People for the West -Tucson

PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868 pfw-tucson@cox.net

Newsletter, October, 2017

Real environmentalism can go hand in hand with natural resource production, private property rights, and access to public lands

Altar Valley, Arizona – a tale of government intentions and unintended consequences

by Jonathan DuHamel

Altar Valley in southern Arizona has been in the news recently because of a small cactus, the Pima Pineapple cactus. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife service declared the cactus as an endangered species on September 23, 1993, and is just now getting around to proposing a recovery plan.

The Pima Pineapple cactus is a low-growing hemispherical cactus that may be found as single or multi-stemmed plants. Mature plants measure 4-18 inches tall and 3-7 inches in diameter. The spines are stout and arranged in clusters with one central hooked spine and 6-15 radial straight spines. Spines are originally straw colored, but become black with age. Flowers are yellow and the fruit is a green ellipsoid. See photos here. The flowers are pollinated mainly by bees. Seeds are dispersed mainly by jackrabbits and also by rodents and ants.

The Altar Valley has a long history of cattle ranching and some ranches still occupy the northern part of the valley. The Altar Valley was first homesteaded by Pedro Aguirre, Jr. in 1864 as the “Buenos Ayres Ranch.” He had been running a stagecoach and freight line between Tucson and mines near Arivaca, Arizona and Altar, Sonora, Mexico. Aguirre drilled wells, built earthen dams, and created Aguirre Lake. This ensured a water supply for cattle in the Altar Valley.

Between 1909 and 1985, Buenos Aires Ranch changed ownership several times. It became one of the most prominent and successful livestock operations in Arizona. From 1926 to 1959, the Gill family raised prize-winning racing quarter horses. During the 1970’s and 80’s, the Victorio Land and Cattle Company specialized in purebred Brangus cattle, which are well suited to hot, dry climates. The ranch sold bulls and bull semen nationally and internationally with some bulls selling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In 1985, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) purchased the Buenos Aires Ranch for the purpose of re-establishing a population of the endangered Masked Bobwhite Quail. To do so, the ranch became Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. FWS brought in pronghorn antelope and masked bobwhite quails. The quails promptly became food for coyotes and hawks. The effort to reestablish the quail was doomed to failure because the Altar Valley is at the very northern extreme of the quail’s habitat. They die in freezing weather which occurs frequently in mid-winter on the Refuge.

As part of their effort to make Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge more natural, FWS abandoned wells and waterlines because they were “unnatural.” With the lack of water, much of the wildlife left. (More recently, FWS re-established some of the stock ponds.) FWS also removed all cattle from the Refuge and that had some unintended consequences on the pineapple cactus.

Without grazing, the grass grew tall which made wildfires more intense and better able to kill the cactus. The tall grass also deterred jackrabbits, which are the principle agent of cactus seed dispersal, because the rabbits could not run fast and hence were more subject to predation.

There have been many studies of the cactus, but FWS still doesn’t know how many there are scattered around its habitat. According to FWS the recovery plan (read it here) will cost $62,910,560. FWS says they can delist the cactus by the year 2046. The main recommendations of the recovery plan boil down to protecting existing habitat from human intervention, invasive species, and wildfires. In other words, restrict land usage. FWS also recommends acquisition of private lands to increase habitat and limit development.

I have an alternative suggestion. In order to preserve the cactus, delist it and farm it. Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge could be used as an initial farm stock source with many plots dedicated to the cactus. FWS could, if the cactus were delisted, allow commercial nurseries to grow and sell the plants to people who would like them for their yards or gardens, something that is problematical as long as the cactus is listed as “endangered.” This small cactus would make a good potted plant for porches and patios. ☼

More Endangered Species Stories:

This ‘Endangered Species’ Story Was Government-Sponsored Fake News

by Rob Gordon, Daily Signal

Leave it to the federal government to make a costly mistake, obscure it for decades at taxpayer expense, and then try to claim it was a success.

In 2016, Johnston’s frankenia—a wiry, blue-green, roughly 1 to 2-foot-tall shrub with tiny oblong leaves—was taken off the endangered species list. The Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species database reports the happy plant was “delisted” because it had recovered.

It seems strange that such good news did not get much attention, and that the Fish and Wildlife Service only put out a press release in the southwestern U.S.

The reason it was not more publicized is probably because the whole thing is a farce. The species did not recover—it never was endangered in the first place.

