Archive for the ‘Wild Lands Confiscation’ Category

By Teresa Carson Reuters -11-29-12

PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) – A Canadian environmentalist accused of taking part in a campaign of arson attacks across the U.S. West surrendered on Thursday after a decade on the run to face charges in what authorities call the “largest eco-terrorism case” in U.S. history.

Rebecca Jeanette Rubin turned herself in to FBI agents at the Canadian border in Blaine, Washington, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement. She is charged with helping set a wave of arson fires between 1996 and 2001 that were carried out by self-proclaimed members of the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front.

              “Rubin’s arrest marks the end of her decade-long period as an international fugitive in the largest eco-terrorism case in United States history,” the Justice Department statement said of the arson spree.

              Officials have given no reason for her surrender.

              Prosecutors said at the time that the case stood out for the number of fires set and damage caused, which was estimated at more than $40 million.

              Rubin, 39, faces arson, destructive device and conspiracy charges in Oregon, California and Colorado. She was expected to make an initial court appearance in Seattle before she is returned to Oregon for trial in U.S. District Court.

The government indicted Rubin in 2006 of taking part in a conspiracy with 12 others involving 20 acts of arson.

              She is charged with participating in a 1997 arson fire at a wild horse and burro facility belonging to the Bureau of Land Management in Burns, Oregon, that was set to retaliate for what the group believed was poor treatment of the horses.

              Animals were set free and firebombs placed around the facility, according to a federal grand jury indictment.

She is also accused of participating in a 1998 attempted arson at the Medford, Oregon, offices of U.S. Forest Industries.

In Colorado, Rubin faces eight counts of arson for the 1998 firebombing of a Vail ski resort to stop an expansion that the group felt would encroach on a lynx habitat.

She is also charged with conspiracy, arson and using a destructive device in a 2001 fire at a Bureau of Land Management horse and burro facility near Susanville, California.

Ten of the other 12 defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy and multiple counts of arson in 2007 in Eugene, Oregon, while two, Joseph Dibee and Josephine Overaker, remain at large.

              If convicted on all charges, Rubin could face a maximum penalty of hundreds of years in prison, although the other defendants were sentenced to between 37 to 156 months behind bars, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Peifer said.

              Rubin can consent to have the charges from the three states consolidated and be tried in Oregon, or she can be tried in each jurisdiction, Peifer said.

              (Writing and additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Cynthia Osterman and Lisa Shumaker)

http://news.yahoo.com/environmental-activist-long-wanted-u-arson-attacks-surrenders-015817129.html

Louise (Glasser) believes that the Institute “is the most effective organization in the West for promoting conservation and smart growth on a community level.”

http://sonoraninstitute.org/

Strategic Plan: Bold Plans for the Changing West http://sonoraninstitute.org/about-us/strategic-plan.html

The Legacy Project: Sustainable Desert http://www.sonoraninstitute.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=154&Itemid=12

Land chief takes job at non-profit

Ariz. commissioner will join Sonoran Institute as its  CEO

by Craig Harris – Nov. 21, 2012 10:18 PM The Republic | azcentral.com
Arizona Land Commissioner Maria Baier, who has worked for two Republican  governors and served on the Phoenix City Council, will leave state government to  become chief executive of the Sonoran Institute.

“I’m really excited about it,” Baier said of her new job. “They do great  work. They really try very hard to bring diverse interests together on land  issues that affect the western United States.”

Baier’s last day with the state agency, which is responsible for managing  millions of acres of Arizona trust land, is Nov. 29. She becomes the Sonoran  Institute’s CEO on Dec. 3.

“Maria was our top choice, and we are thrilled she has accepted our offer,”  said Bill Mitchell, chairman of the institute’s board. “We are very excited  about the enthusiasm, vitality and vision that she brings to our organization  for the future.”

The Sonoran Institute is a Tucson-based non-profit organization involved in  public-policy decisions affecting land issues in western North America. For the  fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011, the institute reported having 53  employees, nearly $2.1 million in net assets and $6 million in revenue.

Baier will replace Luther Propst, who founded the organization in 1991 and  has led the Sonoran Institute since its inception.

Baier, 51, quipped that Sonoran’s CEO job opens only every two decades and  that it was something she couldn’t turn down.

John Shepard, senior adviser for the institute, said Baier brings expertise  in land management and public policy from her roles in state government and on  the Phoenix council, where she served before becoming land commissioner.

Shepard said the group expects Baier to expand the organization in  intermountain states.

Baier said she will divide her time in her new job between the Sonoran  Institute’s Phoenix and Tucson offices and will travel to other offices in  Montana, Colorado and Mexico.

Shepard declined to disclose Baier’s salary.

Propst was paid $120,640 a year, according to the group’s most recent  financial records.

