Search CalUWild.org

Monuments Review 2

January 8th, 2020

National Monuments Under Attack

The administration undertook an unprecedented review of the monuments designated in the last 20 years, and despite the fact that 99% of the public comments submitted supported keeping all the monuments intact, they have cut the Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante by 50%.

Native American tribes and conservation organizations have taken the administration to court, and we’ll keep you updated as the cases progress.

An attack on one monument is an attack on all!

THANK YOU for speaking up in any way you can: to your legislators, the press, your friends and family!

Tags: ,
Posted in Outdated | No Comments »

2018 November

November 28th, 2018


Light in Kolob Canyon                                                                                                                          (Patrick Dengate)

 
November 28, 2018

Dear CalUWild friends—

We hope you had a nice Thanksgiving holiday, remembering our good fortune to have such a wide variety and expanses of federal public lands, including Wilderness, here in the West.

CalUWild celebrates its 21st Anniversary this month. We are thankful for the support of all our members, some since the very beginning!

 
Was your INBOX filled with funding appeals yesterday for Giving Tuesday? We decided to hold off a day sending out this Update, so it wouldn’t get lost in the pile. Though dues are not required, we still need member contributions as well. We are in the process of sending out our annual member appeal over the next couple weeks, either by US Mail or email. Please contribute if you can.

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

Thanks to everyone who has already sent in gifts; it saves on printing and postage.

 
As we’ve mentioned before, you can also support CalUWild by buying art! Patrick Dengate, whose painting appears above, is generously contributing 50% of the proceeds from paintings he sells to CalUWild. You can see some of the ones he’s offered here. Check out his website for more and to contact him.

Another CalUWild friend, Margie Lopez Read, contributes the proceeds from sales of her art to worthy organizations, and she’s including CalUWild on her list. For more information, visit her website.

 
Thanks again for all your interest and support. We’re looking forward to the years and challenges ahead!

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
IN UTAH
1.   Emery County Bill Update
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.    Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
          Management Planning Comments Due
          DEADLINE: Friday, Nov. 30
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Congressional Amicus Brief Filed
          In National Monuments Lawsuits
          Thank You Calls Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
4.   Point Reyes National Seashore
          Ranch Management Planning
          Scoping Comments Due
          DEADLINE: Friday, Nov. 30
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
5.   Brief Election Summary
6.   Park Service Fee-Free Days Announced for 2019

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Emery County Bill Update
          (ACTION ITEM)

We’ve written in detail previously (in our September Update and May Update) about H.R. 5727, Rep. Curtis’s (R-UT) “Not-So-Swell” bill for Emery County and its companion bill in the Senate, Sen. Hatch’s (R-UT) S. 2809.

With the election over, there is concern that the Utah delegation will try to get the bill passed in the lame duck session. The main objections to this bill are:

•   The bill protects only 1/3 of the lands eligible for wilderness designation, with important areas such as Muddy Creek, parts of Labyrinth Canyon, and the San Rafael Badlands left out.

•   It conveys management authority over federal land to the State of Utah for recreational uses around Goblin Valley, including the popular Crack and Chute canyons.

•   The House version contains a land exchange provision in the Ute Reservation that the Ute Tribe itself opposes.

So it’s important, once again, to let your representatives know that it’s a controversial bill and should not be passed in its present form. And unfortunately, Rep. Curtis has shown little interest in incorporating changes suggested by the conservation community. He has frozen us out just about every step of the way.

Contact information for the House may be found by following the links here and for the Senate, here.

When you call, please include the Thank You discussed in Item 3 if your representative is on the list there.

 
2.   Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
          Management Planning Comments Due
          DEADLINE: Friday, Nov. 30
          (ACTION ITEM)

The comment period for the shrunken Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument ends this Friday,   November 30. Please submit your comments! They are especially pertinent if you have visited either area or hope to some day.

Item 1 in our August-September Update contains detailed talking points and the links and addresses for commenting on the plan. Please refer to it.

As we reported last month, an additional, important issue came to light recently—the Bureau of Land Management is proposing to re-open the Escalante River corridor to cattle grazing. There are two equally important reasons for opposing this proposal. The first is ecological: the corridor has undergone a tremendous amount of habitat restoration, removing non-native invasive plants such as Russian olive and tamarisk. Allowing renewed grazing would cause irreparable damage to the restored landscape. The second reason is both economic and equity-based: Years ago the Grand Canyon Trust purchased grazing permits from willing ranchers in order to remove cattle and retire the allotments permanently. BLM should not be allowed to circumvent those buyouts now. If you’ve already submitted a comment, please submit a supplemental comment on this issue. It’s important.

To comment online, it’s best to create a text file first and then PASTE it into the comment box here. Follow the process through the next three pages, filling in the information in the required boxes with red asterisks.

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

U.S. Bureau of Land Management
Attn: Matt Betenson
669 S Hwy. 89A
Kanab, UT   84741

 
3.   Congressional Amicus Brief Filed
          In National Monuments Lawsuits
          Thank You Calls Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

There’s not much we can do to support the litigation over the reductions in the Utah national monuments, but this month 118 Representatives and Senators took the unusual step of signing their names to amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs, circulated by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM).

The briefs were in support of the Plaintiffs’ main legal argument—one with which most legal scholars seem to agree: Only Congress has the authority to reduce national monuments. The language of the Antiquities Act itself only grants the president authority to designate monuments, not reduce them. Additionally, the Federal Lands Policy Management Act specifically says that the power is reserved to Congress.

Given the Constitution’s grant of authority to Congress to “make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory … belonging to the United States,” these cases have a strong separation of powers component. It is important that Congress is standing up for its rightful authority, especially when the Executive Branch attempts to usurp any of it.

The following Representatives from California signed on:

Jared Huffman (D-2)
John Garamendi (D-3)
Mike Thompson (D-5)
Jerry McNerney (D-9)
Mark DeSaulnier (D-11)
Nancy Pelosi (D-12)
Barbara Lee (D-13)
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-14)
Anna Eshoo (D-18)
Zoe Lofgren (D-19)
Jimmy Panetta (D-20)
Salud Carbajal (D-24)
Judy Chu (D-27)
Ted Lieu (D-33)
Grace Napolitano (D-32)
Jimmy Gomez (D-34)
Raul Ruiz (D-36)
Karen Bass (D-37)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-40)
Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-44)
Alan Lowenthal (D-47)
Susan Davis (D-53)

If you live in one of their districts, please contact their offices to say Thank You!

Both Senators Dianne Feinstein (D) and Kamala Harris (D) signed on, as well and deserve a Thank You, too.

Contact information for the House may be found by following the links here and for the Senate, here.

A full list of signers may be found at the end of Sen. Udall’s press release, which also contains further details about the briefs, including links to their full texts.

Though not directly related to the litigation, National Parks Traveler ran an editorial: Bears Ears And Grand Staircase-Escalante Are Today’s Hetch Hetchy.

 
IN CALIFORNIA
4.   Point Reyes National Seashore
          Ranch Management Planning
          Scoping Comments Due
          DEADLINE: Friday, Nov. 30
          (ACTION ITEM)

This month, Point Reyes National Seashore announced a 30-day scoping period on an amendment to its General Management Plan, covering ranch and Tule Elk management.

The timing is very short on this, and we have not been able to develop a comprehensive set of talking points, so this item may only be relevant to people who already have some knowledge of the issues involved. We discussed some of this in our August-September Update. There will be an opportunity to comment on the Draft Plan when it’s released, and we will try to have more specific suggestions then.

Dairy and beef cattle ranching has a long history at Pt. Reyes, dating back to the 1800s. When the Seashore was established in the 1960s, there was opposition from the ranching families, but in the end they agreed to a buyout-leaseback arrangement with the National Park Service. It was never the intent that ranching would continue indefinitely, though some people are claiming that now. In fact, there is no mention of ranching as being a purpose for the establishment of the Seashore in its enabling legislation:

In order to save and preserve, for purposes of public recreation, benefit, and inspiration, a portion of the diminishing seashore of the United States that remains undeveloped, the Secretary of the Interior (hereinafter referred to as the “Secretary”) is authorized to take appropriate action in the public interest toward the establishment of the national seashore.

Legislation was later passed giving the ranchers leases for 25 years or for the life of the rancher, whichever was longer. Rep. Jared Huffman’s (D-2) bill,   H.R. 6687, which we discussed in our August-September Update, is attempting to codify the revised intent.

In the 1970s, Tule Elk were released into areas of the Seashore, and there are now conflicts with the cattle operations. So the management plan will be addressing this as well.

The Park Service has released a proposal for scoping that includes six different alternatives (one of which is   “No Action,” meaning things would stay as they are). You can read about them here. The Park Service describes them as ranging from

twenty-year agricultural lease/permits with diversification and increased operational flexibility, to reduced ranching, no dairy ranching, and no ranching alternatives. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will also include a range of alternatives for the management of tule elk in the planning area, from elimination to active management to expansion of the Drakes Beach herd.

A couple of suggestions for comments:

•   Regarding Alternative B, “Continued Ranching and Management of the Drakes Beach Tule Elk Herd (NPS Proposed Action):” No expansion of commercial activities should be allowed. Ranchers have proposed having overnight stays, growing different kinds of crops and introducing other types of animals to their farms. These should not be allowed in the name of “ranch operational flexibility and diversification.”

•   Alternative C, “Continued Ranching and Removal of the Drakes Beach Tule Elk Herd,” should not be considered at all. It’s antithetical to the purpose of a national park.

Comments may be submitted online at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/poregmpa   or by mailing or hand delivering comments to:

GMP Amendment c/o Superintendent
Point Reyes National Seashore
1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

For more information, please see the GMP Amendment Frequently Asked Questions, the GMP Amendment website, or Point Reyes National Seashore’s website: www.nps.gov/pore.

More general information may be found at https://restoreptreyesseashore.org.

 
IN GENERAL
5.   Brief Election Summary

After this month’s election, we have hope that the next Congress will be friendlier to land protection and oversight of the administration. It’s likely that Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) will be chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. He’s a stalwart defender of America’s public lands and will be a welcome change from Utah’s Rep. Rob Bishop (R). (The Salt Lake Tribune ran an article on Mr. Bishop’s new status.)

In other welcome news, there is now a Diné (Navajo) majority on the San Juan County Commission, home to the Bears Ears National Monument. This was due to a court redrawing districts in the county. Diné are a slight majority of residents in the county and now hold two of the three seats on the Commission

Finally, in California, long-time senator Dianne Feinstein (D) was re-elected. She’s been a champion of the Mojave Desert (among other places) for many years. In the House, it looks like 45 of California’s 53 seats will be held by Democrats, who have been far more supportive of public lands protection than the GOP in recent years. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-12, San Francisco) will likely be the next Speaker of the House, and Kevin McCarthy (R-23, Bakersfield) will be House Minority Leader—so two Californians in the highest positions.

As we’ve said before, though, CalUWild is not a partisan organization. Party affiliations are included for identification purposes only. However, we do regret that land conservation has become such a highly partisan issue in Congress.

Here are links to some articles discussing the elections, Native American representation, and public lands:

In The Guardian: ‘They’re playing dirty’: Can Navajos win power after racial exclusion?

In High Country News: In southern Utah, Navajo voters rise to be heard

An article in Outside: In New Mexico, Public Lands Turned an Election Blue

 
6.   Park Service Fee-Free Days Announced for 2019

The Park Service announced that there will be five days in 2019 when entrance fees to all sites in the system will be waived. They are:

Monday, January 21 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Saturday, April 20 – First Day of National Park Week/
National Junior Ranger Day
Sunday, August 25 – National Park Service Anniversary
Saturday, September 28 – National Public Lands Day
Monday, November 11 – Veterans Day

The annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks. There are also free or discounted passes available for senior citizens, current members of the U.S. military, families of fourth grade students, and disabled citizens.

 
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 Interior Department & Secty. Zinke

An   article in The Guardian: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of big business, with an op-ed the same day by Joel Clements, the scientist who resigned in protest, rather than be transferred to a position he was unqualified for: Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

From the Washington Post: Newly released emails suggest Zinke contradicted ethics pledge

A letter to the editor in the Washington Post from the Managing Director of the Vet Voice Foundation. Vet Voice has a been a strong supporter of the national monuments campaigns and public lands in general. It’s good to have them on our side! Zinke doesn’t represent the values of military veterans

The Washington Post reports: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke remains defiant amid ethics probes

An article/interview in the Washington Post about David Bernhardt, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior, considered the likely secretary should Ryan Zinke leave at some point: ‘The man behind the curtain’: Interior’s No. 2 helps drive Trump’s agenda

An article in the New York Times: Energy Speculators Jump on Chance to Lease Public Land at Bargain Rates

Public Lands in General

An article in the New York Times: Scientists Warn That World’s Wilderness Areas Are Disappearing

An in-depth report by The Guardian: Crisis in our national parks: how tourists are loving nature to death. The statistics on the number of visitors are astounding.

An article in the New York Times: ‘Entering Burn Area’: Yosemite After the Fire

An article in the Sacramento Bee about SB 50, one of the laws passed to protect public lands in California from sales by the federal government: Trump scores victory over California in latest court battle over land

 
 
 
 
 
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 information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here.

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

Tags: , ,
Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

2018 September

October 2nd, 2018

Aspens near Capitol Reef National Park, Utah                                                                                                    (Mike Painter)

 
September 29, 2018

Dear CalUWild friends—

It’s been an exhausting week, with the confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court taking center stage. The last couple of weeks have focused on his conduct against women, but earlier in the month the committee asked questions about his environmental record. He gave misleading answers then, too. For example, he claimed that he ruled in favor of environmentalists in many cases. In fact when he did, it was very often only on procedural issues while ruling against on substantive issues. You can read more in this blog post from our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council. For many reasons, then, he doesn’t deserve to be confirmed.

Remember: When it all gets to be too much, go out for a hike.

 
Many thanks to our members who have supported CalUWild over the last few months by buying a painting by our friend Patrick Dengate. He’s generously contributing 50% of the selling price to CalUWild. Some of his paintings can be seen here, and there are more on his website.

 
Finally, an administrative note: We had an involuntary migration of the CalUWild website over to a new host recently, and there were a couple of minor glitches. If you come across any broken links, please send me an email, and I will fix them right away.

 
Thanks for your interest and support!
Mike

 
IN UTAH
1.   Emery County Bill Update
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   National Monuments Update
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINES: November 15 & 30
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Rep. Huffman’s Pt. Reyes Ranching Bill Passes House
4.   Vote NO on Prop. 3,
          The Water Bond on November’s Ballot
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
5.   Land & Water Conservation Fund Due to Expire
          (ACTION ITEM)
6.   Job Listing: National Parks Conservation Association
          Communications Manager

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Emery County Bill Update
          (ACTION ITEM)

The bill for Emery County, which we reported on in our May Update had a markup hearing this week in Congress. The following comes from our friends at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

 
There were a few fireworks during the House Committee on Natural Resources markup of H.R. 5727, Rep. Curtis’s (UT-3) “Not-So-Swell” bill for Emery County.

