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2004 April

April 22nd, 2004

April 22, 2004

Dear CalUWild members and supporters —

As the presidential campaign continues, there continues to be little, if any, discussion of the environment, as people’s attention is focused more on foreign policy and the economy. These issues have impacts on the environment, though, which many people don’t seem to recognize. The instability in Middle East demonstrates that we need to find other sources of energy. But at the same time, it makes no sense to open up our wildlands for a few days’ or weeks’ supply of oil or gas. They have higher uses than that. We need a comprehensive energy program that addresses consumption and conservation even more than new supplies. The present administration does not want to face this fact.

Furthermore, the ultimate basis of our economy is the environment-clean water, minerals, or even recreation opportunities. It should be clear that we cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy environment.

This is where citizens-you-come in. It is important that decisionmakers know that the issue is important, through letters and phone calls-to the editor, our elected representatives, and the candidates’ campaigns. So please write a letter on an issue. that’s important to you. Possible topics are below.

A correction is needed to last month’s UPDATE. Item 3, regarding snowmobile use in California proposed wilderness areas, contained an incorrect e-mail address for the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Supervisor. The correct e-mail address is rvaught@fs.fed.us. If you haven’t sent a letter to him, please do so! See item 3 on the March update for the details.

A reminder: It takes funding to keep CalUWild afloat. If you’ve received an Annual Appeal letter recently, please send in the card with your contribution. And if you haven’t, consider sending in a little something extra. We could use the help!

As we celebrate Earth Day 2004 today, many thanks for all you do to protect our wildlands.

Best Wishes,
Mike

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IN UTAH

1. Court Upholds Creation of Grand Staircase-
Escalante National Monument

2. Interior Department Plotted Wilderness Rollbacks
Long Before Utah’s Lawsuit Was Revived

IN CALIFORNIA

3. Southern California National Forest
Planning Meetings Scheduled

IN GENERAL

4. Fee Demonstration Program Hearings in Washington
Letters Needed
(ACTION ITEM)

5. Job Opportunity at Friends of the River

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

IN UTAH

1. Court Upholds Creation of Grand Staircase-
Escalante National Monument

Utah Federal Distrcit Judge Dee Benson-no friend of wilderness-ruled that the Grand Staircase-Escalante NM was properly designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996. The ruling came this week in a case in which several Utah counties and the Mountain States Legal Foundation sued, claiming that Mr. Clinton had abused his discretion by designating the 1.9 million-acre monument.

Benson’s ruling states: “It is evident from the language of the proclamation that the president exercised the discretion lawfully delegated to him by Congress under the Antiquities Act.”

The plaintiffs in the case had argued that the monument designation was simply a way to designate wilderness. (Only Congress can designate wilderness, with a statute.) Benson wrote in his decision: “Although a significant percentage of land in the Monument may qualify as wilderness under the Wilderness Act, the president did not designate wilderness; he designated a national monument.”

This ruling is particularly noteworthy for CalUWild, since the organization got its start when the BLM began developing the management plan for the monument in 1997.

The plaintiffs have not indicated whether they will appeal the decision. No national monument designation has ever been overturned by a lawsuit.

An interesting bit of trivia: George W. Bush is the first president since Teddy Roosevelt and the passing of the Antiquities Act in 1906 who has not designated a single new national monument.

2. Interior Department Plotted Wilderness Rollbacks
Long Before Utah’s Lawsuit Was Revived

The court settlement reached last year between the Department of the Interior and the State of Utah ended BLM wilderness inventories and eliminated protections for wilderness study areas designated since 1993. (For details, see the May 2003 CalUWild UPDATE at .)

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that these policy changes were being contemplated by the BLM as early as October 2002, long before the lawsuit by Utah was resurrected in 2003.

This revelation tends to confirm conservationists’ suspicions that the settlement was simply a way for the administration to impose its policies without having to go through the public comment process required under the National Environmental Policy Act. Given the Bush Administration’s devotion to secrecy, however, it decided to use litigation, done behind closed doors to lock out the public.

