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Policy Update Week of

March 19, 2012


SAF Submits Comments on U.S. Green Building Council's LEED 2012 Third Public Comment Period - March 27th
The U.S. Green Building Council held their third public comment period regarding the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 2012 draft. SAF submitted comments focusing on aspects of the LEED 2012 draft including local sourcing, forest certification, and sustainable forestry. The most recent round of SAF comments will be available on the Policy section of the SAF website next week.

For more information about the third LEED draft, link to: http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=2360

To see SAF's past comments on LEED, link to: http://www.safnet.org/documents/saf_leed_comments.pdf

SAF Committee on Forest Policy Chair Dr. Robert Malmsheimer Testifies Before Congress - March 22nd
CFP Chair Dr. Robert Malmsheimer testified on behalf of the Society of American Foresters at the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Public Witnesses Hearing. The hearing will took place on March 22nd at 9:30AM.

For more information, link to: http://appropriations.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=277080

SAF Task Force Submits Comments to EPA Scientific Advisory Board's Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel - March 16th
The SAF Task Force, who recently published the report "Managing Forests because Carbon Matters," submitted another set of comments to the Environmental Protection Agency's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel regarding the Accounting Framework for Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Stationary Sources. The Task Force comments were submitted in advance of the SAB's Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel Teleconference on 3/20/2012.

The Task Force comments can be found here: http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/30A99A024AC54B08852579C60049617B/$File/SAF+Comments.pdf

Information on the Teleconference and EPA Accounting Framework draft can be found here:

SAF's original comments can be found here: http://www.safnet.org/fp/EPA_GHG_Call_Info9-13-10.pdf

The SAF Task Force Report "Managing Forests because Carbon Matters: Integrating Energy, Products, and Land Management Policy" is available to read online.
To read the Task Force Report link to: http://www.safnet.org/documents/JOFSupplement.pdf

In the Administration

  1. Forest Service commits $1M to beetle battle
      Rapid City Journal, Published by Kevin Woster, March 19th

    Call it putting your money where your bugs are.In this case, it is in the Black Hills National Forest.The U.S. Forest Service has agreed to commit another $1 million to the battle against the mountain pine beetle in the Black Hills, a move announced and praised by Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D."This announcement is welcome news for folks in the Black Hills who are living daily through the slow-motion disaster that is the pine beetle epidemic," Noem said in a prepared statement. "By providing these additional resources, the Forest Service has given a boost to the continued effort to beat the beetles." To read more of this article link to: http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/communities/hot-springs/forest-service-commits-m-to-beetle-battle/article_0d96e8ec-71ff-11e1-a143-0019bb2963f4.html

  2. Obama Administration Announces New Funding for Biomass Research and Development Initiative
      USDA News Release, March 22nd

    Today, as President Obama went to Ohio State University to discuss the Administration's all-out, all-of-the-above strategy for American energy, the White House announced up to $35 million over three years to support research and development in advanced biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products. The projects funded through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) - a joint program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) - will help develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass and increase the availability of renewable fuels and biobased products that can help replace the need for gasoline and diesel in vehicles and diversify our energy portfolio. Today's announcement to invest in advanced biofuels supports President Obama's blueprint for an economy fueled by homegrown, alternative energy sources designed and produced by American workers. These investments will help cut America's oil imports, develop clean alternative energy technologies, and protect American families and businesses from the ups and downs of the global oil market. To read more of this article link to: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/03/0102.xml&contentidonly=true

  3. USDA publishes final rule to restore the nation's forests through science and collaboration
      USDA Forest Service News Release, March 23rd

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture's final Planning Rule for America's 193-million acre National Forest System that includes stronger protections for forests, water, and wildlife while supporting the economic vitality of rural communities.This final rule - which follows USDA's Feb. 3 publication of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement - replaces the 1982 rule procedures currently in use, and provides a new framework to be used for all individual management plans for 155 national forests and grasslands across the country. Over half of Forest Service units are currently operating with plans that are more than 15 years old. To read more of this article link to: http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2012/releases/03/planning-rule.shtml

  4. New forest planning rule may be challenged in court
      The Summit County Citizens Voice, Published by Bob Berwyn, March 24th

