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Policy Update Week of March 28, 2011


  1. The Society of American Foresters, The Nature Conservancy and the National Alliance of Forest Owners comment on the Environmental Protection Agency's New Source Performance Standards Proposal

    To read the testimony click here: http://www.eforester.org/fp/policy.cfm

  2. SAF Encourages Attendance and/or Participation at the Forest Service Planning Rule Regional Roundtables

    The Forest Service is hosting national and regional roundtables to provide public discussion on the Proposed Forest Service Land and Resource Management Planning Rule. SAF encourages the attendance and/or participation of our members to provide input from the forestry profession. To find out information on Regional Roundtables, the published Planning Rule in the Office ofFederal Register, meetings agendas, questions and answers and more, link to the Forest Service Planning Rule website

    The dates for the regional roundtable can be found here.

In the Administration

  1. Departments of Agriculture and Interior Improve Wildland Fire Management
      USDA Forest Service News Release, March 28th

    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) released two documents to address the wildland fire management challenges across America -- A National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy (Cohesive Strategy) and The Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act of 2009- Report to Congress. Together, these documents provide the framework for a three-phase, strategic effort to restore and maintain resilient landscapes, create fire-adapted communities, and respond to wildfires. The effort has been overseen by the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC), an intergovernmental body of federal, state, tribal and municipal stakeholders. To read more of this article link to: http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2011/releases/03/wildfire-management.shtml

  2. USDA Leads the Way on Green Buildings, Use of Wood Products
      USDA News Release, March 30th

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today USDA's strategy to promote the use of wood as a green building material. At an event this evening to launch the International Year of the Forest, Secretary Vilsack will lay out a three-part plan addressing the Forest Service's and USDA's current green building practices.

    "Wood has a vital role to play in meeting the growing demand for green building materials. Forest Service studies show that wood compares favorably to competing materials," said Vilsack. To read more of this article click here.

This Week in Congress

  1. Daylight? New Start in Budget Talks
      Politico, Published by David Rogers, March 30th

    With time running out, House and Senate Appropriations Committee staff were to begin meeting Wednesday for the first time to craft a final six month budget bill, the final contours of which are still being negotiated by the White House and Speaker John Boehner. "We're going to start talking with the Senate to see if we can find some good common ground," House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers told POLITICO. To read more of this article link to: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/52232.html#ixzz1I7Lw0xTO

  2. March 30th -The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public works held a full committee hearing on Oversight joint hearing entitled, "GSA: Opportunities to Cut Costs, Improve Energy Performance, and Eliminate Waste."

    To visit the committee website click here: http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Home.Home

  3. March 30th - The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing on Improving the Nation's Response to Catastrophic Disasters: How to Minimize Costs and Streamline our Emergency Management Programs.

    To visit the committee website click here:http://transportation.house.gov/hearings/hearingdetail.aspx?NewsID=1193

National News

  1. Uncertain Future for Joshua Trees in US Southwest Projected With Climate Change
      Science Daily, March 25th

    Temperature increases resulting from climate change in the Southwest will likely eliminate Joshua trees from 90 percent of their current range in 60 to 90 years, according to a new study led by U.S. Geological Survey ecologist Ken Cole. The research team used models of future climate, an analysis of the climatic tolerances of the species in its current range, and the fossil record to project the future distribution of Joshua trees. The study concludes that the species could be restricted to the northernmost portion of its current range as early as the end of this century. To read more of this article link to: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110324153656.htm

  2. Lack of Sawmills an Issue for Forests
      The Spokesman Review, Published by Becky Kramer, March 25th

    Bark beetles have ravaged hundreds of thousands of acres of Colorado's forests, yet that state has only one large sawmill left to bid on federal timber sales. That's a problem for the Forest Service, which is depending on the timber industry to thin stands of unhealthy, crowded trees across the Rocky Mountain West, a top U.S. Department of Agriculture official said Thursday. "The Forest Service is going to have to pay someone to do it, if they can't sell that timber," said Robert Bonnie, a senior advisor to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. To read more of this article link to: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2011/mar/25/lack-of-sawmills-an-issue-for-forests/

  3. AF&PA Announces Continuing Commitment to Sustainability through Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 Sustainability Goals Most Extensive and Quantifiable of Any Manufacturing Industry in the U.S.
      AF&PA News Release, March 29th