Additionally, the use of a court settlement severely hamstrings the policy options of any future, more wilderness-friendly administration.

The documents also showed that Interior Department officials helped the Alaska delegation draft a letter to the Department requesting a cessation of wilderness inventories in that state. And in fact, the Department announced an end to Alska inventories as well last April.

This entire approach makes a mockery at every level of Interior Secretary Gale Norton’s widely touted “4 Cs: communication, consultation and cooperation, all in the service of conservation.”

Attorneys for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, The Wilderness Society, and other conservation groups have asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to void the Utah settlement.

IN CALIFORNIA

3. Southern California National Forest
Planning Meetings Scheduled

CalUWild has been part of a coalition of groups which in 2002 submitted a “Conservation Alternative for the Management of the Four Southern California National Forests” to the Forest Service during scoping for the forest plans revision. The Draft EIS for the management plan should be coming out some time around May 1. The alternative that is supposedly based on our Conservation Alternative is going to be “Alternative 6.”

The following information comes from the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the leaders of the coalition.

Southern California’s national forests are within a few miles of millions of people, and the threats to our endangered species are growing daily. Think of the poor Cleveland NF, with upcoming proposals for a freeway and transmission line running through it, or the Los Padres NF with a plan to open tens of thousands of acres of wildlands to oil and gas exploration.

After the release of the DEIS, there will be a 90-day comment period. The Forest Service is holding a series of open houses to provide people with information about the document and the comment process. The off-roaders, et al., are likely to be out in full force – we need to top their numbers and show the Forest Service that southern Californians overwhelmingly support protection for wild spaces and biodiversity. The open house schedule is listed below. Please attend the meeting nearest to you.

[Note: Space does not permit a complete list of all meeting locations; only city, date, and times are listed. For complete details, please visit on the Web.]

In addition, conservation groups are planning a large-scale rally at the Saturday June 5 meeting in Pasadena. If people can put this particular open house on their schedule, we could really make a huge impact.

In sum, we need to 1) flood the Forest Service with comment letters and 2) make a huge show of numbers at these open houses, in support of the conservation alternative (this is, of course, hoping that Alternative 6 will be adequate, which is a big assumption). Thanks for helping to make this happen.

Monica Bond, Staff Biologist
Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 493, Idyllwild, CA 92549
(909) 659-6053 x304 (phone)
(909) 659-2484 (fax)

Angeles National Forest

* Santa Clarita: May 26 ( Wednesday), 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
* Palmdale: May 27 (Thursday), 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.
* Glendora: June 3 ( Thursday), 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
* Wrightwood: June 4 (Friday), 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
* Pasadena: June 5 (Saturday),11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Cleveland National Forest

* San Diego: May 10 (Monday), 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
* Corona: May 11 (Tuesday), 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
* Ramona: May 12 (Wednesday), 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
* Alpine: May 13 (Thursday). 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
* Escondido: May 14 (Friday), 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
* San Juan Capistrano: May 15 (Saturday), 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Los Padres National Forest

* Salinas: May 17 (Monday), 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
* Big Sur: May 18 (Tuesday), 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
* Arroyo Grande: May 19 (Wednesday), 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
* Goleta: May 20 (Thursday), 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
* Frazier Park: May 24 (Monday), 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
* Ojai: May 25 (Tuesday), 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
* Pacific Valley: June 2 (Wednesday), 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

San Bernardino National Forest

* City of Big Bear Lake: June 8 (Tuesday), 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
* Twin Peaks: June 9 (Wednesday) 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
* Garner Valley: June 10 (Thursday), 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
* Victorville: June 15 (Tuesday), 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
* San Bernardino: June 16 (Wednesday), 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
* Rancho Cucamonga: June 17 (Thursday), 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

IN GENERAL

4. Fee Demonstration Program Hearings in Washington
Letters Needed
Deadline: May 4
(ACTION ITEM)

CalUWild is also part of a coalition fighting the fee demonstration program. The following alert is taken from information provided by several coalition members.

