April 24, 2017

WOLVES – How Much? How Long?

By James Beers:

I receive many requests to “write something” or “support” some federal wolf legislative proposal or some State fish and wildlife Budget Request for a “special” appropriation to “manage” wolves that are killing livestock.  I regret to say that, like other requests to get behind a “special” federal regulation modification to “return wolf management” to certain states; I more often than not spend my time on other things that I believe to be more useful.

Why do I not actively support such “important” and “necessary” government actions?  Let me count the ways.

  1. As long as the Endangered Species Act remains on the books, all of these things are like a hologram in one of those Star Wars movies; that is to say merely illusions controlled from some far off location.  They can be made dormant when convenient and activated immediately when opportune to bureaucrats and their “partners”.
  2. As we hum like busy bees over the need for more dollars for the state guys and gals that put the wolves in our midst and that look away as they spread and multiply killing livestock and dogs and big game while lying to us about the wolves and when pinned to the wall whine that their “Plan” (dictated, approved and overseen by federal bureaucrats) is all they can go by.
  3. Federal bureaucrats, utilizing federal law and the regulations they (the bureaucrats) write and modify with pro-wolf non-government organizations) to constantly “push and probe” the American public like ISIS terrorists as to how to keep the states “in line” with federal goals as the wolves spread and multiply from valley to plain and state to state.
  4. State and federal wildlife bureaucrats that were once (decades ago) the most highly respected bureaucrats in government have come to be known as liars (the right word) and connivers that, without hesitation or reluctance, ignore legislative review mandates and public input, use groundless figures like puppet-government bureaucrats in an occupied country, and operate and enlarge a lawless shadow government for their own benefit utilizing clandestine NGO “partners” with more lawless hidden agendas than the American Communist Party or the latest Moslem lobbying organization.
  5. I have come to view all those things I admit to not supporting as simply delay and distraction tactics by bureaucrats, politicians and NGO’s that are destroying rural America and the national rule of law.

As I write this, March 2016, the bureaucrats are all being “so nice” and “listening to our “needs”.  Why?  Because there is a Presidential election underway and all those wildlife bureaucrats and their political hacks appointed to run them know where this gravy train is buttered.  They all want a President, Congress, Supreme Court, State Legislature and Governor of either Party that will “support” “sound conservation biology”.  “Sound conservation biology’’ is translated as “bigger budgets”, “more land ownership and control”, “more bureaucrats”, “more government authority and jurisdiction”, and any other things the bureaucrats want that will get and keep votes for the politicians in power.  Thus, bureaucrats will “push and probe” (see 1 through 5 above) in ways that get those politicians most in the bureaucrat’s pockets (yes they are just like lobbyists) elected and reelected.

There are two kinds of politicians that bureaucrats do not want to see elected: one they can live with and one they despise.  They can live with the “can’t we all just get along” politicians.  Those guys will just leave everything (see 1 through 5 above) in place and occasionally throw crumbs like a new Wilderness or Marine Sanctuary to urban voters or suburban women, or support the latest “management return” to a State (under conditions of an “approved” Plan and with the clear bureaucrat understanding that it can all be reclaimed with a lawsuit or regulatory maneuver by federal bureaucrats when opportune in the future).  An example of this was President GW Bush keeping a politician (in charge of the +/-$60 Million missing from the Pittman Robertson Excise Taxes for state agencies’ wildlife programs to introduce wolves in the mid 1990’s into the Upper Rocky Mountain States) in a non-job until the his Party came back into power and made him Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  Like so many other transformative Progressive actions, they push and push relentlessly until there appears to be a developing pushback (today?) and then we are all supposed to sing Kumbaya around the fire and let it all stay in place until they seize total power again (like 2009-2010) at which time they resume right where they left off with a vengeance.

