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Policy Update Week of

May 21, 2012


Comments on Stewardship Contracting submitted to the House Agriculture Committee - May 25th
The Society of American Foresters was one of over ninety organizations to sign a letter delivered to the House Agriculture Committee asking for permanent reauthorization of Stewardship Contracting through the House draft 2012 Farm Bill, which is expected to be released in the coming month.
To see the full Stewardship Contracting letter to House Ag, click here: http://eforester.org/fp/documents/Stewardship_Contracting_Letter_5-25-12.pdf

US Green Building Council Releases LEED 2012 4th Draft for Public Comment - May 29th
The USGBC held a fourth round of public comments on the 2012 draft Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system. SAF submitted comments on previous drafts regarding credits for responsible material sourcing for wood, regional/local credits, and the use of life cycle analysis. SAF will not be submitting comments on the fourth draft as our concerns with the previous drafts have been addressed. SAF hopes USGBC will continue in the right direction to ensure that the final LEED 2012 rating system will be fair to all materials.
SAF comments on the previous LEED draft can be found here: http://www.safnet.org/documents/saf_leed_comments.pdf
For more information on LEED and to see full fourth draft, click here: http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=2360

"Examining the Effects of Responsible Forest Management on Watershed Health" Technical Symposium Videos Now Available Online - May 29th
The symposium, co-hosted by SAF, the American Forest Foundation, the Environmental Law Institute, the National Alliance of Forest Owners, Plum Creek, the US Forest Service, and Southern Lumber Manufacturers Association, featured keynote speaker Honorable Benjamin H. Grumbles (President, Clean Water America Alliance), and administrative, legal, and scientific panels in exploring forest connections to the Clean Water Act. Videos of each of the panels, along with the keynote address, can be found on the SAF policy website: http://www.safnet.org/fp/ts_videos.cfm

SAF CEO Michael Goergen, Jr. Testifies Before House Agriculture Committee - May 18th
Executive Vice-President and CEO Michael Goergen, Jr. testified on behalf of the Society of American Foresters at the House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing on the development of the Energy and Forestry Titles of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (Farm Bill). Mr. Goergen spoke of the need to permanently reauthorize the Stewardship Contracting Authority within the 2012 Farm Bill as the tool will expire in 2013. Mr. Goergen also talked to the devastation that we continue to see in the West due to the current bark beetle epidemic and why actions should be taken to manage the extensive forest mortality. Other panelists included: Mr. John Burke, III, American Forest Foundation; Mr. C. Randy Dye, National Association of State Foresters; Mr. Charles A. Holmes, National Association of Conservation Districts; and Mr. Richard Schwab, American Loggers Council and Southeastern Wood Producers Association. For more information on the hearing, visit http://www.safnet.org/documents/Goergen_testimony_May2012.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. EPA to Rethink Logging Road Rules
      The Bend Bulletin, Published by Jeff Barnard, May 23rd
    The Obama administration wants to change the rules applying to stormwater running off logging roads, blunting a landmark court ruling that found the muddy water running into salmon streams and drinking water reservoirs should be regulated like industrial pollution. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed notice Wednesday in the Federal Register proposing to revise stormwater regulations to say hundreds of thousands of miles of logging roads on private and public lands nationwide don't need the same kinds of permits that factories must get. Some of the roads are paved, but most are graveled, and some are bare dirt. To read more of this article link to: http://www.bendbulletin.com/article/20120524/NEWS0107/205240359/

  2. Notice of Intent to Revise Stormwater Regulations to Specify that an NPDES Permit is Not Required for Stormwater Discharges from Logging Roads
      Federal Register, Proposed by the EPA, May 23rd
    The EPA intends to expeditiously propose revisions to its Phase I stormwater regulations to specify that stormwater discharges from logging roads1 are not stormwater discharges "associated with industrial activity." This notice of intent is in response to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which found in Northwest Environmental Defense Center v. Brown that certain logging roads are stormwater point sources "associated with industrial activity." Additionally, EPA is seeking comment on approaches for addressing water quality impacts associated with discharges of stormwater from forest roads. Where appropriate best management practices (BMPs) are used, receiving waters can be protected and impacts can be minimized. If not properly managed, however, stormwater discharges from some forest roads can cause preventable impairments to water quality. To read more of this notice link to: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/05/23/2012-12524/notice-of-intent-to-revise-stormwater-regulations-to-specify-that-an-npdes-permit-is-not-required