Rep. Grijalva (AZ-3), the committee’s ranking member, issued a strong opening statement, acknowledging the work Rep. Curtis has put into this legislation, but highlighting all the many things still wrong with the bill. He specifically called for more protections for Labyrinth Canyon, Muddy Creek, and the San Rafael Badlands, and for resolution to the Ute Tribe’s concerns about the land exchange the bill facilitates.

At the outset, Rep. Curtis offered an amendment in the nature of a substitution (ANS), which serves to change the underlying bill being debated. The amendment fixed the travel plan we’d long had concerns about, but also made some things worse. For example, it downgraded the National Conservation Area in the San Rafael Swell to a National Recreation Area, which would put conservation on the backburner in the eyes of the BLM.

Some of Rep. Curtis’s fiercest critics came from his own side of the dais. Rep. Gosar (AZ-4) offered a string of amendments that would actually make this bill even worse, removing a mineral withdrawal and removing Wild and Scenic river protections. His amendments were all defeated squarely, but not before he offered at least one argument we agree with: that the lands in question are federal lands, and all Americans should have a say in their management. We couldn’t agree more, Rep. Gosar.

That’s why our champion in the House, Rep. Lowenthal (CA-47) offered a stirring defense of the special places that have been left out of the bill, and offered an amendment to add additional Wilderness protections for Labyrinth Canyon and Muddy Creek, and a National Conservation Area for the San Rafael Badlands. Rep. Curtis had complained earlier that nobody gets to have a “winner take all” bill, but the truth is, even if Lowenthal’s amendment was adopted, the bill would only protect half of what’s in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. Unfortunately, the amendment did not pass.

Rep. Hanabusa (HI-2) offered an amendment that would ease the Ute Tribe’s concerns by defining Indian land as any land within an Indian reservation. This amendment was defeated on a party line vote, 21-17.

The bill ultimately passed out of committee, but not before the mark-up showed why no conservation organizations support this legislation. It’s a step backward for conservation, and Rep. Curtis doesn’t seem to want to fix that. He is still only catering to the desires of Emery County—in fact, he went as far as to say he would turn the land over to the county if he could: “If they had stewardship—believe me, I would love to wave a wand and give them the land, but this is the next best thing to it — to ask what they would do with the federal land in their area.”

But these are all American’s public lands. Keep emailing your members of Congress and asking them to oppose this legislation as it continues to move throughout both chambers.

 
Please call your representatives and ask them to oppose H.R. 5727 and your senators to oppose S. 2809, Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) companion Senate bill. Contact information for the House may be found by following the links here and for the Senate, here.

 
2.   National Monuments Update
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINES: November 15 & 30
          (ACTION ITEM)

The comment periods for the shrunken Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments are still open. It’s important that interested citizens submit their thoughts, especially if you have visited the areas or hope to some day.

Please see Item 1 in the last Update for detailed talking points and the links and addresses for commenting on the plans.

BLM has announced open houses in Utah for the planning processes.

Bears Ears NM

Tuesday, October 2
San Juan High School
311 N 100 E
Blanding
5 to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, October 3
Bluff Community Center
190 N 3rd St E
Bluff
5 to 8 p.m.

Thursday, October 4
White Horse High School
State Highway 262
Montezuma Creek
5 to 8 p.m.

Grand Staircase-Escalante NM

Monday, October 15
Escalante High School
70 N 1 W
Escalante
4 to 7 p.m.

Tuesday, October 16
Kanab Elementary School
41 W 100 N
Kanab
4 to 7 p.m.

In other news regarding the lawsuits filed against the administration’s shrinking of the monuments, Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled against the administration’s request for a change of venue from Washington, DC to Utah. Among the factors influencing her decision was that the “abundantly clear” and “substantial” national interest in the case outweighs the local interest.

Judge Chutkan also ordered the government to notify the plaintiffs if any proposals for hard-rock mining or other surface-disturbing projects are proposed within the original monuments.

This is good news for us. We’ll keep you posted on further developments.

The New Yorker published an article on the one of the Grand Staircase-Escalante lawsuits: Why Two Chefs in Small-Town Utah Decided to Sue President Trump.

 
IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Rep. Huffman’s Pt. Reyes Ranching Bill Passes House

In Item 4 of the last Update we reported that Rep. Jared Huffman (D-2) had introduced a bill directing the Secretary of the Interior to issue 20-year leases to ranchers at Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County. After some minor amendments, the bill passed the House last week.

It remains to be seen how the bill, if signed into law, will affect the Park Service’s ongoing general management plan updating process at the seashore. One of the alternatives mandated by the previous court settlement is a “no ranching” alternative. This legislation would seem on its face to prevent such an alternative from being considered. Rep. Huffman denies it will interfere with the planning process.

Although the bill appeared suddenly, it seems something has been in the works for a while. Here’s an article from earlier in the year in the East Bay Express with some background information that might shed some light on the issue: Point Reyes Ranchers Create Lobbying Group to Weaken Protections for Public Lands. Note the quote in the article: “‘We just want to change the founding legislation of the [Point Reyes National Seashore] so that ranchers are guaranteed they’ll always be able to farm out there. [emphasis added]’”

Legislation for the Seashore passed 40 years ago this Fall gave leasebacks to ranchers of 25 years or for the life of the rancher or spouse, whichever was longer. Restrictions were also placed on transfers of leases outside of ranchers’ families. It’s clear that ranching was never intended to continue at Pt. Reyes “always.”

Congress should not manage our public lands at that level of detail. That is why our agencies hire land managers. The bill also sets a bad precedent for Congressional representatives to introduce similar laws for their districts.

Unfortunately, the misleading language in Rep. Huffman’s original bill, concerning the directive to “the Secretary of the Interior to manage the Point Reyes National Seashore … consistent with Congress’ longstanding intent to maintain working dairies and ranches on agricultural property,” is already being used as an example to support viewpoints opposing future restrictions on public lands grazing elsewhere. This letter to the editorabout the Emery County, Utah bill discussed in Item 1 appeared earlier this month.

 
The Marin Independent Journal published two op-eds, one opposing the legislation, Huffman wrong to protect Point Reyes cattle ranchers, and one in support of it, Huffman is doing what a political leader should do.

 
4.   Vote NO on Prop. 3,
          The Water Bond on November’s Ballot
          (ACTION ITEM)

With early voting set to start before publication of our next Update, we’re joining the Sierra Club in coming out against Proposition 3 on the November ballot.

This statement from the Sierra Club, Proposition 3: A Fiscally Irresponsible Approach to California’s Water Problems, lists the reasons for voting against it. Some of them include:

• It was written and is being funded by groups that would receive bond money if it’s passed.

• Taxpayers would be paying for repairs to projects that are normally paid for by the recipients of the water.

• It could provide funding for raising dams and other environmentally harmful projects.

The San Francisco Chronicle published an editorial supporting the Club’s position and also pointing out that a similar proposal was defeated in 2002.

 
ALSO: Please make sure your voter registration is current. You can check it out at Vote.org, regardless of which state you live in. If you’re not registered for some reason, you can do it there, too. The deadline for registering in California is Monday, October 22, 15 days before the election.

 
IN GENERAL
5.   Land & Water Conservation Fund Due to Expire
          (ACTION ITEM)

The Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) will expire tomorrow, September 30, for the first time in its history. But all is not lost. The following (slightly edited) comes from Vicky Hoover, LWCF campaign director at the Sierra Club (and CalUWild co-founder):

 
In a surprise move earlier this month, the House Natural Resources Committee actually marked-up and voted on the bill to permanently reauthorize the Land & Water Conservation Fund, H.R. 502—-after its champion, Mr. Grijalva made a relatively minor compromise to overcome the chairman’s long-time hostility—and it was passed by the Committee!

This opens up the door to a full House vote.

Please thank the six Democrats from California who are on the Committee—and who vigorously defended the LWCF and fought off a few damaging amendments that were proposed by Rep. Gosar (R) of Arizona.

Jared Huffman (D-2): 202-225-5161
Jim Costa (D-16): 202-225-3341
Grace Napolitano (D-32): 202-225-5256
Jimmy Gomez (D-34): 202-225-6235
Alan Lowenthal (D-47): 202-225-7924
Nannette Barragán (D-44): 202-225-8220

The markup should really make it easier for more Republicans to cosponsor. And so far we still have only one from California — Steve Knight.

It STILL would be valuable and useful to get Walters, Royce, Issa and Duncan Hunter on as cosponsors of H.R. 502. The more cosponsors, the more effective political support. Please call the following

Ed Royce (R-39): 202-225-4111
Mimi Walters (R-45): 202-225-5611
Darrell Issa (R-49): 202-225-3906
Duncan Hunter (R-50): 202-225-5672

The more cosponsors, the more ammunition against damaging amendments, and against efforts to “rob” the LWCF to pay for parks maintenance—the final bill MUST leave dedicated funds for the LWCF alone and not waylay them into other programs—even if another new use for such funds—such as a new fund to address the maintenance backlog in our national park system—is a good use. It MUST be additive and totally separate from the LWCF.

 
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced that she would hold hearings next week to consider legislation to reauthorize the LWCF and a bill to fund maintenance in the national parks, too.

 
6.   Job Listing: National Parks Conservation Association
          Communications Manager

The position will be based in NPCA’s Oakland, CA office and will lead development and implementation of a national communications campaign related to oil and gas/harmful energy development near national parks. The manager will also lead communications strategy and outreach for the Southwest and Northwest regions.

For full details, click here.

 
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.

An article from the Center for Investigative Reporting: National park officials were told climate change was ‘sensitive.’ So they removed it from a key planning report

In The New Republic What the Public Lands Are Truly Worth: A new book argues that America’s forests and streams provide far more value than they cost to support. A review of In Defense of Public Lands: The Case against Privatization and Transfer

An article in The New Yorker: The Grand Canyon Needs to Be Saved By Every Generation

From the Taos News: Rio Grande Trail: Putting a 500-mile path on the ground

And in the New York Times: The Rio Grande Is Dying. Does Anyone Care?

 
 
 
 
 
 

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 information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here.

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

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

2018 May

May 27th, 2018


Juniper & Overlook                                                                                     (Patrick Dengate, oil on wood panel, 9″ x 12″)
 

May 26, 2018

Dear CalUWild friends—

It’s the Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional start of the summer vacation season. Our national parks are more crowded (and more popular) than ever. That shouldn’t necessarily dissuade you from visiting, but remember that there are many other federal public lands out there, uncrowded and worthy of visitation. Find some time this summer to enjoy them!
 

You can support CalUWild and own some artwork at the same time! Two CalUWild members have generously offered to contribute proceeds from sales of their art to CalUWild.

Patrick Dengate, whose painting is above and whom we’ve featured in the Update previously (here, here and here), is an artist and one of the founders of Michigan Friends of Redrock Wilderness. He works in various media and has a series of paintings of the West, including Juniper & Overlook. Patrick will contribute 50% of the sales price to support CalUWild’s work. Click here for a catalog of 14 paintings. Visit his website to see more of his varied work.

Margie Lopez Read is a longtime Utah wilderness activist and artist who splits her time between Utah and California. She sells her art strictly as a way to support worthy nonprofit organizations, and she would like to include CalUWild among those. Her website is here. Check it out, and if there’s something you might be interested in, contact Margie through her website for more information on pricing and payment.

Finally, we still have a very limited number of Wilderness Act 50th Anniversary posters, featuring a block print by renowned California artist Tom Killion. The poster measures 18″ x 24″, and the price is $10 apiece, plus postage and shipping ($5 for 1 or 2, $5.50 for 3). If you’re interested, send a check for the proper amount, along with your name and address, to:

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

 
As always, thanks for your interest in and support for our wilderness and public lands!
 

Best wishes,
Mike
 

IN UTAH
1.   Bad San Rafael Swell Bill Introduced
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Carrizo Plain National Monument Oil Exploration
          Letters Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Ballot Measure Endorsement
          YES on Prop. 68
          Don’t Forget to Vote June 5
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN ALASKA
4.   Rep. Jared Huffman Introduces Bill
          To Stop Drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
5.   National Monuments Review Documents Released
          And Monument Photos Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)
6.   Job Announcements
          a.   Western Environmental Law Center
          b.   Oregon Natural Desert Association
          c.   Bay Area Wilderness Training
          d.   SUWA Service Project Volunteers

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Bad San Rafael Swell Bill Introduced
          (ACTION ITEM)

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) and Rep. John Curtis (R) have introduced the Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018, companion bills S. 2809 and H.R. 5727, in the Senate and House respectively. The legislation is a follow-up to Rep. Rob Bishop’s (R-UT) failed Public Lands Initiative (PLI) of 2016, but in reality it’s worse than what was proposed then.

The bill makes permanent all the existing routes in both the NCA and wilderness areas, meaning that the BLM will not be able to manage those areas with conservation and wilderness priorities. A management advisory council for the NCA will be created that allows for disproportionate local representation.

Although the act establishes the “San Rafael Swell Western Heritage and Historic Mining National Conservation Area” and the “Jurassic National Monument,” it only designates about one third of the wilderness included in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. This amount is even less than was in the PLI. Furthermore many of these areas already have some level of protection as wilderness study areas (WSAs) or natural areas. Important areas in the Swell, such as Muddy Creek, the Mussentuchit Badlands and Molen Reef are completely ignored. Labyrinth Canyon on the Green River receives protection only on its west bank, because it is in Emery County.

The bill also transfers management of federal land near Goblin Valley State Park to the State of Utah.

You may read the text of the House bill here.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has a page with its analysis of the bill, and also photos of some of the spectacular affected areas.

It looks like we have a good fight ahead, either to improve the bill, as happened with the Washington County bill in 2009, or to defeat it totally. Complicating the situation is the fact that Sen. Orrin Hatch is retiring this year, so some members may feel influenced to give him a retirement “gift.”
 

Regardless, we oppose the legislation as it stands now. Please contact your senators and congressional representatives to let them know that.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: 202-224-3841
Online here

Sen. Kamala Harris: 202-224-3553
Online here

If you live in a state other than California, contact information for your senators may be found here.

Full contact information for California members may be found by following the links here, and for other states by following the links here.
 

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Carrizo Plain National Monument Oil Exploration
          Letters Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

The following alert comes from our friends at Los Padres ForestWatch. Please write a letter to California State BLM Director Jerry Perez. Use the talking points below, but please, in your own words. If you have been to the Carrizo Plain, make sure to mention, saying what you found special about the place!

The Department of the Interior has approved a new oil well and pipeline at the base of the Caliente Mountains in the Carrizo Plain National Monument. This is the first new oil development approved in the national monument since it was established in 2001, and the approval comes just months after the Trump Administration considered revoking the Carrizo Plain’s protected status altogether.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) — the agency responsible for approving the new oil well — failed to consult with its sister wildlife agency, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, to examine ways to lessen impacts on rare plants and animals such as the San Joaquin kit fox, California condor, giant kangaroo rat, San Joaquin antelope squirrel, and Kern mallow — all critically endangered species. The BLM also approved the new well and pipeline despite the fact that neither are consistent with the Management Plan for the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

This decision is in stark contrast to a decision by the BLM two years ago to allow the oil company to abandon an existing well so that the agency could reclaim the oil pad and access road, remove its rusty equipment, and restore the area to natural conditions. The Trump Administration is now backtracking on those plans.