The politician the bureaucrats despise the most though is the one that comes in saying and actually intending to amend unjust laws, reduce government and reorient federal intrusions into state and local authorities and jurisdictions.  I saw this first-hand when Ronald Reagan was elected and while he served two terms.  I had been working for the federal government for over a decade by then.  I was in Washington when President Reagan was elected and when he left.  Those were the days (1970’s-1990’s) when the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, BLM and other federal natural resource/land-owning bureaucracies were beginning to marginalize wildlife-managers/foresters/range managers and hiring, promoting and transferring anti-resource management employees with growing minority and female employees largely under EEO Preferences for which bonuses were paid and accepting political appointees with more and more of those anti-management, pro-environmental-sanctification values and agendas.  The result is what we deal with today. The nasty and hateful things commonly said about President Reagan and his appointees (i.e. the “menacing” Manny Lujan, the “dangerous” Jim Watt, et al) in bureaucratic privacy were both stunning and appalling.  The bureaucrat’s propaganda machine did everything it could to make him look stupid and his appointees to look like morons.  It never let up and it was disgraceful to say the least.  Ask yourselves Mr. & Mrs. America, how is any reform even possible without a strong confrontation?

So you ask, what has all this to do with “Wolves”?  What do you mean by “How Much?” by “How Long?”

Never forget or doubt that the Defenders of Wildlife, HSUS, Animal Welfare Institute, Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, Wildlife Federation, NRDC, Center for Biological Diversity, PETA, et al agree that the end game is no hunting, no trapping, no animal management, no animal control, no animal ownership, no animal use, no animal commerce and no unregulated activity by any citizen even remotely involved with any wild or domestic animal.  These groups have annual get-togethers with state and federal bureaucrats, they lobby federal and state politicians and they serve as an employee-pool for federal and state agencies.  They work with and serve as a bookend for federal and state wildlife agencies when paired with the increasingly get-along hunting/fishing/ranching/land owner Non-Government Organizations originally formed to advocate for their namesakes (Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, American Cattlemen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, et al).  These latter have, like many accuse the Republican “Establishment” in Washington of becoming, evolved into “get-along partners” with the very bureaucracies and Non-Government bureaucracies they were founded to either support or oppose.  Add in the big sporting goods businesses (selling smuggled – no Excise Tax – Chinese fishing tackle, supporting federal “Invasive Species Authority while displaying pheasants and brown trout on the walls of their stores, etc.) and you have plenty of blame to go around.

But, the big 800# gorilla in the room described in the foregoing paragraph is which ones (or one), take your time here, would really fight to keep the federal animal control function when (not if) all of the above dandies advocate or go AWOL when Wildlife Services is finally dumped into the bureaucratic junkyard or moved and renamed the Office of Interpretive Human Management or some such concoction?  That is going to happen.

Wildlife Services was the first federal foray into federal wildlife authority and jurisdiction way back in the 19th century.  Wildlife Services has had many names and up until the environmental Armageddon in the 1970’s many USFWS Managers came from the Wildlife Services workforce.  The Avant Garde, Nouveau employees and political appointees of the 1990’s led the charge to abolish Wildlife Services but powerful advocates came to its defense and everyone cheered when the despised Wildlife Services was transferred from USFWS to the USDA under President Clinton.  Make no mistake there are increasingly powerful bureaucrat and NGO forces that will cut funding to and move to abolish the Wildlife Services under the next tyrannical reign (like Roman Emperors’ changes often were) and opportunity.

So, the question is, “How Long will Wildlife Services be around to:

–       Act as a placebo (i.e. “kill a wolf when 2 / 3 whatever ‘verified’ livestock losses take place) while wolves are continuing to spread?

–       Verify, “Yes it was wolves” or “no it was dogs” honestly?

–       Be the only state-wide or national data point for dog losses to wolves?

–       Be the only state-wide or national data point for what is REALLY happening to big game animals due to predation by wolves?

–       Be the only entity capable of actually catching/capturing/trapping/snaring/ etc. offending wolves quickly and efficiently?

