Week of February 6 , 2012
|Beyond the Great Lakes|
|Fishing beyond the Great Lakes|
|Misc New Fishing-Boating Products|
|Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues|
|Other Breaking News Items|
Beyond the Great Lakes
The Tenth Amendment Center has championed a bill introduced by a group of Washington State legislators that condemns the unlawful detention of U.S. citizens and lawful resident aliens under the National Defense Authorization Act.
The bill, introduced by State Representatives is called the Washington State Preservation of Liberty Act (HB 2759). It prohibits “any State employee, member of the Washington National Guard or any agent of a corporation doing business with the State” to cooperate in the Federal detainment or investigation of a U.S. citizen or resident alien. Though the bill acknowledges the danger of terrorism, it concedes protecting Americans cannot come at the expense of their Constitutional rights:
It is indisputable that the threat of terrorism is real, and
that the full force of appropriate, and constitutional, law must be used to defeat this threat. However, winning the
war against terror cannot come at the great expense of eviscerating the unalienable rights recognized by and protected in the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the state of Washington. Indeed, undermining those constitutional rights serves only to concede to the terrorists’ demands of changing the fabric of what has made the United States of America a republic granting the greatest number of people the greatest amount of liberty, justice, security, opportunity, prosperity, happiness, peace, and good ever known or experienced by humankind throughout the history of the world.
The Tenth Amendment Center, a champion of States’ rights, is encouraging U.S. citizens throughout the country to ask their State legislators to introduce similar legislation to tie the hands of the Federal government.
Fishing beyond the Great Lakes
Court rules against Fish and Game Commission and allows appeal
Sacramento, CA – February 3, 2012 – The Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO) announced that the fight against regulations established through the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative that are blocking access to much of California’s coastal waters for recreational anglers, boaters, divers and commercial fishermen alike is moving forward. On January 30, 2012, the California Court of Appeals ruled in favor of allowing an appeal filed by Coastside Fishing Club, one of the three petitioners in litigation before the San Diego Superior Court challenging MLPA regulations adopted by California’s Fish and Game Commission for the North Central Coast, to proceed without delay. Coastside filed its appeal on December 15, 2011 with California's 4th District Court of Appeal. In response, lawyers for the commission asked the Court to dismiss Coastside’s appeal on grounds that it was premature. The Court denied the commission's request without comment.
Coastside appealed Judge Ronald Prager’s denial of its request for a Writ of Mandate voiding MLPA regulations adopted by the commission for California's North Central Coast in 2009 based on legal defects in implementing California law. After a careful review, Coastside concluded that Judge Prager's October 2011 ruling is inconsistent with the mandates of the law as established by the legislature. The outcome of the appeal of Judge Prager's ruling on the North Central Coast regulations would likely influence the resolution of a similar challenge to the validity of the South Coast regulations brought in the same lawsuit
by Coastside's co-plaintiffs, United Anglers of Southern
California and Robert C. Fletcher.
"Now that the MLPA regulations have gone into effect in Southern California, I hope anglers fully recognize the significant threat these unwarranted closures pose to the future of saltwater fishing in California,” said John Gaebel, chairman of United Anglers of Southern California. “Fortunately the battle is not over yet, as the legal challenge continues to move forward in the Court of Appeals. Now, more than ever, we need folks to step up and contribute as much as they can to help us keep up the fight.”
To raise funds for the legal challenge, the PSO is urging anglers and boaters to visit www.SaveCAFishing.org and contribute to the effort. Under the “Donate” section of the site, individuals can contribute $5 or more a month on a recurring basis, or make a one-time donation. All proceeds will directly support legal action to keep California’s healthy and abundance coastal waters open to sportfishing.
“Based on initial returns, the SaveCAFishing.org website has tremendous potential to raise the funds needed to protect sportfishing access in California,” said Bob Fletcher, former president of the Sportfishing Association of California and a plaintiff in the lawsuit. “In order to keep the legal challenge going over the coming months, we need anglers to step up and pledge their support. A simple $5 or more monthly contribution to the legal effort will go a long way towards ensuring that current and future generations can enjoy accessing California’s coastal waters.”
Misc New Fishing-Boating Products
Forestville, WI-Two National Professional Angler Association members, Dave Andersen, Amery, Wisconsin, and Chuck Barth, Melrose, Minnesota, with two other investors have resurrected the Warrior Boats brand. The company is currently building boats, with the first four boats nearly complete.
Barth said, “We wanted to showcase boats at the early sport shows, plus our dealers are knocking down the doors. We have several former dealers on board, and that’s the good news, however, ramping up production while our new facility in Melrose is under construction means working around electricians, plumbers and carpenters.” Past Warrior owners aware of the company’s rebirth have also ordered boats. “The demand is already there,” he said, “And, we’re already looking at another building.”
Andersen, a PWT Championship winner, Wave Wacker
winner, and with $400,000 earned on tour, and Barth, a cattle rancher, kennel owner and tournament angler (and now in his sixth Warrior) are joined by Hager City, Wisconsin restaurant owner Pat Brockshaw, and Al Leinen, co-owner of St. Rosa Lumber Company as owners. Andersen’s son Kent is sales manager ([email protected]).
Warrior will build the six top-selling models and others on special order. “The interiors will be much improved, with the traditional big-water handling hulls the reason so many people wanted us to bring this great boat back,” Barth said.
Pat Neu NPAA executive director welcomed Warrior Boats, saying, “This has always been a popular boat, and it’s great to see NPAA members and dedicated anglers running this company. They know boats and fishing, and will bring their decades of experience and passion to the company.” Company contacts are: Barth – [email protected], and Andersen – [email protected].
Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues
EOTech has unveiled the first ever Integrated Fore-end Light (IFL) for the Tactical Shotgun.
