Newsletter Archive

Canyon Walls, Cedar Mesa, Utah                                                                                                 (Mike Painter)

April 30, 2015

Dear CalUWild friends & supporters-

It happens every month: Items pour in just as I’m writing the Update, so it always takes longer to finish than planned. This month started out being a “reading issue,” but several news and action actions were added in the last couple of days. I didn’t want to drop any of the already collected press & video links, so to keep things to a manageable length, I’m dispensing with the introduction, except to say: Please contact your representatives and Sen. Boxer as outlined in Items 1 & 5.

Thanks for your continued interest and support!

Best wishes,

1.   Red Rock Bill To Be Re-Introduced
          Original Cosponsors Needed
          DEADLINE: May 15
          (ACTION ITEM)

2.   Park Service Releases Rim of the Valley Plan
          Public Meetings Scheduled and Comment Period
          DEADLINE: June 30
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership News
      a.   Open House in Bridgeport
                Saturday, May 2
                11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
      b.   Online Petition
                (ACTION ITEM)
4.   Lawsuit Filed to Restore Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite

5.   Land & Water Conservation Fund Reauthorization
          (ACTION ITEM)
6.   New Land Policy Group Formed To Explore Ways
          For States To Take Federal Land

7.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   Red Rock Bill To Be Re-Introduced
          Original Cosponsors Needed
          DEADLINE: May 15
          (ACTION ITEM)

It’s time for America’s Red Rock Wilderness to be introduced, as it has been in every Congress since Utah Rep. Wayne Owens first championed it in 1989. Some years later, Sen. Dick Durbin (D) introduced a companion bill in the Senate. Though the bill has expanded over the years, the goal remains the same: To designate qualifying BLM lands in Utah-some of the most spectacular landscape in the United States, if not the world-as wilderness.

After Rep. Owens left Congress, Rep. Maurice Hinchey of New York and then Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey took on principal sponsorship of the bill. Both have since retired, and in this Congress, the 114th, Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California (D-47) has agreed to carry the torch. It’s important that Californians show their support for his effort, so please give his office a call to say “thank you,” regardless of whether you live in his district or not, at 202-225-7924.

It is also important that Rep. Lowenthal have a strong show of support from the rest of California’s House delegation, most visibly through cosponsorship of the bill. Rep. Lowenthal and Sen. Durbin are planning to re-introduce the bill the week of May 18, and they’ve set a deadline of May 15 for their colleagues to sign on if they wish to be listed as original cosponsors. (Representatives can always sign on at a later date, but original cosponsorship makes a stronger statement.) So far, 70 representatives from across the country have agreed to be cosponsors. The Californians are:

Jared Huffman   (D-2)
Doris Matsui   (D-6)
Jerry McNerney   (D-9)
Barbara Lee   (D-13)
Jackie Speier   (D-14)
Michael Honda   (D-17)
Anna Eshoo   (D-18)
Zoe Lofgren   (D-19)
Sam Farr   (D-20)
Lois Capps   (D-24)
Judy Chu   (D-27)
Adam Schiff   (D-28)
Tony Cárdenas   (D-29)
Grace Napolitano   (D-32)
Ted Lieu   (D-33)
Lucille Roybal-Allard   (D-40)

If your representative is on this list, please give them a call or send a note with your thanks. Complete contact information for California House members may be found by following the links here.

The following is a list of California members we’d still like to see as cosponsors:

John Garamendi   (D-3)   *
Mike Thompson   (D-5)   *
Ami Bera   (D-7)
Mark DeSaulnier   (D-11)
Jackie Speier   (D-14)   *
Eric Swalwell   (D-15)
Julia Brownley   (D-26)
Brad Sherman   (D-30)   *
Raul Ruiz   (D-36)
Linda Sánchez   (D-38)   *
Mark Takano   (D-41)
Maxine Waters   (D-43)   *
Janice Hahn   (D-44)
Mimi Walters   (D-45)
Loretta Sanchez   (D-46)   *
Juan Vargas   (D-51)
Susan Davis   (D-53)   *

* indicates that they were a cosponsor in a previous Congress

If your representative is on this list, please give them a call or send a note asking them to become a cosponsor, which they can do by contacting Rep. Lowenthal’s office. Again, complete contact information may be found by following the links here.