–       Be the one remaining entity with a few employees willing and able to kill offending dangerous and destructive animals?

–       Be the only remaining government entity recognizing the destructiveness of both wild and domestic animals and the need to be equipped to take concrete and effective action.

–       Be the only repository of government employees that (while in the field and away from political-hack handlers) can advise and describe wolf problems and solutions to American citizens.

The point being, when Wildlife Services is gone or converted into some sort of environmental seminary for new employees, HOW WILL OR WHO WILL CONTROL WOLVES AND THEIR DESTRUCTION?  The federal and most state governments are committed to not let the “management by the state”, or faux concern for predation, or eased control for rural residents go on long.  That may be when the wolves are irreversible (perhaps in another 4 or 5 states) or when numbers in the settled landscapes of The Lower 48 states are in the tens of thousands and the next arrogant President and “his” or “her” Congress takes control and Wildlife Services is teaching macramé; will any of us look back and say (or will out kids and grandkids say?), “how stupid were we (they) to think that there would be:

–       Eternal wolf-counting to monitor adherence to “plans”?

–       Never-ending selective wolf control based on actual damages?

–       Obligatory government protection of rural property and rural lives from government wolves?

–       Ever any management of wolf damage and destruction levels or wolf densities by the bureaucrats and politicians that put the wolves there.

–       Government wolf control in a world of no rural rights to control any animals that was always a lie that once realized it is too late to ever put the wolves back in the bottle or punish the liars that profited and are long gone to some gated-golf community in a sunny climate.

The second question is, “How Much State and Federal Tax Dollars is all this, and Future, Wolf Bay-Sitting Going to Take?”

 

Take Washington State’s latest maneuver to hire a “conflict specialist” or Oregon’s request for more money to control wolves depredating on livestock: where does such money come from?

–       When fewer folks buy hunting licenses because of lack of game and human safety concerns, wildlife program funding declines.

–       When government gun control and ammunition bans make purchases more difficult, more expensive and (except for self-protection) gun sales decrease; Excise Tax Revenue from the sale of Arms and Ammunition for state wildlife programs decreases.

–       Hunting License Revenue and Excise Tax Revenue are the two major sources of funding for state wildlife programs.

–       Baby-sitting wolves (counting, researching, enforcing, public relations, hearings, investigating depredations, etc.) not only comes (from the federal government) with NO FUNDING OF ANY PERMANENCE, IT ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTES TO THE DECLINE OF ALL WILDLIFE PROGRAM FUNDING!  Why it’s enough to make you a “black helicopter conspiracy” guy. Who could let this happen?  Why doesn’t someone say something?

–       So with a federal government +/-$20 Trillion in debt and state governments wondering where their next year’s tax revenue will come from, does anyone in rural America really believe that there will be money from either the state or federal politicians to do all this predation “verification”/compensation-payment/control of offending animals/public relations/censussing/federal compliance/etc. wolf babysitting ad infinitum?

Yeah, the New England environmental voters will support keeping ranching and big game hunting safe from wolves Out West with federal dollars. Federal and State bureaucrats will request budget increases to “study” alternatives like contracting it out to Defenders of Wildlife like wolf compensation was farmed out when wolves were first dumped and forced into states that were too “nice” to object. The Seattle/Portland/San Francisco/Los Angeles voters will enthusiastically vote eternal big ticket state funding to minimize cattle depredation, big game losses and rural dog deaths from wolves in rural parts of their states.  Just like I am sure Minneapolis and Milwaukee voters will gladly spring for more and more millions every year to bring back Minnesota moose or Wisconsin elk being eliminated by wolves.  Especially when the ONLY REAL ANSWER is killing 70% of the wolves every year for a decade and then killing the amount required annually to keep them at about 25% of current numbers or (in a just world) exterminating them from Counties that do not want wolves and then KEEPING them extinct in such environs.  Heck, I’d bet that Chicago voters and Philadelphia/New York voters would be the first ones to step up to the plate to save the state wildlife agencies of other states if they were asked to do so with federal funds.  Who can believe any of this?