When the Fish and Wildlife Service added this plant to the endangered species list in 1984, the agency reported it could only find about 1,000 of them in a few southern Texas counties, and that there was concern about “grazing pressure” on the hapless plant.

But surveys conducted after 1984 found a wealth of Johnston’s frankenia—over 4 million by one account and over 9 million by another—enough that biologists probably quit trying to guess.

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s annual expenditure reports indicate that $670,000 were spent on Johnston’s frankenia between 1998 and 2014 alone.

By January of 2016, the Fish and Wildlife Service finally removed the plant from the endangered list.

It took the agency decades to correct this mistake, and when it finally did, it was dishonest. Read more ☼

Family Faces $34 Million In Costs To Protect An Endangered Frog That Doesn’t Even Live On Their Land

byTim Pearce

A Louisiana family is facing $34 million worth of regulations if they continue developing a plot of land after federal officials declared it “critical habitat” for the dusky gopher frog.

Federal regulators are attempting to use the Endangered Species Act to stop commercial logging on the 1,650 acre piece of private land to create a sanctuary that might support the frog. The dusky gopher frog, however, has not been reported on the land or even in the wild areas of the state for 50 years, New Orleans’ The Times Picayune reports.

The Poitevent family, which has owned the land for more than a century, has decades worth of timber leases on the area, putting off any chance the land may be turned into useable habitat for years.

The Poitevent family has filed a series of appeals for courts to overrule the decision. Despite one judge calling the critical habitat designation “remarkably intrusive” and a prime example of “governmental insensitivity to private property,” no court has overruled the Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) designation.

“I guess I was naive,” Edward Poitevent II told The Advocate. “I thought surely there must be a mistake, and the government will correct its error.”

The Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit law firm representing the Poitevent family, wants the case brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, according to The Advocate.Source ☼


See also my Wryheat post: Thought to Be Extinct – When Science Is Wrong. “Species extinction is a natural phenomenon, but sometimes, as Mark Twain wrote: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” The Endangered Species Act has been used for good to help some species and for political reasons to stop or inhibit mines, logging, farming, and many other activities.” This post is a collection of articles which show that some reports of extinction were in error. Sometimes, “settled science” is wrong. ☼


It’s Time To Limit Abusive, Taxpayer-Funded Environmental Litigation

by Kevin Mooney, Daily Caller

Instead of allowing environmental groups with hundreds of millions of dollars in assets to file an endless chain of lawsuits at taxpayer expense, Congress should move decisively to end abusive practices that subtract from local conservation efforts, according to recent testimony delivered before House committees.

This can be done by reforming both the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), which are both now riddled with “perverse incentives” to litigate without setting clear, achievable goals for rescuing endangered species, legal analysts and local government officials have told members of Congress. Read more ☼



The Surprising Reason the Paris Accord Is Unnecessary, Irrelevant

Tracking systems find global climate is warming far less than alarmists originally predicted

by Terry Jarrett

Since 1979, satellites have been continuously scanning lower tropospheric temperatures. And the data from these satellites are reported each month by two independent research groups, the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS).

What the data from both UAH and RSS show is very interesting. Global climate is following a warming trend of only 0.136 degrees Celsius per decade. If one extrapolates that trajectory to a full century, it means a total temperature increase of 1.36 degrees Celsius by 2100. Read more ☼

Climatologist traces history of the meaningless 2-degree temperature target

By Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr.

Do you want to know the origins of the 2-degree temperature target that underpins much of climate policy discussions and action? As is often the case, it is an arbitrary round number that was politically convenient. So it became a sort of scientific truth. However, it has little scientific basis but is a hard political reality. Read more ☼

Ocean Cycles, Not Humans, May Be Behind Most Observed Climate Change

An eminent atmospheric scientist says that natural cycles may be largely responsible for climate changes seen in recent decades.

In a new report published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Anastasios Tsonis, emeritus distinguished professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, describes new and cutting-edge research into natural climatic cycles, including the well known El Nino cycle and the less familiar North Atlantic Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation. He shows how interactions between these ocean cycles have been shown to drive changes in the global climate on timescales of several decades.

Full paper: https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2017/09/Tsonis.pdf ☼

Study: plants are globally getting more efficient thanks to rising carbon dioxide

by Anthony Watts

Researchers led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego have determined that major changes in plant behavior have occurred over the past 40 years, using measurements of subtle changes in the carbon dioxide (CO2) currently found in the atmosphere.