Action Alert! Senate Fee Demo Hearing April 21st, Contact Dc Now, To Help End Forest Fees!

In February, the Senate Energy Committee unanimously passed Senate bill 1107, which would make Fee Demo permanent for ONLY the National Parks (if it is passed into law). However, fee supporters in the Administration, led by Interior Secretary Gale Norton, are still working hard with the public lands agencies to convince Congress to find a way to make Fee Demo permanent for the US Forest Service, BLM and US Fish & Wildlife Service also. They’re not giving up and we can’t either!

Oversight hearings on Fee Demo (USFS, BLM, USFWS), which took place yesterday (4/21/04), are likely to lead to new legislation to make fees permanent for these 3 agencies. We must head off this initiative!

Background: Senator Larry Craig chairs the Senate’s Public Lands and Forests subcommittee, which is holding the hearings. In the past, Sen. Craig has not stated clearly what he thinks about Fee Demo for these 3 agencies. He’s heard strong opposition from his Idaho constituents, but his Fee Demo public statements have varied widely. We believe that S. 1107 (see above) is being delayed from a Senate floor vote until after this hearing; there is intense pressure to expand it beyond permanent National Park fees.

Sen. Craig’s own press release from yesterday indicates he does not support general entrance fees in national forests, wildlife refuges or BLM lands. In fact, he joked that “there would be a ‘hearing user fee’ to attend the hearing, which is paid for with tax dollars, but not to worry: services would be enhanced. Š These are public lands and they should remain open to the public.”

The public record is open for your comments on the hearings until midnight Tuesday, May 4th. A brief fax or email is just fine.

What To Write:

* Ask that Fee Demo not be extended or made permanent for the US Forest Service, BLM or US Fish & Wildlife Service.
* Ask that your comments please be included in the public record for the Fee Demo hearing on 4/21/04.
* State, in your own words, why you oppose Fee Demo.
* Mention that, according to a 2003 General Accounting Office report, US Forest Service fees are making very little money after expenses are paid. (In fact, US Forest Service Fee Demo required a $10 million boost from appropriated tax dollars in 2001!)
* The fight over fee-demo is rapidly shifting to a debate about which fees are acceptable and which are not. If you think no recreation fees are acceptable, then tell Craig and the committee exactly that. If you think fees for National Parks, visitor centers and/or developed campgrounds are acceptable, then tell them that. Tell them what you think is right Š and do so in your own words.

Address your fax/email to:
Senator Larry Craig
Chair, Senate Public Lands & Forests Subcommittee
364 Dirksen
Washington, DC 20510

Fax your letter to: (202) 224-6163

With faxes, please print your name and address very clearly!

Email: amy_millet@energy.senate.gov

5. Job Opportunity at Friends of the River

MEMBERSHIP ASSISTANT

Position Open: April 26, 2004

Description: Reporting to the Development Director, the Membership Assistant is responsible for data entry, maintenance, and upgrading of database records and hard files for Friends of the River’s members, donors, and events. He or she will also be responsible for the production and mailing of gift acknowledgments, renewal notices, appeals, invitations, and other donor communications. He or she will participate as a member of the organization’s development team; respond to membership questions by phone or e-mail, attend and assist at special events, and support the Development Director as needed. This is a full-time position, with benefits, at our office in midtown Sacramento.

Qualifications Required:

* Excellent organizational and administrative skills
* Computer and data entry skills, especially database and word processing
* Good problem-solving skills
* Ability to work with minimal supervision once fully trained

To Apply:

Fax resume and cover letter to Marian Bender, Friends of the River,
916-442-3396
or email to mbender@friendsoftheriver.org

Starting Wage: $11 – 12.50/hour, non-exempt

For more info on Friends of the River please visit www.friendsoftheriver.org

Deadline: May 7, 2004

God bless America. Let’s save some of it. –Edward Abbey

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2003 April

April 1st, 2003

Dear CalUWild-ers —

It’s only been a week since the March UPDATE, but there have been some developments this week requiring our attention.

