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Policy Update Week of July 18, 2011


  1. Alaska SAF and the National SAF Work Together to Garner Support for S.1361

    Alaska SAF teamed with the SAF national office to convince Senator Begich (D-AK) to be an original cosponsor on the Silviculture Regulatory Control Act, S. 1361. The bipartisan, bicameral legislative initiative comes in response to the U.S. Ninth Circuit decision on NEDC vs. Brown requiring NPDES permits for maintenance and construction of forest roads, overturning a Clean Water Act regulation in place since 1976. Link to SAF press release: http://www.eforester.org/documents/pr_071511.pdf

  2. Colorado/Wyoming SAF State Society and National SAF Comment on 2011 Proposed Colorado Roadless Rule

    Colorado/Wyoming SAF and national SAF submitted a joint comment letter on the 2011 Proposed Colorado Roadless Rule. The CO/WY state society led the effort, with assistance from national SAF, by completing an analysis of the Proposed Rule, creating talking points that identified SAF's main issues of concern, and developing a final comment document. Several of the concerns SAF identified in the Proposed Rule include a lack of clarity on management objectives, lack of discussion on the impacts of the mountain pine beetle outbreak in Colorado, a misguided emphasis on only cutting small-diameter trees, and the high-level management approval that is needed for activities. The final comment letter was submitted to the US Forest Service during the 90 day public comment period that ended July 14, 2011.To read the submitted comments link to: http://www.eforester.org/fp/documents/proposedcoloradoroadlessrule.pdf

  3. SAF Submitted Comments Supporting Proposed Amendments to the 18 U.S.C. 208 Statute by the Office of General Ethics (OGE) about Participation in Nonprofits

    The SAF national office with the support of a subcommittee of current and former Federal Government employees submitted comments supporting changes to the conflict of interest clause in the 18 U.S.C. 208 law that discourages Federal employees from serving on nonprofit boards and committees due to concerns about the fiduciary role of such committees. In addition to submitting comments to the OGE, SAF also cosigned comments that were sent to the OGE on behalf of over thirty natural resource management professional organizations. To read the submitted comments link to: http://www.eforester.org/documents/OfficeofGovernmentEthicsCOMMENTS.pdf

In the Administration

  1. BLM Works on Wilderness Agenda
      Island Park News, July 21st

    As part of Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar's push to build a bipartisan wilderness agenda that can be enacted in the 112th Congress, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) state offices will solicit suggestions and recommendations from state and local elected officials, Tribes, and other federal land managers on areas that deserve wilderness protection and that have broad support for congressional designation. To read more of this article link to: http://www.islandparknews.com/atf.php?sid=10260¤t_edition=2011-07-21

  2. EPA Comments on Proposed Colorado Roadless Rule
      Beaumontenterprise.com, July 21st

    The Environmental Protection Agency says a plan for managing about 4 million acres of roadless forests in Colorado should include top protections for more land. U.S. Forest Service and state officials developed a proposal designating about 562,000 acres for "upper tier" protection, with tight restrictions on road construction and tree cutting. The EPA said this week it supports giving that protection to about 2.6 million acres. To read more of this article link to: http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/EPA-comments-on-proposed-Colorado-roadless-rule-1529944.php#ixzz1SqewN0XE

This Week in Congress

  1. Walden Testifies on County Payments
      NaturalResourcesReport.com, July 18th

    U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) testified today at a hearing focusing on county payments before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest, and Public Lands. "Our communities don't want the status quo," Rep Walden said. "They don't want the handout that's made them dependant on the federal government. They want jobs. They want healthy forests. They're tired of the catastrophic fire and the bug infestation. They're sick of the budgeting uncertainty that comes with not knowing if Uncle Sam will pay his fair share." To read more of this article link to: http://naturalresourcereport.com/2011/07/walden-testifies-on-county-payments/

