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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Bureau of Land Management and DOI Missing $168 Billion Dollars; Taxpayers Have a Right to Know Where It Is!

landing_trees_fogLegislators and government are asking for tax increases, while blaming taxpayers for frivolous spending habits. This discussion demonstrates why “Not” to raise taxes, and the fault being irresponsible conduct from our government agencies, and a cover-up of fees that either should have been charged to corporations and special interest groups; or was charged, collected, and then distributed illegally. Either way questionable and even illegal situations remain abundant within the Bureau of Land management..

The estimated worth of the materials taken from Public Lands, what the actual fees charged should be, is explained in a current GAO Report to Legislators:

“In summary, there were nearly 70 different types of leasable minerals extracted from federal lands and waters in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. . . For example, the volumes of the four most valuable of these minerals—oil, gas, natural gas liquids, and coal—are measured in barrels, million cubic feet (mcf), gallons, and tons, respectively. According to ONRR data, the total value of all leasable minerals extracted from federal and Indian land and sold in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 was $92.3 billion and $98.6 billion, respectively.”1

Keep these “total-value” figures in mind, explained further, and also keep in mind this is only one segment of many the Bureau of Land Management’s recklessly managed affairs, basically yet another form of Corporate Welfare, where the taxpayers receive nothing in returns.  A scam that needs to cease immediately.  In this case a $168.2 billion dollar scam, and this being the tip of the iceberg.

Taxpayers and the general public, who use Public Lands for recreation, for example, pay many fees to do so, and at no discount.  Yet large corporations and sheep and cattle ranchers pay next to nothing what so ever and recklessly damage our Public Lands while doing so.

Theft cover-up or just incompetence?

The Problem in this instance, the GAO Report goes further in actual fees received, the reality of Public Lands use fees not collected:

“The resulting revenue to the federal government from mineral leasing activity on federal and Indian land in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 was $11.3 billion and $11.4 billion, respectively.  Of this amount, oil, gas, and natural gas liquids accounted for the majority of the revenue—$10.1 billion in each fiscal year. The bulk of this revenue comes from royalties, which accounted for 92.8 percent of total revenue in 2011.”

The fact is the subject brought up by Senator Tom Udall in a September 7, 2011 letter to Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General, Government Accountability Office. . . :

“It is vitally important that the American taxpayer receives a fair return for the mineral resources extracted from federal land. Therefore, we are requesting that GAO undertake an examination of the value of minerals extracted and the amount of revenues collected in fiscal year 2010 for minerals obtained from federally managed lands and waters under the General Mining Act of 1872, and the other various mineral leasing acts. The examination should include the following:

• What was the amount of minerals extracted from federal land and the Outer Continental

Shelf and what was the estimated dollar value of these minerals?

• How much did the federal government collect for these minerals, including royalties,

rents, and bonuses, and how was this amount determined?”

The unbeatable reality

We can take the GAO Report math as accurate, and generating the difference in the reality of what was charged in Fees, we then find missing the amounts of $81.0 Billion dollars in 2010 and $87.2 Billion in 2011 (i.e. $168.2 Billion).  This amount being legitimate fees that should have been charged to corporations but was not done — this is how some venues of corporate welfare works.

We can also legitimately debate the fact of how much destruction and ruin was done by these corporations (i.e. BP for example or mining), and allowed by DOI and BLM agencies, who are responsible for oversight and proper management of our Public Lands.

Conclusion

This type of conduct by government agency personnel has always been, and remains so today, questionable and often illegal.  DOI and BLM remains a conduit for lobby groups and special interest groups only.  Both of these agencies state they operate at a profit, but that remains simply misinformation, as usual.

So the Public is currently being blamed for irresponsible fiscal spending and being asked to sacrifice more and more and daily.  Yet we find this situation, as well as many more within our government.

It becomes quite obvious where the budget cuts should be made.  It is also quite obvious that the DOI and the BLM are too large, and have indeed become a monopoly not for the American Public, but for lobby groups and special interest groups, and at taxpayer expense, wildlife expense, and the ruination of our Public Land environments and ecosystems!

