Tuesday, July 31, 2007

AZ ecologist views on lake wonders and concerns

BURT LAKE MI -- As a native Michigander who’s been in the Sonoran Desert of Tucson for 13 years now, I love and cherish Burt Lake and the Great Lakes region more than ever. It is a wonderful, special and fragile part of the earth, our only home.

This summer my family and I enjoyed the lakes very much, but as an ecologist I also considered and worried some about their future. Burt Lake and other Great Lakes region waters must be protected more strongly to thrive. Some of my top concerns are:

Global warming pollution and related climate change: In late July, the University of Michigan Biological Station on Douglas and Burt Lakes hosted the first ‘Challenges of Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region’ conference. It was an important event focusing on the science and what we can expect in the future. There is reason for concern.

There is very likely to be less winter ice on the lakes in the future, and what ice does form will come late and leave early. This is a big bummer if you like to ice fish. Less freeze and ice could also aid more invasions from harmful non-native species, damaging the natural web-of-life.

Lake levels also will very likely drop more. Scientists predict the Great Lakes themselves will very likely drop another meter or more in the not so distant future. Shallow areas may be exposed. Plan on laying out a lot more dock.

We can help curb global warming climate change by using less energy and gasoline, and demanding that our President and Congress act now to cut global warming pollution by 80% in 20 years by getting off coal and using less and cleaner energy. We have the technology and clear need to do it. This is America, and we can solve the global warming pollution crisis. It is our moral responsibility for our children, grandchildren and future generations.

Off-road vehicles: Abuse of public and private lands by off-road vehicles is a growing national problem, and I saw some evidence this summer that it is a growing problem in Northern Michigan. Far too many off-roaders are going off the trails. Some even drive past clear signs and barriers to speed down beaches, including on protected lands and endangered species habitat.

Cheboygan, Emmet and other counties don’t need all these seasonal roads. A lot of seasonal roads cut across the landscape, and are too often abused by off-roaders. Many should be closed and abandoned. Lathers Road through the Indian Point forest is an especially appropriate candidate to be changed to non-motorized use.

Overdevelopment and exploitation of natural resources: As a hunter and outdoorsman, I support sustainable management of wildlife and natural resources. I am concerned that too much open space is being paved.

Almost all of the Burt Lake shore is developed, which can be okay if people live responsibly. The positive movement for more greenbelts along Burt Lake helps protect water quality. These un-mowed areas are attractive, and help filter pollutants out of water run off before it goes in to the lake. If you don’t have a greenbelt yet, grow one, and also talk with your neighbors about it. The lake wins, wildlife wins, and you win for these reasons and because you’ll have less to mow.

The Burt Lake Preservation Association and others are wise to work on road end docking, fishing and other essential political issues that affect the Burt Lake watershed.

Everyone has a right to use our public lakes, but no one has a right to abuse them. Throwing up a dock or other semi-permanent moorings at road ends is an abuse and should be stopped statewide.

Commercial-type heavy fishing also should not be allowed on Burt Lake, and all fishing should be closely managed by DNR to best protect fish and habitat.

I hope to spend significant special family time on Burt Lake for the rest of my life. I support BLPA to help the organization protect this great place. I give a special big thanks to everyone who is on the lake all year and works to protect it every day.


related news: MI forest fire will benefit rare birds

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

BP, Indiana & EPA: Bad Polluters on Great Lakes

Human-powered fun and transit on Lake Michigan

UPDATE, 8/3: Chicago Sun-Times

CHICAGO -- British Petroleum (BP), Republican Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels and the Bush/Cheney EPA have agreed on a Big Pollution plan for a new global warming worsening BP refinery in Indiana on Lake Michigan.

As a Great Lakes native and long-time Arizonan, I cherish the Great Lakes more than ever, as do the people.

Far too much of the Indiana shoreline around Gary is already an industrial waste due to poor decisions by corporations like BP, corrupt agencies and jerk politicians like Gov. Daniels.

In the US House right now members from both major parties are rising to blast BP and Indiana. R's and D's, especially from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota, are hammering BP, Indiana and EPA. Right on! Beat down BP.

