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Policy Update Week of July 25, 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

    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. Obama Administration Debating Care of U.S. National Forests
      AZcentral.com, Published by Erin Kelly, July 25th

    The Obama administration is crafting a new plan to manage the nation's 155 national forests, including six in Arizona, for the next 15 to 20 years. At stake is the future of 193 million acres of forests and grasslands that are the nation's single largest source of drinking water and home to more than 15,000 species of plants and wildlife. The U.S. Forest Service says the new plan, due by year's end, is urgently needed to replace the so-called forest-planning rule written in 1982 during the Reagan administration. To read more of this article link to: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/07/25/20110725obama-administration-debating-care-us-forests.html

This Week in Congress

  1. July 25th - Subcommittee Chairman Simpson's Statement on FY 2012 Interior-Environment Appropriations Bill. To read the Chairman's statement link to: http://appropriations.house.gov/news/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=253543

  2. July 26th - House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a hearing on H.R.2578: The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and H.R. 1581: The Wilderness and Roadless Areas Release Act of 2011. To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=252577

  3. Babbitt Blasts "Radical" GOP Bill on Public Lands
      The Associated Press, Published by Matthew Daly, July 26th

    Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is blasting as "radical" a Republican proposal to open up more than 50 million acres of public lands to logging and other development. Babbitt, who was Interior secretary for eight years under President Bill Clinton, said the GOP bill would virtually repeal the 1964 Wilderness Act and open an area the size of Wyoming to development. To read more of this article link to: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9ONEMO02.htm

  4. Obama Officials "Strongly Oppose" Roadless Release Bill
      The New York Times, Published by Phil Taylor, July 26th

    The Obama administration today roundly denounced a proposal by Republican lawmakers that would release several million acres of protected public lands into local management plans, potentially opening them to timber harvests, oil and gas development, motorized recreation and other uses. Bob Abbey, director of the Bureau of Land Management, compared the legislation from Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to shooting a small rabbit with a large gun, leaving almost no meat on the bone. To read more of this article link to: http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/07/26/26greenwire-obama-officials-strongly-oppose-roadless-relea-47112.html

National News

  1. 9th Circuit Clears USFS Logging at Lake Tahoe
      The Associated Press, Published by Scott Sonner, July 25th

    A federal appeals court cleared the way Monday for the Forest Service to begin logging near Lake Tahoe, where a wildfire burned more than 250 homes four years ago. In making its ruling, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco rejected claims that the project violates environmental laws and will jeopardize the survival of a rare woodpecker. The panel issued a two-page ruling denying an emergency injunction sought by two environmental groups. The panel, including Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, gave no reason for its decision. To read more of this article link to: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/07/25/state/n125152D63.DTL#ixzz1TQ4lqwtl

  2. Appeals Court's Ruling on Stormwater Runoff Provokes Political Backlash
      The New York Times, Published by Lawrence Hurley, July 27th

    A federal appeals court ruling that would require Clean Water Act permitting for stormwater runoff on logging roads has sparked a political backlash, leading to congressional action and possible Supreme Court intervention. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling applies to the nine Western states within the court's jurisdiction, including the Pacific Northwest, which has a significant logging industry. To read more of this article link to: http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/07/27/27greenwire-appeals-courts-ruling-on-stormwater-runoff-pro-33516.html

  3. DuPont Admits New Herbicide Has Damaged Spruce, Pine Trees
      The News Journal, Published by Jonathan Starkey, July 28th

    The DuPont Co. is admitting that its new herbicide, Imprelis, has damaged large spruce and pine trees on golf courses and properties from New Jersey to Wisconsin. In a statement late Wednesday, DuPont, which had been investigating complaints, said that, "based on our ongoing review, we have observed tree injuries associated with Imprelis primarily on Norway spruce and white pine trees." To read more of this article link to: http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20110728/NEWS08/107280343/DuPont-admits-new-herbicide-has-damaged-spruce-pine-trees?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Home|p