EOTECH and Insight Technology pooled their resources and merged under the parent group called L-3 Communications. The first item to roll off the new assembly line is the new Integrated Fore-end Light (IFL) for the Tactical Shotgun.
The Integrated Fore-end Light (IFL) is the first to offer a truly integrated LED light. The IFL offers a blinding 120 lumens of light and ambidextrous pressure pads for quick engagements. Ideal for LE and Home Defense this durable
and dependable IFL offers ambidextrous on/off pressure
pads located on the fore-end new IFL will transform your arsenal. Settings include constant on, momentary, strobe and off.
Available in 120 lumens the IFL will run on 1 CR123 Lithium battery for a minimum of 90 minutes. Waterproof to one meter, no gunsmithing is required
Designed to fit the Mossberg 500/590 and Remington 870 12 guage shotguns
734-741-8868 [email protected]
Bushnell has introduced a line of Legend Ultra HD riflescopes for 2012. The product line features 9 models enhanced with a host of new features for optimal performance and lasting reliability.
Featuring fully multi-coated optics, the Legend Ultra HD riflescopes deliver 91 percent light transmission for a clear, crisp sight picture.
In addition to providing optical excellence, the Legend Ultra HD riflescope is engineered to withstand the rigors of shooting sports and whatever Mother Nature throws its way. Each scope in the series is 100 percent waterproof, fog proof and shockproof, and the optics are protected with the patented RainGuard HD coating. The permanent, water-resistant finish causes moisture to bead up and scatter less light, allowing this scope to perform even in inclement weather.
The new scopes have a sleek new one-piece tube design with low profile turret caps; a slim line power change ring and side focus adjustment. The side parallax adjustment
allows precise focus at distances other than 100 yards. Since the focus is not tied to distance or magnification, the Legend Ultra HD scopes work well on air guns and rimfire firearms.
Models are available for a variety of applications from 1.75-5x32 to 4.5-14x44, including four with the Bushnell DOA reticle.
High-Performance Tactical Advanced Riflescope
Wixom, MI — A brilliant solution for the precision target shooter, professional operator or long-range hunter, Trijicon introduces its TARS high-performance riflescope.
The Trijicon TARS (Tactical Advanced Riflescope) is a 3-15x variable magnification, 50 mm-objective, illuminated-reticle optic designed for tactical and sporting rifles. Premium-grade optics, exact adjustments, and innovative reticle systems allow users to engage targets at extreme ranges.
Best-quality glass is fully multi-coated to allow maximum light transmission. Optical engineering advancement produces a generous 3.3 inches of constant eye relief while decreasing overall scope length to 13.9 inches. Its 3x to 15x magnification range make it a viable choice for myriad applications, from LE and military operations to benchrest competition to varmint and big-game hunting.
The TARS features a patented illuminated-reticle system with 10 levels of intensity, including two for use with night-vision optics. Its non-forward emitting LED is much more efficient than current systems; One CR2032 battery
provides 30,000 hours of use. Four reticle choices are available—an intuitive MOA reticle (Model 101), Trijicon-exclusive JW mil reticle (102) and two duplex versions (103 and 104). All are located in the first focal plane, so subtension values remain constant across the magnification range.
A robust, 34 mm main tube machined from aircraft-grade aluminum combined with Trijicon's mil-spec construction ensure TARS can handle severe recoil in the harshest environments. It is waterproof to 66 feet. Hydrophobic coatings on exposed lenses ensure clarity in wet conditions. Finger-adjustable turrets feature patent-pending lockable, tactile click adjustments for positive tracking and repeatability. A side-mounted parallax dial focuses from 10-feet to infinity. Removable flip-up range caps and sunshade are included.
With Trijicon's proven battlefield performance and uncompromising commitment to perfection, TARS will prove itself as a superior tactical riflescope for long-range marksmen.
(248) 960-7700 www.trijicon.com
The Windsor Star
WINDSOR, Ont. -- Almost 14,000 lbs of Asian carp were seized at the Windsor-Detroit border in the last three weeks.
That’s alarming, University of Windsor professor and aquatic invasive species expert Hugh MacIsaac said Friday. “The Americans have put $78 million into trying to detect where the fish are and to make sure they don’t get into the Great Lakes at Chicago,” said MacIsaac.
“And here on the other hand we still have people shipping these things around as though it’s legal and advisable and it’s neither.” Since 2005, it’s been illegal to possess live Asian carp in Ontario.
On Wednesday 11,300 pounds of Asian carp, some of which were alive, were seized on the Canadian side of the Ambassador Bridge. That came about two weeks after 2,600 pounds of live Asian carp were seized at the border Jan. 9, Ministry of Natural Resources spokeswoman Jolanta Kowalski said Friday.
The Asian carp were coming from the United States and being trucked to Toronto. Kowalski didn’t want to give more details about the seizures including exactly what kind of Asian carp were found because the ministry didn’t want to jeopardize its investigations.
Asian carp includes bighead carp, which can reach more
than 100 pounds, silver carp, the ones seen in YouTube videos jumping out of the water, and grass carp and black carp.
MacIsaac said the seizures make him wonder if we’re catching all of the live Asian carp heading to fish markets in Toronto. “It’s kind of distressing to see this is still happening.” He praised the Canada Border Services Agency for spotting the Asian carp that may have been in with other fish. He suspects they were in trucks that transport fish live in tanks.
The fear is if the truck crashed over a bridge the carp could make their way into streams and get to the Great Lakes. He called for stiff fines for people who either wilfully ignore the law or are ignorant of the law. “Someone is not learning a lesson if they’re still bringing these things in live.” The largest fine so far for possessing live Asian carp was $60,000 on a second offence.
