Week of January 2 , 2012

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World

Infectious salmon disease spreads from Europe's fish farms to Canada

Discovery of the virus is latest likely example of disease spreading to wild fish stocks from world's mega fish farms

The rise of the farmed fish industry in recent years has been accompanied by the emergence of many infectious diseases of fish. One of the most recent and serious diseases is the marine viral disease, Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA).

 

First detected in Atlantic salmon farmed along the southwest coast of Norway in 1984, it has since spread throughout the world.

 

As the name suggests, ISA shows itself by a severe anaemia, with fish displaying pale gills, and often swimming close to the surface of the water, gulping for air. More insidiously, however, many fish show no signs at all until they suddenly die.

 

An outbreak of the ISA was detected in wild Pacific salmon last October, in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Outbreaks of this virus have previously been detected in fish farms in Chile and Scotland, and although not dangerous to human health, have had serious impacts on the industry and the communities who depend upon it.

 

Infection spreading to wild fish

Effective management of the diseases of aquatic animals can be problematic. Often, too little is known about the infection itself, and infections can spread via flowing water and populations of wild fish sharing the same waters as farmed fish.

 

British Columbia’s ISA outbreak in wild salmon was discovered by researchers from Simon Fraser University, led by Professor Richard Routledge. Samples were taken in May and June last year as part of a ten year study into the importance of the Rivers Inlet area to migrating juvenile sockeye salmon.

 

'It was not until toward the end of the migration season, when we realised how few juvenile sockeye salmon we were going to be able to catch, that we began to consider possible causes of the low catch rate. ISAv was just one of several potential causes that we eventually considered,' said Professor Routledge.

 

Samples from 48 wild salmon were sent to the reference laboratory at the University of Prince Edward Island, the global centre for tests to detect the virus. They confirmed the presence of ISA in two of the fish. Subsequently, three out of ten fish collected from a tributary of Fraser River, the biggest wild salmon river in the world, also tested positive for the ISA virus. The three fish were all different species: coho, chinook, and chum salmon, and all three died before they had spawned, although the cause of death has not yet been determined.

 

These results have not surprised many scientists, who see infection in the wild population as inevitable and point the finger of blame at nearby fish farms. Rivers Inlet, where the positive samples were taken, is just 60 miles from the nearest salmon farm, and although there is no definitive evidence, the fact that it was the European strain of the virus which was detected, seems to suggest that this is a distinct possibility.

 

The aquaculture industry in British Columbia has imported millions of Atlantic salmon eggs from Norway and other countries in Europe for the past 25 years. Previously ISA had been found in ocean-going salmon, but was not deadly until it morphed into a virulent strain in Norway’s fish-farming pens. Poor aquaculture practices are thought to have contributed to the mutation, with unhealthy fish being fed antibiotics and living in densely packed pens. A diseased fish comes into close contact with many other fish, spreading ISA via urine, blood and other bodily fluids. As the fish farm has an open net, disease can be easily transferred to the outside world.

 

Professor Routledge believes that the fish farms are 'an important potential pathway for ISAv to be spread to wild Pacific salmon.'

 

Industry rejects call to reform fish farms

Many have been campaigning for years against open net fish farming. The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR), comprising of groups working to promote safe salmon farming in British Columbia, has led efforts to develop a safe salmon farming industry. Will Soltau who works for the Living Oceans Society, one of the member groups, says that CAAR has 'worked for the last decade to stop the expansion of open net-cage salmon farming in BC and advocate for transitioning the open net-cage farms into closed containment technology. That transition would separate the farmed fish from the wild fish and thereby eliminate a lot of the negative effect from the industry to the marine environment.

 

Unfortunately, the Canadian Government has not acted on

advice and the industry has resisted change. 'We are now

faced with the possibility of this disease being introduced to the North Pacific Ocean for the first time and spreading in wild salmon stocks,' adds Mr Soltau.

 

Campaigners are right to be worried. In 2007, an outbreak of ISA in Chile decimated their lucrative farmed salmon industry. More than 100 fish farms were affected, with over a million fish being killed and 50 per cent of workers losing their jobs. The cost of ISA over the last 4 years is estimated to be around US$2 billion, and the industry is yet to recover from the impacts of the disease.

 

Scotland too has had to tackle its own outbreaks. In 1998/99, ISA was confirmed at 11 sites, and suspected at 34 additional sites, scattered across virtually the entire salmon farming region. The cost to the industry was estimated to have amounted to £30 million. Ten years later ISA returned, although this time on a much smaller scale. Six infected sites in Shetland were confirmed and depopulated of fish, and only after 2 years of monitoring and testing were they declared ISA free.

 

Shock of Canada disease outbreak

In British Columbia, salmon farming and the wild commercial salmon sector combined provides over 3,000 full-time equivalent jobs, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to the provincial GDP. Salmon sport fishing is also important to the economy, and is a significant employer. 

 

The news of ISA in British Columbia has surprised those in the industry. The British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association stated that their fish health departments regularly test farmed fish for ISA but have never found a positive result. In addition, the Canadian Government has conducted tests on the original wild samples.

 

They were sent to a laboratory at the University of Bergen in Norway, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)  announced that the lab found no evidence of ISA.

 

However, this statement is misleading according to Professor Routledge. 'The Norwegian lab was able to generate one positive test result on a sample from one of the two fish that had previously tested positive, but the result was not repeatable. One explanation for the discrepancy that seems highly credible to me is that the samples were by then degraded.' The samples were of too poor a quality for the results to be replicated so the CFIA announced, somewhat controversially, that the results were negative. 

 

Alexandra Morton, the marine scientist and outspoken wild salmon activist who collected the Fraser River samples, cannot understand the government’s response. 'Why would government jump out and deny evidence of ISA virus in BC? If the samples were poor wouldn't it make sense to go back to the places where the positive tested fish came from and take their own samples? How can we take any confidence when government says everything is fine because the virus was found in poor quality samples?' She continues: 'ISA virus is the most deadly salmon virus known, it plagues salmon farms worldwide but Canada is going to ignore the results from two of the top ISA virus labs in the world, because the samples were of poor quality?'

 

Alaska fears spread to its fish

While the Canadian Government is playing down the fears of ISA, the United States Government has taken the opposite stance. In a statement released by senators from Washington State and Alaska, fears were expressed that the Canadian government may be too close to the multi-billion dollar industry. They called upon the United States to conduct their own tests, as 'we should not rely on another government – particularly one that may have a motive to misrepresent its finding – to determine how we assess the risk ISA may pose to American fishery jobs. We have to get a coordinated game plan in place to protect our salmon and stop the spread of this deadly virus.'

 

As ‘Salmongate’ (as the North American press have dubbed this debate) continues, it is clear that more tests are needed to confirm the initial findings.  'I believe that top priority needs to be given to collecting, preserving, and analysing new samples under tight protocols to obtain more definitive evidence regarding the presence, geographic range, origin, etc., of the virus in the North Pacific,' says Professor Routledge.

 

The stakes are high, especially with so many people dependent on salmon-related industries in the Pacific Northwest. Campaigners are viewing the ISA outbreak as one reason why changes to aquaculture procedures are essential, but scientists admit that they are on a steep learning curve. Swift action is necessary, but no country has ever managed to completely eradicate ISA, and reverberations of this outbreak may be felt far and wide for many years to come.


Words to Ponder

Words to Ponder

Documents recently recovered by the FBI include an internal memorandum in which the Brotherhood's American leadership spelled out its plan:

 

"The Ikhwan (the Brotherhood) must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the

hands of the believers, so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions".

 

www.wnd.com/?pageId=376209

Appeals court affirms Muslim Brotherhood not 'moderate'

Judges uphold Hamas-financing conviction of CAIR leader, others


Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

Ruger LCR-22 eight-shot .22 cal Revolver

Offers all the features of the LCR

The LCR has proven its worth since its introduction in 2009, and has become an extremely popular compact revolver for concealed carry," said Chris Killoy, Ruger Vice President of Sales and Marketing. "Our customers asked for a rimfire LCR for low cost practice at the range, and the LCR-22 fills that need. Furthermore, this gun disputes the notion that small-frame, rimfire revolvers come with heavy trigger pulls; the LCR-22's non-stacking trigger pull is highly manageable. In fact, we believe the LCR has the best trigger pull of any factory double-action revolver on the market, and we urge our

customers to visit their retailer and try it out for themselves," he concluded.

 

The newest LCR maintains all the features of the critically acclaimed original LCR. The 1-7/8" barrel and eight-shot cylinder are constructed of stainless steel, and the cylinder is highly fluted to reduce weight. The frame is machined from an aerospace-grade aluminum forging, and the fire control housing is molded from rugged and durable glass-filled nylon. The fire control system utilizes Ruger's patented friction reducing cam that provides a uniquely smooth, non-stacking trigger pull.

 

About $525.00

 

www.ruger.com  


National

Illegal immigrants have no right to arms - court

Dec 16 (Reuters) - Illegal immigrants do not have a right to bear arms under the U.S. Constitution, a federal appeals court ruled December 16.

 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, based in Missouri, rejected an appeal brought by Joaquin Bravo Flores, who was charged with possessing a firearm. Agreeing with the 5th Circuit, the court concluded that the protections of the Second Amendment do not extend to undocumented immigrants.

 

Executing a search warrant in 2010, police uncovered a semi-automatic handgun in Bravo Flores' Minneapolis apartment. A grand jury indicted him for being an alien in possession of a firearm in violation of federal law. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

 

Bravo Flores tried to dismiss the indictment, arguing that the criminal law barring illegal immigrants from possessing guns is unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 recognized an individual right to possess firearms under the Second Amendment. Bravo Flores argued that the Second Amendment's guarantee of "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" also applied to him and other illegal immigrants.

 

His lawyer argued in a court filing that Bravo Flores is a member of "the people," having come to the country as a

teenager and now living with his American citizen partner

and their two citizen children.

