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Monday, November 13, 2017

Montana special session, Tara's Law, US Budget, Puerto Rico, Hate crimes

Child Sexual Abuse Awareness And Prevention
“The office of public instruction shall make any model policies and procedures developed under subsection (1) available for voluntary adoption by school district trustees.”

“The government recorded a deficit of $62 billion in October, CBO estimates, about $17 billion more than the shortfall recorded in the same month last year. Both revenues and outlays were higher than they were last year, but outlays increased more. Shifts in the timing of payments affected the deficits in both years; if not for those shifts, the deficit in October 2017 would have been $19 billion more than it was in October 2016.”

Governor of Puerto Rico warns that American citizens residing on the Island need equal treatment in Congress
“The chief executive warned that if Congress does not consider Puerto Rico as a jurisdiction of the United States in tax matters, it will cause the exodus of companies that generate 42% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the loss of jobs on the Island, and therefore more Puerto Ricans moving to the mainland, causing an increase in the expenses to other states.
At the same time, Rossell√≥ explained that the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the public and private infrastructure of Puerto Rico, causing multi-million dollar losses estimated at 94 billion dollars.”
FBI bar graph showing Bias Motivation of crimes, 57.5% were race/ethnicity/ancestry based.

2016 Hate Crime Statistics Released
“The newest report—which provides information about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of hate crimes—reveals that for 2016, law enforcement agencies reported 6,121 criminal incidents that were motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, or gender identity.”
Full report: Hate Crime Statistics, 2016

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Chronic wasting disease, Puerto Rico, Supreme Court opinions

FWP increases CWD surveillance efforts
“We know the best thing we can do is increase our surveillance efforts and help from our partners is critical. The Mule Deer Foundation and RMEF both recognize the importance of doing all we can to find CWD early, if it’s here,” said FWP Game Management Bureau Chief John Vore. “Our best chance of containing the disease once it is detected will be finding it early.”

[W]e need dramatic action that creates a fast-moving, depoliticized entity driven by a compelling vision of an efficient, durable, sustainable and affordable power sector for the island,” Zamot stated.
Both Zamot and Jaresko stressed the need to further expedite permitting at every level for any private sector investment to aid recovery and rebuilding. Zamot noted that “economic growth and fast tracking projects is not inconsistent with being good stewards of the environment.”
Click here to view full witness testimony. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tintina copper mine, Trump in South Korea

Proposed Black Butte Copper Mine in Meagher County
“Tintina Resources submitted on December 15, 2015 an application with the Department of Environmental Quality for a Mine Operating Permit for an underground copper and related minerals mine in Meagher County in west-central Montana.
Known as the Johnny Lee deposits, the proposed mine is expected to produce copper concentrate as well as cobalt and silver. The proposed mine is approximately 20 miles north of White Sulphur Springs, the Meagher County seat, and approximately 100 miles south of Great Falls. The deposits lie within the Belt Supergroup, an extensive sedimentary formation that extends from central Montana into northern Idaho.”

Remarks by President Trump and President Moon of Korea Before Expanded Bilateral Meeting
“It is interesting that it is one year, as of tomorrow, that we had our election victory. And it was great victory, and a victory that made a lot of people very happy. And our country is doing very well from the standpoint of the economy. It's doing record numbers, record stock market, 17-year low. We have the lowest unemployment that we've had in 17 years. And we've created trillions and trillions of dollars of value for our country. So we're very happy.”

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Forest Maps, Black Licorice Can Kill...if you are over 40 and eat too much

Black Licorice: Trick or Treat?
“If you’re 40 or older, eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could land you in the hospital with an irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia.

FDA experts say black licorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which is the sweetening compound derived from licorice root. Glycyrrhizin can cause potassium levels in the body to fall. When that happens, some people experience abnormal heart rhythms, as well as high blood pressure, edema (swelling), lethargy, and congestive heart failure.”