Baier, who lives in Phoenix, was appointed land commissioner in 2009 by Gov.  Jan Brewer.

During Baier’s tenure at the Arizona State Land Department, the agency earned  $560 million in revenue through leasing and sales of 25,000 acres of trust  land.

Proceeds from the sales and leasing benefit schools.

Baier, who also worked for then-Gov. Fife Symington, said she was proud that  the Land Department had started solar leases and wind farms while she ran the  agency.

“Even in a bad economy, we generated a lot of money for the beneficiaries of  the trust,” she said.

The governor called Baier a “wonderful asset” to her administration.

Brewer must now appoint a new commissioner.

Matthew Benson, a spokesman for the governor, said that if the governor does  not appoint a replacement for Baier by Nov. 29, Deputy Commissioner Vanessa  Hickman will become the acting commissioner.

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2012/11/20/20121120land-chief-takes-job-non-profit.html

by Bob Unruh 5-17-12

The Obama administration has launched a new battle over water rights that threatens not only the the economies of arid Western states, which largely voted against him in the 2008 election, but their very existence.

WND reported last month that the federal government was creating obstacles for Tombstone, Ariz., to restore its water supplies following last year’s forest fire and monsoon-triggered floods in the nearby mountains. The federal government said crews could not use machinery to rebuild pipelines and spring-water collection systems.

Now, a letter contradicting longstanding federal practice asserts a claim to water in arid Western states, such as Utah, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, that supersedes all other authorities, including decisions by state water courts.

“Federal water rights are entitled to a form of protection that is broader than what may be provided to similarly situated state law rights holders,” states a letter from Julie Decker, the deputy state director in the U.S. Department of the Interior to the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

The letter was objecting to state plans to do a routine “Designation of Adequate Water Supply,” which reviews water resources, rights and uses when changes are proposed.

Decker’s letter said water is not “legally” available for some users who may want to develop property in the area, because “the expressed federal reserved water right created by Congress is senior to all junior water users who initiate uses after the date of the establishment of the reservation.”

Nick Dranias, who holds the Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan Chair for Constitutional Government and is director of the Joseph and Dorothy Donnelly Moller Center for Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute, called it an “existential threat to the Western states.”

The institute is fighting on behalf of Tombstone for its right to repair its water supply system and use the water.

A statement from the institute said the city of Tombstone “is no longer the only one fighting the federal government for water rights.”

“The latest move by the federal Bureau of Land Management appears to herald a bigger and much more comprehensive effort to seize water and access rights on federal lands throughout the Western states,” the statement said.

The newest dispute is the federal government’s letter concerning water rights in Arizona’s San Pedro Riparian watershed. The letter came in response to a request by Sierra Vista’s Pueblo del Sol Water Co., which claims water rights in the area but is being told it cannot use the water without the federal government’s permission.

“This new federal policy not only defies decades of deference to and accommodation of state sovereignty over water law, but it throws a noose around Arizona’s neck, for which water is life,” the institute said.

“The growing federal stranglehold over water rights in Arizona is a direct assault on state autonomy. There is perhaps no better way for the federal government to quell restive Western states, like Arizona, that dare to resist federal immigration, health care, and unionization policies.”

Dranias explained the situation to people in regions of the country where water is more plentiful.

“Water is the lifeblood of the arid Western states. Development would not exist without pretty intensive development of scarce water. That is only possible with the incentives created by ownership,” he said.

Without assurances that water is available, there is no possibility that economic development can occur, he said. In fact, some states have provisions, such as in Colorado, saying a homeowner cannot occupying a building unless a water right is documented for the structure.

He said it was only a few decades back that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a New Mexico case that the federal government deferred to states on water rights.

Now, however, the policy is being repudiated, threatening virtually every water user west of the Mississippi River.

Dranias cited the Tombstone dispute, in which federal officials won’t give the city permission to take equipment into a protected region to repair damage from a forest fire and monsoon-induced flooding. The city has obtained its water from the area since Wyatt Earp helped build a pipeline.

“The federal government doesn’t care about a direct threat to human life, a direct threat to property, a direct threat to the economy. It is will to risk all of that in pursuit of whatever they’re trying to claim as a superior position of water rights,” he said.

Tombstone, which can document through federal letters its ownership of the rights back 130 years, is in a far superior position to most water users in the West. Dranias told of Arizona ranchers who own specific spring-fed water rights but only leased rights-of-way for pipelines.

The federal government is demanding as a condition for renewing the pipeline permits that ranchers cede to the federal government all water ownership and rights, he said.

The radical “green,” or ecological, element appears to be playing a role, Dranias noted.

As part of the litigation over Tombstone’s water, he said, emails to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from various activists cheered the fires and floods that destroyed Tombstone’s water supply system.