We are just like those passengers on the Titanic, so secure in our belief that we and our vessel are indestructible that we ignore the iceberg before us while rearranging the deck chairs.

Jim Beers

30 March 2016

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others.  Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. 

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.net

Changing the ESA by POLICY Circumventing Legislative Process

MEMORANDUM
FROM: KAREN BUDD-FALEN
BUDD-FALEN LAW OFFICES, LLC
DATE: MARCH 15, 2016
RE: MAJOR REGULATORY EXPANSION OF ESA LISTING AND
CRITICAL HABITAT DESIGNATIONS

While private property owners were vehemently protesting the EPA’s expansion of jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA-Fisheries (collectively “FWS”) were bit-by-bit expanding the federal government’s overreach on private property rights and federal grazing
permits through the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). This expansion is embodied in the release of four separate final rules and two final policies that the FWS admits will result in listing more species and expanding designated critical habitat.

In order to understand the expansiveness of the new policies and regulations, a short discussion of the previous regulations may help. Prior to the Obama changes, a species was listed as threatened or endangered based upon the “best scientific and commercial data available.”1 With regard to species that are potentially threatened or endangered “throughout a significant portion of its range” but not ALL of the species’ range, only those species within that “significant portion of the range” are listed, not all species throughout the entire range.

1 This discussion only includes requirements to which there have
been changes in the last four years.

Once the listing was completed, the FWS is mandated to designate critical habitat. Critical habitat is generally habitat upon which the species depends for survival. Importantly critical habitat can include both private and/or federal land and water. Critical habitat is to be based upon the “best scientific and commercial data available” and is to include the “primary constituent elements” (“PCEs”) for the species. PCEs are the elements the species needs for breeding, feeding and sheltering. Final critical habitat
designations are to be published with legal descriptions so that private landowners would know whether their private property or water was within or outside designated boundaries. Critical habitat designations are also made with consideration of the economic impacts. Under the ESA, although the FWS cannot consider the economic impacts of listing a species, all other economic impacts are to be considered when designating critical habitat, and if the economic impacts in an area are too great, the area could be excluded as critical habitat as long as the exclusion did not cause extinction of the species.

With regard to the critical habitat designation itself, critical habitat determinations were made in two stages. First, the FWS considers the currently occupied habitat and determine if that habitat (1) contains the PCEs for the species and (2) is sufficient for protection of the species. Second, the FWS looks at the unoccupied habitat for the species and makes the same determinations, i.e., (1) whether areas of unoccupied habitat contain the necessary PCEs and (2) if including this additional land or water as critical
habitat was necessary for protection of the species. The FWS then considers whether the economic costs of including some of the areas are so high, that the areas should be excluded from the critical habitat designation. In simplest terms, the FWS would weigh or balance the benefits of designation of certain
areas of critical habitat against the regulatory burdens and economic costs of designation, and could exclude discreet areas from a critical habitat designation so long as exclusion did not cause species extinction. This was called the “exclusion analysis.”

Starting with a new 2012 rule and extending to the 2015 rules and policy, those considerations have all changed, and in fact the FWS has admitted that the new rules will result in more land and water being included in critical habitat designations. The first major change is the inclusion of “the principals of conservation biology” as part of the “best scientific and commercial data available.” Conservation biology was not created until the 1980s and has been described by some scientists as “agenda-driven” or “goaloriented” biology. See Final Rule, Implementing Changes to the Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat, February 11, 2016.

Second, the new Obama policy has changed regarding a listing species “throughout a significant portion of its range.” Now rather than listing species within the range where the problem lies, all species throughout the entire range will be listed as threatened or endangered. See Final Policy, Interpretation of the Phrase “Significant Portion of its Range,” July 1, 2014.