There has been movement in Congress on the issue of unauthorized, illegal road claims in wilderness (R.S. 2477 for short), a topic we’ve written about often before. CalUWild has long been an active member of a growing coalition of groups opposing bogus R.S. 2477 claims, and all members are sending out the information and action alert below (Item 1) as part of a coordinated effort. Please read through the information and call and write!

Item 2 is an updated list of Utah Redrock Wilderness Act cosponsors.

These items will give you good opportunities to use the Effective Advocacy Guide we sent out over the weekend. The response to it has been great! Three organizations have already approached us about reprinting it for their own members’ use. Please keep it handy. It should also be posted on the CalUWild web site soon at:

https://www.caluwild.org/advocacy.htm

Thanks for your help!

Mike

IN GENERAL
1. Bogus Road Claims (R.S. 2477)
DEADLINE: April 8 (ACTION ITEM)

IN UTAH
2. Redrock Bill California Cosponsors

IN CALIFORNIA
3. CalUWild Slide Show in Marin County April 8

#################################

In General

Bogus Road Claims (R.S. 2477)
Deadline: April 8 (ACTION ITEM)

HIGHWAY ROBBERY!

Repealed R.S. 2477 Statute Threatens National Parks, National Monuments, Wilderness and Other Public Lands Nationwide

R.S. 2477 became law in 1866-nearly 140 years ago. It provides simply: “the right-of-way for the construction of highways across public lands, not reserved for public uses, is hereby granted. The statute was later repealed, but a grandfather clause left wilderness foes a loophole for asserting bogus “road” claims to prevent wilderness designation. Now, Interior secretary Gale Norton is about to boost their efforts. Your voice can help change her mind.

General History & Background

Across the American West, state and local governments are exploiting a loophole in an obscure law to falsely claim that thousands of miles of routes are highways. The claimed highways include trails, reclaimed century-old mining wagon roads, water courses, and jeep trails that go through some of this country’s most precious national parks, national wildlife refuges, national monuments, wilderness areas, and other public lands. Mining and logging companies, oil and gas developers, all-terrain-vehicle users, and other special interests hope to use this slavery-era statute-which has the technical title of R.S. 2477-to punch dirt-bike trails and paved roads into our National Parks and Wildlife Refuges and to prevent wilderness designations by asserting that old trails should be considered “highways.”

New “Disclaimer Regulations” Revive and Heighten Threat

On January 6, 2003, Interior Secretary Norton issued new “disclaimer regulations” that could be used to give away public lands in our national parks, wildlife refuges, and other special places. The new rule opens the door for states, counties, and special interests to file thousands of unsubstantiated road claims using a loophole in a mining law passed in 1866. Compounding the offense is that the Department of the Interior still does not have standards to assess the validity of these claims.

Why This Is Bad for America’s Natural Wonders

Denali National Park, Zion National Park, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the Mojave National Preserve are some of our most beloved national parks and public lands-our nation’s birthright. They are all in the crosshairs of a plan to authorize counties and states to lay claim to thousands of new “highways,” effectively thwarting conservation efforts.

Acts of Congress protected these unique places for all Americans, not just a few special interests. Now, our cherished national parks and other public lands could be subject to road claims by greedy developers and local governments.

The creation of a spiderweb of unnecessary roads in wild areas would increase the risk of vandalism to valuable archaeological sites, expand already unmanageable use of dirt bikes, ATVs, and other off-road vehicles, increase habitat fragmentation and erosion, and undermine conservation efforts for lands that should be preserved for future generations.

What You Can Do Today

There are four things you can do right now to stop the Bush administration from carving up your public lands with thousands of unnecessary roads.

