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Newsletter Archive


Sevier Dry Lakebed, Utah from the Air                                                                                                                    (Mike Painter)

 
September 30, 2019

Dear CalUWild friends—

The administration continues to undercut public lands protection in many ways. Given that it is impervious to citizen input, about the only option is for people to contact their Congressional representatives with their concerns. Despite everyone’s attention on other topics lately, representatives and senators’ offices are still focused on other issues, too, even if legislation is not moving quickly.

Cosponsorship is an important way of showing support for bills. There are quite a few bills for which cosponsors are actively being sought. We’ll cover those in ITEM 1.

There’s a lot going on in the administration, but to go into detail on each important issue would just about fill a book. Fortunately the press has been covering public lands with increased attention, so we’ve grouped the topics together in ITEM 2. The headlines pretty much tell the story. You can then read more detail if you’re interested.

Finally, thank you to everyone who submitted comments to the Park Service on the Pt. Reyes National Seashore General Plan Amendment for Ranching. We’ll keep you posted on the outcome. And we’ve just learned that the film “The Shame of Point Reyes,” to which we linked in last month’s Update, was awarded “Best Environmental Documentary” at The World Independent Film Festival, held in San Francisco this last weekend.

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
1. Cosponsorships Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
2. Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
1. Cosponsorships Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

Some months ago we developed an online California Congressional Information Sheet to track cosponsorships on public lands bills, rather than list all the cosponsors for each one individually. This month we’ve added the three California bills for the North Coast, Central Coast, and the San Bernardino Mountains.

Please look at your congressional representative and both senators and ask him or her to become a cosponsor of the each of the various bills. If they are already a cosponsor, make sure to thank them. (They need to hear appreciation from their constituents as well as requests.)

Please also make sure to let them know your thoughts about the administration’s policies, reflected in the topics covered in ITEM 2. Phone numbers for Washington, DC offices are included on our sheet, but you can also use the online contact forms on individual members’ webpages at House.gov and Senate.gov.

Utah

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act—This bill has long been CalUWild’s legislative priority. It would designate qualifying lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management as Wilderness. Parts of the original bill have already been designated, most notably in Washington and Emery counties. There is no firm date for reintroduction in the 116th Congress yet, but cosponsors are lining up behind the bill in both the House and Senate. Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California (D-47) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) are the chief sponsors. Sen. Kamala Harris (D) is the main California focus for cosponsorship, though it wouldn’t hurt to contact Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), as well.

H.R. 871 – BEARS Act—This bill would reverse the administration’s reduction of the Bears Ears National Monument, and in fact would enlarge the monument to the original proposal put forth by the Native American Inter-Tribal Coalition. (Pres. Obama’s designation covered only 2/3 of the proposal.) There is only a House version of this bill, but it is incorporated into the ANTIQUITIES Act of 2019, which has both House and Senate versions. (See below.)

California

H.R. 2250 / S. 1110 – Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act—Rep. Jared Huffman (D-2) is the chief sponsor. The bill would designate almost 262,000 acres as Wilderness, set aside 379 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers, and promote fuel reduction and restoration on 729,000 acres of forestland.

H.R. 2199 / S. 1111 – Central Coast Heritage Protection Act—Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-24) is the chief sponsor. The bill would designate almost 245,000 acres as Wilderness, set aside 159 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers, and create two scenic areas.

H.R. 2215 / S. 1109 – San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act—Rep. Judy Chu (D-27) is the chief sponsor. The bill would enlarge two existing Wilderness areas by about 16,000 acres and designate more than 15,000 acres of new Wilderness. The bill would also set aside 45 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers of the San Gabriel River and Little Rock Creek.

Sen. Harris is the chief sponsor of these three bills in the Senate, and Sen. Feinstein is an original cosponsor of each. They both deserve thanks.

National

H.R. 1050 / S. 367 – ANTIQUITIES Act of 2019—The bill states clearly that a national monument, once designated, can only be reduced by Congress (and therefore not by a subsequent president). It gives Congressional ratification to all the national monuments designated by Pres. Clinton, Bush, and Obama since 1996, in other words, all those subject to this administration’s sham review. It also creates new Wilderness areas in New Mexico and Nevada.

H.R. 3195 / S. 1081 – Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act—The bill authorizes the use of all the money in the LWCF every year, $900 million, without Congress needing to reauthorize the spending. The LWCF is used to buy inholdings in national parks and monuments and to buy other land from willing sellers for recreational uses, including urban parks. It is funded by royalties from offshore oil and gas development, so is not a taxpayer-funded program.

