Ninkasi presents for your viewing pleasure:
Ninkasi presents for your viewing pleasure:
A big ruling for the Western Environmental Law Center: WELC, which has offices in Eugene, succesfully argued the that the Bureau of Land Mangement can't keep secret the names of corporations that want to lease public lands to drill for oil and gas. “Every community has the right to know what corporations are seeking to drill on public lands near their homes and where they recreate,” WELC attorney Kyle Tisde said. The press release is below.
Federal Agency Ordered to Reveal Identity of Corporations Seeking to Lease Public Lands for Oil & Gas Drilling
Court reverses BLM policy of keeping the nominators’ identity secret until after the lease sale
February 14, 2013
DENVER - A federal court ruled yesterday that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) policy and practice of keeping secret from the public the identity of entities nominating public lands for oil and gas development is unlawful.
The precedent setting ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in June 2012 by the non-profit organizations Citizens for a Healthy Community (CHC) and the Western Environmental Law Center (WELC). The groups filed the suit after the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) refused to reveal names of the entities that had nominated 30,000 acres of public lands in Colorado’s North Fork Valley for oil and gas drilling.
“Every community has the right to know what corporations are seeking to drill on public lands near their homes and where they recreate,” said WELC attorney Kyle Tisdel. “The Court’s decision is a clear rebuke of BLM’s policy to protect industry at the expense of the public and its ability to fully engage the agency’s decisionmaking process.”
Federal oil and gas leases are issued pursuant to competitive bidding at a public sale, which is the final step in a process that starts with the submission of an expression of interest (EOI). Until now, BLM policy has allowed the identity of EOI submitters to remain secret until after the lease sale – depriving the public from participating in BLM’s oil and gas drilling decision-making on a fully informed basis.
U.S. District Court Senior Judge Richard P. Matsch rejected the government’s contention that revealing the names of the nominators would give their competitors an unfair advantage and emphasized that the identity of the nominators is important information for citizens concerned about potential contamination of their water and air during the oil and gas extraction process.
“That contention runs directly contrary to the purpose of the public sale process. Competition in bidding advances the purpose of getting a fair price for a lease of publicly owned minerals,” Judge Matsch wrote. “Moreover, the identity of the submitter may be relevant to the plaintiff and others who may raise concerns about the stewardship records of that potential owner, a factor relevant to the environmental impact of the proposed sale.”
“This is a victory for everyone who believes the government should do its business in the open, and for everyone trying to protect their community from the severe impacts of oil and gas drilling,” said Jim Ramey, director of CHC. “The public has a right to know who nominated these leases, and we look forward to receiving that information from the BLM.”
The BLM announced in December 2011 that 30,000 acres of public lands in the North Fork Valley had been nominated for oil and gas leasing and development. The nominated parcels were included in the BLM’s August 2012 oil and gas lease sale; however, due to overwhelming public opposition spearheaded by CHC and WELC, BLM has twice deferred the lease of these parcels, most recently on February 6, 2013.
Western Colorado’s North Fork Valley is home to the largest concentration of organic farms in the Rocky Mountain West, and also home to West Elks American Viticultural Area’a 12 wineries. The region’s still growing sustainable local economy had been threatened by the nominated BLM leases.
Read a copy of the ruling here: http://www.westernlaw.org/sites/default/files/FOIA_Order.pdf
Springfield City Councilor Dave Ralston, who caused controversy in 2006 when he made comments about Hispanic people trying to take over the U.S. Southwest and again in 2011 when he said ignorant things about Centro LatinoAmericano, was arrested around 2:30 am Sunday, Feb. 10, and charged with DUII for driving under the influence of alcohol and another unidentified substance.
Ralston told the RG that his blood-alcohol content was "well under" the legal limit, and he accused the Springfield police of entrapment for following him out of the Whiskey River Ranch parking lot. Ralston has served as the Springfield City Council's Ward 4 councilor since 2000.
Despite extensive objections from Oregon's vegetable seed growers who fear canola, aka rapeseed, will contaminate their crops, the Oregon Department of Agriculture has approved "some canola production in the Willamette Valley." The press release is below.
ODA adopts Willamette Valley canola control area rule
February 7, 2013... The Oregon Department of Agriculture has adopted an administrative rule that allows for some canola production in the Willamette Valley while continuing to protect specialty seed crop production. Under the rule, a majority of specialty seed production remains in a rapeseed exclusion zone in which canola is not allowed to be grown.
“Following the extensive amount of public comments received, we have made modifications to what was proposed in order to give greater assurance that our specialty seed growers in the Willamette Valley are not harmed by canola production,” says ODA Director Katy Coba. “At the same time, we feel it’s important to give some producers an opportunity to grow canola under the restrictions and safeguards put in place by this rule.”
The administrative rule establishes the Willamette Valley protected district, which includes portions of Lane, Linn, Benton, Marion, Polk, Clackamas, Yamhill, Washington, Multnomah, and Columbia counties. The protected district will have two zones. The first is a fully protected zone of more than 1.9 million acres that prohibits the growing of canola and contains the highest concentration of specialty seed growers in the valley. The second zone of about 1.7 million acres, located outside the exclusion zone, allows the growing of canola but production is limited to a maximum annual total of 2,500 acres. Producers desiring to grow canola are required to apply for a contract with ODA that contains specific requirements for managing the crop. The rule also establishes a minimum field size of 25 acres for canola.
