Monday, September 13, 2010

Tuesday Roundup

Back after a few days of hiatus, driven mostly by really, really slow news days (or at least news being focused elsewhere), it's your daily roundup.  

First, thanks to everyone who's followed our page on Facebook.  We're now at 100!  It took us just over 5 weeks to get to the century mark.  How quickly can we get 200?  If you like what we're doing, recommend us to your friends. 

I'll start with the quirky story, and save the controversy for the finish. 

Dekalb County, Georgia, is suing a resident for growing too many crops on his property, apparently against county zoning regulations.  From the story, it sounds like he's got quite the variety of crops, and does quite well for himself and his neighbors.  Unfortunately, the proverbial overzealous regulator (I like to think of the bad guy in the first Ghostbusters movie), combined with the tightening of government budgets everywhere due to the economy, resulted in his being highlighted as someone they could probably get some fines off of.

Corn harvest is moving along.  Brownfield Ag News reports that 13% of Indiana's crop is already in the bins, and moving along.  Meanwhile, the Nebraska Corn Board has compiled pictures and reports from FFA students across the state, depicting the trends toward harvest in the Cornhusker State. 

Finally, once again, water is for fighting.  Only this time, in the Land of Enchantment.  The New Mexico Environment Department filed a petition to designate 1,450 miles of waterways, 29 lakes and about 6,000 acres of wetlands in federal wilderness areas as "Outstanding Natural Resource Waters."  The New Mexico Cattle Growers Association filed for a restraining order to prevent the designation of that land until more information could be gathered.  However, the State Supreme Court rescinded that order, and it looks as though designation hearings will go on apace.  The fight isn't over yet, as the petition will now be heard Water Quality Control Commission. 

According to the AP story, the only two areas currently under the "outstanding natural resource waters" designation, the Rio Santa Barbara and streams in the Valle Vidal area.  A quick review of the Google and a little local knowledge make me tend to agree with those to designations, at least on the surface.  Both areas are high-mountain watersheds in the Sangre de Cristo range, and probably do little but make good camping areas and then get that water somewhere else more useful.  There's no information on where all of the areas listed in the new petition are, so I can't comment on that one, although there are bound to be more than a few that might infringe on grazing lands (despite claims from the Environment Department that grazing will be unaffected).  It's also not exactly clear whether all of the land is contained within "federal wilderness areas," or if that just refers to the location of the wetlands.  More to follow, to be sure. 

Whether it's grazing in federal wilderness areas, or farming and ranching on lease land around on military-owned land around a military range like Pinon Canyon or elsewhere, it's going to be an incredibly touchy subject.  After all, peoples' livelihoods are at stake, however not only do they not have property rights, but the land is owned by the folks who make the rules, run the courts, have bottomless pockets, and always have eminent domain to fall back on.  Sometimes, it seems land is for fighting, too. 

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