You can help stop the new oil well and pipeline from going forward. Send a letter to BLM State Director Jerry Perez to let him know that you are strongly opposed to new drilling on the Carrizo Plain National Monument and that the agency should instead move forward with their previous plans to restore the oil pad to natural conditions.
 

Talking points:

• This is the first new oil well and pipeline on the Carrizo Plain since the area was designated a national monument in 2001. Please reconsider this decision.

• The new well and pipeline aren’t consistent with the management plan for the Carrizo Plain National Monument. This plan was developed after years of public input, and its provisions should be followed.

• The well and pipeline would also be visible from the Caliente Mountain Wilderness Study Area and when driving along Route 166. These and other impacts require more robust review.

• BLM didn’t consult with federal wildlife agencies to ensure the protection of imperiled species like the San Joaquin kit fox, California condor, giant kangaroo rat, San Joaquin antelope squirrel and Kern mallow.

• BLM should proceed with the 2016 plan to remove abandoned equipment from this same area where the new oil well and pipeline would be installed and restore the area to natural conditions. This would be consistent with the Carrizo Plain’s management plan, which requires prompt abandonment and reclamation of non-producing facilities in the national monument.

Letters should be addressed to:

Mr. Jerry Perez
California State Director
U.S. Bureau of Land Management
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W1623
Sacramento, CA 95825

Via email: castatedirector@blm.gov
 

3.   Ballot Measure Endorsement
          YES on Prop. 68
          Don’t Forget to Vote June 5
          (ACTION ITEM)

Statewide, voters are being asked to approve a bond measure, Proposition 68, in support of the state parks and other parks, as well as other environmental needs. Our parks are always underfunded and we have many other long-term needs, both conservation-related and in the general environment. If passed, 15 – 20% of the bonds’ funds would be dedicated to projects in lower-income communities. All the major newspapers and conservation organizations in the state support Prop. 68.
 

IN ALASKA
4.   Rep. Jared Huffman Introduces Bill
          To Stop Drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
          (ACTION ITEM)

This week, California Rep. Jared Huffman (D-2), one of strongest congressional supporters of wilderness and public lands, introduced the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act. The following information is taken from an alert sent our by our friends at the Alaska Wilderness League.
 

Representative Jared Huffman has introduced the “Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act” to keep oil rigs out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Arctic Refuge drilling only passed as part of December’s heinous tax bill because Republican leadership used it to lock up Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski’s swing vote. Drilling and the tax bill remain deeply unpopular with the American people.

The “Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act” repeals Arctic Refuge drilling from the tax bill. It prevents the sacrifice of our wildest landscape so that oil companies and billionaires can get even richer.

Stand up for the Gwich’in people who rely on the Arctic Refuge and the calving caribou that raise young there. The Arctic Refuge and its coastal plain also supports denning polar bears and their cubs, wolves, foxes, muskoxen, and more than 200 migratory and resident bird species. This is not a place to drill for oil.

CalUWild friend Erik DuMont wrote an op-ed piece in The Hill this week about the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge and Rep. Huffman’s bill.
 

Please contact your representative and ask them to support Rep. Huffman’s bill. Full contact information for California members may be found by following the links here, and for other states by following the links here.

Please also contact Rep. Huffman’s office to thank him for introducing the bill.

Washington, DC office:

1406 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5161

For Rep. Huffman’s local offices or to comment via webform, follow the links here.
 

IN GENERAL
5.   National Monuments Review Documents Released
          And Monument Photos Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

As the result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the Department of the Interior has released a large number of documents related to the national monument review process and the president’s executive order mandating it.

It can all be found here. Here are the monument- and content-specific links.

Monument/Topic Specific FOIA Docs (May 2018)

Basin and Range NM
Bears Ears NM
Bears Ears Zinke Staff Correspondence
Carrizo Plain NM
Giant Sequoia NM
Gold Butte NM
Grand Staircase-Escalante NM
Katahdin Woods and Waters NM
Meetings Held by Zinke Staff
Mojave Trails NM
National Monument Report
Northeast Canyons and Seamounts NM
NRDC
Process for Reviewing Public Comments
Public Comment Review
Review of National Monuments under EO 13792

One of the more notable revelations, though not really that surprising, is that one of the officials involved in the review, Randal Bowman, said—one week after the initial executive order was released— that it was very unlikely that they would learn anything new from the comments submitted. “Essentially, barring a surprise, there is no new information that’s going to be submitted,” Bowman is quoted as saying.

In other words, the fix was in from the beginning. You can read more details in this article in The Hill.
 

And a reminder from last month: Throughout the month of May, the monumentsforall.org website is asking monument supporters to upload photos from places protected by the Antiquities Act. Pictures with people enjoying and exploring our monuments are especially welcome. Also pictures of historic and cultural monuments, not just landscape monuments, are particularly needed.

Deadline: May 31

Thanks for your submissions!
 

6. Job Announcements
          a.   Western Environmental Law Center

The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with a 25-year legacy of success using the power of the law to safeguard the public lands, wildlife, and communities of the American West in the face of a changing climate. We seek a dynamic, experienced attorney to join our team. This position will use a full complement of legal advocacy tools to: (1) protect public lands, wildlife, and communities from fossil fuel projects; (2) engage federal and state legislative, policy, and rulemaking processes to advance climate action; and (3) support a just transition for communities away from fossil fuels. This full-time position will be located in our Taos, New Mexico office and will be filled as soon as possible.

Requirements and qualifications for the position include:

• Deep familiarity with Western U.S. climate, fossil fuel, and public lands legal issues, with knowledge of New Mexico’s legal framework, communities, and lands a significant plus.
• At least six years of litigation experience, with administrative advocacy and strategic/policy campaign experience a significant plus.
• Ability and willingness to use a complete set of legal advocacy tools including litigation, collaboration, administrative engagement, and rule and policy development.
• Admission to and good standing with a state bar and willingness to obtain membership to the New Mexico bar, if not already admitted, at the earliest opportunity after hiring.
• A science or technical background in climate, energy, or public lands-related issues is a significant plus.
• Creative, strong-willed capacity to achieve objectives in the face of adversity.
• Exceptional research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.
• Strong interpersonal skills to foster relationships with our clients, partners, funders, and allies.
• Demonstrated commitment to the public interest and to WELC’s mission and strategies.
• Demonstrated commitment to conceptualizing and executing legal strategies that further WELC’s commitment to equity, inclusion, and justice.
• A positive, friendly, and enthusiastic attitude towards making the world a better place.
• A love and respect for the public lands, wildlife, and communities of the Western U.S.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning June 6, 2018 until the position is filled, with a start date no later than September 2018. To apply, please email the following as PDF attachments to jobs@westernlaw.org:

(1) cover letter addressed to Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, Executive Director;
(2) resume; and
(3) minimum of three references

Cover letters should clearly communicate the applicant’s commitment to WELC’s mission and advocacy and their motivation to work in the public interest legal field. Please do not reiterate qualifications communicated by your resume. No phone calls or in-person visits please.

Western Environmental Law Center is an equal opportunity employer. We value diversity and our programs and employment are open to all. We offer a friendly, team-based environment, highly competitive salaries, and an excellent benefits package.
 

          b.   Oregon Natural Desert Association

From the Oregon Natural Desert Association:

Oregon Natural Desert Association Executive Director Brent Fenty will be shifting into a new role as head of the Oregon Desert Land Trust and ONDA’s board of directors has launched a nationwide search for our next leader.

Our executive director job description is now ready.

We’re seeking candidates who are:

• Passionate about Oregon’s high desert
• Solutions-oriented with a strong work ethic
• Committed to celebrating teamwork and maintaining the organization’s unique and effective culture, based on mutual respect, trust, and the beliefs of the organization
• Proficient in fundraising, communications and development
• Knowledgeable about conservation issues, policies and practices

View Job Description

Anyone interested in applying for this position should contact The Forest Group, by emailing Mary Mallif, mary@theforestgroup.com.

With a committed and growing membership base, a seasoned and passionate board and staff, and a slate of compelling initiatives, ONDA is an effective and thriving organization. We look forward to interviewing candidates who will help us become an even stronger force for conservation.

P.S. For future opportunities to work at or intern for ONDA, keep an eye on our careers page or follow us on LinkedIn.
 

          c.   Bay Area Wilderness Training

Our friends at Bay Area Wilderness Training have two job openings. Below are the position summaries, with links to further information.

Program Director
The Program Director, who reports directly to the Executive Director, has broad and deep responsibilities to ensure that Bay Area Wilderness Training is fully meeting the goals set forth in the organizations mission and vision. It has been said that the Program Director is the “heart beat” of the organization and as such they play a key role in supervising and hiring program staff, creating and ensuring high quality programs, and maximizing organizational reach, capacity, and efficiency. Top areas of responsibility include supervision and management, program development, oversight of client services, partnerships, growth, data tracking and reporting, and support of organizational operations. Currently, the Program Director oversees a team of four staff with the potential to grow.

For more information on the position and qualifications, click here.

Program Associate
Program Associate will directly report to the Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT) Gear Library & Operations Manager and will support ongoing operations of the Oakland, San Francisco, and South Bay (Milpitas) outdoor equipment gear libraries. The highest level of independence is expected. Initiative and a proactive approach are a must. The top priority responsibilities associated with this position are as follows: gear inventory control and maintenance, coordinating gear pick-ups and drop-offs, trip report & invoice tracking, client support and correspondence, client (teacher & youth worker) recruitment and relationship management, volunteer outreach and support, and efficient operations overall.

Learn more about the position here
 

          d. SUWA Service Project Volunteers

From our friends at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance:

Into the Field: Volunteer with SUWA this Summer
Summer is upon us and our Field Crews are gearing up for a season of high elevation volunteering! Several spots remain open on our first batch of June-July-August Projects and I invite you to join the ranks of our 111 volunteers who have put in over 1,255 service hours to date in 2018! Scroll down this page for an overview of our early to midsummer project calendar.
 

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
7.   Links to Articles 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, Dept. of the Interior & Secty. Ryan Zinke

In the New York Times: Patagonia v. Trump

In the Washington Post: Trump administration moves to weaken protections for this unique American bird

In The Economist: The parable of the sage grouse

Good news: The 9th Circuit ruled that the he Bi-State population of sage grouse in the Mono Basin had been improperly delisted. See this article in Courthouse News.

An op-ed in the Washington Post: Walk with us, Ryan Zinke, and see the folly in what you’ve done

An article in MediaMatters: A timeline of scandals and ethical shortfalls at Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department

An op-ed in Mountain Journal: Ryan Zinke Now Claims To Be A Born-Again Conservationist

Scientific American and E&E News: Interior’s Handling of Science Gives Climate Advocates a Sense of Déjà Vu

An article in Science: Drilling boom threatens web of ancient roads in Southwest

The Los Angeles Times: The Trump agenda has Native American tribes feeling under siege

Other topics

The Sacramento Bee on the Klamath Basin: Can an uneasy truce hold off another water rebellion on California’s northern border?

An op-ed in the New York Times on ecological balance in the Great Basin: Let Mountain Lions Eat Horses

An op-ed in High Country News: The playground of Lake Powell isn’t worth drowned canyons

 
 

We haven’t been including links to videos recently because they trigger SPAM filters at various ISPs, and it’s very difficult to get around them. Sorry if you’ve missed them!
 
 
 
 
 

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 information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here.

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

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

2018 February

March 3rd, 2018


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

February 28, 2018

Dear CalUWild friends—

The administration continues its thinly-disguised reviews of monuments, plans, and regulations in the hopes of overturning many of the decisions enacted over the last few years. (See ITEMS 1 & 3.) Almost all of these had been made with substantial public input, and there is no rational reason for them to be revisited. The only explanation is that opponents of public land protection (and many other environmental issues) have the ears of the current administration and Congress.

We’re confident that they won’t be successful in all their attempts to roll back the clock, but it will require many people to be vigilant and active.

CalUWild remains committed to providing the information people need to speak out effectively in defense of our public lands, whether to Congress, the administration, or the press.

Thank you for your interest and efforts!
 

Best wishes,
Mike
 

IN UTAH
1. National Monuments Update
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: March 19
          (ACTION ITEM)
2. Central Wasatch National Conservation
          & Recreation Area Act
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
3. Desert Renewable Energy Plan Under Attack
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: March 22
          (ACTION ITEM)
4. 4 Wheel Bob — Film Showing in:
          San Rafael (March 18)
          Albany (March 21)

IN GENERAL
5. Job Listings
          a. Friends of Nevada Wilderness
          b. Mono Lake Committee

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

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

IN UTAH
1. National Monuments Update
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: March 19
          (ACTION ITEM)

As we mentioned in last month’s Update, the BLM is currently undertaking planning processes for the replacement national monuments in Utah. We have some more detailed talking points below. The deadline for comments is currently March 19, though if additional public meetings are scheduled, the deadline will be extended at least 15 days after the last meeting. But it’s better not to take any chances.

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

— 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@blm.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

An ironically-timed article appeared in the Washington Post: Spectacular fossils found at Bears Ears — right where Trump removed protections

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

— 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@blm.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

 
In ITEM 2 of last month’s Update we mentioned The ANTIQUITIES Act of 2108, S. 2354. Unnoticed in the information provided by Sen. Tom Udall and omitted from our discussion is a provision in the bill that would congressionally designate all 1.9 million acres of the original Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition proposal, rather than the 1.3 million that was designated by Pres. Obama. That’s even more reason to support it!
 

2. Central Wasatch National Conservation
          & Recreation Area Act
          (ACTION ITEM)

Much of CalUWild’s work in Utah has focused on areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management. But Utah has significant national forest lands, as well, and some of it is even wilderness! One important area is the Wasatch Front, the mountains behind Salt Lake City and stretching south from there.

A Utah organization, Save Our Canyons, has put forward a proposal that would, in their words

protect 80,000 acres of public land through the designation of the “Central Wasatch National Conservation & Recreation Area.” Once passed, this legislation will connect fragmented land with areas currently under federal protection, designate additional wilderness areas, and limit future development in the Wasatch, all while protecting our shared values of natural places.

More information on the proposal may be found here, and a series of maps detailing various aspects of the proposal may be found here.

Finally, there is an online petition in support of the proposal. Please sign it here.

We’ll keep you posted as the proposal develops further, including any legislation.
 

3. Desert Renewable Energy Plan Under Attack
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: March 22
          (ACTION ITEM)

The Bureau of Land Management last month announced plans to review the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), put into place after years of discussion and compromise among many interested parties. The administration said it would like to allow more renewable energy installations, off-road vehicle use, and mining and grazing. The DRECP covers almost 11 million acres of BLM lands in seven California counties: Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego. See below for more background on the DRECP.