 

The Supreme Court has previously ruled that undocumented immigrants have constitutional rights in criminal cases, including a Sixth Amendment right to trial and Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

 

The 8th Circuit declined to extend the right to bear arms to illegal immigrants. The appeals court has previously upheld other criminal laws that prohibit convicted felons and narcotics addicts from possessing firearms.

 

In June, the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit rejected a constitutional challenge brought by a Mexican citizen arrested in Texas for carrying a firearm, which he said he used to kill coyotes. The appeals court quoted language from the Supreme Court's 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, finding that the phrase "the people" referred to "law-abiding citizens" and "members of the political community."

 

One judge dissented, finding that the 5th Circuit decision in that case meant that "millions of similarly situated residents of the United States are non-persons who have no rights to be free from unjustified searches of their homes and bodies and other abuses, nor to peaceably assemble or petition the government."


Sportfishing Industry asks for Congressional Action on arbitrary fishing limits

Alexandria, VA – The American Sportfishing Association (ASA), along with numerous recreational fishing and boating organizations and dozens of Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, continues to strongly advocate for a legislative solution that requires that science be the primary force behind federal marine fisheries management decisions. Without passage of the Fishery Science Improvement Act (FSIA), new catch limits will be put in place by the end of 2011 for hundreds of the nation’s marine fisheries based on little or no scientific data. The deadline is driven by a statutory requirement included in the 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).

 

“While other legislative amendments to MSA have been offered to address a variety of federal fisheries issues, we need Congress to understand that there is an immediate need to address the specific problem that FSIA solves,” said Mike Nussman, ASA president and CEO. “Unless Congress passes this legislation before the end of this year, come January 1, 2012, anglers and commercial fishermen alike will be facing hard new annual catch limits on numerous stocks of fish that are based on nothing more than guesswork.”

 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) presently has 528 fish stocks or complexes of stocks under its management, but only has updated stock assessment data on 121 of those. Because MSA requires that annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures be put in place for every stock under federal management, NOAA Fisheries is applying highly precautionary catch limits on each stock regardless of the amount of data, or dropping stocks from management entirely.

 

“ACLs are already established for most of the heavily-targeted fish stocks and for every stock that is undergoing overfishing,” said Ken Haddad, ASA’s Marine Fisheries Advisor and former Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “NOAA Fisheries and the Regional Fishery Management Councils are now setting ACLs for the remaining 400-plus stocks of fish that they are supposed to manage. Because NOAA has been unable to perform up-to-date assessments on these stocks, which include popular sportfish such as cobia, mahi mahi and over a dozen stocks in the South Atlantic

snapper-grouper complex, they are resorting to insufficient, and in many cases, overly-precautionary methods.”

 

The FSIA allows NOAA Fisheries to set ACLs only on those stocks of fish for which they have the up-to-date scientific information necessary to inform that decision. The bill’s two conditions exempting a fishery from the ACL requirements are:

 

►The lack of a stock assessment in the prior six years.

►The absence of any indication that overfishing is occurring

 

To help prevent the removal of stocks from management plans, the bill provides guidance for the agency to include some stocks in an “ecosystem management category” which allows them to remain under federal management without being subject to the ACL requirement. For a fact sheet on FSIA, go to www.asafishing.org/government/documents/FSIA_

Fact_Sheet.pdf

 

“There are several problems that arise when managers try to set ACLs on stocks for which they have no biological data,” continued Haddad. “In most cases, the only data available are historic catch levels, which are in no way a useful indicator of what level of harvest a stock can handle to maximize fishing opportunity while ensuring sustainability. The result is that anglers are now going to be held to hard, but arbitrary, fishing quotas, which , if exceeded, will cause the fishery to be shut down. These new ACLs may also require managers to shut down other healthy fisheries, or fisheries complexes, if the ACL for a bycatch species has been exceeded.”

 

“The new annual catch limits proposed by NOAA Fisheries and the Regional Fishery Management Councils are wrought with uncertainty, confusion and unintended consequences that will be felt in the form of lost access, lost jobs and lost business from coast to coast,” concluded Nussman. “The FSIA offers a thoughtful, realistic and common-sense solution that will uphold the conservation tenets of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act while relieving anglers and managers from totally unrealistic requirements that undercut the role science plays in management. ASA and the companies around the country it represents, urge Congress to pass this vitally important bill before the end of the year.”

 


ANS Control Paper Release & Comment Period

Public comment period ends Feb 17

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, on December 21 released the “Inventory of Available Controls for Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) of Concern – Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS),” an Interim Product of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS). This document is available at http://glmris.anl.gov/documents/docs/ANS_Control_Paper.pdf

 

This paper identifies available options or technologies (ANS Controls) that may be effective at preventing the 39 ANS of Concern, as identified in the ANS White Paper released in July 2011, from transferring through the aquatic pathways in the CAWS, as well as other potential aquatic pathways.

 

It is important to note that the ANS Control Paper is intended to inventory available ANS Controls.  It does not contain specific recommendations, rank the effectiveness of the Controls, or identify constraints, impacts, regulatory requirements or technological feasibility of application.

 

USACE is announcing an ANS Control Comment Period  

that begins on Dec. 21, 2011 and ends on Feb. 17, 2012. USACE is asking the public to submit i) information on ANS Controls that may be effective at preventing the transfer of ANS of Concern but are not included in the paper, or ii) comments regarding ANS Controls identified in the paper.

 

The paper is posted, along with ANS Control Fact Sheets and the ANS Control Comment Period details on the new ANS Controls page on the GLMRIS website at http://glmris.anl.gov/documents/interim/anscontrol/index.cfm.

 

USACE is hosting two conference calls for interested members of the public to ask questions about the paper. The calls will be held on Jan. 10, 2012 from 2 – 4 p.m. (CST) and Feb. 8, 2012 from 10 a.m. – noon (CST). Call-in information for both calls is: USA Toll-Free: 877-336-1839, Access Code: 8506361, Security Code: 0000

 

If you have any questions about this document, please contact GLMRIS Project Manager Dave Wethington at 312-846-5522 or David.M.Wethington@usace.army.mil

 

 


FBI Releases Preliminary Semiannual Crime Statistics for 2011

Statistics released today in the FBIs Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report indicate that the number of violent crimes reported in the first six months of 2011 declined 6.4 percent when compared with figures from the first six months of 2010. The number of property crimes decreased 3.7 percent for the same time frame. The report

is based on information from more than 12,500 law

enforcement agencies that submitted three to six comparable months of data to the FBI in the first six months of 2010 and 2011

 

For the complete Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January to June 2011: www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr.

 


New EPA regs harm U.S. electricity generation, threaten national security

EPA determined to shut down coal-fired power plants, the source of half our electricity

WASHINGTON D.C.—The Environmental Protection Agency opened the comment period for its latest regulatory assault on U.S. energy on December 20, 2011 with publication of a new emissions rule in the Federal Register. In advance of this important development, the Institute for Energy research released a revised report on the impacts that new and proposed EPA regulations will have on the nation’s ability to meet current energy demands. The revised report includes new coal-fired plant closures in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia, as well as cancelled coal-to-natural gas conversions in Minnesota, all of which account for an additional 1.5 GW of lost electricity generating capacity in the U.S.

 

"The EPA is determined to shut down coal-fired power plants, the source of nearly half of our electricity. The loss of 30 GW of power to our electric grid means much more than an inconvenience for American consumers or rolling blackouts. It means a real threat to our national security,” noted IER’s Director of State and Regulatory Affairs, Dan Simmons.

 

“Already, Americans are seeing record spikes in their monthly electricity bills, the largest sustained increases since the days of Jimmy Carter,” Simmons added.

 

In October, the Institute for Energy Research reported that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) modeling and announced power plant closures, EPA’s upcoming regulations will shutter almost 28 GW of electricity generation capacity. At the time, we warned that “this number will grow as plant operators continue to release their EPA compliance plans.” Now, a mere two months later, our analysis indicates that the amount of generation set to close because of EPA’s regulations has grown to almost 30 GW.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Obama, Holder among 'most corrupt politicians'

America's top elected leader makes ethically challenged list again

Judicial Watch reports in a capital city where the U.S. Constitution apparently fast is becoming an anachronism, both the nation's chief executive, Barack Obama, and his buddy, chief law enforcer Attorney General Eric Holder, have been named to a list of the nation's "most corrupt politicians."

 

"Barack Obama apparently believes it is his 'prerogative' to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law," said the report compiled by Judicial Watch, the Washington-based watchdog on government behavior.  And the allegations connected to Holder go far beyond the cerebral world of political position, statement and argument – into the lives and deaths of real people.

 

"Revelations from the Operation Fast and Furious scandal suggest that programs approved by the Holder DOJ may have resulted in the needless deaths of many, including a federal law enforcement officer," Judicial Watch said.

 

This year's list, alphabetically, includes: Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala.; former Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.; Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla.; Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill.; Barack Obama; Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif.; Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla.; Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.; and Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.

 

Dishonorable mentions for 2011 includes a potential GOP presidential candidate, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as well as former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.; Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.; Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.; Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky.; and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

 

Obama made last year's list after Judicial Watch reminded Washington watchers of Obama's promise regarding "transparency and the rule of law." "Instead, Americans have suffered through lies, stonewalling, cover-ups, corruption, secrecy, scandal and blatant disregard for the rule of law … this has been the Obama legacy in its first two years," the report said then.

 

This year's was not a significant improvement.

"Obama makes Judicial Watch's 'Ten Most Wanted' list for a fifth consecutive year. (The former Illinois senator was also a 'Dishonorable Mention' in 2006.) And when it comes to Obama corruption, it may not get any bigger than Solyndra," the 2011 report said.