    The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) announcedBetter Practices, Better Planet 2020, the most extensive and quantifiable set of sustainability goals for any major manufacturing industry in the U.S. Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 is a set of five specific, challenging sustainability goals for the forest products industry. These goals are designed to build on the industry's record of sustainability leadership, and include a transparent reporting process for holding the industry accountable for achieving them. To read more of this article link to: http://www.afandpa.org/pressreleases.aspx?id=1915

  4. USDA Secretary Vilsack To Announce New Initiative At Celebrate Forests! Event
      International Year of Forests 2011, March 29th

    Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, key members of Congress including Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), and a consortium of top officials from America's leading forest and conservation organizations, will join together to highlight the importance of America's forests during a special celebration and reception here in Washington, D.C. At the event, Secretary Vilsack will make an important announcement about a new USDA initiative that will help generate new jobs and promote rural economies. To read more of this article link to: http://www.celebrateforests.com/newsroom/campaign-news/usda-secretary-vilsack-announce-new-initiative-celebrate-forests-event

In the States: California, Oregon and Montana

  1. Renewable-Energy Bill Passed by Legislature
      The San Francisco Chronicle, Published by David Baker, March 30th

    The sun, the wind and other sources of renewable power would supply one-third of California's electricity by the end of 2020 under a bill that finally cleared the Legislature on Tuesday after years of false starts. The bill would give California one of the nation's most aggressive policies for increasing the use of renewable power at a time when comprehensive federal energy legislation has been stalled in Washington. State Sen. Joe Simitian, who wrote the bill, cast it as a way of boosting California's clean-energy industry, which has continued to grow in recent years despite the recession. To read more of this article link to: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/03/30/MN4L1IM38G.DTL

  2. Oregon Targets Untapped Biomass Potential
      Sustainable Business Oregon, Published by Andy Giegerich, March 28th

    While it's still very early in his term, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber appears to be keeping his campaign pledges to nurture Oregon's biomass energy development sector. Kitzhaber spoke often during the campaign about the state's opportunities to develop and expand woody biomass markets, particularly in the near term. Biomass refers to the organic matter in trees, agricultural crops and other living plant material that can be converted into energy. To read more of this article link to: http://sustainablebusinessoregon.com/articles/2011/03/oregon-targets-untapped-biomass.html

  3. Survey Shows Pine Beetle Infestation in Montana Forests Might be Declining
      The Missoulian, Published by Rob Chaney, March 29th

    New aerial maps show Montana's forests still suffer from mountain pine beetle infestations, but the scourge might be lessening. The 2010 survey of 23 million acres shows about 2.1 million acres have the bright red trees indicating a current beetle attack. That's down from the 3.6 million acres observed in 2009, according to U.S. Forest Service pathologist Gregg DeNitto.

    But the change may not be all good news. "There could be several factors involved," DeNitto said Monday. "In many areas, they're running out of susceptible trees. But to a lesser extent, the cool damp spring and summer of last year really slowed down expression of symptoms and the fading of crowns." To read more of this article link to: http://missoulian.com/news/local/article_e27f5be2-59bf-11e0-bdf5-001cc4c002e0.html

Last Week in Congress

  1. The U.S. House of Representative was in recess until March 29th.

  2. The U.S. Senate was in recess until March 28th.

Wildfire Update

  1. Wake Up Call Sounded For Dire Wildfire Season
      The Coloradoan, Published by Bobby Magill, March 24th

    Conditions are so dry and Northern Colorado has seen so little precipitation during the past six months that Fort Collins, the plains east of the city and the foothills of Larimer County are at least as vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire as the region was in 2002, one of Colorado's most horrific wildfire fire years in recent memory. "We believe the wake-up call is here," U.S. Forest Service Regional Forester Rick Cables said Thursday during a press briefing on the current wildfire danger. "I'm praying for a couple feet of snow on the Front Range." To read more of this article link to: http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20110324/UPDATES01/110324014

  2. Schwartz Asks Congressional Delegation to Push for More Federal Firefighting Funds
      The Colorado Independent, Published by David Williams, March 25th

    The foothills and flatlands of Colorado's Front Range in and around Denver have so far only seen about a third of the average snowfall typical for this time of year, making March - normally one of the wettest months - an unusually active time for wildfires.Whipped by brutally high winds the last several days, fires have broken out in Douglas County, southeast of Denver, and in Jefferson County to the west. And while firefighting crews were getting the upper hand on both the Burning Tree Fire and the Indian Gulch Fire heading into the weekend, area residents and local lawmakers are still very nervous. To read more of this article link to: http://coloradoindependent.com/80924/schwartz-asks-congressional-delegation-to-push-for-more-federal-firefighting-funds

About the Policy Update:

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