H.R. 1225 / S. 500 – Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act—The bill, whose chief sponsor is retiring Utah Rep. Rob Bishop (R), would put $1.3 billion per year for four years into a new fund created from federal energy revenues to reduce the maintenance backlog for our national parks. This is a very popular bill with 313 bipartisan House cosponsors and 42 Senators on board. Both Senators Feinstein and Harris are cosponsors, and most of California House delegation, too.

 
IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
2. Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest

If a link is broken or otherwise inaccessible, please send me an email, and I’ll fix it or send you a PDF copy. As always, inclusion of an item in this section does not imply agreement with the viewpoint expressed.

Please mention any of these topics in your calls to Congress. Thanks!

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

The Interior Board of Land Appeals rejected a proposal by the BLM to remove native juniper and pinyon forest from a huge area of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The appeal was brought by our friends at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Western Watersheds, The Wilderness Society, and the Grand Canyon Trust. The original proposal was the subject of this article in National Geographic: Forests on Utah’s public lands may soon be torn out. Here’s why.

An op-ed in The Hill by CalUWild Advisory Board member Stephen Trimble: What happened to shielding iconic landscapes from greed and destruction?

An op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune: Monument plan could be kiss of death for Death Hollow

Potash Mining in Sevier Lake in the West Desert, Utah

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune on the controversial potash mining development planned for Sevier Lake (pictured above) in the West Desert of Utah: Feds approve massive potash mine on dry Utah lakebed; could bring hundreds of jobs, millions in sales. We wrote about this project when it was first proposed in 2010.

All-Terrain Vehicles in Utah’s National Parks

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune: Feds to open Utah’s national parks to ATVs; advocates fear damage, noise they may bring

California

An article in the New York Times regarding raising Shasta Dam: The Interior Secretary Wants to Enlarge a Dam. An Old Lobbying Client Would Benefit.

An article in Courthouse News about Medicine Lake in northeastern California: Ninth Circuit Voids Geothermal Leases on Sacred Tribal Land

An article in the Los Angeles Times: Forest thinning projects won’t stop the worst wildfires. So why is California spending millions on them?

An article in the Los Angeles Times: Illegal cannabis farms still scarring public lands, two years after Prop. 64

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle: Yosemite rangers battle trash buildup from rock climbers

Colorado

An article on a Wilderness bill, in Colorado Public Radio’s CPR News: In A Sudden Bounty Of Public Land Bills, There’s Hope One Of Them Will Help The Thompson Divide

The Bureau of Land Management’s Acting Director

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune on the newly-appointed acting director of the BLM : Feds’ top land manager remains the attorney for two Utah counties in a Grand-Staircase monument lawsuit. It was just reported this afternoon that he’s been reappointed to another term as acting director. That’s how the administration gets around having appointees being subject to confirmation by the Senate.

An article in The Hill: Federal land agency chief releases 17-page recusal list

The Bureau of Land Management and its Move Out of Washington, DC

An article in The Hill: Documents show extent of Interior plan to decentralize BLM. The Congressional Affairs office would move to Reno, Nevada. That is a pretty clear indication that they’re interested in dismantling the agency.

An op-ed in the Washington Post: This is how the Trump administration quietly incapacitates the government

An article in the Los Angeles Times: If you want to neuter a crucial federal agency, this is how you do it

An article in the Reno Gazette Journal: Trump Administration is moving 49 BLM staffers to Reno. Nevada lawmakers don’t know why

An article in High Country News: How BLM employees really feel about moving West

An article in ProPublica: Inside the Trump Administration’s Chaotic Dismantling of the Federal Land Agency

An article in the Washington Post: New BLM headquarters share a building with a Chevron corporate office

An op-ed in the Denver Post by Ann Morgan, former Colorado BLM Director: As Colorado’s former BLM director, let me explain why the Grand Junction move makes no sense

More Interior Department Topics

An article in the Energy 202 Blog in the Washington Post: Trump administration wants to vet worries about development near parks from regional offices

An article in The Hill on a House Natural Resources Committee hearing: Lawmakers show bipartisan irritation with Interior over withheld documents

An article in the Washington Post: Trump officials broke law by using entrance fees to keep parks open, watchdog says

An editorial in The New York Times: Trump to Miners, Loggers and Drillers: This Land Is Your Land

An article in the Washington Post: Top Interior official who pushed to expand drilling in Alaska to join oil company there

In General

An article on the New York Times, looking at a conflict between scientific research and the Wilderness Act: We’re Barely Listening to the U.S.’s Most Dangerous Volcanoes

An article in the Washington Post: The battle over wild horses

An op-ed in the New York Times: Lost in Alaskan Wilderness, I Found My Anti-Home

 
 
 
 
 

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