 

"Solyndra was once known as the poster child for the Obama administration's massive 'green energy' 'initiative, but it has become the poster child for the corruption that ensues when the government meddles," the report today said. "Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in September 2011, leaving 1,100 workers without jobs and the American taxpayers on the hook for $535 million thanks to an Obama administration stimulus loan guarantee."

 

Judicial Watch cited Obama's "reticence to release details" but said it's abundantly clear that the Obama administration rushed the Solyndra loan through the approve process "so it could make a splash at a press event."

 

"The company's main financial backer was a major Obama campaign donor named George Kaiser. While the White House said Kaiser never discussed the loan with White House officials, the evidence suggests this is a lie. … Further demonstrating the political nature of the Obama administration's activities, the Energy Department pressured Solyndra to delay an announcement on layoffs until after the 2010 elections."

 

Even now, Judicial Watch said, Obama "continues to defend the indefensible."

 

Other problems for Obama:

  • "Despite a ban on funding that Obama signed into law, his administration continues to fund the corrupt and allegedly defunct 'community' organization ACORN," the report said. It cited a grant of nearly $80,000 to the Affordable Housing Centers of America, "the renamed ACORN Housing which has a long history of corrupt activity." Then there's nearly another three-quarters of a million dollars involved, too.

 

  • On Obama's "czars," Judicial Watch said Obama's actions are simply not allowed under the Constitution. The report cited a Politico documentation that Obama is ignoring 2011 spending package requirements to ban certain advisory posts. "In other words, Barack Obama believes he must ignore the U.S. Constitution to protect the U.S. Constitution."

 

  • "In an historic victory for Judicial Watch and an embarrassing defeat for the Obama White House, a federal court ruled on August 17, 2011, that Secret Service White House visitor logs are agency records that are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. … The Obama administration now will have to release all records of all visitors to the White House – or explain why White House visits should be kept secret."]

 

  • Obama also applied a politics-first attitude toward a labor dispute over Boeing's plan to open a $750 million assembly line in South Carolina. Obama's friends in organized labor objected and labor's friends in the White House responded with a legal action against Boeing.

 

  • "Obama's corrupt Chicago dealings continued to haunt him in 2011," Judicial Watch said, citing Obama's real estate partner, Tony Rezko, who was sentenced to jail. "The FBI continues to withhold from Judicial Watch documents of its historic interview of then-Sen. Obama about the Illinois corruption scandal," the group said.

 

The list of evidence against Holder was nearly as long as that against Obama. Judicial Watch said his actions regarding the Operation Fast and Furious gun-running scandal, "in which guns were sold to Mexican drug cartels and others, alone should have brought about Holder's departure."

 

"This reckless insanity seems to have resulted in, among other crimes, the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed in a shootout with Mexican criminals in December 2010. Fast and Furious guns were found at the scene of his death. The Fast and Furious operation by itself should have resulted in Holder's resignation, but it is the cover-up that has prompted serious calls for Holder's ouster," Judicial Watch said.

That, however, is just the tip of the iceberg, the report said.

 

For example, Holder announced his office no longer would defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act – a constitutional responsibility of his office.

 

"This failure to defend this federal law is unprecedented and raises serious questions as to whether President Obama and Eric Holder are upholding their oaths of office and following the Constitution's command to 'take care that the laws be faithfully executed.'"

 

There also are the questions about now-Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's participating in discussions about Obamacare, which is pending before the high court. And the DOJ's decision to drop a case of voter intimidation against the New Black Panther Party was found likely to have been influenced by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the report said.

 

Further, Judicial Watch has found that Holder's DOJ may be conspiring with Project Vote to boost welfare voter registrations, and Holder has announced his strategy to attack states where lawmakers want to protect against fraud in the voting booth.

 

For the others on the list:

  • Spencer Bachus, R-Ala. – "He has become the face of a congressional 'insider trading' scandal that has rocked the Washington establishment as 2011 draws to a close. Bachus, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was one of the principal targets of a '60 Minutes' investigative report on the scandal, which aired on CBS in September 2011. The report was based, at least in part, on the book 'Throw Them All Out' by author Peter Schweizer, which outed a slew of members of Congress who allegedly profited in the financial markets by trading on insider information. Bachus was not the only congressman cited by '60 Minutes' – others included Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – but the Alabama Republican stood out for his remarkable 'good fortune' in shorting the stock market."

 

  • Former Sen John Ensign, R-Nev. – "John Ensign, former U.S. senator from Nevada and former chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, was forced to resign from office in May 2011 as the result of an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. In a scandal that first broke in 2009, Sen. Ensign publicly admitted to an affair with the wife of long-time staffer Douglas Hampton. Ensign then allegedly tried to cover up the affair by bribing the couple with lucrative gifts and political favors. According to 'The New York Times,' after Hampton discovered the affair involving his wife Cynthia, the senator bought his silence by giving him 'a strong boost into a lobbying career.' Ensign asked political backers to find Hampton a job. 'Payments of $96,000 to the Hamptons also were made by Sen. Ensign's parents, who insist this was

a gift, not hush money. Once a lobbying job was secured, Sen. Ensign and his chief of staff continued to help Mr. Hampton, advocating his clients' cases directly with federal agencies."

  • Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla. – "In a year full of shocking congressional sex scandals, perhaps none is more serious than that involving Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings, who allegedly sexually harassed a female government employee and then engaged in a cruel campaign of retaliation when she rebuffed his advances. (On March 7, 2011, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against Hastings on behalf of the victim, Ms. Winsome Packer.) The alleged harassment and retaliation began in 2008 when Hastings (formerly an impeached federal judge) served as chairman of the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Ms. Packer served as his employee. According to Judicial Watch's complaint, 'Mr. Hastings' intention was crystal clear: he was sexually attracted to Ms. Packer, wanted a sexual relationship with her, and would help progress her career if she acquiesced to his sexual advances.'"

 

  • Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill. – "It took more than two years and two trials, but disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod 'Blago' Blagojevich was finally brought to justice on June 27, 2011, for a number of crimes, including his efforts to 'sell' President Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. He became the state's fourth governor, and one of at least 79 Illinois public officials, to be found guilty of a crime since 1972, proving that Illinois has certainly lived up to its reputation as a cesspool of corruption. As the trial unfolded, it became clear that many hands were dirty in the Blago scandal. (See Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm 'Rahmbo' Emanuel, who was finally forced to testify during this second Blago trial – for a whopping five minutes – and President Obama himself, who was interviewed by the FBI in the scandal even before he took office.) But all of the focus now seems to center on Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. The House Ethics Committee announced on December 2, 2011, that it will continue its investigation into allegations that Jackson or someone acting on his behalf offered to raise campaign cash for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for a Senate appointment in 2008. The committee also released an initial report from the Office of Congressional Ethics that said there was 'probable cause' to believe that Jackson either directed a third party or had knowledge of a third party's effort to convince the since-convicted Blagojevich to appoint Jackson Jr. in exchange for campaign cash."

 

  • Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif. – "A first-timer on Judicial Watch's 'Ten Most Wanted' list, Rep. Laura Richardson is in hot water for reportedly misusing her congressional staff for personal and political gain. Rep. Richardson is now under investigation by the House Ethics Committee regarding allegations by former staff member Maria Angel Macias. Macias alleges that she was required by Richardson to order other staffers to run personal errands for the Democrat congresswoman – such as picking up her dry cleaning – and to work on her re-election campaign at taxpayer expense. Richardson's alleged behavior would violate federal law, which protects federal employees from 'being forced by job-related threats or reprisals to donate to political candidates or causes.' House ethics rules also specify that 'in no event may a member or office compel a House employee to do campaign work.'"

 

  • Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla. – Rep. David Rivera, U.S. representative for Florida's 25th congressional district, is mired in numerous ethics controversies stemming from charges of money laundering and tax evasion schemes initiated when Rivera served in the Florida House of Representatives. The Republican congressman, serving his first term, is currently under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Miami-Dade Police public corruption unit, and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office. Of particular interest is the investigation by the FBI and the IRS regarding Rep. Rivera's dealings with the Flagler Dog Track, now known as the Magic City Casino. The basis for the investigation relates to payments reportedly totaling as much as $1 million made by the casino to Millennium Marketing in the guise of a consulting contract. Most of the money is said to have been paid in 2008."

 

  • Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. – Rep. Maxine Waters is one of the most senior and one of the most outspoken members of Congress. She is also one of the most corrupt. In August 2010, an investigative subcommittee of the House Ethics Committee charged Rep. Waters with three counts of violating House rules and ethics regulations in connection with her use of power and influence on behalf of OneUnited Bank. She was expected to face an ethics trial in late 2010, but the committee delayed the trial indefinitely on November 29, 2010, citing newly discovered documentary evidence that may impact proceedings. The delay apparently has less to do with evidence and more to do with infighting on the panel. Ultimately, an outside counsel was retained and a recommendation was expected by January 2, 2012. However, the committee announced that the Waters probe will be extended until July 31, 2012. According to The Associated Press, the charges currently under the House Ethics Committee microscope 'focus on whether Waters broke the rules in requesting federal help [bailout money] for a bank where her husband owned stock and had served on the board of directors.'"

 

  • Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska – Rep. Don Young may have achieved a new level of corruption in 2011. The House Ethics Committee announced just before Christmas that the Alaska Republican Congressman was cleared of allegations by the House Ethics Committee that he exceeded the limit on campaign donations to his legal defense fund – which was set up to defend Young against an entirely different set of corruption charges! There was good reason the House Ethics Committee released this decision after most of official Washington left for the Christmas holiday: because the committee's 'exoneration' is a joke. House ethics rules prohibit contributions from any single source that exceed $5,000. Young received $63,000 from 'twelve companies that…were in fact owned by Gary Chouest, his wife, and his five children, or some combination of those seven individuals.' Despite an independent analysis by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) that the shell-game was a rather transparent violation of the contribution limit, the House Ethics Committee gave Young a free pass because the 12 companies controlled by essentially one individual were 'separate legal entities.'"

