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2021 March

April 5th, 2021


Mountain Juniper, Yosemite National Park, California                                                                                      (Mike Painter)

 
March 31, 2021
          (for delivery on April Fool’s Day)

 
Dear CalUWild friends—

There was great news this month when Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) was confirmed as Pres. Biden’s Secretary of the Interior. The vote in the Senate was 50-41, with four Republican senators joining in to approve her nomination—Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Secty. Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo, is the first Native American to hold any Cabinet position, and only the third woman to hold the Interior post. She has promised to be “fierce” in her defense of the land.

Secty. Haaland certainly has her work cut out for her. Many Republican senators refused to vote for her out of concern over Pres. Biden’s moratorium on new oil & gas leases on federal lands, since the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages the federal leasing program. The controversy surrounding the relocation of the BLM headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado continues, as well. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is also within the Interior Department. It has often been a neglected agency, and strengthening it will certainly be one of her priorities.

See news items related to Secty. Haaland’s confirmation in ITEM 7, IN THE PRESS.

Thanks, as always, for your support and interest!

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
 
IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Wilderness Act To Be Reintroduced in the House and Senate
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Sen. Padilla Agrees to Introduce 3 California Wilderness Bills
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN ARIZONA
4.   Forest Service Withdraws Decision for Controversial Copper Mine

IN NEVADA
5.   Huge Public Lands Bill Introduced for Las Vegas Area

IN OREGON
6.   Wild & Scenic Rivers Bill Introduced for Oregon

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
7.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest

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IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Wilderness Act To Be Reintroduced in the House and Senate
          (ACTION ITEM)

As mentioned in ITEM 1 of last month’s Update we are awaiting the reintroduction of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, most likely now sometime in May (but that’s always subject to change) in both the House and the Senate. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47) of Long Beach and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) would like to have some cosponsors lined up before reintroducing the bill, so we are working with the Utah Wilderness Coalition to arrange constituent meetings with most California House and Senate offices. With the pandemic, these will be streaming meetings rather than in-person. If you would be interested in being a participant (not setting one up!) in a meeting with your representative either of the senators, please send me an email with your contact information, your congressional representative’s name, and general availability.

In any event, please call your representatives and senators, asking them to be original cosponsors of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. Contact information may be found on our California Congressional Information Sheet.

 
2.   Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

As we also mentioned last month, Pres. Biden ordered the Interior Department to prepare a report on the national monument rollbacks done by the previous administration. After Interior Secty. Haaland’s confirmation, she announced a delay in the report, to give her a chance to visit Utah in April to talk with interested parties on the ground.

We will keep you informed as the situation develops further.

 
IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Sen. Padilla Agrees to Introduce 3 California Wilderness Bills
          (ACTION ITEM)

As we announced in ITEM 5 of last month’s Update several California Wilderness bills were included in the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, H.R. 803, which passed the House. This month, we are happy to announce that California’s new senator, Alex Padilla (D), will be introducing companion bills in the Senate for three of those bills: The Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act (Huffman); The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act (Carbajal); and The San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act (Chu).

Please contact Sen. Padilla’s office to say Thank You for his commitment to these bills and for picking up the mantle from his predecessor, now-Vice President Kamala Harris.

You may contact Sen. Padilla’s Washington office at 202-224-3553 or via his homepage. Contact information for his other offices is listed there, as well.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat published a story on the topic: California Sen. Alex Padilla backs sweeping US wilderness bill as House authors wait for Senate opening. (I am quoted.)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has been the Senate champion of the fourth California bill included in the House package, the Rim of the Valley Corridor Protection Act that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-28) has introduced in the last several Congresses. We expect her to reintroduce that bill soon, too.

 
IN ARIZONA
4.   Forest Service Withdraws Decision for Controversial Copper Mine

The U.S. Forest Service announced it was withdrawing its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Draft Record of Decision for the Resolution Copper Mine in Tonto National Forest in central Arizona. Chich’il Bildagoteel (or Oak Flat, as it is known in English) is an important spiritual and cultural site to several Native American tribes. The previous administration had signed off on the EIS on January 15, only days before leaving office. Pres. Biden signed an executive order mandating tribal consultation and stronger nation-to-nation relationships shortly after his inauguration, causing the Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service, to order the decision withdrawn.

