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Policy Update - Week of June 21, 2010


    SAF is looking for volunteers to staff our booth at the 2010 National Boy Scout Jamboree July 26th - August 4th. For more information on the 2010 National Scout Jamboree please visit: http://www.bsajamboree.org/Registration.aspx. If you are interested in volunteering please send an email to policyi@safnet.org. There will be more details to follow.

  2. SAF Member Bill Crapser, Wyoming State Forester, to give testimony on H.R 5192 Thursday June 24th at 10:00 AM in 1334 Longworth House Office Building.
    To listen to audio recording of the hearing link to: http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/index.php?option=com_jcalpro&Itemid=83&extmode=view&extid=370

In the Administration

  1. Secretaries Vilsack and Salazar Announce Readiness for Wildfire Season
      United States Department of Agriculture, June 17th

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today outlined the federal government's readiness for the wildland fire season to ensure protection for communities and restoration of forests and grasslands across the country.

    The Secretaries described federal capability to respond to wildfires that are becoming more complex and extreme due to forest and rangeland health conditions, climate change and population growth near wildlands. To read more of this article click here.

  2. Restoration Agriculture Secretary Selects Advisory Committee to Evaluate Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Proposals
      United States Department of Agriculture, June 18th

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 15 advisory committee members to evaluate Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration proposals.

    "The newly appointed Advisory Committee will serve as the eyes and ears for local and rural communities to ensure USDA provides healthy forests and waterways which will help create green jobs and economic prosperity for our communities," said Vilsack. To read more of this article click here.

Last Week in Congress

  1. June 16th - Public Lands and Forests Subcommittee received testimony on the following bills: S. 3294; S. 3310; and S. 3313. The hearing was held in Energy Committee Hearing Room SD 366 at 2:30 PM. The purpose of the hearing was to receive testimony on the following bills:

    S. 3294, to establish certain wilderness areas in central Idaho and to authorize various land conveyances involving National Forest System land and Bureau of Land Management land in central Idaho.

    S. 3310, to designate certain wilderness areas in the National Forest System in the State of South Dakota.

    S. 3313, to withdraw certain land located in Clark County, Nevada from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws and disposition under all laws pertaining to mineral and geothermal leasing or mineral materials, and for other purposes.

This Week in Congress

  1. June 24th - The House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, led by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), will hold a legislative hearing at 10:00 AM in 1334 Longworth House Office Building on the following bills:

    • H.R. 4195 (Farr): To authorize the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and its environs, and for other purposes.
    • H.R. 5192 (Lummis): To require the Secretary of Agriculture to designate national forests or portions of national forests in western States as locations for demonstration projects to prevent or mitigate the effect of pine beetle infestations and conduct forest restoration activities, to authorize the emergency removal of dead and dying trees to address public safety risks in western States, to make permanent the stewardship contracting authorities available to the Forest Service, and for other purposes. "Forest Ecosystem Recovery and Protection Act"
    • H.R. 5388 (Heinrich): To expand the boundaries of the Cibola National Forest in the State of New Mexico.
    • H.R. 5494 (Norton): To direct the Director of the National Park Service and the Secretary of the Interior to transfer certain properties to the District of Columbia.

National News

  1. Tester Puts Logging Back Into Forest Bill
      The Billings Gazette, Published by Jennifer McKee, June 18th

    Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., unveiled a counterversion of his logging and wilderness bill Thursday, reinserting mandates to log tens of thousands of forested Montana acres that a Senate committee earlier axed from its draft.

    Tester said if the logging aspect of his bill is deleted, he will not support it.

    "I will not support a cut-and-dried wilderness bill," the senator said in a conference call with reporters Thursday. "That was never part of the deal."Yet critics of the bill warned that the logging aspect of the bill may be too much. To read more of this article link to: http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_d9ab55c0-7a9a-11df-ac1b-001cc4c002e0.html

  2. Net Benefits of Biomass Power Under Scrutiny
      The New York Times, Published by Tom Zeller, June 18th

    Matthew Wolfe, an energy developer with plans to turn tree branches and other woody debris into electric power, sees himself as a positive force in the effort to wean his state off of planet-warming fossil fuels.