 

Among those givens "mentions," Edwards was picked for being indicted by a grand jury on six felony charges apparently linked to the coverup of an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter. Gingrich, now running for the GOP nomination for president, previously was reprimanded in Congress for "reckless" disregard for House rules and was targeted in a "scathing special counsel report."

 

"Gingrich insinuated during one presidential debate that some members of Congress who took money from Fannie and Freddie should go to jail. And yet, over a span of eight years, according to 'Bloomberg News,' The Gingrich Group was paid between $1.6 and $1.8 million by the home mortgage company. At the same time, Freddie Mac was engaged in massive fraud. Gingrich suggested he was a 'historian' for Freddie Mac. But the evidence clearly shows he was 'throwing his weight' behind the two Government Sponsored Enterprises to prop them up, saying in one interview that Fannie and Freddie provided a more 'liquid and stable housing finance system than we would have' without them. Ironically, President Obama, the man who Gingrich is seeking to oust from office, is keeping secret each and every Freddie Mac (and Fannie Mae) document, including those that could shed light on Gingrich's relationship with Freddie," the Judicial Watch report said.

Napolitano, the report said, "presided over a campaign to bypass Congress and provide amnesty to millions of illegal alien lawbreakers all in an obvious attempt to garner more Hispanic votes for Obama's re-election. At first, Napolitano's campaign was begun in stealth. But in 2011 the Obama administration finally admitted that illegal alien amnesty is now the official policy of the United States of America, courtesy of Janet Napolitano's Department of Homeland Security (DHS)."

 

And Sebelius has kept shrouded in secrecy some 1,472 waivers of Obamacare's requirements given to unions and various companies, Judicial Watch said.

 

"Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against HHS on December 30, 2010, and yet the agency refuses to explain to the American people how decisions were made regarding which organizations received or did not receive a waiver. While HHS was disproportionately doling out waivers to unions, JW also obtained documents from HHS that provide new details on a massive, taxpayer-funded, multimedia campaign designed to promote Obamacare. The total cost of this campaign, which notably targets Obama's electoral coalition, could reach as much as $200 million over the next five years."

 

www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.printable&pageId=381969

 


Coast Guard studying effects of wind farms on marine traffic

Comments will be accepted through Jan. 31

The U.S. Coast Guard is undertaking a large-scale study of government, commercial and pleasure boat traffic up and down the Atlantic coast.

Although the Coast Guard routinely looks at vessel traffic on a port-by-port basis, the study that's now under way is the first to examine waters beyond port entrances, from Maine to Florida.

 

As part of the investigation, officials are asking for input from maritime industries, commercial watermen and recreational boaters who operate within 200 nautical miles of the East Coast.  Officials decided to launch the examination about a year ago, around the time that the U.S. Department of the Interior announced “wind energy areas” off the coasts of several Atlantic states. No offshore wind farms are operational yet, but more than a dozen are in various stages of development.

 

Additionally, the Coast Guard is seeking written guidance from the public. It issued its first call for input in May,

noting that some of the wind energy areas "are located in or very near the traditional routes used by vessels in foreign trade and on Atlantic coastwise transits."

 

In its previous request, the Coast Guard received 26 comments, most of which were applicable to the Mid-Atlantic region and did not include information from all stakeholders.

 

“In addition to the Mid-Atlantic region, the Coast Guard has become aware of private sector interest in developing wind energy and hydrokinetic installations off the coasts of Maine, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida,” the Coast Guard said. “Therefore, it is important that the Coast Guard receive comments on the potential impacts to the maritime community in these locations, as well.”

 

Comments will be accepted through Jan. 31.  Click here for information

www.uscg.mil/lantarea/ACPARS/docs/Notice%20of%20study_reopening%20of%20the%20comment%20period.pdf


UN still pushing Law of the Sea Treaty

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Coalition to Preserve American Sovereignty recognizes Sen. Rick Santorum as the first 2012 presidential candidate to express strong public opposition to the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (better known as the Law of the Sea Treaty, or LOST).  As Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry signals a desire to bring LOST to a vote next year, the Coalition calls on all others seeking the presidency to do the same.

 

Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum was quoted "This is another attack on American sovereignty.  This is another idea from those who believe in more world governance to transfer power and authority to international bodies, to have those international bodies have the ability to enforce those treaties in the United States and again directly attack the sovereignty of our country.

 

The world is a better place when the United States is in charge.  The world is a better place when they have a stable and democratic government that is promoting the values that America promotes, being in charge of our sea lanes, being in charge of international situations, as opposed to these international organizations - most of which are made of up tyrants and dictators and people who have interests that are antithetical to the interests of our country and to freedom-loving people.

 

That is the big difference here.  Who do you want to be, in a sense, in control of the seas - do you want America and the values that we promote, or do you want these despots and countries that are controlled by people whose values are very much against what we believe in?”

The treaty is really a relic of the 1970s and it’s been an objective of the international left for thirty years now to get the United States to sign on to the treaty, which basically internationalizes the seabed and puts control over undersea resources in an international authority and locks in rules of navigation that the U.S., up until now, has had considerable flexibility in following because of our strength both in the commercial and military naval field.

 

The U.S. joining this treaty really renounces the freedom that we have now under customary international law and would subject us to the votes of the treaty adherents, which are undoubtedly much like the General Assembly of the U.N., going to be very negative in their views of the U.S. role.

 

In these days before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, I’d like to see all the Republican candidates oppose [LOST].  I think that is their inclination, but I think we should get them on record.  I think people

need to know about these issues as they cast their votes in the caucuses and primaries.

 

The Coalition to Preserve American Sovereignty - an informal group of past and present national security practitioners and others committed to safeguarding the U.S. Constitution and the sovereign exceptionalism it makes possible - believes that the concerns about the Law of the Sea Treaty expressed by Sen. Santorum and Ambassador John Bolton are fully justified.  The Coalition joins them in opposing ratification of LOST, a treaty described by some of its supporters as “a constitution for the oceans,” because, among other reasons, this accord would:

  • in the name of redistribution global wealth, require the United States to make royalties payments on oil and gas produced on our own continental shelf to an unaccountable international organization known as the International Seabed Authority (ISA);

 

  • subject even the interior of the United States to internationally dictated environmental regulations over which we would, as a practical matter, have no say;

  • compel the U.S. to submit to the whims of mandatory international dispute-resolution mechanisms virtually certain to be hostile to American economic and security interests;

  • and entail restrictions that could be used to constrain the U.S. Navy’s global mobility on and use of the world’s oceans. Such restrictions would be undesirable at any time but particularly so at a moment when the Navy is facing severe budget cuts - cuts that will affect its presence and operations around the planet and otherwise endanger our naval forces’ ability to perform their vital missions in an increasingly dangerous world.

 

Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry is making a renewed push for the LOST Treaty that Ronald Reagan refused to sign, with hearings taking place perhaps as early as the first quarter of 2012. 

 

Consequently, the Coalition to Preserve American Sovereignty calls on all presidential candidates, as well as this year’s candidates for the United States Senate, to answer publicly two questions:

1. Do you believe our sovereignty and other vital interests would be compromised by U.S. ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty? And

2. Do you oppose or support Senate approval of LOST?  securefreedom.org

 


Regional

Are we stocking the right number of salmon? 

Five years ago the four states on Lake Michigan agreed to cut lakewide chinook stocking by 25%.  Most of that reduction was in Michigan, but the cut in Wisconsin was also substantial – 21% starting in 2006.  The lakewide reduction was successful in its intended purpose of assuring the stability of the salmon forage base, especially alewives.   This is in contrast with Lake Huron, where naturally reproduced chinook flooded the system in the early years of this decade and depleted the alewife population. 

 

Today, while the chinook fishery of Lake Huron has collapsed, the Lake Michigan program remains strong.  Wisconsin fisheries managers are especially pleased to note that Chinook and Coho salmon taken by Wisconsin anglers in 2011 were large and robust. This is now: Along with fisheries managers and the interested public in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, we have initiated a formal process of reviewing salmon and trout stocking policy in Lake Michigan.

 

Salmon stamp expenditure report.  We recently completed a summary of expenditures of Salmon Stamp revenues for the fiscal years 2006 through 2011.  Total 

expenditures for the salmon and trout program were a little over $3M each year, with about half of that coming from

Salmon Stamp revenues. Call to request a copy or find the report on line at http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/lakemich/Salmon_stamp_report_2006-2011.pdf.

 

Whitefish season extension?  A public hearing is scheduled regarding FH-25-11, a rule proposal to extend the commercial whitefish season by six days.  Under this rule proposal the season will close October 31 instead of October 25.  The hearing will be held at the DNR Sturgeon Bay Service Center (110 S. Neenah Avenue) at 5 pm, Tuesday, January 17, 2012.

 

Electronic reporting of commercial catches.  Starting January 1, 2012, daily catch reports will be submitted electronically by Lake Superior commercial fishers using laptop computers.  The electronic reporting system will be in place later in the year on Lake Michigan.  The electronically-submitted data will be available immediately to Department biologists and wardens, so the Department will always have current information about harvests from both Lakes.  The daily electronic reports will replace bi-weekly reports submitted on paper forms.


Biologists seek feedback on Lake Michigan salmon stocking

MADISON -- Five years after cutting the number of chinook stocked in Lake Michigan by 25 %, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana are reviewing if the reduction worked and encouraging anglers to weigh in.

 

"We cut the lake-wide stocking quite a bit five years ago to better balance the trout and salmon out there with the available food supply. We said at that time we'd review how it worked," says Bill Horns, Great Lakes fisheries specialist for the Wisconsin DNR. "Anglers report that the Chinook and Coho they caught in 2011 were big and robust, so we're not hearing a lot of concern from anglers, but we want to follow through on the promise we made to revisit the issue."