MacIsaac, who works at the university’s Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, is the director of the Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network. He’s not sure what the impact of Asian carp would be if they got into the Great Lakes but the concern over the large fish is great enough that you don’t want to find out, he said. The Ontario Commercial Fisheries Association has said it could be catastrophic.
The two main ways they could get into the Great Lakes are ones on their way to a fish market or ones that get past an electric barrier in a Chicago canal system and get into Lake Michigan. There are extensive DNA testing and netting campaigns to see if Asian carp are close to or in Lake Michigan, MacIsaac said.
(Columbus, OH) – Protection of fishing, hunting, and shooting on national forest and public lands has taken a step forward with the Senate introduction of the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act. Introduced by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), the measure is backed by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, American Sportfishing Association, National Rifle Association, Safari Club International, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and others in the angling, hunting and wildlife conservation community.
The bill will protect fishing, hunting, trapping, recreational shooting and wildlife management practices on more than 400 million acres of public land across America managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. The measure mandates that these public lands are open until closed for angling, hunting and shooting while enabling the agencies to make specific closures or restrictions determined to be necessary and supported by sound facts and evidence. The bill is patterned after the 1997 National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act which made fishing and hunting “priority public uses” on federal wildlife refuge system lands and has helped protect fishing and hunting there from anti-fishing/anti-hunting zealots.
The new Senate bill also fixes loopholes created by lawsuits by anti-hunting organizations that have hampered hunting, fishing and wildlife conservation. For example, under the bill, the Forest Service can keep its public lands open for hunting and fishing even if nearby state and private lands are also open. Previously, a court had ruled that federal public lands might have to be closed if other nearby lands hosted hunters. Similarly, fish and wildlife conservation and management will remain primary purposes on BLM, Forest and Wildlife Refuge lands reversing court rulings from San Francisco. Restrictions in the 1964 Wilderness Act on motorized access, logging and other commodity uses are expressly not affected by the bill and remain in place.
Bill Horn, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Director of Federal Affairs welcomed the introduction:
“USSA deeply appreciates today’s action by Senators Murkowski and Manchin. We have been working for over a decade in support of this kind of legislation and as threats mount to fishing, hunting and shooting on public lands, the need for this bill grows. We look forward to working with the Senators and their colleagues to get this landmark measure enacted this year and ensure protection in law of our cherished angling and hunting heritage.”
American Sportfishing Association added its support:
“Recreation is the single largest economic output of national forests and grasslands, with 46.5 million anglers spending over $1.2 billion annually to enjoy recreational fishing on USFS lands,” said Gordon Robertson, Vice President of the ASA. “It is astounding that with such high demand, access is still a barrier for millions of anglers. This legislation directs the USFS and BLM managers to not only promote recreational fishing and hunting access, but to further take advantage of one of the biggest economic drivers for the agencies and the rural communities near their lands.”
The National Rifle Association offered its strong support:
“Protecting the traditions of hunting and shooting on our public lands has long been a NRA priority and the Murkowski/Manchin bill does just that. The leadership for sportsmen and sportswomen demonstrated by the two Senators will not be forgotten by us and our members,” said Susan Recce, NRA Director of Conservation.
Safari Club International also hailed the bill:
“By introducing legislation that will protect America’s hunting, shooting, and fishing community for generations to come, Senators Murkowski and Manchin have taken a much needed bi-partisan step forward. Too frequently, the hunting community is dealt lip-service, but Senator Murkowski and Senator Manchin have brought to the Senate serious legislation that will protect hunting for a generation. The companion legislation introduced in the House of Representatives is equally important to the future of hunting. On behalf of SCI and all of our partners, we would like for all members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus to co-sponsor the ‘sportsmen endorsed’ legislation,” said President of SCI, Kevin Anderson.
Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation added:
“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus has been working with the sportsmen’s community on this Act to allow Federal land planners to evaluate the impacts that management activities have on hunting, fishing and recreational shooting, and to provide a clear analysis of how proposed actions would impact access to Federal lands.”
The new Senate Bill is a companion to legislation passed by the House Natural Resources Committee 29-14. That bill, H.R. 2834, is currently awaiting a vote before the full U.S. House of Representatives.
Sportsmen recognize 75 Years of Conservation and Partnership success
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is joining the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and sportsmen across the country to announce the start of a yearlong celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, the most significant and successful partnership approaches to fish and wildlife conservation in U.S. history.
As we join in observing the 75th anniversary of our Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration (WSFR) programs, many will point to the now abundant populations of elk, deer and wild turkeys as the poster children for conservation success. Some will laud the hunting, fishing and boating opportunities we now enjoy as a result of WSFR’s user pay/user benefit principle. Or praise how cooperation between state and federal government, conservation groups, industry and sportsmen made it possible to contribute billions of dollars to fish and wildlife conservation.
All are good reasons to celebrate
The “WSFR 75 – It’s Your Nature” celebration brings together federal and state fish and wildlife agencies; the hunting, shooting, angling, and boating industries; and conservation groups to mark a milestone of partnership success that has led to 75 years of quality hunting, fishing, shooting, boating and wildlife-related recreation. The occasion also marks the beginning of a new era in wildlife conservation, during which the partners will establish new goals for fostering and maintaining partnerships to continue conservation and outdoor
recreation into the next 75 years and beyond.
You’ve contributed to a remarkable conservation effort and nature has benefited with healthier wildlife and greater access to your favorite outdoor activities.
If you’ve ever purchased fishing lures, rods and reels, firearms or ammunition, bows, arrows, hunting or fishing licenses or fueled up your boat — you’re part of the most successful effort to conserve fish and wildlife in America—the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration programs. The effort has resulted in millions of acres of habitat saved and near-miraculous population increases in several species of game and sport fish.