  2. July 19th - H.R. 2584: Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act 2012 has been scheduled for debate. To read more about this bill link to: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-2584

  3. July 20th - House Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry held a hearing to examine the USDA Energy and Forestry programs. To read more about this hearing link to: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/hearingDetails.aspx?NewsID=1422

  4. Energy and Forestry Programs Under the Microscope During Audit Hearing
      House Agricultural Committee Press Release, July 20th

    Today, Rep. Glenn 'GT' Thompson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry, held a public hearing to review energy and forestry programs within the subcommittee's jurisdiction. This is a continuation of the series of audit hearings the Agriculture Committee is holding to review programs in advance of writing the next farm bill. To read more of this hearing link to: http://agriculture.house.gov/press/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=1428

  5. July 20th - Rep. Erick Paulsen introduced H.R. 2601: To provide permanent authority for the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to enter into stewardship contracting projects with private persons or other public or private entities to perform services to achieve land management goals for National Forest System lands and the public lands that meet local and rural community needs.

  6. Rep. Roby Supports Alabama Conservation and Forest Products Industry
      The State Column, July 21st

    Today U.S. Rep. Martha Roby asks the U.S. Forest Service Chief, Tom Tidwell, if progress is being made on the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (FIA) - a program extremely important to the conservation and forest products industry in Alabama. Roby's questions come during an Agriculture Committee hearing reviewing the energy and forestry programs in advance of writing the next Farm Bill. To read more of this article link to: http://www.thestatecolumn.com/alabama/rep-roby-supports-alabama-conservation-and-forest-products-industry/

National News

  1. Roadmap Offers Strategy to Increase Forestlands' Bioenergy Role
      Biomass Magazine, Published by Lisa Gibson, July 20th

    A National Wood-to- Energy Roadmap, released this week by renewable energy organization 25x'25, makes clear the benefits and necessity of utilizing available biomass in forestlands to achieve national renewable goals, including the organization's own goal of 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. The report concluded that the focused use of woody biomass could increase the nation's forest land base, as well as improve the environmental services that land provides. To read more of this article link to: http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/5662/roadmap-offers-strategy-to-increase-forestlandsundefined-bioenergy-role/

In the States: Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nevada, California, and Arizona

  1. Forest Service Plan Draws Concern Over Water Policy
      Newsleader.com, July 18th

    Hunched over maps and clustered around tables at the Augusta County Government Center, stuffing notes into a comment box, chatting with U.S. Forest Service staff, Valley residents brainstormed ideas about the George Washington National Forest on Monday night. They were letting the Forest Service know their thoughts and their concerns about a proposed 15-year forest management plan the service has proposed. To read more of this article link to: http://www.newsleader.com/article/20110719/NEWS01/107190328/Forest-Service-plan-draws-concern-over-water-policy

  2. Gov. Jerry Brown, Legislature Require Rural Homeowners to Pay Fire Fee
      Los Angeles Times, Published by Michael Mishak, July 18th

    As Californians have crowded the state's bucolic foothills and scenic mountains with subdivisions and cabin retreats, pushing further into the combustible wild, state firefighting has become a billion-dollar enterprise. Now, with the state continuing to lurch from one fiscal crisis to another, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature are pushing back. To read more of this article link to: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/18/local/la-me-fire-fee-20110718

  3. Loggers Seek National Forest Timber
      UpperMichigan'sSource.com, Published by Nikki Davidson, July 20th

    Logging is one of the oldest industries in the U.P., but in recent years, many jobs have been lost. Tuesday, representatives from Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin banded together to voice their concerns to elected officials. The timber community says if things continue the way they are now, they predict a loss of resources, jobs and even entire communities. To read more of this article link to: http://www.uppermichiganssource.com/news/story.aspx?list=~\home\lists\search&id=642288

  4. 9th Circuit Asked to Block Logging at Lake Tahoe
      Mercurynews.com, Published by Scott Sonner, July 21st