This Week in Congress

  1. May 21st - Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Oversight Field Hearing on "Failed Federal Forest Policies: Endangering Jobs, Forests and Species" To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=295110

Upcoming in Congress

  1. There are no relevant upcoming hearings scheduled.

National News

  1. Stakeholders decry spotted owl fallout
      Capital Press, Published by Steve Brown, May 24th
    The 20-year-old plan to protect the Northern spotted owl is a "failure," Rep. Doc Hastings, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, says. "Tens of thousands of jobs lost, and it has failed to recover the Northern spotted owl," the Washington state Republican said on May 21 as he convened a hearing of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest and Public Lands. Hastings' committee has jurisdiction over most federal land use and water policies, including national forests. At issue is the White House's new critical habitat proposal that would more than double the 6.9 million acres set aside for owl habitat in Washington, Oregon and California. To read more of this article link to: http://www.capitalpress.com/content/SB-spotted-owl-hearing-052212-art

In the States: Alabama, Arizona and New Mexico

  1. Forest Service Withdraws Approval of Wildcat Plan
      The Weekly Bulletin, Published by JB Miller, May 23rd
    The Coronado National Forest has withdrawn its approval of Wildcat Silver's original plan of operation for drilling on public land as part of the proposed Hardshell (Hermosa) Mine. Meanwhile, Wildcat has submitted a new proposal to conduct exploratory drilling in the same area near Patagonia. Citing a "recent NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) Coordination Agreement" with Wildcat, Kathleen Nelson, acting Sierra Vista district ranger for Coronado National Forest, formally notified Wildcat vice president Greg Lucero of the decision in a letter dated April 27. The decision to withdraw the plan of operation follows a joint lawsuit filed in December by three conservation groups: the Defenders of Wildlife, the Sky Island Alliance and the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance. In their suit, the groups claimed a decision made two months earlier to allow exploratory drilling of up to 15 holes on public lands bordering the Hardshell Project was made without required studies of how it will impact endangered wildlife and the environment. To read more of this article link to: http://www.nogalesinternational.com/the_bulletin/news/forest-service-withdraws-approval-of-wildcat-plan/article_8ca99670-a4f4-11e1-9741-0019bb2963f4.html

  2. Rogers asks Bureau of Land Management to delay Lease Auction of Forest Land
      The Anniston Star, Published by Laura Johnson, May 24th
    U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, Thursday asked the federal Bureau of Land Management to halt plans to lease 43,000 acres of national forest land in Alabama for potential oil and natural gas drilling. Rogers said Thursday following a Calhoun County Commission meeting that he is opposed to the bureau's plans to lease the land on its current schedule. Most of the land is in the Talladega National Forest, much of it in three areas in Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, and Talladega counties. In a letter dated Thursday, Rogers asked the bureau to freeze the process to give residents in his district more time to discuss the proposals. The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, also has asked the bureau to withdraw the leases and do an environmental analysis in keeping with the National Environmental Policy Act. According to representatives with the council, its protests, Rogers' letter and public dissatisfaction over the bureau's plans could lead decision makers to postpone plans to lease the land. To read more of this article link to: http://annistonstar.com/bookmark/18714521

Last Week 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 15th - Introduced: H.R. 5744 - "To address the forest health, public safety, and wildlife habitat threat presented by the risk of wildfire, including catastrophic wildfire, on National Forest System lands and public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management by requiring the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to expedite forest management projects relating to hazardous fuels reduction, forest health, and economic development, and for other purposes." To read more about this hearing link to: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr5744

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

Wildfire Update

  1. There were no relevant wildfire updates last week.

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