This is a great time to celebrate 75 years of better hunting, fishing, boating and wildlife-related recreation through WSFR. It really is Your Nature!
“Since its 1937 inception, WSFR has provided more than $14 billion to support fish and wildlife restoration and management,” said Hannibal Bolton, the Service’s assistant director for the WSFR program. “The program and its partners, including the sporting arms industry, conservation groups, and sportsmen and sportswomen, are coming together for this anniversary to renew their commitment to conserve fish and wildlife and enhance hunter, angler, and boater recreation.”
These funds, administered by the Service, are combined with hunting license dollars in each state to fund important state wildlife conservation and hunting programs.
Cheapest plan carries a $3 billion price tag and could cost as much as $11 billion
Chicago – Strategies for restoring the natural divide between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes – and, in the process, modernizing the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) – are identified in a report released today by the Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.
“Physically separating the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds is the best long-term solution for preventing the movement of Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species, and our report demonstrates that it can be done,” said Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission. The threat of Asian carp looms large for communities in the Great Lakes region. The lakes provide over 35 million residents with drinking water, contain 20 percent of the Earth’s fresh surface water, and support a thriving tourism industry and world-class fishery, which generates an estimated $7 billion in economic activity annually.
Voracious feeders that can grow up to 90 pounds, Asian carp have overrun other ecosystems and could cause irreversible damage to the Great Lakes if allowed entry. Once established, invasive species are nearly impossible to eliminate.
Silver carp leap from Illinois River near Havana during an electrofishing excursion from the Illinois Natural History Survey- May 23, 2007
“This is a unique opportunity for both protection of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River and for a Chicago waterway system for the 21st century and beyond,” said David Ullrich, executive director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. “No single use of the CAWS, including transportation, flood control and wastewater treatment, can be considered individually. The system requires an integrated approach and that is what we have taken.”
The three separation alternatives include a down-river single barrier between the confluence of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and the Cal-Sag Channel and the Lockport Lock; a mid-system alternative of four barriers on CAWS branches between Lockport and Lake Michigan; and a near-lake alternative of up to five barriers closest to the lakeshore. All three include measures to improve the CAWS’s role in flood management, wastewater treatment and maritime transportation, as well as stopping the interbasin movement of aquatic invasive species.
The three separation alternatives in the report were
developed by the engineering firm HDR, Inc., which
considered some 20 possible barrier locations in its analysis. No recommended alternative is identified. However, one alternative, the mid-system solution, is the least costly and offers other advantages.
The analysis concludes that preventing just a single invasive species from entering the Great Lakes can save as much as $5 billion over 30 years. The Corps of Engineers has identified 10 species that are poised to invade the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River.
According to the report’s economic analysis, the cost of the barriers themselves is as low as $109 million. The addition of all improvements to address water quality, flood prevention and transportation brings the cost to between $3.2 billion and $9.5 billion, depending on the location and the degree to which the wastewater treatment plants on the system are improved to meet future Clean Water Act requirements.
The analysis also finds that households in the Great Lakes basin would have to be willing to pay, on average, about $1 a month from now through 2059 to cover the cost of the mid-system alternative, based on a projected cost of $4.27 billion. The Great Lakes Commission and the Cities Initiative point out that the construction costs to build the current CAWS in today’s dollars would be $11 billion. Asian carp have been migrating up the Mississippi River system since the early 1990s and were detected in 2009 to have breached electronic barriers operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the CAWS. In 2010 a live Asian carp was captured in Lake Calumet just six miles from Lake Michigan.
“The current efforts by the state of Illinois, the Corps of Engineers and others to monitor and slow the carp migration are critical and are buying us time to implement a long-term solution,” said Eder. “While we recognize and support the work being done by others to find solutions to the Asian carp threat, we need to appreciate fully the urgency of this matter,” Ullrich emphasized.
Ontario and Québec, and the Cities Initiative, a coalition of U.S. and Canadian mayors, embarked on the accelerated study in 2010 believing separation to be the best strategy for preventing the movement of Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species between the two watersheds via the CAWS. The $2 million project was funded by a collaboration of six regional funders: Joyce Foundation, C.S. Mott
Foundation, Great Lakes Fishery Trust, Wege Foundation, Great Lakes Protection Fund and the Frey Foundation.
To provide guidance and input for the project, a bipartisan Executive Committee was established and a diverse Advisory Committee was convened among stakeholders from the Great Lakes region, with an emphasis on interest groups in the Chicago area. In addition, a Resource Group made up of governmental and quasi-governmental entities with a direct interest in the project also participated. The report and all supporting materials are available at www.glc.org/caws.
The International Joint Commission (IJC) is developing a potential new approach for managing water levels and flows in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system. The system's current water regulation plan has become outdated. It is unable to deal with future conditions and has hurt the region's ecosystem. The IJC's proposed approach attempts to balance the region's many interests, and ensure it has a water regulation system that can address current and future challenges.
Building on 50 years of experience, a five-year binational study and extensive public comment, the IJC is developing a new approach with the assistance of a Working Group of representatives from the governments of Canada, the United States, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and the State of New York.
The flow of water from Lake Ontario down the St. Lawrence River is regulated by the Moses-Saunders Dam in accordance with the IJC's 1956 order of approval. The current regulation plan moderates extreme high and low water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. However, it is based on conditions of the last century, does not take the environment into account, and has no process for adapting to future challenges such as bigger storms and more severe droughts.
While continuing to moderate extreme high and low water levels, the new approach would allow for more natural water levels and flow patterns and is expected to produce significant environmental improvements. An Adaptive Management strategy would improve the capability to adapt to future changes, including socio-economic changes and significant changes in climate throughout the system.