Monday, October 30, 2017

Park Fee Increase, Manafort and Gates Indictment, Whitefish Contract With Puerto Rico

Public invited to provide comments on proposed peak season fee increases at 17 highly visited parks
“The proposed new fee structure would be implemented at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks with peak season starting on May 1, 2018; in Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks with peak season starting on June 1, 2018; and in Joshua Tree National Park as soon as practicable in 2018.
A public comment period on the peak-season entrance fee proposal will be open from October 24, 2017 to November 23, 2017, on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website Written comments can be sent to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.”

“In furtherance of the scheme, MANAFORT and GATES concealed from the United States their work as agents of, and millions of dollars in payments from, Ukraine and its political parties and leaders.”

“Based on initial review and information from PREPA, FEMA has significant concerns with how PREPA procured this contract and has not confirmed whether the contract prices are reasonable. FEMA is presently engaged with PREPA and its legal counsel to obtain information about the contract and contracting process, including how the contract was procured and how PREPA determined the contract prices were reasonable.”

Friday, October 27, 2017

Bill to remove environmental assessments in forests, JFK files

“The forest management activities designated under this section for a categorical exclusion [from preparation of environmental assessment or environmental impact statements] are forest management activities carried out by the Secretary concerned on National Forest System lands or public lands where the primary purpose of such activity is—
(1) to address an insect or disease infestation;
(2) to reduce hazardous fuel loads;
(3) to protect a municipal water source;
(4) to maintain, enhance, or modify critical habitat to protect it from catastrophic disturbances;
(5) to increase water yield;
(6) produce timber; or
(7) any combination of the purposes specified in paragraphs (1) through (6).”

JFK Assassination Records
“The National Archives is releasing documents previously withheld in accordance with the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act.  The vast majority of the Collection (88%) has been open in full and released to the public since the late 1990s. The records at issue are documents previously identified as assassination records, but withheld in full or withheld in part.”

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Whitefish Energy, EPA Nominees

"Today I am calling on the Government Accountability Office to investigate the circumstances surrounding the multi-million dollar contract awarded to Whitefish Energy—a brand new company with two employees."

EPW Committee Moves Nominations Forward at Business Meeting
“Michael Dourson, nominee to be assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention at the EPA….
William Wehrum, nominee to be assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Regulation at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)”

“Regrettably, I am concerned that Dr. Dourson is not the leader that we need for that job. Never in the history of the EPA has a nominee to lead the Chemical Safety Office had such deep ties to industry. Never has a nominee had such a long record of recommending chemical safety standards that are as much as thousands of times less protective, thousands of times less protective than those recommended by regulators. Never has a nominee, to my knowledge, so consistently underestimated the risks of chemical exposures to the most vulnerable among us.”- STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE THOMAS R. CARPER, (pg 9).

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Mining Pollution and Off-shore Oil

Zortmanand & Landusky Mines
“The 1993 and 1995 federal and state water quality complaints that resulted in the Consent Decree also resulted in a $2 million fine against Pegasus for alleged unlawful discharges to surface and ground waters. A review of agency files between 1977 and 1995 documented acid mine drainage from historic and contemporary mine workings, multiple releases of cyanide to surface and ground water from leaks, spills, overflows, and emergency cyanide solution disposals, and elevated metals in surface and ground water samples in many areas of the Zortman and Landusky mines.”

Monday, October 23, 2017

Taxing Retirement

There will be NO change to your 401(k). This has always been a great and popular middle class tax break that works, and it stays!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Selling Cattle to China, Tax Cuts

China: Livestock and Products Annual
“While U.S. beef producers and exporters celebrate the return of U.S. beef to the China market, initial trade volumes will be limited by the number of U.S. cattle eligible for export to China. Overall, Post forecasts that while China’s domestic production will only see an incremental increase, imports in 2018 are forecast to increase by 15 percent to meet increasing consumer demand for this higher-end protein.”