This is a problem not just for Legislators, but for Americans.  This problem must be resolved in order for America to continue as a Democracy, and the overall Public interest to not be ignored any longer.  The reality is American’s Rights have been replaced by short term profits received by corporations and conducted by criminals within our government agencies.  We as Americans are being led to believe, by these same government entities, that everything is okay — But it is NOT OKAY!

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1  Letter from Government Accountability Office on November 15, 2012 The Honorable Raúl M. Grijalva Ranking Member Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Committee on Natural Resources House of Representatives – GAO Report enclosed — Internet — http://grijalva.house.gov/uploads/GAO%20Report%20on%20Mineral%20Extraction%20on%20Federal%20Lands.pdf

2  Letter from Senator Tom Udall to The Honorable Gene Dodaro Comptroller General, Government Accountability Office, 441 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20548 – Internet http://grijalva.house.gov/uploads/Grijalva%20Udall%20GAO%20Letter%20on%20Extraction%20Sept%207.pdf

http://azstarnet.com/news/report-mineral-royalties-untapped/article_f93aa2cc-d078-5e5b-82ee-1a94b7ae39b3.html

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Welfare Ranchers – Welfare Queens and Unqualified to Ranch

hqdefaultIn accord with a GAO 2005 Accountability Report on Land Gazing on Public Lands by Welfare Ranchers, the BLM paid $144 Million dollars in Administrative expenses alone, for these particular ranchers to wreck our Public Lands. It is also estimated that this Administrative expense increase at 18% per year.

This does not include what the taxpayers do not receive because the BLM does not charge this specific special interest group current commercial fees for use of our Public Lands, which is an estimated $1.6 Billion dollars yearly.  This also does not include Welfare Ranchers demand of taking Wild Horse Herds off of our Public Lands in order for them to place more cattle onto Public Lands, and not pay appropriate fees to do so, and at the approximate amount of $455 Million dollars per year in expenses for roundups, et al.  We also pay twice for this beef at the grocery store and with our taxes!

All of the above expense, and more not mentioned, for Welfare Ranchers to Produce not even  2% margin within the commercial meat markets of today!  Why do legislators allow this to continue, and yet want to cut American’s retirement, which they have all paid for, and cut Veterans assistance to those wounded in combat and the many Wars that have taken place. We, as Americans’, need answers!

There is no doubt that Welfare Ranchers’ misuse the Public Lands, the Public Water resources, misuse the public trust, and misuse taxpayer subsidies.  Welfare Rancher is a term used to describe cattle ranchers who use Public Lands through Bureau of Land Management grazing permits at below market and even sub-market prices.  These Welfare Ranchers remain a cumbersome and unwanted situation today, on our Public Lands.  The more taxpayers that find out, then know about this, the more the Welfare Rancher subsidies must end!

In contrast, the fact is commercial ranchers who do not use Public Lands make very good incomes, while utilizing their ecosystem cohesively on their private lands.  These same commercial ranchers’ use sound and proven techniques for a positive grazing management system.  They understand the two have to fit together for continued profit.  Commercial cattle ranchers often pay a minimum of $45 per AUM for use of non-owned grazing lands, and up to $195 per AUM.  Keep these figures in mind.

Welfare Ranching

Welfare Ranchers, or cattle ranchers that use Public Lands, view ranching and economic perspectives awkwardly.  Stating they enhance Public Lands through their maintenance of the land, ironically only when public scrutiny develops over one problematic Ecosystem issue after another.  This defines their ineptitude, to include, for example, the disappearance of many known and often endangered species from the lands they only graze upon, but have allowed destruction due to mismanagement; Included also are the controversial and certainly unnecessary wild horse herd roundups and unneeded wolf kills!

The reality is their cattle ranching operations deteriorate Public Lands through bad grazing management.  They do not implement, or even attempt to acquire good water resource management plans or protect and use the water resources correctly.  They often lack knowledge, or refuse to accept knowledgeable suggestions arrogantly, on many environmental and Ecosystem issues.