“Hooray, the water’s running free again,” he said the emails expressed.

“Any state like Arizona … is facing the same situation,” he said.

Dranias said the fight over Tombstone’s water simply cannot be lost, because of the implications that could ripple across the nation, even beyond the West.

The state has declared the Tombstone situation an emergency, but, even so, federal officials refuse to allow repairs. Losing the case could set a precedent that emergency measures needed to mitigate oil spills and other environmental problems might not be allowed because of restrictions by the federal government, he said.

Federal officials have declined to answer questions about the court case.

http://www.wnd.com/2012/05/existential-threat-to-western-u-s-states/

by Daniel Gonzalez- May.  8, 2012 11:36  PM The Republic | azcentral.com

Since October, the Bureau of Land Management has expanded its operations at  two national monuments in southern Arizona, trying to crack down on smugglers  and illegal immigrants who trample and trash the pristine desert on their way  north from Mexico.

slideshow  BLM efforts to guard against smugglers

The federal agency has brought in more than a dozen law-enforcement rangers  from other states to beef up patrols at the Sonoran Desert National Monument,  south of Phoenix, where towering saguaro cactuses, wide-open valleys and  flat-topped mountains create one of the most iconic vistas in the Sonoran  Desert. The operations also have focused on the Ironwood Forest National  Monument north of Tucson.

Because of their remote locations and ample hiding places, the monuments have  become superhighways for violent smugglers sneaking drugs and illegal immigrants  from the Mexican border into Arizona.

The smugglers have cast off acres of trash and created miles of illegal roads  by plowing through the desert with disregard for the fragile vegetation, often  using stolen vehicles that are driven until they break down and are abandoned,  authorities say.

During seven two-week operations, the agency’s rangers have seized more than  27,000 pounds of marijuana and arrested more than 1,200 illegal immigrants,  according to the BLM. That is in addition to the thousands of pounds of drugs  and thousands of illegal immigrants arrested by law-enforcement authorities.

The agency also has removed 60 abandoned vehicles, 110 bicycles and more than  24 tons of trash, enough to fill 1,239 garbage bags. And the agency has covered  up more than 15 miles of illegal roads.

But some of the agency’s work to protect the pristine desert areas from  smuggling activity has caused concern among conservation groups.

Last year, the agency began erecting long vehicle barriers made of welded  scrap-steel railroad tracks to block smugglers from driving vehicles through  wilderness areas inside the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The barriers have  been highly effective, BLM officials say. Not a single smuggler has driven into  wilderness areas where the barriers have been installed, they say.

Conservation groups say the barriers, although effective, also mar the  landscape. However, they view the barriers as the lesser of two evils.

Monuments under pressure

In 2000, President Bill Clinton created the Sonoran Desert and Ironwood  Forest national monuments to protect them from urban sprawl extending south from  Phoenix and north from Tucson.

The 487,000-acre Sonoran Desert National Monument is located between Gila  Bend and Casa Grande, off Interstate 8. The area is the most biologically  diverse desert in North America and is known for its abundant forests of  saguaros interspersed with paloverde trees, creosote bushes, sage and ironwood  trees.

The area also contains many archaeological and historic sites, including  remnants of villages that once belonged to the ancestors of the Tohono O’Odham,  Quechan, Maricopa and other Native American tribes.

The smaller Ironwood Forest National Monument encompasses 129,000 acres of  desert west of Interstate 10 and north of Tucson. The area is known for its  concentration of ironwood trees, some more than 800 years old, and its  collection of more than 200 ancient Hohokam sites.

The Sonoran Desert National Monument includes the Vekol Valley, where one man  was killed and another wounded in April 2011 during a shooting involving drug  smugglers.

The smugglers have carved foot trails that spider through the desert and have  left behind acres of plastic water bottles, coats, backpacks and other items  cast off after trekking for days from the U.S.-Mexican border to rendezvous  points 75 miles to the north along I-8, the main highway smugglers use to  transport drugs and illegal immigrants to stash houses in the Phoenix area or to  California.

“There is quite a bit of damage done by smugglers,” said Thom Hulen,  executive director of the Friends of the Sonoran Desert National Monument, a  group that advocates for the monument’s protection. “In addition to all the  damage and all the trash, (the smuggling activity) scares people away. They get  spooked.”

Signs of smuggling

During a tour of the Sonoran Desert National Monument one recent afternoon,  Jon Young, the BLM’s chief ranger in Arizona, pulled his pickup truck off I-8  and stopped next to Mile Marker 157.

He told his passengers to wait in the truck while he got out to make sure  there weren’t any drug smugglers hiding in the brush. Young poked around in the  brush for a few moments and then gave a thumbs up.

