Public Comment Period Extended for Mineral Mountain Resources Rochford Exploration Project

October 13, 2017

Rapid City, SD – In response to public interest and request, Black Hills National Forest Supervisor, Mark Van Every, announced another extension of the scoping comment period for the Mineral Mountain Resources Rochford Exploration Project. The original comment period was extended by 30 days and will now be extended by another 15 days. Scoping comments are now due no later than Friday, October 27, 2017.

Mineral Mountain Resources has submitted a Plan of Operations to conduct exploration on their claims located on National Forest System (NFS) lands. The area of the proposed exploration is located southeast of Rochford, South Dakota. Maps and detailed project information is available on the Black Hills National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=52323

This project falls under the authority and guidance of the Black Hills National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan and the 1872 Mining Law. The U.S. Forest Service administers exploration and development on National Forest System lands under mining regulations. As such, the U.S. Forest Service may approve the specific location or manner in which surface operations are conducted, but does not issue permits, nor control whether or not a claim can be mined.

Mineral Mountain Resources must obtain necessary exploration permits, such as a temporary permit to use public waters, from the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (SD DENR) Minerals and Mining Program.

“The Forest Service decision will include mitigation measures to protect wildlife, water and other resources, as well as to minimize noise or other disturbances associated with this action,” said Van Every.  The company will be required to post an adequate reclamation bond prior to initiating actions.

Scoping is the process of obtaining comments about proposed federal actions to determine the breadth of issues to be addressed. The U.S. Forest Service will review all public comment statements and consider the substance of the concerns, evaluate whether they trigger a change in the analysis, and draft a response to each comment.  In general, the U.S. Forest Service responds to comments by modifying the proposed action; supplementing, improving, or modifying analysis; making factual corrections; and/or explaining why the comments do not need further response.

Those interested in or affected by this proposal are encouraged to mail comments to “Mystic Ranger District, 8221 Mount Rushmore Road, Rapid City, SD 57702” or email: comments-rocky-mountain-black-hills-mystic@fs.fed.us with “Rochford Exploration Project” as the subject. Comments can be written within the text of emails or attached. Comments submitted, including names and addresses of commenters, are public information.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills.

Public Comment Period Extended for Mineral Mountain Resources Rochford Exploration Project

October 13, 2017

Rapid City, SD – In response to public interest and request, Black Hills National Forest Supervisor, Mark Van Every, announced another extension of the scoping comment period for the Mineral Mountain Resources Rochford Exploration Project. The original comment period was extended by 30 days and will now be extended by another 15 days. Scoping comments are now due no later than Friday, October 27, 2017.

Mineral Mountain Resources has submitted a Plan of Operations to conduct exploration on their claims located on National Forest System (NFS) lands. The area of the proposed exploration is located southeast of Rochford, South Dakota. Maps and detailed project information is available on the Black Hills National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=52323

This project falls under the authority and guidance of the Black Hills National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan and the 1872 Mining Law. The U.S. Forest Service administers exploration and development on National Forest System lands under mining regulations. As such, the U.S. Forest Service may approve the specific location or manner in which surface operations are conducted, but does not issue permits, nor control whether or not a claim can be mined.

Mineral Mountain Resources must obtain necessary exploration permits, such as a temporary permit to use public waters, from the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (SD DENR) Minerals and Mining Program.

“The Forest Service decision will include mitigation measures to protect wildlife, water and other resources, as well as to minimize noise or other disturbances associated with this action,” said Van Every.  The company will be required to post an adequate reclamation bond prior to initiating actions.

Scoping is the process of obtaining comments about proposed federal actions to determine the breadth of issues to be addressed. The U.S. Forest Service will review all public comment statements and consider the substance of the concerns, evaluate whether they trigger a change in the analysis, and draft a response to each comment.  In general, the U.S. Forest Service responds to comments by modifying the proposed action; supplementing, improving, or modifying analysis; making factual corrections; and/or explaining why the comments do not need further response.