BLM is holding scoping meetings at the following locations over the next week.

Friday, March 2, 2018
3pm – 5pm
Fairfield Inn & Suites
503 E Danenberg Dr., El Centro, CA 92243

Monday, March 5, 2018
1pm – 3pm
DoubleTree Hotel
2001 Point West Way, Sacramento, CA 95815

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
5pm – 7pm
Bakersfield Field Office
3801 Pegasus Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93308

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
5pm – 7pm
UC Riverside, Palm Desert Center, Auditorium
75080 Frank Sinatra Dr., Palm Desert, CA 92211

Please attend if you can!

The following comes from our friends at the California Wilderness Coalition:

ACTION ALERT: 4.2 million acres of protected desert lands under attack

Defending the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan

The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) is a visionary blueprint for balancing conservation, energy development, and recreation on our priceless desert public lands. While protecting desert lands for recreation and wildlife, the DRECP dedicates an area larger than the city of Los Angeles for renewable energy projects – which California energy regulators say is ample for meeting the state’s renewable energy goals. Despite this, the Trump administration claims that even more land may be required for development.

Re-opening the DRECP puts at risk over four million acres of protected conservation lands, including Silurian Valley, Chuckwalla Bench, Conglomerate Mesa, and Panamint Valley, and will undoubtedly harm the scenic vistas, dark skies, wildflower displays, and the myriad recreational opportunities these lands provide. Revising the DRECP could also greatly harm many iconic species such as desert bighorn sheep and desert tortoise.

During the more than eight-year planning process, federal, state and local governments, conservationists, energy producers, recreationists, and desert residents participated in about a dozen public meetings to help create the DRECP. In addition, BLM took into consideration more than 16,000 public comments when it finalized the plan. The fact that the DRECP was never challenged in court is a testament to the buy-in that was achieved as a result of this careful listening process. Please join our coalition members in declaring this process unnecessary, counter-productive, and ultimately detrimental to California’s precious desert lands and state efforts to grow renewable energy.

Talking points adapted from CWC:

— Oppose any attempt to re-open the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). The DRECP should be implemented as is.

— There is no justification for re-opening this Plan that was only finalized about 17 months ago. Re-opening the DRECP to years of arguing, uncertainty, and litigation is a waste of taxpayer dollars and valuable government resources. I strongly urge the Department of the Interior to leave it alone.

— There was broad public support for the plan and more than eight years of collaboration between federal, local, and state government, energy producers, conservationists, and recreationists helped produce it.

— The Department of Interior must maintain protections for the special lands that were designated as California Desert National Conservation Lands and Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. These wild lands encompass many spectacular and outstanding values such as colorful wildflower displays, endangered wildlife habitat, and opportunities for recreation and solitude that should be preserved for future generations. The DRECP’s conservation and recreation aspects not only protect special places but also bring significant tourism dollars into California, which drives local economies.

Submit comments on issues and planning criteria

via Email to BLM_CA_DRECP@blm.gov

or by U.S. Mail to:

Mr. Jerry Perez
BLM-California State Director
2800 Cottage Way, Rm W–1623
Sacramento, CA 95825

 
In related news, the administration is also opening up 1.3 million acres of desert lands to mining, reversing a withdrawal that the Obama administration put in place in 2016. You may read details in this San Bernardino Desert Sun article: Trump administration opens millions of acres of California desert to mining
 

4. 4 Wheel Bob — Film Showing in:
          San Rafael (March 18)
          Albany (March 21)

One frequently hears from opponents of wilderness that its designation shuts out people who can’t hike. However, people are able to explore in various other ways, whether on horseback, canoes, rafts, or kayaks, or even wheelchairs (which are allowed, despite a general prohibition on mechanical transport). Here’s a film about one man’s adventure:

At the Smith Rafael Film Center:

Bay Area filmmaker Tal Skloot will present his film portrait of Bob Coomber, who will join him for discussion. 4 Wheel Bob follows Coomber, an intrepid adventurer who sets out to be the first wheelchair hiker to cross the 11,845-foot Kearsarge Pass in the Sierra Nevada. Bob had grown up in Piedmont in a family of avid backpackers and, while hiking in his early 20s, shattered his leg in a struggle related to juvenile diabetes and subsequent osteoporosis. After a period of depression, Bob adopted a philosophy of “no excuses” and, confined to his wheelchair, took increasingly strenuous hikes, using only his arms to get around. And as you will see, the Kearsarge Pass can be a dangerous climb. (2017) 72 min. plus discussion.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Sunday, March 18
1118 Fourth St, San Rafael, CA 94901
4:15 p.m.

The film will also be shown at the Albany Film Fest on

Wednesday March 21
Albany Twin Theatre
1115 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706
7:30 p.m.

Go to the film’s website to view a trailer. There are no other screening listed, but there is a mailing list you can join.
 

IN GENERAL
5. Job Listings

          a. Friends of Nevada Wilderness

From our friends to the east:

Friends of Nevada Wilderness is hiring for the 2018 summer field season! We are happy to announce that we currently have 13 seasonal positions available. If you or someone you know would be interested in spending the summer in living and working in some of Nevada’s most wild areas, please consider applying for one of the positions listed here.

          b. Mono Lake Committee

From our friends at the Mono Lake Committee:

Mono Lake Committee seasonal jobs available

If you’ve always wanted to spend a summer at Mono Lake, now is your chance—we still have open seasonal staff positions for summer 2018, including Mono Lake Intern, Canoe Program Coordinator, Outdoor Education Instructor, and Information Center & Bookstore Assistant. Summer at Mono Lake is… the busiest and most activity-filled season, and seasonal staff jobs include leading interpretive tours, helping visitors in the bookstore, and canoeing on Mono Lake, among many other varied tasks. We accept applications from people of all ages, whether you’re looking for an internship between college semesters, or you’re interested in a post-retirement summer of work.

To apply, please send a cover letter and résumé to Office Director Jessica Horn, either by email or by mail to PO Box 29, Lee Vining, CA 93541.
 

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
6. 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.

To see how deep the anti-public lands sentiment runs among Utah’s politicians, read this Salt Lake Tribune article: Bill seeks to limit how Utah city and local officials speak up in favor of public-lands protections

In response to one argument made by the federal pubic lands opponents, John Leshy, Professor Emeritus at UC Hastings and former Interior Department Solicitor has written this comprehensive law review article: Are U.S. Public Lands Unconstitutional. Follow the link on the page to see the full article. It’s long but the pages are short with lots of footnotes. It’s very readable.

An op-ed in the NY Times: Protecting America’s Last Great Animal Migrations

New national parks in Chile: Protecting Wilderness as an Act of Democracy

 
 
 
 
 

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 information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here.

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

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

2017 December

January 3rd, 2018


Sunrise over the La Sal Mountains, Utah                                                                                   (Mike Painter)

 
New Year’s Eve 2017

Dear CalUWild friends—

2017 was a long year for the conservation community. It seemed that very week the administration or Congress came up with some new rollback or ill-thought proposal. For those of us concerned with public lands, the months-long review of national monuments was the most noteworthy. The first negative results were released earlier this month. (See Item 1.)

But with 2018 upon us, we can’t afford to dwell too much on the past. Instead, we look to the opportunities ahead to support our public lands, though it will take a lot of work. Attempts to undermine the Antiquities Act and to allow mountain bikes in designated wilderness areas are just two of the things we expect to be busy in the year ahead. We also look forward to permanently reauthorizing the Land & Water Conservation Fund and securing wilderness designations for areas along the Central California Coast and northern part of the state.

Fortunately, we have allies, as the American public and press are largely on our side. We will still need to keep our attention and energies focused, however, and CalUWild will do its best to provide the information needed to be effective.

We’ve been able to prevent almost all serious attacks on public lands in the past, and there’s no reason to think we can’t do the same again!

Many thanks to everyone who generously responded to the membership appeal we recently sent out. If you haven’t sent in a contribution, please consider doing so. Complete information may be found on this form, which you may print and send in along with your gift.

As always, thanks for your concern for our wild and public lands.

 
Wishing you many opportunities in the New Year to get out and explore,
Mike

 
IN UTAH (& ELSEWHERE)
1.   The Administration Sharply Shrinks Bears Ears and
          Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments
          And Threatens Modifications to Others
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
2.   Park Service Announces
          Only 4 Fee-Free Days in 2018
3.    Job Announcements
          a.   Conservation Lands Foundation:
                     Associate Southern California Director
          b.   Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center:
                     Digital and Grassroots Campaigner/Senior Campaigner
          c.   American Conservation Experience:
                    Emerging Professionals Internship Corps,
                    Park Service Division
          d.   Wyoming Outdoor Council:
                     Conservation Advocate

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

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

IN UTAH (& ELSEWHERE)
1.   The Administration Sharply Shrinks Bears Ears and
          Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments
          And Threatens Modifications to Others
          (ACTION ITEM)

On December 4, the president traveled to Salt Lake City, along with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and other politicians, to sign two proclamations eviscerating the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. They were joined by a small group of select onlookers in the capitol rotunda, while outside more than 3,000 people gathered in the freezing cold to protest the action. Two days before, more than 6,000 citizens had gathered on the capitol steps in advance of the visit to protest the impending action.

The proclamations were not unexpected, as Secty. Zinke had been undertaking a review of 27 national monuments since April, and preliminary details had been leaked to the press several months ago.

Still, the final results showed a shocking lack of respect for Native Americans, for the general citizenry (who overwhelmingly—99%—commented in favor of leaving all national monuments intact), and the truth. (“Public lands will once again be for public use,” the president said.)

The tribes, conservation groups, and businesses filed several lawsuits against the administration immediately, and two of Utah’s congressmen introduced legislation to codify the proclamations, as well. (The fact that legislation was introduced is a clear indication that they realize there are serious legal problems with the administrative rollback. But because the Constitution gives Congress the authority to manage federal lands, any laws it passes are binding, and might render the lawsuits moot.)

Here are some of the most important details in the proclamations and the legislation.

 
Bears Ears National Monument

•   The protected area was reduced by a whopping 85%.

•   The monument was split into two separate new monuments: Shash Jáa and Indian Creek. (The use of “Shash Jáa,” the new name, is just one sign of the profound disrespect the administration has for the tribes involved, as it means “Bears Ears” in the Navajo tongue. Each of the five tribes in the coalition has its own language, and they specifically wanted the English name for the monument, as it was a neutral language to all of them.)

•   The bill number and title are H.R. 4532, “Shash Jáa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument Act,” introduced by Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), who replaced Rep. Jason Chaffetz after he resigned.

•   A new council will be created to manage the Shash Jáa monument. It is to be comprised of:

—one individual from the Interior or Agriculture Department;
—three members of the Navajo Nation, one of whom must be from the local chapter;
—one member of the White Mesa Utes; and
—two San Juan County commissioners.

All members must be residents of Utah. This is troublesome for two reasons: it sets up overwhelming local control of federal lands, and it reduces the other tribes of the Inter-Tribal Coalition—who were largely responsible for the creation of the monument and who view the Bears Ears as their ancestral homeland—to a very indirect consultative role.

•   You can see a map of the changes here.

 
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

•   The protected area was reduced by about 50%.

•   The monument was split into three separate new monuments: Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits, and Escalante Canyons. In a puzzling move, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) also included an “Escalante Canyons National Park and Preserve” within the boundaries of the Escalante Canyons National Monument in his bill, H.R. 4558, the so-called “Grand Staircase Escalante Enhancement Act”. The national park details are not spelled out in the bill, but it seems like an attempt at “greenwashing,” making it sound like he’s doing something good for conservation.•   The bill creates a new council to manage the three monuments and park & preserve. It is to be comprised of:

—one individual from the Interior Department;
—two Garfield County commissioners;
—two Kane County commissioners;
—one Utah State Legislator representing Kane County, Garfield County, or both;
—one at-large member, appointed by the president.

The monument’s original advisory committee was made up mostly of scientists and other stakeholders, such as elected officials, ranchers, outfitters, and environmentalists. Again, the overwhelming local control of federal lands is a huge problem.

•   The bill conveys full title to the Hole in the Rock Road to the State of Utah.

The bill had a hearing in the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands the week after it was introduced.

•   You can see a map of the changes here.

 
Lawsuits

The five members of the Inter-Tribal Coalition (Hopi, Navajo, Ute, Ute Mountain Utes, and Zuni) file a lawsuit the very day the new Bears Ears proclamation was signed.

A second Bears Ears lawsuit was filed by 11 conservation organizations: The Wilderness Society, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Trust, Defenders of Wildlife, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Western Watersheds Project, WildEarth Guardians, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

A third Bears Ears lawsuit was filed by the Navajo non-profit Utah Diné Bikeyah and a host of recreational and other organizations: Patagonia Works, Friends of Cedar Mesa, Archaeology Southwest, the Conservation Lands Foundation, Access Fund, the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Two lawsuits were filed against the Grand Staircase-Escalante rollback, one by conservation groups and a second by Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, and the Conservation Lands Foundation.

All argue that the Antiquities Act of 1906 does not give the president authority to reduce national monuments once established; only Congress has that power under the Constitution and the Federal Lands Policy & Management Act of 1976. Additionally, in the case of the Grand Staircase-Escalante, Congress made its own previous boundary adjustments and exchanged lands with the State of Utah plus paid Utah $50 million, so the administration cannot make any changes, regardless of whether the Antiquities Act implies that he has the authority to do so. Here’s an article we linked to back in June that sets out the legal arguments.

All suits were filed in Federal District Court for the District of Columbia.

 
Related News

Secty. Zinke recommended that Gold Butte NM in Nevada and the Cascade-Siskiyou NM straddling the California-Oregon border also be reduced, though he released no details. He recommended management changes for Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine to allow for tree thinning, and finally recommended the addition of three new monuments: The Badger-Two Medicine Area in Montana (coincidentally his home state); Medgar Evers in Mississippi, and Camp Nelson in Kentucky. These are believed by many to be “greenwashing” attempts, as well.

 
Further Reading

You can read the Interior Department’s Final Revised Report here and the press release announcing it here.

Our friends at the Center for Western Priorities released a document: The remaining falsehoods in Ryan Zinke’s final national monuments report.

The Salt Lake Tribune published an article: Uranium mill pressed Trump officials for Bears Ears reductions, records show.

The Nation published a piece: The Far-Right Campaign to Destroy Our National Monuments.

 
What Action to Take

Congress will be back in session the first week in January. It is critical that you contact your Representative and Senators to let them know you oppose both the rollbacks by the administration and the legislation that has been introduced by the Utah congressmen to shrink the monuments and any attempts to reshape the Antiquities Act. If allowed to stand, these actions will set terrible precedents for the future.

Remember: An attack on one monument is an attack on all.

Full contact information for California House members may be found by following the links here, and for other states by following the links here.

California’s senators may be reached here:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein:   202-224-3841
Online here

Sen. Kamala Harris:   202-224-3553
Online here

The general page for Senate contact information is here.

Also, please write letters to the editor expressing support for public lands whenever a relevant article appears.