    With more than half the country's 155 national forests operating under outdated management plans, the U.S. Forest Service is eager to start implementing a new planning rule that was finalized March 23.But like several previous attempts to revise the existing 1082 rule, this latest version may face a legal test. Now that the rule is final, the Center for Biological Diversity is evaluating whether to pursue a courtroom challenge, said Taylor McKinnon, public lands campaign director for the organization. To read more of this article link to: http://summitcountyvoice.com/2012/03/24/new-forest-planning-rule-may-be-challenged-in-court/

  5. Notice: Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board
      The Federal Register, Published by the US Forest Service, March 26th

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service has re-established the Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board (Board). The purpose is to obtain advice and recommendations on a broad range of forest issues such as forest plan revisions or amendments, forest health including fire management and mountain pine beetle infestations, travel management, forest monitoring and evaluation, recreation fees, and site-specific projects having forest wide implications. In an earlier notice, the Forest Service indicated it was seeking nominations for individuals to be considered as committee members, and the public was invited to submit nominations for membership. That notice, "Notice of intent to re-establish the Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board and call for nominations," was published in the Federal Register, Volume 77, No. 30, page 8214, on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 and indicated that nominations and applications to the Board must be received by March 15, 2012. This revised notice extends the deadline for nominations and applications to April 30, 2012. To read more of this article link to: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/03/26/2012-7175/black-hills-national-forest-advisory-board

This Week in Congress

  1. March 20th - House Committee on Appropriations: Budget Hearing - National Park Service - Director. To read more about this hearing link to:

  2. March 22nd - Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests: Misc. Public Lands Bills. To read more about this hearing link to:

  3. March 22nd - House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Hearing: Public Witnesses To read more about this hearing link to: http://appropriations.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=277080

  4. March 23rd - Full House Committee on Agriculture Hearing: "Farm Bill Field Hearing - Illinois." To read more about this hearing link to: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/hearingDetails.aspx?NewsID=1540

Upcoming in Congress

  1. March 27th - House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry Hearing on "U.S. Forest Service Land Management: Challenges and Opportunities". To read more about this hearing link to: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/hearingDetails.aspx?NewsID=1551

  2. March 30th - Full House Committee on Agriculture Hearing: "Farm Bill Field Hearing - Arkansas". To read more about this hearing link to: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/hearingDetails.aspx?NewsID=1541

National News

  1. Bigger spotted owl habitat proposed: Federal plan calls for nearly doubling forest acreage
      Redding Record Searchlight, Published by Damon Arthur, March 19th

    Timber industry officials and environmentalists are criticizing a proposal that would nearly double the acreage designated as critical habitat for the northern spotted owl.After the initial attempt in 2008 to set new habitat boundaries failed to pass legal and scientific review, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials are trying again.The current proposal includes nearly 10 million acres in California, Washington and Oregon as critical habitat for the spotted owl. That includes some acreage in Shasta, Tehama, Trinity and Siskiyou counties.Most of that area is on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land and includes a small proportion of private land, said Paul Henson, the fish and wildlife service's Oregon state supervisor.Ann Forest Burns, vice president of the American Forest Resource Council, said the latest proposal ignores what is really threatening the spotted owl - wildfires and competition from the barred owl.To read more of this article link to: http://www.redding.com/news/2012/mar/19/bigger-owl-habitat-proposed/

  2. Fish, Forests Must Be Part of Global Accounting, Lawmakers Say
      Bloomberg Businessweek, Published by Alex Morales, March 21st

    Governments should account for resources from fish and forests to water and swamps alongside measurements of gross domestic product to curtail the erosion of natural resources, the Globe alliance of lawmakers said.Legislators from around the world should hold governments to account for commitments they make in June in Rio de Janeiro at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, U.K. and Brazilian members of Globe said yesterday in a panel discussion in London's Parliament. To read more of this article link to:

  3. Judge says Forest Service must allow appeals
      The Summit County Citizens Voice, Published by Bob Berwyn, March 21st

    A federal judge in California this week ruled that the U.S. Forest Service can't simply drop a post-decision appeals process for logging, forest health and other projects approved under a categorical exclusions, which is a streamlined approval process for smaller projects. In those decisions, the appeals process is replaced with a pre-decisional objection period, which enables people to raise concerns before the final decision is made. Read the decision here (PDF on Scribd.com) or at the end of the post.That means citizens or stakeholder groups across the country once again have the right to challenge certain Forest Service projects after the final decision has been made by a district- or forest-level official. To read more of this article link to: http://summitcountyvoice.com/2012/03/21/judge-says-forest-service-must-allow-appeals/#more-39573