The IJC welcomes public input on the new approach. The IJC will host online forums, and it will hold public information sessions around the basin in late spring 2012.
Details of the approach are available at www.ijc.org/loslr/en/index.php
Written comments on the new approach may be submitted via the LOSLR website or sent by regular mail or email to any of the following addresses:
International Joint Commission
U.S. Section, 2000 L Street, NW Suite #615
Washington, DC 20440
International Joint Commission
234 Laurier Avenue West, 22nd Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 6K6
Comments received by June 15, 2012 will be considered in developing a proposal that will include a revised order of approval, regulation plan, adaptive management plan and a governance structure. The IJC will then hold formal public hearings on the proposal before arriving at a decision.
The International Joint Commission is an independent and objective organization that prevents and resolves disputes between the United States and Canada under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty and pursues the common good of both countries. Under the treaty, it approves projects that affect the levels and flows of boundary waters, such as the international hydroelectric power project located at Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, New York.
Thomas Marks, NY Director, GLSFC
From time to time I get emails that say the Steel Winds Project is done entirely without government subsidies.... these folks are delusional. I know the president of the company would fire his accountants if they were not taking advantage of the lucrative and legal tax credits the government offers.
In regards to the Sunday 1/29/2012 Buffalo News Article
Let me look at the article... first paragraph... "key tax credit that has for years helped the businesses (windpower) compete financially with fossil fuels"... wind power can not compete with natural gas or coal. Why? Let's suppose you had a store and it was open only 20% of the hours that your competitors were and open randomly and charged 2 to 5 times the price for the same products; do you think you would remain in business very long without some serious help from the government? That is what the typical wind farm is doing....
Production Tax Credit is set to expire... absolutely on the mark and we should let them expire. Our country has a deficit in the trillions of dollars we can not afford this lunacy any longer of paying for things that do not work. 37,000 jobs at risk.... I hardly think so, and if there are 37,000 jobs at risk it is some Chinese or European factory worker building wind turbine parts in China or Europe! Very few components are built or manufactured in the US the major players in the wind industry are all foreign companies... yes, GE does make wind turbine components but the bulk of its wind manufacturing is by factories outside the US. The US lead the world with installed wind generating capacity until the end of 2010 but played an insignificant role in manufacturing wind turbines. So the industry is not going to create any significant new jobs in the US. VESTAS is laying off workers world wide because the demand for wind turbines is declining... the wind turbine manufacturers are looking to the US as green pastures.... thinking we will keep their production facilities busy making turbines for the US. The jobs... are overseas friends.
The wind industry is lobbying hard to keep the Production Tax Credits for wind.... they are also fighting to keep the Section 1603 Grants for wind energy. The audacity to say that Ronald Regan would have supported such nonsense is just that.... just nonsense. Wind Energy is not an American Success story.... go back to "your store" it is lunacy. The argument that wind will be competitive in ten years with fossil fuels is again nonsense... it can't compete with the price for power produced by coal and it will never compete with natural gas which is beating coal power cost by a mile. Natural gas is about a third the cost from ten years ago and could go lower. One important point coal and NG power plants last 50 years or longer... wind turbines have a life expectancy of 25 years and reality is showing more like 15 years. So, add in the cost of rebuilding a wind power plant every 15 or 20 years wind will never be competitive with fossil fuels. The thought that wind will be competitive with fossil fuels is just "salesman speak", buyer beware.
We have to be careful of the politics and politicians. Mitt Romney has blasted the wind and solar for being dependent on government support and being uncompetitive, smart man.... but there are others like Newt Gingrich who support the PTC and 1603 Grants and would like them to be extended almost indefinitely. Newt wrote a book The Contract with the Earth in it is says we need to extend the PTC and 1603 grants for much longer periods to give Wind Energy stability of knowing they can count on government money. Newt is a wind zealot. We all know wind is not really green. If you see green wind it is chlorine gas get away quickly!
So, what are we doing to stop the lunacy? We do not have the money to pay lobbyists in Washington to lobby on our behalf to end PTCs and 1603 Grants. However, we can't just sit back and do nothing or we will be staring at wind turbines in our Great Lakes and in almost every open field and hill top across the countryside. Spread the word tell everyone you know to call their congressman tell him to oppose PTC or 1603 Grants, call your congressman and tell him if he supports PTC and 1603 Grants he will be looking for work! I wonder how many Washington jobs are supported by the wind industry. Maybe these are the ones the wind lobby is talking about.
Save the date
The four Lake Michigan DNRs have set the date of April 14 for the next lakewide stocking conference. Similar to the one held on April 9, 2005 this one will also be held in Benton Harbor and the Lake Michigan College.
The agencies have been conducting a series of meetings to review various stocking models developed by Dr. Mike Jones, Director Michigan State’s Dept of Natural Resources. Some of those models include:
Increase stocking levels 10%
Decrease stocking levels 10%
Decrease stocking levels 20%
Other variations include, cut only Chinook Salmon, Cut Chinooks and Lake Trout, Cut all species including Chinooks, Browns, Steelhead and Lake Trout; another variation includes cutting all species except Lake Trout.
These or some variations of these models will be presented to the attendees of the April 14 conference. There will probably be the option to present your own variation.
More information, including a draft agenda and registration will be posted as we receive it.
"Phenomenal runs of Rainbows, huge schools of baitfish"
The Lake Huron Fishing Club tell us "From all reports it is going to be a great year of fishing in Southwestern Ontario. From the guys and gals fishing the Saugeen River, the runs of rainbow trout have been phenomenal. Large numbers of rainbows have also been caught in the Penetangore and Maitland.
