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Policy Update Week of June 20, 2011


  1. Benishek to Address Increasing Timber Harvests on Federal Land
      The Daily News, June 9th

    U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, conducted a "Forestry Field Tour" with the Society of American Foresters on Tuesday. Afterwards, he said his first bill would deal with timber harvests on federal land. The tour comes after months of meeting with loggers, timber product companies, and forestry experts regarding timber harvesting and its impact on job creation in the First District. To read more of this article link to: http://www.ironmountaindailynews.com/page/content.detail/id/528699/Benishek-to-address-increasing-timber-harvests-on-federal-land.html?nav=5002

    After concluding the tour, Congressman Dan Benishek had very positive feedback about the Michigan SAF state society and the field tour, and encouraged SAF state societies, divisions and chapters to reach out to their Congressional Delegation to inquire about interest in holding a field tour in their states. If SAF members are interested in planning a tour and would like SAF national office assistance, please don't hesitate to contact Kelsey Delaney and John Barnwell, SAF Assistant Forest Policy Directors (contact information below).

    Kelsey Delaney
    Assistant Director, Forest Policy
    Society of American Foresters
    W: 301.897.8720 x 202
    M: 301.526.8354
    F: 301.897.3690
    delaneyk@safnet.org www.eforester.org
    John R. Barnwell
    Assistant Director, Forest Policy
    Society of American Foresters
    O: 301-897-8720 ext. 300
    M: 301-526-7075

In the Administration

  1. Massive Forest Thinning Project Advances
      azdailysun.com, Published by Cyndy Cole, June 16th

    The U.S. Forest Service put out bids on Wednesday for the biggest thinning project ever contemplated in the West, spanning four forests and 300,000 acres. This is significant because it is a first step toward starting work, perhaps in October, following years of planning by a collaborative group known as the Four Forests Restoration Initiative. The goal of the decade-long thinning project -- which includes the Coconino and Kaibab national forests and would cover 468 square miles -- is to make big stretches of the national forests healthier, largely by thinning small-diameter ponderosa pine trees that have grown up during a century of fire suppression. To read more of this article link to: http://www.azdailysun.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_08eb8361-0b58-527b-a524-72ab12f07a77.html#ixzz1Q7XFoBFx

  2. USFS Defends Plan to Log Burned Forest at Tahoe
      Mercurynews.com, Published by Scott Sunner, June 20th

    Responding for the first time to a lawsuit by conservationists, the U.S. Forest Service says the threat of another major wildfire like the one that destroyed 250 homes at Lake Tahoe four years ago outweighs any concerns that its plans to log much of what's left of the burned forest would harm a rare woodpecker or other wildlife. But environmentalists suing to block the post-fire salvage logging on Tahoe's south shore say the agency is exaggerating the fire danger and downplaying the anticipated impacts of logging about half of the 3,000 acres that burned in the Angora fire in June 2007. To read more of this article link to: http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_18311261?nclick_check=1

This Week in Congress

  1. June 22nd - House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held an oversight hearing on "Opportunities for Outdoor Recreation on Public Lands." To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=246553

  2. June 23rd - U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry held a hearing on Farm Bill Accountability: The Importance of Measuring Performance, While Eliminating Duplication and Waste. To read more about this hearing link to: http://ag.senate.gov/site/calendar.html

  3. GOP Plan Would Open More Public Land to Off-Road Vehicles
      The Miami Herald, Published by Rob Hotakainen, June 22nd

    Motorcyclists and ATV riders are revved up by a Republican plan that would remove restrictions on motorized access to 43 million acres of public land nationwide, while environmentalists say it would be a big mistake. It's part of a broader debate on Capitol Hill over whether Congress should move to increase recreational opportunities on the nation's vast holdings of public land. To read more about this article link to: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/06/22/2279401/gop-plan-would-open-more-public.html#ixzz1Q7OJjRvb

  4. Tester: LWCF an investment in Jobs Through Access to Hunting, Fishing
      U.S. Senate Press Release, June 23rd

    U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, today released the following statement after the introduction of the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act of 2011: "Hunters and anglers tell me every day that their top priority for Montana is ensuring public access to public land. It creates jobs and protects our proud outdoor traditions for future generations. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a popular, smart investment in the future of our land, our clean water, and our kids and grandkids who will grow up enjoying the same outdoor opportunities we all love in Montana." To read more about this article link to: http://tester.senate.gov/Newsroom/pr_062311_lwcf.cfm

National News

  1. Benishek Authors Bill to Promote Timber Jobs
      Press Release, June 16th

    Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-01) today introduced his first piece of legislation intended to streamline timber sales on federal forestlands. "By utilizing Northern Michigan's timber resources in a responsible manner, we can create jobs in the First District. The bill I'm putting forward is a simple, common sense approach that cuts government red tape in the review process for timber sales," said Benishek, a general surgeon and Iron River native. To read more of this article link to: http://benishek.house.gov/press-release/benishek-authors-bill-promote-timber-jobs