The ground was littered with fresh signs of smuggling activity. Young picked  up a boot made of carpeting used by smugglers to conceal their footprints.  Strewn nearby were several burlap sacks, remnants of homemade backpacks used for  hauling marijuana through the desert.

There were also several mud-caked jackets and lots of empty half-gallon  plastic water bottles, colored black to make them less conspicuous in the  sunlight.

Young pointed to the ground beneath the bushes, which had been matted down  from the weight of smugglers. A well-worn path leading south toward the border  also was clearly visible.

Young said smugglers typically hike four or five days through the desert with  backpacks loaded with about 45 pounds of marijuana. They usually travel in  groups of 10 to 15 but sometimes break into smaller groups.

They also are typically accompanied by a scout who, instead of drugs, carries  a backpack full of food, water, radios and cellphones, Young said. Depending on  how far the group is traveling, the smugglers may have several support people  hiking with heavy packs full of food and extra water, he said.

Once they reach I-8, they hide until other members of the smuggling  organization arrive to pick up their loads of drugs. The marijuana is then  loaded into pickup trucks and driven to stash houses in nearby towns or the  Phoenix area, Young said.

Smuggling has become so prevalent, the BLM has posted signs on roads leading  into the monuments that warn the few remaining visitors to travel with caution.  The agency doesn’t track visitors, but rangers and conservation groups have seen  a decline in the number of hikers and campers who use the monuments, and many  now carry guns for protection.

“Smuggling and illegal immigration may be encountered in this area,” the  signs say.

Ranger teams

During operations at the monuments, the BLM transfers about 12 to 16 rangers  from other states to Arizona. They work with the 10 rangers assigned to the  BLM’s Phoenix district, which manages the Sonoran Desert monument, and 12  rangers assigned to the BLM’s Gila district, which oversees the Ironwood  monument.

To combat smuggling inside the two monuments, the BLM rangers work with other  law-enforcement officers who are part of the Alliance to Combat Transnational  Threats, a group of law-enforcement agencies that includes the Border Patrol,  Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Pinal County and Maricopa County  sheriff’s offices.

The most recent operation ended last week, resulting in the collection of 219  bags of trash, the seizure of 6,000 pounds of marijuana and the discovery of the  body of one migrant.

On a recent Saturday, Joe Nardinger, 38, a BLM ranger from the Upper Missouri  Breaks National Monument in Montana, found 46 bundles of marijuana weighing  1,000 pounds while patrolling a wash on the Sonoran Desert National  Monument.

Nardinger, who was sent to Arizona for two weeks, had been following some  fresh tire tracks when he found the marijuana. It was hidden in the bank of the  wash, covered by branches the smugglers had cut from nearby paloverde and  mesquite trees.

“I smelled it before I saw it. I got a whiff, a big dose of it,” Nardinger  said.

Installing barriers

In addition to beefed up patrols, the BLM has been cleaning up trash and  getting rid of illegal roads and foot trails created by smugglers.

Despite the efforts, drug smuggling continues to increase in the area,  although illegal-immigrant traffic is down, Young said.

Their cleanup and restoration work has been applauded by conservation groups.  But conservationists are less enthusiastic about the vehicle barriers the BLM  has been installing inside the Sonoran Desert National Monument.

Last fall, the BLM erected 1.3 miles of vehicle barriers at the southern end  of the Sonoran monument abutting the border of the Tohono O’odham Reservation.  They were intended to prevent smugglers from driving north from the reservation  through the heart of the monument’s designated wilderness area.

Last week, the agency finished erecting about a quarter-mile of vehicle  barriers northwest of the Table Top Mountain Range.

Those barriers are designed to prevent smugglers from driving south from I-8  to rendezvous points inside the monument.

The BLM plans to install more barriers in other parts of the Sonoran  monument, Young said.

Known as Normandy barriers, after the coastal barriers used in Nazi-occupied  France during World War II, the 2-foot-high barriers have proved effective in  preventing smugglers from driving through wilderness areas and creating illegal  roads,Young said.

The Border Patrol has installed miles of barriers along the Arizona border  with Mexico.

But this is the first time Normandy barriers have been used away from the  border, said Matt Skroch, executive director of the Arizona Wilderness  Coalition, a conservation group.

The barriers mar the landscape, and conservationists are concerned that those  being used inside the Sonoran monument will open the door to more in other  pristine desert areas throughout the state, Skroch said.

“We certainly don’t want to see a scenario where we keep installing more and  more vehicle barriers,” he said.

But the group isn’t opposed to the barriers outright, Skroch said, because so  far, they have been effective in stopping smugglers from creating roads and  destroying more of the desert landscape.

“This is the lesser of two evils,” Skroch said.

“But it’s not something we are particularly happy about.”

