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2018 March

April 3rd, 2018


Looking over Cedar Mesa, “Former” Bears Ears National Monument, Utah                              (Mike Painter)

 
March 30, 2018

Dear CalUWild friends—

With Congress’s focus on the spending bill, there’s not much to report from Capitol Hill this month. Likewise, the administration has not made any further announcements on the fate of other national monuments. So this month’s Update is relatively short (especially if you’ve already submitted comments on the management plans for the shrunken monuments in Utah—see ITEM 1).

This was a very busy month for the press, however, examining Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on many different issues. It seemed that every day some new controversy reared it head. Thus there is quite a large collection of news articles in ITEM 3, IN THE PRESS. It is encouraging to see the press covering these issues in detail, though the sheer number of different problems they report is discouraging. Please read the articles to bring yourself up to date on those topics. When you’re done reading, share your thoughts with your elected officials in Washington and with the editors of your newspapers!

 
National Parks Week is April 21-29. This year, there is free admission to all Park Service fee sites on April 21. (Secretary Zinke blames too many fee-free days for some of the budget woes of the Park Service, but enjoy it if you can.)

 
As always, your enthusiasm and efforts to protect our wilderness and public lands are much appreciated!

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
IN UTAH
1.   National Monuments Planning Update
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINES: April 11 for Bears Ears
          April 13 for Grand Staircase-Escalante NM
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Early Kickoff for the Fifth Annual
          Visions of the Wild Festival
          Downtown Vallejo: April 12

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

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IN UTAH
1.    National Monuments Planning Update
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINES: April 11 for Bears Ears
          April 13 for Grand Staircase-Escalante NM
          (ACTION ITEM)

As we mentioned in our last two Updates (January and February), the BLM is currently undertaking planning processes for the replacements for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah.

BLM held four public meetings this week in Southern Utah and the deadlines for comments were extended 15 days beyond the last meetings for each. If you haven’t submitted comments yet, please do so. Detailed talking points are below. They are verbatim what we included last month.

(If you have submitted comments, you may skip to the press articles on the Utah monuments at the end of this section.)

 
According to High Country News, the BLM offices have been instructed to ignore comments demanding that they put off planning until litigation is finished. You should include that point, regardless. It lets BLM know that people are paying attention, and it gets the illegality and waste of planning resources into the public record, which may be useful publicity in the likely case that the administration loses in court.

Please use your own words, and if you have been to any of the areas under discussion, please say so and explain why they are important to you.

 
For both Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

— The proclamations issued to shrink the original monuments are illegal. The president has no authority under law to reduce monuments once they have been designated. Only Congress has that authority. Most legal commentators agree with that position.

— These rollbacks have been challenged in federal court. It is not appropriate to be undertaking large-scale planning because of this ongoing litigation. Should the plaintiffs win their cases, there will be a large waste of time and money. In times of reduced budgets, that is doubly inexcusable.

— Citizens do not support these rollbacks. See the overwhelming support for all our monuments shown by the 2.7 million comments submitted during last summer’s review. 97% recommended that all monuments remain intact.

 
Bears Ears National Monument — April 11

— Any interim actions planned within the original and legitimate Bears Ears National Monument boundary should only be done for the purpose of protecting Monument resources as set out in President Obama’s proclamation, Proclamation 9558 (December 28, 2016). This includes vegetation removal projects for supposed grazing range enhancements.

— In developing a management plan for the Shash Jáa and Indian Creek management units—and in order to ensure protection of cultural and natural resources—BLM must consider alternatives that permanently close Arch Canyon, Lavender Canyon, and Davis Canyon to motorized vehicle use.

— In order to ensure adequate public review and comment, the public comment period should be extended to 90 days after the last BLM or Forest Service public hearing.

— In addition to Bears Ears National Monument gateway communities, public hearings should also be held in Salt Lake City, Utah; Flagstaff, Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Denver, Colorado; and Washington, D.C.

The planning homepage is here and the direct link to the online comment form is here.

By Email: blm_ut_monticello_monuments [at] blm [dot] gov

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

Attn: Field Office Manager
Monticello Field Office
Bureau of Land Management
P.O. Box 7
Monticello, UT 84535

 
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument — April 13

— Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was designated in 1996, with its primary purpose to protect the incredible scientific, ecological, and paleontological resources within its 1.9 million acres. Any interim actions within the original and legitimate Monument boundary should only be done for the purpose of protecting Monument resources as set out in the original proclamation.