Those interested in or affected by this proposal are encouraged to mail comments to “Mystic Ranger District, 8221 Mount Rushmore Road, Rapid City, SD 57702” or email: comments-rocky-mountain-black-hills-mystic@fs.fed.us with “Rochford Exploration Project” as the subject. Comments can be written within the text of emails or attached. Comments submitted, including names and addresses of commenters, are public information.

For more information on this project, contact Gary Haag at (605) 673-9200 or Jessica Eggers at (605) 343-1567.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills.

BHSU Biology Professor Comments on Large Population of Butterflies This Year

Photo: Pixabay.com/dime868

September 18, 2017

Spearfish, SD – Move over Yellow Jackets. The butterflies are taking over campus at Black Hills State University.

Dr. Holly Downing, professor of biology at Black Hills State University, who studies social insects, is among many in the state who have noticed the increase of butterflies this year. She suspects the increase of orange-and-black-winged fluttering butterflies seen on campus and throughout the Black Hills this season are Painted Ladies, Vanessa cardui.

“The large migrating population of Painted Ladies this year is probably due to favorable conditions that have caused less die-off or greater reproduction than usual,” says Downing.

Dr. Holly Downing, professor of biology at Black Hills State University. Photo: BHSU

According to Downing, Painted Ladies are migratory butterflies that are widespread throughout the world. They feed on and lay eggs on a wide variety of plants, which explains why the flora at BHSU is especially attractive to them.

“The Painted Ladies we are seeing on campus are probably butterflies that emerged north of here. They are headed south for the winter. Adult butterflies can hibernate farther north, but only successfully during mild winters,” says Downing.

The butterfly days of autumn are numbered, though. Downing says Painted Ladies usually travel south in September to overwinter.

NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program Awards $16.7 Million for Gulf of Mexico Research

July 12, 2017

Washington, D.C. -To support efforts to protect fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued awards totaling of $16.7 million from NOAA’s RESTORE Act Science Program. This year, the awardees’ proposed projects support research into bluefin tuna, blue crabs, Mississippi oyster farmers, and other parts of the Gulf ecosystem.

“These awards highlight the vital role NOAA plays in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Secretary Ross. “The fisheries which will be studied through the RESTORE Science Program are critical to local economies along the Gulf.”

The RESTORE Act authorized NOAA to establish and administer the RESTORE Act Science Program which funds programs assisting research monitoring Gulf’s recovery and protecting the long-term sustainability of local fisheries to ensure that American jobs are secure far into the future.

Awards will go to researchers and resource managers from 37 institutions including universities, federal and state agencies, and non-governmental organizations. A list of the fifteen awarded projects and their organizations can be found here. The competition focused on living coastal and marine resources and their habitats in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The overwhelming response to our call and the number of strong proposals we received, shows we can meet the science needs of the Gulf by partnering and funding local and regional research,” said W. Russell Callender, Ph.D., assistant NOAA administrator for the National Ocean Service. “We look forward to continuing to tap into this expertise with future competitions.”

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was pleased to work with our counterparts in NOAA on this round of funding awards under the RESTORE Act Science Program,” said Kevin Reynolds, Ph.D., Case Manager for the Department of Interior Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration. “The cooperative spirit between our agencies ensured a focus on science that will meaningfully benefit the management of our trust resources and improve our understanding of the Gulf ecosystem. We look forward to future collaborations with NOAA on the administration of this program.”

“We spoke with Gulf resource managers and asked what they needed to make decisions on sustaining and restoring living coastal and marine resources in the region,” said Julien Lartigue, Ph.D., director of the NOAA RESTORE Science Program. “These projects will have a measurable effect on our understanding of finfish, shellfish and other important species in the Gulf.”

Of the 15 projects, 13 are being led by institutions located in the Gulf of Mexico region. In total, 78 researchers and resource managers will be involved, with 58 of them located in the region. The awards range from $231,671 to $2,312,275. These projects were selected following a rigorous and highly competitive process, which included a review by a panel of outside experts.

