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Policy Update Week of May 23, 2011


  1. SAF Comments on Proposed Forest Service Planning Rule and DEIS

    The Proposed Forest Service Planning Rule was released in the Federal Register on February 14, 2011. SAF established a team of 8 SAF members from multiple SAF state societies to respond on behalf of the National Society. Led by SAF California member, Nicholas Dennis, the team members used the DEIS Sections to assign and analyze 8 different subject categories. The team also utilized the principles stated in 2010 SAF President, Michael Lester's letter to Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, as guidelines to complete SAF's response. The final comment letter was submitted to the U.S. Forest Service before the 90 day public comment period ended on May 16, 2011.

    To read the comments please link to: http://www.eforester.org/documents/comment_forestserviceplanningdeis_May13.pdf

  2. The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Coalition May 9th Briefing

    The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Coalition (CFLR) held our first Hill briefing titled "Landscape-Scale Forest and Watershed Restoration" in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing Room on May 9th. At the briefing, presenters spoke about the benefits of collaboration and how it will affect rural communities and jobs. The presenters also discussed the scale and budgets of potential future projects as well as the types of resources and data that are available necessary for future project implementation.

    The overall goal of the Coalition is to "Secure full funding for, and ensure the success of, the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program." The Coalition will work to achieve this goal through building and maintaining a coalition of non-federal CFLR supporters, by engaging in the budget and appropriations process, and by sharing information about authorities and policies that relate to CFLR and are important to the program effectiveness.

In the Administration

  1. The Forest Service Will Host Nine Public Meetings Throughout Colorado and in Washington, DC Regarding the Proposed Roadless Rule

    To learn more about meeting times and locations click here:

  2. The U.S. Government Accountability Office Released a Report Regarding: Federal Land Management: Availability and Potential Reliability of Selected Data Elements at Five Agencies

    The federal government manages about 650 million acres, or 29 percent, of the 2.27 billion acres of U.S. land. Four land management agencies--the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Park Service (NPS) in the Department of the Interior (Interior) and the Forest Service, in the Department of Agriculture--manage about 95 percent of these federal acres. Interior's Bureau of Reclamation (BoR) manages another 1 percent of these acres and focuses on water projects. The five agencies collect certain data to help manage these federal lands. GAO was asked to review whether the five agencies collect certain federal land and resource data (referred to as data elements), how these data elements are stored, and their potential reliability.

    To read more link to: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-377

This Week in Congress

  1. May 25th -The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing to receive testimony on the following bills: S. 233, S. 268 S. 375, S. 714, and S. 730.

    To read more about this hearing link to: http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=c204a140-a3e4-4f23-6c3f-56ff7513d557

  2. May 26th - The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Legislative held a hearing on H.R. 1408.

    To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=241859

  3. May 26th - The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural ResourceSubcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs Oversight held a hearing on "Buying More Land When We Can't Maintain What We Already Own: The National Wildlife Refuge System's Operations and Maintenance Backlog Story!"

    To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=241179

  4. Tester DefendsForest Jobs Act
      Great Falls Tribune, Published by Ledyard King, May 26th

    Under attack by some environmentalists, ranchers and outdoor recreational groups, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., on Wednesday defended his ambitious plan to rescue Montana's flagging timber industry by opening thousands of acres of national forestland for logging, while protecting hundreds of thousands more as wilderness.

    The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act not only would create jobs, establish permanent recreation areas and preserve ecologically sensitive land, Tester told members of a Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee Wednesday, but it also would resolve long-simmering differences between factions in Montana who came together to forge this compromise. To read more of this article link to: http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20110526/NEWS01/105260302

National News

  1. Analysis: Wood Fuel Poised to be Next Global Commodity
      Reuters, Published by Gerard Wynn, May 19th

    Wood fuel, one of the oldest energy sources on the planet, could become the newest commodity market if it can overcome supply limits and green concerns as demand grows for renewable energy.