— BLM’s 1999 Monument management plan was the result of a deliberate and collaborative process that involved scientific scrutiny and intense public participation. Any interim actions within the original and legitimate Monument boundary must comply with the 1999 management plan.

— All motorized travel routes within the original Monument boundary that were closed or limited under the 1999 Monument management must continue to be managed pursuant to the management plan. For example, the Paria River—a fragile riparian corridor within a Wilderness Study Area that was purposely excluded from President Trump’s monument boundaries in order to facilitate ATV use—must remain closed to all motorized vehicles.

— Contrary to what some have said, the designation of GSENM has been important for local communities, which have grown economically more than other rural counties in this region. The monument as is, is a critical factor in the local community. There are proposals to allow coal mining in original GSENM. However, coal is dead in this region, as demonstrated by the upcoming closing of the nearest coal-fired power plant and the fact that other states, such as California, are not interested in providing a market for it, or even providing shipping facilities for export, as is the case in Oakland, California. No coal mining in the area should be considered. The future is in taking care of these remarkable lands and bringing renewable energy to local communities.

— Do not allow current and future vegetation removal projects, in particular “chaining,” within the original Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This practice negates BLM’s obligation to protect natural resources and wilderness values from irreversible human-caused harm.

The homepage for the project is here, and comments may be submitted here.

By Email: BLM_UT_CCD_monuments [at] blm [dot] gov

Comments may also be submitted by U.S. Mail:

Attn: Monument Manager
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Bureau of Land Management
669 S Hwy. 89A
Kanab, UT 84741

 
Utah monument press

The New York Times filed a Freedom of Information Act request and then had to sue the Department of the Interior to obtain release of documents relating to the national monuments in Utah. It received some 25,000 pages of emails and other correspondence. 20,000 were from the Obama administration regarding the creation of the monuments, and the remainder from the current administration’s attempts to roll them back. The Times analyzed them and on March 2 published the following report: Oil Was Central in Decision to Shrink Bears Ears Monument, Emails Show.

This confirmed what many suspected. It also showed that the office of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) had approached the administration in March 2017 about reducing the size of the Bears Ears, more than a month before the executive order authorizing the review of the monuments. The documents also show that a major reason for the attempt at splitting up the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument was the presence of the large coal reserves in the Kaiparowits Plateau.

You may download the complete document trove (all 38.6 MB of it) here. A selection of documents relating only to the Bears Ears may be found here.

High Country News had an article looking behind the scenes at other issues related to the monuments in Utah: The danger of local hands on public lands: When it comes to monuments, Utah lawmakers have conflicts of interest

 
IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Early Kickoff for the Fifth Annual
          Visions of the Wild Festival
          Downtown Vallejo: April 12

CalUWild is working with the U.S. Forest Service and the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation for the fifth year, planning and hosting the Visions of the Wild Festival in downtown Vallejo. It began in 2014 as a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act and has turned into an annual event, each with a different theme and focus. This year we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers and National Trails System acts.

The main part of the festival will be September 21 – 23, but a few extra events are planned between now and then. The first will be the screening of two films, one on the Noatak River in Alaska and the second on Nevada City in California, by CalUWild friend and filmmaker John de Graaf.

The April 12 event has two segments:

First will be a presentation by Heather Bartlett and colleagues about the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. They will talk how their Alaska preserve connects with our local San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. We’ll show a short film about Wild & Scenic River in Alaska called the Noatak.

Explore the Noatak, one of Alaska’s wildest rivers, through the eyes of the people whose lives and livelihoods have long depended on its waters and wildlife, and discover the national conservation program that ensures that this and many other wild rivers will provide these values forever.

This will be followed by a screening of the film Redefining Prosperity: The Gold Rushes of Nevada City, followed by an in person discussion with the film’s director John de Graaf. This film features a segment on the Yuba River, a Wild & Scenic River in California.