Chairman Terry Rambler of the San Carlos Apache Tribe said:

This is the right move by the Department of Agriculture. The Resolution copper mine project will desecrate Chich’il Bildagoteel … , which is the heart of our religious and cultural beliefs. As noted in our federal lawsuit, the U.S. Forest Service failed to follow the law in the preparation of a sham final environmental impact statement that was used to justify trading away our sacred land to wealthy foreign mining companies.

House Natural Resources Committee chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) said:

This fight has never been about just one site – it’s been about ending the cycle of ignoring tribal input whenever it suits polluters. The Trump administration rushed this document out the door as just one more favor to industry, regardless of how legally or scientifically unsupportable it was. The Biden administration is doing the right thing with this reset, and I intend to reintroduce the Save Oak Flat Act in the coming days to make sure this needless controversy is settled on the side of justice once and for all.

The Guardian‘s “This land is your land” series published an article on the decision: Biden administration pauses transfer of holy Native American land to mining firm.

For more information about the issue, visit the Save Oak Flat website.

 
IN NEVADA
5.   Huge Public Lands Bill Introduced for Las Vegas Area

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and Rep. Dina Titus (D) have introduced the Southern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act. The bill would designate 1.3 million acres of wilderness in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge and another 337,000 acres of wilderness in Clark County. It also expands the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and adds about 350,000 acres for desert tortoise and other species protection. Finally, it conveys about 41,000 acres of land to the Moapa Band of Paiutes, whose entitled lands were reduced by Congress in 1875.

The other side of the bill is that is allows Las Vegas to expand south along I-15 toward California and in other areas around the county by opening up federal land for development.

Conservationists’ reaction to the bill is split. Friends of Nevada Wilderness and other conservation and civic groups support the bill. However the Center for Biological Diversity rejects the trade-off of development for conservation, though saying the present bill is better than was originally proposed.

We’ll keep you posted as the bills progress in Congress.

 
IN OREGON
6.   Wild & Scenic Rivers Bill Introduced for Oregon

The following comes from our friends at the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (slightly edited):

 
In February Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley introduced The River Democracy Act of 2021, legislation that will preserve some of the most treasured waterways in Oregon by designating them as Wild and Scenic.

The legislation is a direct result of a nomination process where Oregonians recommended their favorite rivers for permanent protection. After a series of public comment sessions and townhalls, diverse stakeholders—small business owners, sportsmen and sportswomen, veterans, elected officials, community members—have come together to support this legislation. Senator Wyden’s office received over 15,000 nominations for thousands of miles of rivers from residents across the state, showing both the key role these rivers play in communities and the strong local support for protecting them for the benefit of future generations.

The bill protects some of the best rivers in the state, safeguarding important fish and wildlife habitat, clean drinking water, and a growing recreation economy. If passed, 5.9% of Oregon’s 110,000 stream miles would be protected as Wild and Scenic. People who come from all over the world to explore Oregon’s rivers spend tens of millions of dollars each year in local communities. Recently, these rivers have proven essential during the pandemic, as residents turn to the outdoors more than ever for solace and enjoyment.

From southwest Oregon rivers that support Coho and Chinook salmon, steelhead, cutthroat trout, sturgeon, and Pacific lamprey to rivers in northeast Oregon that flow from some of the tallest peaks in North America’s deepest canyon, these rivers sustain us.

The River Democracy Act of 2021 provides an historic opportunity to protect these special rivers in Oregon for generations to come.

 
Here is an article from Rewilding Earth, Wyden’s Unprecedently Good Wild and Scenic Rivers Legislation with more details.

 
IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
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. As always, inclusion of an item in this section does not imply agreement with the viewpoint expressed.