But why should they use good management principles?  The answer simple, because tax payer money is handled in an irresponsible manner by BLM staff.  It is given to Welfare Ranchers without checking or proper review, if our Public Lands are being grazed in a responsible manner or not.  The Taylor Grazing Act very clear, yet ignored by BLM staff and Welfare Ranchers!  The fact, or reality, is the subsidy program is faulty and unneeded, and even a majority of commercial ranchers look at this particular subsidy program as a disgusting waste of money.

Welfare Ranchers’ Operational Aspect

The Welfare Ranchers narrow scope of ranching activity centers around safeguarding their taxpayer supported operation, rather than the operation itself.  Their concern is to receive public taxpayer support, and that is the bottom line, and obvious on simple visits to their ranching operations.

Threatening lawsuits, realistically threatening you and I as taxpayers and how they generate their 100% profit margins from our tax money, is their way of maintaining their ranches; this option most likely, when compared to simply improving the Public Lands they graze upon, without subsidies, and actually earning their profit percentages honestly.  But that may be too much work, or perhaps the reality, they do not cattle ranch well enough to compete in the open market.  Then we have the obvious problem which speaks volumes, the fact that those who are not good at what they do should be thinned out by competition, indeed, not supported by tax money.

FLPMA and PRIA

The Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA) was enacted in 1976.  FLPMA declared that “. . . the United States receive fair market value of the use of public lands and their resources unless otherwise provided by statute.”  In 1978, the Public Rangelands Improvement Act (PRIA) instituted a grazing fee based on the economic value of the land being grazed. The economic value of the land was to “. . . [reflect the] annual changes in the costs of production [and beef prices].”  It did not then and does not now reflect this Law accordingly.  Welfare Ranchers and BLM both are in violation of this law.  Not so ironic, both blame the other, and nothing ever does improve.  Lawsuits again evolve and both sides use tax payer money, always!

Nineteen eighty was the last year that the Forest Service and the BLM had different grazing fees as well. The Forest Service fee was $2.41. The BLM fee was $2.36. The following year, the fee for both agencies fell to $2.31. The fee declined until it reached $1.35 in 1985. The grazing fee rose back up to $1.82 in 1993, but was lowered again to $1.61 March 1, 1995.  Currently the price for Welfare Ranchers on Public Lands is $1.43 per AUM, and a yearly loss to taxpayers of $144 million (i.e. 2004 figures), with a 38% loss increase yearly — to now.

This does not include the supposed “improvements” which are charge-offs by these Welfare Ranchers, often 100 X’s actual amounts, and just as often never accomplished; although paid for by tax payer dollars — e.g. Placing what was called a water barrel, an old oil drum, near a water source — then was billed to the taxpayers (through BLM and left un-reviewed) at $10,200 for a water storage system, and when investigated, as stated, was simply an empty oil drum, upright, and placed near a dried up pond).  Your tax money at work!

“The BLM and Forest Service fee also decreased by 40 percent from 1980 to 2012 (remains at $1.43 per AUM), while grazing fees charged by private ranchers increased by 78 percent for this same period.  If the purpose of the fee were to recover expenditures, BLM and the Forest Service would have had to charge $7.64 and $12.26 per AUM, respectively and break-even perhaps, and by the way justifiably, alternately, if the purpose were to gain a fair market value, the agencies’ fees would vary depending on the market.”

But this does not exist and taxpayers are led to believe the necessity of Welfare ranching to be important, yet not even a 2% production rate from these so called cattle ranchers exist in today’s market.  Add to that the fact taxpayers pay twice for this same beef, with our taxes and then at premium cost at the stores.  This is very troublesome to many who pay their taxes honestly, then find out this situation exists!

Why and Why Not?

Whenever ranchers are threatened with a grazing fee increase, they state there exists an uncalled for economic impact on them, and on the community in which they live.  They do state they add jobs and money to the local community, but often this is through tax payer subsidies, lies, and basically a dishonest statement.  The costs we can compare to a normal commercial cattle ranching operation and where such items added to their overhead, and not so surprising when managed properly, still make a large profit on their ranching operation, or their bottom-line.

So the question remains, are these Welfare Ranchers legitimate or not?  Most often we find they are not legitimate cattle ranchers, but rather those who have formed the facade of a business to simply collect tax payer money, a scam, through ineligible subsidies.