Chump alert! Rep. John Peterson (R-PA) rises to lamely excuse BP, IN and Bush/Cheney.

Protect the Great Lakes and fight global warming. Truly go beyond petroluem, boycott BP stations now! BP cannot be allowed to increase harmful pollution in to our Great Lakes.

Time to sack BP. Go back to London, British Polluters.

The state of Indiana, with its relatively small frontage on the Great Lakes, cannot be allowed to compromise the health of the fragile global natural resource of the Great Lakes.

Shame on BP! Shame on Indiana! Shame on Bush/Cheney EPA!

Cancel the refinery. Stop buying so much gas, especially from BP.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Away from computers and this blog until August 4

TUCSON -- I'll be mostly away from computers and enjoying the real world until Aug. 4.

The revolution will not be computerized, it will be live.

A great man has passed: Corbin Harney, NV leader

Corbin Harney with his trademark smile

SANTA ROSA CA -- Corbin Harney Spiritual Leader of the Western Shoshone Nation crossed over at 11:00 a.m. July 10 in a house on a sacred mountain near Santa Rosa, CA (Turtle Island).

I knew Corbin and worked with him to prevent nuclear waste dumping in the Mojave Desert at Ward Valley CA.

He had dedicated his life to fighting the nuclear testing and dumping. That battle claimed his life through cancer. Before he passed, he said to remember: “We are one people. We cannot separate ourselves now. There are many good things to be done for our people and for the world. It is important to let things be good. And it is important to teach the younger generation so that things are not lost.”

According to witnesses present, in the morning fog, the spirits of four Shoshoni dog soldiers were outside on horsebackbefore Corbin’s passing. But then one of the Shoshone present, Santiago Lozada, yelled “Tosawi Tosawi!” (White Knife). And then the fog shifted and there were thousands of spirits waiting.

Corbin passed peacefully at the end. He was only worried that he still had more to do. When he finally let go and went with the dog soldiers, Red Wolf Pope, grandson of Rolling Thunder, was present and sang him the Tosawi death song to call the dog soldiers to come take him home. Golden eagles continue to circle the house hours after his crossing.”

True to form Corbin joked around several days ago that he was going to go at 11:00, and kept his promise.

Over his lifetime, Corbin traveled around the world as a speaker, healer and spiritual leader with a profound spiritual and environmental message for all. He received numerous national and international awards and spoke before the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Corbin also authored two books: “The Way It Is: One Water, One Air, One Earth” (Blue Dolphin Publishing, 1995) and a forthcoming book, “The Nature Way”. Numerous documentaries have been made about his work and message. In 1994, Corbin established the Shundahai Network to work with people and organizations to respond to spiritual and environmental concerns on nuclear issues. He also established Poo Ha Bah, a native healing center located in Tecopa Springs, California. He will be missed but always honored for his work and dedication to traditional ways.

Corbin Harney is descended from generations of Newe (Shoshone) traditional healers and was always grateful for the many extraordinary teachers who shared their knowledge in his lifetime. Corbin is survived by his daughter Reynaulda Taylor; granddaughters Ann Taylor and Nada Leno; grandsons Keith, Jon and Joel Leno and William Henry Taylor; seven great-grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; and his sister Rosie Blossom’s family and many cousins and other family members as well as many, many friends around the world. Corbin was preceded in death by his mother, father, sister, grandparents, uncle, great granddaughter, cousins, and friends. A very special thanks to Patricia Davidson, Corbin’s caregiver in his final months; Dominic Daileda, Corbin’s friend and companion for his support and compassion in hard times, and the family of Dixie and Martin van der Kamp for opening up their home and their hearts to Corbin and his family and friends during his time of need.

Dates and times for services are being made with official announcement to follow. Three day services are planned at the home of Larson R. Bill, So Ho Bee – Newe Sogobe (Lee, Nevada –Western Shoshone Territory) with burial services at Battle Mountain Indian Community, Battle Mountain Nevada.

