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Policy Update Week of September 5, 2011

SAF ACTIONS

In the Administration

  1. Obama Retreats on Environment
      Chemical and Engineering News, Published by Glen Hess, September 2nd

    Industry leaders are applauding President Barack Obama's decision to abandon plans to tighten Bush-era air quality standards for ground-level ozone, a key constituent of urban smog. But the reversal has environmental activists fuming. On Sept. 2, Obama announced that he directed the EPA to drop its controversial effort to set more stringent limits for ozone pollution under the auspices of the Clean Air Act. The President cited the need to reduce regulatory burdens and uncertainty among the business community in light of the struggling economy. "With that in mind, and after careful consideration, I have requested that [EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson] withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time," Obama said in a statement. To read more of this article link to: http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/89/i37/8937notw1.html

  2. Forest Service's Fire Plan Delay Draws Ire from Senator
      South Pasadena Patch, September 4th

    Senator Dianne Feinstein plans to meet with the head of the U.S. Forest Service to discuss the organization's "failed" effort to meet a deadline for work crucial to revamping its aerial firefighting plan following the 2009 Station Fire, which claimed the lives of two firefighters, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise. "Fire season has begun in California, and millions of acres are at high risk of wildfire," said Feinstein to the Press-Enterprise. "I intend to meet with Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell to understand why they have again failed to meet this deadline and enact a strategy to protect Californians from wildfires in the coming years." To read more of this article link to: http://southpasadena.patch.com/articles/forest-services-fire-plan-delay-draws-ire-from-senator

  3. National Forest Survey Gauges Recreation's Economic Impact and Who Uses the Forest
      OregonLive.com, Published by Eric Mortenson, September 5th

    People make more than 11 million recreational visits a year to the national forests within Oregon, sustaining nearly 15,000 jobs and spending an estimated $440 million, according to a new U.S. Forest Service survey. In addition to gauging recreation's economic impact, the survey results help the Forest Service set its management and budget priorities at national forests and grasslands across the county, Chief Tom Tidwell said last week. For example, the survey shows hiking is the most common recreational activity in the national forests, Tidwell said. That supports the need to maintain and update trails, provide secure trailhead access and parking, and to link with volunteer groups that in many cases have adopted individual trail systems and help maintain them, he said. To read more of this article link to: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2011/09/national_forest_survey_gages_r.html

This Week in Congress

  1. September 7th - Rep. Bishop [R-UT] introduced H.R. 2852: To authorize Western States to make selections of public land within their borders in lieu of receiving five percent of the proceeds of the sale of the public land lying within said States as provided by their prospective enabling aids. To read more about this bill link to: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-2852

  2. Benishek Authors Bill to Promote Access to Hunting, Fishing, and Shooting
      U.S. House of Representatives Press Release, September 8th

    Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-01) introduced H.R. 2834, the "Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act." This bill would require federal land managers at the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to facilitate use and access for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting activities on federal lands. "In Northern Michigan, hunting and fishing is more than a sport or hobby-it is a way of life. My hope is that Congress will act to ensure that hunting, fishing and shooting rights are protected on federal lands for years to come," said Benishek, an avid outdoorsman and lifelong resident of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. To read more of this article link to: http://benishek.house.gov/press-release/benishek-authors-bill-promote-access-hunting-fishing-and-shooting

  3. September 9th - The House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands held a hearing on the "Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage Opportunities Act" and the "Cabin Fee Act of 2011." To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=258021

National News

  1. The Federal Government Grounded Half Its Firefighting Planes Just Weeks Before The Texas Wildfires
      Business Insider, Published by Robert Johnson, September 7th

    A fleet of P-3 Orions, vital to the nations ability to control forest fires, were put out of service by the Obama administration following a contract dispute just five weeks ago. According to Human Events, this leaves the federal government with only 11 tankers to battle the more than 50 large uncontrolled forest fires burning nationwide -- including the Texas fires that killed a mother and her child. This is 40 tankers less than was available to the Forest Service just 10 years ago. Aero Union, the largest supplier of heavy-duty air tanker support to the government had their contract cancelled after disagreements over their maintenance plan. Aero CEO Britt Gourley said he and his crews were prepared to fly and instead he was forced to put 60 people out of work with virtually no explanation. To read more of this article link to: http://www.businessinsider.com/grounded-firefighting-planes-texas-wildfires-2011-9#ixzz1XO3g07E0

  2. Dupont Begins Process for Imprelis Damage Claims
      KARE11, September 8th

    The maker of a herbicide blamed for injuring or killing thousands of trees has started a process to resolve damage claims. Dupont has admitted problems with its Imprelis® herbicide, and voluntarily suspended the sale of the product in early August. The company now has a website and hotline (866-796-4783) where both consumers and lawncare professionals can file damage claims and get answers to frequently asked questions about Imprelis. In a written statement Dupont expressed regret for the problems. "We sincerely regret any tree injuries that lmprelis® may have caused, and will work with you to fairly resolve problems associated with our product," the statement read. To read more of this article link to: http://www.kare11.com/news/article/937593/391/Dupont-begins-process-for-Imprelis-damage-claims