In general, ODA’s rule limits how much canola can be grown in the Willamette Valley, where it can be grown, and requires significant management practices for production by controlling inadvertent spread of canola seed. It is important to note that the cap of 2,500 acres is a small fraction– just 0.13 percent– of the approximately 1.9 million acres of farmable land in the valley.
The rule and its new boundaries go into effect immediately. ODA will award contracts for canola planting by September 1 of each year for requests received before July 15. Each contract will describe the responsibilities and obligations of the producer.
For more information, go to http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/Pages/canola.aspx
Local biologist and adventurer Dave Metz will be speaking at 7 pm Tuesday, Feb. 12, at REI. He lives in Cottage Grove. The Medford Mail Tribune did a story on him recently.
This Valentine's Day show at the Jazz Station is likely to sell out soon. See Jazz Station for online ticket sales.
Four and half year old Fela Colbert has gone missing, and her father, Steve, is desperately trying to find out what happened. Colbert says when he went to pick Fela up from her mother, Deanna Lane, at the end of January at their weekly exchange location — the Eugene downtown public library — neither Fela nor her mother was there.
Colbert says he and Lane have joint parenting of Fela, but her mother has sole custody. Colbert says that in Oregon parents can get joint custody only if both parents agree to it. If one parent objects, the courts don't give joint custody.
Colbert says the fact that Fela's mother has custody has made it difficult for him to get help from law enforcement in tracking his daughter down. He says he is worried not just about his daughter, but about Lane. When he went to their house to find them, he says the landlord told him Lane had walked away with just a suitcase and left all her other belongings behind. She told the landlord she was moving because she felt threatened. Colbert says it's not just that his daughter is missing, with her mother gone too, it's a "missing persons problem."
"It's a child, " he says, "If there's a 4 1/2-year-old girl missing, you do everything you can to find her." And he says under the agreements made through the courts, Lane is supposed to give 30 days notice if she moves, and Colbert the same, "even if you are just moving into the house next door."
Colbert says he has filed a report with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and talked to the police. He doesn't know where his daughter is and is frantic to find her.
For more information or to see where report a sighting, go to the Facebook page.
Fela Khepri Colbert
The Lane County Cultural Coalition will host Eugene-Springfield metro area grant-writing workshops for their Cultural Opportunity Grants. A workshop is offered at 10:30 am Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Florence Library. The workshops are done in a small, roundtable formats and cater to individual artists. However, non-profits and for-profit organizations can also apply for these grants, ranging from $500 to $2,500, that "support access, awareness and education for programs and projects related to arts, heritage and humanities."
Grant applications are due by 5 pm Monday, April 15. For grant guidelines, applications and workshop updates, visit laneculture.net.
Mail grant applications to:
Lane County Cultural Coalition
1590 Willamette Street, Suite 200
Eugene, OR 97401
"Au Moulin Rouge" by Toulouse Lautrec, 1895
Need a free social and creative outlet? Every First Wednesday, Corvallis’ Majestic Theatre hosts “Drink & Draw,” a social drawing night with cheap drinks and snacks. The Drawing Board, a local art supply shop, will provide art supplies. Guests are welcome to bring their own art supplies as well. Who knows, a drink may be the only thing standing between you and your next masterpiece. It worked for Toulouse Lautrec. Remember, friends do let friends drink and draw – just make sure friends also have a safe ride home.
“Drink & Draw” nights go 7:30 to 10:30 pm at the Majestic Theatre, 115 SW 2nd St., Corvallis.
Kai the homeless hitchhiker saves a woman by whacking with an hatchet a driver who thinks he's Jesus and has just rammed his car into an electric company worker because the PG&E worker is black.
True story. It happened in Fresno.
"He's like you know what, I've come to realize I'm Jesus Christ and I can do anything I want to."
"I grabbed the hatchet and I was like smash, smash, SMASH."
The PG&E worker is going to be ok; he has a broken leg. The driver is in jail, charged with attempted murder. Not sure where the hitchhiker wound up, but if he makes his way to Eugene (chances are good) then I say someone should buy him a drink.
Local artist Mark Rogers has an uncanny way of painting the mundane in a fantastical and macabre light. His show The New Ending opens tonight at Jameson's tonight - part of the First Friday ArtWalk. Check out EW's Feb. 7 issue for an artist profile.
Trains can be dangerous so be careful. Also, because this disturbingly adorable little warning video out of Australia features a song that will get stuck in your head.
Not to be outdone, the Safety Council of Australia would like you to drive more slowly.
One hell of a concert is slated for the Matt Knight Arena March 4. Headlining is Passion Pit, the indie-rock band whose album Gossamer was on many-a-top-ten list for 2012. Then there's Matt and Kim whose single "Daylight" was one of the songs of the summer in 2009. They also released Lightening in 2012. But there's one more gem on the bill: the the punchy, intoxicatingly fun Icona Pop. The DJ and synthpop duo hails from Sweden and their song "I Love It" was just featured in the Jan. 27 Girls episode "Bad Friend."