Horns invites anglers to review information on the web about the Lake Michigan Stocking Strategies workshops and to email him at William.Horns@Wisconsin.gov or call at (608) 266-8782 with their feedback on how the stocking reductions worked and suggestions to guide future trout and salmon stocking on Lake Michigan.

 

Anglers also can attend a Lake Michigan Stocking Strategies conference being planned for next summer. Stocking decisions for 2013 and beyond will be based on the data presented and discussed at that public conference.

 

"So far, we've had a good cross-section of the angling public represented in limited workshops to scope out the process," says Brad Eggold, who supervises DNR's southern Lake Michigan fisheries team. "Now we want to reach out to more anglers to help us get ready for the public meeting this summer."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


USFWS annual Ruffe surveillance on Lake Huron and the St. Marys River

During September 2011, the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) completed an annual survey to detect new populations of Eurasian Ruffe (Ruffe) and monitor existing populations of other invasive fish species, including round goby (goby). Bottom trawling gear was used to conduct the survey. Sampling was conducted at eight nearshore locations in U.S. waters of Lake Huron from Port Dolomite near Cedarville to Harbor Beach, and at six locations in the St. Marys River from Sault Ste. Marie to De Tour Village.

 

Ruffe were not captured during sampling. However, goby continue to persist and were captured at all eight Lake .

Huron sampling locations

 

The Sea Lamprey Control Program reported a Ruffe was caught in a trap located in the Trout River, north of Rogers City, MI. This prompted the Alpena FWCO staff to try and locate this exotic invader. During the week of September 12th, Fish Biologists Joseph Gerbyshak and Adam Kowalski set out to try and confirm the presence of Ruffe in the Trout River and several other watersheds in close proximity to the Trout River. Trap nets and electrofishing were used to sample fish communities in the Trout, Swan and Thunder Bay Rivers. Fortunately, no Ruffe were detected. Nevertheless, yearly monitoring will continue to occur in Lake Huron and its tributaries for the presence of Ruffe and other exotic species.


Regional mass marking update

The USFWS provides a coordinated tagging program that allows the tracking of planted fish and gives managers necessary data to produce management decisions.  The goal is that every fish that goes in the Great Lakes will have a tag.  This idea came out of the Council of Lake Committees under the umbrella of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

 

This tagging effort will help us understand what fish are contributing to each fishery.  Marking will also tell us what year class we are dealing. Mass marking provides the potential for evaluating the survival of fish based on stocking location. Coded-wire tags are laser etched with identifying numbers.

 

The USFWS is using marking systems by Autofish

Technologies.  A trailer contains six lines that sort fish by automated vision systems integrated with computer technology.  Rates are close to 8,000 fish per hour. Trailers cost about $1.4 million each, and the agency currently has 4 in the system. There are currently 30 million fish produced at 49 hatcheries across the basin. Michigan DNR produces most of the fish at 6 facilities currently producing 7.7 million fish. USFWS produces the 2nd largest number.  Estimates are it costs Michigan about $.26 cents to raise a king salmon and about a $1.00 to raise a Coho.  The coded-wire tags cost $.10 cents each.

 

Region-wide mass marking is intended to be an on going project; however funding uncertainties are a factor in the not too distant future.

 


FWS destroying 434K lake trout for 'rock snot' fear

MONTPELIER, VT (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is disposing of 434,000 lake trout from the White River, VT fish hatchery because of fears that stocking them in the Great Lakes could spread the invasive algae known as "rock snot."

 

Officials tried to find alternative locations where the 4-inch fingerlings could be stocked into waters already contaminated with the algae, known more formally as didymo, including lakes in Vermont and New Hampshire, but none could be found, said FWS sokeswoman Terri Edwards.

 

The decision to destroy the fish was made by the FWS vNortheast regional director, Wendi Weber, who determined they could not be safely stocked in lakes Erie and Ontario — where they were supposed to be released — without posing a risk that didymo could be transported to those bodies of water.  In 2011, the Fish and Wildlife Service stocked more than 4 million lake trout in the Great Lakes.

 

Federal officials asked counterparts in states across the Northeast and around the Great Lakes for a lake that had already been contaminated with didymo where the fish could be released. In the end, they were not able to place

them.

 

Didymo is believed to be transported by anglers moving from one body of water to another. It poses no threat to humans but can overwhelm cold water lakes and streams, threatening aquatic insect and fish populations by smothering food sources.  The hatchery is located on the banks of the White River, which is known to contain didymo, and was inundated by contaminated river water during flooding in August caused by Tropical Storm Irene.

 

Once the lake trout have been removed from the hatchery, the tanks will be scrubbed and disinfected to be sure no threat of didymo remains. The water in the hatchery's tanks comes from wells.  It's unclear how long the White River hatchery will be out of service or what its role will be once repairs have been completed. In addition to disinfecting the tanks, other repairs from Irene damage are also being carried out.

 

The loss of the hatchery comes as the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery in Warren, Pa., goes online after being out of service for several years. The Warren hatchery, originally established to produce rainbow, brook and brown trout for northwestern Pennsylvania streams, now is intended to produce lake trout for restoration in Lakes Erie and Ontario.

 


2nd Amendment Issues

Illegal immigrants have no right to arms - court

Dec 16 (Reuters) - Illegal immigrants do not have a right to bear arms under the U.S. Constitution, a federal appeals court ruled December 16.

 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, based in Missouri, rejected an appeal brought by Joaquin Bravo Flores, who was charged with possessing a firearm. Agreeing with the 5th Circuit, the court concluded that the protections of the Second Amendment do not extend to undocumented immigrants.

 

Executing a search warrant in 2010, police uncovered a semi-automatic handgun in Bravo Flores' Minneapolis apartment. A grand jury indicted him for being an alien in possession of a firearm in violation of federal law. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

 

Bravo Flores tried to dismiss the indictment, arguing that the criminal law barring illegal immigrants from possessing guns is unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 recognized an individual right to possess firearms under the Second Amendment. Bravo Flores argued that the Second Amendment's guarantee of "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" also applied to him and other illegal immigrants.

 

His lawyer argued in a court filing that Bravo Flores is a member of "the people," having come to the country as a

teenager and now living with his American citizen partner and their two citizen children.

 

The Supreme Court has previously ruled that undocumented immigrants have constitutional rights in criminal cases, including a Sixth Amendment right to trial and Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

 

The 8th Circuit declined to extend the right to bear arms to illegal immigrants. The appeals court has previously upheld other criminal laws that prohibit convicted felons and narcotics addicts from possessing firearms.

 

In June, the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit rejected a constitutional challenge brought by a Mexican citizen arrested in Texas for carrying a firearm, which he said he used to kill coyotes. The appeals court quoted language from the Supreme Court's 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, finding that the phrase "the people" referred to "law-abiding citizens" and "members of the political community."

 

One judge dissented, finding that the 5th Circuit decision in that case meant that "millions of similarly situated residents of the United States are non-persons who have no rights to be free from unjustified searches of their homes and bodies and other abuses, nor to peaceably assemble or petition the government."


Obama says he won't be bound by gun-control ban in omnibus

The Obama administration won't be bound by a gun-control ban in the $1 trillion spending bill for 2012, the president said Friday.

The funding provision for the federal Health agency says that "none of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control." The language aims to ban taxpayer dollars from supporting gun-safety research.

 

"I have advised the Congress that I will not construe these provisions as preventing me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibility to recommend to the Congress's consideration such measures as I shall judge necessary and expedient," Obama said in a statement as he signed the bill into law.

 

The Obama administration’s anti-gun agenda, which has been sneaking into the federal bureaucracy in recent years, was blasted by Congress last week. Republicans used the $1 trillion omnibus bill for 2012 to shoot back at the sneaky use of federal funds for gun control.

One sentence in the 2,100-page spending bill stopped taxpayers’ money from being used for sham studies designed to make legal gun ownership seem like a public health hazard. The House GOP included a provision in the Health and Human Services appropriations bill preventing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from using any of its $30.7 billion funds to “advocate or promote gun control.”

 

The president's signing statement also says he could end up ignoring a provision that bars taxpayer funds for paying for the "salaries and expenses" of so-called White House czars, including the director of the White House Office of Health Reform. The office was abolished earlier this year.

 

That provision "could prevent me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibilities, by denying me the assistance of senior advisers and by obstructing my supervision of executive branch officials in the execution of their statutory responsibilities," Obama said. "I have informed the Congress that I will interpret these provisions consistent with my constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

 


General

HSUS casts dark cloud over American Agriculture

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), has again resorted to “backdoor” tactics by partnering with—or possibly forcing its agenda on—the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Those HSUS efforts to infiltrate USDA regulations were recently exposed on the floor of U.S. Capital with testimony by Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas).

 

Moran noted in his Nov. 2, 2011 comments that he discovered U.S. Department of Agriculture memos authorizing the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to hold a forum-at taxpayer expense-on animal rights and agriculture. In fact, another memorandum noted that a prior meeting with HSUS and USDA staffers was held to “set the agenda” for the upcoming forum. Moran noted in his Senate testimony that USDA met with HSUS despite it being an animal rights organization and “no friend to rural America, farmers or ranchers.”

“HSUS spends their dollars lobbying against rural America and farmers and ranchers,” stated Sen. Moran. “Tax documents show that HSUS spends less than one percent of its budget on animal shelters.”

 

In a March 2011 HSUS news release, the group applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture for launching a new database to increase public access to information regarding research facilities and other entities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act. The new database came about, however, as a result of a lawsuit settlement agreement between USDA and the HSUS about access to animal research records under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

The HSUS had sued the USDA, and many taxpayer dollars were spent defending against the HSUS suit that was filed in 2005. Details are at www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2011/03/

usda_animal_care_records_database_032911.html.  Was this an HSUS effort to gain more control over the U.S. Department of Agriculture?

 

Many other HSUS actions showcase their efforts to attack and infiltrate the agriculture industry.  Another September 2011 HSUS news release reveals that other groups are joining the HSUS in their costly and bitter ballet initiatives directed at farms, ranches and agriculture.

