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Policy Update Week of August 1, 2011


  1. 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

In the Administration

  1. Effectiveness of Fuel Treatments in the West Depends on Thinning Intensity
      U.S. Forest Service Press Release, August 1st

    In the largest ever study of fuel treatment effectiveness, U.S. Forest Service researchers have found that intense thinning treatments that leave between 50 and 100 trees per acre are the most effective in reducing the probability of crown fires in the dry forests of the western United States. The study, the results of which are published in a recent issue of the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, provides a scientific basis for establishing quantitative guidelines for reducing stand densities and surface fuels. The total number of optimal trees per acre on any given forest will depend on species, terrain and other factors. To read more of this article link to: http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2011/releases/08/thinning.shtml

  2. Forest Service Says It's Moving on Wallow Fire Recovery Ahead of Legislation
      Cronkite News, Published by Matthew Trotter, August 3rd

    The U.S. Forest Service told a Senate panel Wednesday that work has already begun on recovery of forestland burned by the Wallow Fire, ahead of a bill that would require that action. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell told the Senate Public Lands and Forests Subcommittee that his agency "understands and appreciates" the task ahead of it and needs any legislation to be flexible enough that the service can address high-risk areas as needed. To read more of this article link to: http://cronkitenewsonline.com/2011/08/forest-service-says-its-acting-on-wallow-fire-recovery-ahead-of-legislation/

This Week in Congress

  1. August 3rd - The Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests held a hearing to receive testimony on five bills. The bills include The Arizona Wallow Fire Monitoring and Recovery Act, The Tennessee Wilderness Act, The Organ Mountains- Dona Ana County Conservation and Protection Act, The Soda Ash Competition Act and The Geothermal Production Expansion Act. To read more about this hearing link to: http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.ByMonth

  2. Wallow Fire Recovery Act Receives First Hearing
      U.S. Senator John Kyl Press Release, August 3rd

    The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests today held a hearing to receive testimony on the Arizona Wallow Fire Recovery and Monitoring Act (S. 1344). U.S. Senators Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced the bill on July 11, following the largest wildfire in Arizona's history. "We're gratified that the Committee has recognized the urgency of our state's situation following the Wallow Fire by agreeing to consider this important legislation in a swift and timely manner," said Senators Kyl and McCain. To read more about this article link to: http://kyl.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=333739

  3. Senate Democrats Confident They Can Keep Anti-EPA Bill at Bay in the Fall
      The New York Times, Published by Jean Chemnick, August 3rd

    When Congress returns in September from its month long recess, House Republicans say they will pick up where they left off in crafting and passing legislation to restrict U.S. EPA's air quality rules. But Senate Democrats say they expect to have no trouble killing those proposals from the GOP-controlled House. "They keep trying to do that," said Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). "They keep trying to overturn the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act. That's not going to happen." To Read more of this article link to: http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/08/03/03greenwire-senate-democrats-confident-they-can-keep-anti-71181.html

  4. Wyden Slams BLM Error for Counties' Smaller Timber Payment, Criticizes Late Notification
      The Associated Press, Published by Jeff Barnard, August 3rd

    Oregon counties already struggling to cope with declining federal timber revenues will be getting less than they expected from a federal safety net program due to a calculation error, a slip-up criticized Wednesday by a member of the state's congressional delegation. The 18 so-called O&C Counties of Western Oregon learned in June that they will be sharing only $40 million in their final payment under a federal safety net program. They had been told it would be $51.6 million. To read more about this article link to: http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/7c8cc3a051f6450c97117e676ff33485/OR--Timber-Counties/

National News

  1. Appeals Court Overturns 4 Tongass Logging Projects
      Juneau Empire, Published by Jonathan Grass, August 4th

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a United States Forest Service approval of four Tongass logging projects. A three-judge panel of the court that hears appeals of federal cases originating in Alaska disagreed with U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline, who had upheld the Forest Service's decision. The panel ordered the Forest Service to re-analyze the projects. The logging projects in question are those in Scott Peak, Overlook, Traitors Cove and Soda Nick. According to a release by the plaintiffs, Greenpeace and Cascadia Wildlands, the four projects would cut 33 million board feet from 1,700 acres of old-growth forest and constructed 13.7 miles of logging roads in already fragmented areas. To read more of this article link to: http://juneauempire.com/local/2011-08-03/appeals-court-overturns-4-tongass-logging-projects

  2. New Weapon in Emerald Ash Borer Detection Found
      The Morton Arboretum, August 2nd

    New predator helps fight Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Researchers confirmed that Cerceris fumipennis (Cerceris), a native wasp that preys on EAB, was found at Emerson Park in suburban Skokie. The discovery was a result of a partnership between The Morton Arboretum and the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association. Now, researchers hope that the wasp will serve as a sort of "canary in the coal mine," or an early warning system for EAB infestation, in areas where EAB has not yet been found, according to Dr. Frederic Miller, Research Associate at The Morton Arboretum. To read more of this article link to: http://triblocal.com/lisle/community/stories/2011/08/new-weapon-in-emerald-ash-borer-eab-detection-found/