Third, based upon the principals of conservation biology, including indirect or circumstantial information, critical habitat designations will be greatly expanded. Under the new regulations, the FWS will initially consider designation of both occupied and unoccupied habitat, including habitat with POTENTIAL PCEs. In other words, not only is the FWS considering habitat that is or may be used by the species, the FWS will consider habitat that may develop PCEs sometime in the future. There is no time limit on when such
future development of PCEs will occur, or what types of events have to occur so that the habitat will develop PCEs. The FWS will then look outside occupied and unoccupied habitat to decide if the habitat will develop PCEs in the future and should be designated as critical habitat now. The FWS has determined that critical habitat can include temporary or periodic habitat, ephemeral habitat, potential habitat and migratory habitat, even if that habitat is currently unusable by the species. See Final Rule, Implementing Changes to Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat, February 11, 2016.

Fourth the FWS has also determined that it will no longer publish the text or legal descriptions or GIS coordinates for critical habitat, rather it will only publish maps of the critical habitat designation. Given the small size of the Federal Register, I do not think this will adequately notify landowners whether their private property is included or excluded from a critical habitat designation. See Final Rule, “Revised Implementing Regulations for Requirements to Publish Textual Description of Boundaries of Critical Habitat,” May 1, 2012.

Fifth, the FWS has significantly limited what economic impacts are considered as part of the critical habitat designation. According to a Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, although the economic impacts are not to be considered as part of the listing process, once a species was listed, if the FWS could not determine whether the economic impact came from listing OR critical habitat, the cost should be included in the economic analysis. In other words, only those costs that were solely based on listing were excluded from the economic analysis. In contrast, the Ninth Circuit Court took the opposite view
and determined that only economic costs that were SOLELY attributable to critical habitat designations were to be included. Rather than requesting the U.S. Supreme Court make a consistent ruling among the courts, the FWS simply recognized this circuit split for almost 15 years. However, on August 28, 2013, the FWS issued a final rule that determined that the Ninth Circuit Court was “correct,” and regulatorily determined that ONLY economic costs attributable SOLELY to the critical habitat designation would be analyzed. This rule substantially reduces the determination of the cost of critical habitat designation because the FWS can claim that almost all costs are based on the listing of the species because if not for the listing, there would be no need for critical habitat. See Final Rule, Revisions to the Regulations for Impact Analysis of Critical Habitat, August 28, 2013.

Sixth, the FWS has determined that while completing the economic analysis is mandatory, the consideration of whether habitat should be excluded based on economic considerations is discretionary. In other words, under the new policy, the FWS is no longer required to consider whether areas should be
excluded from critical habitat designation based upon economic costs and burdens. See Final Policy Regarding Implementation of Section 4(b)(2) of the Endangered Species Act, February 11, 2016.

The problem with these new rules is what it means if private property (or federal lands) are designated as critical habitat or the designated habitat only has the potential to develop PCEs. Even if the species is not present in the designated critical habitat, a “take” of a species can occur throug “adverse modification of critical habitat.” For private land, that may include stopping stream diversions because the water is needed in downstream critical habitat for a fish species, or that haying practices (such as cutting of invasive species to protect hay fields) are stopped because it will prevent the area from developing PCEs in the future that may support a species. It could include stopping someone from putting on fertilizer or doing other crop management on a farm field because of a concern with runoff into downstream designated habitat. Designation of an area as critical habitat (even if that area does not contain PCEs now) will absolutely require more federal permitting (i.e. section 7 consultation) for things like crop plans, or conservation plans or anything else requiring a federal permit. In fact, one of the new regulations issued by Obama concludes that “adverse modification of critical habitat” can include “alteration of the quantity or quality” of habitat that precludes or “significantly delays” the capacity of the habitat to develop PCEs over time. See Final Rule, “Definition of Destruction or Adverse Modification of Critical Habitat,” February 11, 2016.