In the States: Florida, Colorado, Oregon, and New Mexico

  1. Challenge Window Closes for Energy Center Air Permit
      Newshearld.com, July 24th

    The final air emissions permit for the Northwest Florida Renewable Energy Center project to be built in Port St. Joe is just that - finalized. The 30-day window for a legal challenge to last month's decision by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to issue the final air emissions permit for the woody biomass energy plant came and went this month without any appeal being filed, said DEP spokesperson Jennifer Diaz. To read more of this article link to: http://www.newsherald.com/articles/energy-95528-joe-air.html#ixzz1TVFTgD2U

  2. Officials Unsure What to Do with Growing Piles of Beetle-Killed Trees
      Denverpost.com, Published by Bruce Finely, July 25th

    Federal contractors have accelerated removal of beetle-killed trees in Rocky Mountain forests with about 100 cutting operations in progress this past weekend. The problem is what to do with the wood. Dead-tree cutting across northern Colorado and southern Wyoming - to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and of dead trees falling on people - has left an estimated 170,000 piles of trees and slashed branches, Forest Service supervisors said last week. To read more of this article link to: Officials unsure what to do with growing piles of beetle-killed trees - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_18542712#ixzz1TVE082IT

  3. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden Under Fire from Environmental Groups for Bills on Logging Roads, Industrial Pollution
      The Oregonian, Published by Scott Learn, July 26th

    U.S. Senator Ron Wyden is in hot water with environmentalists for co-sponsoring two bills in recent weeks that protect timber owners from increased federal regulation and delay air pollution rules for industrial boilers. The bills, including one titled the "EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011," aren't what's expected of an Oregon Democrat rated highly on environmental scorecards, say Wyden's sometime allies. To read more of this article link to: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2011/07/oregon_senator_ron_wyden_under.html

  4. BLM Suspends Sale of Wood Permits for Rio Puerco Area Pending Study on Harvest Rates
      The Associated Press, July 27th

    The Bureau of Land Management says it's suspending the sale of new wood permits in the Rio Puerco area until further notice. The agency made the announcement Tuesday, saying that studies are being conducted on all harvest areas to determine the availability of dead fuel wood and the sustainability of wood harvesting at current rates. To read more of this article link to: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/6c8620dccce547328779ad3bd148f937/NM--Rio-Puerco-Wood-Permits/

Last 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/

Wildfire Update

  1. Researchers from 2 Universities to Study Wildfires
      The Associated Press, July 24th

    Researchers at the University of Idaho and Washington State University plan to use a $1.2 million grant from NASA to study how extreme wildfires affect people and the environment, and how to make communities safer. "The Forest Service spends more than half of its total budget fighting fires, and a lot of the reason for that expenditure is the risk to human communities," said Matt Carroll, a professor in the WSU Department of Natural Resource Sciences. To read more of this article link to: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2015715435_apiduniversitieswildfireresearch1stldwritethru.html

  2. Sequoia National Forest Fire Consumes 14,000 Acres
      The Associated Press, July 27th

    Firefighters are making a bit of progress in battling a fire that has consumed 14,000 acres in a remote wilderness area of the Sequoia National Forest. A U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman says the blaze is now five percent contained after it began burning on July 8. Officials say it was sparked by a lightning strike on private land inside the Golden Trout Wilderness area. Spokeswoman Rebecca Brooke says firefighters have been able to stop the fire from progressing on a section of land that is home to the Pyles Boys Camp. To read more about this article link to: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/07/27/3799207/sequoia-national-forest-fire-consumes.html#ixzz1TQQDGImG

  3. California Wildfire Burns Deeper into Heavy Vegetation
      The Associated Press, July 27th

    Firefighters are facing hotter air and lower humidity today as they try to get a handle on a 13,700-acre wildfire on a California Indian reservation. The 21-square-mile wildfire on the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation in San Diego County is burning further into steep and rugged terrain, churning through heavy vegetation in an area with no known history of fire. To read more of this article link to: http://www.kmov.com/news/national/Calif-wildfire-burns-deeper-into-heavy-vegetation-126235518.html

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