Question: On the Amendment (Capito Amdt. No. 1393 )
“To help provide tax relief to middle-class Americans by reducing deductibility, for Federal tax purposes, of federal deductions, such as the state and local tax deduction which disproportionally favors high-income individuals.”

Friday, October 13, 2017

Trump on Iran Nuclear Deal, Religion, and Health Care

“But I pledged that, in a Trump administration, our nation’s religious heritage would be cherished, protected, and defended like you have never seen before.  That's what’s happening.  That's what’s happening.  You see it every day.  You're reading it….Among many historic steps, the executive order followed through on one of my most important campaign promises to so many of you: to prevent the horrendous Johnson Amendment from interfering with your First Amendment rights.  (Applause.)”
“(3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Zinke's Energy Speech, Bristol Bay Mining, Funding the Census

2017 Proposal to Withdraw Proposed Clean Water Act Restrictions on Mining Pebble Deposit
“EPA's 2014 Clean Water Act Proposed Determination would have placed restrictions on the discharge of dredged or fill material from the potential mining of the Pebble deposit in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed. EPA agreed to initiate a proposed withdrawal process pursuant to policy direction from EPA’s Administrator, and as part of a May 2017 settlement agreement with the Pebble Limited Partnership, whose subsidiaries own the mineral claims to the Pebble deposit.”

“Even in the absence of accidents or failures, the development of a mine at the Pebble deposit would result in the destruction or modification of streams, wetlands, and ponds. Local habitat loss would be  significant, because losses of stream habitat leading to losses of local, unique populations would erode the population diversity key to the stability of the overall Bristol Bay salmon fishery (Schindler et al. 2010).”

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ohio Fish Kill and Farm Pollution

Heat map showing dead zones in Lake Erie, from the Old Women Creek Technical Bulletin #3

Lake Erie’s Dead Zone
“In the late summer, a hypoxic zone, an area with depleted oxygen, develops at the bottom of the central basin of Lake Erie. Massive algal blooms cause opaque green water to cover the surface of western Lake Erie every summer. These algal blooms are fed by agricultural and urban run-off.”

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Canadian Coal Mine Polluting River, California on Fire

Elk River Valley
“Today, in the Provincial Court of British Columbia, Teck Coal Limited pleaded guilty to three counts of contravening the Fisheries Act. The court ordered the company to pay a penalty of $1,425,000, which will be directed to the federal Environmental Damages Fund, and used for purposes related to the conservation and protection of fish or fish habitat or the restoration of fish habitat in the East Kootenay region of B.C. Additionally, Teck Resources will post information regarding this conviction on its website. As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.”

Selenium is a naturally occurring mineral element that is distributed widely in nature in most rocks and soils.
ToxfAQs for Selenium
“Selenium is a trace mineral needed in small amounts for good health, but exposure to much higher levels can result in neurological effects and brittle hair and deformed nails. Occupational inhalation exposure to selenium vapors may cause dizziness, fatigue, irritation of mucous membranes, and respiratory effects. This substance has been found in at least 508 of the 1,636 National Priorities List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”

California Statewide Fire Summary
“17 large wildfires that started in the past 24 hours continue to burn across California and have burned over 115,000 acres.”

Friday, October 6, 2017

Trump Comments, Attorney General and Religious Liberty

Remarks by President Trump
“Q A decision on Iran, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: You'll be hearing about Iran very shortly. Thank you.”

“Trump: "You guys know what this represents? Maybe it's the calm before the storm."
Reporter: "What's the storm?"
Trump: "It could be ... the calm, the calm before the storm."
Reporter: "Iran? ISIS? What storm, Mr. President?"
Trump: "We have the world's great military people in this room, I will tell you that. And uh, we're gonna have a great evening, thank you all for coming."
Reporter: "What storm, Mr. President?"
Trump: "You'll find out."

