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Policy Update Week of

May 7, 2012

SAF ACTIONS

SAF CEO Michael Goergen, Jr. to Testify Before House Agriculture Committee - May 18th
The House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry will be hosting a Public Hearing this Friday, May 18th to discuss Formulation of the 2012 Farm Bill Energy and Forestry Programs. Michael Goergen, Jr. will be testifying regarding permanent reauthorization of the stewardship contracting authority, acceleration of bark beetle mitigation efforts, and other 2012 Farm Bill budget recommendations. The full written testimony will be available on SAF's policy website soon.
For more information on the hearing, visit http://agriculture.house.gov/singlepages.aspx?NewsID=1266&LSBID=44

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

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 Advances Water Quality Conservation Across The U.S.
      USDA, Published by Water Online, May 8th
    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the launch of a new National Water Quality Initiative committed to improving one to seven impaired watersheds in every U.S. state and territory. The Initiative is part of the Obama Administration's White House Rural Council which is working in partnership with farmers, ranchers and forest owners to improve conservation of working lands in rural America. The 157 selected watersheds were identified with assistance from state agencies, key partners, and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Technical Committees. NRCS will make available at least $33M in financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners this year to implement conservation practices to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities.To read more of this article link to: http://www.wateronline.com/doc.mvc/usda-advances-water-quality-conservation-across-the-u-s-0001

  2. Proposed Rule: Revised Critical Habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl
      The Federal Register, May 8th
    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), recently published a proposal to revise the designated critical habitat for the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina), and announced the opening of a public comment period on the proposed revised rule through June 6, 2012. We now extend the public comment period to July 6, 2012. We are extending the public comment period to allow all interested parties an opportunity to comment simultaneously on the proposed revised rule and the soon-to-be-released draft economic analysis and draft environmental assessment on the proposed rule. Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted and will be fully considered in preparation of the final rule. We also announce a public hearing and public information meetings on our proposed revised rule and associated documents.To read more of this article link to: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/05/08/2012-11059/endangered-and-threatened-wildlife-and-plants-revised-critical-habitat-for-the-northern-spotted-owl

  3. Proposed Rule: Expanding Incentives for Voluntary Conservation Actions Under the Endangered Species Act
      The Federal Register, May 14th
    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), extend the deadline for submission of public comments to help us identify potential changes to our regulations that implement parts of the Endangered Species Act that would create incentives for landowners and others to take voluntary conservation actions to benefit species that may be likely to become threatened or endangered species. In particular, we seek comment on whether and how the Service can assure those who take such voluntary actions that the benefits of their actions will be recognized as offsetting the adverse effects of activities carried out after listing by that landowner or others. The practice of recognizing these actions, sometimes referred to as "advance mitigation" or "prelisting mitigation," is intended to encourage early conservation efforts that could reduce or eliminate the need to list species as endangered or threatened. If you have previously submitted comments, please do not resubmit them, because we have already incorporated them into the public record and will fully consider them as we decide how we may propose changes to our regulations or policies. To read more of this article link to: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/05/14/2012-11676/endangered-and-threatened-wildlife-and-plants-expanding-incentives-for-voluntary-conservation#p-3

This Week in Congress

  1. May 8th - House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight Hearing: "The Science Behind Green Building Rating Systems". To read more about this hearing link to: http://science.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-investigations-and-oversight-hearing-green-building-rating-systems

  2. May 8th - House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular AffairsHearing: "Legislative Hearing on H.R. 3210 and H.R. 4171." To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=293478

  3. May 8th - House Judiciary Committee: "Markup of: H.R. 4970, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012; H.R. 4377, the "Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2012"; and, H.R. 5512, the "Divisional Realignment Act of 2012" To read more about this hearing link to: http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/Markups%202012/mark_05082012.html

Upcoming in Congress

  1. May 14th - House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Water and Power and Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands: Joint Oversight Field Hearing on "Logs in the Road: Eliminating Federal Red Tape and Excessive Litigation to Create Healthy Forests, Jobs and Abundant Water and Power Supplies" To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=293546

  2. May 16th - Senate Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: "Hearings to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2013 for the Environmental Protection Agency." To read more about this hearing link to: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/events.cfm?date=5/16/2012

  3. May 17th - House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands:"Legislative Hearing on H.R. 1103, H.R. 3100, H.R. 3365, H.R. 4400 and S. 270"To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=294708