Family contact information (non-media only): Donations may be made either to the immediate family through: Reynaulda Taylor P.O. Box 397 Owyhee, Nevada 89832 775-757-2610 or 775-757-2064 annietaytay@yahoo.com

Or, to: The Corbin Harney Way 6360 Sonoma Mtn. Rd. Santa Rosa, CA 95404.

- from Shundahai Network

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Off-road vehicles #1 crime threat on SW BLM lands

Public land enemy #1

UPDATE, 7/19

TUCSON -- Off-roading violations account for the lion’s share of law enforcement problems on federal lands, according to official crime statistics released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Figures from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) indicate that incidents involving off-road vehicles are not only the biggest drain on rangers’ resources but, nationally and in the Western U.S., generate more law enforcement citations than all other criminal activity combined.

“Off-roading is the biggest law enforcement problem on public lands today,” said Ed Patrovsky, a retired 25-year National Park Service and BLM Law Enforcement Ranger and a member of a new coalition called Rangers for Responsible Recreation organized by PEER. “Lawless and inappropriate off-roading causes significant environmental damage, as well as reducing recreational opportunities.”

BLM statistics obtained by PEER under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that off-roading is now the predominant demand on law enforcement time, particularly in the West. For the five-state area of California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, BLM numbers for 2004-07 show –

  • More than 6,600 off-road violations for hit and run, reckless driving, and other crimes;
  • More than twice the number of DUI incidents involving off-road vehicles than for autos; and
  • More than 2,300 incidents of illegal off-roading on closed trails or off-limit areas;

Nationally, there were more than 5,400 law enforcement incidents involving off-road vehicles on BLM lands compared to roughly 900 incidents involving drug enforcement – the next highest category, during 2005, the latest year for which national numbers are available.

“The irresponsible use of off-road vehicles on our public lands is one of the greatest challenges facing land managers today,” commented Bob Abbey, the retired BLM-Nevada Director. “There appears to be a total disregard by many off-roaders of the impacts from their actions.”

In addition to thousands of off-roaders plowing through restricted areas or ignoring trail markers, off-roaders pose an increasing fire danger in the drought-stricken West. For example, the five-state BLM statistics show more than 100 spark arrestor violations, which increase the chance of wildfires.

“It is clear that the off-road community has no capacity for self-policing because irresponsible off-roading is now totally out of control,” stated Southwest PEER Director Daniel Patterson, an ecologist who formerly worked with BLM. “Off-road vehicle problems cannot simply be blamed on just a ‘few bad apples’– as industry apologists try to do. America needs stronger penalties to deter reckless off-roading.”

Rangers for Responsible Recreation are urging much tougher penalties for off-road violations, as well as law enforcement funding devoted to stemming the avalanche of problems occasioned by reckless off-roading. In addition, the coalition is urging Congress to conduct reviews aimed at establishing the true financial and environmental tolls that off-roading is wreaking on America’s public lands.

- from PEER

Media coverage: 7/11, Victorville Daily Press; 7/11, Arizona Republic; 7/12, Salt Lake Tribune; 7/12, Idaho Statesman; 7/13, Salt Lake Tribune editorial; 7/14, Ralph M's Wildlife News (ID); 7/17, Arizona Daily Star; 7/17, Arizona Republic; 7/17, Salt Lake Tribune letter; 7/18, Seattle Times (AP); 7/22, East Valley Tribune; 7/24, ABQ Journal; 7/24, East Valley Tribune; 7/31, Arizona Republic


Related news: Off-road industry loses bogus lawsuit seeking to destroy desert stream in Surprise Canyon near Death Valley.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ethics problems go on at Bush/Cheney Interior Dpt.

Bush and Kempthorne

TUCSON -- Please read this important editorial today from NYT. I'm proud to say that PEER and I worked with NYT on this issue and editorial.


NEW YORK TIMES -- July 10, 2007, Editorial

Interior’s Incomplete Ethics Policy

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has described himself as a late-inning relief pitcher, sent in to clean up the department after the tumultuous and destructive reign of Gale Norton. Not the least of his problems has been the terrible ethical hangover left by Ms. Norton’s deputy, J. Steven Griles, who went to prison for lying to Congress about his ties to Jack Abramoff, a convicted former lobbyist.

