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Policy Update Week of September 27, 2010


  1. SAF Submits Comments for EPA Call for Information Regarding Biogenic Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    To read SAF’s submission click here: http://www.eforester.org/fp/positionstatements.cfm#cc

  2. SAF Sent a Letter From 114 Scientists and Academics to the US Congress Expressing Concerns Regarding Biomass Energy

    To read the letter click here: http://www.eforester.org/fp/policy.cfm

In the Administration

  1. Transcripts of Dispatch Recordings Shed Additional Light on the Initial Attack of the Station Fire in California
    U.S. Forest Service Press Office, September 23rd

    The USDA Forest Service has released transcripts of recorded telephone conversations made during the course of the arson-caused Station Fire.

    The recordings indicate fire managers and dispatchers persistently strategized the best ways to provide firefighting assets as rapidly as possible in the midst of multiple ongoing wildfires on the Angeles National Forest and across Southern California. Forest Service employees discovered the recordings in July. To read more of this article click here: http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2010/releases/09/station-fire.shtml

  2. EPA Ponders Biogenic Emissions Reporting
    The Ethanol Producer Magazine, Published by Chris Bevill, September 20th

    The U.S. EPA is in the process of evaluating comments it received in response to a call for information regarding the inclusion of biogenic emissions when accounting for a facility’s total amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Earlier this year, the EPA finalized its Tailoring Rule, which set in motion the process of holding facilities accountable for GHG emissions in addition to pollutants already regulated by the agency. When the Tailoring Rule was initially proposed, the EPA exempted biogenic emissions—emissions that occur as a result of the combustion or decomposition of biological materials—from GHG accounting approaches. But when the final rule was announced, the EPA had reversed its stance and included those emissions in its accounting framework. To read more of this article link to:

  3. USDA Announces Funding to Address Threats to State and Private Forests
    Forest Service Press Office, September 22nd

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced annual funding to help all states and trust territories sustain the nation's urban and rural forests, and to protect communities and the environment from wildfires, insects, diseases and invasive species.

    "America's state and private forests provide a wide range of social, environmental and economic benefits, including clean water, wood products, habitat for wildlife, and outdoor recreation," said Vilsack. To read more of this article click here.

Last Week in Congress

  1. September 23rd - The House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, led by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), held an oversight hearing entitled “The Role of Partnerships in National Parks.”

This Week in Congress

  1. September 29th-Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,National Parks, and the Public Lands and Forests Subcommittees to receive testimony at 2:30 PM in Energy Committee Heading Room-SD 366 on the following bills:

    • S. 3261, to establish the Buffalo Bayou National Heritage Area in the State of Texas, and for other purposes;
    • S. 3283, A bill to designate Mt. Andrea Lawrence;
    • S. 3291, to establish Coltsville National Historical Park in the State of Connecticut, and for other purposes;
    • S. 3524 and H.R. 4438, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to enter into a cooperative agreement for a park headquarters at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, to expand the boundary of the Park, to conduct a study of potential land acquisitions, and for other purposes;
    • S. 3565, to provide for the conveyance of certain Bureau of Land Management land in Mohave County, Arizona, to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, for use as a public shooting range;
    • S. 3612, to amend the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park Establishment Act to expand the boundary of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in the State of Vermont, and for other purposes;
    • S. 3616, to withdraw certain land in the State of New Mexico, and for other purposes;
    • S. 3744, to establish Pinnacles National Park in the State of California as a unit of the National Park System, and for other purposes;
    • S. 3778 and H.R. 4773, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to lease certain lands within Fort Pulaski National Monument, and for other purposes;
    • S. 3820, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to issue permits for a microhydro project in nonwilderness areas within the boundaries of Denali National Park and Preserve, to acquire land for Denali National Park and Preserve from Doyon Tourism, Inc., and for other purposes;
    • S. 3822, to adjust the boundary of the Carson National Forest, New Mexico; and
    • H.R. 1858, to provide for a boundary adjustment and land conveyances involving Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado, to correct the effects of an erroneous land survey that resulted in approximately 7 acres of the Crystal Lakes Subdivision, Ninth Filing, encroaching on National Forest System land, and for other purposes

  2. This is the last week Congress will be in session until after the election period.

National News

  1. Reuters Summit-Bingaman Says US Climate Bill Dead for Years
    Reuters, September 22nd

    Comprehensive U.S. climate change legislation is dead for at least the next two years, especially if Republicans take control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011, a leading Democrat said on Wednesday.

    "I don't see a comprehensive bill going anywhere in the next two years," Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman told the Reuters Washington Summit. To read more of this article click here: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/WBT014138.htm

  2. Massachusetts Proposed RPS Stymies Biomass
    Biomass Magazine, Published by Lisa Gibson, September 20th

    If drafted renewable portfolio standard (RPS) regulations pass in Massachusetts, biomass power plants will be required to achieve between 40 and 70 percent efficiency and 50 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction relative to life-cycle emissions from a combined-cycle natural gas facility using the most efficient technology. Not only would those standards be nearly impossible to meet without substantial investments, but it would thwart development of new plants, costing hundreds of jobs in an already struggling economy. To read more of this article link to: http://www.biomassmagazine.com/article.jsp?article_id=4099

  3. American Carbon Registry Approves IFM Methodology for US Commercial Timberlands Unleashing US Forest Carbon Offset Potential
    Business Wire, September 27th

    The American Carbon Registry (ACR) announces approval of an Improved Forest Management (IFM) Methodology for Quantifying GHG Removals and Emission Reductions through Increased Forest Carbon Sequestration on U.S. Timberlands developed by Finite Carbon Corporation, a leading U.S. forest carbon project developer.