Born in the California Gold Rush, Nevada City was once the scene of some of the most destructive environmental practices on earth. By the 1960s, the town was a backwater, its extractive industries dying. Then it was discovered by the “back to the land movement.” It was a second gold rush but with a different idea of gold based on nature, community and a sense of place. The Yuba River brought conflicting factions of the community together while different ideas about the meaning of wealth have led to changes in local food production, education, arts, music and a commitment to building community. Redefining Prosperity: The Gold Rushes of Nevada City includes two dozen of Nevada City’s most active citizens and their stories.

Details:

Empress Theatre
330 Virginia St.
Vallejo, CA 94590

Date: Thursday, April 12
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $10

Online tickets are available here.

The film will also be shown in Nevada City the following weekend:

Nevada Theatre
401 Broad St.
Nevada City, CA 95959

Date: Sunday, April 15
Time: 7:00 p.m.

 
IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
3.   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.

California national monuments

The San Francisco Chronicle on the potential shrinking of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument: Along California-Oregon border, debate over protected lands is clash of values

The Los Angeles Times on the Sand to Snow National Monument: Feral cattle terrorize hikers and devour native plants in a California national monument

The Interior Department and other politics

Good news first: Zinke Cancels Chaco Canyon lease sale in the Albuquerque Journal. You may read the BLM press release here.

Unfortunately, this was followed by a lease sale in Southeastern Utah on lands containing many archeological sites and close to Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients national monuments. The Washington Post wrote this article: National Park Service warned lease sale Tuesday could harm national monument in Utah

Washington Post opinion columnist Dana Millbank wrote: All hail Ryan Zinke, our imperial viceroy

An article in The Hill: Zinke signed order in January making ‘acting’ directors official

An article in the Washington Post: A mining firm executive griped to Zinke about federal pollution rules. The secretary apologized.

CNN reported: White House scolds Cabinet officials after embarrassing ethics reports. Secretary Zinke was included among them.

A Washington Post article: Oversight panel seeks details on Interior’s pricey doors. The Interior Department plans to spend $139,000 to replace double doors in the Secretary’s office.

Our friends at the Center for Western Priorities report: Documents reveal Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke uses a private email address for official business

The Democrats on the House Natural Resource Committee released a statement stating that a letter held up by Secty. Zinke in a hearing was not what he claimed it to be, nor had such a letter ever been sent. Secretary Zinke Testified Falsely Today – Said Letter to Chairman Bishop Responded to Rep. Barragan’s Ethics Concerns

An article in The Hill: Zinke and his wife took security detail on vacation to Turkey, Greece: report

From CNN: Sources: Zinke tells employees diversity isn’t important

A Washington Post article: Zinke creates new outdoor recreation panel made up almost entirely of industry advisers

From CNN: Zinke says ‘Konnichiwa’ after hearing story about WWII Japanese internment

An article in Outside: Congress Just Ignored Trump’s Public-Land Cuts

An op-ed in The Hill by Peter Metcalf of Black Diamond: Secretary Zinke, you’re no Teddy Roosevelt

In Nevada

From Reuters: States’ rights rancher Ryan Bundy to run for Nevada governor

General

An op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News, by our friend Ryan Henson of the California Wilderness Coalition: Opinion: Trump’s ruthless attack on California’s desert lands

An essay in High Country News reflecting on Edward Abbey and the 50th Anniversary of the publication of Desert Solitaire: Balancing the pulls of domesticity and wilderness

 
 
 
 
 

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2013 March

April 3rd, 2013

Capital Point-aCapital Point, Red Desert, Wyoming                                                                                                      (Joan Hoffman)

April 1, 2013

Dear CalUWild friends and supporters-

It’s been a while since the last Update because there hadn’t been much news or many action items to report on. In addition, I spent a week in Washington, DC with the Utah Wilderness Coalition meeting with staff on Capitol Hill about the upcoming reintroduction of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (see Item 1), the campaign to protect Greater Canyonlands (see Item 2a), and other issues of interest and importance.

In the last two weeks, though, items started rolling in, so here’s the Update for March, on April Fool’s Day. There were many interesting articles, so the Update this month contains more links than usual, both in the individual news items and in the Links (Item 7).