Thursday, October 5, 2017

BLM Opens Sage Grouse Area to Mining despite studies

BLM cancels 10 million acre Sagebrush Focal Area Withdrawal Proposal
“Based on a recent analysis and review of data available that showed that future mining is not a significant threat to sage grouse habitat, the Bureau of Land Management has canceled its Sagebrush Focal Area withdrawal application and the Department’s proposed withdrawal of 10 million acres of federal lands from location and entry under the mining law in Greater Sage-grouse habitat in six Western States.  The BLM also terminated the associated environmental analysis process.
The recommendation to withdraw nearly 10 million acres from location and entry under the mining law was one of many land use restrictions proposed for a new management area designated as the Sagebrush Focal Area (SFA). However, that recommendation was unreasonable in light of the data available. In particular, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2005 “Not Warranted” decision, the 2010 “Warranted But Precluded” Decision and the 2015 “Not Warranted” decision all showed that mining—including locatable mining—was not a significant threat to sage-grouse.”

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) identified habitat disturbance and fragmentation caused by certain hardrock mining operations as a threat to sage-grouse habitat. As a result, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land use plans recommend that the Secretary of the Interior exercise her authority under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) to safeguard the most important landscapes identified by the FWS within Priority Habitat Management Areas – identified as Sagebrush Focal Areas – by withdrawing them from the operation of the hardrock mining law.”

“The greater sage-grouse, an iconic species of the sagebrush steppe ecosystem, currently occupies an estimated 56% of its historic range. Greater sage-grouse populations have been declining for more than 40 years. In 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that, due to loss of habitat and lack of adequate regulatory mechanisms, listing the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act was warranted but precluded by other priorities.”

Threat: Surface mining and adjacent facilities within greater sage-grouse habitat results in the direct loss of habitat, habitat fragmentation, and indirect impacts from disturbance (noise, dust, etc.).

Report Guidance: Avoid new mining activities and any associated facilities within occupied habitats, including seasonal habitats; avoid leasing in greater sage-grouse habitat until other suitable habitats can be restored; reclamation plans should focus on restoring habitats to healthy sagebrush ecosystems, including evidence of greater sage-grouse use; and abandoned mine land reclamation should focus on restoring areas to healthy sagebrush ecosystems where possible.

Land Management Plan Amendment Direction: Do not authorize new mineral material development or disposal or apply certain restrictions. Permit free-use permits and the expansion of existing active pits. New underground coal leases will include a lease stipulation prohibiting the location of surface facilities in priority habitat management areas. The Forest Service will recommend to the Secretary of the Interior that sagebrush focal areas not already withdrawn as designated Wilderness from mineral entry be withdrawn.”

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Coconut Oil, Walrus, Senate Russia Probe

Coconut Oil
“Possibly effective for...
Eczema. Research suggests that applying virgin coconut oil to the skin twice daily for 8 weeks improves symptoms about 30% more than mineral oil in children with eczema.”

Walrus are extremely social and gregarious animals. They tend to travel and haulout onto ice or land in groups. Walrus prefer to lie in close physical contact with each other; young often lie on top of the adults. Image of six walrus in snow from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

ODNI Statement on Declassified Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections ICA_2017_01.pdf

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Puerto Rico

We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico. Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates,...

...people are now starting to recognize the amazing work that has been done by FEMA and our great Military. All buildings now inspected.....

...for safety. Thank you to the Governor of P.R. and to all of those who are working so closely with our First Responders. Fantastic job!

"Every death is a horror," Trump said, "but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous -- hundreds and hundreds of people that died -- and you look at what happened here with, really, a storm that was just totally overpowering ... no one has ever seen anything like this."
"What is your death count?" he asked as he turned to Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. "17?"

“There are more than 12,300 federal staff representing 36 departments and agencies and including more than 800 FEMA personnel, on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands engaged in response and recovery operations from Hurricanes Maria and Irma.”

Texas Hurricane Harvey: Total Public Assistance Grants
Dollars Obligated: $323,676,091.81
Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria: Total Individual & Households Program
Dollars Approved: $6,916,000.00