Newsletter Archive

Snow Mountain from Molok Luyuk,                                                                                                                      (Mike Painter)
  Berryessa Snow Mountain NM, California

May 8, 2024

Dear CalUWild Friends & Supporters—

Good news! We’re making progress on our national monument campaigns in California: Pres Biden signed proclamations expanding both Berryessa Snow Mountain and San Gabriel Mountains National Monuments last week (ITEM 3). We also have talking points for the Bear Ears National Monument comment period to share this month (ITEM 2), and there’s another California cosponsor of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (ITEM 1).

As you’ll see in ITEM 4, the Biden Administration has been busy on the public lands front, making up for Congress’s lack of action. We’ve listed many short items there, which you can read about further at your leisure.

Thank you for all your interest and support!

Best wishes,
Mike Painter, Coordinator

1   Red Rocks Bill Cosponsor Update
          (ACTION ITEM)
2   Bears Ears National Monument
Draft Management Plan
          Comment Period Open
          DEADLINE: June 11
          (ACTION ITEM)

3   Pres. Biden Expands Berryessa Snow Mountain
          And San Gabriel Mountains National Monuments
          (ACTION ITEM)

4   Biden Administration Decisions Protecting
          Federal Public Lands

5   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsor Update
          (ACTION ITEM)

The list of California cosponsors of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act grew last month. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-2), whose district stretches from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border, signed on, bringing the number of California cosponsors to 22.

Please thank Rep. Huffman. I’m sure an extra show of appreciation, such as a postcard mailed to his DC office, would be extra show of appreciation, such as a postcard mailed to his DC office, would be appreciated:

Hon. Jared Huffman
U.S. House of Representatives
2445 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

You can also call his office at 202-225-5161 or send a message by following the link on his contact page.

CalUWild’s website contains a full listing of California Senate and House cosponsorships and Washington, DC office phone numbers. If your representative is not a cosponsor, please call his or her office and ask them to join the growing number of cosponsors, both from California and nationally.

There are currently 94 cosponsors in the House and 22 in the Senate. For a full list of cosponsors nationwide, click here.

2.   Bears Ears National Monument
          Draft Management Plan
          Comment Period Open
          DEADLINE: June 11
          (ACTION ITEM)

As we mentioned in our March Update, the BLM and Forest Service have released the Draft Management Plan for Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah. Here again are links to the planning documents, if you are interested in reading them in detail:

Fact Sheet
Vol. 1 (12.1 MB)
Vol.2 (Appendices, etc.) (71 MB)

The two agencies have selected Alternative E as the preferred alternative, with the full support and cooperation of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. The alternative is the one that most thoroughly incorporates Traditional Indigenous Knowledge in management decision-making. The Inter-Tribal Coalition believes it is a good compromise between environmental protection and human use, since the Bears Ears Monument is a traditional cultural landscape.

Your comments are needed to support the adoption of Alt. E in the Final Plan. The Inter-Tribal Coalition suggests the following talking points:

— The lands, waters, and resources of the Monument deserve to be sustainably managed. Incorporating Traditional Indigenous Knowledge (TIK) and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) into the management plan is critical to protect the biodiversity and health of the Monument for generations to come.

— Alternative E represents a sustainable and collaborative land and resource management that:

• Upholds the sovereignty of the Tribes and honors Indigenous peoples’ personal, traditional, and cultural connections to land.

• Reflects time-tested best practices for land management passed down over centuries from the original, and ongoing, stewards of this land.

• Protects the habitat, wildlife, and resource biodiversity

• Responsibly manages access and use of the Monument in a way that allows current and future visitors to recreate, hunt, and fish, while also responding to the needs and health of the land.

As always, use your own words, beginning your comments by explaining why Bears Ears is important to you. Include if you’ve visited and what your experiences were—or if you haven’t and still hope to. Be as specific as possible.

You may submit your comments through the “Participate Now” function on the BLM National NEPA Register or mail them to:

ATTN: Monument Planning
BLM Monticello Field Office
365 North Main
Monticello, UT 84535

High Country News published an article looking at some of the plan’s background: As national monuments multiply, Bears Ears forges forward

3   Pres. Biden Expands Berryessa Snow Mountain
          And San Gabriel Mountains National Monuments
          (ACTION ITEM)

Last Thursday, Pres. Biden signed two proclamations expanding Berryessa Snow Mountain and San Gabriel Mountains National Monuments. The ceremony at the White House capped lengthy campaigns by conservation organizations, Indigenous Tribes, and politicians to expand both monuments. Berryessa Snow Mountain was originally designated by Barack Obama in 2015 and San Gabriel Mountains in the previous year.

CalUWild supported both campaigns and was very active in the Berryessa Snow Mountain coalition. That expansion adds almost 14,000 acres to the eastern edge of the monument and renames Walker Ridge as Molok Luyuk, “Condor Ridge” in the local Patwin language.