  4. May 17th - House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs:"Legislative Hearing on H.R. 3065 and H.R. 3706" To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=294635

  5. May 18th - House Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry: "Formulation of the 2012 Farm Bill: Energy and Forestry Programs" To read more about this hearing link to: http://agriculture.house.gov/singlepages.aspx?NewsID=1266&LSBID=44

National News

  1. Rattler may qualify for protection
      Andalusia Star News, Published by Kendra Bolling, May 10th
    A wildlife partnership seeking to protect the Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake accomplished a great feat Wednesday when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the snake might qualify for the Endangered Species Act. Last August, the group filed a petition to protect the animal under the act, citing habitat destruction and "rattlesnake roundups" like the Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo as reasons for the demise of the snake. The filing is in response to the group's petition. Local biologist Mark Bailey said he believes the Fish and Wildlife Service has more species that are in trouble, but isn't opposed to the measure.To read more of this article link to: http://www.andalusiastarnews.com/2012/05/10/rattler-may-qualify-for-protection/

In the States: Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Colorado

  1. Lee introduces Act limiting federal authority in public land designations
      St. George Utah News, Published by Joyce Kuzmanic, May 8th
    Sen. Mike Lee introduced the "Federal Land Designation Requirements Act" which would limit the federal government's power to make a variety of land designations without the approval of the applicable state legislature. Among those designations subject to state approval would be units of the National Forest System, National Park System, National Wildlife Refuge System, National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, National Trails System, National Wilderness Preservation System, or any other system established by Federal law, or any national conservation or national recreation area without approval of the applicable State legislature. To read more of this article link to: http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2012/05/08/lee-introduces-act-limiting-federal-authority-in-public-land-designations/

  2. Suit challenges McKenzie logging
      The Register-Guard, Published by Winston Ross, May 8th
    Three conservation groups filed a lawsuit Monday challenging a U.S. Forest Service logging project near here, to the delight of frustrated residents who say they feel powerless to halt the 2,100-acre Goose Project. Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild, represented by the Western Environmental Law Center, are the only entities with legal standing to file such a lawsuit because they're the only parties to have appealed the project back when it was approved in 2010. That's part of why the residents - who only learned of the project in recent months - are relieved. They had no real recourse to fight the project, which would harvest an estimated 38 million board feet of lumber from federal land in and around McKenzie Bridge. To read more of this article link to: http://www.registerguard.com/web/newslocalnews/28037152-57/project-forest-service-lawsuit-logging.html.csp

  3. Collaboration offers suggestions for Panhandle Forests
      The Spokesman-Review, Published by Becky Kramer, May 10th

    For four decades, truckloads of logs rolling out of the woods were Bob Boeh's primary interest in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests. No surprise since his employer, Idaho Forest Group, depends on federal timber sales to help keep five sawmills churning out 2-by-4s. But Boeh also finds himself pondering old-growth habitat for owls and woodpeckers these days, along with wilderness areas and scenic river designations. He's part of a collaborative group of timber industry officials and environmentalists searching for common ground. They're working on the premise that healthy forests support healthy rural economies. Though loggers and tree huggers are historic adversaries, they're recognizing that lawsuits and antagonism can result in losing scenarios for both sides.To read more of this article link to: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/may/10/common-ground/

  4. New Colorado roadless rule far from ideal for county, conservationists
      Aspen Daily News Staff, Published by Andrew Travers, May 12th
    A new rule issued this month to manage roadless forest areas of Colorado didn't meet the wishes of the Pitkin County commissioners and drew criticism from local conservation groups. "We remain opposed to a Colorado-specific rule that manages the majority of our roadless backcountry to a weaker standard than exists here now," reads a statement from six state conservation groups, including Wilderness Workshop, a Carbondale-based nonprofit.The "Colorado Roadless Rule" will go into effect in June. It had been in the works since 2005. More than 300,000 comments were submitted to the U.S. Forest Service as it drafted the rule. Among them were comments from the Pitkin County commissioners, who called for putting about 2.6 million acres of roadless land into the highest tier of protection, and for nullifying gas leases in such areas, both of which the rule falls short on. To read more of this article link to: http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/153088

Last Week in Congress

  1. May 3rd - House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Oversight Field Hearing: "Federal Geospatial Spending, Duplication and Land Inventory Management" and Legislative Field Hearing on H.R. 4233 and H.R.1620." To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=290854

Wildfire Update

  1. There were no relevant wildfire updates last week.

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