The Administration

An article in The Guardian: Republicans used oil industry-backed study to criticize Deb Haaland

An article in High Country News: The Biden administration’s critical role in Indian Country

An article in the Missoula Current: Employees speak out on Trump’s detrimental reorganization of BLM

30×30

An article in the New York Times on 30×30 in a global perspective: There’s a Global Plan to Conserve Nature. Indigenous People Could Lead the Way.

In Utah

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune concerning the helium drilling project inside the Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness, which we wrote about in our October 2020 and December 2020 Updates: Was a helium well in the Utah wilderness a bust?.The article is unfortunately for subscribers only, but it says that the local BLM office told Emery County officials that is came up dry. The company says it is still analyzing the results. We’ll keep you posted on developments.

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune: Utah agency reverses course, pulls back energy leases in original Bears Ears monument

In California

An article in the Los Angeles Times: A corporation wants to mine for gold near Death Valley. Native tribes are fighting it. CalUWild is opposing the project along with Friends of the Inyo and the Sierra Club and others.

An article in the North Coast Journal about the Klamath Dams removal: Fight of the River People

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle: Endangered California condor to return to Northern California for first time in 100 years

An article in Smithsonian: The Wolf That Discovered California. Last month we included an article on the latest wolf to explore California, having reached the Central Sierra Nevada. At last report he had crossed over the Central Valley and was in San Benito County! [UPDATE: As of April 6, the wolf had been in Monterey County and continued south into San Luis Obispo County.]

In Idaho

An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by CalUWild friend Jacques Leslie: Listen up: A Republican says we have to breach four Snake River dams

An article by the Associated Press: Ammon Bundy arrested after missing trial on trespass charge. (He was outside instead, protesting the mask requirement at the courthouse.)

Public Lands in General

An op-ed by New York Times writer Timothy Egan: To Save the Earth, Fall in Love

 
 
 

Support CalUWild!

Membership is free, but your support is both needed and appreciated. Dues payable to CalUWild are not tax-deductible, as they may be used for lobbying. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution, please make your check payable to Resource Renewal Institute, CalUWild’s fiscal sponsor. If your address is not on the check please print out and enclose a membership form.

Either way, mail it to:

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

 
 

As always, if you ever have questions, suggestions, critiques, or wish to change your e-mail address or unsubscribe, all you have to do is send an email. For membership information, click here.

Please “Like” and “Follow” CalUWild on Facebook.

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2019 December

January 8th, 2020


In the Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah                                                                                    (Mike Painter)

 
December 31, 2019

Dear CalUWild friends—

As another year comes to a close today, we’re grateful for our public lands here in the U.S. And we look to another year of being able to enjoy them and to work to protect them.

Last month CalUWild celebrated its 22nd anniversary, bringing citizens the information and the tools they need to engage effectively with the various levels of decision makers in the administration, in Congress, as well as other important players. In our Monthly Updates we have also included many more press articles and other items, bringing other public lands topics to your attention, even if there’s no action to be taken on them. Coverage of public lands has increased dramatically these last few years, no doubt in response to the administration’s attempts to roll back protections. Thank you for your efforts!

And a special Thank You to everyone who has supported CalUWild with contributions over the years, especially responding to our latest Membership Appeal. It’s never too late to make a contribution, though; information is at the bottom of this Update.

 
Best wishes for a Happy New Year and on into 2020!
Mike

 
IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsor Update
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Cosponsors Added to Three California Wilderness Bills
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-50) to Resign
4.   Job Opportunities: California Native Plant Society

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
5.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest

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

IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsor Update
          (ACTION ITEM)

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act on December 16. We expect California Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47) to reintroduce the House companion bill soon. So our cosponsor campaign is heating up.

The bill in this Congress reflects the changes brought about by the designation of large areas of wilderness in Emery County in the Dingell Public Lands bill of last February. And other lands, claimed by the Ute Indian Tribe in the Uncompahgre area and currently the subject of litigation brought by the tribe have been left out, at their request. Otherwise, the bill remains the same as previously.