    “This is a major milestone for Finite Carbon and our forest carbon project portfolio throughout the United States”. To read more of this article link to: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100927005502/en/American-Carbon-Registry-Approves-IFM-Methodology-Commercial

In the States: Oregon, Montana, California and Colorado

  1. Oregon Society of American Foresters Releases Updated Position Statement on Managing Riparian Forests

    The Oregon Society of American Foresters (OSAF) believes that active management of riparian areas on public and private forestlands should be a key part of contemporary strategies and policies to maintain and improve water resources and fish and wildlife habitat. This view is supported by the low levels of riparian forest management now seen throughout Oregon, even where policies allow some active management. Of particular concern is that, lacking management, many of these unique and ever-changing forests now have or will develop conditions that are less than ideal for habitat and water quality, including reduced biodiversity and substantially increased risks of damaging wildfires. To read more of this position statement link to: http://www.forestry.org/or/position/riparian.php

  2. Forest Plan Proposal Draws a Variety of Responses
      The News-Review, Published by John Sowell, September 19th

    U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio calls a proposal to sell 1.2 million acres of federal forests to timber companies and make an equal amount of forest off-limits to logging “a distraction.”

    The Douglas Timber Operators and Umpqua Watersheds, which don't often find themselves on the same side, are united in opposing the proposal, made last week by an association of 18 Western Oregon counties. To read more of this article link to: http://www.nrtoday.com/article/20100919/NEWS/100919780/1063/NEWS&ParentProfile=1055

  3. 9th Circuit Blocks Gallatin Forest Logging Project Over Elk Concerns
      The Associated Press, September 17th

    A proposed logging project in the Gallatin National Forest would remove too much vegetation that elk use for cover from predators, a federal appeals court ruled in blocking the project.

    The U.S. Forest Service must revise the proposal to thin trees over 810 acres in the Crazy Mountains to ensure it meets the elk hiding cover requirement that is detailed in the plan for the forest, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in its ruling Wednesday. To read more of this article link to: http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_93188c34-c286-11df-90a2-001cc4c03286.html

  4. CAL FIRE’s Fire and Resource Assessment Program Releases Forest and Rangelands: 2010 Assessment
      CAL FIRE, September 23rd

    The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has released California’s Forest and Rangelands: 2010 Assessment. The assessment was recently certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Forest Service, as required by both the 2008 Federal Farm Bill and by state law.

    The assessment contains comprehensive information on the state’s forests and rangelands and evaluates potential threats to these important ecosystems. The assessment was developed with input and assistance from local, state, federal, non-governmental organizations and the public. It identifies significant issues, trends, and priority areas on which to focus management strategies and actions for California’s forests and rangelands, regardless of ownership. To read more of this assessment link to: http://yubanet.com/california/CAL-FIRE-s-Fire-and-Resource-Assessment-Program-Releases-Forest-and-Rangelands-2010-Assessment.php

  5. Local Congressmen to Hold Public Hearing on Station Fire
      The L.A. Times, Published by Paul Pringle, September 15th

    A panel of local House members led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D- Burbank) will examine the battle against last year's Station fire at a public meeting next month in Pasadena.

    Among those scheduled to address the panel are top officials of the U.S. Forest Service and Los Angeles County Fire Department. To read more of this article link to: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/15/local/la-me-station-fire-20100915

  6. Our Goal: Forest Health
      The Denver Post, Published by U.S. Senator Mark Udall, September 26th

    Funding to help reduce the threats from severe wildfires is inadequate. But what we really need is to protect our mountain communities and make our forests healthier. Immediately after coming to Congress, I authored legislation on forest health and wildfire policy. Over the years, we have had plenty of debates on the right policies to protect homes and people and restore forest health. Congress even passed the Healthy Forest Restoration Act in 2003.Additionally, we have studied what happened during previous fires to learn how we can better reduce fire threats and resultant damage, and enhance the effectiveness of pre-emptive fuel-reduction activities. To read more of this article link to: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_16158137#ixzz10kyNm07D

Wildfire Update

  1. No Arson Charges in Fourmile Canyon Wildfire
      The Denver Post, Published by Yesenia Robles

    The Boulder County district attorney will not file arson charges against the volunteer firefighter whose fire pit started the most expensive wildfire in Colorado history.

    The fire started at 100 Emerson Gulch Road — the home of longtime Fourmile Canyon Fire Department volunteer George Fairer — when embers from a fire pit he had used four days earlier were ignited by gusting winds. To read more of this article link to: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_16149417

Additional Information:

The SAF National Office serves as the voice of professional forestry through its active role in several forestry, natural resources, and agricultural groups and coalitions…

25 x ’25 (www.25x25.org) – SAF is a proud member of 25 x ’25 and currently sits on its Sustainability Working Group. The goal of 25 x ’25 is to have 25% of our energy needs being fulfilled by renewable resources from our nation’s farms, ranches, forests, and other lands by 2025.

Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases (www.continentalforestdialogue.org) – SAF sits on the organization’s Steering Committee and assists in its mission of “cultivating and catalyzing collaborative action among diverse interests to abate the threat to North American forests from non-native insects and diseases.” The 4th meeting summary of the Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases is now available online at: http://www.continentalforestdialogue.org/documents/meetings/2008-11/index.html

Additional groups in which SAF plays a role include:

Core Group of the Roundtable on Sustainable Forests”

Forest Carbon Education Group. The FCEG’s Guidance Document on Managed Forests in Climate Change policy can be viewed on the SAF Policy Webpage:

Wildland Fire Leadership Council

Western Governors’ Association Forest Health Advisory Committee

About the Policy Update:

Disclaimer: The Society of American Foresters does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the news items and/or links to additional information that appear in the Policy Update.

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