“In Ohio, in 2010, The HSUS—and many of our traditional allies such as Farm Sanctuary, Mercy For Animals, the Toledo Area Humane Society, the Ohio Environmental Stewardship Alliance, and others—waged a campaign to place a measure on the statewide ballot to phase out a variety of the most inhumane factory farming practices,” reports HSUS’s Wayne Pacelle in a blog about Ohio and farming. The HSUS has also focused their agriculture “sights” on Nebraska.

 

A Sept. 14, 2011 blog by HSUS’s Wayne Pacelle decried Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman as “ill-informed and patently dishonest.”  This was because the Governor held a series of meetings with ranchers and farm groups across the state to tell them that HSUS was attempting to force its way into the state and is definitely no friend to farming or the agriculture industry.

 

HSUS also boasted it had “…hammered out agreements in California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, and Ohio on farm animal welfare….” Of course those agreements were often the results of lawsuits or threats of costly ballot initiatives by HSUS.

 

In May 2011, another HSUS release noted the group’s pleasure when Florida's “lawmakers chose not to enact agribusiness' proposal to criminalize taking photographs or videos of farm animals.” Seems HSUS videos being taken by “planted” HSUS employees at farms have appeared on television shows as documentaries or in national news programs as actual news. Yet, according to HSUS in an April 14, 2011 release, “undercover investigations of the meat industry have a long and important history in the United States.”

 

“All sportsmen and American’s should be concerned that the nation’s largest animal rights group has become advisors and partners to the agriculture industry,” warns Bud Pidgeon, U.S. Sportsmen Alliance president and CEO. “This group’s recent pushes to pass animal rights legislation that affects farms nationwide should be a warning of what to expect in the future—and that these recent actions by HSUS are very suspect.”

 

Details on an HSUS undercover raid can be found at www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2011/

06/telly_award_smithfield_video_060911.html.

 


Christmas trees as fish habitat may need permit

There are many ways to recycle Christmas trees, but tossing them on a frozen lake as a way of creating fish habitat has certain requirements ... and an uncertain outcome.

 

“Fish attractors tend to bring fish and fishermen together,” said Bill James, Indiana’s Fish Chief. “They provide cover but don’t necessarily grow more fish.” Instead of waiting for an iced-over lake to thaw so a single discarded Christmas tree can sink to the bottom, James said there are better options for fish attractors.

 

“They need to be designed, sized and placed appropriately to attract and hold fish,” he said. “Large hardwood brush piles work well and last for many years. Soft woods such as pine or spruce attract fish initially but deteriorate quickly. This is especially true if used Christmas trees are placed singly or just scattered about.”

 

Furthermore, state laws may apply, depending on the body of water. Discarding a Christmas tree  on a private pond is at the owner’s discretion, but doing so on a public freshwater lakes is governed by the Lake Preservation Act

(Indiana Code 14-26-2) and Indiana Administrative Code (312 IAC 11-4-7).

 

Those two laws stipulate that a license from the DNR is needed to construct or place a fish attractor in a public freshwater lake. To qualify, the fish attractor must be anchored to ensure proper setting and must not be placed in a channel, a beach area, near the lake surface or in an area that would adversely affect public safety and navigation, or adversely affect the natural resources or natural scenic beauty.

 

Three DNR divisions – Fish & Wildlife, Law Enforcement, and Water – have a role in reviewing and approving a permit request for placement of a fish attractor. If approved, the permit carries a $100 fee and requires the permit holder to remove any portion or portions of the fish attractor that become unattached.

 

The administrative rule (312 IAC 11-4-7) was enacted in 1999 by the Indiana Natural Resources Commission in response to requests for permission to submerge cars and other large objects, including an airplane.

 


Firearm Accident Fatalities at an All-Time Low

Data recently released by the National Center for Health Statistics shows that in 2008, the number and per capita rate of firearm accident deaths fell to an all-time low. There were 592 firearm accident deaths (0.19 such accidents per 100,000 population) in 2008, as compared to 613 accidents (.20 per 100,000) in 2007. In 2008, the chance of a child dying in a firearm accident was roughly one in a million.

 

Firearm accidents accounted for 0.5% of all accidental deaths; well below the percentages accounted for by motor vehicle accidents, falls, fires, poisonings, and several other more common types of mishaps.

 

Firearm suicides rose in 2008 because total suicides rose,

but the percentage of suicides accounted for by those misusing firearms remained steady, at just barely over half. This is down from about 60% during the 1980s and early 1990s. The firearm suicide rate remained at just under 6 per 100,000, as it has been every year from 1999 forward.  Contrary to claims made recently by some gun control advocates, firearm suicides among children are extremely uncommon, and in 2008, fell to an all-time low.

 

Firearm homicides (including self-defense, but excluding lawful shootings by police) declined in 2008. More recent data reported by the FBI, shows that criminal homicides declined in 2008, again in 2009, and again in 2010, to a 47-year low.

 


Lake Michigan

Are we stocking the right number of salmon? 

Five years ago the four states on Lake Michigan agreed to cut lakewide chinook stocking by 25%.  Most of that reduction was in Michigan, but the cut in Wisconsin was also substantial – 21% starting in 2006.  The lakewide reduction was successful in its intended purpose of assuring the stability of the salmon forage base, especially alewives.   This is in contrast with Lake Huron, where naturally reproduced chinook flooded the system in the early years of this decade and depleted the alewife population. 

 

Today, while the chinook fishery of Lake Huron has collapsed, the Lake Michigan program remains strong.  Wisconsin fisheries managers are especially pleased to note that Chinook and Coho salmon taken by Wisconsin anglers in 2011 were large and robust. This is now: Along with fisheries managers and the interested public in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, we have initiated a formal process of reviewing salmon and trout stocking policy in Lake Michigan.

 

Salmon stamp expenditure report.  We recently completed a summary of expenditures of Salmon Stamp revenues for the fiscal years 2006 through 2011.  Total 

expenditures for the salmon and trout program were a little over $3M each year, with about half of that coming from

Salmon Stamp revenues. Call to request a copy or find the report on line at http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/lakemich/Salmon_stamp_report_2006-2011.pdf.

 

Whitefish season extension?  A public hearing is scheduled regarding FH-25-11, a rule proposal to extend the commercial whitefish season by six days.  Under this rule proposal the season will close October 31 instead of October 25.  The hearing will be held at the DNR Sturgeon Bay Service Center (110 S. Neenah Avenue) at 5 pm, Tuesday, January 17, 2012.

 

Electronic reporting of commercial catches.  Starting January 1, 2012, daily catch reports will be submitted electronically by Lake Superior commercial fishers using laptop computers.  The electronic reporting system will be in place later in the year on Lake Michigan.  The electronically-submitted data will be available immediately to Department biologists and wardens, so the Department will always have current information about harvests from both Lakes.  The daily electronic reports will replace bi-weekly reports submitted on paper forms.


Biologists seek feedback on Lake Michigan salmon stocking

MADISON -- Five years after cutting the number of chinook stocked in Lake Michigan by 25 %, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana are reviewing if the reduction worked and encouraging anglers to weigh in.

 

"We cut the lake-wide stocking quite a bit five years ago to better balance the trout and salmon out there with the available food supply. We said at that time we'd review how it worked," says Bill Horns, Great Lakes fisheries specialist for the Wisconsin DNR. "Anglers report that the Chinook and Coho they caught in 2011 were big and robust, so we're not hearing a lot of concern from anglers, but we want to follow through on the promise we made to revisit the issue."

Horns invites anglers to review information on the web about the Lake Michigan Stocking Strategies workshops and to email him at William.Horns@Wisconsin.gov or call at (608) 266-8782 with their feedback on how the stocking reductions worked and suggestions to guide future trout and salmon stocking on Lake Michigan.

 

Anglers also can attend a Lake Michigan Stocking Strategies conference being planned for next summer. Stocking decisions for 2013 and beyond will be based on the data presented and discussed at that public conference.

 

"So far, we've had a good cross-section of the angling public represented in limited workshops to scope out the process," says Brad Eggold, who supervises DNR's southern Lake Michigan fisheries team. "Now we want to reach out to more anglers to help us get ready for the public meeting this summer."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Illinois

Swine facility fined for polluting Spring Creek, killing thousands of fish

Springfield ─ The Illinois Attorney General an agreement with an Iroquois County swine facility that illegally discharged livestock waste in Spring Creek, which killed more than 110,000 fish across more than 19 miles of the creek and a tributary.

The consent order partially resolves an amended complaint filed in February 2010 by Attorney General Madigan.  R3E, LLC must pay $17,500 in civil penalties to the Illinois EPA’s Environmental Protection Trust Fund and $63,782 to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for the value of the aquatic life destroyed by waste discharge.

 


Indiana

Christmas trees as fish habitat may need permit

There are many ways to recycle Christmas trees, but tossing them on a frozen lake as a way of creating fish habitat has certain requirements ... and an uncertain outcome.

 

“Fish attractors tend to bring fish and fishermen together,” said Bill James, Indiana’s Fish Chief. “They provide cover but don’t necessarily grow more fish.” Instead of waiting for an iced-over lake to thaw so a single discarded Christmas tree can sink to the bottom, James said there are better options for fish attractors.

 

“They need to be designed, sized and placed appropriately to attract and hold fish,” he said. “Large hardwood brush piles work well and last for many years. Soft woods such as pine or spruce attract fish initially but deteriorate quickly. This is especially true if used Christmas trees are placed singly or just scattered about.”

 

Furthermore, state laws may apply, depending on the body of water. Discarding a Christmas tree  on a private pond is at the owner’s discretion, but doing so on a public freshwater lakes is governed by the Lake Preservation Act

(Indiana Code 14-26-2) and Indiana Administrative Code (312 IAC 11-4-7).