Should the US stay in the Paris Agreement?

Should the US stay in the Paris Agreement? A majority of Democrats and Republicans think so.

File 20170512 3692 syzopn
Protesters gathered in D.C. on April 29 for People’s Climate March. 9602574@N02/flickr, CC BY

In December 2015, officials from nearly every country in the world met in Paris to negotiate a global agreement to limit global warming. Last April, the U.S. and 174 other countries signed the agreement, with most of the others following suit since then. The Conversation

For the past month, President Donald Trump and his senior advisers have wrestled over whether to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate agreement, repeatedly postponing their meeting to reach a final decision.

We would not presume to know the mind of the POTUS or his senior advisers. But, because we have polled the American people about climate change nearly two dozen times in recent years, we have a good understanding of what voters think about this issue.

Our research finds that a clear majority of Americans say that global warming is happening, human-caused and a serious threat requiring action. More specifically, there is broad public support for the Paris Agreement – even among Trump voters.

Support for Paris

By more than 5 to 1, voters say the U.S. should participate in the Paris climate agreement.

In a nationally representative survey conducted last November after the election, we found that seven in 10 registered voters say the U.S. should participate in the Paris climate agreement. Only 13 percent say the U.S. should not.

Edward Maibach, CC BY-SA

Majorities of Democrats and Independents, as well as half of Republicans, say the U.S. should participate. Only conservative Republicans are split, with marginally more saying the U.S. should participate than saying we should not.

By nearly 2 to 1, Trump voters say the U.S. should participate in the Paris Agreement. Almost half of Trump’s voters say the U.S. should participate, compared with only 28 percent who say the U.S. should not.

Edward Maibach, CC BY-SA

We have also found that a majority of Americans in all 50 states say that the U.S. should participate in the Paris climate agreement.

Even states with the lowest levels of popular support – West Virginia (52 percent support), North Dakota (56 percent) and Kentucky (56 percent) – have a majority of citizens who say the U.S. should participate in the global agreement. So do the states that provided President Trump with his electoral win: Pennsylvania (68 percent), Michigan (65 percent) and Wisconsin (64 percent).

Attitudes toward climate change

Over the past decade, a growing number of Americans have come to understand that global warming is happening and that Americans are already being harmed by it.

A small and declining number of Americans continue to dismiss the reality and the risks of global warming. Our analysis finds that, currently, 9 percent of Americans have what we characterize as “dismissive” beliefs about the issue. Meanwhile, 18 percent are “alarmed” (i.e., very concerned about the issue) and 34 percent are “concerned” (moderately concerned about the issue).

Edward Maibach, CC BY-SA

Conservative Republicans are the least likely to accept that global warming is happening. However, large numbers of conservative Republicans have revised their views in the past several years.

Between spring of 2014 and fall of 2016, the proportion of conservative Republicans who said that global warming is happening increased 18 percentage points – from 28 percent to 46 percent. It is rare to see such a large change in public attitudes in such a short span of time, especially on issues that have long been debated and politically polarized.

It’s too soon to know if President Trump will side with the nationalists on his advisory team who want to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, or whether he will side with his moderate advisers (including members of his own family) and with dozens of American business leaders who want the United States to remain in the Paris Agreement.

However, one thing is clear: Americans and American voters – by a wide margin – want our nation to remain a participant and leader in the international agreement to reduce global warming pollution.

Ed Maibach, Director of Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University; Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, Yale University, and Jennifer Marlon, Research Scientist, Yale University

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

National Forest Advisory Board Meeting – Wednesday, May 17, 2017  

 

 

Custer, SD, May 15, 2017 – The May 2017 meeting of the Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board (NFAB) is scheduled for Wednesday, May 17 at the Forest Service Mystic Ranger District Office, 8221 Mount Rushmore Rd, Rapid City, SD 57702. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. and end no later than 5 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.

The Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board was established, consistent with the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, to provide advice and recommendations to the Black Hills National Forest on a broad range of forest issues such as forest health, travel management, forest monitoring and evaluation, forest plan revisions or amendments, recreation fees, and site-specific projects having forest-wide implications.

Topics on the agenda for the meeting include: Black Hills Resilient Landscape Project update, Black Hills Invasive Plant Partnership presentation, non-motorized trails and teckla osage 230 kV powerline update.

For further information, contact Scott Jacobson, NFAB Committee Coordinator, Black Hills National Forest, 1019 North 5th Street, Custer SD 57730, (605) 440-1409.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills.

To Curb Climate Change We Need To Protect And Expand US Forest

 

File 20170508 20738 1pdn77u
Cypress swamp near Mandeville, Louisiana.Neal Wellons/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

William Moomaw
Tufts University

Forests have been removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing carbon for more than 300 million years. When we cut down or burn trees and disturb forest soils, we release that stored carbon to the atmosphere. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere from human activities have come from deforestation. The Conversation

To slow climate change, we need to rapidly reduce global emissions from fossil fuels, biofuels, deforestation and wetland and agricultural soils. We need to also accelerate the removal of carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere.

In a new report published by the nonprofit Dogwood Alliance, my co-author Danna Smith and I show that we have a major opportunity to make progress on climate change by restoring degraded U.S. forests and soils. If we reduce logging and unsustainable uses of wood, we can increase the rate at which our forests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and ensure that it will remain stored in healthy forests.

An undervalued resource

At the 2015 Paris climate conference, the United States and 196 other nations agreed to combat climate change by cutting their greenhouse gas emissions. The Paris Agreement recognizes that forests play an important role in meeting climate goals by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing carbon in trees and soils. But the agreement calls for steps only to protect and restore tropical forests.

These forests clearly are important. They hold such enormous amounts of carbon that if they were a country, their emissions from logging and forest clearing would rank them as the world’s third-largest source, behind China and the United States.

But these activities are also having a serious and little-recognized impact in the United States. Net U.S. forest growth each year removes an amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere equal to 11 to 13 percent of our fossil fuel emissions. This is only about half of the average carbon uptake by forests worldwide. In other words, U.S. forests are much less effective at capturing and storing carbon relative to our fossil fuel emissions than forests globally.

The greatest contribution to this gap is logging. We are cutting trees in the United States at a rate that has reduced the carbon storage potential of U.S. forests by 42 percent of its potential. Recent satellite images show that the southeastern United States has the highest forest disturbance rate in the world.

Environmental impacts of the wood pellet industry in the southeastern United States.

Overharvesting reduces carbon storage

When European settlers arrived at the start of the 17th century, forests covered much of the eastern and northern portion of North America. By the late 1800s, 85 to 90 percent of these forests had been cut. Only about 1 percent of original intact old-growth forest remains in the lower 48 states. Regrowth now covers 62 percent of areas that originally were forested, and commercial tree plantations cover an additional 8 percent.

Tree plantations grow rapidly but are harvested frequently and retain very little soil carbon and are harvested more frequently. As a result, they store less carbon than natural forests.

And we are still logging our forests at a significant rate. According to recent studies, timber harvesting in U.S. forests currently releases more carbon dioxide annually than fossil fuel emissions from the residential and commercial sectors combined.

These harvests support a large wood and paper products industry. The United States produces about 28 percent of the world’s wood pulp and 17 percent of timber logs – more than any other country in the world. It is also the leading producer of wood pellets and wood chips for the growing forest bioenergy sector (burning wood in various forms for energy) at home and abroad.

Wood energy is not low-carbon

Forest bioenergy is widely considered to be a renewable fuel source, because new trees can grow – albeit slowly – to replace those that are consumed. But it is not a low-carbon energy source. Bioenergy produces about as much carbon as coal per unit of heat released. Burning wood in power plants to generate electricity is typically 50 percent more carbon-intensive than coal-fired generation per unit of electricity produced.