The fishing off Douglas Point has been steady all winter with large numbers of fat browns being caught off both Bruce A and Bruce B, along with good walleye and many healthy Chinooks. Huge schools of baitfish (emerald shiners and gizzard shad) have been seen crowding harbours and shorelines. It is obvious that the Lake Huron fisheries are recovering and that our enhancement programs are being effective."
Online permit applications will be accepted until Feb. 20. For more information on 2012 spring turkey hunting:
Resident and non-resident hunters may apply for 2012 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season permits online. The deadline to apply for the third lottery drawing is Feb. 9. Random daily drawings begin Mar. 9. The link to the
online permit application can be found on the IDNR website Spring Turkey page:
Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsman’s combination licenses for 2012 are available from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the IDNR website www.dnr.illinois.gov/online/Pages/default.aspx or by calling 888-6PERMIT (888-673-7648). The system is available 24
hours a day. The 2012 licenses purchased beginning Jan. 16 will be valid through Mar. 31, 2013 unless otherwise noted.
For all regional licenses, go to: Regional hunting/fishing licenses
Department of Natural Resources has announced the Platte River spawning
closure, which typically runs Jan. 1 to March 31, has been extended
until April 28, 2012.
fisheries biologist for the Platte River. “We
“The realization that this closure needed to be adjusted or re-thought has brought about a whole new level of discussion in regards to the Platte River salmon and trout fishery, which we are now developing” said Rich O’Neal, fisheries supervisor for the Northwest Lower Peninsula.
The outcome of these discussions should provide more opportunities for steelhead anglers on the Platte River in the future. Over the course of the next few months steelhead regulations and fishery closures on the Platte River will be re-evaluated by considering several options in an effort to protect the broodstock steelhead and provide opportunities to anglers.
Regulations have changed at the lower Platte River Weir as well. In the past, the Platte River had been closed to fishing all year within 300 feet of the lower weir. Starting April 1, 2012 the lower weir will be closed to fishing only when the weir is in place.
On Monday, Feb. 13, the Michigan DNR is hosting a public meeting for those interested in sharing their comments and ideas about the Goose Lake State Game Area (SGA) in Sylvan Township, Washtenaw County. The public meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Grass Lake Town Hall, 373 Lakeside Drive, Grass Lake, MI 49240.
The DNR Wildlife Division is responsible for managing the Goose Lake SGA. In order to manage lands more effectively, the Wildlife Division is developing 10-year management plans, called Master Plans, for each of its areas. These plans will include information on species of interest, and long-term habitat management goals.
Goose Lake SGA is approximately 200 acres in size and consists of Goose Lake (37 acres) and a large wetland
system. About 50 acres of the SGA are in sharecrop rotation, primarily corn and soybeans, and almost 60 acres is forested or brushy field. Some hunting occurs at the SGA for waterfowl, deer, turkey and small game. Other notable species include pheasant and muskrat.
The Goose Lake SGA Master Plan is currently being developed.
“As part of the planning process, we would like to hear from you,” stated Kristin Bissell, DNR wildlife biologist. “Your feedback at this early stage in the process will help us determine our management goals for the next 10 years. We hope you can join us and provide important feedback.” The entire planning process will take about a year to complete, and a second public meeting will be held for public review and comment on a draft of the completed plan.
On September 29, 2010, Kurt Meister, a southeast Michigan attorney won a case against the USDA Forest Service claiming that his right to enjoy public lands in Michigan were being infringed upon by noisy firearms hunters and folks using snowmobiles on designated trail. His solution? Ban guns and snowmobiles on almost 70,000 acres of the Huron-Manistee National Forest.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs, a non-profit conservation group that has served as Michigan’s most powerful voice for hunters and anglers in Michigan since 1937, blew the whistle on the suit and quickly organized a response fueled by sound science-based management principles and its tens of thousands of members who believe strongly in the rights of Michigan’s citizens to hunt, fish and trap on public lands.
Meister’s suit was heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit which identified deficiencies in how the Forest Service revised the 2006 Land and Resource Management Plan. The USFS was required to address those deficiencies. On Monday, those results were revealed.
MUCC and its members were heard loud and clear: Hunting is very much an accepted use of Michigan’s public lands and no regulation changes will be made to impact those activities in the Huron-Manistee National Forest.
The USFWS adopted “Alternative 4″ which maintains the rights of hunters to hunt in all areas as were allowed previously. Snowmobiling will also be preserved on designated trails.
“We’re pleased to see that the USFS clearly understood
that hunting is — and always will be — an accepted use
on state and federal lands in Michigan,” said Erin McDonough, Executive Director of MUCC. “The notion that hunters create conflicts with other users because of the noise of gunfire is silly. They’re hunters not mercenaries. The sounds of the occasional gunshot during hunting season on public land is not something we should villainize. It’s something we should celebrate because it is one the lifebloods of this state’s economy.”
The USFS ruling was not without some potential problems however. The agency also announced that it will retain the objective in several areas in the Huron-Manistee to provide for a “less-roaded opportunity” relative to the rest of the forest. Any road closures would still have to go through analysis and public comment before a site-specific decision would be made.
“We understand the Forest Service’s desire to eliminate some roads that either were not intended to be permanent or were illegally created,” said McDonough. “But there must be a process in place to determine which roads will be closed so that adequate access is maintained. There is a fine line between creating a more solitary experience for those who are seeking that and shutting the public out of the land that they own. We will be watching this process very closely to ensure that hunters, anglers and trappers are considered in those decisions.”
While the first battle in this war has been won thanks to the efforts of MUCC and its members and partners, it is not yet over. The decision is still subject to appeals and MUCC will be actively monitoring the situation to ensure the final outcome is the best one for Michigan’s sportsmen and women.
