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Policy Update Week of

April 16, 2012


Comments on Stewardship Contracting submitted to the Senate Agriculture Committee - April 23rd
The Society of American Foresters was one of over ninety organizations to sign a letter delivered to the Senate Agriculture Committee asking for permanent reauthorization of Stewardship Contracting through the 2012 Farm Bill. The Senate side draft 2012 Farm Bill language from Chairwoman Stabenow released this week calls for permanent Stewardship Contracting reauthorization as is and is supported by SAF. For more information on the status of the 2012 Farm Bill, visit this link: http://www.ag.senate.gov/issues/farm-bill
To see the Stewardship Contracting letter to Senate Ag, click here: http://www.safnet.org/fp/Stewardship_Contracting_Letter_4-23-12.pdf

SAF and The Nature Conservancy Host Congressional Briefing: "Reducing Wildfire Dangers and Restoring Healthy Forests" - April 20th
The Society of American Foresters and The Nature Conservancy hosted a briefing Friday, April 20th for both the House and Senate. The three speakers included Dr. Wally Covington, Director of the Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University, McCree Anderson, Interior Highlands Fire Restoration Project Manager for The Nature Conservancy, and Steven Brink, Vice President of Public Resources at the California Forestry Association. Topics discussed included the impacts of wildfires, the need for and benefits of forest restoration, and the positive effects of active forest management on forestry sector jobs and rural communities.

SAF Member Dr. Jim Bowyer Speaks at a Congressional Briefing: "What You Need to Know About Forest Carbon Dynamics and Carbon Accounting" - April 12th & 13th
The Society of American Foresters, in collaboration with the National Alliance of Forest Owners, Resources for the Future, and the Congressional Biomass Caucus held an educational briefing for House and Senate staff members to provide current expert research on forest carbon dynamics and carbon accounting. Dr. Jim Bowyer, Director of Responsible Materials Program at Dovetail Partners, Inc. and SAF member, spoke on behalf of SAF, presenting results of the recent SAF task force report "Managing Forests because Carbon Matters." SAF Committee on Forest Policy Chair Dr. Robert Malmsheimer Testifies Before Congress - March 22nd

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 took place on March 22nd at 9:30AM. To view Dr. Malmsheimer's Testimony, link to: http://www.safnet.org/fp/Malmsheimer_testimony.pdf
For more information about the hearing, link to: http://appropriations.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=277080

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.

To see SAF's past comments on LEED, link to: http://www.safnet.org/documents/saf_leed_comments.pdf
For more information about the third LEED draft, link to: http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=2360

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. USDA Partners with Canada to Increase Use of Agroforestry Practices by Landowners
      USDA News Release, April 17th

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a cooperative partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Canada's Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food that will promote agroforestry to help landowners improve water quality, control soil erosion and boost their agriculture production. "We support agroforestry as a land management approach because it helps landowners achieve certain natural resource goals, such as clean water and productive soils," said Vilsack. "But it does much more. Clean water is a precious natural resource, and America's economic success is directly related to a continuous and abundant supply of clean water." To read more of this article link to: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/04/0121.xml&contentidonly=true

  2. Forest Service Chief testifies before Senate appropriations committee on 2013 agency budget
      USDA Forest Service News Release, April 18th

    In testimony today before the Senate Committee on Appropriations and Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said the proposed FY 2013 Forest Service budget reflects strategic investments to grow the economy, create jobs and fund programs that matter to Americans. "Our nation can and should take steps to reduce the deficit and make the government leaner and more efficient in the 21st century," Tidwell said. "As premier stewards of national forests and grasslands, the Forest Service will continue to fund cost-effective programs through the 2013 President's Budget." The $4.86 billion budget request for the Forest Service, an increase of $15.5 million from last year, will be administered through programs and services that focus on restoration projects, community outreach and fire management. To read more of this article link to: http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2012/releases/04/budget.shtml

This Week in Congress

  1. April 17th - House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands: "Legislative Hearing on H.R. 3388, H.R. 3874, H.R. 4039, H.R. 4073, H.R. 4193 and H.R. 4222." To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=289304

  2. April 20th - House Committee on Agriculture Hearing: "Farm Bill Field Hearing - Kansas". To read more about this hearing link to: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/hearingDetails.aspx?NewsID=1542

Upcoming in Congress

  1. April 25th - House Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture: "Formulation of the 2012 Farm Bill: Rural Development Programs." To read more about this hearing link to: http://agriculture.house.gov/singlepages.aspx?NewsID=1266&LSBID=23&RBSUSDA=T

  2. April 25th - POSTPONED Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Business Meeting: Markup of the 2012 Farm Bill. To read more about this hearing link to: http://www.ag.senate.gov/hearings/business-meeting-4-25-12

  3. April 26th- House Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry: "Formulation of the 2012 Farm Bill: Conservation Programs." To read more about this hearing link to: http://agriculture.house.gov/singlepages.aspx?NewsID=1266&LSBID=23&RBSUSDA=T

