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Point Reyes Planning 8/19

September 30th, 2019

Point Reyes National Seashore Needs Your Help

The Park Service has released a Draft Management Plan that prioritizes cattle ranching above all other uses—including wildlife and landscape—over a wide area of the Seashore.

Thanks to everyone who submitted comments.

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2019 August

August 24th, 2019


Fog at Drakes Bay, Point Reyes National Seashore, California                                                                             (Mike Painter)

 
August 24, 2019

Dear CalUWild friends—

This Update for August is coming out earlier in the month than usual so people who are able can attend one of the Park Service Open Houses on August 27 and 28 for the Point Reyes National Seashore Draft Management Plan. We have serious reservations about the plan and urge people to attend an open house if possible and to submit comments, regardless of whether they can attend or not. Full details are below in ITEM 2.

 
There are a few events in September to mention. Click on the links for more information:

The 6th Annual Visions of the Wild Festival, a film and arts festival in Vallejo that CalUWild has helped plan with the Forest Service and the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation since 2014. The theme this year is Transforming Fire, in recognition of Smokey Bear’s 75th anniversary.
September 12–15 in Downtown Vallejo

The 9th Annual Wine Country Optics & Nature Festival, featuring many conservation organizations and leading manufacturers of optical gear like binoculars for birding and wildlife viewing. (We won’t be there this year, unfortunately, because of the conflict with the Visions Festival.)
September 14 at the Sonoma Barracks on the Plaza, Sonoma.

35th California Coastal Cleanup Day. Not just the coast, but also other waterways in the state!
September 21

National Public Lands Day. Many organizations sponsor stewardship projects and most federal lands are admission-free.
September 28

 
As always, thank you for your support of America’s public lands!

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 

IN UTAH
1 .    Final Management Plans Released for the Areas
          Covered by the Original Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
2.    Draft Management Plan Amendment Released for
          Point Reyes National Seashore
          Open Houses Aug. 27 & 28
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: September 23
          (ACTION ITEM)

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Final Management Plans Released for the Areas
          Covered by the Original Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
          (ACTION ITEM)

The Bureau of Land Management yesterday released its Final Management Plans for the shrunken Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the areas removed from it by the administration in December 2017. Since it is a final document, they will not be open for general public comment, although organizations that filed earlier comments will most certainly file formal protests. The best thing for citizens to do now is to contact their representatives in Congress—more on that below.

The Salt Lake Tribune published an article answering some questions about the plans. We await a more detailed analysis, but the coalition of organizations working on national monuments named their major flaws:

The plan opens up hundreds of thousands of acres of the original Monument (designated in 1996) to drilling and mining, while the administration’s illegal reduction of the Monument (decreasing it by nearly half) is still being actively litigated and while the Government Accountability Office is investigating whether the planning process itself is in violation of long-standing spending law.

It is the result of a rushed and closed-door process, opening up land for inappropriate development with little input from the public.

The plan changes standards for the management of all national monuments—affecting treasured places across the country—and doesn’t even protect what remains of Grand Staircase-Escalante.

You can read the entire press release here.

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) said: “This is a dangerous precedent for all our national monuments, and everyone who supports our public lands should be concerned about this shameless giveaway campaign.” You can read his entire statement here.

If you wish, you can read and download the following BLM Plan documents:

Executive Summary

Volume 1 (Chapters 1–4)

Volume 2 (Appendices A–W)

We’ll continue to keep you up to date as more information becomes available. In the meantime, please call your Congressional Representative and Senators and let them know you object to these plans and then either thank them for their cosponsorship of the two bills below, which we have discussed in the past, or ask them to cosponsor the bills of they haven’t already.

S. 367/H.R. 1050, the ANTIQUITIES Act of 2019, reaffirms that presidents lack the authority to rescind or diminish national monuments. It also codifies the 52 existing national monuments established or expanded under the Antiquities Act since January 1996 and expands protections for the Bears Ears, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, Rio Grande del Norte, and Gold Butte National Monuments. The bill would also create a $100 million fund to improvement the management and conservation of national monuments.

H.R. 871, the Bears Ears Expansion and Respect for Sovereignty Act (BEARS Act—in the House only), proposes to expand the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument to 1.9-million-acre boundary proposed by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. Its language is also incorporated into H.R. 1050.

There are a few new California cosponsors for these bills since our last Update, so please check our online California Congressional Information Sheet, where you can find contact information for all California offices and cosponsorship information on two other bills, as well.

 
IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Draft Management Plan Amendment Released for
          Point Reyes National Seashore
          Open Houses Aug. 27 & 28
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: September 23
          (ACTION ITEM)

The National Park Service this month released its Draft Management Plan Amendment for Point Reyes National Seashore. The current general management plan dates back to 1980. The present amendment is the result of a settlement reached after the Park Service was sued by the Resource Renewal Institute, the Western Watersheds Project, and the Center for Biological Diversity. You can read some of the details of the suit here. (Full disclosure: Resource Renewal Institute is CalUWild’s fiscal sponsor, handling tax-deductible contributions and grants, but CalUWild was not involved in the Pt. Reyes litigation, nor have we been involved with RRI’s project Restore Point Reyes National Seashore, to which we link below.)

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 they eventually agreed to a buyout-leaseback arrangement with the National Park Service. It was never the intent that ranching would continue indefinitely. The fact is that 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 ╔ is authorized to take appropriate action in the public interest toward the establishment of the national seashore.