The Department of Natural Resources is now accepting online registration for Michigan's sixth annual State Virtual Archery Tournament. The tournament, for students enrolled at schools participating in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), will take place Jan. 30 through March 18, 2012.
To register for the state virtual tournament, please go to http://nasptournaments.org and click on Michigan and Log In to register. The 2012 State Virtual Tournament guidelines can be found at www.michigan.gov/archery.
Teams will be separated by grade level division (4-6, 7-8 and 9-12) and must be comprised of 16 to 24 students with at least five team members of the opposite gender.
Schools unable to field a team will be permitted to register students to compete individually.
Team and individual tournament champions will be awarded trophies, medals and other prizes.
Teams who place first, or who obtain a qualifying score as well as individual male and female archers placing in the top five places per division, will be invited to participate in the NASP National Tournament. The national tournament will be held May 11-12 in Louisville, Ky. and teams and individuals will be competing for many prizes, including college scholarships.
The inaugural meeting of the Northern Lower Regional Deer Advisory Team (NLRDAT) is set for Saturday, Feb. 11. The meeting will be held at the Ramada Inn Conference Center, 2650 I-75 Business Loop, Grayling, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
With the approval of the Michigan Deer Management Plan on May 6, 2010, the DNR committed to establishing Regional Deer Advisory Teams (RDAT) for each Michigan region. Each RDAT corresponds to the boundaries of the DNR Hunting and Trapping Zones – Zone 1 being the Upper Peninsula, Zone 2 the Northern Lower Peninsula, and Zone 3 the Southern Lower Peninsula.
The NLRDAT will serve as an advisory team to the DNR on deer management in the Northern Lower Peninsula. The goal of the team is to serve as a conduit between the public and the DNR to better understand the major concerns surrounding white-tailed deer.
“This is a great opportunity to engage members of the public about deer-related issues,” said DNR Deer Biologist
Ashley Hippler. “We are looking forward to working closely
with this group.”
The NLRDAT is made up entirely of volunteers who have been appointed by the Natural Resources Commission and the DNR, for either two or three years; team members will attend local open houses, which will be public meetings for sharing information and gathering public input in their region.
“The Regional Deer Advisory Teams are a critical connection between the public and the DNR,” said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. “Understanding the public’s views on deer management is the only way we can have successful deer management in Michigan.”
Members of the public are welcome to attend as observers, although the meeting is not open for public comment. If time permits, the NLRDAT will take questions and comments from the public. If you have topics you would like the NLRDAT to discuss, email Ashley Hippler at [email protected], or share your comments at http://deer.fw.msu.edu/involved/nlteam.php.
The 2011 hunting season tied 2009 for New York State’s safest year of hunting on record based on the number of hunting-related shooting incidents, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced today.
“Hunting is a tradition in New York state that continues to be safely enjoyed by many” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “New York has an extremely safety-conscious generation of hunters thanks largely to more than 60 years of dedicated efforts of 3,000 volunteer Sportsman Education Instructors. All first-time hunters are required to attend a comprehensive hunter safety course of a minimum of 10 hours taught by DEC’s highly-trained instructors. Their hard work is paying off.”
In the 2011 hunting seasons, 26 personal injury hunting-related shooting incidents were reported, including four fatalities. All of the fatalities occurred during the regular deer season, one of which was self-inflicted.
The hunter safety courses stress safe practices and ethics, along with information on New York’s game
species and their management. All courses are offered free of charge, but students must successfully complete the course and pass the final exam before being eligible to purchase a hunting license.
The number of hunters in New York State is declining, but the hunting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) is falling at a much faster rate. Since the 1960s, the number of hunters has declined about 20 percent, while the incident rate has declined more than 70 percent. The past five-year average is 5.3 incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 in the 1960s.
While hunting is safer than ever, accidents do happen and it is important to remember that every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable.
Most, if not all of incidents can be prevented, just follow the primary rules of hunter safety:
►Treat every firearm as if it were loaded
►Keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction
►Identify your target and what lies beyond
►Keep finger off the trigger until ready to fire
►Wear hunter orange
COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio DNR is offering an opportunity to learn and ask questions at a boating education course on Saturday, Feb. 25. The one day course will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the DNR headquarters, located in Columbus at 2045 Morse Road, Building E.
The Ohio Boating Education Course covers a variety of boating topics such as the navigation rules of the road, boating and personal safety equipment, navigational signage, safety tips, Ohio boating laws and much more. Nearly 14,000 Ohioans completed an approved boating safety education course last year.
Ohio law requires any person born on or after Jan. 1, 1982, to be able to show proof they have successfully completed an approved boating safety education course if they operate any watercraft powered by a motor greater than 10-horsepower.
The fee for the course is $5, which covers the cost of course materials and is due at the start of the class. To pre-register for this class, interested people may call the Division of Watercraft at 614-265-6652 or register by email to [email protected]. For more info on Ohio’s boating requirements, education classes and other boating opportunities and programs, go to: www.ohiodnr.com or call toll-free in Ohio at 877-4(BOATER).
LAPORTE, Pa. (AP) -- A pipeline operator assured federal regulators it would minimize using eminent domain against private landowners if given approval to lay a 39-mile natural gas pipeline in northern Pennsylvania's pristine Endless Mountains.
Yet the company was readying condemnation papers against dozens of landowners even as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was considering its application for the $250 million MARC 1 pipeline. Within two days of winning approval, Central New York Oil & Gas Co., LLC went to court to condemn nearly half the properties along the pipeline's route - undercutting part of the regulatory commission's approval rationale and angering landowners who are now fighting the company in court.
Eminent domain would give the company the right to excavate and lay the 30-inch diameter pipeline on private property. Landowners would not lose their properties and would be compensated. The dispute could foreshadow eminent domain battles to come as more pipelines are approved and built to carry shale gas to market in states like Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio.
