Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Talking out both sides of their mouths

An interesting week in Washington.

On one hand, the Equal Access to Justice Act is bad (because it rectifies environmental injustices) and on the other, it's good and should apply more widely (to ranchers). Uh... what?

The first bill, a.k.a. "Destroy the Land by Defunding its Advocates Act" would limit the number of payments any organization can receive under EAJA, because the elected representatives have been led to believe (falsely) that enviro groups are getting rich- Rich! I tell ya!- on attorneys fees granted to citizens when we have to sue the government to make them comply with the law. That's a real headscratcher, we know. But people like Karen Budd-Falen have been making wild and unsupported claims about the pirate booty conservation organizations bring in, and apparently, she's gotten the ear of some congressional representatives. She's also gotten the attention of the Government Accountability Office, who will soon be refuting her claims with actual data. Stay tuned.

The second bill, a.k.a. "We'll Always Find A Way for Rancher Welfare Act" is a special little porky bill designed especially to pay two ranchers in Idaho who had to fight the BLM for their water rights. Because the water rights case was heard in state court, the EAJA didn't apply to them. Luckily, they've got friends in high places who will write special little bills to ensure they get their attorneys fees covered. Must be nice.

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P.S.: If any of you rich environmental attorneys want to buy us a congressperson, do feel free to contact us via email. We'd like to spruce up our legislative wardrobe.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A not-so-recent but postive development in the Macho B case

We were quite relieved that earlier this month the Feds dropped the charges against Janay Brun for her role in the Macho B fiasco.
Criminal charges were dismissed Thursday against whistle-blower Janay Brun in return for her admission that she was involved in an attempt to capture jaguar Macho B without "authorization or permission."

The dismissal of misdemeanor charges alleging violations of the federal Endangered Species Act ends the two-year criminal investigation of Macho B's capture, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said. No charges are planned against anyone else, said spokesman Robbie Sherwood.
Via the intrepid Tony Davis at the AZ Daily Star.

We always felt like Janay was improperly vilified as a way of letting Arizona's Maim and Squish department off the hook, especially compared to the handslap that the lying Emil McCain got. It still makes our bloods boil to think of that guy, especially his imploring, "can't we all just move along" op-ed in the weeks after Macho B was killed. Ick.

Janay: good luck to you. And thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for exposing the web of lies that led to the capture and death of our much-admired jaguar. It helps us all to know what the agencies were enabling.

The shadows of Montana Peak will never be the same.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

There is no "Tragedy of the Commons"

"Tragedy of the Commons" a la Garrett Hardin, is a myth. What we've got is the "Tragedy of Capitalism," which creates the exploitation that Hardin was otherwise spot-on about. People have managed common resources in sustainable ways throughout our history; non-human communities have similarly figured out ways to balance population with resource availability. But the Empire demands exploitation. Let's all get mad at Empire, shall we?

If everyone got mad at once....

[That Wiki page actually does a pretty good job summing up what would have been our key points. Good editing, wikiers!]