Policy Update Week of April 18, 2011
In the Administration
- EPA Publishes National U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory
EPA Press Release, April 16th
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the 16th annual U.S. greenhouse gas inventory. The final report shows overall emissions during 2009 decreased by 6.1 percent from the previous year. This downward trend was attributed to a decrease in fuel and electricity consumption across all U.S. economic sectors.
Total emissions of the six main greenhouse gases in 2009 were equivalent to 6,633 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. To read more of this article link to:
This Week in Congress
- The U.S. Senate is in Recess until May 2nd.
- The U.S. House of Representatives is in Recess until May 2nd.
- American Forests Can Store More Carbon Emissions Than Previously Thought
The Oregonian, Published by Eric Mortensen, April 14th
A research project headed by an Oregon State University professor showed American forests can absorb up to 40 percent of the nation's fossil fuel carbon emissions -- much more than previously thought.
The findings demonstrate the role U.S. ecosystems play in slowing down the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the researchers concluded in the study. It provides one of the most accurate assessments to date of the nation's carbon balance, according to an OSU news release. To read more of this article link to:
- Supreme Court Signals It Will Toss out Global-Warming Lawsuit
The Los Angeles Times, Published by David Savage, April 19th
The Supreme Court justices indicated Tuesday they would throw out a huge global-warming lawsuit brought by six states against coal-fired power plants in the South and Midwest. And they will do so with the support of the Obama administration.
Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal urged the justices to end the lawsuit, insisting the problem of global warming and greenhouse gases is too big and unwieldy for a single judge to handle. It is a regulatory problem for the Environmental Protection Agency, he said. To read more of this article link to:
In the States: Alaska, Montana, Colorado and Michigan
- U.S. Forest Service Tries New Stand on Old-Growth Trees
Arizona Daily Sun, Published by Kim Murphy of the L.A. Times, April 17th
A few years ago, the U.S. Forest Service was getting ready to open up several large stands of old-growth trees here on Kupreanof Island in an attempt to sustain southeast Alaska's beleaguered timber industry.The target was up to 70 million board feet of timber. Much of it would be plucked from remote, roadless forests. Even getting to the trees was going to mean building 25 miles of roads at a cost of more than $6 million. To read more of this article link to: http://www.azdailysun.com/business/article_c4216a0d-047c-55f0-8c3f-6007cc129894.html
- Pine Beetle Epidemic and Wildfire Risk Will be Topic of Helena Public Forums
Forest Business Network, April 17th
The relationship between the mountain pine beetle epidemic and wildfires will be discussed during two sessions geared toward the general public on May 4 in Helena.What to do about dead trees has been vigorously debated ever since large numbers of beetles began eating their way through the Rocky Mountains about a decade ago. Some argue about when the wildfire risk is greatest - whether it's when the standing dead trees look red due to their needles; or after the tree's needles fall and they turn gray; when the trees fall; or if it even increases the risk. Part of the debate involves long-term implications related to fuel loading and future fire behavior. To read more of this article link to: http://www.forestbusinessnetwork.com/1741/pine-beetle-epidemic-and-wildfire-risk-will-be-topic-of-helena-public-forums/
- Udall Continues Fight for Bark-Beetle Mitigation Funding
The Sky-Hi Daily News, Senator Mark Udall, April 15th
If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? How about an entire forest?
Every spring and summer, the bark beetle epidemic in Colorado's forests takes on added dimensions. Rather than the green and gold we've used as backdrops to family portraits and souvenir postcards, receding snows reveal new swaths of rust-red forest that have succumbed to bark beetles.
Colorado is ground zero for the bark beetle epidemic, which has left millions of acres of dead and dying trees across our state and the mountain west. To read more of this article link to:
- Michigan State University Gets $2.9 Million for Biofuel Research
The Lansing State Journal, Published by Melissa Domsic, April 21st
Michigan State University has received $2.9 million in federal grants for biofuel research. The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded five-year grants for three projects focusing on various aspects of producing biofuels, which use renewable plant materials instead of petroleum. To read more of this article link to:
Last Week in Congress
- Congress Passes 2011 Spending Plan
USA Today, Published by Gregory Korte, April 14th
Republican House Speaker John Boehner needed help from the Democrats to pass a budget compromise Thursday, keeping the government open and honoring a deal worked out with Senate Democrats and President Obama last week. Fifty-nine House Republicans voted against the spending plan, which cuts $38 billion compared to last year's budget. It took 81 Democrats voting yes to pass it. The final vote was 260 to 167.
The spending bill went immediately to the Senate, which passed it with no debate, 81-19. Of the no votes, 15 were Republicans. To read more of this article link to: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011-04-15-congress-passes-2011-spending-bill-.htm?csp=34news
- April 12th - Representative Walter Herger [R-CA2] introduced H.R. 1484: To address the public health and safety threat presented by the risk of catastrophic wildfire on Federal forestlands by requiring the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to expedite forest management projects relating to hazardous fuels reduction, forest restoration, forest health, and watershed restoration.
To read more about this bill link to: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-1485
- April 14th - The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies held a hearing that discussed the USFS and BLM budget for the upcoming year.
To read testimony from this hearing link to: http://appropriations.house.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Detail&HearingId=45&Month=4&Year=2011
- April 15th - Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA22) introduced H.R. 1581: To release wilderness study areas administered by the Bureau of Land Management that are not suitable for wilderness designation from continued management as defacto wilderness areas and to release inventoried roadless areas within the National Forest System that are not recommended for wilderness designation from the land use restrictions of the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Final Rule and the 2005 State Petitions for Inventoried Roadless Area Management Final Rule, and for other purposes.
To read more about this bill link to: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-1581
- Fires Scorch More Than 1M Acres of Texas, Burn Hundreds of Homes
The New York Times, Published by Dina Fine Maron of GreenWire, April 21st
More than 1 million acres of Texas plains and forests has gone up in smoke this month as hundreds of fires blazed through the Lone Star State.
Gusting winds, statewide drought and low humidity have created tinderbox conditions that state and federal firefighters are still struggling to contain. Lacking a forecast of steady downpours to cool the scorching earth, the Texas Forest Service is expecting the fire conditions to continue wreaking havoc throughout the state. To read more of this article link to: http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/04/21/21climatewire-fires-scorch-more-than-1m-acres-of-texas-bur-40542.html
- Three Million Trees to be Planted in Station Fire Burn Area
The Los Angeles Times, Published by Louis Sahagun, April 15th
Almost two years after the Station fire scorched 161,000 acres of the Angeles National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service has embarked on a large-scale reforestation project that may re-engineer the region's historical pine and fir woodlands.
The project to be unveiled Friday aims to plant 3 million pine and fir trees over 10,000 acres scarred by the fire in an attempt to restore the area and offset greenhouse-gas emissions from a refinery in El Segundo. To read more of this article link to: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/15/local/la-me-station-fire-20110415
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