 
IN GENERAL
2.   Park Service Announces
          Only 4 Fee-Free Days in 2018

Last year there were ten days when entrance fees are waived. This year there will be but four. They will be:

January 15 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
April 21 – First Day of National Park Week
September 22 – National Public Lands Day
November 11 – Veterans Day

Mark your calendars.

A Park Service spokesman said: “Now that the nation is recovering from the recession and the Centennial [2016] has passed, the NPS is returning to a lower number of fee-free days. Fewer fee-free days means additional revenue to improve facilities, address deferred maintenance issues, and enhance the overall park experience for visitors.”

 
3.   Job Announcements

Several organizations we’ve worked with over the years have job openings right now. Click on the links under each short description for more information.

 
          a.   Conservation Lands Foundation:
                    Associate Southern California Director

This person will facilitate the Conservation Lands Foundation’s expansion, protection and constituency building efforts for the National Conservation Lands in Southern California, particularly in the California Desert. The position will work collaboratively with Bureau of Land Management and other federal agency staff, regional and statewide conservation organizations, Friends groups, and diverse partners to enhance support for the National Conservation Lands in Southern California.

Conservation Lands Foundation Associate Southern California Director

 
          b.   Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center:
                    Digital and Grassroots Campaigner/Senior Campaigner

K-S Wild is accepting applications for a Digital & Grassroots Campaigner/Senior Campaigner through January 9th, 2018. The ideal candidate is passionate about saving wild places in the Klamath-Siskiyou and specializes in digital communications. This is a great opportunity for someone who has experience managing social media accounts, websites, and email communications.

If you’d like to learn more and how to apply, you can read the job announcement on our website.

 
          c.   American Conservation Experience:
                    Emerging Professionals Internship Corps (ACE EPIC),
                    Park Service Division

ACE EPIC is a targeted internship program dedicated to developing and diversifying the conservation workforce nationwide. Our partnerships with federal land management agencies, as well as private and non-profit conservation organizations, provide hands-on natural and cultural resource management opportunities for young, knowledgeable college graduates. Our internship programs serve as a bridge between academia and careers for young professionals seeking positions as public servants within the Department of Interior. The National Park Service Member Manager position will oversee the management of NPS ACE EPIC interns and programming throughout the United States.

Applications can be submitted here: https://usaconservationstaff.applicantpool.com/jobs/196507.html

 
          d.   Wyoming Outdoor Council:
                     Conservation Advocate

The Wyoming Outdoor Council is looking to hire a Conservation Advocate—preferably someone who is also an attorney.

https://wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org/about/job-opportunities/

 
IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
4.   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.

An article in the New York Times: The Treasures of Chaco Canyon Are Threatened by Drilling

The Guardian reported on the latest development in the Bundy Family saga: Cliven Bundy: judge declares mistrial in case against Nevada rancher and family

News about the Department of the Interior

A profile in Outside Magazine of the Interior Secretary: Ryan Zinke Is Trump’s Attack Dog on the Environment. The reporter was subsequently blocked from taking part in an Interior Department press conference call, as reported here, because he had reported (accurately, apparently) that Mr. Zinke had his fly fishing reel mounted on backwards while they were out fishing together.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, wrote this op-ed in High Country News: Stop trying to militarize Interior, Ryan Zinke

Newsweek reports on more travel funding irregularities: Interior Department Tapped Wildfire Preparedness Funds for Ryan Zinke Helicopter Tour

An op-ed in The Hill by Pat Shea, former Director of the BLM, on a possible nominee to head the agency: Our public lands need balanced — not extremist — leadership

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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 information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here.

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

Tags: , ,
Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

2017 November

December 2nd, 2017


In the Devil’s Garden, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, Utah                                                   (Mike Painter)
 

November 30, 2017

Dear CalUWild friends —

It’s hard to believe, but Californians for Western Wilderness is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this month! Ever since the start of the management planning process for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, CalUWild has been providing citizens with information and tools that they can use to protect our wild places in the West.

Right now, we’re going through a time when there’s much to feel cynical or despair about, on many fronts. Action is the best antidote to despair, however. So we look forward to the years ahead showing people how to be effective advocates for the places they love, and at the same time hoping to dispel some of the cynicism felt by so many. Thanks for your interest and support over the years.

Special thanks go also to Vicky Hoover and Keith Hammond who, with me, founded Californians for Utah Wilderness, as we were known back then, in 1997. Additional mention must be made of our Advisory Board members, the staff—too numerous to name—at other conservation organizations who have provided support and information, and in Congressional and agency offices who have listened when we’ve brought our concerns to them. It’s been a joint effort, with many different participants.

I’m certain that in the long run we’ll be successful, because we have the majority of Americans on our side in support of wise protections for our public lands.
 

As we mentioned last month, it’s time for CalUWild’s Annual Membership Appeal. Because so much time has been spent on the national monuments review this month, our mailing hasn’t gone out yet. Please watch your mailbox or email INBOX for the next week or two. And please respond as generously as you can. As always, dues are not mandatory, but are 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, our fiscal sponsor. Click here for suggested membership levels. Either way, the address is:

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

 
Best wishes,
Mike
 

IN UTAH
1.   President Going to Utah
          To Announce Reductions in Bears Ears &
          Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monuments.
          Rallies Planned in
          Salt Lake City, San Francisco & Elsewhere
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
2.   National Park Entrance Fee Increase
          Comment Period Extended
          NEW DEADLINE: December 22
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Job Listing: Western Watersheds Project
          California Director

IN MEMORIAM
4.   Rep. Maurice Hinchey
          Long-Time Lead Sponsor
          Of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   President Going to Utah
          To Announce Reductions in Bears Ears &
          Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monuments.
          Rallies Planned in
          Salt Lake City, San Francisco & Elsewhere
          (ACTION ITEM)

The White House has announced that the President will travel to Salt Lake City on Monday, December 4 to announce the Administration’s proposals on the two Utah national monuments that interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has proposed for drastic reductions, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. There have been no details released formally by the Administration in advance of the trip, but the Washington Post published an article today containing information that was leaked to it. That article says:

Grand Staircase-Escalante would be split into three areas known as Grand Staircase National Monument, Kaiparowits National Monument and Escalante Canyons National Monument. Bears Ears will be divided into Indian Creek National Monument and the Shash Jaa National Monument, the latter of which will include two well-known ruins, Moon House and Doll House.

Some changes might still be made before Monday’s formal announcement, however. Two maps were also leaked, which you can see here:

Bears Ears Boundary Modification
GSENM Boundary Modification

Acreage-wise this means that Bears Ears would from 1.35 million acres to 201,397 acres and Grand Staircase-Escalante from shrink from 1.9 million acres to 997,490 acres.

Two short proclamations reflecting these maps were also leaked, and the action will be almost immediately challenged in court by Native American tribes and conservation organizations. Legal arguments include that the Antiquities Act only allows the president to designate monuments, not shrink them; the Federal Lands Policy and Management (FLPMA) states that Congress, not the administration, has the sole power to make changes to monuments. In addition, with regard to Grand Staircase, it was the subject of Congressional land exchange legislation and a payment of $50 million to the state of Utah, along with some minor boundary changes, so Congress has already ratified it. The Constitution grants Congress the sole authority to manage the federal lands (Article IV, section 3., clause 2), so even though Congress delegated some of its authority to the president via the Antiquities Act, once it’s passed a law, the executive branch can’t bypass it.

It’s not clear at this point whether the President will make any announcements regarding Cascade-Siskiyou NM in Oregon and California and Gold Butte NM in Nevada, the two other monuments recommended for downsizing.

Several rallies in support of our national monuments are being held around the country this weekend and next week.

In anticipation of the announcement, Utah Diné Bikéyah, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and other organizations will be holding a “Rally Against Trump’s Monumental Mistake” in Salt Lake City:

Saturday, December 2
Utah State Capitol
1 PM – 2:30 PM MST

A weeklong series of rallies is planned in support of national monuments, beginning Saturday, December 2. Major ones in California are planned for:

San Francisco
Monday, December 4

Bank of America Building
555 California St
12 Noon

Berkeley
Saturday, December 2

Banner Event
University Ave. pedestrian overpass over Hwy. 80
University Ave. at Western Frontage Road
Berkeley, CA 94720
2:00 PM

Los Angeles Area
Saturday, December 2, 2017

Paramount Ranch
Cornell Road
Agoura Hills, CA 91301
9:30 AM
Host contact info: bongodrum [at] gmail [dot] com

San Diego
Sunday, December 03

Cabrillo National Monument
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr.
San Diego, CA 92106
11:00 AM
Host contact info: Rae Newman, dancingriver [at] Hotmail [dot] com

A map with these and other events in California and across the country may be found here. Please confirm event location and other information with any listed event hosts before heading out!

Please also check the page as the week goes by, as other events will be added as they’re organized.

Stay tuned—there will be more to report in the weeks ahead!
 

IN GENERAL
2.   National Park Entrance Fee Increase
          Comment Period Extended
          NEW DEADLINE: December 22
          (ACTION ITEM)

Last month we reported that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had proposed raising entrance fees to 17 of the most popular national parks to as much as $70 for a private vehicle, $50 for a motorcycle, and $30 for a person on foot or bicycle.

The Interior Department opened a public comment, where we asked people to submit their thoughts. Originally, the deadline was November 23. At the last minute the Department extended it by 30 days, so they are now collecting comments through December 22 on the same Park Planning website.

So if you didn’t get around to commenting before Thanksgiving, click on the “Comment Now” button!

As we said last month:

The higher fees would be in effect during the five heaviest visitation months for each park, i.e., generally summer vacation for most Americans. According to Mr. Zinke, the fees collected, estimated at $70 million a year, would go toward reducing the backlog of infrastructure projects in the various parks.

The parks affected would be: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion national parks with peak season starting on May 1, 2018; Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks with peak season starting on June 1, 2018; and Joshua Tree National Park as soon as practicable in 2018.

That reasoning is a stretch for a few reasons: First, the Interior Department has already proposed reducing its budget by several hundred million dollars for the next year. This would simply transfer a small portion of that decrease onto visitors. Secondly, the backlog is estimated to be close to 11 billion dollars; in other words, it’s a drop in the bucket. And finally, the cost of the “America the Beautiful” annual pass, allowing entrance to all national parks and fee areas, will remain at $80 per year. It is not at all clear that people would pay the single-entry fee every time they visited a park. (Skeptics are already saying that this will soon lead to a huge increase in the price of the annual pass, as well.)

We are also concerned that proposals (of any kind) that put national parks (and other public lands in general) more and more outside the reach of the general public will contribute in the long run to partial or even full privatization of our common inheritance of public lands.

Reaction to the proposed fee increases continued to be unanimously negative:

Attorneys general from ten states and the District of Columbia wrote a letter to Acting NPS Director Mike Reynolds objecting to the proposed fee hike, quoting John Muir: “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” (The Yosemite) The San Francisco Chronicle reported that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra threatened to sue the Interior Department if it failed to comply with legal concerns about the process used to implement the proposal.

Timothy Egan wrote a column in the New York Times: National Parks for the 1 Percent

An op-ed was published in the Salt Lake Tribune: Higher park fees create a barrier to recovery from war. That column included a link to an article worth mentioning for its historic interest: Let’s Close the National Parks by Bernard DeVoto, appearing in Harper’s back in 1953.
 

3.   Job Listing: Western Watersheds Project
          California Director

We received the following from our friends at Western Watersheds Project.

Western Watersheds Project seeks a California Director to expand and continue WWP’s campaign to protect and restore public lands in California and parts of Nevada, particularly in the context of reining in livestock grazing and related environmental problems. The position will entail administrative and legal oversight of federal decisions, fieldwork, data collection and analysis, participation in agency planning processes, media outreach and legislative advocacy. The ideal candidate will be highly organized, self-motivated, be able to synthesize and understand ecological and biological concepts, and have strong written and oral communication skills.

JOB DUTIES:
• Coordinate and develop WWP’s public lands and waterways protection in California and Nevada and work with current staff on existing projects and threats posed by domestic livestock/sheep grazing on public lands across the West;
• Collect and track research documenting the impacts of livestock on public lands, and utilize a variety of tools to determine focal areas for protection emphasis;
• Submit data, public comments, and appeals and engage in discussions with the Forest Service and BLM about how to protect public lands from domestic livestock, including the use of grazing permit retirement;
• Work with WWP’s Public Policy Consultant to pursue legislative options specific to livestock grazing and predator defense issues;
• Participate in outreach opportunities including press releases, op-eds, position statements, newsletter articles, and blog posts;
• Meet with public lands livestock grazing operators to discuss options for conflict reduction;
• Visit public lands grazing allotments, documenting habitat conditions and management.

DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS:
• Educational background in science, law, or policy and/or advocacy experience;
• Affinity for and knowledge of remote and rugged areas in the West;
• Willingness to travel and camp alone in field sites;
• Highly organized and able to use GIS software, mapping tools, and basic database software;
• Strong oral and written communications skills;
• Desire to make a difference in protecting native species from livestock grazing impacts on public lands;
• Able to take direction and work as part of a team;
• Self-directed and accountable;
• Position will be located in California or Nevada, Reno preferred.

Please send a cover letter, resume, writing sample (preferably administrative or legal appeal) and 3 references in a single .pdf file by January 31, 2018 to jeremy@westernwatersheds.org. Position open until filled.
 

IN MEMORIAM
4.   Rep. Maurice Hinchey
          Long-Time Lead Sponsor
          Of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) died last week, four years after retiring from Congress, where he served ten terms representing Upstate New York. All through is long career in politics he was a champion of the environment, holding hearings on the Love Canal toxic pollution when he served in the state legislature, before being elected to Congress. We knew Rep. Hinchey because of his championship of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in the House. He took on that mantle after Utah Rep. Wayne Owens retired in 1993, and he continued with it until his retirement in 2013. (Reps. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and now Alan Lowenthal (D-47) of California succeeded him as the lead sponsor.)

We extend our condolences to his family and former staff.

The New York Times published this obituary: Maurice D. Hinchey, Congressman and Environmental Advocate, Dies at 79
 

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.

Articles about the Interior Department and Secretary Ryan Zinke

An op-ed in U.S. News & World Report: A Tale of Two Zinkes: The interior secretary hasn’t turned out to be the defender of public lands many hoped for.

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune:‘We’ve gotten so bureaucratic’: Secretary Zinke plans to use his military experience as a blueprint for reorganizing his department

An article in The Hill: Durbin blocks Interior nominees from confirmation. Secty. Zinke eventually agreed to meet with Sen. Durbin, and two of the holds were lifted.

An article in High Country News: Interior Department mired in investigations

Other news from Washington:

An article in the Los Angeles Times: Under Trump, the lines are drawn for a battle over resources in the West

A Washington Post article about Utah Rep. Rob Bishop: Powerful lawmaker wants to ‘invalidate’ the Endangered Species Act. He’s getting close., followed by an article from the Center for Western Priorities: House committee chairman attacks reporter for doing his job

An editorial in the New York Times: Trump Attacks Teddy Roosevelt’s Grand Legacy

Other items

An article in the New York Times: Federal Trial Begins for the Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy

An article in High Country News: Drones intrude on the outdoor experience

A long article in Mountain Journal: Holding The Line On Wild: Is The U.S. Forest Service Up To The Challenge?