  4. Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act gets hearing in D.C.
      Great Falls Tribune, Published by MaliaRulon Herman, March 22nd

    Montana rancher Dusty Crary doesn't want the federal government to change anything about the Rocky Mountain Front - and that's exactly why on Thursday he asked Congress to pass the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act, which would add protections to the land."We just realize that unless you put it in writing, there is no guarantee that it will stay the same," the Choteau cattle rancher told senators at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests. The subcommittee is part of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., introduced the Rocky Mountain Heritage Act in October. If approved, the act would add 67,000 acres of new wilderness to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, and designate another 208,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land as conservation management areas. To read more of this article link to: http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20120323/NEWS01/203230323

  5. Forest board wants report on roadless area beetle plan
      Rapid City Journal, Published by Kevin Woster, March 22nd

    Fears of a repeat of the pine-beetle explosion that ravaged the Black Elk Wilderness has members of the Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board demanding action to control bugs in an 8,000-acre roadless area southwest of Spearfish.News that that about 1,700 bug-killed pine trees had been identified in the Sand Creek Roadless Area prompted a spirited discussion and a call for Forest Service action Wednesday during the advisory board's meeting in Rapid City.Board member Carson Engelskirger said the Forest Service must be aggressive about controlling beetles in the roadless area or they will proliferate and spread to adjoining forest, much like they did in the Black Elk. Not only will new areas be infected, but areas already treated for beetles could be re-infested, he said. To read more of this article link to:

In the States: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, and California

  1. Impact of wilderness plan on timber industry reignites jobs vs. trees debate
      Peninsula Daily News, Published by Paul Gottlieb, March 19th

    Has the timber industry's time come and gone on the North Olympic Peninsula?A set-aside plan to take 21 percent of Olympic National Forest out of potential timber production and designate it as wilderness would simply feed into a trend away from logging and into a growing service economy that focuses more on recreation and tourism, according to a study by Headwaters Economics Associate Director Ben Alexander.The study was commissioned and paid for by the Quilcene-based Wild Olympics Campaign, which has put forward a similar, though less sweeping, proposal.But forest industry representative Carol Johnson of the North Olympic Timber Action Committee said the proposal - which is by U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, a Belfair Democrat whose 6th Congressional District includes Clallam and Jefferson counties, and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Bothell - would cost valuable jobs by affecting 132,000 acres of the 633,600-acre federally managed forest. To read more of this article link to: http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20120319/news/303199991

  2. DeFazio releases draft O&C lands map
      The World, March 21st

    U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, today released draft maps forecasting the division of the O&C lands under the bipartisan O&C Trust, Conservation, and Jobs Proposal.In February, DeFazio, and Reps. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, and Kurt Schrader, D-Canby, publicly released a balanced, long-term O&C plan that would provide revenue to struggling rural Oregon communities, create jobs, and provide protections for the environment. The OCTCJA would divide the O&C lands roughly in half. Younger, previously managed timber stands would be managed by a public and diverse board of Oregonians appointed by the governor. To read more of this article link to: http://theworldlink.com/news/local/defazio-releases-draft-o-c-lands-map/article_758b2cd0-737e-11e1-ba02-0019bb2963f4.html

  3. Flathead National Forest proposes logging to collect pine cones
      The Missoulian, Published by Rob Chaney, March 23rd

    Larch tree cones grow near the top of very tall trees, which makes them tough to collect for anything other than squirrels.The Flathead National Forest needs a lot of larch cones for its reseeding efforts, and it's seeking public comment on how best to get them. The trees have brittle branches and bark that flakes off easily, making them difficult for humans to climb. Another alternative is shooting cone-bearing branches off the tree."That's apparently not one we're interested in," Flathead Forest spokesman Wade Muelhof said. The cones aren't much bigger than grapes, and lots of them get lost as the branches fall to the ground.So the preferred alternative involves cutting down about 270 trees over 10 years to supply seedling needs. To read more of this article link to: http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/flathead-national-forest-proposes-logging-to-collect-pine-cones/article_635982d0-7565-11e1-8a0b-0019bb2963f4.html

  4. Oregon Forest Plan Heads the Way of the Dinosaur
      Courthouse News Service, Published by Travis Sanford, March 23rd