Last month’s Update contained an editing error: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), should have been identified as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks & Public Lands, rather than the full committee. In the meantime, we’ve learned that the Republican majority changed the subcommittee’s name to the Subcommittee on Public Lands & Environmental Regulation. This allowed Rep. Bishop to continue to serve as chairman, getting around the established three-term chairmanship limit, since it’s now a “different” subcommittee, having slightly different jurisdiction than before-it now will deal with National environmental Policy Act (NEPA) issues, over which the entire Committee had jurisdiction prior to the change. Regardless, sorry for any confusion.

Preparations continue for events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act in 2014. As part of that effort, Wilderness50, the planning team of which CalUWild is a part, has launched a new website to serve as the clearinghouse for information about all local, regional, and national 50th anniversary events, meetings, programs, and projects occurring between now and 2014 and dedicated to raising awareness of wilderness. As event planning escalates this year, event hosts and organizers are encouraged to enter their events onto the online map and calendar. Please add http://www.wilderness50th.org to your bookmarks or favorites and check back often.

Thanks for your ongoing interest and support!
Mike

IN UTAH
1.   America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act To Be Reintroduced
          Congressional Cosponsors Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Other Utah Public Lands Topics
          a.   Greater Canyonlands Campaign Moves Ahead
                    (ACTION ITEM)
          b.   Opposition to Utah Land Grab Continues to Grow
                    (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Berryessa Snow Mountain NCA Bill Introduced
          (ACTION ITEM)
4.   Yosemite and Merced River Issues
          a.   Wild & Scenic River Corridor Planning in Yosemite NP
                    Deadline for Comments: April 18
                    (ACTION ITEM)
          b. Legislation Introduced to De-Designate a Portion
                    Of the Merced Wild & Scenic River
                    (ACTION ITEM)
          c.   Mariposa Grove Big Trees Restoration Planning in Yosemite NP
                    Deadline for Comments: May 7
                    (ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
5.   Pres. Obama Proclaims Five New National Monuments
          (ACTION ITEM)
6.   New Interior Secretary Nominated

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
7.   Links of Interest

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IN UTAH
1.   America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act To Be Reintroduced
          Congressional Cosponsors Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

One of CalUWild’s ongoing legislative priorities is America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, the comprehensive wilderness bill that would protect much of the wild lands of Utah managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Rep. Wayne Owens (D-UT) first introduced it in 1989, and the bill has since been enlarged, reflecting citizen inventories conducted over the years. After Rep. Owens left Congress, Rep Maurice Hinchey (D) of New York was its long-time main sponsor and champion. He, in turn, retired last year, and Rep. Rush Holt (D) of New Jersey has agreed to be the lead sponsor now.

In the Senate, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois has been the chief sponsor for many years.

Every time a bill is reintroduced, it is important that other representatives and senators show their support for the bill. This is not only important legislatively, but it also shows the BLM, which manages the lands, that there is support for protecting them in their wild state, balancing development pressures on the agency.

California’s delegation has a long history of cosponsorship for the bill over the years. We’d like to see the following representatives show their support by signing on:

John Garamendi (D-3)
Mike Thompson (D-5)
Doris Matsui (D-6)
Ami Bera (D-7)
Jerry McNerney (D-9)
George Miller (D-11)
Barbara Lee (D-13)
Jackie Speier (D-14)
Eric Swalwell (D-15)
Anna Eshoo (D-18)
Zoe Lofgren (D-19)
Sam Farr (D-20)
Julia Brownley (D-26)
Tony Cardenas (D-29)
Brad Sherman (D-30)
Grace F. Napolitano (D-32)
Xavier Becerra (D-34)
Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-35)
Raul Ruiz (D-36)
Karen R. Bass (D-37)
Linda T. Sánchez (D-38)
Lucille Royball-Allard (D-40)
Mark Takano (D-41)
Maxine Waters (D-43)
Janice Hahn (D-44)
Loretta Sanchez (D-46)
Alan Lowenthal (D-47)
Juan Vargas (D-51)
Scott Peters (D-52)
Susan Davis (D-53)

The following representatives have already signed on:

Jared Huffman (D-2)
Mike Honda (D-17)
Lois Capps (D-24)
Judy Chu (D-27)
Adam Schiff (D-28)
Henry Waxman (D-33)

Please send them a note of thanks. Contact information may be found for all members at their websites at house.gov.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) has also said that she will sign onto the bill in the Senate. Please send her thanks, via her website or by phone at one of her offices. Complete info here.