 

Those two laws stipulate that a license from the DNR is needed to construct or place a fish attractor in a public freshwater lake. To qualify, the fish attractor must be anchored to ensure proper setting and must not be placed in a channel, a beach area, near the lake surface or in an area that would adversely affect public safety and navigation, or adversely affect the natural resources or natural scenic beauty.

 

Three DNR divisions – Fish & Wildlife, Law Enforcement, and Water – have a role in reviewing and approving a permit request for placement of a fish attractor. If approved, the permit carries a $100 fee and requires the permit holder to remove any portion or portions of the fish attractor that become unattached.

 

The administrative rule (312 IAC 11-4-7) was enacted in 1999 by the Indiana Natural Resources Commission in response to requests for permission to submerge cars and other large objects, including an airplane.

 


February Canada goose season to continue

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is again offering a late season for hunting Canada geese.

The season runs Feb. 1-15 in the following 30 counties: Steuben, LaGrange, Elkhart, St. Joseph, La Porte, Starke, Marshall, Kosciusko, Noble, DeKalb, Allen, Whitley, Huntington, Wells, Adams, Boone, Hamilton, Madison, Hendricks, Marion, Hancock, Morgan, Johnson, Shelby, Vermillion, Parke, Vigo, Clay, Sullivan, and Greene.

 

The late season helps control the population of the breeding “giant” subspecies of Canada geese around urban areas, a common issue in Indiana and surrounding states. Indiana has offered hunters a late Canada goose season in select counties every February since 2008.

In 2011, the state issued late-season Canada goose permits to 3,906 hunters, and 2,577 of them hunted, DNR waterfowl biologist Adam Phelps said.

 

Indiana hunters harvested 6,500 Canada geese during the

 

 

2011 late season, 800 more than in 2010, according to estimates from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The total late season harvest for Indiana across all four years is estimated at 25,400 geese.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first granted Indiana a late season for Canada goose as a three-year experiment with a requirement that at least 80 percent of geese harvested during that period needed to be giant Canada geese.

 

Even if Indiana’s season meets federal guidelines, the season may be closed in future years if local Canada goose populations are sufficiently reduced.

 

In addition to a valid hunting license, Indiana waterfowl stamp privilege, signed federal duck stamp, and an HIP (Harvest Information Program) number, a free late-season Canada goose permit is also required. The free permit is available at http://hunting.IN.gov   by phone (317-232-4200), or at any state Fish & Wildlife Area, field office, or reservoir during regular hours in January.


 

Michigan

Lake Sturgeon rehab strategy open for public review

Comments will be received until January 23

The Michigan DNR announced the availability of the Draft Lake Sturgeon Rehabilitation Strategy for public comment. Lake sturgeon are an important part of Michigan’s biodiversity, as they are the largest and longest-living fish that swim in state waters.

 

Populations were decimated near the turn of the 20th century due to overfishing, water pollution and habitat loss. Although management actions taken in recent decades have resulted in the recovery of some populations, the species is protected and listed as threatened on the State of Michigan’s Endangered Species List.

 

The Draft Lake Sturgeon Rehabilitation Strategy outlines the management goals, objectives and actions that can be taken to help recover this important species. The document is not intended to be a briefing of current knowledge about the species or a specific management plan which includes prescriptions about how each population can be enhanced. Rather, this document

includes a more holistic view of lake sturgeon management

in Michigan and provides the guiding principles Fisheries Division will use in cooperation with its partners to recover this important species.

 

“Public review and comment are key steps to adopting a statewide rehabilitation strategy for lake sturgeon,” said acting DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “The comments we receive will be incorporated into the final document, which will ultimately guide our decision-making regarding management activities associated with the continued recovery of this species.” 

The Draft Lake Sturgeon Rehabilitation Strategy is posted online at www.michigan.gov/fishpublicinput.
Public comments will be received until Jan. 23, 2012. 

 

Written comments can be submitted through email to DNR-FISH-Sturgeon@michigan.gov or through mail to:

Sturgeon Rehabilitation Strategy Comments

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

96 Grant Street

Charlevoix, MI 49720


Winter Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Program set for U.P. Feb. 24-26

Women seeking the opportunity to improve their outdoor skills are invited to register for the 12th annual Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) winter program in the Upper Peninsula. The program will be held in Big Bay on Feb. 24-26.

 

Sponsored by the Michigan DNR, this program offers instruction in more than a dozen kinds of indoor and outdoor activities, including cross-country skiing, dog sledding, ice fishing, fly tying, wilderness first aid, wood burning and more. Instructors provide basic and advanced instruction that is tailored to each participant's individual ability.

 

The program takes place at Bay Cliff Health Camp, a universally accessible facility, located in a picturesque wooded setting overlooking Lake Superior approximately 30 miles north of Marquette. The $180 registration fee includes all food and lodging, as well as most equipment and supplies, except as noted in the registration materials.

Participants will be housed in a dorm-style facility with

amenities including a sauna and hiking trails with access to Lake Superior.

 

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshops are for women, 18 and older, who wish to learn outdoor skills in a relaxed, noncompetitive atmosphere. The winter BOW program also includes special evening programs during the weekend event.

 

Early registration is recommended as the program fills quickly each year. Class information and registration materials are available online at www.michigan.gov/bow, and payments may now be made online as well. For more information, contact Sharon Pitz at the DNR office in Marquette at 906-228-6561 or e-mail pitzs@michigan.gov.

 

Many other outdoors programs for women are scheduled across Michigan. To learn more about these additional opportunities, check the BOW website or contact Sue Tabor at 517-241-2225; e-mail: DNR-Outdoors-Woman@michigan.gov.


Workgroup presents recommendations to NRC for Youth Hunting

A workgroup comprised of conservation groups and youth hunters presented recommendations for regulations for mentored youth hunting in Michigan to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission at a recent meeting.

 

Earlier this year, Governor Rick Snyder signed two bills into law that eliminated the minimum hunting age in Michigan and directed the NRC to create a new program for mentored youth hunting for children under the age of 10.

 

Under the statute, the Department of Natural Resources will offer a Mentored Youth Hunting license starting on March 1, 2012. The $7.50 license will be a “package” license that includes small game, spring and fall turkey, two deer tags, a furbearer trapping permit and an all-species fishing license. An adult mentor must be at least 21 years old, have previous hunting experience and possess a valid Michigan hunting license. Another provision of the law allows 10 year-olds to hunt big game on private land with a firearm, which was implemented starting with the 2011 deer season.

 

The workgroup recommendations for the Mentored Youth Hunting program include:

 

• No limit on the number of youth a mentor can have with him or her in the field, leaving it at the discretion of the mentor.

• A limit of two hunting devices – bow, crossbow or firearm – per mentor.

• The youth in possession of a hunting device and engaged in the act of hunting must be within arm’s length of the mentor.

• The mentor shall ensure that the hunting device is sized appropriately to fit the physical abilities of the youth to ensure safe and responsible handling.

• The mentor will be held responsible for the youth’s actions.

• The issued deer tags under the Mentored Youth Hunting license can be used for either sex (antlered or antlerless), are not subject to antler point restriction regulations in certain parts of the state and can only be used on private land, consistent with current state law.

• A voluntary Mentor Guide program will be developed by the DNR to educate and inform mentors of their responsibilities.

 

The NRC has directed the DNR to come forward with a Wildlife Conservation Order to create the regulations for Mentored Youth Hunting at the Jan. 12 meeting in Lansing. The order would be eligible for an NRC vote at the Feb. 9 meeting in Dearborn. Public comment on the proposed regulations can be made at the January or February meeting. Written comments can be sent to the NRC’s executive assistant Deb Whipple at whippled1@michigan.gov or via US Mail to Natural Resources Commission, P.O. Box 30028, Lansing, MI 48909.

 

For more information on the NRC, including agendas and past meeting minutes, go to www.michigan.gov/nrc.

 


DNR offers beginning handgun shooting class for women March 3 in Linwood

The Michigan DNR  is offering an Introduction to Handgun Shooting class through the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program in Linwood, near Bay City, on Saturday, March 3,  8:30-3 PM.  Hosted by Linwood-Bay Sportsman's Club, with instruction by the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA), this popular class teaches women all of the basics of handgun safety and use.

 

The morning session will include an overview of handgun safety and the opportunity to shoot (live fire) .22 LR handguns. After lunch, the IDPA will set up a scenario where participants will shoot on the move while using cover. Women will also have the opportunity to shoot larger-caliber handguns.

All firearms, ammunition, and eye and ear protection will be provided. Attendees are asked not to bring their own firearms to this class. This is not the class required by law to obtain a concealed pistol license, but is a great prerequisite course for those who are considering obtaining a CPL.

 

Cost per person is $25, which includes lunch. Class size is limited, so those interested in attending are encouraged to register early. The registration deadline is Feb. 21.  Linwood-Bay Sportsman's Club is located at 1643 E. Linwood Rd. in Linwood. For driving directions or more information about the club, visit www.linwoodbaysportsmans.com.

 

For registration forms, etc: www.michigan.gov/bow, email dnr-outdoors-woman@michigan.gov or call 517-241-2225.


New York

I FISH NY Freshwater fishing map now available from DEC
Map/brochure provides fishing information on over 400 lakes, ponds, rivers and streams

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Bureau of Fisheries is offering a new, full color map/brochure free of charge for individuals who fish in the freshwaters of New York, the agency announced today. The I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New York State provides information on over 320 NY lakes and ponds and 112 river and streams.


“Research shows one of the primary reasons people do not fish more often is because of a lack of information concerning where to fish,” said Kathy Moser, assistant commissioner, DEC Office of Natural Resources. “Our comprehensive map provides all the information needed to have a quality freshwater fishing experience, and is part of our agency’s overall efforts to help connect New Yorkers and others to our natural resources.”