The area is rich with Indigenous significance, both sacred and as a crossroad of trading routes for many California tribes. Its complex tectonic geology and accompanying serpentine soils make it home to many rare and specialized plants, with spectacular wildflower displays in the spring. It is also home to many wildlife species. Finally, the landscape itself is spectacular, with vistas stretching from Mt. Shasta in the north to Mt. Diablo and Mt. Tamalpais in the south, the Sierra Nevada to the east, and the Inner Coast Range to the west.

The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument expansion adds 109,000 acres to its western edge. The area of the expansion is one of the most heavily-visited areas of the Angeles National Forest and is also the headwaters for the Los Angeles River, an important source of drinking water for LA.

Here is the White House statement on the expansion of both monuments.

And here are the individual proclamations:

A Proclamation on Expanding the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, 2024

A Proclamation on Expanding the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, 2024

Please thank Pres. Biden for expanding Berryessa Snow Mountain and San Gabriel Mountains national monuments and at the same time urge him to continue designating monuments during his administration, particularly the proposed Chuckwalla, Sáttítla, and Kw’tsán National Monuments here in California.

You can comment via the White House webform here. The phone number for the White House comment line is 202-456-1111.

Press articles regarding national monuments designations and proposals:

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle: Biden just expanded a spectacular Northern California national monument (This is the original headline. Gift link for non-subscribers)

An article in the Los Angeles Times: San Gabriel Mountains National Monument expands by more than 100,000 acres (May be behind paywall)

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times: Biden expanded two national monuments in California. Three more to go

An article in the New York Times: Biden Expands Two National Monuments in California (Gift link for non-subscribers)

An article in the Washington Post: Biden expands two California national monuments crucial to tribes (Gift link for non-subscribers)

An article in the Arizona Central on the Kw’tsán and Chuckwalla proposals: Quechan Tribe seeks protection of sacred lands with national monument at Indian Pass

4   Biden Administration Decisions Protecting
          Federal Public Lands

Late March and April saw the Biden Administration announce multiple rules and other initiatives to protect public lands across the country. Some of the rules are already under threat from Congress, which can negate a rule or regulation via the Congressional Review Act, within 60 days of it becoming final, though any such resolution is also subject to a presidential veto. There are too many to discuss any in detail, but links are provided, if you’re interested in more information about any of them.

Public Lands Rule
In mid-April, the BLM released its final Public Lands Rule (formally: the Conservation and Landscape Health Rule). The Rule clarifies that conservation is a use on an equal level with resource extraction under the Federal Lands Policy & Management Act. It also sets out procedures for designating new Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, among other things. BLM’s press release is here.

The House recently passed a bill by Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) to overturn the rule. It’s not clear that the Senate will go along, and we would expect Pres. Biden to veto it.

Oil and Gas Rule
BLM, which is responsible for oil & gas and mineral leasing on public lands, released its final Oil & Gas Rule (formally: the Fluid Mineral Leases and Leasing Process Rule). The Rule increases the bond companies must pay from $10,000 to $150,000, gives preference to leasing in areas close to existing infrastructure and away from wildlife areas and cultural sites. BLM’s press release is here.

Renewable Energy Rule
BLM released its final Renewable Energy Rule, which reduces some fees and facilitates development in priority areas and streamlines application reviews. BLM’s press release is here.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has threatened to invoke the Congressional Review Act to overturn the rule.

Mineral Withdrawal in Colorado’s Thompson Divide
Following up on Pres. Biden’s designation of the Camp Hale – Continental Divide National Monument in Colorado in 2022, the Department of the Interior announced the withdrawal of more than 200,000 acres of National Forest and BLM lands from mineral exploration for the next 20 years. (Only Congress can authorize a permanent mineral withdrawal.) The Department’s press release is here.

National Petroleum Reserve and Ambler Road in Alaska
BLM released a rule codifying protection of the existing Special Areas of the National Petroleum Reserve in northern Alaska, limiting future energy development there while allowing for subsistence uses by Alaska Native communities. At the same time, it released a Final Environmental Impact Statement on a proposed 200-mile road which would have cut through Gates of the Arctic National Preserve, to the Ambler Mining Distract. There are currently no active mines or proposals for mines there. BLM’s press release covering both decisions is here.

Army Corps Denies Pebble Mine Permit in Alaska
Another ongoing saga in Alaska has been the proposed Pebble Mine at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, one of the largest salmon fisheries in the state. This article from Alaska Public Media: Army Corps of Engineers affirms denial of permit for Pebble Mine contains a link to the actual decision.

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 for a limited time. As always, inclusion of an item in this section does not imply agreement with the viewpoint expressed.

In California

An article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Point Reyes National Seashore ranchers in talks with The Nature Conservancy amid fight over their private leases (Gift link for non-subscribers)

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle: California begins demolition of 173-foot dam as part of nation’s largest removal project (Gift link for non-subscribers)

An article in the Washington Post: Death Valley is alive this year. A super bloom is the latest sign. (Gift link for non-subscribers)

In General

A profile in The New Yorker: Deb Haaland Confronts the History of the Federal Agency She Leads

An article in Outside: The Far Right Has Plans to Destroy Our National Monuments


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