Policy Update Week of May 2, 2011
In the Administration
- 1. BCAP Project Area Proposal Deadline Nearing
Biomass Power & Thermal, Published by Anna Austin, April 25th
The USDA Farm Service Agency has issued a notice to remind applicants that the deadline for Biomass Crop Assistance Program project area proposals is in one month.
To be considered, proposals must be submitted to the applicable state office by close of business on May 27. To read more of this article link to: http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/5444/bcap-project-area-proposal-deadline-nearing/
- Science Review of the US Forest Service Draft Environmental Impact Statement for National Forest System Land Management
USFS Press Release
The Forest Service has sought to ground the content of the planning rule in science. During development of the Proposed Rule and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), the Agency solicited the input of both internal and external science experts to ensure that the science behind the proposed rule and environmental analysis is current, relevant, accurate, and appropriately applied. To read more click here:
- US Forest Service to Announce Updated Firefighting Policies Following Station Fire
KPCC, Kitty Felde, April 26th
Two summers ago, the Station Fire killed two firefighters and destroyed more than 200 buildings in the San Gabriel Mountains. On Thursday, federal officials will update a Southland congressman on changes they've made to prevent future firefighting mistakes.
Critics slammed the Forest Service for not deploying airborne firefighting tankers the first day of the Station Fire. The U.S. Agriculture Department accused the Forest Service of focusing on its budget rather than the cost of the fire. To read more of this article link to: http://www.scpr.org/news/2011/04/26/us-forest-service-announce-updated-firefighting-po/
- USFS Comment Period For The Proposed Planning Rule Closes May 16th
The comment period for the proposed planning rule and the draft environmental impact statement comes to a close on May 16, 2011. Comments on the proposed rule and/or DEIS must be received in writing by 11:59pm on May 16
For more information link to: http://www.fs.fed.us/
This Week in Congress
- May 3rd - Representative Mike Ross [D-AR4] Introduced H.R. 1682-American-Made Energy Act of 2011: To promote alternative and renewable fuels and domestic energy production, and for other purposes.
To read more about this bill click here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-1682
- May 3rd - Representative Jared Polis [D-CO2] Introduced H.R. 1701 Eagle and Summit County Wilderness Preservation Act: To designate certain lands in the State of Colorado as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to designate the Red Table Mountain, Pisgah Mountain, Castle Peak, Tenmile, Hoosier Ridge, and Porcupine Gulch Special Management Areas, and for other purposes.
To read more about this bill link to: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-1701
- Wilderness Bills Proliferate as Promoters Hope to Break 2-Year Drought
The New York Times, Published by Phil Taylor of GreenWire, May 3rd
Conservationists are working to build support for more than a dozen wilderness bills introduced in Congress that would provide the highest level of protections to more than 1.5 million acres in seven states.
The bills, two of which were included in a failed last-gasp public lands package last December, represent unfinished business for wilderness supporters who lobbied hard for their passage during the last Congress.To read more of this article link to: http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/05/03/03greenwire-wilderness-bills-proliferate-as-promoters-hope-16290.html
- Thompson's Hearing Offers National Attention for ANF
GantDaily, May 8th
Rep. Glenn 'GT' Thompson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry, has held a public hearing to review the U.S. Forest Service's proposed forest planning rule, which revises the Forest Service's current planning process for its 155 national forests and 20 grasslands. The Forest Service issued the proposed rule on Feb. 14 and the public comment period ends May 16. To read more of this article link to: http://gantdaily.com/2011/05/08/thompson%E2%80%99s-hearing-offers-national-attention-for-anf/
- Forestry Groups Express Continued Concern Over Spotted Owl Plan
PR Newswire, Published by the Washington Forest Protection Association, April 21st
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the opening of a 30-day public comment period limited to a technical appendix to the Northern Spotted Owl Draft Revised Recovery Plan released last fall. Forest landowners and mill owners expressed disappointment at the Service's failure to release other aspects of the current draft plan and skepticism about the time allowed. Further public review is sorely needed in light of the chorus of criticism raised by Members of Congress, the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, the forest products industry, environmental groups and scientific peer reviewers. To read more of this article link to: http://www.bradenton.com/2011/04/21/3134553_p2/forestry-groups-express-continued.html
- The Environmental and Energy Study Institute held a briefing on Developing Sustainable Biomass Supplies: A Step toward Energy, Economic, and Environmental Security.
To read more about this briefing link to: http://www.eesi.org/developing-sustainable-biomass-supplies-step-toward-energy-economic-and-environmental-security-27-ap
- US Timberland Ownership Shifts Have Changed Timber Markets
PR Newswire, April 26th
Private timberland ownership in the United States has changed structure over the past ten years. More than 40 million acres of US timberland have shifted ownership in approximately 600 large transactions since 2000. The global timberland investment community gathered in March at Reynolds Plantation, Georgia, for the Warnell Center for Forest Business (CFB) Timberland Investment Conference 2011 to discuss the current timberland investment climate and challenges ahead.