And finally, two items that aren’t bad news

An article Washington Post: The Grizzlies Are Coming

A column in National Parks Traveler: Wanderings From Cable Mountain In Zion National Park

 
 
 
 
 

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 information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here.

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

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

2017 October

November 4th, 2017


Notch Peak, Utah, from Great Basin National Park, Nevada                                                      (Mike Painter)
 

November 1, 2017

Dear CalUWild friends –

There’s a lot to cover this issue, especially with these three significant developments in October:

1) The administration announced it will attempt to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments;

2) Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced a bill that would gut the Antiquities Act; and

3) The Interior Department announced plans to drastically increase entrance fees at 17 of the more popular national parks.

There was also movement on several other issues we’ve covered before, which also require citizen awareness.

It can feel overwhelming at times, I know, but if we want to have a future for our children and grandchildren, as well as ourselves, we need to speak up, loudly and together. So please make a list with your thoughts on all the various items below and make calls to the White House, the Interior Department, and Congress too. (In the interest of saving space, contact information for these is only given in Item 1.)
 

We’re proud to see that CalUWild Advisory Board Member composer John Adams’s new opera Girls of the Golden West, directed by Peter Sellars and taking place during the California Gold Rush, will have its premiere at the San Francisco Opera in a few weeks, with eight performances running through December 10. For more information, click here.
 

Finally, a couple of administrative items:

First: It’s an unfortunate fact that the barrage of attacks on specific places and general policy is increasing with this Administration. It’s impossible to include everything of interest in the Monthly Update, if we want to keep it to a manageable length, both for your reading and my writing. So this month, some issues to which we’ve devoted full items in the past are only updated with a link to a press article.

We do not want to send out numerous alerts during the month—we all get enough of those from other organizations. Therefore, we are trying to post more articles over the course of the month on our Facebook page. This is not due to any affection for Facebook itself, but it seems to be one place that many people pay some attention to. So if you’re on Facebook, please like and follow CalUWild there. (And if you have any other suggestions, please send me an email.)

Second: As year-end approaches, we traditionally send out our membership appeal, and we’ll be doing that in November and December. Dues have never been required to receive CalUWild’s Monthly Update, but we do rely on support from our members. If you’d like to help us save on printing and postage expenses, please send in a contribution ahead of time.

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, our fiscal sponsor. Click here for suggested membership levels. Either way, drop it in the mail to:

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

 
Thank you, as always, for your ongoing interest and support for wilderness and public lands!
Mike
 

IN UTAH
1.   Administration Announces Plans to Shrink
          Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante
          National Monuments
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
2.   Rep. Rob Bishop Introduces a Bill
          To Completely Gut the Antiquities Act
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
          Proposes Huge Increases
          In National Park Entrance Fees
          COMMENT DEADLINE: November 23
          (ACTION ITEM)
4.   Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
          Continues to Cause Controversy
5.   Great Old Broads for Wilderness
          Annual Auction
          Through November 12

IN CALIFORNIA
6.   Conglomerate Mesa Proposed Wilderness Area
          Under Threat of Gold Mining
          COMMENT DEADLINE: November 20
          (ACTION ITEM)
7.   Central Coast Heritage Protection Act Introduced
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN OTHER NEWS
8.     ALASKA: U.S. Senate’s Budget Resolution Allows
           For Possible Drilling in the Arctic Refuge and More
9.     ALASKA: Road through Wilderness in Izembek NWR
10.   ARIZONA: Grand Canyon Confluence Tramway Project Killed
11.   OREGON: Penalties for 2 Defendants in Malheur NWR Takeover
12.   UTAH: Recapture Canyon ATV Protest Conviction Upheld

IN MEMORIAM
13.   The Colorado River’s Katie Lee

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
14.   Links to Articles of Interest

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

IN UTAH
1.   Administration Announces Plans to Shrink
          Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante
          National Monuments
          (ACTION ITEM)

On Friday, October 27, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) announced that the President told him, “I’m approving the Bears Ears recommendation for you, Orrin,” after having met with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that morning. No solid details were revealed, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing that the President would be traveling to Utah in December and would make an announcement then, if not before.

Sen. Hatch said in a statement:

I was incredibly grateful the President called this morning to let us know that he is approving Secretary Zinke’s recommendation on Bears Ears. We believe in the importance of protecting these sacred antiquities, but Secretary Zinke and the Trump administration rolled up their sleeves to dig in, talk to locals, talk to local tribes, and find a better way to do it. We’ll continue to work closely with them moving forward to ensure Utahns have a voice.

This is an “alternative fact,” of course, since it was the tribes who proposed the monument in the first place. Although some individuals within the tribes opposed the monuments, their governing bodies were almost unanimous in support of the monument through the Inter-Tribal Coalition.

To add irony to the announcement, it was made on the 159th birthday of Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, who designated the first national monuments, and whom Secty. Zinke claims as a role model.

Earlier in the week, 14 Democratic senators led by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the lead sponsor of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, sent the President a letter urging him not to make any changes to either monument. It appears they’ve been ignored.

Aside from Utah politicians, who were generally pleased, the reaction has been negative across the country. The announcement was not unexpected, though, since the draft report was leaked, as we reported last month. (And don’t forget, the review was tainted from the very beginning, when the President said in announcing it that the designation of Bears Ears “should never have happened.”)

Call the White House and Interior Department and object before any final recommendations are made.

White House comment line:   202-456-1111

Interior Department comment line:   202-208-3100

Also call your Representative in the House and Sens. Feinstein & Harris:

Full contact information for California members may be found by following the links here, and for other states by following the links here.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein:   202-224-3841
Online here

Sen. Kamala Harris:   202-224-3553
Online here

And, please, write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, too.

California’s Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47), lead sponsor of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, issued a statement “Blast[ing] Trump Administration Decision To Downsize National Monuments.”

CalUWild Advisory Board Member Stephen Trimble wrote this op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune: Mr. President, it’s not too late to save Bears Ears

Our friends at the Center for Western Priorities wrote this about the announcement: Trying to shrink Bears Ears, Trump makes it clear whose heritage he cares about.

In a more general vein, an article was published in Men’s Journal: Meet the Woman Who Knows Bears Ears Best and a reply appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune: No, that trail-runner in ‘Men’s Journal’ does not know Bears Ears ‘better than anyone living or dead’

The Los Angeles Times published an article on paleontology at Grand Staircase- Escalante NM: Remarkable dinosaur discoveries under threat with Trump plan to shrink national monument in Utah, scientists say

Since no formal action has been taken, such as issuing an executive order, no legal action can be taken at this time. But you can be certain that lawyers for the Indian Tribes and conservation organizations are preparing their arguments. We will keep you posted as developments arise.

In the meantime, speak up as often as you can in support of our public lands. And get your friends involved, too!
 

IN GENERAL
2.   Rep. Rob Bishop Introduces a Bill
          To Completely Gut the Antiquities Act
          (ACTION ITEM)

On October 6, Utah Rep. Rob Bishop (R), Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, introduced H.R.3990, the disingenuously titled National Monument Creation and Protection Act. On October 11, just five days later, the bill was passed out of the Committee on a party-line vote of 23-17. No vote has been scheduled in the full House, and there is no companion bill in the Senate.

Mr. Bishop has long been an opponent of the Antiquities Act of 1906, the law giving presidents the authority to designate object of historic or scientific interest as national monuments. (Courts have ruled that large landscapes, such as the Grand Canyon, qualify as objects of scientific interest under the Act.) Mr. Bishop was widely quoted as saying in 2015: “If anyone here likes the Antiquities Act the way it is written, die. I mean, stupidity out of the gene pool. It is the most evil act ever invented.” So it’s not at all surprising that he introduced this bill, which would:

–   Limit monuments to man-made objects and exclude natural or scientific objects.

–   Require approval by the county, state legislature, and governor, in the locale where a monument is designated, if it is larger than 85,000 acres.

–   Require environmental review for any designation larger than 640 acres.

–   Allow a subsequent president to shrink a previously-designated monument.

Mr. Bishop’s bill is completely contrary to the entire history and use of the Antiquities Act, which has been used by 16 presidents of both parties. The very first national monument, designated by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, was Devils Tower in Wyoming in 1906. It’s a geological feature, not man-made, so it wouldn’t qualify. Four of Utah’s so-called (by the state tourist office) “Mighty Five” national parks, were originally national monuments, but wouldn’t qualify, since they are landscapes. In the draft monument review memo leaked in September, Secty. Zinke proposed the creation of a new Badger-Two Medicine monument in Montana. But at 130,000 acres, it wouldn’t qualify, either. In fact, estimates are that more than 150 present-day monuments would not qualify under Mr. Bishop’s bill.

Please contact your Congressional Representatives and Senators to oppose this bill. Defeating it is as critical to the future of our public lands as defeating the monuments review. (See links in Item 1.)

Press reaction was overwhelmingly negative. Here are just four examples:

A Los Angeles Times editorial: Land-grabbing Republican lawmakers are trying to gut the Antiquities Act. Don’t let them

The Harvard Crimson weighed in: Ecologically Critical National Monument Lands are Under Attack

An article in The Guardian: Is Congress about to wreck the Grand Canyon and other national park treasures?

Showing how broadly the debate has spread, here’s an article from Scientific American: Conservative Hunters and Fishers May Help Determine the Fate of National Monuments

Largely forgotten has been the concurrent review of the marine national monuments being undertaken by the Administration. Reports are that a report has been delivered to the White House, but so far there has been no information forthcoming (i.e., no leaks). The New York Times did run an article this week on those monuments, though: Loss of Federal Protections May Imperil Pacific Reefs, Scientists Warn. It has some wonderful underwater pictures, maps, and information.
 

3.   Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
          Proposes Huge Increases
          In National Park Entrance Fees
          COMMENT DEADLINE: November 23
          (ACTION ITEM)

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ignited a firestorm in mid-October when he proposed raising entrance fees to 17 of the most popular national parks to as much as $70 for a private vehicle, $50 for a motorcycle, and $30 for a person on foot or bicycle. The higher fees would be in effect during the five heaviest visitation months for each park, i.e., generally summer vacation for most Americans. According to Mr. Zinke, the fees collected, estimated at $70 million a year, would go toward reducing the backlog of infrastructure projects in the various parks.

The parks affected would be: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion national parks with peak season starting on May 1, 2018; Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks with peak season starting on June 1, 2018; and Joshua Tree National Park as soon as practicable in 2018.

That reasoning is a stretch for a few reasons: First, the Interior Department has already proposed reducing its budget by several hundred million dollars for the next year. This would simply transfer a small portion of that decrease onto visitors. Secondly, the backlog is estimated to be close to 11 billion dollars; in other words, it’s a drop in the bucket. And finally, the cost of the “America the Beautiful” annual pass, allowing entrance to all national parks and fee areas, will remain at $80 per year. It is not at all clear that people would pay the single-entry fee every time they visited a park. (Skeptics are already saying that this will soon lead to a huge increase in the price of the annual pass, as well.)

Reaction was swift and almost unanimously negative. 12 Democratic senators, including California’s Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, sent a letter to Mr. Zinke objecting. The letter raises another point:

[A]t the same time as you propose to significantly raise fees for national park visitors, you have reversed efforts to charge fair market value for commercial development of resources on public lands. For example, in August the (Interior) Department repealed the Valuation Rule, allowing private companies to exploit valuation loopholes and ensuring that the American public is denied their fair share of the sale of publicly-owned resources. The administration should stop subsidizing oil, gas, and coal companies for the exploitation of public resources and instead work to ensure that taxpayers receive a fair value for the commercial use and development of public resources.

The Washington Post had at least two commentaries, the first on its Wonkblog: The Park Service’s proposal to double entry fees could fix its maintenance problem 161 years from now and the second, an op-ed making the important point that at a time when we’re trying to expand the attractiveness of the parks to communities who haven’t traditionally visited them Making national parks more expensive will only make them whiter.

Related commentary in The Guardian: National parks for all: that’s a populist cry we need

We do not need to have our national parks turned into gated communities!

The Interior Department is collecting comments through November 23 on the Park Planning website here. Click on the “Comment Now” button.

MoveOn.org has a petition to sign if you’re inclined, though a phone call to the Interior Department (see Item 1) is probably better.

Please thank Sens. Feinstein and Harris for signing the letter. (Contact info in Item 1.)

We’ll see if Mr. Zinke pays any more attention to the comments received this time than he did on the monuments review, where 99% recommended no changes to any of them.
 

4.   Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
          Continues to Cause Controversy

The Secretary and the Interior Department continue to be in the headlines on multiple fronts. However, there have been no developments in the controversy over his use of private jets to travel, which we reported on last month. Rather than go into detail on each, I’ll post articles from the press ; the headlines pretty much speak for themselves.

We wrote in the September Update (Item 2) about Joel Clement, an upper level employee transferred from his science position to accounting. He resigned at the beginning of October. Here is more background:

An article in High Country News: What’s driving an Interior whistleblower to dissent?

An article in the Washington Post: Interior Department whistleblower resigns, calling Ryan Zinke’s leadership a failure. You may read his letter of resignation here.

Articles in the Washington Post:

Secretary Zinke gets four Pinocchios for obscuring reality about American energy production

Notes from closed meeting show how Interior aims to weaken environmental laws

Where’s Zinke? The interior secretary’s special flag offers clues.

Small Montana firm lands Puerto Rico’s biggest contract to get the power back on. Secty. Zinke, whose hometown is Whitefish, Montana, has denied any connection to the contract, calling it “fake news.” It turns out that the major investor in the firm, Whitefish Energy, is a large contributor to GOP politicians, including the current Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas. The contract was just cancelled and various investigations have been requested, reported here in The Hill: Democrats call for investigation into Puerto Rico utility deal.

An article in Politico: Zinke funneled millions to questionable PACs

An article in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle: U.S. Senate candidate charged with nine Montana hunting violations. Secty Zinke’s wife is the chair of the campaign.

Meet the Interior Department official who wants to give away America’s public lands: By giving Todd Wynn a job, Ryan Zinke shows his true colors
 

5.   Great Old Broads for Wilderness
          Annual Auction
          Through November 12

Our sister organization is having its annual fundraising auction. You can find all sorts of fun and interesting items: artwork, books, meals, weekend stays, guided trips, and more—for yourself or to give— at http://auction.greatoldbroads.org.

Check it out!
 

IN CALIFORNIA
6.   Conglomerate Mesa Proposed Wilderness Area
          Under Threat of Gold Mining
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: November 20
          (ACTION ITEM)

Information in this item comes from our friends at Friends of the Inyo and the California Wilderness Coalition.