But proponents assert that forest bioenergy is carbon-neutral because new tree growth, somewhere now or in the future, removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and “offsets” carbon emissions when biofuels are burned. Although the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated clearly that bioenergy is as carbon-intensive as fossil fuels, the European Union and many U.S. states classify biomass as a zero-carbon energy source like wind and solar power.

Wood yard, Schiller Station, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. One boiler at the four-unit plant was converted to wood in 2006 and has consumed more than five million tons of wood fuel. PSNH/Flickr, CC BY-ND

Today 60 percent of the European Union’s renewable energy comes from bioenergy. Notably, the United Kingdom is ending its use of coal for electricity, but is replacing coal with wood pellets imported from the southeast United States.

Needless to say, it does not make economic sense to import eight million tons of wood pellets yearly across the Atlantic Ocean. However, the British government has provided over $1 billion in annual subsidies to utilities to pay the cost of pellet production and transport.

Moreover, under climate accounting rules, emissions from burning wood for energy are counted as coming from land use change — that is, harvesting trees. This means that the United Kingdom is outsourcing carbon emissions from its wood-fired power plants to the United States. And the U.S. forest products industry and U.K. power companies are profiting from activities that have serious harmful impacts on Earth’s climate.

The value of standing forests

Forests provide more than forest products or carbon storage. They prevent flooding, provide natural filtration for drinking water, support wildlife, moderate local temperature extremes and provide a storehouse of scientific knowledge, cultural values and recreation opportunities.

To make forests part of our climate strategy, we need a carbon accounting system that accurately reflects flows of carbon between the biosphere and the atmosphere. Bioenergy emissions should be counted as coming from energy production, rather than as a land use change.

We also must manage our forest systems on a sound ecological basis rather than as an economic growth-oriented business, and value the multiple ecosystem services that forests provide. One way to do this would be to pay landowners for maintaining standing forests instead of only subsidizing logging for timber, fiber or fuel. We cannot log and burn our way to a low-carbon, stable climate future.

William Moomaw, Professor Emeritus of International Environmental Policy, Tufts University

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

 

Recreational Shooting on the Black Hills National Forest  

May 3, 2017

Custer, SD  – Recreational shooting is popular and a long standing tradition in the Black Hills. When shooting, please take safety precautions, be aware of your surroundings and be respectful of surrounding natural resources. Clean-up of target shooting areas and responsible use by the public allows the Forest Service to keep areas open for enjoyment by everyone.

The Black Hills National Forest does not have designated target shooting areas. For information on a specific area, please call a local Forest Service Office.

Prohibited shooting activities on the Forest include: no discharging a weapon within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area, within or into a cave, across or on a road or body of water or in any manner that endangers a person.

regional closure order prohibits un-permitted explosives on National Forest System Lands, specifically to prohibit the use of exploding targets. Persons shooting at exploding targets can face a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment of not more than 6 months, or both.

Shooting must not cause damage to facilities or natural resources, disrupt other uses or endanger public safety. Targets, wads, shells, brass and other refuse should be removed when shooting is done. To help prevent wildfire starts when shooting, ensure the target area is free of rocks as sparks from ricochets are common.  Be responsible for your action and follow outdoor ethics, Leave No Trace  and Tread Lightly! on federal lands.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, call (605) 673-9200, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills or download the new Forest phone app at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/black-hills-national-forest/id1156230107?mt=8 (iPhone/iPad) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.usda.fs.nf.blackhills (Android)

Climate Politics Environmentalists Need to Think Globally Act Locally

Image 20170327 3308 12h771e
The outdoor retail industry is moving its lucrative trade show out of Utah after disputes with state officials over land conservation. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

By Nives Dolsak, University of Washington and Aseem Prakash, University of Washington

As President Trump pivots from a failed attempt to overhaul health care to new orders rolling back controls on carbon pollution, environmentalists are preparing for an intense fight. We study environmental politics, and believe the health care debate holds an important lesson for green advocates: Policies that create concrete benefits for specific constituencies are hard to discontinue. The Conversation

Opinion polls and hostile audiences at Republican legislators’ town hall meetings show that the Affordable Care Act won public support by extending health insurance to the uninsured. And this constituency is not shy about defending its gains.