Read more:  http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2012/05/04/20120504new-blm-efforts-guard-arizona-desert.html#ixzz1ugw0JhJe

(Note: These groups thrive on the demise of human resource providing, and use ‘endangered species’ as the basis for countless lawsuits that are designed to implement The Wildlands Project and excise humans — except those ‘designated’ to keep tabs on the ‘endangered species’ — from most of this country, and the world.)

Peter Galvin 520-907-1533 Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) http://www.sw-center.org/swcbd/index.html

Bill Marlett 541-330-2638 Oregon Natural Desert Association (Oregon) http://www.onda.org/

Jon Marvel 208-788-2290 Western Watersheds Project (Idaho) http://www.westernwatersheds.org/,

John Horning 505 988 9126 EXT 153 Forest Guardians (New Mexico) http://fguardians.org/

Mark Salvo 503-757-4221 American Lands Alliance (Oregon) http://www.americanlands.org/

Katie Fite 208-429-1679 Committee for the High Desert (Idaho) http://cihd.org/

Charles Watson 775-883 -169 Nevada Outdoor Recreation Association (Nevada)

Erik Molvar 307-742-7978 Biodiversity Conservation Alliance (Wyoming) http://www.biodiversityassociates.org/

http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org/articles2/citizen_groups_sue_forest_servic.htm

February 26, 2003

(Note: These groups thrive on the demise of human resource providing, and use ‘endangered species’ as the basis for countless lawsuits that are designed to implement The Wildlands Project and excise humans — except those ‘designated’ to keep tabs on the ‘endangered species’ — from most of this country, and the world.)

Contacts:

Peter Galvin 520-907-1533 Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) http://www.sw-center.org/swcbd/index.html

Bill Marlett 541-330-2638 Oregon Natural Desert Association (Oregon) http://www.onda.org/

Jon Marvel 208-788-2290 Western Watersheds Project (Idaho) http://www.westernwatersheds.org/,

John Horning 505 988 9126 EXT 153 Forest Guardians (New Mexico) http://fguardians.org/

Mark Salvo 503-757-4221 American Lands Alliance (Oregon) http://www.americanlands.org/

Katie Fite 208-429-1679 Committee for the High Desert (Idaho) http://cihd.org/

Charles Watson 775-883 -169 Nevada Outdoor Recreation Association (Nevada)

Erik Molvar 307-742-7978 Biodiversity Conservation Alliance (Wyoming) http://www.biodiversityassociates.org/

Eight citizen groups are suing the U.S. Forest Service for failing to reform the fee charged for grazing livestock on National Forests in the Western US.

The 2003 grazing fee

http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2003/pr030206_grazing.htm

of $1.35 per month for a cow and her calf is one-tenth of market rates and is the minimum allowed by regulation. The extremely low grazing fee fails to cover the basic administrative costs of the federal grazing program.

In October 2002 the Center for Biological Diversity released a report

http://www.sw-center.org/swcbd/Programs/grazing/Assessing_the_full_cost.pdf

showing that the federal grazing program costs taxpayers $124 million at a minimum, and likely as much as $1 billion annually in subsidies and other costs after subtracting fee receipts.

Over ten years ago, the US Departments of Agriculture and Interior and the General Accounting Office established that the formula used to calculate the fee is mathematically flawed, as it subtracts increases in the costs of production twice.

As a result the fee has barely risen above the $1.35 minimum, while market rates on equivalent private ranchlands have increased to almost 10 times greater.

The Forest Service proposed to reform the fee formula in 1994, but never announced a final decision on the reform, and kept on using the flawed formula.

“The Forest Service charges about as much to run a cow on public lands as it costs to feed a pet hamster. The U.S. taxpayer is being fleeced by this bargain basement sale of public resources,” stated Peter Galvin, Conservation Biologist for the Center for Biological Diversity.

Galvin added “Livestock grazing on public lands is one of the major causes of species endangerment in the U.S.”

Joining the Center in this action are American Lands Alliance, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Committee for the High Desert, Forest Guardians, Oregon Natural Desert Association, the Nevada Outdoor Recreation Association and Western Watersheds Project.

Bill Marlett, Oregon Natural Desert Association said that: “Low grazing fees coupled with big federal deficits means that monitoring and mitigation of cow-damaged rangelands will go neglected. It’s not just the American taxpayer who gets the shaft, but the streams, soils and wildlife on all of our Western public lands.”

Katie Fite, Conservation Director of the Committee for the High Desert, added: “The livestock industry claims that public lands ranchers have to invest more time and resources on federal lands than on private rangeland. This may be true in some cases, but USDA research in the mid 1990s showed that costs for private land ranchers average about $40 a cow higher than for public lands ranchers — exactly the opposite of what industry claims.”