From his first day about a year ago, Mr. Kempthorne has stressed the importance of ethical behavior. He recently sent all employees a plan to transform his agency into what he called “a model of an ethical workplace” — including more ethics lawyers, stronger disciplinary procedures and new restrictions on meetings with lobbyists.

This is good, but not enough. Almost no attention is paid to the most fundamental ethical failure of the Norton regime: the willingness to censor or tailor scientific findings to suit the ideological objectives of the White House and the wishes of industry and other special interests. Mr. Griles was among the worst offenders, carrying water for oil, gas, mining and grazing interests. But there were others.

The department’s inspector general found that Julie A. MacDonald, a deputy assistant secretary, ran roughshod over scientists whose findings on behalf of certain endangered species annoyed commercial interests. Ms. MacDonald, who has since resigned, was also accused of sending internal agency documents to industry lobbyists.

Paul Hoffman, a deputy assistant secretary with strong ties to Vice President Dick Cheney, demanded the lifting of restrictions on commercial activity in the national parks, including snowmobiles, despite warnings from agency scientists that doing so would expose the parks to environmental harm.

Congress has taken note. Alarmed by reports that Mr. Cheney intervened in efforts to save fish species in Oregon’s Klamath River Basin, Nick Rahall, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, is resuming his investigation into the administration’s favoring of politics over science.

If Mr. Kempthorne is serious about cleaning up his agency, this deserves his attention as well.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Live Earth was important, fun and successful event

Beastie Boys perform at Live Earth in London

TUCSON -- In my view, Saturday's Live Earth concerts for a climate in crisis were a success in drawing more attention to the big threat of global warming pollution.

The downtown Tucson event on 4th Av. was packed, with hundreds watching the show.

Thanks to all the organizers and performers who made Live Earth happen, now it's up to all of us to live more simply and reduce our pollution.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

AZR, Grijalva want open Army YPG process; Kofa

PHOENIX and YUMA -- The Arizona Republic has an important editorial today about the need for transparency on the Army's consideration of a huge expansion of the already huge Yuma Proving Ground (YPG).

"We need more transparency. Plus a look at all possible options," says the Republic about the Army's plans.

Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), who represents the area of concern, also is backing an open process from the Army now.

I agree.

We also need to know how much Sen. John McCain has been involved in the so far secret effort to expand YPG.

Army staff answered in June to questions from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) that McCain has been 'very involved' since the start of YPG expansion planning, said to be a year or so ago.

McCain's offices in Phoenix and Tucson have not returned calls from PEER and others asking about the GOP candidate's involvement in planning YPG expansion.

America needs a President who is open and honest, especially after the dark and secretive Bush/Cheney regime. If the current YPG gag is an indicator, John McCain may not be that man.


other AZ news: Kofa NWR mismanagement and puma killing.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

USFS fire-industrial complex attacks Sky Islands

Western forests are too often denied healthy fire, leading to catastrophic blazes

TUCSON -- Western forests need natural fire to be healthy. The monsoon season is starting now, and lightning started a natural fire yesterday in the Santa Catalina Mountains, north of the city. This is good news.

The natural fire is in a remote area east of Molino Basin, an area of the Catalinas that needs to burn to reduce forest fuels build-up and improve forest health. The light rains and higher humidity of the monsoon season should keep raging wild fire conditions in check. There are no structures near the fire.

So do Coronado National Forest managers do the smart thing and monitor the fire as it burns?

No, Forest Managers Jeanine Derby and Larry Raley decide to spend big money and risk lives to fully fight and suppress a natural fire on a mountain that needs fire.

Through access fees for Mt. Lemmon and Sabino Canyon, the Forest Service shamefully manages the Catalina Range like a big cash register. Derby and Raley likely immediately decided that letting this fire burn may affect the bogus fees they try to collect from people enjoying their public lands there. Plus, they have a big fire budget from congress that they just have to spend to continue to justify future fire budgets.

The US fire-industrial complex again shows spending money and looking busy playing Smokey the Bear trumps forest health.