The same lesson can be applied to environmental issues. In our view, environmentalists need to defend environmental regulations by emphasizing their concrete benefits for well-defined constituencies, and mobilize those groups to protect their gains.

Environmentalists should continue making broad, long-term arguments about addressing climate change. After all, there is an important political constituency that views climate change as the defining challenge for humanity and favors active advocacy on climate issues. At the same time, however, they need to find more ways to talk about local jobs and benefits from climate action so they can build constituencies that include both greens and workers.

Pork-barrel environmentalism?

Americans have a love-hate relationship with pork-barrel politics. Reformers decry it, but many legislators boast about the goodies they bring home. As former Texas Senator Phil Gramm once famously crowed, “I’m carrying so much pork, I’m beginning to get trichinosis.” And pragmatists assert that in moderate quantities, pork helps deals get made.

Classic studies of the politics of regulation by scholars such as Theodore Lowi and James Q. Wilson show that when benefits from a regulation are diffused across many people or large areas and costs are concentrated on specific constituencies, we can expect political resistance to the regulation. Groups who stand to lose have strong incentives to oppose it, while those who benefit form a more amorphous constituency that is harder to mobilize.

On Feb. 16, 2017, after signing legislation to repeal a rule regulating disposition of coal mining waste, President Trump celebrates with coal miners and legislators from Ohio and West Virginia. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

We can see this dynamic in climate change debates. President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt contend that undoing carbon pollution controls will promote job growth. Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America, argues that the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan will destroy coal jobs and communities, and that “green jobs” in clean energy industries are unlikely to be located in coal country.

Climate change can be framed in many ways, and there has been much discussion about which approaches best engage the public. Environmental advocates can do a better job of emphasizing how climate regulations produce local benefits along with global benefits.

One promising initiative, the BlueGreen Alliance, is a coalition of major labor unions and environmental organizations. Before President Trump’s recent visit to Michigan, the alliance released data showing that nearly 70,000 workers in well over 200 factories and engineering facilities in Michigan alone were producing technologies that helped vehicle manufacturers meet current fuel efficiency standards. Regulations can be job creators, but this truth needs to be told effectively.

Pipelines: Local jobs or global environmental protection

President Trump’s approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines demonstrates the difficulty of fighting locally beneficial programs with global arguments.

Environmentalists argue, correctly, that both pipelines are part of the infrastructure that supports the fossil fuel economy. For example, by some estimates the KXL pipeline could increase global carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 110 million tons annually by making possible increased oil production from Canadian tar sands.
By endorsing both pipelines, Trump is probably seeking to consolidate his support among midwestern working-class voters who believe, rightly or wrongly, that urban environmental elites are imposing job-killing regulations. But these pipelines also impose local costs, which have spurred Native American protests against DAPL and opposition to KXL from farmers, ranchers and citizens in Nebraska.However, both the AFL-CIO and the Teamsters support the projects. They believe pipelines create jobs, although there is broad disagreement over how many jobs they generate over what time period.

Local protests have not changed the Trump administration’s political calculus on DAPL or KXL, which is why opponents in both cases are turning to the courts. But in other instances environmental groups have successfully mobilized communities by highlighting local issues.

Conserving Utah’s public lands

Federal control of public lands is a sore issue for Republicans, particularly in western states. Utah offers a fascinating example. State politicians want to reverse President Obama’s designation of the Bears Ears National Monument and reduce the amount of land included in the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument. But conservationists successfully blocked recent efforts by allying with the outdoor recreation industry.

By some estimates Utah’s outdoor recreation industry employs 122,000 people and brings US$12 billion into the state each year. Utah hosts the biannual Outdoor Retailer trade show, which brings about $45 million in annual direct spending.