Charles Watson, of the Nevada Outdoor Recreation Association added that: “The low fee has encouraged overgrazing, massive erosion and invasion by noxious vegetation, leading to the huge fires that have destroyed millions of dollars of private property in the West in recent years. The Forest Service has known about the flaw in the fee formula for years. It’s high time they fixed it.”

The lawsuit, which requires the Forest Service to make a final decision on the reform of the grazing fee formula, was filed in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., today, Wednesday, February 26, and will be argued by Eric Glitzenstein of Meyer and Glitzenstein.

Center for Biological Diversity: Protecting endangered species and wild places through science, policy, education, and environmental law.

More Information:

Center’s Grazing Program

http://www.sw-center.org/swcbd/Programs/grazing/index.html

Suit

http://www.sw-center.org/swcbd/Programs/grazing/FS_fees_complaint.pdf

Forest Service grazing fee FAQs

http://www.sw-center.org/swcbd/Programs/grazing/Fee_suit_FAQs.html

GAO 1991 study on grazing fee

http://www.sw-center.org/swcbd/Programs/grazing/GAO_1991_on_fees.pdf

Rangeland Reform Draft Environmental Impact Statement 1994 (excerpts on the grazing fee change)

http://www.sw-center.org/swcbd/Programs/grazing/Range_Reform_DEIS_extr.pdf

Cody, B 1996 Grazing fees: an overview. Congressional research Service

http://www.ncseonline.org/NLE/CRSreports/Agriculture/ag-5.cfm

http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org/articles2/citizen_groups_sue_forest_servic.htm

Who runs Tucson? Kieran Suckling. Carolyn Campbell. She works with developers to find common ground, while he fights to save every inch of desert.
(Note: I’ve underlined the language deception herein.)
January 19, 2001
Joyesha Chesnick jchesnick@azstarnet.com ‘contributed to this report’
Tucson Citizen
To submit a Letter to the Editor: letters@tucsoncitizen.com
Suckling  Campbell

Kieran Suckling (left) and Carolyn Campbell are strong advocates of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, a sweeping blueprint for growth management.

You could consider them a sort of good cop-bad cop among environmentalists. They’re each working toward the same goal, but their methods are markedly different.

Carolyn Campbell is the good cop. Easy-going. Accommodating. She’s the one willing to sit down and negotiate a compromise solution.

That makes Kieran Suckling ksuckling@biologicaldiversity.org the bad cop. Angry. Combative. He’s the one willing to slap a lawsuit on any foe who gets in his way.

Campbell is the executive director of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, a consortium of about 40 environmental groups supporting a sweeping blueprint to manage growth throughout vast tracts of Pima County.

Suckling is the driving force behind the Center for Biological Diversity, an in-your-face environmental organization that has earned legions of friends and enemies since it set up shop here in the mid-1990s.

Between them, Campbell and Suckling define environmentalism in the Old Pueblo.

Campbell is a former staffer for Morris K. Udall, the southern Arizona congressman who has a permanent place in the hearts of most Western environmentalists.

A 21-year resident of Arizona, she has waged numerous battles on behalf of the Sonoran Desert. This latest one might be the most important.

This is our one big chance,” Campbell says of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, which she is working to implement. “This is the largest project anyone has ever undertaken in the country.”

The plan essentially will determine where development may occur in the county. The Pima County Board of Supervisors endorsed the concept nearly three years [ago] and it is also supported by U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe and outgoing Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt. Work on the plan is under way, and final adoption by the supervisors is scheduled for 2002.

“That’s a really aggressive schedule,” Campbell says. “But the county has been putting so much effort into it, I think we can pull it off.”

As the executive director of a coalition of conservation groups, Campbell balances competing interests and demands of an array of organizations. They range from the mainstream Audubon Society to the aggressive Center for Biological Diversity.

“We’ve calmed some of the radical elements, and we’ve aroused some of the more conservative elements,” Campbell says.

In Campbell’s view, environmentalists and developers have failed to communicate with each other. The running dispute served no one and may have worked against the environmentalist cause.

We haven’t really tried to work together. We just tried to win,” she says. “There’s been no planning in Arizona because everyone was tugging at their elected officials.”

Don’t assume, though, that this greenie is going soft on developers. “Arizona,” she says, “has really been run by the development community.”

But through the conservation plan, Campbell says, developers and environmentalists can find common ground.

How we grow, where we grow, I don’t think we should leave that up to chance,” she says.

Suckling says the desert conservation plan is an example of what can be done to stem the horrors of uncontrolled sprawl. “There was a crisis begging for a solution, and that solution is the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan,” he says.

On a whole host of other issues, though, Suckling’s views are decidedly more edgy. He’s less interested in finding common ground than in preserving ground.