2.   Other Utah Public Lands Topics
          a.   Greater Canyonlands Campaign Moves Ahead
                    (ACTION ITEM)

Efforts to protect the spectacular lands around Canyonlands National Park received a significant boost last month from Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis (D). He introduced a resolution, which you can read here calling for a public process to be set up that would allow for citizen input leading to a protective scheme.

The resolution is significant because it’s the first time anyone in the Utah state government has introduced anything in the legislature supporting protections for the wild lands of southern Utah.

You can sign an online petition in support of the resolution here, and you do not have to be a Utah resident to do so.

The campaign has attracted attention in the New York Times and in High Country News.

          b.   Opposition to Utah Land Grab Continues to Grow
                    (ACTION ITEM)

We’ve written before about Utah’s state government’s efforts to wrest control of the federal lands within the state from the federal government. A backlash is developing among the citizens of the state. An organization named For Kids and Lands has posted an online petition against the land grab, to be presented to the governor, Gary Herbert. While signatures from Utahns are most helpful, people everywhere are invited to sign on.

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Berryessa Snow Mountain NCA Bill Introduced
          (ACTION ITEM)

Earlier this month, Senator Barbara Boxer and Representatives Mike Thompson, John Garamendi, Jared Huffman, Ami Bera, and Anna Eshoo introduced the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Act of 2013 to protect 350,000 acres of public lands in northern California. A similar bill was introduced in the last Congress, and we wrote about it at the time.

You also can find more information here, and more information is available on Senator Boxer’s and Mike Thompson‘s webpages. Please take a moment and thank them for their support of public lands and the Berryessa Snow Mountain NCA. Contact information is on their websites.

4.   Yosemite and Merced River Issues
          a.   Wild & Scenic River Corridor Planning in Yosemite NP
                    Deadline for Comments: April 18
                    (ACTION ITEM)

Yosemite National Park is in the middle of redoing its management plan for the Merced River corridor in the park. This is the third time the Park is attempting to put together a comprehensive plan as required by the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. The two previous attempts have been the subject of litigation. It’s not an issue that CalUWild is taking on formally, so we’re not making any recommendations for comments right now.

However, if you are interested, you can read the voluminous planning documents and get information on submitting comments here.

National Parks Traveler published an interesting and thorough op-ed commentary and critique of the proposed plan, which you can read here.

The deadline for comments is April 18.

          b.   Legislation Introduced to De-Designate a Portion
                    Of the Merced Wild & Scenic River
                    (ACTION ITEM)

In other Merced River news, author, photographer and CalUWild friend Tim Palmer wrote an op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle last month calling attention to legislation introduced in the House (HR 934, by Rep. Tom McClintock) that would remove a portion of the river outside the park from the Wild & Scenic Rivers system. If passed and signed into law, it would be the first time a river had been de-designated. A similar bill passed the House of Representatives last year, so it’s likely that the Senate will be needed to block the reintroduced bill in this Congress.

For more information, visit Friends of the River’s Merced River page.

          c.   Mariposa Grove Big Trees Restoration Planning in Yosemite NP
                    Deadline for Comments: May 7
                    (ACTION ITEM)

Again, this is not an issue in which CalUWild will be heavily involved, but since many people visit the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias near Wawona at the south entrance to Yosemite, they might have ideas about its management.

According to the Park Service,

The primary goals of the Mariposa Grove DEIS are to restore giant sequoia habitat and improve the visitor experience. Overall, the plan will improve the natural processes that are critical to the long term health of the trees, protect special status species, enhance operational sustainability, improve visitor education and way-finding, improve visitor and employee safety, and protect cultural resource values.

For full information, including a schedule of public meetings and links to relevant documents and comments information, click here.

The deadline for comments is May 7.