National News

  1. Q&A: Forest Service officials excited by new management plan
      The Sacramento Bee, Published by Matt Weiser, April 16th

    The U.S. Forest Service on March 23 approved a new process to govern long-term planning in national forests. The new plans will set management priorities within each forest, ranging from logging to habitat protection, recreation and fire prevention. Until now, the agency has relied on a planning process that dates back to 1982. The Bush administration attempted to update the process in 2008, but environmental groups overturned it in court, successfully arguing that it did not satisfy the Endangered Species Act. Conservation groups generally support the new process, and believe it will result in healthier forests. The Forest Service says it will also save time and money, and include more public participation. Eight national forests were designated as "early adopters" for the new planning process. Three are in California: Inyo, Sierra and Sequoia, all in the southern Sierra Nevada. Forest Service officials recently met with The Bee to explain the new rules. To read more of this article link to: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/16/4416280/qa-forest-service-officials-excited.html

  2. Chairwoman's Summary of the 2012 Farm Bill Committee Print
      Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, April 20th

    The Committee Print of the 2012 Farm Bill reforms farm policy, consolidates and streamlines programs, and will reduce the deficit by $23 billion. This bill saves taxpayers money while strengthening initiatives that help farmers, ranchers and small business owners create American jobs. To read more about the 2012 Farm Bill link to: http://www.ag.senate.gov/issues/farm-bill

In the States: Oregon, Colorado, and Montana

  1. Bill giving lands to state fails in Colorado House committee
      The Coloradoan, Published by Bobby Magill, April 16th

    Colorado will not fight the federal government to wrest control of Greyrock, Pike's Peak, Maroon Bells, Comanche Peak Wilderness and 22 million acres of other national forest and BLM land from federal control. A bill that would have attempted to force the federal government to cede all of Colorado's national forests, fourteeners and other public lands to the state failed Monday in the Colorado House Education Committee on an 8-5 vote. Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, said his bill, House Bill 1322, would reclaim state sovereignty over the lands, a move the state of Utah is making with a similar bill signed into law there last month. He said his bill would have allowed the state to sell off any scenic and wilderness areas it pleases, but the State Land Board likely would have become the steward of most of the land.To read more of this article link to: http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20120417/NEWS01/204170329/Bill-giving-lands-state-fails-Colorado-House-committee?nclick_check=1

  2. Walden tells Forest Service to scrap plan
      The Natural Resource Report, April 17th

    U.S. Rep. Greg Walden called on the U.S. Forest Service to start over on its Travel Management Plan for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. He said the plan is the product of a flawed public process that failed to protect the public's ability to enjoy their natural resources. Walden spoke on the phone with Kent Connaughton, the Regional Forester for the USFS' Pacific Northwest Region. Walden followed up the conversation with a letter. To read more of this article link to: http://naturalresourcereport.com/2012/04/walden-tells-forest-service-to-scrap-plan/

  3. Forest Service pulls controversial travel plan for Wallowa-Whitman
      The Republic, Published by Jeff Barnard, April 17th

    Forest officials on Tuesday stopped a plan to close thousands of miles of roads in Wallowa-Whitman National Forest after a public uproar over the proposed move in Eastern Oregon. Northwest Regional Forester Kent Connaughton pulled the travel management plan that was released last month. Wallowa-Whitman Forest Supervisor Minica J. Schwalbach said in a letter there was lots of confusion over the closures and taking more time to consider the issues will produce a better plan. Faced with an explosion of off-road vehicles scaring wildlife and causing erosion, the Forest Service in 2005 began a nationwide look at which roads to close and keep open. The Wallowa-Whitman proposal called for closing 3,600 miles of roads. To read more of this article link to: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/3aff8fe7148d4bf1a35e7d62ad274346/OR--Forest-Travel-Plan/

  4. Lawsuit challenges logging proposal project
      The Daily Inter-Lake, Published by Jim Mann, April 18th

    Two environmental groups have filed a lawsuit to stop a second forest management project on the Spotted Bear Ranger District. Represented by the Western Environmental Law Center, Friends of the Wild Swan and the Swan View Coalition filed the lawsuit challenging the Soldier Addition II project in U.S. District Court in Missoula Monday. In February, the groups filed a lawsuit challenging the nearby Spotted Bear River Project. The groups contend that the projects threaten an array of species, including lynx, bull trout, grizzly bears, wolves, fishers and wolverines. The lawsuits both assert that the cumulative impacts of the two projects were not adequately considered and mitigated. To read more of this article link to: http://www.dailyinterlake.com/news/local_montana/article_5f6a95a6-8910-11e1-b067-001a4bcf887a.html

Last Week in Congress

    Congress was not in session last week.

Wildfire Update

  1. There were no relevant wildfire updates last week.

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