In the States: Virginia, North Carolina, Wyoming, Michigan and Colorado

  1. New Wilderness Not Welcome in Wyoming, Commissioners Say
      Gazette Wyoming Bureau, Published by Martin Kidston, August 3rd

    Saying they have the backing of most area residents, Park County commissioners voted 4-1 this week to not recommend to the Bureau of Land Management any special or unique landscapes for wilderness protection. The vote, which came after 15 minutes of discussion Tuesday afternoon, places commissioners at odds with conservationists who have asked local, state and federal officials to consider adding some pockets of Wyoming land to areas managed as wilderness. To read more of this article link to: http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/wyoming/article_6496ee0d-7603-52f8-b7c8-ba4b2c0bc1ae.html#ixzz1U59KHazm

  2. Wood Pellet Manufacturing Good News for Loggers
      Tidewater News, Published by Dale Liesch, July 31st

    Local loggers might breathe a little easier now. Wood pellet manufacturing facilities planned for Franklin, other areas of southeast Virginia and Ahoskie, N.C., will give loggers a market for hardwood pulpwood that had been lacking recently."It definitely helps us out," said Paul Burby, whose Carolina East Forest Products in Ahoskie buys and harvests timber. "It's going to be really big." Burby, who owns hardwood and pine, said an increase in the hardwood market would lead to a less costly replanting of pine, which would also greatly benefit loggers. To read more of this article link to: http://www.forestbusinessnetwork.com/5840/wood-pellet-manufacturers-good-news-for-loggers/

  3. Teachers Learn About Biofuel
      UpperMichigan'sSource.com, August 2nd

    With these sky high gas prices, researchers are looking for alternatives to traditional fuel--biofuel being one of them. This summer at Michigan Tech, seven teachers from all over the state are learning more about how it's made so they can introduce their students to a vital area of engineering. There are three labs. One looks at how trees can be best grown to make woody biomass, another tests different methods for converting the woody biomass into fuel, and the third tests the fuel on real engines. To read more about this article link to: http://www.uppermichiganssource.com/news/story.aspx?id=646946

  4. Forest Service Agrees to Void Timber Contracts
      Associated Press, Published by Steven Paulsen, August 4th

    The U.S. Forest Service is offering to renegotiate timber sale contracts in an effort to save sawmills in the Rocky Mountain region that have been hit hard by bark beetle infestations, the recession and financially unviable agreements. Acting regional forester Jerome Thomas said Thursday that sawmills are needed more than ever to help cope with a bark beetle infestation that has ravaged an estimated 41 million acres in the West. The offer will help sawmills in Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska, he added. To read more of this article link to: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9OTFM780.htm

Last 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

Wildfire Update

  1. Forest Service Cancels Air Tanker Contract
      The Associated Press, Published by Sheila Kumar, July 29th

    The U.S. Forest Service said Friday it has cancelled a contract for six air tankers provided by a Northern California company because it failed to meet the maintenance schedule required by the agency's safety standards, a claim the company disputes. The agency said Sacramento-based Aero Union failed an inspection with the Federal Aviation Administration in April. Britt Gourley, chief executive officer for Aero Union, disputed the Forest Services' claims. He says the company's aircraft had been cleared to fly by the FAA and Forest Service. To read more of this article link to: http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_18580461

  2. Sequoia National Forest Fire 35 Percent Contained
      The Associated Press, July 30th

    Fire officials say crews battling a wildfire in the Sequoia National Forest are making progress in their attempts to surround the blaze. U.S. Forest Service spokesman Denise Alonzo says after burning more than 18,000 acres, or about 28 square miles, the fire is now 35 percent contained. The fire is burning in a rugged backcountry area in an area called the Golden Trout Wilderness. There are no roads or designated campgrounds in area. To read more of this article link to: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/07/30/3805491/sequoia-national-forest-fire-35.html

  3. Monument Fire Burn Areas Face High Probability of Mudslides, USGS Says
      Cronkite News, Published by Matthew Trotter, August 1st

    The intensity of the Monument Fire and the steeply sloped area where it occurred make mudslides there very likely during Arizona's monsoon season, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. In a report released Thursday, the USGS said 1 to 1.4 inches of rain in a half-hour would cause at least an 80 percent probability of mudslides in 13 of the 18 drainage basins studied in the burn area. During any given year, there's a 50 percent chance a storm will bring that much rain. To read more of this article link to: http://cronkitenewsonline.com/2011/08/monument-fire-burn-areas-face-high-probability-of-mudslides-usgs-says/

  4. North Texas Wildfires Spark Historic Federal-State Collaborative Study
      EurekAlert.com, August 3rd

    Two wildland-urban interface (WUI) fires* earlier this year outside of Amarillo, Texas, that destroyed 70 homes, burned more than 25,000 acres of land, and caused nearly $6 million in property damage. But thanks to a collaborative effort between the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Texas Forest Service (TFS), they are now the most thoroughly investigated and scientifically evaluated events of their kind. To read more of this article link to: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-08/nios-ntw080311.php

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