Newsletter Archive

Ancient Fortification, Bears Ears National Monument, Utah                                                                         (Mike Painter)

June 29, 2023

Dear CalUWild friends & Supporters —

There are more Action Items than usual this month, but one (ITEM 3a) is a carryover from last month because of a deadline extension. and three are quick phone calls (ITEMS 1, 2, and 3b). Only the remaining one (ITEM 4) involves writing a comment, with the talking points provided.

So I’ll keep the introduction brief to wish you a Happy Fourth of July, remembering that the fight for democracy is an ongoing one, as is the fight to protect our public lands end the environment in general.

Thanks for playing an important part in both.

Best wishes,
Mike Painter, Coordinator

1.   Red Rocks Bill Cosponsor Update
         (ACTION ITEM)

         2. San Gabriel Mountains Expansion Proposal
         Goes to the White House
         (ACTION ITEM)

3a.   Bureau of Land Management
         Public Lands Conservation Rule
         Wednesday, July 5
         (ACTION ITEM)
3b. Legislation Introduced To Negate the
         New Public Lands Rule
         (ACTION ITEM)
4.   U.S. Forest Service
         Public Lands Rule
         DEADLINE: July 20
         (ACTION ITEM)

5.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsor Update
         (ACTION ITEM)

We added three more cosponsors of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (H.R.3031) from California this month:

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-10): 202-225-2095
Rep. Julia Brownley (D-26): 202-225-5811
Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-44): 202-225-8220

If you live in one of their districts, please call their office to say thank you.

If your representative has not cosponsored, please call and ask that they become one.

CalUWild’s website has a full listing of California Senate and House cosponsorships and Washington, DC office phone numbers.

There are currently 55 cosponsors in the House and 22 in the Senate. For a full list of cosponsors nationwide, click here.

2.   San Gabriel Mountains Expansion Proposal
         Goes to the White House
         (ACTION ITEM)

In early June, California Sen. Alex Padilla (D) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-28) sent a letter to Pres. Biden and other administration officials asking for an expansion of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument (designated by Pres. Obama in 2014) by presidential proclamation. Both Sen. Padilla and Rep. Chu have introduced legislation in the current and previous Congresses to expand the monument. This week, Sen. Padilla and Rep. Chu held a joint event at which they announced their request. Rep. Chu’s press release is here.

A map of the proposed expansion is here.

Please call Sen. Padilla’s and Rep. Chu’s offices, thanking them for their leadership on this proposal and also contact the White House, asking the President to act on their request.

Sen. Alex Padilla: 202-224-3553
Rep. Judy Chu: 202-225-5464

White House Contact Webform (preferred)
White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111

The Los Angeles Times published an article on the expansion request: California Congress members call for expansion of San Gabriel Mountains National Monument (may be behind a paywall).

3a.   Bureau of Land Management
         Public Lands Conservation Rule
         Wednesday, July 5
         (ACTION ITEM)

Last month we discussed the new Conservation Rule proposed by BLM, asking our members to submit comments. Right before that deadline of June 20, BLM extended the comment period by 15 days, so if you didn’t get a chance to submit your thoughts, you now have until July 5 to do so—even if it is simply to say you support the new rule in general.

Please refer to Item 2 in last month’s Update for more detailed talking points if you’d like to include them in your comments.

Click here to submit comments online.

3b.   Legislation Introduced To Negate the
         New Public Lands Rule
         (ACTION ITEM)

In another development regarding the BLM rulemaking, Utah Rep. John Curtis (R) and Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso (R) have introduced bills (H.R.3397 and S.1435, respectively) that “require the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to withdraw a rule of the Bureau of Land Management relating to conservation and landscape health.” Furthermore, and worse, the bills would prohibit the BLM from finalizing any “substantially similar” rule in the future.

The House bill has 19 cosponsors, one from California; John Duarte (R-13), and all Republicans. The Senate bill has 12 cosponsors, also all Republicans.

Although it is unlikely that the Senate bill would pass, please call your representatives and senators and express support for the proposed BLM Conservation Rule and opposition to the House and Senate bills.