While the agriculture community raised a huge alarm over the “waters of the U.S.,” the FWS was quietly implementing these new rules, in a piecemeal manner, without a lot of fanfare. Honestly I think these new habitat rules will have as great or greater impact on the private lands and federal land permits as does the Ditch Rule and I would hope that the outcry from the agriculture community, private property advocates, and our Congressional delegations would be as great.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Vaccines

Perhaps the best line in this video is when a woman says that when Government has the power to force anybody to do something they don’t want to do, THEY HAVE TOO MUCH POWER!

Builders flood Congress to block Obama’s EPA rules for creeks

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to put under federal oversight any pond or stream that has a “significant nexus” to a navigable waterway, even if the smaller body of water flows just a few weeks a year. Opponents fear it could mean permission would be needed to even dig a small ditch or build a road.

Source: Builders flood Congress to block Obama’s EPA rules for creeks – Personal Liberty

Taking Away Government Overreach, Then Giving it Back

It makes little sense, to me anyway. A friend of mine I have often heard state, that many people don’t understand that they are supporting people and agendas that oppose the things they think they are fighting for. I’m not sure that there is a technical term placed on this sort of behavior, but I might call it blind ignorance. It has been said many times over that you can’t do much about stupidity but ignorance can be cured. I believe you can do something about ignorance but you have to remove the blinders and find a willing participant.

An example of this sort of misunderstand reasoning I found today when I read an article in the Morning Sentinel, a small newspaper of central Maine. The article was written by George Smith, a writer and political activist. He was once the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

Smith has for a long time been an advocate for teaming up with environmentalists, yes, those groups that want to put an end to hunting, trapping and fishing, and finding ways of funding the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). His belief is that it should come from general taxation and or other forms of taxation besides the tax revenue collected now from license fees, etc., along with excise tax reimbursements from Pittman-Robertson and Dingell Johnson monies reallocated back to the states from the Federal Government.

The MDIFW always pleads poverty and Smith has been a shill for the department’s pleas.

In his article, Smith states that:

In the December 1954 Sportsmen’s Guide, Commissioner Roland Cobb outlined the desperate financial situation of his Department of Fisheries and Game.

Whoa is me! Smith says for 59 years the MDIFW has been broke. One could reasonably ask if that were true, how did it manage to survive for 59 years? I have heard the argument that because there is “never enough money” it is the reason for everything bad, at least that which is perceived as bad by some, that is found associated with fish and wildlife in Maine. Smith goes to task to name some of those. You can follow the link and read about them.

But is lack of money really the problem, at least as it is described by Smith?

But what I really want to draw readers attention to is the statement the author makes about this funding issue which reveals the lack of understanding that exists in supporting agencies and agendas that are not your friend.

In 1992, Maine voters endorsed a constitutional amendment that placed this department in our Constitution and protected its revenue — essentially stopping the Legislature and governor from stealing its money. I managed that referendum campaign. Almost a half-million voters (74 percent) endorsed the amendment, a stunning statement of support for this agency. (emboldening added)

For some reason Smith believes this act, a good one that keeps the governor and legislature from stealing sportsman’s money, was a go ahead to have general taxation pay for fish and wildlife. If it is so important to keep these people’s hands out of fish and wildlife money, why then do we want to turn around and give back to them the power to take over how the department is run? For surely once general tax dollars are funneled into the fish and wildlife department coffers, so too will the environmentalists and animal rights groups be demanding seats at the table to dictate how things are run. Trust me when I say these groups and individuals have a history of destroying fishing, hunting and trapping opportunities and heritage.

The problem isn’t necessarily that MDIFW is underfunded. Smith pines for the good ole days when Maine, he says, made all the lists of favorite places to hunt and fish. So what’s changed? The biggest thing that has changed during that time is that the fish and game department became a fisheries and wildlife department spending more time and effort on non game programs, much due to the pressures from environmentalist and animal rights groups. When you take the funds away from game management, what do you think will happen to game management?