To their credit, the Forest Service and National Park Service are monitoring and letting burn, at least for now, a natural fire in the Rincon Mountains east of Tucson. Due to a natural fire cycle, and more liberal fire policies of the Park Service, the Rincons are one of the most diverse and health Sky Islands in the region.

Friday, July 06, 2007

NM seeks to protect Mx. wolves from USDA killers

Endangered wolf murdered in Catron County NM, 1/04

SANTA FE -- Governor Bill Richardson seeks to change key protocols for the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program following a recent wolf kill incident in southwestern New Mexico.

“I am deeply concerned about the recent escalation in wolf removals and incidents surrounding yesterday’s lethal removal of a female wolf,” said Governor Bill Richardson. “State Police are investigating the incident and are collecting the facts as this investigation takes its course.”

On July 5, attempts to kill wolf AF924 were initiated before adequate notification was provided to the State of New Mexico. The wolf was killed by federal Wildlife Services before adequate communication was established which resulted in conflicts between federal and state staff involved with the wolf program.

"This type of confusion is not an adequate basis for accomplishing important wolf restoration," said Governor Richardson.

The lethal removal of a female wolf, that leaves pups with a single parent, is a setback to the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program in New Mexico and Arizona, and signals that it is time to reexamine the protocols under which wolves are removed from the wild.

Governor Richardson has instructed the Director of the Department of Game & Fish and members of the State Game Commission to work with the state’s partners in the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program to review and revise standard operating procedures related to the control of nuisance (non-depredating) and problem (depredating) Mexican wolves. The Governor has also called for the immediate suspension of the use of Standard Operating Procedure 13 (SOP 13) procedures in New Mexico pending these revisions.

“I strongly support the effective recovery of endangered Mexican wolves in the Southwest, done in a responsible and sensitive way,” said Governor Bill Richardson. “Changes must be made to the protocol for the wolf re-introduction program.”

The Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program is led by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and supported by a set of partners in the recovery area. The NMDGF is an active participant, along with the Arizona Department of Game & Fish, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services, and the White Mountain Apache Tribe. The standard operating procedures established by the partners enhance the coordination and effective management of wolves.

In March 2007, Governor Richardson directed the State Game Commission and the Department of Game and Fish to redouble their efforts to work with all interests to promote healthy wolf populations living in reasonable compatibility with our communities and land stewards in New Mexico. These activities are ongoing.

- from NM Gov.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

McDonald's will run UK delivery fleet on biodiesel

LONDON -- I don't like or eat McDonald's, but this eco move deserves some credit. I'll give them even more credit when and if they move to biodiesel in Arizona and the USA.

McDonald's will be scouring its friers for leftover oil and recycling it into biodiesel to power its fleet of British delivery vehicles, the fast-food chain said Monday.

The move will save about 1,700 tons of carbon annually, which is the equivalent of removing about 2,400 cars from the road each year, when the national rollout is completed next year, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said.

"We are delighted to now have a practical, efficient use for (the used cooking oil) within our own business," McDonald's Corp. senior vice president Matthew Howe said in a statement.

McDonald's said the fuel changeover would begin with 20 of its 155-vehicle British fleet converting to a mixture of used cooking oil and pure rapeseed oil.

-- adapted from AP

USA and Arizona are liberal, and getting more so

Grand Canyon Liberal State

WASHINGTON -- Researchers recently completed a new joint report called, "The Progressive Majority: Why a Conservative America is a Myth."

The report uses non-partisan polling data gathered over the course of 20 years to show that conventional wisdom that Americans are overwhelmingly conservative is simply wrong.

This important report backs the truth that America – regardless of how the corporate media portrays it – is a liberal nation that is getting more liberal, including here in Arizona.

One example of public views, the outrage of me many in Arizona over the Bush/Cheney favor to keep Scooter Libby out of prison -- a sorry sucker decision and disgrace to justice. The lame duck Bush goes lower than low, in to limbo.


