US outlines implications of withdrawing land from oil drilling
ALBUQUERQUE — The U.S. Department of the Interior’s plan to derive hundreds of square miles of New Mexico from oil and gas production for the next 20 years is expected to result in just a few dozen wells being off-state on federal land around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park be drilled on an Environmental Impact Assessment released November 10th.
The disengagement plan was first outlined in 2021 by Home Secretary Deb Haaland in response to concerns from Native American tribes in New Mexico and Arizona that development in much of northwestern New Mexico was running unchecked and tribal officials had no seat on The Table.
In addition to the proposed withdrawal, Haaland — who hails from Laguna Pueblo and is the first Native American to head a Cabinet authority — also committed to taking a broader look at how federal lands across the region can be better managed while considering environmental impacts and cultural preservation
Indigenous leaders and environmental groups reiterated that the broader view would be a more meaningful step toward permanent protection of cultural resources in the San Juan Basin.
The Bureau of Land Management, based on 2018 data, has estimated that fewer than 100 new oil and gas wells are likely to be drilled in the retreat over the next 20 years. It is estimated that less than half of those likely would not be drilled if withdrawal were permitted.
With only a few dozen wells expected in the area, natural gas production for the area would fall by half of 1% and oil production by 2.5%.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a World Heritage Site, is considered the center of what was once a center of indigenous civilization, with many tribes from the Southwest tracing their roots to the high desert outpost.
The judge’s decision places restrictions on the state’s Civil Guard
ALBUQUERQUE — The New Mexico Civil Guard has been prevented from posing publicly as a military unit or assuming the role of law enforcement without authorization by using organized violence at public protests or gatherings.
The Albuquerque Journal reported Oct. 18 that District Judge Elaine Lujan has also banned such activities by directors, officers, agents, employees, members and all of their successor organizations and members.
Lujan granted a request from Bernalillo District Attorney Raúl Torrez, who told the Journal that the decision “fundamentally represents a victory for the rule of law … We are trying to prevent violent extremism.”
One lawsuit alleged that members of the New Mexico Civil Guard violated state law by performing or attempting to perform the functions of a peace officer without authorization and by organizing and operating as a military unit without being called up for military service by the governor his diary.
The governor has the exclusive power under the state constitution to call on the militia to keep the public peace, the newspaper reported.
Voters approve of tuition fees at state colleges for non-citizens
PHOENIX — Arizona voters have approved an initiative to extend cheaper tuition at state colleges to some noncitizen students, cheering supporters who hope the measure’s passage on Nov. 14 will help spur broader immigration reform to put in Congress.
The Associated Press declared the race for Proposition 308 after the latest round of voting releases gave him a lead large enough for the AP to determine he couldn’t lose. Arizona joins at least 18 other states, including California and Virginia, in offering in-state tuition to all students who otherwise qualify regardless of immigration status.
The measure was put to a vote by the Arizona Legislature and reverses some parts of an earlier initiative that banned state education for non-citizens. It allows all students, regardless of immigration status, to pay state college rates as long as they attend Arizona High School for two years and graduate.
Advocates say tens of thousands of prospective non-citizen students who have lived in Arizona for years could potentially benefit from the offer in a state where an estimated 275,000 undocumented migrants reside.
The measure will allow qualifying non-citizen students to pay current state undergraduate tuition of $10,978 per academic year at Arizona state universities. Those universities don’t have a special rate for non-citizens brought to the United States as children, but officials say more than 300 students currently pay a non-resident rate for Arizona high school graduates that’s 150% of the state’s cost .
Adult education students will also benefit.
The vote marks a reversal since 2006, when Arizona voters rode a widespread wave of anti-immigrant sentiment to deny students who entered the United States without permits from receiving tuition and other financial benefits, even if they did spent most of their lives here.
Judge orders arrest of neo-Nazi website founder
MISSOULA — A federal judge on Nov. 9 ordered the arrest of a neo-Nazi website publisher accused of ignoring a $14 million judgment against him for orchestrating an anti-Semitic harassment campaign against the family of a Montana woman would have.
US District Judge Dana Christensen issued an arrest warrant for Andrew Anglin, founder and operator of The Daily Stormer website.
Attorneys for Montana real estate agent Tanya Gersh said Anglin did not pay any part of the August 2019 judgment and ignored her requests for information about his whereabouts, website operation and other assets.
Gersh says anonymous internet trolls bombarded her family with hateful and threatening messages after Anglin released her personal information, including a photo of her young son. In a series of posts, Anglin accused Gersh and other Jewish residents of Whitefish, Montana of involvement in an “extortion racket” against the mother of white nationalist Richard Spencer.
Gersh’s April 2017 lawsuit charged Anglin with invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of the Montana Anti-Intimidation Act. An attorney for Gersh did not immediately respond to a phone message Wednesday asking for comment.
Judge Christensen ordered Anglin to pay Gersh over $4 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.
The winner of the national beard contest wants to start a local club
A Casper resident took home first place in a national beard and mustache contest on Nov. 12 — and had so much fun he’s planning to start a local beard club.
The National Beard and Mustache Championships were held at the Ford Wyoming Center with approximately 50 different competitive events.
Cory “Grizz” Stovall entered the natural full beard category from 6 to 12 inches. As the name suggests, the aim of this category is for each participant to show their beard as it is, without styling aids such as gel or mousse.
Stovall appeared show-ready on Saturday, with a brushed and oiled beard, dressed in a blue button-down, vest, cowboy hat and a tag identifying him as contestant No. 24.
Although the Ford Wyoming Center also hosted Casper’s annual Booze & Bacon Festival that day, Stovall needed to keep his beard tidy. He ate nothing and drank only water.
Having never entered a facial hair contest before, he was shocked to realize “how family-like this group of people is,” he said.
Now that Stovall has brought home a win for Casper, he wants to start a beard club locally.
The goal is to send a group of people to represent the city at the next championships, he said – and to embrace other facial hair enthusiasts in the area as the national community embraced him.
US sues for lack of conservation plan for rare grouse