It did not take much investigation to find flaws even in Welfare Rancher statements, as surveys point out, and taken from the Welfare Ranchers themselves.  When asked what they would do if prohibitions were put on public grazing, 21% reported they would retire, 16% reported they would find a new occupation, and another 21% reported a conversion of their private land to development.  It should be noted here that 57% reported they would decrease the size of their operation, and 9% reported that they would move to another state.

Conclusion

We have found no reason what so ever for taxpayers to agree or condone the operations of what is called Welfare Ranching.  As a matter of fact we find the situation distasteful, certainly a misuse of tax payer money, and overwhelmingly not needed at all.  Most tax payers agree, they can use Public Lands, but regulatory situations must exist and with no more subsidies what so ever from government sources.  A fee for grazing should be applied, at normal commercial grazing permit fee pricing.

Most people spoken with agree, and find competition makes things better, in the case of Welfare Ranching, perhaps.  But there is nothing that shows these same Welfare Ranchers as legitimate cattle ranchers.  One can make a pretty relevant argument that the opposite does exist, to many they are nothing more than hobbyists.  Most Welfare Ranchers assume we as taxpayers owe them this money, this subsidy they receive for essentially doing nothing but existing on the face of this planet, and because they call themselves cattle ranchers’!

The overall destruction of our Public Lands, destruction of our wildlife that inhabit our Public Lands, and water resources on our Public lands is destroyed by Welfare Ranchers.  That is an overwhelming and proven fact!  A disgusting fact and it must be stopped, right here, right now!

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http://www.counterpunch.org/2010/08/26/of-wolves-and-welfare-ranchers/

http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2012/06/24/opponent-calls-republican-nominee-for-u-s-senate-in-nebraska-a-welfare-rancher/

http://saveourwildhorses.rallycongress.com/2526/end-public-lands-welfare-ranching-system-revoke-all-grazing-permi/

http://www.nebraskademocrats.org/node/4361

Briefing Report to Congressional Requestors, Rangeland Management: Grazing Lease Arrangements of Bureau of Land Management Permittees, May 1986. GAO/RCED-86-168BR, pp. 1-14.

Grazing Fee Review and Evaluation, (The Secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of the Interior, 1986, A 13.2:G79), p. 79.

Personal Interview, Darrell Tersey, Rangeland Management Specialist, Bureau of Land Management, Phoenix District Office, 19 April 1995.

Zachary A. Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ Prentice Hall, 1995), p. 179

John Freemuth, “Federal Land Management in the West:, in Zachary A. Smith, editor, Environmental Politics and Policy in the West, (Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Debuque, Iowa, 1993), p. 202.

Rangeland Reform ’94 Draft Environmental Impact Statement, (The Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture Forest Service, I53.19:R16), p. 1-9

Michael D. Hanneman, Effects of Cattle, Elk and Mule Deer on a Narrowleaf Cottonwood Riparian Community Under a Short Duration Grazing System in Northern Arizona, (Masters Thesis, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 1991), pp. 11-19.

Rangeland Reform ’94 Draft Environmental Impact Statement, p. 1-8.

Conner, J.R. 1984. Why Do You Own a Ranch? p. 39-48. In: Proc. of the 1984 International Ranchers Roundup (ed. L.D. White and D. Guyan). Texas Agric. Res. and Ext. Cert., Uvalde.

Ferguson, C.E. 1966. Microeconomic Theory. Homewood, Illinois: Richard D. Irvin, Inc.

Heitschmidt, R.K., J.R. Conner, S.K. Canon, W.E. Pinchak, J. W. Walker and

L.L. Dowhower. 1989. Cow-Calf Production and Economic Returns from Year-Long Continuous, Deferred Rotation and Rotational Grazing Treatments. J. Prod. Agr. 2:(In press).

Launchbaugh, J.L. 1986. Intensive-Early Season Stocking. Proceedings, The Ranch Management Symposium. November 5-7, North Platte, Nebraska.

Maslow, A.H. 1954. Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper and Row.