The work helps to understand the details of how leaves are responding to changes in CO2. Prior to this study, it was already clear that plants behave differently when they are exposed to higher atmospheric CO2 levels because CO2 influences the behavior of stomata, the microscopic holes in leaves that allow a leaf to take up CO2. These holes also allow water to evaporate from the leaf, which must be replenished by water supplied to the roots to avoid drying out. With more CO2 in the atmosphere, a plant can afford to have smaller or fewer stomata, thus allowing more photosynthesis for the same amount of water. Read more ☼

Sorry alarmists: New research disputes claims that climate change helped spark the Syrian civil war

by Anthony Watts

A new study, published today in the journal Political Geography, shows that there is no sound evidence that global climate change was a factor in causing the Syrian civil war.

Claims that a major drought caused by anthropogenic climate change was a key factor in starting the Syrian civil war have gained considerable traction since 2015 and have become an accepted narrative in the press, most recently repeated by former US vice president Al Gore in relation to Brexit. This study, led by Professor Jan Selby at the University of Sussex, takes a fresh look at the existing evidence for these claims as well as conducting new research into Syrian rainfall data and the experiences of Syrian refugees. Read more ☼

The Real Potential Climate Problem Is Caused by the Climate Alarmists Themselves

BY Alan Carlin

The climate alarmists would like you to believe that Planet Earth is in danger of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW). Their “evidence” are sophisticated global climate models that they claim can predict future temperatures. The models, of course, are built by the alarmists and, of course, yield the results they desire. They are basically worthless because they are trying to model a coupled non-linear chaotic system (climate) which cannot be usefully modeled over even moderate periods of time. The only real risk is that modern Western countries will damage their economies and the welfare of their citizens by altering their energy generation and distribution systems in the ways advocated by the alarmists, and if successful, will starve plants of the carbon dioxide they need during the next ice age and stunt their potential growth in the meantime. The adverse effects of climate alarmist policies are already evident in many developed nations, particularly in Western Europe, Australia, and Canada. Fortunately, climate alarmist policies are not well advanced in the US, with some exceptions such as California. Read more ☼

A Half-Century Increase in Global Terrestrial Net Primary Production Driven Primarily by Rising Atmospheric CO2

By Craig D. Idso

Net primary production (NPP) represents the net carbon that is fixed (sequestered) by a given plant community or ecosystem. It is the combined product of climatic, geochemical, ecological, and human effects. In recent years, many have expressed concerns that global terrestrial NPP should be falling due to the many real (and imagined) assaults on Earth’s vegetation that have occurred over the past several decades—including wildfires, disease, pest outbreaks, and deforestation, as well as overly-hyped changes in temperature and precipitation.

The observed increase in global NPP over the past five decades is quite an accomplishment for the terrestrial biosphere, especially when one considers all the negative stories—nary a day goes by without notice of some environmental disaster (human- or naturally-caused) occurring somewhere in the world and wreaking havoc on nature. Since 1980, the Earth has experienced three of the warmest decades in the modern instrumental temperature record, has weathered a handful of intense and persistent El Niño events, and suffered large-scale deforestation, “unprecedented” forest fires, disease and pest outbreaks, and episodes of persistent, widespread, and severe droughts and floods. Yet, despite each of these factors, and every other possible negative influence that has occurred over the past half century, terrestrial net primary productivity has increased by 21.5 percent! And it has done so largely because of the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2. How ironic it is, therefore, that the supposed chief culprit behind the many real (and imagined) assaults on Earth’s vegetation—rising atmospheric CO2—has been found to be the primary cause of an ever-greener planet. Read more ☼


See also my Wryheat post: Why Hurricanes Can’t Be Blamed on Global Warming


Top 10 Climate Change Predictions That Went Spectacularly Wrong

Source: The Federalists Papers Project

Predictions from climate change alarmists go awry so often that at this rate the only way they’ll be able to save themselves from embarrassment is if they make their doomsday predictions so far out in the future that they’ll be dead before we can check them on it.

Here are, in our opinion, the top 10 biggest climate alarmist predictions gone spectacularly wrong:

1. Biologist Paul Ehrlich predicted in the 1970s that: “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” and that “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

2. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

3. In January 2006 Al Gore predicted that we had ten years left before the planet turned into a “total frying pan.” We made it.