IN GENERAL
5.   Pres. Obama Proclaims Five New National Monuments
          (ACTION ITEM)

Last week, Pres. Obama designated five national monuments across the country, using the Antiquities Act of 1906. Two of the monuments-Rio Grande del Norte in New Mexico and San Juan Islands in Washington state-will become parts of the National Landscape Lands system, under the jurisdiction of the BLM. They join Fort Ord NM in California as this Administration’s additions to the system.
The presidential proclamations spell out the reasons for the designations, and you can read them by clicking on the following links:

Rio Grande del Norte
San Juan Islands
Harriet Tubman-Underground Railroad
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers
First State (Delaware)

The proclamations come at a time of increasing pressure on the White House from conservationists to become more engaged in public lands protection efforts. In particular, Bruce Babbitt, Interior Secretary in the Clinton Administration, has continued to be outspoken in his criticism of Pres. Obama’s overall record. In a speech at the National Press Club, given before the designations, he decried the president’s promotion of energy exploration at the expense of wildlands protection. He also strongly defended the Antiquities Act, the 1906 law giving the president the authority to designate national monuments. More details about his recent speech at the can be found in the Salt Lake Tribune. The New York Times also ran several pieces looking at the speech and related issues:

Babbitt Exhorts Obama to Protect Public Lands;

Obama’s Public Lands Record; and

Verlyn Klinkenborg’s Editorial Observer column: The Gradual Selling of America the Beautiful also discussed the issues following the president’s proclamations.

Reaction from some Republican House members was predictably negative. Rep. Rob Bishop (R) of Utah complained in a press release that the president’s use of the Antiquities Act bypassed Congress and deprived local citizens affected by the designations of any say in the process. “Executive fiat is unquestionably the wrong way and is an abuse of executive privilege,” Mr. Bishop said. Of course, since the Antiquities Act specifically gives the president the authority to designate monuments, its use to do exactly that can hardly be characterized as an “abuse.” Secondly, both the Rio Grande and San Juan Islands had been the subject of bills-themselves the products of concerted citizens campaign-introduced in the last Congress, and Mr. Bishop never scheduled hearings on either. That fact alone pretty much negates any complaint he has.

Please send the White House a message of thanks by phone and while you’re at it, express support for a Greater Canyonlands National Monument:

202-456-1111

or online.

Please also write a letter to the editor of your local paper so the administration sees support expressed publicly for its designations.

6.   New Interior Secretary Nominated

Last month, Pres. Obama nominated Sally Jewell, the head of Recreational Equipment, Inc., to replace Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who is retiring after serving for the first term.

Ms. Jewell has a varied background, having worked at Mobil Oil and Washington Mutual Bank before heading REI. She’s known as an avid outdoorsperson, having climbed Mt. Rainier in Washington several times and frequent skier and kayaker. Ms. Jewell also serves on the board of the National Parks Conservation Association.

At her hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Ms. Jewell also supported expanding energy exploration on public lands, which is overseen by the BLM, while saying that balance was necessary among all the interests.

Ms. Jewell also said she would obey the funding restrictions imposed by Congress on the implementation of Sec. Salazar’s ill-fated Wildlands Policy. There is no way to know at this point what her statement might mean for the future policy direction of the Interior Department, since she could simply be saying that she would uphold the law, without giving an opinion on whether she supports the policy or not. Generally, nominees don’t try to rock the boat during confirmation hearings

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) of Alaska threatened to hold up the nomination because of her objections to the BLM’s recent refusal to support a land exchange in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Wilderness area that would have allowed a road to be built to an isolated town in Alaska. In the meantime, Sec. Salazar said that BLM will review the decision. The committee then voted 14-3 to send the nomination to the full Senate. The dissenting votes came from Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Tim Scott (R-SC). The Senate is expected to vote on her confirmation in April after returning from the Easter recess. The New York Times published opinion pieces on the nomination by Timothy Egan and Robert Semple.

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
7.   Links of Interest

Water: Lake Powell may dry up within a few decades

Pinnacles National Park — a good start

Soledad re-brands itself as the ‘Gateway to the Pinnacles’

The LA Times looks at the Pt. Reyes oyster farm controversy

The Effects of Sequestration on California’s national parks

The Canyon Country Zephyr of Moab looks at the controversies surrounding energy development on public lands and an interview with Terry Weiner of the Desert Protective Council

California’s wolf heads back to Oregon: Lonely lobo is a California wolf no more

Two links to items about children and nature: In Great Britain, How children lost the right to roam in four generations and an interview with 13-year-old filmmaker, Miranda Andersen, about Nature Deficit Disorder (with a link to her film, The Child in Nature, on the page).

Bad news for hikers: Mosquitoes ignore repellent Deet after first exposure

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