Sen. Barbara Boxer has also been a long-time cosponsor of Sen. Durbin’s bill. Please ask her to sign on by making a call to one of her offices listed here.

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act has been CalUWild’s main legislative priority since our founding 18 years ago. Please continue to support it by assisting with the cosponsor campaign. Thanks!

2.   Park Service Releases Rim of the Valley Plan
          Public Meetings Scheduled and Comment Period
          DEADLINE: June 30
          (ACTION ITEM)

The following announcement comes from the National Park Service, regarding the Rim of the Valley Study, which we wrote about in August 2010 and August 2011.

We don’t have any recommendations for comments at this time, but if you’re interested, please follow the links to read the documents and please attend one of the meetings if you live in the area.

Draft Special Resource Study & Environmental Assessment Available for Review

Dear Friends,

It is with great pleasure that the National Park Service (NPS) offers the Rim of the Valley Draft Special Resource Study and Environmental Assessment to you for review and comment. The NPS initiated this special resource study in 2010 and published preliminary management alternatives in late 2012. This study report reflects your initial involvement and input into the planning process. The study alternatives and their concepts reflect your concerns and ideas.

The executive summary newsletter, full draft report, and link to the NPS online public comment system are available on the study website: If you requested a hard copy of the full study report, it will be mailed to you in the next week. Copies of the executive summary newsletter are also being mailed to those of you on our mailing list who have not requested online only materials. A Spanish language version of the executive summary will soon be available on the website as well.

Comments Welcomed

There will be several opportunities for providing comments, including public meetings in May and June 2015 (please see below for schedule). Written comments can be submitted via the NPS online public comment system, email, or by sending your comments to our physical mailing address (please see below for contact information).

Comments on the draft study report must be submitted by June 30, 2015. Your continued involvement will assist the National Park Service in finalizing this report, and in determining the final study recommendations. The final outcome of the study will be the transmittal of the final report from the Secretary of the Interior to Congress, along with the Secretary’s recommendations for the area.

Thank you for your interest in the National Park Service’s Rim of the Valley Corridor Special Resource Study!


NPS Study Team

The NPS will host a series of public meetings throughout the study area to present the draft study report, answer questions, and accept comments. In addition, at least one virtual meeting will be conducted via the Internet. Please visit our website for more information.

To receive up-to-date information about public meetings, please join our e-mail list by visiting:

Public meeting locations and times include:

La Crescenta
Monday, May 4, 2015: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
La Crescenta Public Library – Community Room
2809 Foothill Boulevard
La Crescenta, CA 91214

Tuesday, May 5, 2015: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
William S. Hart Regional Park – Hart Hall
24151 Newhall Avenue
Newhall, CA 91321

Thousand Oaks
Wednesday, May 6, 2015: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Conejo Recreation and Parks District – Community Room
403 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Thursday, May 21, 2015: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Mason Recreation Center
10500 Mason Avenue
Chatsworth, CA 91311

Downtown Los Angeles *
Tuesday, June 2, 2015: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument
Hellman/Quon Building
130 Paso de la Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90012

* This meeting location is convenient to public transit and is near Los Angeles Union Station. Paid parking is also available. Please visit the website for El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument for more information:

* Habrá un traductor disponible para ésta reunión pública.