Conglomerate Mesa is a wild roadless area on the east edge of the Owens Valley, near Owens Lake and just north of the Malpais Wilderness. The Bureau of Land Management manages it, and last year it was designated as California Desert National Conservation Land. A Canadian mining company would like to conduct exploratory drilling for gold.

The BLM lays out four options for this proposal:

•   no-action
•   construction of an overland route
•   opening a previously closed mining route, or
•   a helicopter access alternative

Please write the BLM requesting it adopt the “no-action” option and deny any permitting whatsoever for this project. Pick several of the following talking points and put them in your own words. And if you’ve been in the area, be sure to mention that, too. (And if you haven’t, here’s a chance to learn about a new place.)

•   Conglomerate Mesa is a spectacular wilderness quality landscape of Joshua Tree and Pinyon woodland with elevations ranging from 3,800 to 7,100 ft. From the top of the mesa, visitors can see expansive views of multiple wilderness areas, Owens Lake, the glittering Sierra Nevada and into the expanses of Saline Valley and Death Valley National Park.

•   The area is a proposed wilderness addition to the Malpais Mesa Wilderness directly south of the project area.

•   Conglomerate Mesa is the first roadless area in California under threat of development by the Trump Administration. The BLM is proposing to allow SSR Mining Inc. to drill seven exploratory sites to locate gold deposits in the heart of the roadless area.

•   The ultimate objective of the project is an industrial-scale open pit (cyanide heap leach) gold mine. Such an operation would permanently damage the area’s wild character, degrade wildlife habitat, and pollute scarce local water systems. It’s well documented that cyanide heap leaching poses significant hazards to plants and animals from gold mining and related toxic water issues.

•   Local tribes oppose the project as the mesa is an important tribal site for traditional uses.

•   The historic Keeler-Death Valley trail, circa late 1800s, traverses the north end of Conglomerate Mesa and should be preserved for its cultural and historic significance.

•   Multiple special status and rare plant species are found within the proposed project area and will be harmed by drilling. The area provides habitat for rare plants like the Inyo rock daisy, as well as key species including bobcats, Mojave Ground Squirrels, Townsend’s Western Big-eared bats, Golden Eagles, Mule deer and mountain lions.

•   The area is prized locally for deer hunting.

•   The area is also rich in heritage resources including the remains of charcoal and stone masonry sites used in the late 1800’s to supply the Cerro Gordo mine.

•   Each year, millions of visitors come to experience the public lands of the Eastern Sierra and National Parks such as Death Valley. Fully protecting Conglomerate Mesa is key to the protecting our local tourism and recreation economies. These industries present increasing opportunities for gateway communities such as Lone Pine and Olancha.

•   Conglomerate Mesa is geologically significant, providing an unusually complete record that is key to unraveling the evolution of the continental edge of the southwestern US during the Permian and early Triassic periods (c. 247-300 million years ago). Several strata contain fossils (fusulinids, a type of plankton with calcite casings, and corals) that accurately date them. Some of the fusulinids are found only in the Conglomerate Mesa area. This record would be destroyed forever by open-pit mining and cannot be made right through back filling or reclamation.

•   Tourism and recreation remain the primary driver of Inyo County’s economy: total direct travel spending in the desert region in 2013 reached $6.2 billion. While mining comprises only 3% of employment in Inyo County, industries that include travel and tourism comprise 33%.

•   Mining operations are likely to provide only short-term local revenue and employment but lasting environmental damage that will not only scar the land and pollute our water, but also degrade Inyo County’s reputation as a scenic, outdoor recreation destination.

•   The BLM needs to fulfill its promise to protect the California Desert National Conservation Lands by choosing the “no action” alternative.

Remind BLM that protecting roadless, wild areas significantly improves the quality of our soils, drinking water, and air. They provide refuge for the wildlife that have been forced out of their natural habitat by development or climate change as well as corridors to other lands where they can thrive.

Also remind BLM that tourism and recreation remain the biggest drivers of Inyo County’s economy. When supporters of projects like this claim that they will bring new jobs, the comparison is weak when you consider that extractive projects often only supply short-term employment for a small number of people (only 13 in this case). In contrast, recreation is a growing industry that reflects local character and will stick around to help build communities in the long run.

Don’t let the floodgates open for more attacks on wilderness-quality lands in California. Tell BLM that Inyo County depends more on intact, healthy landscapes than compromised, hollowed-out ones.

You can read the Draft Environmental Assessment here.

Comments may be submitted:

via Email:   rporter [at] blm [dot] gov

by Fax:   760-384-5499

by U.S. Mail:

Attn: Mr. Randall Porter
Ridgecrest Field Office
300 S. Richmond Road
Ridgecrest, CA 93555

or via the BLM ePlanning website

Again, the deadline for submitting comments is November 20.
 

7.   Central Coast Heritage Protection Act Introduced
          (ACTION ITEM)

And now for some good news.

In mid-October, Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-24) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D) jointly introduced the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act. The bill would designate almost 250,000 acres of wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest and in the Carrizo Plain National Monument. It also establishes the Condor National Recreation Trail, running from Los Angeles to Monterey, a distance of almost 400 miles.

In the House, Reps. Julia Brownley (D-26) and Jimmy Panetta (D-20) are original co-sponsors of the bill, H.R. 4072. Los Padres NF is partly in their districts as well.

In the Senate, Dianne Feinstein is an original cosponsor and the bill number is S. 1959.

Please thank any and all of these legislators for their support of new wilderness in California! (See Item 1.)
 

IN OTHER NEWS

There have been developments regarding a few topics we’ve covered over the years. In the interest of saving space, here are press articles relating to them.
 

8.   ALASKA: U.S. Senate’s Budget Resolution Allows
           For Possible Drilling in the Arctic Refuge and More

An op-ed in the New York Times by renowned wildlife biologist George Schaller and Martin Robards: Protect Alaska’s Last Great Wilderness From Oil Drilling

From the Center for Western Priorities: The Senate just quietly opened the door for a massive sell-off of American public lands
 

9.   ALASKA: Road through Wilderness in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

A Washington Post article: Interior looks at behind-the-scenes land swap to allow road through wildlife refuge
 

10.   ARIZONA: Grand Canyon Confluence Tramway Project Killed

The Navajo Nation Council voted 16-2 to defeat the proposal. Click here for details.
 

11.   OREGON: Penalties for 2 Defendants in Malheur NWR Takeover

From The Oregonian: Two who dug trenches at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to pay $10,000 each in restitution
 

12.   UTAH: Recapture Canyon ATV Protest Conviction Upheld

A Salt Lake Tribune article: Appeals court upholds conviction of San Juan Commissioner Phil Lyman for leading protest ATV ride
 

IN MEMORIAM
13.   The Colorado River’s Katie Lee

Just as this Update was being finished up, the sad news came in that Katie Lee, an actress in films and on radio, singer, and author, but most of all, a stalwart lover of the Colorado River in Glen Canyon, died October 31 at her home in Arizona at the age of 98. The Verde, Arizona, Independent published a lengthy article about her, with many details of her long and interesting life: Arizona icon, Jerome’s Katie Lee, dies at age 98

It’s worth reading, as are her books, especially All My Rivers Are Gone. Anyone who met Katie will remember the occasion. She will be missed.
 

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
14.   Links to Articles 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.

There’s enough serious reading included this month, so we’ll include just two articles of slightly more general interest from the New York Times:

Measuring noise levels in the national parks: It’s One of North America’s Quietest Places. Along Came a Bear.

In Northern Minnesota, Two Economies Square Off: Mining vs. Wilderness

 
 
 
 
 
 

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 information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here.

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

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

2017 September

October 3rd, 2017


Lehman Caves, Great Basin National Park, Nevada                                                                   (Mike Painter)

 
October 3, 2017

Dear CalUWild friends —

Mid-September saw the leak of a draft memo from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to the president, setting out his thoughts and recommendations on the review of 27 national monuments he had been ordered to undertake in April. Last week, Secty. Zinke stirred up further controversy (see Item 2), so I decided to wait before sending out this edition of the Monthly Update, if there were further news to report.

The discussion of the memo and other happenings at Interior is pretty lengthy and detailed, and there are links to press items dealing with them as well. The “In the Press” section contains some articles updating issues we’ve written about before.

 
We don’t often comment on issues unrelated to public lands, but it turns out that the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, the draft of which we wrote about in last month’s Update, also contains provisions to loosen restrictions on the sale of silencers for guns and armor-piercing ammunition, in addition to deleterious provisions affecting wilderness and public lands.

Given the horrific killings in Las Vegas two days ago, where policemen said that they were able to locate the gunman’s position quickly from the sound of the shooting, there is an even stronger reason to oppose the bill, though opinions seem to differ on whether the silencer provision would really matter in this case. Here’s an op-ed on the issue in Utah’s Deseret News, published before this last weekend’s events: The SHARE Act shares the potential for more gun violence.

Just before this Update was being sent out, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that the SHARE Act is not being brought to the House floor any time soon. Regardless, PLEASE, call your Senators and Representatives in Washington to oppose the SHARE Act, H.R. 3668. Early opposition is the best defense.

 
Thanks for being interested and staying involved!
Mike

 
IN GENERAL
1. Interior Secty. Ryan Zinke’s National Monuments Memo Leaked—
          Proposes To Modify Ten Monuments
          (ACTION ITEM)
2. Secty. Zinke Causes More Controversy
          With Comments about Interior Department Employees
          And Disclosures over Taxpayer-Funded Travel
3. Brief Federal Legislative Cosponsorship Review
          (ACTION ITEM)

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

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

1. Interior Secty. Ryan Zinke’s National Monuments Memo Leaked—
          Proposes To Modify Ten Monuments
          (ACTION ITEM)

After not learning anything about the Interior Department’s plans for the 27 national monuments under review since April, details finally emerged mid-month in the form of a 19-page memo leaked to the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. The memo was marked “Draft Deliberative—Not for Distribution.” There has been no formal response from the White House (which was reportedly unhappy with the leak, naturally). The reaction from the press and most other quarters has been almost unanimously strongly negative. (Some examples follow the discussion of the memo.) The scanned memo may be read here.

For all its length and the preparation time involved, the memo was remarkably short on details. The Salt Lake Tribune’s Robert Gehrke characterized it as “read[ing] like a term paper a D-plus high schooler would have slapped together the night before it was due.” It recommended unspecified changes in boundaries for four monuments, changes in use or management for another four, and changes in use and/or boundary changes for an additional two.

The memo acknowledged: “Comments received were overwhelmingly in favor of maintain existing monuments and demonstrated a well-orchestrated national campaign organized by multiple organizations.”

Nowhere did the memo say that there would be no further recommendations forthcoming regarding other monuments, nor did it mention anywhere the six that had been completely “cleared” previously. Again, the memo was labeled “Draft,” so we cannot treat this as the final word on anything.

However, in total, the memo signals the largest-ever reduction in public lands protection, and if the administration or Congress makes changes to any monuments, it would open a Pandora’s Box.

Therefore, the critical message remains: An attack on one monument is an attack on all.

We’ll repeat our action call from last month: The best thing to do is to inundate the White House and Congress with comments supporting leaving the national monuments as they are—no changes!

White House Online comment page here.
Comments by phone: 202-456-1111
By U.S. Mail:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Follow the links here for contact information for the Senate and here for the House.

 
Memo Details
The four monuments recommended for unspecified boundary changes are:

Bears Ears (Utah)
Cascade-Siskiyou (California & Oregon)
Gold Butte (Nevada)
Grand Staircase-Escalante (Utah)

The four monuments recommended for use or management changes are:

Katahdin Woods & Waters (Maine)
Northeast Canyon & Seamounts (North Atlantic)
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks (New Mexico)
Rio Grade Del Norte (New Mexico)

The monuments with proposed management and/or boundary changes are:

Pacific Remote Islands
Rose Atoll (Pacific)

 
Mr. Zinke wrote many of the same objections for most of the monuments in the review. The most frequent misstatements, with respective rebuttals were:

MEMO: The proclamation should be amended, … or The boundary should be revised through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of the President’s discretion granted by the [Antiquities] Act …

FACT: These statements shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how presidential proclamations work—once published, they can’t be subsequently “amended.” Most scholars believe that the president has no discretion to reduce boundaries; only Congress has that power, as stated in the Federal Lands Policy & Management Act of 1976.

MEMO: The proclamation should be amended…to protect objects and prioritize…hunting and fishing rights.

FACT: Every proclamation states clearly the objects of interest to be protected and that that the particular designation does nothing to change the individual states’ management of wildlife. (States generally set their own hunting and fishing regulations; these aren’t matters of federal jurisdiction.)

MEMO: The management plan should be revised to continue to protect objects and prioritize public access…; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights.

FACT: Most of these monuments were designated so recently that they have no management plans. Regardless, their respective proclamations already protect these things explicitly, so there is no need to revise anything.

 
Space doesn’t permit listing every problem or inconsistency regarding the specific monuments in the review, so I’ll just mention a few of the more blatant ones.

Bears Ears (Utah)

MEMO: [T]here is evidence that an unintended consequence of monument designation is an increased threat of damage or looting of objects due to higher visitation.

FACT: There is no evidence in the memo that there is in fact a connection. Looting has been going on for many, many years in the region. This is what led to the passage of the Antiquities Act of 1906 in the first place.

MEMO: The boundary should be revised … to … ensure the size is conducive to effective protection of the objects.

FACT:
There are many thousands of known archaeological sites in the Bears Ears monument, and many more have likely not been discovered yet. Shrinking the boundaries would leave many unprotected. (In fact, the designated monument was only about 2/3 the size proposed by the Inter-Tribal Coalition.)

 
Grand Staircase-Escalante (Utah)

MEMO: The boundary should be revised …

FACT: Congress already slightly modified the boundaries as part of a huge 1998 land exchange bill, wherein all the state school trust lands within the monument were exchanged for other lands in the state. Those lands reportedly have returned hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to the state’s schools. The federal government also paid Utah $50 million as part of the deal and paid the Andalex coal company an additional $14 million.

MEMO: [T]he actual amount[sic] of cattle runs has decreased due to restrictions on activities that facilitate grazing, including moving water lines, vegetative management, erosion control measures, and maintenance of infrastructure such as fences and roads.

FACT: This is misleading, as the number of cattle grazing now is substantially the same as when the monument was designated in 1986.

 
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks (New Mexico)

MEMO: [O]ne part … abuts the U.S.-Mexico border. Border security is a concern resulting from the designation.

FACT: The monument’s boundary was specifically drawn 5 miles north of the border, and on the north side of a state highway, to boot, precisely in order not to interfere with border enforcement. The Border Patrol has stated that there has been no interference with its operations, nor has it noticed any increase in unusual activity in the area.

MEMO: Legislation introduced in the 116th Congress would designate parts of the current boundaries … as wilderness and release other areas

FACT: First, the current Congress is the 115th, not the 116th. Secondly, in a preliminary report, Mr. Zinke said that one thing he wanted to investigate was how wilderness designation affected monument designation. He should know that wilderness is an overlay on any land management category and has absolutely no bearing on whether an area is designated a monument or not.