    "It's way better than coal," Mr. Wolfe said, "if you look at it over its life cycle."

    Not everyone agrees, as evidenced by lawn signs in this northwestern Massachusetts town reading "Biomass? No Thanks." To read more of this article link to: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/19/science/earth/19biomass.html?scp=1&sq=biomass&st=cse

  3. State Forestry Agencies Identify Priority Lands and Issues Across America
      The National Association of State Foresters, June 21st

    The fifty-nine members of the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) have completed the first-ever comprehensive suite of Statewide Forest Resource Assessments and Strategies as part of a national effort towards protecting and sustaining healthy forests. The assessments provide an analysis of forest conditions and trends in the state and identify priority rural and urban forest areas and issues. The strategies provide long-term plans for addressing needs identified in the assessments through state agency initiatives, partner engagement and federal investments. To read more of this article link to: http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/State-Forestry-Agencies-Identify-Priority-Lands-and-Issues-Across-America-1278899.htm

  4. Q. and A.: Woody Biomass, Pros and Cons
      The New York Times, Published by Tom Zeller, June 22nd

    As I wrote in an article over the weekend, electricity derived from burning organic matter, particularly wood, has long enjoyed a reputation as a green alternative to coal-fired power - and why not? Trees and plants, renewable by definition, release planet-warming gases into the atmosphere when they burn, and absorb it again when they are growing. It's sustainable and climate-friendly to boot - or so the logic has long held. To read more of this article link to: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/q-and-a-woody-biomass-pros-and-cons/?ref=earth

In the States: Arizona

  1. Crews Try to Keep Arizona Wildfire from Flagstaff
      The Associated Press, Published by Michelle Price, June 22nd

    Massive clouds of smoke choked Flagstaff on Tuesday as firefighters battled to keep a nearly 19-square-mile wildfire from heading toward the mountain town of about 60,000 people.

    The work shifted after firefighters secured the area closest to homes, several hundred of which remained under evacuation orders, said fire spokeswoman Erin Phelps. Crews will work on containment lines on the south and north sides where the fire is most active, she said. To read more of this article click here.

Wildfire Update

  1. Federal Agencies Hope for a Mild Fire Season
      Scientific American, Published be Darius Dixon, June 18th

    Prepare yourself for this year's upcoming fire season: It is going to be a mild one.

    At least, that is what state and federal officials said in a briefing yesterday at the Department of Agriculture. So far this year, about 1.3 million acres have burned -- average for this time of year, according to the National Interagency Fire Center(NIFC). To read more of this article link to: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=federal-agencies-hope-for-mild-fire-season

Additional Information:

The SAF National Office serves as the voice of professional forestry through its active role in several forestry, natural resources, and agricultural groups and coalitions…

25 x '25 (www.25x25.org) - SAF is a proud member of 25 x '25 and currently sits on its Sustainability Working Group. The goal of 25 x '25 is to have 25% of our energy needs being fulfilled by renewable resources from our nation's farms, ranches, forests, and other lands by 2025. Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases
(www.continentalforestdialogue.org) - SAF sits on the organization's Steering Committee and assists in its mission of "cultivating and catalyzing collaborative action among diverse interests to abate the threat to North American forests from non-native insects and diseases." The 4th meeting summary of the Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases is now available online at: http://www.continentalforestdialogue.org/documents/meetings/2008-11/index.html

Additional groups in which SAF plays a role include:

Core Group of the Roundtable on Sustainable Forests"

Forest Carbon Education Group. The FCEG's Guidance Document on Managed Forests in Climate Change policy can be viewed on the SAF Policy Webpage:

Wildland Fire Leadership Council

Western Governors' Association Forest Health Advisory Committee

About the Policy Update:

Disclaimer: The Society of American Foresters does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the news items and/or links to additional information that appear in the Policy Update.

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