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Policy Update Week of January 3, 2011

In the Administration

  1. USDA Forest Service Invests in Rural Communities
      USDA Press Office, January 3rd

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that more than $389 million is being distributed to 41 states and Puerto Rico for public schools and roads and specific county programs.

    "The annual revenue sharing payments are part of the Department of Agriculture's long-standing commitment to rural communities, schools and American youth," said Vilsack. To read more of this article click here:

  2. EPA Ordered to Wait on Taking Over Texas' Greenhouse Gas Permitting
      The News York Times, Published by Gabriel Nelson of Greenwire, January 3rd

    U.S. EPA's plan to sidestep state officials and oversee climate rules in Texas has been temporarily blocked by a federal court, making the Lone Star State the only place where businesses cannot apply for greenhouse gas permits that the Obama administration now requires.

    The first federal regulations on carbon dioxide took effect yesterday after more than a year of political wrangling, ordering emissions cuts from cars, light trucks and the largest new industrial plants. To read more of this article link to: http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/01/03/03greenwire-epa-ordered-to-wait-on-taking-over-texas-green-48760.html

  3. US Forest Service Report Spotlights at-risk Species on Private Lands
      USFS Press Office, January 6th

    The U.S. Forest Service recently published Threats to At-Risk Species in America's Private Forests,a report emphasizing how increased housing density near and on private forests is threatening habitat for plants and animals already at risk of decline or extinction.

    "Over half of America's forests are privately owned and are under pressure from housing development, pests, diseases and fire," said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "Future development is likely to result in a decrease of private forest habitat for many at-risk species. This report will be a valuable tool for conservationists to assist in planning future developments and identifying at-risk species." To read more link to: http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2011/releases/01/private-lands.shtml

Last Week in Congress

  1. Congress was not in session.

This Week in Congress

  1. 112th Congress Sworn In.

  2. Lucas Elected as Chair of House Agriculture Committee
      Wisconsin Ag Connection, January 7th

    As expected, Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma was formally elected by his colleagues as the new chairman of the House Agriculture Committee for the 112th Congress. To read more of this article link to: http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-national.php?Id=42&yr=2011

National News

  1. Sen. Tester to Reintroduce Forest Bill, Seek More Support
      The Missoulian, Published by Rob Chaney, January 3rd

    Sen. Jon Tester plans to reintroduce his Forest Jobs and Recreation Act this year with no changes, but hopes to bring more Montanans to its support.

    "The work doesn't get done on the far left and it doesn't get done on the far right," Tester said during a meeting with the Missoulian editorial board on Monday. "It gets done in the middle. If you look at the folks opposing this bill, they're the extremes. Quite frankly, extremists are extremists and I don't really care. If they're willing to become less ideologues and more realists, then come on board." To read more of this article link to: http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_92008e86-17be-11e0-b1d0-001cc4c002e0.html

  2. Trees Enlisted in Carbon Control
      Coloradoan, Published by Bobby Magill, January 2nd

    Researchers at the U.S. Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins are taking a look at how managing forests to promote carbon sequestration might help put a damper on climate change.

    All those trees in the mountains absorb carbon in the air originating from vehicle tail pipes, which means the more trees there are in the woods, the more vehicle carbon emissions are trapped in the forest without contributing to climate change, said Tom Crow, manager of the Forest and Woodlands Ecosystem Pro-gram at the Rocky Mountain Research Station. To read more of this article link to: http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20110102/NEWS01/101020322/Trees-enlisted-in-carbon-control-

  3. California Adopts Landmark Cap-and-Trade
      Natural Resource Report, Published by Allison Smith, December 31st

    After a marathon 10-hour public hearing, the California Air Resources Board voted 9-to-1 to adopt the state's landmark Cap-and-Trade Program. My colleague, Lee Smith, and I spent the day at the packed California EPA auditorium, monitoring the hearing. Over 150 people strode up to the podium to give testimony during the public comment period, spanning the gambit from staunch environmentalists, to climate change skeptics, environmental justice advocates, and many, many a representative of soon-to-be regulated industries and businesses. To read more of this article link to: http://naturalresourcereport.com/2010/12/california-adopts-landmark-cap-and-trade/

  4. BCAP: New and (Maybe) Improved
      Biomass Power & Thermal, Published by Anna Austin, January 5th

    Critics of USDA's Biomass Crop Assistance Program, a federal program designed to jump-start the use of biomass for bioenergy production, caught the attention of USDA officials when they questioned whether certain woody biomass should be included as eligible material in the program. To read more of this article link to: http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/5208/bcap-new-and-maybe-improved/

In the States: Utah

  1. 'Wild Lands' Policy Stokes Flames of Dissent in Utah County
      The New York Times, Published by Scott Streater of Greenwire, January 6th

    The Interior Department's decision to extend the highest level of protection to millions of acres of pristine federal land across the West has sparked howls of protests from Republican lawmakers and shouts of praise among environmentalists.

    But Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's Dec. 22, 2010, executive order to protect wide swaths of federal land with "wilderness characteristics" may be most acutely felt in northeast Utah's Uintah County, which has fought tooth and nail against what it perceives as the Interior Department's heavy hand with respect to public lands management. To read more of this article link to: http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/01/06/06greenwire-wild-lands-policy-stokes-flames-of-dissent-in-92049.html

Wildfire Update

  1. Season Set to Scorch Central Florida
      WOFL FOX 35, Published by Steve Gehlbach, January 3rd

    The 2011 wildfire season started well before the new year. Around 13,000 acres of brush are still smoldering in a remote conservation area near Palm Bay in Brevard County.

    Firefighters with the Division of Forestry and Brevard County say they are ready for a busy time of year. To read more of this article link to: http://www.myfoxorlando.com/dpp/news/brevard_news/wildfire-season-set-to-scorch-central-florida-

Additional Information:

. The SAF National Office serves as the voice of professional forestry through its active role in several forestry, natural resources, and agricultural groups and coalitions…

25 x '25 (www.25x25.org) - SAF is a proud member of 25 x '25 and currently sits on its Sustainability Working Group. The goal of 25 x '25 is to have 25% of our energy needs being fulfilled by renewable resources from our nation's farms, ranches, forests, and other lands by 2025.

Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases
(www.continentalforestdialogue.org) - SAF sits on the organization's Steering Committee and assists in its mission of "cultivating and catalyzing collaborative action among diverse interests to abate the threat to North American forests from non-native insects and diseases." The 4th meeting summary of the Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases is now available online at: http://www.continentalforestdialogue.org/documents/meetings/2008-11/index.html

Additional groups in which SAF plays a role include:

Core Group of the Roundtable on Sustainable Forests"

Forest Carbon Education Group. The FCEG's Guidance Document on Managed Forests in Climate Change policy can be viewed on the SAF Policy Webpage:

Wildland Fire Leadership Council

Western Governors' Association Forest Health Advisory Committee

About the Policy Update:

Disclaimer: The Society of American Foresters does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the news items and/or links to additional information that appear in the Policy Update.

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