Newsletter Archive

On Boulder Mountain, overlooking Capitol Reef National Park, Utah                                                  (Mike Painter)

November 30, 2020

Dear CalUWild friends—

I hope you had a nice and safe Thanksgiving, with a chance to reflect on the many things we have to be grateful for—among them our expansive wilderness areas and public lands here in the West and across the country. CalUWild is grateful for your support and interest in protecting these places.

We’re also grateful that on January 20, 2021 an administration will be installed that will be far more supportive of public lands and the environment in general than what we’ve faced the last four years. Fortunately, courts have often ruled against some of this administration’s worst decisions, and the incoming Biden Administration has said it will reverse many of the others.

Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris was a strong supporter of public lands here in California, so we hope that will continue in the new administration. So far, Gov. Gavin Newsom has not appointed her replacement.

The current administration did make one good decision last week, when the Army Corps of Engineers denied a final permit for the Pebble Mine in Alaska. Indigenous tribes and conservationists had long opposed the project, which threatened one of Alaska’s largest salmon fisheries, as did Donald Trump, Jr. and Tucker Carlson of Fox News. See the Washington Post article in ITEM 4 for details.

Here in California, the election resulted in one significant flip of a Congressional seat: Rep. TJ Cox (D-21) lost his race to David Valadao (R), who was his predecessor. Rep. Cox was a member of the Natural Resources Committee. Rep. Mike Garcia (R-25) retained the seat he had won in a special election to replace Rep. Katie Hill (D), who resigned.

Other districts had changes in representation:

— District 8, Jay Obernolte (R) took the seat of retiring Rep. Paul Cook (R).
— Disrict 39, Young Kim (R) took the seat of Gil Cisneros (D).
— District 48, Michelle Steel (R) took the seat of Harley Rouda (D).
— District 50, Darrell Issa (R) returned to Congress, replacing Duncan Hunter (R), who had resigned after being charged with campaign finance violations.
— District 53, Sara Jacobs (D) replaced Susan Davis (D), who retired.

California’s delegation in the upcoming 117th Congress will consist of 42 Democrats and eleven Republicans.

As we mentioned last month, November is the beginning of CalUWild’s Annual Membership Appeal. Dues have never been required to receive CalUWild’s Monthly Update, but we do rely on the support of our readers. Thank you to those who have contributed already! If you’ve made a contribution in recent years, please watch your mail. More information is at the bottom of this Update.

Many thanks,

1.   30×30 Resolution Gains Cosponsors
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   National Defense Authorization Act
          (ACTION ITEM)

3.   7th Annual Visions of the Wild Festival Continues

4.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.    30×30 Resolution Gains Cosponsors
          (ACTION ITEM)

H.Res. 835, supporting the concept of protecting 30% of U.S. land and oceans by 2030, continues to attract attention. So far, 17 California representatives have signed on as cosponsors in the House. (Both California senators are cosponsors of the companion resolution in the Senate, S.Res. 372.)

A listing of cosponsors may be found on our online California Congressional Information Sheet. Please call your representative and ask them to sign on as a cosponsor or to thank them if they are a cosponsor already. Contact information may be found on the sheet as well.

The lead sponsors in both House and Senate, Rep. Debra Haaland (D-NM) and retiring Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), are reportedly under consideration for Secretary of the Interior in the Biden Administration. The New York Times published an article, A Push Emerges for the First Native American Interior Secretary about Rep. Haaland.

Our friends at the Center for Western Priorities just released a compilation of all their 30×30 interactive “storymaps”, describing the projects as follows:

Each storymap explores a different approach to or angle of the 30×30 goal, from the role of national parks and wildlife refuges to wildlife corridors and the ways in which 30×30 can open up land access for sportsmen and women. Although a number of conservation approaches are featured, there are certainly many, many others.

The report highlights a number of conservation case studies and examples across America, celebrating successes while pulling out lessons for the future.

Contents include: National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, BLM National Conservation Lands, Tribal Land Management, State Parks, the DRECP, Private Land Conservation, Wildlife Corridors, Public Access for Sportsmen and Women, and Urban Conservation.

The Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution to include support for federal and state programs that would work toward achieving the 30×30 goal.