In response to Utah officials’ efforts to roll back federal land protection, the outdoor retail industry has announced that it will move the prestigious trade show to another state after its contract with Salt Lake City expires in 2018. Patagonia is boycotting the 2017 summer show and asking supporters to contact Utah politicians and urge them to keep “public lands in public hands.” The bicycle industry is also planning to move its annual trade show to a location outside Utah.

Governor Gary Herbert has reacted by offering to negotiate with the industry. U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz introduced a bill in January that called for selling off more than three million acres of federal land in Utah, but withdrew it after massive protests from hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. Hunters and gun owners are important constituents for Chaffetz and other conservative Republican politicians.

Wetland restoration project sponsored by the hunting and conservation organization Ducks Unlimited, Barron County, Wisconsin. Wisconsin DNR/Flickr, CC BY-ND

Renewable energy means high-tech jobs

Environmentalists also successfully localized green regulations in Ohio, where Republican Governor John Kasich vetoed a bill in December 2016 that would have made the state’s renewable electricity targets voluntary instead of mandatory for two years.

As a politician with presidential ambitions who claims credit for his state’s economic success, Kasich knows that several high-tech companies in Ohio have committed to switching to renewable energy. As one example, Amazon is investing in local wind farms to power its energy-intensive data servers, in response to criticism from environmental groups.

Ohio froze its renewable energy standards for two years in 2014 after utilities and some large power customers argued that they were becoming expensive to meet. But when the legislature passed a bill in 2016 that extended the freeze for two more years, a coalition of renewable energy companies and environmental groups mobilized against it. In his veto message, Kasich noted that the measure might antagonize “companies poised to create many jobs in Ohio in the coming years, such as high-technology firms.”

In sum, environmental regulations have a better chance of surviving if there are mobilized constituencies willing to defend them. And in the longer term, a local and job-oriented focus could expand the blue-green alliance and move the working class closer to the environmental agenda.

Nives Dolsak, Professor of Environmental Policy, University of Washington and Aseem Prakash, Walker Family Professor and Founding Director, Center for Environmental Politics, University of Washington

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

Sylvan Lake – Ducks – Geese – Texas Cattle And Rhode Island Reds

March 25, 2017
By Herb Ryan

Saturday afternoon was a slow news day in Custer until a call came in for Custer County Search and Rescue to help find two overdue hikers in the Sylvan Lake area. A common call as the weather warms up and the crowds start hiking up to Black Elk Peak. I did take my time getting there and was pleased to hear on arrival that the hikers were back and all was well. The Search and Rescue Team decided to try out their new radio repeater to see if it would improve two-way radio transmission in the area and eliminate radio dead zones during search and rescue operations.

I have a photo shoot scheduled in the area Friday and needed to be in the area in the afternoon to scout specific locations and sun angles. So, always trying to improve skills on an overcast day, or any day for that matter, I got down in the duck soup and started shooting. Hope you enjoy and appreciate that we have all this beauty in our immediate area.

Custer Free Press will eventually become more along the lines of “Life” Magazine with photo-essays, and essential local news.

Unless otherwise stated all photos are original and taken by Herb Ryan/Herb Ryan Photography

First try at Sylvan Lake. Saturday, March 25, 2017. Herb Ryan Photography

 

Sylvan Lake, flash, 70-200 f2.8 – Saturday, March 25, 2017. Herb Ryan Photography

 

Lunch time, Sylvan Lake, 70-200 f2.8 – Saturday, March 25, 2017. Herb Ryan Photography

 

Sylvan Lake Road. Fenced in Texas Cattle close to the road. 70-200 f2.8 – Saturday, March 25, 2017. Herb Ryan Photography

 

This guy was really curious and I might add, had a really great personality. Sylvan Lake Road. 70-200 f2.8 – Saturday, March 25, 2017. Herb Ryan Photography

 

One of Mrs. Sullivans Rhode Island Reds, at a peaceful homestead in Custer. Saturday, March 25, 2017. Herb Ryan Photography