Some people, however, are now claiming that it was Congress’s original intent that ranching continue, but note the quote in this article: “╘We just want to change the founding legislation ╔ so that ranchers are guaranteed they’ll always be able to farm out there. [emphasis added]'”

Legislation was later passed giving the ranchers leases for 25 years or for the life of the rancher, whichever was longer, with the possibility of lease extensions. The general expectation at the time was that ranching would be phased out. In the 1970s, Tule Elk were released into areas of the Seashore, and the cattle operations now cause conflicts with the expanding herds.

The Draft Plan’s Preferred Alternative proposes to protect cattle ranching at the expense of wildlife, specifically Tule Elk, and the overall landscape. While much of the press reaction has centered around the killing Tule Elk when they come in conflict with cattle, equally (if not more) important is the proposal to allow ranchers to remain permanently and actually increase their commercial operations at the Seashore to include the raising of other animals, such as turkeys and pigs, to allow growing vegetables and row crops, and to allow paying overnight guests at ranches.

Restore Point Reyes National Seashore provides more details as to what this means.

In short, this is not a balanced plan. The Park Service is offering the ranchers almost everything they asked for during the scoping process, as set forth in a letter from the Ranchers Association, which you can read here. The environment and the general public get little or nothing out of the Plan.

Therefore, CalUWild opposes all of these proposals.

The question comes down to this: What is a National Seashore for?

Is it “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” as its establishing legislation states?

Or is it to foster private businesses even after they’ve been bought out, especially when they have been shown to be damaging to the resources the Seashore was established to protect?

Two informational meetings on the proposal are planned in Marin County. You may submit comments at them.

Tuesday, Aug. 27
5–7 p.m.
West Marin School Gym, Point Reyes Station

Wednesday, Aug. 28
5–7 p.m.

Bay Model Visitor Center, Sausalito

CalUWild suggests the following talking points for your comments:

• Point Reyes National Seashore should be managed for those values it was originally created to protect: the landscape and its wildlife.

• Dairy and beef ranching should be phased out as was originally intended.

• There should absolutely be no increase in the level of commercial activity allowed to leaseholders in the Seashore.

• Wildlife should always take priority over livestock.

In addition, Restore Point Reyes National Seashore suggests the following talking points:

• Restore the Seashore’s Pastoral Zone for wildlife habitat, native plant communities, scientific research and education.

• Repurpose historic ranch buildings for scientific research, interpretation and public education.

As always, when writing comments it is best to use your own words, to give your personal perspective on the issue, and to incorporate any experiences you have had that are noteworthy or influence your thinking.

You may also comment on the plan through September 23, by following the links here. You may also mail or hand deliver comments to:

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

For more information, check out these resources:

Restore Point Reyes National Seashore, mentioned above

The Center for Biological Diversity has a fact sheet contrasting the impacts of Tule Elk with cattle at Point Reyes.

An independent filmmaker investigated the conflict over Tule Elk, cattle ranching, and environmental impacts at Point Reyes. He produced a film about it, titled The Shame of Point Reyes. You can view it on the filmmaker’s website, which also has lots of information about Point Reyes, or on YouTube. You’ll see things you likely never knew anything about.

The Point Reyes Rewilding Network

 
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.

The Interior Department & Administration

An article in Pacific Standard about yet another Interior Department official meeting with former employers: New Documents Reveal More About Alleged Ethics Violations at the Department of the Interior. In an unfortunate development, it was announced the day after this article appeared that Pacific Standard would be ceasing publication, after it major funder pulled the plug on it without warning. The Los Angeles Times had an article about it: Pacific Standard magazine is shutting down after losing its main financial backer

An editorial in the Washington Post on Acting BLM Director Pendley: William Perry Pendley did not have Senate approval. Congress should not stand for it.

An op-ed in The Hill on the Acting BLM Director: New Bureau of Land Management leader is not only unfit to serve, he’s a threat to Western values

An op-ed by NY Times writer Timothy Egan: The Great Western Public Land Robbery

An article in The Hill: Bureau of Land Management retirees fight plan to relocate agency out west

The PBS NewsHour had a segment: How Trump is shaping the future of America’s public lands

Utah

More on the Factory Butte situation that we’ve reported on recently, from the Deseret News: Environmental groups sue BLM over opening southern Utah area to off-road vehicles

California

An article in The New Yorker: A Trailblazing Plan to Fight California Wildfires

Alaska

An article in Courthouse News about the latest Izembek Wildlife Refuge land exchange promoted by the Interior Department: New Alaskan Land Swap Called Just as Illegal as the First One

Regarding the proposed Pebble Gold Mine, CNN reported: EPA dropped salmon protection after Trump met with Alaska governor. An article also appeared in Courthouse News: Commercial Fishermen, Indigenous People Unite to Fight Mine in Alaska

Nevada

An op-ed in Nevada Current: Public lands: It’s who we are as Nevadans

Public Lands in General

An article in Outside: The Controversial Plan to Protect America’s Trails

An article from The Guardian‘s “This Land is Your Land” project: Trump administration authorizes ‘cyanide bombs’ to kill wild animals. Five days later, the EPA reversed the decision after a huge public outcry, as reported here by the New York Times: E.P.A. Backtracks on Use of ╘Cyanide Bombs’ to Kill Wild Animals.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Support CalUWild!

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

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

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

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

Either way, mail it to:

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

 
 
 

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

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

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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.

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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?

 
 
 
 
 
 

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