Mail:   National Park Service
            Rim of the Valley Corridor Special Resource Study
            570 W. Avenue 26, #175
            Los Angeles, CA 90065

E-mail:      pwr_rimofthevalley [at] nps [dot] gov
Phone:      Anne Dove, Project Manager (323) 441-9307
                   Margie Steigerwald, Planner (805) 370-2373

3.   Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership News
      a.   Open House in Bridgeport
                Saturday, May 2
                11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership, of which CalUWild is a member, has been working to build up support for protecting the Hills, one of the West’s special places. They contain abundant wildlife, scenic vistas, and history. Come celebrate the opening of the Partnership’s new office in Bridgeport this weekend. Tioga Pass will likely still be closed, but Sonora Pass is open, if you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway.

The office is located at:

158 Kingsley Street, Suite #1
Bridgeport, CA

Music, food & drink will be provided, but bring a folding chair if you like.

For more information, contact Jeff Hunter by email, jeff [at] bodiehills [dot] org or at 760-935-3960.

      b.   Online Petition
                 (ACTION ITEM)

The Partnership is seeking to protect the Bodie Hills in a way that honors tradition & access. There’s now an online petition to Sens. Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and Rep. Paul Cook, the local congressman asking them to introduce legislation establishing a national monument in the Hills. This is not a new proposal, and the Bodie Hills were on a list of places the Obama Administration was considering designating in the first term. Please take a moment to read, sign & share the petition. If you’ve visited the area, be sure to personalize the message.

4.   Lawsuit Filed to Restore Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite

Restore Hetch Hetchy sent out the following announcement last week:

Lawsuit asserts Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Reservoir violates California law

“Not one drop of water need be lost in restoration”

Today, Restore Hetch Hetchy filed a petition in the Superior Court in Tuolumne County asserting that the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park violates the water diversion mandates of the California Constitution.

As you may know, we have been preparing this legal challenge for some time. We felt that John Muir’s 177th birthday and the eve of Earth Day was an appropriate time to file our petition.

The petition is straightforward. We intend to show that the value of restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley is greater than the cost of making the water system improvements that would be necessary to move the point of diversion for Tuolumne River flows downstream of Yosemite National Park. As a result, continued operation of the reservoir is a violation of the prohibition against unreasonable methods of diversion in Article X, section 2 of the California Constitution.

As passionate as we are about restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley and Yosemite National Park, we are equally committed to ensuring a reliable water supply for San Francisco and other Bay Area communities. Therefore, our petition allows time for San Francisco to develop and implement a plan to assure that not one drop of water is lost and all hydropower is replaced with renewable sources.

While we anticipate opposition, we believe we have a strong case on the merits. We look forward to the opportunity to present our case in court.

We have posted both the petition and our press release on our website. Stay tuned – there will be much more to come over the next many months.

A century ago, San Francisco made history by becoming the only city ever to destroy a significant portion of one of our national parks. We intend to reverse that unfortunate chapter of American history and return Hetch Hetchy Valley to Yosemite National Park and all people.

5.   Land & Water Conservation Fund Reauthorization
          (ACTION ITEM)

CalUWild’s co-founder Vicky Hoover continues to stay active in many issues and is the chair of the Sierra Club’s national task force on reauthorizing the Land & Water Conservation Fund. She just sent out the following alert (slightly edited). Complete contact information for all offices may be found by following the links here.

Effective Advocacy note: When more than one issue requires contacting the same office, as with this Update‘s Items 1 & 5, it’s probably best to place separate phone calls or send separate emails, unless you have already established some sort of relationship with the office or staffer in question.

Sierra Club is part of a national coalition working to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), an important federal funding program for federal and state acquisitions of private lands for priority public recreation purposes. For fifty and a half years this fund, paid out of revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling, not from taxpayers, has supported key additions to federal conservation lands-national parks, forests, etc-of private inholdings, and allowed states, cities and counties to acquire more lands for parks-a vital and continuing need in a time of population increases.

But unless specifically reauthorized by Congress, this crucial fund expires in September of this year. Two Senate bills have already been introduced to reauthorize LWCF, (S. 890 for permanent reauthorization PLUS full, dedicated appropriation of the authorized annual $900 million [which in many past years has been partially diverted to other uses] and S. 338 for permanent reauthorization only.)