  2. Alaska Files Legal Challenge to U.S. Roadless Rule
      The New York Times, Published by Phil Taylor, June 20th

    A nationwide rule prohibiting most road building on 58 million acres of national forests is illegally restricting timber supplies, new mining jobs and development in Alaska, according to a legal complaint filed by the state late Friday in federal district court. To read more of this article link to: http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/06/20/20greenwire-alaska-files-legal-challenge-to-us-roadless-ru-17461.html

In the States: New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Oregon

  1. N.J. Southern Pine Beetle Outbreak is Nation's Worst
      Forest Business Network, Published by Edward Colimore, June 20th

    High above the Pinelands of South Jersey, the damage is plain to see. Great swaths of pines have turned brown and begun dropping needles. In aerial photos, they appear like ugly tentacles in the green forest, a sure sign the Southern pine beetle is on the march. New Jersey has the most severe beetle outbreak in the country, said the nation's leading expert on the insect, Ron Billings, manager of forest health for the Texas Forest Service, who has surveyed and photographed the damage. To read more of this article link to: http://www.forestbusinessnetwork.com/4186/n-j-southern-pine-beetle-outbreak-is-nations-worst/

  2. Coalition for Biomass Energy for MASS Fires Up Support for Massachusetts Biomass Industry
      PR Newswire, June 20th

    A logjam is stalling the development of new biomass facilities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. That's the position of Michael A. Camara as Chair of the Coalition for Biomass Energy for MASS. He says the Construction & Demolition (C&D) wood waste material in Massachusetts is an important commodity that has environmental benefits as a green fuel. To read more of this article link to: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/coalition-for-biomass-energy-for-mass-fires-up-support-for-massachusetts-biomass-industry-124197759.html

  3. Gov Puts Money into Malheur National Forest Project
      Myeaglenews.com, June 22nd

    A forest stewardship project on the Malheur National Forest last week got a boost: $125,000 awarded from the Governor's Strategic Reserve Fund. The funding was announced Wednesday, June 15, by Gov. John Kitzhaber, who called forest restoration work "good for jobs, good for communities, and good for the environment." The money is expected to leverage some $300,000 in other local and federal investment for forest health in the Malheur National Forest. To read more of this article link to:

Last Week in Congress

  1. June 13th - Rep. Howard McKeon [R-Ca25] introduced H.R. 2157 to facilitate a land exchange involving National Forest System lands in the Inyo National Forest and for other purposes. To read more about this bill link to: http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=46ec5cfe-802a-23ad-4909-ff17e469941d

  2. June 14th - The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met to consider the wildfire management programs of the Federal land management agencies. To read more about this hearing link to: http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=46ec5cfe-802a-23ad-4909-ff17e469941d

  3. June 15th - H.R. 643: Sugar Loaf Fire Protection District Land Exchange Act has been ordered to be reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources. To read more about this bill link to: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-643

Wildfire Update

  1. Fires Burn 1.4M Acres in 11 States
      UPI.com, June 22nd

    Arizona's Monument fire was 45 percent contained Wednesday after the first phase of a two-day burnout operation to protect hundreds of homes, officials said. Diminished winds gave fire crews the chance to set a 3-mile controlled burn between the Garden and Monument fires, removing flammables so the fire "runs out of fuel and suffocates" if it approaches homes in the area, fire information officer Matt Reed told The Arizona Republic. To read more of this article link to: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/06/22/Fires-burn-14M-acres-in-11-states/UPI-94301308724500/#ixzz1Q7fVUu3U

  2. Rain, Less Heat, Help Texas Douse Wildfires
      Reuters, Published by Corrie MacLaggin, June 23rd

    Heavy rain, easing winds and lower temperatures helped crews battling wildfires that have torched dozens of homes and scorched thousands of acres in Texas and the Southwest, authorities said on Thursday. Temperatures in West Texas dipped below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, helping firefighters there tackle the state's largest fire, while drenching rain gave fire crews a break to curb a blaze in a residential area north of Houston. To read more of this article link to: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/24/us-wildfires-idUSTRE75M7DP20110624

  3. Eastern N.C. wildfire continues to burn
      The Associated Press, June 24th

    The wildfire in the Holly Shelter Game Land continues to burn across Pender County and into Onslow County, where voluntary evacuations have been advised for residents of about 40 homes. Heavy smoke has drifted as far north as Delaware and is expected to move east toward North Carolina's beaches today. Motorists in the area are urged to use caution as visibility may be impaired. To read more of this article link to: http://www.news-record.com/content/2011/06/24/article/eastern_nc_wildfire_continues_to_burn

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