“We’re going to fight as hard as we can,” Suckling says. “There’s a lot of aggressiveness there, but there has to be. If you go and battle developers and you’re not in there to win, you’re not going to win.”

The center catapulted itself into the headlines a few years ago when it flew to the defense of the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl.

Known at the time as the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, the organization had previously focused attention on grazing, mining and logging issues. The pygmy owl forced it to change gears.

In the center’s view, the habitat of the endangered little owl was — and still is — far more important than a new high school the Amphitheater School District wanted to build on the Northwest Side. So it sued to stop construction of the school.

“It put us in the public eye in a really big way,” Suckling calls. “We had no choice but to jump in. It was like walking by a burning house. We had no choice but to run in and try to save the kid.”

A federal court ultimately allowed the school to be built, though with certain protections. Suckling remains undaunted.

“There’s a lot of groups that would not have taken on a school,” he says. “It’s really important that some group wants to be at the vanguard and say things like they are and take aggressive action to protect endangered species. That means you’re going to get criticism as well as praise. If you’re going to change the status quo, that is what’s going to happen. Everybody wants the praise, but a lot of groups are not willing to take the criticism.

“Our group is one that has been very willing to accept the criticism,” he continues. “If developers, miners and loggers aren’t mad at you, then you’re not changing the way they do business.”

Throughout the mid-1990s, the center filed more than 80 lawsuits on behalf of the environment.

Outside magazine not long ago proclaimed it one of the nation’s most effective environmental organizations.

Even a member of the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association called the center a “surprisingly clever and effective” group of “zealots.”

As the center’s most prominent zealot, Suckling says he and his colleagues are doing what they believe must to be done to protect endangered species and preserve as much of the desert as possible.

This is an art, not a science,” he says. “It’s driven by passion and experience and creativity.”

Citizen staff writer Joyesha Chesnick contributed to this report.

Copyright 2001, Tucson Citizen.

http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/projects/who_runs_tucson/environment_campbell.html

 

Additional relevant, researched information:

Who’s got the Power?

September/October 2004

Sierra Magazine

Sierra Club

Kieran Suckling is the policy director for the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, Arizona. The organization has helped obtain Endangered Species Act protection for 329 species and “critical habitat” designation for over 38 million acres.

http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200409/suckling.asp

Suckling’s Site:

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org

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Center for Biological Diversity
Abbreviation CBD
Formation 1989
Type NGO
Purpose/focus Protection of endangered species
Headquarters Tucson, Arizona
Website biologicaldiversity.org

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) based in Tucson, Arizona, is a nonprofit membership organization with approximately 220,000 members and online activists, known for its work protecting endangered species through legal action and scientific petitions. The Center has offices and staff in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Montana, Illinois, Minnesota, Alabama, Alaska, Vermont and Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1989 by Kieran Suckling, Peter Galvin, Todd Schulke, and Robin Silver.[1]

Given a small grant by the Fund for Wild Nature, the organization started in 1989 as a small group by the name of Greater Gila Biodiversity Project, with the objective to protect endangered species and critical habitat in the southwest.[2] The organization later grew and became the Center for Biological Diversity. Kieran Suckling, Peter Galvin, and Todd Schulke founded the organization in response to what they perceived as a failure on the part of the United States Forest Service to protect the ecosystems in its charge. As surveyors in New Mexico, the three men discovered “a rare Mexican Spotted Owl nest in an old-growth tree”,[1] but their discovery was overshadowed by Forest Service plans to lease the land to timber companies; Suckling, Galvin, and Schulke believed that it was within the Forest Service’s mission to save sensitive species like the Mexican Spotted Owl from harm, and that the government had shirked its duty in deference to corporate interests.

Suckling, Galvin, and Schulke went to the media to register their outrage; the old-growth tree was allowed to stand, and this success led to the founding of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Initially, the CBD focused on issues specific to the Southwestern United States, but today its mission encompasses far-reaching problems such as global threats to biological diversity and climate change. The CBD employs a group of paid and pro bono attorneys to use litigation to effect change, and claims a 93 percent success rate for their lawsuits.[1]

On 13 June 2007, the CBD spoke out against a Bush administration proposal to reduce the protected area for spotted owls in the United States Pacific Northwest. According to Noah Greenwald, the group’s representative in the Northwest, the proposed habitat cut is “typical of an administration that is looking to reduce protections for endangered species at every turn.” Greenwald said that the rollback is part of a series of “sweetheart deals,” in which the administration settles an environmental lawsuit out of court and, “at the industry’s wishes, reduces the critical habitat.” According to the Center, the move conforms to a broad trend that includes at least 25 earlier Bush administration decisions on habitat protections for endangered species. In those cases, the protected areas were reduced an average of 36 percent.[3]