2.   National Defense Authorization Act
          (ACTION ITEM)

Every year Congress passes a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a law setting defense spending levels and programs. Often public lands bills are attached, since it’s considered must-pass legislation by the end of a congressional session. This year is no different, as we wrote in our July Update<>.

The House version of the NDAA contains bills that it has already passed separately:

— The Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act.
— The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act.
— The San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act.
— The Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act.
— The Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
— The Colorado Wilderness Act.

The first four bills are for California, and together all six bills would protect more than 1.3 million acres of wilderness and designate more than 1,000 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers, among other things.

The Senate’s NDAA does not contain these bills, so the difference must be negotiated in a conference committee. 17 California representatives are on the committee:

Jared Huffman (D-2)
John Garamendi (D-3)
Jackie Speier (D-14)
Ro Khanna (D-17)
Zoe Lofgren (D-19)
Jimmy Panetta (D-20)
Devin Nunes (R-22)
Salud Carbajal (D-24)
Mike Garcia (R-25)
Adam Schiff (D-28)
Brad Sherman (D-30)
Gil Cisneros (D-39)
Mark Takano (D-41)
Maxine Waters (D-43)
Harley Rouda (D-48)
Juan Vargas (D-51)
Susan Davis (D-53)

If your representative is on this list, please call them and request that the Protect America’s Wilderness Act (Division O) be included in the final version of the NDAA. Contact information may be found on our online California Congressional Information Sheet.

3.   7th Annual Visions of the Wild Festival Continues

Our exploration of the 38th Parallel continues with a discussion: Art & Nature: Dispatch from Tajikistan

Wednesday, December 16
7:00 p.m. (PST)

with Lolisanam Ulugova, independent curator/art manager from Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan

We will hear about Tajikistan’s rich history, its traditional decorative and applied arts, colorful embroidery and carpets, as well as a contemporary art scene and the problems artists encounter in the state-controlled environment.

The event is free, but you need to register in advance here. More information about the presentation and a link to a film may be found on the registration page.

Earlier presentations on travelling the 38th Parallel, a Global Plastic Art Challenge, the Silk Road, and daguerreotypist Solomon Carvalho are archived on the Visions of the Wild homepage. An upcoming event on land art is scheduled for January 20. Registration for it should be open soon.

4.   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.

The Administration

An article in the Washington Post: Senior Justice Dept. official stalled probe against former interior secretary Ryan Zinke, sources say

The administration is forcing local governments to approve sales under the Land & Water Conservation Fund, made by willing sellers: New Interior order undermines conservation bill Trump campaigned on, critics say, even though there is no such requirement in the law.

In Utah

A metal sculpture was discovered in redrock country and quickly disappeared. The New York Times published several articles: A Weird Monolith Is Found in the Utah Desert; Did John McCracken Make That Monolith in Utah?; and finally: That Mysterious Monolith in the Utah Desert? It’s Gone, Officials Say

In California

An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, by CalUWild friend Jacques Leslie, reporting on good news: A victory for salmon, two tribes and the Klamath River. An article on the topic was published in the San Francisco Chronicle: Klamath River dams closer to removal after Newsom, Oregon governor sign deal

In Alaska

As mentioned in the introduction: Good news in an article in the Washington Post: Army Corps says no to massive gold mine proposed near Bristol Bay in Alaska. We’ve written on the Pebble Mine in past issues of the Update.

In Arizona

An article in The Guardian‘s “This Land Is Your Land” section: Revealed: Trump officials rush to mine desert haven native tribes consider holy

In Colorado

An article about the CORE Act, from Colorado Public Radio: Protections For 400,000 Acres Of Colorado Public Lands Are Closer To Becoming Law, But Roadblocks Remain

In the Northwest

An article in Audubon: An Indigenous Effort to Return Condors to the Pacific Northwest Nears Its Goal

Book Reviews

In National Parks Traveler: a reviewof Leave It As It Is: A Journey Through Theodore Roosevelt’s American Wilderness by David Gessner, author of All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West;

and a review of Wonders of Sand and Stone: A History of Utah’s National Parks and Monuments by Frederick Swanson.


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