DC office phone numbers may be found on our online California Congressional Information Sheet.

Here is Jonathan Thompson’s Land Letter at High Country News, with his latest: Public Lands Rule rhetoric gets wacky.

4.   U.S. Forest Service
         Public Lands Rule
         DEADLINE: July 20
         (ACTION ITEM)

President Biden issued Executive Order 14072 on Earth Day last year, ordering the protection of old growth and mature forests on federal lands. This year the Forest Service is proposing to develop a new rule, similar to the BLM’s rule (Item 3a, above). It is asking for public input on the basic question:
Given that climate change and related stressors are resulting in increasing impacts with rapid and variable rates of change on national forests and grasslands, how should the Forest Service adapt current policies to protect, conserve, and manage the national forests and grasslands for climate resilience, so that the Agency can provide for ecological integrity and support social and economic sustainability over time?
The public comment period runs until July 20.

Detailed background information on the proposed rulemaking may be found here.

Our friends at Forest Forever have put together the following set of talking points (slightly edited). As always with talking points, please use your own words.

•   Thank the Forest Service for requesting public input on how it should foster ecosystem resilience and climate resilience on its forestlands. To meet President Biden’s goals for tackling the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis it is imperative that the agency prioritize the protection of mature and old-growth forests and trees.

•   More-mature forests and trees are crucial for addressing the climate crisis. These trees and stands typically store the vast majority of the above-ground carbon in a forest.

•   Older forests and trees are far more adaptable to the impacts of climate change than younger, smaller trees— especially compared to industrial tree plantations.

•   Nationally, carbon losses from clearcuts and other logging are up to five times higher than emissions from fire and other natural forest disturbances combined.

•   Older forests are also critical for addressing the biodiversity crisis. These complex ecosystems provide vital and unique habitats for birds in the canopy, plants and animals on the forest floor, and everything in between.

•   Intact forested watersheds, containing older stands, produce the highest quality water, vital for aquatic life in the forest and for people who depend upon it downstream.

•   Please include in any future administrative rules an end to ecologically harmful logging of mature and old-growth forests and trees on federal lands under your agency’s jurisdiction. While there are certainly other threats to older forests, including wildfire and drought, the threat of logging is fully under your control and can be acted upon quickly.

•   Please proceed swiftly to protect mature forests and trees, both for their current important values and so they can continue their work in helping to mitigate the climate crisis, contribute to healthy watersheds and provide ecosystem resilience.

An additional point is to support the president’s intention that serious Tribal consultation and co-management / co-stewardship be mandated in any forthcoming rule.

Comments must be submitted by July 20th. The preferred method is through the Regulations portal here.

Comments may also be submitted via U.S. Mail to:

Director, Policy Office
201 14th Street SW, Mailstop 1108
Washington, DC 20250–1124

5. 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. Gift links are temporary links from some websites, allowing non-subscribers to view articles for free. As always, inclusion of an item in this section does not imply agreement with the viewpoint expressed.

In California

Just in time for the Fourth of July weekend, an article in the San Francisco Chronicle: ‘Worst we’ve ever seen’: Huge crowds crush Yosemite

In Alaska

An article from the Associated Press regarding the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge: Appeals court reverses ruling halting Alaska refuge road

In New Mexico

Announcement: Biden-Harris Administration Protects Chaco Region, Tribal Cultural Sites from Development. And a related op-ed in the Durango Herald by Mark Pearson, executive Director of the San Juan Citizens Alliance: Chaco gains reprieve from new drilling

In General

The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks released a new report highlighting places in need of monument protection.

An obituary in the Washington Post: James Watt, combative interior secretary under Reagan, dies at 85 (gift link for non-subscribers). And a related op-ed in the Los Angeles Times: A farewell to James G. Watt, environmental vandal and proto-Trumpian (may be behind the paywall)

An article in The Conversation: US national parks are crowded – and so are many national forests, wildlife refuges, battlefields and seashores

A press release regarding a member of CalUWild’s Advisory Board: Library of Congress Acquires Music Manuscripts and Papers of Composer John Adams


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