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Friday, December 30, 2016

Bitterroot National Forest Travel Plan / Russian Hacking

Missoulian: Recreation groups file lawsuit over travel restrictions in Bitterroot National Forest
Bitterroot National Forest
“The Bitterroot National Forest Travel Management Planning Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) have been prepared. These documents are now available and can be reviewed at the Stevensville, Darby, Sula and West Fork District Offices, the Supervisor’s Office and the public libraries in Stevensville, Hamilton, Darby, and Missoula.”
Click here to go to the project documents and maps.

Missoulian: US announces retaliation against Russia over election-related hacking
Department of State Actions in Response to Russian Harassment
“The State Department today declared persona non grata 35 Russian officials operating in the United States who were acting in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic or consular status. The Department also informed the Russian Government that it would deny Russian personnel access to two recreational compounds in the United States owned by the Russian Government.”

Joint DHS, ODNI, FBI Statement on Russian Malicious Cyber Activity
“On October 7, 2016, Secretary Johnson and Director Clapper issued a joint statement that the intelligence community is confident the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations, and that the disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like and WikiLeaks are consistent with the Russian-directed efforts.  The statement also noted that the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia to influence public opinion there.”

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sage Grouse / 2 New Monuments / Electoral College

Missoulian: US considers mining limits in West to save sage grouse
BLM Releases Draft EIS on Proposed Withdrawal in Crucial Sage-Grouse Habitat
“As part of its continuing efforts to conserve habitat vital to healthy populations of the Greater Sage-Grouse in the West, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced the draft proposal to withdraw a subset of lands that are sage-grouse strongholds from future mining claims. ”

I don’t normally include letters to the editor but this is a great opportunity to provide some links to early U.S. government documents.

Missoulian: Electoral College myth versus fact (letter to the editor)
What is the Electoral College?
“The Electoral College is a process, not a place. The founding fathers established it in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens.”

The Federalist Papers

The Mode of Electing the President- Alexander Hamilton, no. 68
“It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations…. It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief. The choice of SEVERAL, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of ONE who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes. And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.

“The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts….. By what means is this object attainable? Evidently by one of two only. Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time must be prevented, or the majority, having such coexistent passion or interest, must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression. If the impulse and the opportunity be suffered to coincide, we well know that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control. They are not found to be such on the injustice and violence of individuals, and lose their efficacy in proportion to the number combined together, that is, in proportion as their efficacy becomes needful.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Quiet Watercraft Proposal / Skin Cancer

Quiet Waters Proposed Rules
“A petition, known as the Quiet Water’s Initiative, was submitted to the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission this past spring by Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. The petition states Montana has experienced advanced motorized technology on its waterways, which has potentially opened up waters previously thought to be unusable by motorized water craft. At its regular May meeting, the Commission initiated rulemaking on the petition, stating, in part, the Commission should consider being proactive instead of reactive to the changes in recreation on Montana’s waterways to avoid conflicts and protect traditional and safe recreational uses. Public hearings will be held to obtain public comment.
•             Jan. 3 at the FWP Region 1 office, 490 N. Meridian Road, Kalispell at 6 p.m.
•             Jan. 4 at the FWP Region 2 office, 3201 Spurgin Road, Missoula at 6 p.m.
•             Jan. 5 at the FWP Region 3 office, 1400 S. 19th Ave., Bozemen at 6 p.m.
•             Jan. 9 at the FWP Region 5 office, 2300 Lake Elmo Drive, Billings at 6 p.m.
•             Jan. 11 at the FWP Region 4 office, 4600 Giant Springs Road, Great Falls at 6 p.m.
•             Jan. 11 at the FWP headquarters office, 1420 E. 6th Ave., Helena at 6 p.m.”

“The 2016 Skin Cancer Prevention Progress Report[PDF-3.7MB] summarizes recent prevention efforts and highlights new data, developments, and success stories following the Call to Action. By updating this report annually, we will monitor progress, celebrate and learn from successes, recognize areas that need improvement, and identify opportunities to work with partners in government, health care, education, business, and the community.”

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Farm Loans

“Providing "a financial safety net for America's farmers and ranchers to sustain economically viable agricultural production" is the number goal in FSA's Strategic Plan for 2016-2018 (PDF, 5.08 MB).  And provide a financial safety net the Agency did!  Fiscal Year 2016 was amazing!  The Farm Service Agency made and guaranteed a total of 39,650 loans.”