The new House bill introduced April 15 by Reps. Raul Grijalva of AZ and Michael Fitzpatrick of PA, with 18 original cosponsors-9 Democrats and 9 Republicans-is H.R. 1814; it is equivalent to the Senate S. 338.

Here are the four from CA. Please thank them!

Rep. Lois Capps [CA-24]
Rep. Jared Huffman [CA-2]
Rep. Raul Ruiz [CA-36]
Rep. Mike Thompson [CA-5]

But we need more Californians! 37 California representatives signed the House LWCF Appropriations letter [urging strong, robust funding for LWCF in next fiscal year] that closed in mid-March with 193 signers in all. The other 33 Californians are all highly probable cosponsors of H.R. 1814 if asked by their constituents. You are their constituents.

Here are the other 33: Aguilar, Bass, Bera, Brownley, Cardenas, Chu, Costa, Davis, DeSaulnier (succeeded George Miller), Eshoo, Farr, Garamendi, Hahn, Honda, Lee, Lieu, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Matsui, McNerney, Napolitano, Peters, Roybal-Allard, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, Schiff, Sherman, Speier, Swalwell, Takano, Torres (new, especially important to thank and urge), Vargas, Waters.

If a stronger House bill-equivalent to S. 890-is introduced, we’ll ask members of Congress to cosponsor that. But at the moment, H.R. 1814 is the way to show support.

Thanks for your help!

6.   New Land Policy Group Formed
          To Explore Ways for States
          To Take Federal Land

Here’s another development in the war against Western federal public lands, coming out of Utah Rep. Chris Stewart’s office just two days ago.

Who are “the rightful owners” they refer to? Utah’s constitution, for example, specifically disclaims any state interest in the lands. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely they are referring to Native American tribes. All Americans are the rightful owners-the public lands are our birthright. Note also that two of the members of the Group are from Eastern states with very little federal land.


April 28, 2015

Reps. Stewart and Bishop Launch New Federal Land Action Group

WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Chris Stewart (R-Utah) and Rob Bishop (R-Utah) launched the Federal Land Action Group, a congressional team that will develop a legislative framework for transferring public lands to local ownership and control.

This Group, chaired by Rep. Stewart, will build on the work started by Utah and other states in recent years. “The federal government has been a lousy landlord for western states and we simply think the states can do it better,” Stewart said. “If we want healthier forests, better access to public lands, more consistent funding for public education and more reliable energy development, it makes sense to have local control.”

Rep. Bishop, Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said, “This group will explore legal and historical background in order to determine the best congressional action needed to return these lands back to the rightful owners. We have assembled a strong team of lawmakers, and I look forward to formulating a plan that reminds the federal government it should leave the job of land management to those who know best.”

The Federal Land Action Group will hold a series of forums with experts on public lands policy, with the goal of introducing transfer legislation.

Other members of the Group include Representatives Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Cresent Hardy (R-Nev.), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).


7.   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.

An op-ed on Utah in the New York Times: Saving What’s Left of Utah’s Lost World

High Country News articles

Utah’s “Grand Bargain” for public lands enters phase three

Drilling Chaco: What’s actually at stake

Westerners need to stand up for public lands

Dispatch from Cliven Bundy’s latest gathering

An article by Craig Childs: Children in Alaska’s barbaric country

Navajo election shakes up Grand Canyon development plans

CalUWild friend Phil Hanceford writes a short history of BLM & Wilderness

The Moab (UT) Sun-News

CalUWild friend Mike Coronella’s op-ed: Pass America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act

Little kids own our federal lands

Article in Salon: Wallace Stegner and Edward Abbey have never been more relevant in the drought-stricken West

An article in The New Yorker by CalUWild friend Jacques Leslie: The Trouble with Megaprojects

Video links

Episode 11 in the USFS Restore: Black-backed Woodpeckers and Fire

Grand Canyon in Depth #4: Night Sky

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