Policy Update Week of February 21, 2011
- Forest Policy Presentations Needed for 2011 SAF National Convention
The SAF Committee on Forest Policy is sponsoring a "Forest Policy" track at this year's SAF National Convention. We are looking for presentations that address some aspect of US or international forest policy. The Forest Policy track is designed for presentations based on policy or program analysis. We are seeking presentations that analyze (rather than simply describe) the: 1) implementation of an existing government program, 2) impact of legislative or administrative policy initiatives, or 3) design of policies or programs. Ideally, these presentations should be based on qualitative or quantitative data analyses. Presentation information and submission guidelines are available at http://www.safnet.org/natcon11/presenters/index.cfm.
In the Administration
- White House Preparing for Shutdown if Deal Can't be Reached
The Hill, Published by Peter Schroeder, February 22nd
With the first government shutdown in 15 years looming as a real possibility, the White House, no matter what it says, will need to prepare. The Obama administration has been adamant that a shutdown can be avoided and that a deal can still be reached. Congressional lawmakers are still haggling over passing a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the government beyond March 4, when the current CR expires. To read more of this article link to: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/145617-white-house-will-need-to-prepare-for-shutdown
- EPA: Improving Our Regulations Through Periodic Retrospective Review
EPA is beginning a new periodic retrospective review of our existing significant regulations to determine whether any such regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed, so as to make the Agency's regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives.
We want you to help us design the plan we will use to periodically review our regulations. For example, you may wish to suggest that we focus our review based upon the impacts of our rules (Offer Your Ideas by Issue or Impact). We have provided a non-exhaustive list of issues or impacts to help you formulate your ideas, but do not intend to restrict the issues that you may wish to address. Or you may wish to suggest that we evaluate our rules by subject matter, or program area (Offer Your Ideas by Program Area). Or you may have other, general suggestions as to factors we should consider, and the process we should use, to set priorities in selecting rules for review (Offer General Ideas). To read more click here: http://www.epa.gov/improvingregulations/
- EPA Establishes Clean Air Act Standards for Boilers and Incinerators /
Sensible Standards Provide Significant Public Health Benefits While Cutting Costs From Initial Proposal by Nearly 50 Percent
EPA Press Release, February 23rd
In response to federal court orders requiring the issuance of final standards, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing final Clean Air Act standards for boilers and certain incinerators that achieve significant public health protections through reductions in toxic air emissions, including mercury and soot, but cut the cost of implementation by about 50 percent from an earlier proposal issued last year.
Mercury, soot, lead and other harmful pollutants released by boilers and incinerators can lead to developmental disabilities in children, as well as cancer, heart disease, aggravated asthma and premature death in Americans. These standards will avoid between 2,600-6,600 premature deaths, prevent 4,100 heart attacks and avert 42,000 asthma attacks per year in 2014. To read more of this article link to: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/06DDFF3ABFB133D585257840005E6406
- USDA Funds Climate Research on Agricultural and Forest Production
Sustainable Business, February 22nd
The US Department of Agriculture announced three major scientific investments to study the effects of climate change on agriculture and forest production. The Coordinated Agriculture Projects (CAP) fall under USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). A research team led by Dr. Tim Martin, of the University of Florida, will receive $20 million over five years to study climate change mitigation and adaptation as it relates to southern pines, particularly loblolly pine, which comprises 80% of the planted forestland in the Southeast. To read more of this article link to: http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/21925
Last Week in Congress
- February 17th - The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry met from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM in 328A regarding "Agriculture: Growing America's Economy." To visit the committee website click here: http://ag.senate.gov/site/index.html
- February 16th - The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met toreceive testimony on the U.S. Department of Energy's budget for fiscal year 2012.
To view the archived web cast of the meeting click here: http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=b8eafdb0-f664-c9a5-2171-41d23fe504ee
- House Votes to Cut Budget of EPA Greenhouse-Gas Registry
The Wall Street Journal, Published by Corey Boles, February 16th
House lawmakers voted Wednesday evening to drastically reduce the budget of an Environmental Protection Agency program that collects data on greenhouse-gas emissions from U.S. companies, as part of Republicans' continuing push to reduce the regulatory reach of the agency. Lawmakers successfully reduced funding for the program to $3.2 million from its current funding levels of $16 million. The vote came as an amendment to spending legislation to fund the federal government through the remaining months of fiscal 2011. To read more of this article link to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704171004576148931339675092.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
- NM's Bingaman Becomes 3rd Dem. Senator to Retire
The Associated Press, February 18th
U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman shook hands of those congratulating him on his years of service, he turned to the crowd and said: "Sure seems like a wake in here, doesn't it?"
The 67-year-old Democrat announced Friday that he would retire after the end of his current term, which ends in two years. The decision was the latest in a string of departures to hit congressional Democrats as they head to the 2012 elections.
The party holds a 53-47 majority, including two independents who side with them. But they must defend 21 of the 33 seats on the ballot next year, and face a struggle to retain control. To read more of this article link to: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gbJjuRtjt2x7r2YSw7GwLViEJIhw?docId=ba6e11e146634483be5d67fcf3a2d308
This Week in Congress
- The U.S. Senate is in Recess until February 28th.
- The U.S. House of Representatives has a Constituent Work Week February 21st- February 25th.
- Warming is Altering Anatomy of Forests
The Denver Post, Published by David Frey
Global warming is reshaping forests throughout Colorado and across the West, scientists and public-land managers agreed at a symposium Friday, leaving foresters at pains to deal with a landscape that could look very different in the future.While some still debate whether the changing climate is due to human-caused pollution, they said climate scientists agree the Earth is heating up, and dying aspen, spruce, piñon and other trees are fingerprints of a warmup.
"The climate is changing," said Forest Service ecologist Linda Joyce, speaking at "Forests at Risk: Climate Change & the Future of the American West." To read more of this article link to: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_17428133
- White House Report Parries Attacks on 'Clean Energy Standard'
The Hill, Published by Ben Geman, February 23rd
A White House economic report unveiled Wednesday seeks to rebut GOP claims that President Obama's energy proposals amount to "picking winners and losers" among energy technologies and are too costly.
The energy chapter of the annual Economic Report of the President touts Obama's proposed "clean energy standard" (CES) that would require utilities to supply increasing amounts of power from low-carbon sources. To read more of this article link to: http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/145809-white-house-report-parries-attacks-on-clean-energy-standard
In the States: Arizona
- Old Adversaries Sign Forest Pact
Arizona Daily Sun, February 24th
On paper, they are all starting on the same page. Now comes the hard part: finding the money and implementing one of the most ambitious forest restoration plans in the country. More than 20 organizations -- some of them past legal adversaries -- signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday in Flagstaff with the U.S. Forest Service for the restoration of 1.5 million acres across four forests: Coconino, Kaibab, Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto. The sheer size of the project had signatories grasping for superlatives. To read more of this article link to: http://www.azdailysun.com/news/local/state-and-regional/article_0722f3de-1150-5d2b-ab63-076a12809850.html
- Wildfires Hit More Than 4,000 Acres; Burned 45 Homes, Buildings
Richmond Times-Dispatch, Published by Rex Springsten, February 21st
To read more about the wildfires link to: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2011/feb/21/26/saturday-fires-worst-50-years-va-official-says-ar-856909/
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