The large 36” x 37.5” map folds into a convenient 3.875” x 9” size. One side provides a map of New York state identifying locations of fishing waters recommended by DEC regional staff. The other side provides tables with details on each water, including the fish species present, the type of access provided and who owns it, whether or not it is open to ice fishing, the availability of fishing piers,

marinas or local campsites and any permits or other restrictions that apply. Guidance on how to buy a fishing license, register a boat or make a camping reservation in New York is also included, along with information for anglers desiring to fish the Great Lakes for wild trout, wilderness brook trout or black bass. Anglers will also find important phone numbers and e-mail addresses for various contacts, along with a quick response (QR) code providing a smartphone link to the current New York Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide. Color identification photos and descriptions of popular sportfish in New York are also provided.

 

The I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New York State was completed using Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration grant funds and can be obtained free of charge by visiting any DEC regional office, or by mail. To receive a map in the mail, e-mail a request to DEC at: fwfish@gw.dec.state.ny.us. Requests by e-mail should include the name and complete address of the recipient, as well as NY Fishing Map in the subject line.

 

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 9

270 Michigan Avenue

Buffalo, NY 14203

region9@gw.dec.state.ny.us

www.dec.ny.gov

 


NY acquires 600 acres along Black Creek

New York State acquired nearly 600 acres of public land creating the Black Creek State Forest in the town of Esopus, Ulster County, which adjoins the rustic retreat of noted naturalist John Burroughs, New York State DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced. The property will become part of a network of public and private conservation lands surrounding the John Burroughs Nature Sanctuary along Black Creek, an important tributary of the Hudson River.

 

“This acquisition is a terrific example of state, local and non-profit cooperation to protect one of the most intact tributaries of the Hudson River Estuary,” Martens said. “The ecological significance and recreational opportunities provided by the Black Creek and its surrounding land makes this property a conservation priority for DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program. The property will conserve the natural habitats, creeks, woods and scenery that John Burroughs introduced to national audiences with his renowned essays, allowing future generation to use and enjoy this precious ecosystem forever.”

 

The state purchased the land from the Scenic Hudson Land Trust for $1.29 million paid from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund. The state will pay local school, town and fire district taxes for the property. The

Black Creek State Forest will be managed to protect and enhance public recreation, forest conservation, fish and wildlife habitat and water quality.

 

The network of public and private conservation lands surrounding these properties extends along Black Creek from its mouth on the Hudson River to Chodikee Lake, a popular fishing destination. In addition to Black Creek State Forest and the John Burroughs Nature Sanctuary, the network of preserved natural areas includes streamside lands owned by Scenic Hudson in Esopus. The Scenic Hudson Land Trust has conserved other lands in the area using conservation easements and assembled undeveloped parcels in an eight-mile corridor along the creek.

 

The new State Forest contains important examples of hemlock-northern hardwood forest, Appalachian oak-hickory forest and red maple-hardwood swamp. The ecosystem is habitat for the northern cricket frog, an endangered species that is now at risk in most of its former New York state range on Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley, due to urban sprawl.

 

Read more: www.outdoorhub.com/news/new-york-state-acquires-600-acres-along-black-creek/#ixzz1hMoKeJ3V

 


Feds side with Schneiderman on Indian Point power plant

Reject efforts to have severe accident analysis ignored in relicensing

NEW YORK – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has upheld the Landmark Ruling That Indian Point cannot be relicensed before review of upgrades are completed.  Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a significant federal ruling in ongoing efforts to improve Indian Point’s accident preparedness, and ensure the protection of public health and the environment of the surrounding region. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rejected a move by Entergy, Indian Point’s owner, to reverse a landmark Atomic Safety and Licensing Board decision ordering the completion of legally-required analyses of the facility's severe accident mitigation measures before it can be relicensed.


“It is a significant victory that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission firmly rejected an effort by Indian Point's owner to reverse a landmark federal ruling -- won by my office -- that the facility cannot be relicensed until legally-required analyses of its ability to control severe accidents are completed. Indian Point must follow regulations to protect the public and control the effects of a potentially severe nuclear accident,” said Schneiderman. “While Entergy might prefer to treat severe accidents as impossibilities, the millions of people who live and work   

near Indian Point rightfully expect more. My office will continue to take every action necessary to ensure Indian Point complies with all applicable laws and regulations, and that the surrounding communities are protected.” 

 

As part of the relicensing proceeding, nuclear power plants are required to identify the environmental impacts that could be caused by a severe accident and provide analyses of measures that facilities could take to protect the public if one were to occur.  In its environmental review, Entergy identified numerous such measures at Indian Point Units 2 and 3, including flood protection and auxiliary power improvements.

 

In the context of Indian Point's relicensing, the Attorney General's office argued that the NRC has the obligation to require Entergy to complete analyses of cost-beneficial measures, or to require that the measures be adopted - consistent with NRC’s own regulations, as well as those of the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. 

 

On July 15, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) issued a decision, agreeing with  Schneiderman that Indian Point cannot be relicensed without completing the legally-required analyses of its severe accident mitigation measures.  Entergy appealed the decision to the NRC and this decision denies that appeal.


Ohio

Grants Available to Develop "WILD School Sites"

Project WILD certified educators may apply to create outdoor classrooms on their school grounds

COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio teachers who have successfully used Project WILD in their classrooms now have the opportunity to provide students with additional hands-on learning tools about wildlife and habitat through grants being offered through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

 

Grants totaling $500 each will be awarded on a competitive basis to 40 schools currently participating in Project WILD, a supplemental environmental education curriculum for grades K-12.

 

Project WILD uses wildlife and wildlife management techniques to teach traditional school subjects such as math, science, and language arts. Now in its ninth year, the grant program provides teachers with funding to purchase the materials, equipment, and activities needed to develop “WILD School Sites" on their school sites.

 

“A WILD School Site project allows teachers to take lesson plans outdoors, bringing conservation education

concepts to life for students,” said Jen Dennison, wildlife education coordinator for the Division of Wildlife. “An added benefit is the improvement of schoolyard habitat for wildlife and people, which enhances outdoor learning experiences.”

 

The grants are awarded to applicants that best meet the WILD School Site criteria. Criteria includes participation in one of Ohio’s Project WILD programs, direct improvement of the habitat on the school grounds, involvement of the students in the projects as much as possible, and correlation of the projects to the school’s curriculum.

 

Funding for the WILD School Site grant program comes directly from the sale of Ohio hunting and fishing licenses.

 

Interested educators should submit an application between January 1 and May 31 to the ODNR Division of Wildlife, Outdoor Education Section, 2045 Morse Road, Bldg. G, Columbus, OH 43229. Complete details of the grant program and an application packet can be found at ohioprojectwild.com. To learn more about Project WILD or to find an area workshop, go to www.ohioprojectwild.com or call 1-800-WILDLIFE.

 


Ontario

$25,000 Fine for Commercial Fishing Violations

Two Port Dover-based holders of a commercial fishing licence and the captain of a Lake Erie commercial fishing boat have been fined a total of $25,000 for commercial fishing violations.

 

James and Rhea Mummery pleaded guilty and were each fined $1,000 for fishing in a prohibited area. The court also required any commercial fishing vessel operating under their licence to have a GPS unit installed that is monitored by the Ministry of Natural Resources.  

 

Dale Mummery of Port Dover, captain of the commercial fishing vessel My Boys, pleaded guilty to violating the terms and conditions of his licence. He was fined $15,000 for exceeding his yellow perch quota, $4,000 for submitting daily catch reports with false information on fishing locations, $1,500 for submitting daily catch reports with false information about the amount of fishing gear being used, and $2,500 for fishing in a prohibited area. For one

year he must also have a GPS unit monitored by the OMNR installed in any commercial fishing vessels he operates. 

 

The court heard that on June 17, 2010, a conservation officer inspected Dale Mummery’s logbook. The inspection revealed Dale Mummery had submitted false daily catch reports during the 2010 fishing season. When the correct information was obtained, the ministry found that he had exceeded his yellow perch quota in one of the quota zones on his licence by 4,447 kilograms. The logbook also showed that he set gill nets in a prohibited area on multiple occasions.  Justice Gethin Edward heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice, Simcoe, on December 19, 2011.

 

To report a natural resource violation, call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free any time or contact your ministry office during regular business hours.  You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).


Other Breaking News Items

(Click on title or URL to read full article)

 

Understanding Gun Jargon: Calibers and guages

There are many misconceptions and legends about guns and ammunition, and it seems everyone who knows anything about firearms considers themselves an expert. The language of firearms has evolved with few rules, and as a result there is a lot of confusion. This won’t solve everything, but here are some


EDITORIAL: Firing back at gun control

The Obama administration's anti-gun agenda, which has been sneaking into the federal bureaucracy in recent years, was blasted by Congress last week. Republicans used the $1 trillion omnibus bill for 2012 to shoot back at the sneaky use of federal funds for gun control.

 

Timeline for Asian Carp report delayed

A final report on how to control Asian carp and 38 other invasive species won’t go to Congress until or early 2016, officials from the Army Corps of Engineers said. That may not sit well with conservation groups and officials pushing to separate the Chicago waterways from the Great Lakes to keep Asian

 

Lake Erie algae problems grow
Toxic algae blooms have never been worse in Lake Erie, and the situation is threatening fish and tourism, Ohio officials said.

 

Lake Erie’s tiny new invader
A tiny invader, the parasitic copepod Neoergasilus japonicus, almost slipped into Lake Erie unnoticed.

 

Feds list possible methods for blocking Asian carp
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a report listing more than 90 options for blocking the path of would-be aquatic migrants between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River systems.

 

Chiefs say 'NO' to nuclear disposal
The First Nations of the North Shore Tribal Council strongly reject the prospect of the North Shore of Lake Huron becoming a site for the long-term storage of nuclear waste.

 

 

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff. 

Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

Reproduction by others without written permission is prohibited.

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