 
Rio Grade Del Norte (New Mexico)

MEMO: [R]oad closures due to monument restrictions have left many grazing permittees choosing not to renew permits.

FACT: No one has been able to find a single road that’s been closed.

When New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) asked a BLM official about some of these errors at a Senate hearing, the official replied that BLM wasn’t asked to check any of the facts in the memo and the agency had little input overall. You may see a clip of that Q&A here.

 
Gold Butte (Nevada)

MEMO: The boundary should be revised…to protect historic water rights.

FACT: The proclamation states that “the monument is subject to valid existing rights, including valid existing water rights.”

 
Cascade-Siskiyou (Oregon & California)

MEMO: Motorized transportation was prohibited in the original CSNM designation.

FACT: The original proclamation allowed motorized us on existing roads, though off-road use was prohibited.

The list goes on and on, and it makes one wonder how and by whom this report was assembled and written.

 
Press Reaction (news articles and op-eds)

In the Los Angeles Times: Trump may strip protections from 10 national monuments

In The Guardian:

More national monuments should be opened for exploitation, Zinke says

Bears Ears is sacred to Native Americans. But heritage isn’t all equal for Trump

An op-ed in the Deseret News: Why does our country keep erasing history?

An op-ed in the Durango Herald: Zinke’s monument review betrays Roosevelt’s legacy

A story from the Associated Press: US Interior chief wants smaller monuments, but not at home, pointing out that Montana’s Upper Missouri Breaks was spared in the review, and Secty. Zinke actually proposed a new monument for his home state. There is speculation that Mr. Zinke may run for a U.S. Senate seat from Montana.

The Conservation for Economic Growth Coalition, a group of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs wrote a letter to Secty. Zinke, concluding with these words: Simply put, your recommendations to remove protections for our national monuments and the uncertainty created by those recommendations are bad for business. We urge the Administration to end the review process and announce as soon as possible that no public lands will lose their protection.

This long op-ed in Mountain Journal is well worth reading for the clarity with which it sets out the relevant issues. The Lords Of Yesterday Are Back And They Want America’s Public Land: Barry Reiswig—A Backcountry Horseman, Hunter, Angler and Civil Servant —Pushes Back Against “The Radical Agenda” of Ryan Zinke

 
2. Secty. Zinke Causes More Controversy
          With Comments about Interior Department Employees
          And Disclosures over Taxpayer-Funded Travel

In a speech last week to the National Petroleum Council, a federal advisory board, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made the claim that almost one-third of the Department’s employees were not loyal to the administration. He based this on their perceived opposition to increasing leasing for oil, gas, and coal on public lands. “I got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag,” Mr. Zinke was quoted as saying. (He is using military jargon by referring to “the flag.” He’s referring to the president.)

Negative reaction to his comments was swift, as exemplified by this letter to the editor in the Washington Post: The civil service pledges loyalty to the Constitution, not the president and an op-ed in the Post yesterday.

Mr. Zinke was already under fire because of his efforts to reorganize staffing at the Interior Department. He had previously announced plans to cut nearly 4,000 employees and had reassigned 50 members of the Senior Executive Service (SES)—a classification of high-level employees who can take on important positions as needed in the Department. One of those SES employees was the director of the Office of Policy Analysis, who was advising Native Alaskan communities on climate change. He was abruptly transferred to an accounting position, for which he had no expertise. (You can read his account in an op-ed he wrote in the Washington Post.) The Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has initiated an investigation into whether these reassignments were retaliatory and whether they complied with proper notice and other regulatory requirements.

Yet another OIG investigation into Mr. Zinke was begun this week, after news broke that he had billed taxpayers $12,000 to charter a flight from Las Vegas to Montana. He was giving speeches in both places, and he claimed that commercial flight schedules didn’t accommodate the two events.

The problem is that the Las Vegas event was not an official speech, but rather a political one, given to a sports team owned by one of his major contributors. If he had not been speaking there, he could have taken a commercial flight and arrived in time for the speech to the Western Governors’ Association, meeting in Whitefish, Montana. The OIG will also look at other questionable travel arrangements that Mr. Zinke has made.

Travel expenses are a recurring problem for Secty. Zinke, who ran into trouble in the military as a SEAL for charging personal travel expenses to the military. Mr. Zinke dismissed the current flap as “a little BS over travel.”

The travel issue is currently a sensitive one for the administration, and at least three other cabinet secretaries are under fire for travel expenses. One of them, Tom Price at Health & Human Services, resigned last week in the wake of the controversy.

 
3. Brief Federal Legislative Cosponsorship Review
          (ACTION ITEM)

Since our last Update, California Rep. Ted Lieu (D-33) has signed on as a cosponsor of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (H.R. 2044). Please call his office to say “Thank You.”

DC Office: 202-225-3976

 
Another important priority is the reauthorization of the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) is the Ranking Member (senior Democrat) on the House Natural Resources Committee. He has introduced a bill, H.R. 502, to permanently reauthorize the LWCF.

Unfortunately, not a single Republican member of California’s House delegation has signed on as cosponsor, though there are 24 GOP cosponsors nationwide, out of 197 total. All of California’s Democratic representatives except two are currently cosponsors of the bill: Karen Bass (D-37) and Juan Vargas (D-51). Both were cosponsors in the last Congress, and both have signed on to LWCF Appropriations letters in each of the past four years. It shouldn’t take much to get them signed on again.

Neither is a cosponsor of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

Please call their offices and ask them to cosponsor both H.R. 502, the Land & Conservation Act Reauthorization bill and H.R. 2044, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

Rep. Karen Bass DC Office: 202-225-7084

Rep. Juan Vargas DC Office: 202-225-8045

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

New York Times articles

The Interior Department seems to have an incessant need to review everything undertaken by the Obama Administration. The sage grouse plan was the end result of a concerted effort among many interested parties and was specifically designed to keep the bird from being listed under the Endangered Species Act. It’s unlikely that this administration wants to see that happen, unless they also gut the requirements of the Act. Interior Department to Overhaul Obama’s Sage Grouse Protection Plan

Traditions Revived at a Tribal Culture Camp

The Mind of John McPhee: A deeply private writer reveals his obsessive process.

National Parks Struggle With a Mounting Crisis: Too Many Visitors

Related to the overcrowding article: A new organization forms, Hikers for an 8th Leave No Trace Principle

An article in High Country News: Sally Jewell defends Interior Department legacy

An article in the Washington Post: The National Park Service showed that its bottled water ban worked — then lifted it

An article in Pacific Standard: The Oil and Gas Industry’s Latest Scheme Would All But Privatize Public Lands

An article in the Albuquerque Journal: Archaeologists: More protections needed for Chaco region

An article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal: Ranchers criticize Southern Nevada water agency’s pipeline plan. We’ve written about this water grab before in March 2012, August 2012, and June 2013

An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times: What the Trump administration doesn’t understand about wildfires

 
 
 
 
 
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 information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here.

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

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

2017 August

September 6th, 2017


Yosemite Wildfires, August 2017                                                                                                      (Mike Painter)

 
September 5, 2017

Dear CalUWild friends—

Technical difficulties, holidays, and heat delayed this issue of the Update, but we hope you’ll take a few minutes to make a couple of calls on behalf of wild places. As always, full details are included.

As we mentioned last month, the 4th Visions of the Wild Festival, Changing Landscapes, takes place starting Wednesday evening of this week in Vallejo, running through Sunday, September 9. All events— art exhibitions at several Vallejo galleries, lectures, films, a chalk art festival, and field trips—are FREE. Details for all activities and events may be found on the Festival homepage.

It being September now, many of our parks and public lands aren’t quite as crowded as during the height of Summer (though that’s been changing in recent years). Temperatures may be a bit lower, too, making it a good time to get away outdoors.

 
Thanks for your enthusiasm for our wilderness and public lands!
Mike

 
IN GENERAL
1.   No Final Word on the Administration’s
          National Monuments Review
          Proposed California Project Needs Opposition
          (ACTION ITEMS)
2.   Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act
          Poses Threat to Wilderness Lands
          (ACTION ITEM)

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

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

IN GENERAL
1.   No Final Word on the Administration’s
          National Monuments Review
          Proposed California Project Needs Opposition
          (ACTION ITEMS)

August 24, the deadline for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s national monuments review, has come and gone, and there is no final news about the fate of those 27 national monuments. The report has reportedly been delivered to the White House, but nothing about it has been made public.

It turns out that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was on vacation in the Mediterranean with his wife the week before the report was supposed to be completed, so it is likely that Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for extractive industries, was responsible for it.

We do know, however, that more than 2.7 million comments were sent in by concerned citizens across the country, and 99% of them stated that the monuments should be completely left alone.

Unfortunately, Secty. Zinke has handled the whole review like a reality television show, letting out dribs and drabs of information. This began with a preliminary report on Bears Ears, recommending that it be shrunk, but with no other details. Reports are that he might propose a 90% reduction! He also announced at times over the course of the review that there would be no changes to the following monuments:

Canyons of the Ancients (Colorado)
Craters of the Moon (Idaho)
Grand Canyon-Parashant (Arizona)
Hanford Reach (Washington)
Sand to Snow (California)
Upper Missouri Breaks (Montana)

On the face of it, this seems like good news, but the point to remember is that the entire review was a sham and unnecessary. An attack on one monument is an attack on all.

Right now, it seems the best thing to do is to inundate the White House and Congress with comments supporting leaving the national monuments as they are—no changes!

Online comment page here.
Comments by phone: 202-456-1111
By U.S. Mail:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Follow the links here for contact information for the Senate and here for the House.

We mentioned in last month’s Update that Secty. Zinke faced criticism and calls for an investigation into threats he made to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) regarding Interior Department policy toward Alaska should she vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The threats did no good, as she voted not to repeal the law.

The Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) called off the investigation when Sens. Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) both declined to take part in it. “OIG does not believe that it could meaningfully investigate the matter further,” the office wrote, and “further investigation would prove unproductive.”

Sen. Murkowski and Secty. Zinke seem to have “made up;” they were photographed sharing a beer.

The Mojave Trails National Monument in California is under particular threat because of the proposed Cadiz water project. This would pump ground water from an aquifer adjoining the monument, and many scientists and others are concerned that it would severely alter the ecology of the area, which also includes the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park.

There is a bill in the California legislature right now, AB 1000, expressing opposition to the project, but a vote is being held up by the State Senate and Assembly. Sen. Feinstein, Gov. Brown, and Lt. Governor Newsom all support the legislation, in addition to all conservation groups in the state.

Please call and ask for the release from suspense of AB 1000 for a vote before the September 15 deadline. Contact:

State Senator Kevin de Leon
Speaker Pro Tempore
Capitol:   916-651-4024
Los Angeles   213-483-9300

State Senator Ricardo Lara
Capitol:   916-651-4033
Huntington Park:   323-277-4560
Long Beach: 562-256-7921

The Palm Springs Desert Sun had a comprehensive article about the issue, with beautiful pictures: Shrink this national monument in the Mojave Desert? Conservationists are appalled

 
Nationally, the press has spoken out almost uniformly in favor of leaving the national monuments alone. Here are just a few:

An op-ed in the Washington Post: Trump’s chilling contempt for future generations

Two articles in Outside: Four Lies We’ve Been Told About National Monuments and How Ryan Zinke Really Stacks Up to Teddy Roosevelt: American cowboy or posturing Trump enforcer?

In the Houston Chronicle, an op-ed by Theodore Roosevelt’s great-grandson: Roosevelt IV: Interior secretary must defend public lands

An op-ed in High Country News by outdoors writer Ted Williams: Hey hunters, don’t vote against protecting public lands: Hunting and angling groups said Trump would represent their interests—but they were wrong

 
2.   Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act
          Poses Threat to Wilderness Lands
          (ACTION ITEM)

The following comes from our friends at Wilderness Watch. Please contact your senators and representatives to oppose this proposal, even at the draft stage.

 
A new analysis by Wilderness Watch calls the discussion draft of the “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2017” nothing more than a thinly disguised measure to gut the 1964 Wilderness Act and the protections afforded to every unit of America’s 110 million-acre National Wilderness Preservation System.

The analysis corresponds with a leaked memo McClatchy obtained and reported on last week that found the Trump Administration has so far prevented the National Park Service from voicing its serious concerns over the National Rifle Association (NRA)-backed SHARE Act. When the Park Service shared such concerns in a memo to the Department of Interior (DOI), the DOI responded by crossing out the Park Service’s comments, and the agency was told not to go to Congress.

The SHARE Act would give hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and state fish and wildlife agency goals top priority in Wilderness, rather than protecting the areas’ wilderness character, as has been the case for over 50 years.

The SHARE Act would allow endless, extensive habitat manipulations in Wilderness under the guise of “wildlife conservation” and for providing hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting experiences. The Act would also allow the construction of “temporary” roads in protected Wilderness areas to facilitate such uses and would allow the construction of dams, buildings, or other structures within Wildernesses.

“Taken in combination, the provisions in the SHARE Act would completely undermine the protections that wilderness designation should provide, and dramatically weaken wilderness conservation for the entire 110 million-acre National Wilderness Preservation System. These wilderness provisions in the SHARE Act must not be enacted into law,” explained Kevin Proescholdt, Conservation Director for Wilderness Watch.

The discussion draft of the SHARE Act was scheduled for a legislative hearing on June 14, 2017, but was canceled due to a shooting before the Congressional softball game.

The SHARE Act would also exempt road, dam, and building projects within protected Wilderness areas from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)—eliminating critical environmental analysis of potential impacts and alternatives, and public comment and involvement.

“Sadly, the SHARE Act would eviscerate the letter, spirit, and fundamental ideals expressed in the Wilderness Act,” said Wilderness Watch Executive Director George Nickas. “While the Wilderness Act prohibits the use of motorized vehicles or equipment and the building of roads and other structures, the SHARE Act essentially throws Wilderness areas wide open to motorized use by agency managers and a nearly unlimited variety of wilderness-damaging manipulations and developments. Make no mistake—Wilderness as we know it will cease to exist if the SHARE Act becomes law.”

 
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.

Several Bundy Family-related articles:

The latest verdict from Nevada for some of the participants in the ranch standoff: No Guilty Verdicts in Bundy Ranch Standoff Trial. Cliven Bundy and his sons still face trial in October on charges related to that standoff.

High Country News article: At Bundy Ranch trial, questions on guns and violence

In the New Yorker: Why the Bundys and Their Heavily Armed Supporters Keep Getting Away with It

Oregon Public Broadcasting: Travis Cox Sentenced For Role In Malheur Occupation

Other public lands articles:

From the New York Times: Let Forest Fires Burn? What the Black-Backed Woodpecker Knows

From the Los Angeles Times: China’s Gobi Desert feeds Yosemite National Park’s forest, study says

From the Washington Post: Cecil Andrus, defender of Alaska’s wilderness as Carter’s interior secretary, dies at 85

Also from the Washington Post: National parks put a ban on bottled water to ease pollution. Trump just sided with the lobby that fought it.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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 information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here.

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

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

|