4. In 2008, a segment aired on ABC News predicted that NYC would be under water by June 2015.

5. In 1970, ecologist Kenneth E.F. Watt predicted that “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but 11 degrees colder by the year 2000, This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.”

6. In 2008, Al Gore predicted that there is a 75% chance that the entire north polar ice cap would be completely melted within 5-7 years. He at least hedged that prediction by giving himself “75%” certainty.

7. On May 13th 2014 France’s foreign minister said that we only have 500 days to stop “climate chaos.” The recent Paris climate summit met 565 days after his remark.

8. In 2009, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center head James Wassen warned that Obama only had four years left to save the earth.

9. On the first Earth Day its sponsor warned that “in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

10. And another Earth Day prediction from Kenneth Watt: “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

And no I’m not just nitpicking absurd predictions made by cranks. A study in the journal Nature Climate Change reviewed 117 climate predictions and found that 97.4% never materialized.

Is it even fair to call it climate “science” at that point? ☼



Extreme Poverty USA: The True Cost of Climate Madness

by Eric Worrall

While various US governments continue to waste unimaginable sums of public money on pointless climate schemes, real problems ranging from third world poverty in Alabama to an explosion of the skid row population of Los Angeles are being allowed to fester. Read more ☼

Study: Now we have to worry about climatic ‘existential’ threats

by Anthony Watts


A new study evaluating models of future climate scenarios has led to the creation of the new risk categories “catastrophic” and “unknown” to characterize the range of threats posed by rapid global warming. Researchers propose that unknown risks imply existential threats to the survival of humanity. Read more ☼

Claim: Chocolate CAUSES Climate Change

by Eric Worrall

The Chocolate Climate Worriers have switched tactics, from claiming that climate is going to kill all the cocoa plants, to claiming we should feel guilty about wanting chocolate in the first place.

LONDON, Sept 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Your afternoon chocolate bar may be fueling climate change, destroying protected forests and threatening elephants, chimpanzees and hippos in West Africa, research suggests. Read more ☼

Scotland to ban petrol and diesel car sales by 2032

by Jonathan Burn, Auto Express

New plans from the Scottish Government would allow the sale of hybrid and electric cars but not exclusively petrol or diesel ones. Scotland has set out plans to phase out the sale of cars powered solely by petrol or diesel by 2032 – eight years ahead of the timescale proposed for the rest of the UK. As under the plans south of the border, Scotland would allow the sale of petrol and diesel hybrids, however. Scotland would “massively expand the number of electric charging points” in rural and urban locations across the country to boost the take-up of plug-in hybrids and pure EVs. (Source) This follows similar plans in the rest of the UK and in France. ☼



Academics Discover New Way To Get Offended: ‘Invisibility Microaggressions’

by Ian Miles Cheong, Daily Caller

Two professors claim to have discovered a new form of politically incorrect offense called “invisibility microaggressions,” which are said to be even more subtle than regular microaggressions. Their proposed solution for these offenses is to get rid of meritocracy.

In social justice jargon, a “microaggression” is when someone — say a white person — asks an Asian person where they’re from. While the question isn’t offensive in and of itself, the act of asking a person who may get the same question repeatedly throughout the week can be annoying and therefore offensive.

“There is a growing body of literature that suggests invisibility is a common form of exclusion — or microaggression,” Mena and Vaccaro say.

Unlike regular microaggressions, which require at least two parties for them to occur, invisibility microaggressions only needs for one person to feel invisible in an environment. A lone black person among a sea of white faces could qualify as one of these invisibility microaggressions — especially if he or she isn’t singled out for being black. But if that happens, then it can possibly be a macroaggression. Read more ☼



“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.” —Samuel Adams (1779)

“Our society — unlike most in the world — presupposes that freedom and liberty are in a frame of reference that makes the individual, not government, the keeper of his tastes, beliefs, and ideas; that is the philosophy of the First Amendment; and it is this article of faith that sets us apart from most nations in the world.” —William O. Douglas (1898-1980)

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Our Mission

1) Support private property rights.

2) Support multiple use management of federal lands for agriculture, livestock grazing, mining, oil and gas production, recreation, timber harvesting and water development activities.

3) Support a balance of environmental responsibility and economic benefit for all Americans by urging that environmental policy be based on good science and sound economic principles.


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People for the West – Tucson, Inc.

PO Box 86868

Tucson, AZ 85754-6868


Jonathan DuHamel, President & Editor

Dr. John Forrester, Vice President

Lonni Lees, Associate Editor


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