1. Write a letter to your member of Congress. Briefly explain the R.S. 2477 threat and ask your representative to sign Rep. Mark Udall’s congressional letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton urging her not to process R.S. 2477 claims. Fax the letter to your rep’s office in Washington.
2. Make phones ring off the hook on Capitol Hill. Be one of thousands who call Congress on National Call-In Day, this APRIL 8th, against the R.S. 2477 public lands giveaway. Call your representative’s office, and ask him/her to sign onto the Udall letter. Ask enthusiastic offices to write THEIR OWN letter. Above all, urge your representative to demand that Secretary Norton NOT process R.S. 2477 claims under the new “disclaimer rule.”
If you can’t call on the 8th, please call by noon on April 10th, as Rep. Udall would like to send the letter to Secty. Norton on the 11th, before the Spring Recess.
3. Write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper. These letters shape public opinion and are read daily by decision-makers. Addresses for major California papers are in the Advocacy Guide. If your paper is not listed there, go to http://capwiz.com/awc/issues/alert/?alertid=1769501 to electronically send your letter to area newspapers.
4. Visit http://www.highway-robbery.org to learn more about the national coalition of groups working to stop this travesty.

IN UTAH
Redrock Bill California Cosponsors

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) is hoping to introduce America’s Redrock Wilderness Act before the congressional Spring Recess begins net Friday. We are hoping to have a record number of original cosponsors on the bill when he does so. (“Original” means that they are cosponsors when the bill is introduced, rather than signing on later.)

In the last week, 3 California Reps-Adam Schiff, Zoe Lofgren’ and Tom Lantos- signed on. There are now 132 cosponsors in the House.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has already introduced the bill in the Senate. It has 13 cosponsors.

Here is the current list:

COSPONSORS:

* Sen. Barbara Boxer (D): 202-224-3553
* Xavier Becerra (D-31): 202-225-6235
* Howard Berman (D-28): 202-225-4695
* Lois Capps (D-23): 202-225-3601
* Susan Davis (D-53): 202-225-2040
* Anna Eshoo (D-14): 202-225-8104
* Sam Farr (D-17): 202-225-2861
* Bob Filner (D-51): 202-225-8045
* Jane Harman (D-36): 202-225-8220
* Mike Honda (D-15): 202-225-2631
* Tom Lantos (D-12): 202-225-3531
* Barbara Lee (D-9): 202-225-2661
* Zoe Lofgren (D-16): 202-225-3072
* Robert Matsui (D-05): 202-225-7163
* Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-37): 202-225-7924
* George Miller (D-7): 202-225-2095
* Grace Napolitano (D-38): 202-225-5256
* Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-34): 202-225-1766
* Linda Sanchez (D-39): 202-225-6676
* Adam Schiff (D-29): 202-225-4176
* Pete Stark (D-13): 202-225-5065
* Ellen Tauscher (D-10): 202-225-1880
* Henry Waxman (D-30): 202-225-3976
* Lynn Woolsey (D-6): 202-225-5161

TARGETS:

* Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D): 202-224-3841
* Joe Baca (D-43): 202-225-6161
* Cal Dooley (D-20): 202-225-3341
* Loretta Sanchez (D-47): 202-225-2965
* Brad Sherman (D-27): 202-225-5911
* Hilda Solis (D-32): 202-225-5464
* Mike Thompson (D-01): 202-225-3311
* Maxine Waters (D-35): 202-225-2201
* Diane Watson (D-33): 202-225-7084

In California
CalUWild Slide Show in Marin County
April 8

Just a reminder:

The Foundation for Deep Ecology will host CalUWild coordinator Mike Painter in a presentation of a slide show on the citizens wilderness movement in Utah and the West. Please join us:

Tuesday, April 8 7 p.m.
The Foundation for Deep Ecology
Building 1062, Fort Cronkhite
Sausalito, CA

Refreshments will be served.

Visit the Foundation’s web site for directions: http://www.deepecology.org

Call CalUWild (415-752-3911) or the Foundation (415-259-9340) for more information.

God bless America. Let’s save some of it. –Edward Abbey

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Michael J. Painter Coordinator

Californians for Western Wilderness

P.O. Box 210474 San Francisco, CA 94121-0474

415-752-3911

mike@caluwild.org

caluwild@mindspring.com

https://www.caluwild.org (Constantly undergoing renovation)

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