Robbins, L. 1932. The Nature and Significance of Economic Science. London: Macmillan.

Samuelson, P.A. 1964. Economics: An Introductory Analysis. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Sims, P.L. and J.S. Singh. 1978. The Structure and Function of Ten Western North American Grasslands. J. Ecology. 66:573-597.

Society for Range Management. 1974. A Glossary of Terms Used in Range Management. (ed. M. M. Kothmann). Denver, Colorado: Society for Range Management.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Trash Science by BLM on Public Lands Very Costly and Abusive

trailhead_cascades_5200ft_oct_11Our Public Lands are essentially defined as a Multi-Purpose Use situation.  Acceptable usage remains debatable, but one thing for certain — The fact is cattle grazing ruins our multi-purpose Public Lands, and the subject of this discussion.

A major problem that many of us have, regarding cattle, is the fact cattle herds are a non-native species and continue to destroy, on a large scale, many ecosystems shared by multi terrestrial and wildlife situations.  This includes our Public Lands and the other element of this discussion.

Cattle on Public Lands Designated Multi-Use

Cattle are a non-native species and regulated, supposedly by grazing permits, to safe-guard the ecosystem on our Public lands.  In reality we find cattle not regulated and never have been regulated responsibly by the BLM or Forestry.  Cattle’s impact on the Public Lands environment always far greater than the roaming wild life such as wild horses, deer, elk, and other animals (good science agrees with this).

Visit our Public Lands occasionally and see for yourselves.  Sometimes the most obvious is easiest to explain; Compared to BLM or Forestry who will attempt to convince all of us differently in regard to cattle and grazing permits.

Although, we find a few science reports (very few and more so dedicated to government agency and affiliated corporate bias), these few remain unacceptable to most research scientists.  These same few reports state that all hoofed animals responsible for ecosystem destruction.  The truth is there exist far more acceptable science reports, referenced well and proven by solid research techniques and data gathering, that remain in direct opposition to these few.  And not so surprisingly the BLM and Forestry conducts their management on these few bias reports that many others refer to as Bad-Science.

A history of Bad Science

Something we as taxpayers should be made aware of in the burdensome government environmental science community is this fact:  In the 1990’s there existed a profound discovery, and due to so much analytical debate over simple environmental science and reasoning issues.  Not so ironic, it was found duplication of science and research jobs throughout many government agencies were being paid to accomplish the same things.

This confused the arena of scientific knowledge, with bias reports and fake or deceitful references conflicting with actual good science and provable data.  Somehow or another when Vice President Gore headed the committee to rid the government of these many duplicate job positions, it simply expanded, rather than took away the duplication.  Yes, rather than retire the many scientists and researchers holding duplicate government job positions, out of public scrutiny more sub-sub-agencies were originated to keep these people employed, and not so ironic, with an ultimate and unethical goal to be achieved, and did achieve.

So there exists a split in the environmental community of science research and biology.  And as one would believe, many of these researchers, to keep their jobs/careers, pointedly strive to appeal toward government and corporate bias.  These are gov. employees in the non-descript and even unobservable government sub-sub-agencies, out of sight from the public.  Often hidden within the government offices located on college campuses, or affiliated offices in the field groups connected to the Department of the Interior.

An audit would eventually bring these agencies to the publics attention, but for now remain low key.  The only item the public does receive from these same sub-sub-agencies are bias science or environmental reports that essentially are meant to disguise, in proportionate helpings for the publics perusal.  What we can all agree upon is what we call false information and misinformation, or confusing rhetoric.

This entire government fiasco, and sub-sub-agencies as was prescribed in the 1990’s, should not exist anyway.  The program was meant to rid the government of duplication and resolve the confusion issues.  But more, to appeal toward cost, and rid the government of the over burdensome situation of costly duplication.  It was estimated even in the 90’s the government could actually save billions of dollars yearly by completing such a beneficial program, getting rid of excess, saving tax payers money.

Examples abound, but the most current and flagrant of them used most recently have rubbed many in the science community the wrong way.  Combining all hoofed animals and stating they “All” ruin ecosystem habitat the same as cattle, is not only debatable and costly to taxpayers, but non-referenced within any good scientific parameters.