On 16 December 2008, the CBD announced intent to sue the United States government for introducing “regulations… that would eviscerate our nation’s most successful wildlife law by exempting thousands of federal activities, including those that generate greenhouse gases, from review under the Endangered Species Act.” The lawsuit, which is critical of U.S. Interior Department Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and President George W. Bush, was filed in the Northern District of California by the CBD, Greenpeace and Defenders of Wildlife. According to the CBD, “The lawsuit argues that the regulations violate the Endangered Species Act and did not go through the required public review process. The regulations, first proposed on August 11th, were rushed by the Bush administration through an abbreviated process in which more than 300,000 comments from the public were reviewed in 2-3 weeks, and environmental impacts were analyzed in a short and cursory environmental assessment, rather than a fuller environmental impact statement.”[4]

August 26, 2009 letter with 300+ Groups Ask Senate for Stronger Climate Bill, included the Center

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_for_Biological_Diversity

Car campers and drivers headed to hiking and biking trails will have new  rules restricting where they can drive and camp in Coconino National Forest  starting May 1.

The forest is closing a little more than half its forest roads and banning  cross-country motorcycle, vehicle and all-terrain vehicle use as part of a 2005  U.S. Forest Service directive to limit off-road driving in the nation’s  forests.

A little more than 3,000 miles of roads and some 20.5 miles of  motorcycle-only trails will remain open.

It won’t be obvious to motorcyclists and drivers, though, what roads are  going to remain open or closed.

There won’t be boulders blocking the way, or “closed” signs.

Instead, drivers will need to know where they are on a map (paper or  electronic), and whether the road is open.

“Everything’s going to be closed unless designated ‘open’ on the map,” said  Mike Dechter, National Environmental Policy Act coordinator for the Coconino  National Forest.

MAPS HOLD KEY

The idea is that a “closed” sign could be cut down and tossed aside by  someone intent on getting somewhere, whereas these plans might be more  straightforward in enforcing.

Law enforcement officers plan to show people what’s happening on maps and  give warnings ahead of any fines or tickets, but the officers have the  discretion to give tickets, too.

Coconino National Forest had 4.3 million visitors as of the most recent  annual survey, but a majority of those people were just driving through.

The U.S. Forest Service directed each national forest in 2005 to restrict  driving across meadows or the forests at large, saying it was damaging the  forests.

As part of that, each forest had to decide what would count as a road, what  would be closed, and how to handle activities like car camping, firewood  gathering and elk retrieval.

The Coconino National Forest held public meetings in 2006 and repeatedly sought public comment.

Ultimately, the Coconino plans to allow camping within 300-foot corridors on  either side of the road for about 600 miles of forest roads (20 percent of the  roads left open), and within 30 feet of the road in most other areas.

The Cinder Lake off-roading area will remain open.

NEW MOTORCYCLE TRAILS

Motorcycle riders repeatedly voiced discontent with the plans, saying they  would be left very little room to ride.

The Forest Service is proposing two new trails — one near Cornville and one  running from near Flagstaff’s airport to Munds Park — to address some of those  complaints.

“They seem to be realizing the plan that they signed doesn’t do good enough,”  said Brian Hawthorne, who represents a group that advocated for more vehicle  access for recreation.

He also says the Forest Service is doing the right thing in closing redundant  roads leading to the same points.

Firewood gatherers will have permission to drive out to cut wood, but not to  look for it.

Elk hunters retrieving big game will be permitted to used motorized vehicles  to retrieve elk in areas of the forest west of Lake Mary Road and northwest of  the San Francisco Peaks, but not in the areas closer to Flagstaff or east of  Lake Mary Road.

The plans have sparked some local controversy, with conservationists  generally praising them and a former and current sheriff opposed.

Coconino County Sheriff Bill Pribil’s office gets more complaints about  all-terrain vehicles than any other issue in the summer, he said.

People call him about riders stacked two or three to an all-terrain vehicle,  speeding, or cutting across private land.

He thinks that’s going to increase with motorcyclists and all-terrain  vehicles sharing less ground.

“I do believe they’re closing too many roads and some of these roads could be  converted to ATV roads or trails,” Pribil said.

GOOD FOR THE FOREST

The Center for Biological Diversity has firmly disagreed, and so does  Dechter.

He says this will be good for the forest into the future, end practices that  have created 100 to 200 new miles of motorized trails on the forest each year,  and set new norms.

“We’re not going to be making criminals out of the average family,” he said.  “We’re trying to provide incentives for them to do the right thing.”

Cyndy Cole can be reached at 913-8607 or at ccole@azdailysun.com.

On the web:

For more information, maps:

See http://go.usa.gov/PEB

Read more: http://azdailysun.com/news/local/27c07208-0800-5d38-affc-9268d74e332e.html#ixzz1rnW9wLEU