Some of the complaining landowners say the company steamrolled them by refusing to negotiate in good faith on either monetary compensation or the pipeline's route. Their attorneys say the company has skirted Pennsylvania's eminent domain rules governing compensation.
Residents are fighting the pipeline on two fronts: challenging the eminent domain proceedings in court and appealing the approval by FERC. Because those challenges are pending, commission spokeswoman Tamara Young-Allen declined Tuesday to comment on whether the agency was misled.
The pipeline operator, a subsidiary of Inergy LP of Kansas City, Mo., insists it's trying to reach a "fair settlement" with all residents and wants to be a good neighbor.
The company promotes the MARC 1 pipeline as key infrastructure in developing the Marcellus Shale, a vast rock formation underneath Pennsylvania and surrounding states that experts believe holds the nation's largest reservoir of gas. The high-pressure steel pipeline will connect to major interstate pipelines and the company's own natural gas storage facility in southern New York State.
Central New York Oil & Gas hopes to start construction soon and finish by July, but awaits permits from Pennsylvania environmental regulators and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It also faces the residents' legal challenge.
Many of them say they favor natural gas drilling and some have leased land to gas drillers. What rankles them is that the federal government has invested the company with the power of eminent domain, taking away their bargaining power. "Once the government becomes involved, this is what happens. Because you lose that leverage," said Amy Gardner, who, with her husband, faces condemnation of part of their 175-acre parcel in Sullivan County.
The Gardners say the company offered them less than a third of the amount they got from another pipeline company that installed a gathering line on their land. The difference? Gathering lines - smaller pipelines that take gas from the wellhead to a transmission line or processing facility - are not federally regulated and companies that operate them don't have condemnation power.
Amy Gardner said a CNYOG company representative who made them the lowball offer told them to "take it or leave it." She would not publicly disclose what the company had offered.
"There's no negotiating with this company. They come and they tell you what they're going to do. They're telling you what they're going to pay. And they're counting on the government to enforce it," Gardner said in a recent interview at the Sullivan County Courthouse, where a judge has scheduled a mid-February hearing on the landowners' concerns.
The company insists it has met its obligation to negotiate and has reached private agreement with more than 80 percent of the landowners. Its attorney, Michael Wright, said there were several "meet-in-the-middle cases" involving compromise.
"It's not like we were sitting silently until the FERC order
and rushed to the courthouse," said Wright, who is based in Vestal, N.Y. "To say we did not attempt to negotiate in good faith is incorrect."
Amounts offered by the pipeline company range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the amount of property taken. Court papers it filed in late December valued damages at 37 condemned properties in Sullivan County at $310,900 - from a low of $120 to a high of $39,570 for land owned by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The pipeline has been controversial since it was first proposed two years ago.
The regulatory commission considers all applications for new interstate pipelines. It received 22,000 comments on the MARC 1 project, many concerned about environmental and safety impacts. The Environmental Protection Agency also worried about potential damage to the forest ecosystem, noting the pipeline will cross dozens of pristine waterways in an area popular with hikers, hunters and fishermen.
The commission ultimately determined the pipeline would not significantly impact the environment and allowed it to proceed. The regulators were also supposed to consider whether there would be an "unneeded exercise" of eminent domain - the often-contentious legal process by which the government, or a party such as a public utility, takes private property for public benefit.
The power of eminent domain has traditionally been invoked for highways, railroads, schools and other public buildings. Property owners are supposed to receive fair-market value for their land, and can appeal in court if they're unhappy with the amount they've been offered.
The regulators said last year that they relied on the company's assertion it was acquiring land "through negotiated agreements with landowners, thus minimizing the need" to condemn people's land. In reality, Central New York Oil & Gas had already prepared to take dozens of landowners to court. Within two days of getting the commission's approval on Nov. 14, it began eminent domain proceedings in court against 74 of 152 property owners along the pipeline's route through the mountains of Bradford, Lycoming and Sullivan counties.
The company isn't taking homes or booting people off their land. Rather, it needs easements for the part of each property through which the pipeline will run.
Deborah Goldberg, an attorney for the environmental group Earthjustice, said the large number of condemnations suggests that the pipeline company "never made a serious effort to get negotiated agreements with the landowners that the landowners thought were fair." Earthjustice has intervened in the pipeline challenge. Goldberg suggests the pace of settlements quickened because condemnation takes leverage away from the property owner.
Wright, the company attorney, acknowledged that Central New York Oil & Gas told landowners that if they challenged the company in court, forcing it to incur legal expenses, then any deal on the table would be withdrawn. Some landowners aren't interested in the money. They're more concerned about the pipeline's route.
The company told Bob Swartz that it plans to cut a 50-foot-wide, 400-foot-long gash through an ancient stand of trees across the front of his property. When Swartz proposed an alternate route through an open field that would preserve his trees and views, the company said it wasn't interested and offered instead to pay him for the wood. "That's not negotiation. It was their way or no way, and `we'll see you in court.' It's the little guys against Goliath," said Swartz, who has challenged the company in court.
Another landowner, Lisa Richlin, has appealed to federal regulators to force Central New York Oil & Gas to abandon plans for an access road along her property. Richlin said the road is at the bottom of a long hill and around a sharp bend where there have been many accidents, at least one of them fatal. When Richlin pressed the company to use an alternate route a short distance away, she said, the company told her that would cause a six-month delay. "I want them to go elsewhere. I don't want somebody to die because of stupidity," she said.
In a statement, the company said it has accommodated dozens of landowner requests for route changes, but can't do more because of "environmental, cultural and biological restrictions as well as other land use constraints."
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