Please ask your Senators and Representatives to become cosponsors. There are already 10 in the Senate, though neither senator from California is yet. In the House, representatives should contact Rep. Lowenthal’s office requesting to be original cosponsors before reintroduction.

A complete list of California offices, with DC phone numbers, may be found here on CalUWild’s website. Previous cosponsors are listed there and are the most likely offices to become original cosponsors this time around.

 
IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Cosponsors Added to Three California Wilderness Bills
          (ACTION ITEM)

As we reported in ITEM 2 last month, the House Natural Resources Committee passed three California wilderness bills. Since that Update, a few representatives have added their names to the cosponsor lists.

H.R. 2250, Northwest CA: Ro Khanna (D-17), Adam Schiff (D-28), Pete Aguilar (D-31) & Harley Rouda (D-48)

H.R. 2199, Central Coast: Ro Khanna (D-17) & Harley Rouda (D-48)

H.R. 2215: San Gabriel Mountains: Harley Rouda (D-48)

Please thank them. A full list of cosponsors for these (and other) bills may be found here on CalUWild’s website. If your representative is not on the list for a particular bill, please ask them to sign on!

 
3.   Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-50) to Resign

Rep. Duncan Hunter, Jr. (R-50) announced he would resign from the House of Representatives “after the holidays,” following his plea of guilty to campaign financing violations. No firm resignation date was set, however. Gov. Newsom has not announced any decision regarding a special election, since Mr. Hunter is still officially in office, but because Rep. Hunter did not resign before the deadline for a mandatory special election, the delay makes it possible that his district will have no representative in Congress for all of 2020.

[NOTE: Mr. Hunter submitted his resignation January 7, 2020, effective January 13, 2020.]

 
4.   Job Opportunities: California Native Plant Society

Our friends at CNPS have a few positions open around the state. Click here for details.

 
IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
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. As always, inclusion of an item in this section does not imply agreement with the viewpoint expressed.

The Administration

An article in National Parks Traveler: NPS To Develop List Of Lands With Significantly Restricted Or No Public Access

An op-ed in Politico by Bob Abbey and Jim Caswell, former directors of the BLM: The Stealth Plan to Erode Public Control of Public Lands

An op-ed in the Las Vegas Review-Journal by CalUWild friend Erik Molvar, Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project: BLM interim director sympathetic to Sagebrush Rebellion crowd

An article in the New York Times: Interior Official Broke Ethics Rules, Government Watchdog Concludes. It’s getting repetitious.

California

An article in the Los Angeles Times: Amid the wasteland of the Salton Sea, a miraculous but challenging oasis is born

Alaska

An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, by CalUWild friend Jacques Leslie, on a topic about which we’ve written before, the proposed Pebble Mine: Will pristine Bristol Bay be the Trump administration’s next sacrifice?

Oregon

An article in Courthouse News: No Grazing Permits for Trump-Pardoned Arsonists, Judge Rules. It was these ranchers’ jail sentences that precipitated the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016. The lawsuit was brought by our friends at Western Watersheds Project, the Center for Biological Diversity, and WildEarth Guardians.

In General

An article in Courthouse News with good news about the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off Cape Cod: Atlantic Ocean’s First Marine Monument Survives Court Challenge

An article in the New York Times: Fractured Forests Are Endangering Wildlife, Scientists Find

 
 
 
 
 

Support CalUWild!

Membership is free, but your support is both needed and appreciated.

Dues payable to CalUWild are not tax-deductible, as they may be used for lobbying.

If you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution, please make your check payable to Resource Renewal Institute, CalUWild’s fiscal sponsor.

Please print out and enclose a membership form if your address is not on the check.

Either way, mail it to:

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

 
 
 
 
 

As always, if you ever have questions, suggestions, critiques, or wish to change your e-mail address or unsubscribe, all you have to do is send an email. For membership information, click here.

Please “Like” and “Follow” CalUWild on Facebook.

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