“We have found over the years government scientists making many bad or even useless statements, unqualified in regard to our environment.  Their approach, because of methodology and time-pattern restraints alone within the localized habitat management decisions, places their entire data gathering and resolutions in conflict with any truth what so ever.  Their theories become subordinate to politics, obviously bias.”  James Spears, NSA Scientist-Retired.

It becomes obvious, when this knowledge known, that these contrived sub-sub-agencies continue to develop slanted and bias research for single-purpose, that equate to bad decision making — favorable to government budgets and politicians only.

Many within the science community do not wonder how these positions remain at all, as it is quite obvious, costly, and disgusting.  “The fact is this, those people receive from $125,000 to $225,000+ per year income.  And their entire objective is to confuse their unqualified findings with that of good science.  These positions are useless and unneeded.  Their references not useful to those who are in the know.” James Spears.

To those unfamiliar with these sub-sub-agency researchers, their material can blemish good policy making and basically generate bad decisions.  Deplorable habitats and management apparently conflict today and is not only costly, but abusive.  Go to a wild horse heard roundup, which is predicated on bad science, innuendo, and lies, and you will be just as disgusted with our government as the rest of us who have seen the atrocity.

Results of Bad Decisions from Bad Science

Ironically, within the same theory of “All” hoofed animals supposedly involved in ecosystem and habitat destruction, we can look at simple common sense attributes.  For example, these same sub-sub-agency researchers support the elimination of Wolves (e.g. today’s sad wolf killing mania).  This brings about an even better example of their trashy science, or simply put, their bad-science.

The well supported and referenced fact (Reality) is Wolves moderately and within natural methods, eliminate these same hoofed animals, for a proper habitat management situation.  Trash-science conflicts directly with Reality and supported and referenced science.  Bad science is accomplished here for political reasons, personal favors, and certain bias that supports a very minute amount of American tax payers.  Yes, less than .001%.even though 100% of tax payers are expected to support the situation — which by the way do not do so, and remains unfavorable among the majority of tax payers and Americans.

In reality, wolves are essentially one of a few controls for a healthier habitat, protecting it from over browse and other harmful powers of influence, and for several reasons.  This is nature’s own regulatory system within many ecosystems and habitats.  Yes, conflicting virtues of trash-science research is that obvious.

What this means to the regular tax payer or individual concerned with ecosystem destruction, or all around negative situations within our environment?  The fact is since cattle are non-natives, their impact on the environment is greater than native species like wild horses, elk, or deer.   Cattle have always been unevolved in the ecosystems in which placed; therefore, they do not co-exist within an ecosystem well. Whereas, wild horse herds, deer, and elk are highly mobile foragers — cattle are stagnant foragers.

Conclusion

What does this mean?  Well, wild horses, deer, and elk move around so much that they do not overgraze an area or cause soil damage.  Cattle on the other hand, will often remain in the same area until they have eaten all or most of the edible material there. Only after most of the vegetation has been eaten will they move on.  Cattle also need more forage than wild horses, elk, or deer together.

Cattle commit environmental atrocities.  Fact!  They reduce aesthetics with their fecal matter, with the trampling of vegetation, and with their mere presence. They overgraze, causing forage loss for other ungulates.  Overgrazing has also been linked to soil erosion due to the loss of water retention and runoff reduction capacity of vegetation.  Cattle destroy wetlands by grazing nesting habitat for waterfowl, by adding suspended solids and bacteria to the water, and increasing water temperature.

From personal experience, cattle also directly destroy waterfowl nesting sites, usually by trampling them.  And Riparian habitats — lost in total — is happening way too much in today’s environment and on Public Lands.  Multi-Use does not mean Multi-Use any longer, becoming another government oxymoron years ago.

What it does mean?  Well, it means cattle and sheep grazing only, with a few energy systems and oil thrown in.  Everything else is displaced — and supported by science, you say?  Not even close — trash-science and bad-science, Yes!  Good Science — NO!  It is simple, it is a cause of many bad decisions made while referencing bad and bias science.  This has got to change!

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2012 in Uncategorized