree on is that ANWR has never been a “refuge” in the landscape of American society.
Scott L. Montgomery, Lecturer, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
This article was originally published on The Conversation.
PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) has approved Engenia, Xtendimax with Vapor Grip technology and Fexapan herbicides for use in South Dakota for the 2018 growing season. These labels expire Dec. 20, 2018.
The SDDA will use the federal EPA stamped label for use in the state. Per the EPA label, these products are now restricted use products, meaning the applicator must be a certified private or commercial applicator to purchase and apply the products. All persons applying the products must also complete a dicamba-specific training and examination. Documentation of completion of the training and examination will be required to purchase these products.
“As a producer myself, I understand the time and energy that farmers put into their crop each season. What is important to note for everyone is that these new label restrictions will require more planning, for both growers and applicators, this year prior to the planting season, as well as during the application season,” said secretary of agriculture Mike Jaspers. “However, the way we all handle application on every field, every time will impact the future of these products and agriculture in South Dakota. It’s important that we take the time to plan ahead to make sure we are being good neighbors and good stewards of this technology.”
As with all products registered by the department, applicators are required to read and follow the label prior to and during application. Application of Engenia, Xtendimax and Fexapan must be completed between sunrise and sunset when wind speeds are from 3-10 mph at boom height. Applications can occur until the R1 growth stage of the soybean crop, also known as beginning bloom.
Applicators will be required to maintain records of each application; records are required to be completed at the end of each day of application. Tank mix information must be printed and stapled to the spray record to verify the applicator referenced the website no more than seven days prior to application. The labeled tank mix information and allowable nozzles are available on the manufactures’ websites.
More information on Dicamba from Custer Free Press.
WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, HOT SPRINGS S.D. – Holiday events this year at Wind Cave National Park begin Wednesday, December 13, with the park’s holiday open house followed by the 22 Annual Wind Cave National Park Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, December 17.
The open house will run from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the visitor center. Light refreshments will be served, and students from the Hot Springs’ third grade will present their Christmas program at 1:30 p.m. The students will also decorate the visitor center Christmas tree.
“The open house and Christmas bird count are fun ways to celebrate the season,” said Park Superintendent Vidal Dávila. “We welcome these opportunities to meet with our neighbors, and we wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.”
During the open house, the public will be able to view park exhibits and browse through the park store operated by the Black Hills Parks and Forests Association.
Bird count participants should dress for the weather, bring field guides, and binoculars. Plan to meet at the visitor center no later than 7:45 a.m. on December 17. Afterwards, there will be a potluck supper around 4:15 p.m. in the visitor center; bring a dish to share. RSVP by calling the park at 605-745-4600.
The Christmas Bird Count is patterned after the National Audubon Society’s effort to document trends in wintering birdlife throughout the United States. The count area will include all of Wind Cave National Park and areas of the Black Hills National Forest and Custer State Park.
The visitor center and cave will close on Christmas and New Year’s Day to allow staff to celebrate the holidays with their families. Throughout the remainder of the winter, the visitor center will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with cave tours at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.
PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission did not adopt their proposal which would have expanded the use of hounds to hunt mountain lions.
The initial request, through the citizen petition process, asked to remove the restrictions of the use of hounds on public land outside of the Black Hills Fire Protection District. In October, the GFP Commission accepted a petition as a proposal which allowed for public input and a public hearing at their November meeting.
After receiving public comment and further discussing the matter, the GFP Commission did not adopt the change. Lion hunting with hounds outside the Black Hills Fire Protection District will remain under the same structure. Pursuits must originate on private land and can culminate on School and Public Lands or Bureau of Land Management properties with the exception of the Fort Meade Recreation Area.
Rapid City, SD, – The Mystic Ranger District on the Black Hills National Forest is planning to ignite 108 acres on the Silver Mountain project Tuesday, October 31, depending on weather. Smoke will be visible for several miles and could impact Highway 16, Hill City, Rapid City and other surrounding areas. Crews have been preparing to implement the project to meet management objectives for several years.
The Silver Mountain project area is located approximately 10 miles west/southwest of Rapid City, SD between Highway 16 and Sheridan Lake Road, along Boulder Hill Road to the west.
The goal of the Silver Mountain Prescribed Fire is to maintain a mosaic of vegetation conditions created by the Battle Creek Fire of 2002. This project will lessen the severity and extent of future wildfires in the project area by breaking up the continuity of dead, downed fuels, ultimately reducing those fuel loads. Fire will also be utilized as a tool to thin pine regeneration and increase canopy base heights. Additionally, this burn will stimulate browse for big game species.
After many years of fire exclusion, an ecosystem, such as the Black Hills, needs periodic fire to remain healthy. Without it, trees are stressed by overcrowding, fire-dependent species disappear, and flammable fuels build up and become hazardous.
Forest visitors, including hunters, are asked to be aware of their surroundings and watch for prescribed burning operations in the months ahead. Areas where burning operations are taking place will be signed to notify visitors. The public is also encouraged to contact a nearby Forest Service office with questions.
As conditions permit, fire officials will continue to assess ignition of other prescribed burn units across the Black Hills National Forest.
Washington, DC – A Presidential permit has been issued to Enbridge Energy, L.P. (“Enbridge”) authorizing Enbridge to increase transport up to a full design capacity of approximately 890,000 barrels per day of crude oil and other hydrocarbons across a three-mile segment at the U.S.-Canada border near Neche, North Dakota, through an existing Enbridge terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. The pipeline was originally permitted in 2009 and constructed in 2010. This new permit was signed and issued by Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Judith G. Garber, exercising the authorities of the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment.
The Department of State reviewed Enbridge’s application in accordance with Executive Order 13337 (April 30, 2004). In making the determination that issuance of this permit would serve the national interest, the Acting Assistant Secretary considered a broad range of factors, including but not limited to foreign policy; energy security; environmental, cultural, and economic impacts; and compliance with applicable law and policy.