  • “Providing health insurance for people who do not already have it—should the federal government spend more on it, the same as now, less, or no money at all?”
    • Percent answering “More”: Arizona 68%
  • The federal government helping to pay for health insurance for all children—do you favor or oppose this?
    • Percent answering “favor”: Arizona 78%
  • “The federal government helping employers pay the cost of their workers’ health insurance—do you favor or oppose this?”
    • Percent answering “favor”: Arizona 71%
  • “Providing financial assistance to public elementary and secondary schools—should the federal government spend more on it, the same as now, less, or no money at all?”
    • Percent answering “more”: Arizona 71%
  • “The federal government trying to reduce the income differences between rich and poor Americans—do you favor or oppose the federal government doing this?”
    • Percent favoring: Arizona 53%
  • “The federal government banning all abortions—do you favor or oppose the federal government doing this?”
    • Percent opposed: Arizona 68%
  • “Would you favor or oppose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution saying that no state can allow two men to marry each other or two women to marry each other?”
    • Favor: 37% Oppose: 53%


- adapted from MM

Monday, July 02, 2007

Candidates asked to back science and open gov't

Gov. Bill Richardson, presidential candidate

WASHINGTON -- An important question to Arizona and the west: will America's next President stop scientific manipulation and whistleblower retaliation?

Each of the declared presidential candidates is being asked whether he or she will adhere to principles of open government if elected. Developed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the "Public Service Pledge" calls upon candidates to commit to -

· Conduct the people's business in the open and facilitate oversight by keeping vital documents in the public domain;

· Protect scientists who report inconvenient truths and remove from office those who manipulate public agency science for political ends; and

· Support public servants who tell the truth and exhibit zero tolerance for appointees who retaliate or condone retaliation against whistleblowers.

Joining PEER in putting candidates on the record is a committee of prominent Americans, called the Leadership Council. This Council features well-known political activists such as Robert Kennedy, Jr., former U.S. Rep. Pete McCloskey (R-CA) and commentator Jim Hightower, as well as activist/entertainers such as Al Franken and Ed Begley, Jr. In addition, the Council includes notable public servants who have experienced retaliation for their candor, such as federal climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, ex- FBI agent Colleen Rowley and former U.S. Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers.

One of the legacies of the Bush administration has been an unprecedented level of suppression and manipulation of science, particularly on environmental issues, for political reasons. At the same time, legal protections for, and official attitudes toward, federal whistleblowers has hit a new low. The combination has increasingly forced federal public servants into conflict between their consciences and their careers.

"Which candidates will publicly vow to run a transparent administration where honesty is no longer a firing offense?" asked PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "It is absolutely vital to the quality of our democracy that the gross informational chicanery seen during the past six years comes to an end."

PEER has also created a website so that voters can easily contact the campaign of their favorite (or not so favorite) candidate and ask him or her to sign the Public Service Pledge. PEER will post the candidate replies. As a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, PEER cannot endorse or oppose any candidate for electoral office but can inform the public of candidate positions on issues.

"This pledge is one campaign promise that everyone has a stake in ensuring is not broken," Ruch added.

- adapted from PEER

Sunday, July 01, 2007

PHX restores river, Tucson hordes water for sprawl

PHX healed part of the Salt near downtown, while SoAZ's Santa Cruz remains an abused dusty ditch.

TUCSON -- If Phoenix can restore part of the Salt River, then we can restore the Santa Cruz River here in 'green' Tucson, right?

Full restoration of the Santa Cruz River should be a no-brainer, especially in the downtown area where it would be a big attraction to people and wildlife.

But even with our 'Rio Nuevo/New River' project, the forces of urban sprawl greed in Pima County want more water for development, not so much for river healing. We can't heal the Santa Cruz without putting enough water back in her.
Santa Cruz in 1942 (top) v. now (below)
Congressman Grijalva (D-AZ) is trying to help with federal funding to restore the Santa Cruz from downtown to the south, but clearly Tucsonans need to up the pressure on the City Council and County Supervisors to support real river restoration and quality of life, instead of just hording water for the next million people developers want to move in to metro-Tucson.

Tucson, Pima County, the state and feds can and should dedicate the water and money to fully restore the Santa Cruz.