    Conservationists who lost a bid in federal court to stop the Forest Service from logging burned forest at Lake Tahoe are now asking a U.S. appellate court for an emergency injunction to keep the operation from beginning next week. Lawyers for the Earth Island Institute's John Muir Project and the Center for Biological Diversity filed the request late Wednesday in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. To read more of this article link to: http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_18522829

  5. Governor Says Environmental Interest Must Be Considered on Forest Management
      Verde Independent, Published by Howard Fischer, July 21st

    The interests and concerns of environmental groups have to be taken into account if Arizona and the nation are to find ways to improve forest health, Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday. The governor's comments came after she toured the damage done by water that rushes off mountainside forest land following last year's Schultz Fire. To read more of this article link to: http://verdenews.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=43005

Last Week in Congress

  1. "Federal Forest Policy Must be Proactive, Solutions Oriented, and Fiscally Sustainable"
      Congressman Paul Gosar, July 8th

    This year, our communities have been victims of the largest forest fires in recorded history. The Wallow Fire on the Apache-Sitgreaves Forest grew to over half a million acres, charring in its wake some of the most treasured parts of Ponderosa Pine country. To read more of this article click here.

  2. July 11th - Senator Jon Kyl [R-Az] introduced S. 1344: A bill to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to take immediate action to recover ecologically and economically from a catastrophic wildfire in the state of Arizona, and for other purposes. To read more about this bill link to: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-1344

  3. Fiscal Year 2012 Interior and Environment Bill Approved by Appropriations Committee
      House Committee on Appropriations Press Release, July 12th

    The House Appropriations Committee today approved the Fiscal Year 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill. The legislation includes annual funding for the Department of the Interior, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the Forest Service, and various independent and related agencies. To read more of this article link to: http://appropriations.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=251469

  4. July 13th - Rep. Donald Young [R-AK] introduced H.R. 2526 to exempt National Forest System Lands in Alaska from the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. To read more about this bill link to: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-2526

  5. July 13th - Senator Mark Begich [D-AK] introduced S. 1357 to exempt National Forest System Land in the State of Alaska from the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. To read more about this bill link to: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-1357

  6. July 14th - House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands held an oversight hearing on "Secure Rural Schools Reauthorization and Forest Management Options for a Viable County Payments Program. To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=249959

Wildfire Update

  1. Destructive Toll of Bearing Fire Apparent from Aerial Tour
      The Lufkin Daily News, Published by Jessica Cooley, July 18th

    Spanning more than 20,000 acres, the Bearing Fire is now 100 percent contained but its destructive toll is clear and impressive from the air, according to local pilots. This week pilots Don Lymberry and Steve Reeves flew a Lufkin Daily News reporter and photographer over the fire ground, pointing out areas of importance inside the fire perimeter. To read more of this article link to: http://lufkindailynews.com/news/local/article_59f0b374-b0a0-11e0-8c7b-001cc4c002e0.html

  2. Southwestern Fires: The Big Picture
      Todaymedianetwork.com, Published by Lee Allen, July 20th

    The Southwestern Region of the U.S. Forest Service is massive-22.3 million acres in Arizona and New Mexico with 11 national forests and a national grassland. That's a lot of tall timber and prairie grass in the potential pathway of a single burning ember that could have been ignited by lightning or by man. To read more of this article link to: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/07/southwestern-wildfires-the-big-picture/

  3. Republicans Urge Fast Action on Wallow Recovery
      KTAR.com, July 20th

    Republican members of Arizona's congressional delegation have sent a letter to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, urging him to expedite cleanup and recovery efforts in the aftermath of the Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in state history. "Destruction from the Wallow Fire has exposed large areas in eastern Arizona's Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests to the risk of additional damage," the members of the delegation said in their letter. To read more of this article link to: http://ktar.com/category/local-news-articles/20110720/Republicans-urge-fast-action-on-Wallow-Fire-recovery/

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