And so Smith’s suggestion is to throw more money, including money from other taxable programs, at MDIFW and hope it sticks and returns things to the days he perceived as being good. Isn’t taking money from the arm of government you worked hard at protecting yourself from kind of like defeating the purpose?

Instead of finding ways to fund all the non game programs and putting control of fish and game in the hands of those whose bent is to end consumptive game management, why not give the environmentalists the non game programs and tell them to go find their own funding?

Internet Spying Disguised as Animal Welfare

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=32bd1af59684e333790b21abc656ca0b&tab=core&_cview=0

———————
Excerpt:

PART I – STATEMENT OF WORK
Internet Data Monitoring

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Animal Care (AC), Riverdale, MD, has a requirement for a contractor to provide internet surveillance/data mining for individuals that are conducting Animal Welfare Act or Horse Protection Act regulated activities domestically within the United States.

A. BACKGROUND
Animal Care is charged with enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Horse Protection Act (HPA). The AWA requires that basic standards of care and treatment be provided for regulated animals for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially, or exhibited to the public. Individuals who operate facilities in these categories must provide their animals with adequate care and treatment in the areas of housing, handling, sanitation, nutrition, water, veterinary care, and protection from extreme weather and temperatures.

The HPA prohibits horses subjected to a practice called soring from participating in shows, sales, exhibitions, or auctions. Soring is a cruel and abusive practice used to accentuate a horse’s gait. It may be accomplished by irritating or blistering a horse’s forelegs through the application of chemicals such as mustard oil or the use of mechanical devices. The HPA also prohibits drivers from transporting sored horses to or from any of these events. APHIS works actively with the horse industry to protect against such abuse and ensure that only sound and healthy horses participate in shows.

USDA, APHIS, Animal Care personnel need to monitor, collect and manage information from Internet sites for regulated activities throughout the United States. We require the expertise of an industry that utilizes technological advancements that can search the broad universe of Internet sources for information on individuals that are conducting regulated activities.

This project is to be designed to evaluate vendor’s Internet Search Engine functionalities, user interface, and data to ensure that the data meets the Animal Care program needs. The results of the 6 month initial pilot project will determine the feasibility of extending the contract.

B. OBJECTIVES

The vendor shall create modules that shall monitor regulated activities. The module shall provide identification, categorization and analysis of Web sites to identify persons suspected of conducting regulated activities without the required license or registration or illegal activities involving horse shows, sales, exhibitions, or auctions. The jurisdiction of the AWA and HPA are confined to the United States and its territories, so these modules shall only search for these criteria that occur in the United States.
The regulated activities to monitor are grouped into the following seven modules:

1) Sales of animals used as pets (all warm blooded animals)

2) Sales of wild and exotic animals

3) Animals exhibited to the public for compensation

4) Animals used for research, teaching, testing, and experimentation

5) Commercial transportation of animals

6) Horse shows, sales, exhibitions, and auctions (such as Tennessee Walking Horses)

7) Animal auctions

During the initial 6 months period of this contract, the vendor shall monitor two of the predetermined modules above, Sales of animal used as pets; and Horse shows, sales, exhibitions and auctions. After evaluation of the services provided, subsequent modules may be added contingent upon the success of the pilot project, not to exceed the modules listed above. For each module, the contractor shall work with Animal Care personnel to identify the search parameters needed to accomplish each of the modules above.

C. CONTRACTOR TASKS AND DELIVERABLES

Project Management: The Contractor shall assign a Project Manager for this initiative to oversee the development of the project, ensure the timely accomplishment of each task and provide the Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR) with a contractor point of contact for this contract.

A. Tasks

The tasks to be accomplished shall include:

1) During the initial 6 months pilot project period of this contract, the contractor shall focus on individuals or businesses engaged in the Sale of Animals Used as Pets; and Horse shows, sales, exhibitions, and auctions.