    The Bureau of Land Management can dump a forestry-management plan conceived during the administration of President George W. Bush, a federal judge ruled.Timber groups had intervened after U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis Hubel found that the BLM failed to properly consult the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on how the Western Oregon Plan Revision for managing forests would affect n endangered and threatened species. Hubel urged the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon to vacate and remand the rules to the BLM.The original suit, filed under a provision of the Endangered Species Act, claimed that BLM had failed in its duty under Section 7 of the ESA to consult with the two agencies responsible for protecting endangered species, the National Marine Fisheries Services and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.To read more of this article link to: http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/03/23/44983.htm

    5. Arizona forest-restoration afoot after tough 2 years Tucson Citizen, Published by Michelle Ye Hee Lee, March 24th It was a summer afternoon in 2010 when Randie Wareham looked up at Schultz Peak from her home near the base of the mountain where a fire that torched more than 15,000 acres had recently been extinguished.What she saw struck her with terror: an avalanche of mud flowing down the mountainside north of Flagstaff. As it rumbled into her neighborhood, it brought with it a destructive stew of ash, tree stumps, wood chunks, fences - anything that stood in its way. Then, a flash flood wiped away everything in her home except a few photo frames placed on the highest shelves.Wareham and her family survived the flood that decimated their home. But they never moved back. And with fire season drawing near, she can't help but think about the unwitting risks Arizonans face in areas where the potential for catastrophic fire and subsequent flooding are a constant source of danger.To read more of this article link to: http://tucsoncitizen.com/arizona-news/2012/03/24/arizona-forest-restoration-afoot-after-tough-2-years/

  5. Forest Service won't sell riverside land after all
      The Aspen Times, Published by Scott Condon, March 24th

    The U.S. Forest Service has decided not to sell riparian land along the Roaring Fork River because of the discovery of a rare, threatened plant.The property is on a lower bench between the river and Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel. The Forest Service wants to sell its holdings in that area to help raise funds to build a new office and visitors center in Aspen.The Forest Service was working through the National Environmental Policy Act process, which included a thorough inventory of the property, when the plant was discovered. "It's exciting stuff. It throws a little curve ball" into the plan, said White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams.If the sale were to proceed, the agency must follow strict rules for disposing of property with a plant covered by the Endangered Species Act, Fitzwilliams said. Instead he and his staff decided to withdraw it from the lands available for sale. To read more of this article link to: http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20120324/NEWS/120329908/1077&ParentProfile=1058

  6. Forest management plans in Idaho, Montana up for public comment
      The Missoulian, Published by Rob Chaney, March 24th

    The draft forest management plans for Montana's Kootenai National Forest and the neighboring Idaho Panhandle National Forests are open for extended public comment periods."We understand that these documents are long and complex, so we agreed to extend the comment period after receiving requests from several local communities," said Idaho Panhandle National Forests supervisor Mary Farnsworth. "The plans reflect 10 years of working with our partners, communities and interested public and we want to ensure they all have ample time to digest what is contained in these documents and provide meaningful comments."The Kootenai plan was reviewed during 30 public meetings and 140 community-based work groups. It covers how to maintain a clean water supply, restore native ecosystems, improve forest resiliency to wildfire, climate change effects, recreation opportunities and best available science. To read more of this article link to: http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/forest-management-plans-in-idaho-montana-up-for-public-comment/article_faa2b65c-762d-11e1-a267-001871e3ce6c.html

  7. Forest Service in legal stew over coverup of lookout's alleged marijuana use
      The Sacramento Bee, Published by Denny Walsh, March 25th

    The Moonlight fire was the U.S. Forest Service's worst nightmare.For two weeks in September 2007 it raged like a fire-breathing dragon across 65,000 acres in Plumas and Lassen counties, devouring everything in its path, including 46,000 acres of lush national forest.But there is an additional troubling dimension to this catastrophe, one that, like the fire itself, still haunts the Forest Service. From the start, there was a recognition of potential legal complications if it became known that a Forest Service patrol officer claimed another agency employee may have been smoking marijuana while he manned the lookout tower closest to the site where the fire started.That fear has now been realized. A timber company being sued for causing the fire has filed documents in court that reveal the government tried to cover up the claim, causing dissension within the Forest Service. To read more of this article link to: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/03/25/4364007/forest-service-in-legal-stew-over.html

Last Week in Congress

  1. March 12th - House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Oversight Field Hearing on "Explosion of Federal Regulations Threatening Jobs and Economic Survival in the West". To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=282979

Wildfire Update

  1. There were no relevant wildfire updates last week.

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