    Supply constraints are starting to put wood fuel into competition with the paper industry, experts say, in an uneasy reminder of existing tension between the food industry and companies making biofuels from food crops. To read more of this article link to: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/19/us-energy-biomass-commodity-idUSTRE74I3NK20110519

In the States: Nebraska, California, Oregon and Alaska

  1. Forest Invites Landowners to June Workshop
      The Chadron Record, Published by the Nebraska Forest Service, May 10th

    On Sunday, June 12, a segment of the workshop series "TODAY'S FOREST" will be held at Chadron State Park near Chadron. The free educational event is open to the public with a special invitation to all private forest landowners. The topic is titled "Your Changing Forest" and will be presented by Dr. Skip Smith, a professor of forestry from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. To read more of this article link to: http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/thechadronnews/latest/article_7c5b7358-7b27-11e0-8621-001cc4c002e0.html

  2. Most of Calif.'s Carbon Law Unaffected by Court Ruling; Trading Date Could Slip
      The New York Times, Published by Debra Khan, May 23rd

    California regulators still might be able to start their greenhouse gas trading program in January 2012, despite a court decision last week to stay the first trading system in the United States for greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, oil and gas refineries, transportation fuels and other heavy industries.

    Environmental justice advocates had sued over a provision in the California Environmental Quality Act requiring state agencies to analyze the environmental consequences of their policies. The state Air Resources Board (ARB) did not properly consider alternatives to cap and trade when it picked the market-based mechanism to achieve about 20 percent of overall emissions reductions by 2020, the groups alleged. To read more of this article link to: http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/05/23/23climatewire-most-of-califs-carbon-law-unaffected-by-cour-98046.html

  3. Governor Kitzhaber Announces Grants
      Forest Business Network, May 22nd

    The Oregon Department of Energy and Business Oregon have selected three projects to receive grants from the Forest Products Energy Project. The effort is part of Governor Kitzhaber's initiative to get Oregonians back to work, promote forest health restoration, and generate renewable energy. The grant recipients are: Prineville Sawmill Company in Prineville; Blue Mountain Lumber Products in Pendleton; and Ochoco Lumber in John Day. To read more of this article link to: http://www.forestbusinessnetwork.com/3159/governor-kitzhaber-announces-grants/

  4. Ore. Senate Urges Federal Aid for Timber Counties
      The Associated Press, Published by Tami Abdollah, May 19th

    In rural western Oregon, one sheriff's deputy patrols nearly 80 miles of coastline alone. And for several hours a day, no one does. Such are the daily realities of Curry County, a coastal community of about 22,000 people, which has had to cut services due to budget woes. The county depends on a federal timber-related subsidy for nearly half its operating budget. Without it, the county will be bankrupt in one to two years, said county Commissioner Bill Waddle. Other counties in the state are not far behind, state officials say. To read more about this article link to: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9NAJQ4O0.htm

  5. Federal Judge Reinstates RoadlessRule
      The Associated Press, May 25th

    A federal judge has sided with the village of Kake and reinstated the Clinton-era roadless rule in southeast Alaska's Tongass National Forest, the nation's largest. U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick in Anchorage issued his final decision late Tuesday, making a March ruling official. Sedwick found that a Bush administration decision in 2003 to exempt the Tongass from the roadless rule was arbitrary and capricious. The rule protects roadless areas in national forests from commercial logging and road building. To read more of this article link to: http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/05/25/general-ak-tongass-lawsuit_8485479.html

Last Week in Congress

  1. The U.S. House of Representatives was in recess until May 23rd.

  2. May 18th - The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests held a hearing to receive testimony on the following bills: S. 220, S. 270, S. 270, S. 271, S. 278, S. 292, S. 322, S. 382, S. 427, S. 526, S. 566, S. 590, S. 607, S. 617, S. 683, S. 684, S. 667, S. 729, S. 766, S. 896, and S. 897.

    To read more about this hearing link to: http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=c208a139-afee-89be-f2a6-16ba8632ab04

  3. May 19th - The U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environmental and Related Agencies held a hearing to review the U.S. Forest Service's Budget Request for the fiscal year 2012.

    To read more about this article link to: http://appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=ab380744-48c8-4a2b-9142-b6c4f11420a2

Wildfire Update

  1. Still dry: Managers Prepare for Wildfire Season
      Peninsula Clarion, Published by Karen Garcia, May 20th

    The Kenai Peninsula is one of two regions in Alaska expected to experience above average wildfire activity for the 2011 season. Experts at the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center say that, aside from the Kenai Peninsula and the Upper Yukon Valley, the state can anticipate a normal fire season. Due to below average snowpack and an abundance of timber killed by the spruce bark beetle, though, the Peninsula might be seeing more wildfires than usual. To read more about this article link to: http://www.peninsulaclarion.com/stories/052011/new_832395610.shtml

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