JacekSiry of the CFB presented "Private Forestland Ownership Change in the US". He summarized findings from his new book US Timberland Markets: 2000 to 2010 which was jointly authored with Tom Harris and Sara Baldwin of Timber Mart-South. To read more of this article link to: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-timberland-ownership-shifts-have-changed-timber-markets-120696169.html
- U.S. Senate to Act on Energy Legislation This Month
Reuters, Published by Tom Dogget and Timothy Gardner, May 3rdThe U.S. Senate may vote on bills this month to promote clean energy and small nuclear reactors, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday. Congress and the White House are under pressure to fight soaring fuel costs, which are cutting into consumer spending and threatening an economic recovery. To read more of this article link to: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/03/usa-congress-energy-idUSN0311844720110503
- Capitalizing on Nature's Benefits: New Incentives for Private Forest Landowners
The Hill, Published by Gerry Gray, May 9th
Private forests are essential to the environment, culture and economy of our country. While traditionally valued primarily for wood products - lumber and paper - these forests also provide numerous public benefits referred to as ecosystem services, such as clean water, carbon sequestration, and wildlife habitat.
More than 420 million acres - about 56 percent of our nation's forests - are privately owned by nearly 11 million landowners. About three-quarters of these private forests are in the Eastern United States. To read more of this article link to: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/energy-a-environment/159947-capitalizing-on-natures-benefits-new-incentives-for-private-forest-landowners
In the States: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and Montana
- Federal Report Shows Improved Natural Resources
The Litchfield News, Published by Ricky Campbell, April 22nd
A report released by the U.S. Department of Forestry, in part with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, shows resource conservation has improved, but work remains to be done.
In a joint press conference April 19 at White Memorial Hall in Litchfield, the two governmental agencies provided highlights of the Connecticut Highlands Regional Study's 2010 Update. According to officials, 677,880 acres of the state's natural resources were assessed to manage future growth, maintain adequate surface and ground water, conserve forests, provide recreational opportunities and promote economic prosperity through it all. To read more of this article link to: http://www.foothillsmediagroup.com/articles/2011/04/22/litchfield/news/doc4db193d3b95e6888709001.txt
- Draft Regulation of Mass. Woody Biomass RPS Eligibility Filed
Biomass Power & Thermal, Published by Lisa Gibson, May 3rdThe Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) filed with the Clerk of the House May 3 a much-anticipated draft regulation that outlines woody biomass eligibility for the state's 20 percent by 2025 renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Uncertainty has surrounded the biomass industry in the commonwealth since the DOER released a draft of RPS qualification regulations in September 2011. One of the main issues with the draft was the minimum efficiency standard of 40 percent for biomass power facilities to qualify, and unfortunately, it looks like this draft didn't revise that rule. To read more of this article link to: http://www.biomassmagazine.com/articles/5500/draft-regulation-of-mass-woody-biomass-rps-eligibility-filed
- Nature Conservancy Sides With Plum Creek in Maine
Forest Business Network, April 29th
The Nature Conservancy says it's joining Maine's attorney general and Plum Creek Timber Co. in appealing a court ruling ordering regulators to give further consideration to Plum Creek's Timber Co.'s development plan in the Moosehead Lake region. The Nature Conservancy's associate director in Maine says joining the appeal gives it more flexibility to participate in the legal process. Tom Rumpf says Plum Creek's plan has environmental, economic and recreational benefits. To read more of this article link to: http://www.forestbusinessnetwork.com/2324/nature-conservancy-sides-with-plum-creek-in-maine/
- Senator Calls Forest Bill 'Responsible Plan for Montana'
Daily Inter Lake, Published by Senator John Tester, May 8th
As required by my provision in a recent federal law, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week removed Montana's wolves from the Endangered Species List and returned their management to state biologists. It is a bipartisan victory that recognizes Montana's wolf recovery as a success. As your senator, it's my job to find solutions that are right for Montana, no matter how controversial or tough the issue is.
Montana needs responsible wildlife management. We need smart natural resource development. And for future generations, we need to protect the land, clean water and fresh air we're blessed with. To read more of this article link to: http://www.dailyinterlake.com/article_d14d3676-790b-11e0-b0a7-001cc4c002e0.html
Last Week in Congress
- The U.S. Senate was in Recess until May 2nd.
- The U.S. House of Representatives was in Recess until May 2nd.
- 'Extreme Drought' Sets Texas Ablaze and May Sprawl Over the South Until Midsummer
The New York Times, Published by Lauren Morello of ClimateWire, April 26th
Wildfires have burned about 1.5 million acres in Texas since January, egged on by a drought that federal forecasters say is the worst to hit the state in 45 years. Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say their weather models predict the severe drought that has parched the southern United States will continue to midsummer -- and beyond. To read more of this article link to: http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/04/26/26climatewire-extreme-drought-sets-texas-ablaze-and-may-sp-28352.html
- Fighters From 43 States Battle Far-Flung Texas Wildfires
The New York Times, Published by Dina Fine Maron of ClimateWire, April 26th
Despite a public call by Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to pray for rain over the weekend, major wildfires continue to rage on across the state. Already an estimated 1.5 million acres of Texas has burned this year, according to the Texas Forest Service. Thunderstorms rolled through the state over the weekend, but lightning strikes accompanied the rain, setting the stage for a challenging wildfire week ahead that will draw upon limited resources. To read more of this article link to: http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/04/26/26climatewire-fighters-from-43-states-battle-far-flung-tex-37260.html
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