2) The contractor shall use their data mining and search engine capabilities to scan the entire Internet for businesses or individuals suspected of conducting AWA or HPA regulated activities without the required license or registration or illegal activities involving horse shows, sales, exhibitions, or auctions within the domestic United States and its territories. THE SCAN SHALL BE VIA INTERNET WEB TECHNOLOGY SEARCH ENGINE TOOLS, NOT A HUMAN BEING. The Internet sources include, but are not limited to:

* Global Domain Registrations

* World Wide Web

* Social Networking Web Sites

* Web logs (Blogs)

* IRC/Chat conversations

* Message Boards

* Public email groups and discussion forums

* Usenet Data

* Auctions – eBay.com and Yahoo.com Auctions

3) The Contractor shall collaborate with AC personnel to establish the appropriate search criteria for the identifying individuals or businesses engaged in the Sale of Animals Used as Pets; and Horse shows, sales, exhibitions, and auctions. The contractor shall promptly notify AC if there are any complications with the established search criteria.

4) The Contractor shall meet with AC officials to discuss search criterion in person, by telephone conference call or webinar. No travel costs for contractors are covered under this contract.

5) The Contractor shall make search data from the Sale of Animals Used as Pets; and Horse shows, sales, exhibitions, and auctions modules accessible online to the government via a Web Portal Display. The portal is made up of the following components:

* Dashboard to monitor activity across multiple solutions and users
* Case management system
* Message center
* Permissions-based user access
* Ad-hoc query access to client-specific data
* Ad-hoc query access to Vendor’s database of registered Domain Names

6) Contractor Intelligence Analysts shall review the pool of suspected data items generated by the Internet search tool to identify relevant data from the Internet. Contractor Intelligence Analysts shall summarize the findings as well as highlight the highest priority data according to agreed-upon criteria. The summary shall be delivered monthly via email and to the case management system of the Web Portal Display.

7) The Web Portal Display system shall be fully configured within fifteen (15) business days from receipt of the required Government’s data. The first data from the module shall be available to the Government within thirty days (30) from system configuration.

8.) The Contractor shall provide training on Web Portal Display system for reviewing of reports or search results to the COTR or alternate and AC personnel. Sessions shall be conducted via webinar.

9) Contractor shall provide a “help desk” option, where assistance can be found if questions arise from the reports or search results.

The Ag Minute: EPA’s Sue & Settle Strategy Makes for Bad Agriculture Policy

*Editor’s Note* The following is a press release sent out by the House Committee on Agriculture, chaired by Frank D. Lucas. I would like to point out that although this release and the information contained in it, seems directed mostly to problems with agriculture regulation and the Environmental Protection Agency, this calling of the Obama Administration’s “Sue and Settle Strategy” is very widespread and reaches every aspect of Americans’ lives.

WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Tom Rooney discusses the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) growing trend of developing public policy as the result of lawsuit settlements. This defective method of putting in place regulations that circumvent the public rulemaking process can negatively impact the agriculture community. Rep. Rooney highlights one such example with the proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) Reporting Rule.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.

“It seems agriculture can’t catch a break from the Obama administration’s regulatory overreach.
“The latest example has the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considering a new mandate that could compromise the safety and security of America’s livestock operations.

“The proposed mandate would require all Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, to submit to the EPA a long list of proprietary information regardless of whether or not they discharge manure. This information would be made public. If you don’t comply you would face fines up to $37,500 per day.

“The problem with this proposed mandate is two-fold:

“First, livestock producers are concerned the new regulation not only violates their privacy, but also poses significant security risks. Making extensive information public could put their families and operations in peril.

“Second, this mandate is part of an ongoing and alarming trend within the EPA where policy is increasingly being developed as the result of lawsuit settlements and not the rule of law.

“This particular proposed regulation was the result of a settlement with environmental groups, so the farmers and the ranchers that will be affected by this mandate had no say in this development.

“Using lawsuit settlements to create policy is an underhanded way of changing the rules on our farmers and ranchers without their voice and consideration.”

The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas’s weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.