  3. Timber Industry Struggles as Exports Fall Sharply
      Business Day, Published by James Weir, September 8th

    Timber exports in the middle of the year were down 22 per cent on May and June last year in the biggest and sharpest drop on record, the Timber Industry Federation says. For the first half of the year, processed timber exports were down about 10 per cent on the same period last year, with the industry also facing a stagnant local market with extremely low levels of home building consents. "It is pretty tough," for sawmillers, Timber Industry Federation deputy director Kevin Hing says. "The domestic market is not too flash. To read more of this article link to: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/5583934/Timber-industry-struggles-as-exports-fall-sharply

In the States: California, South Dakota, and Florida

  1. Beetle Devours San Diego County Oaks- Rest of State May be Next
      Los Angles Times, Published by Tony Perry, September 3rd

    A hungry pest called the goldspotted oak borer is devouring enormous numbers of oak trees in San Diego County, and its devastation could spread to trees throughout California, according to researchers at UC Riverside. More than 80,000 oak trees in the county have been killed in the past decade. Unless the march of the half-inch-long beetle is stopped, it could threaten 10 million acres of red oak woodlands in the state, researchers said. "This may be the biggest oak mortality event since the Pleistocene (12,000 years ago)," UC Riverside natural resource specialist Tom Scott said in a report issued this week. To read more of this article link to: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/09/beetle-eating-oak-trees-in-san-diego-county-rest-of-state-may-be-next.html

  2. Feds Give SD $3M to Help Fight Invasive Beetle
      Houston Chronicle, September 6th

    The federal government has given South Dakota $3 million to aid the fight to protect the state's trees from the mountain pine beetle, officials said Tuesday. South Dakota will receive a hazardous fuels reduction grant of $1 million, a state fire assistance grant of $ 1.4 million, a bark beetle grant of $500,000 and a forest health grant of $144,000, the U.S. Forest Service and Gov. Dennis Daugaard said. "Human health and safety remain the Forest Service's highest priorities when it comes to dealing with beetle-killed trees," said Jerome Thomas, acting regional forester for the Rocky Mountain Region. To read more if this article link to: http://www.chron.com/news/article/Feds-give-SD-3M-to-help-fight-invasive-beetle-2157227.php

  3. Florida Biomass Project Loan Financing Successful to Date
      Biomass Magazine, Published by Matt Soberg, September 8th

    The Gainesville Renewable Energy Center is currently undergoing the bank loan syndication process, which has been successful to date. The 100-megawatt biomass facility, being constructed in Gainesville, Fla., closed approximately $400 million of project financing in June. The ongoing involvement of capital partners and financiers allows the project to remain on schedule with operations expected to begin at the end of 2013. "The success of this transaction, completed on a tight timeline with the participation of eight sophisticated renewable project finance lenders, demonstrates that a well-structured biomass transaction is understood by the project finance market and results in a marketable asset class," Chris Smith, financial advisor to project sponsors, said in a press release. To read more of this article link to: http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/5780/florida-biomass-project-loan-financing-successful-to-date/

Last Week in Congress

  1. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are on recess until September 6th.

Wildfire Update

  1. An Estimated 30,000 Acres Burned in Cass County
      News-Journal.com, September 7th

    Texas Forest Service officials estimated that as much as 30,000 acres of timber and pasture in Cass and Marion counties had been scorched by wildfires by Tuesday evening. Dozens of residents, along with weary firefighters, friends and onlookers gathered at various points along U.S. 59 and other roadways in the Linden area on Labor Day and into Tuesday. By Tuesday morning, the damage was estimated to be at least 7,000 acres - with zero containment. Estimates of the amount of damage in Cass County grew to 14,000 acres by noon Tuesday. To read more of this article link to: http://www.news-journal.com/news/local/an-estimated-acres-burned-in-cass-county/article_9bbcf664-f308-5193-a462-71fcfa5f0f66.html

  2. Firefighting Plane's Use in Texas Wildfire Delayed
      The Associated Press, September 8th

    Firefighters can't use one of their biggest weapons against a devastating wildfire in Central Texas because they don't yet have the tanks and pipes to fill a converted jetliner with fire retardant nor a pilot to fly it over the blaze. The Texas Forest Service says the DC-10 arrived from California on Wednesday, but it won't be used until at least Friday to battle the fire that's destroyed nearly 1,400 homes. Agency spokeswoman Holly Huffman says the state doesn't have the equipment to fill the plane and is awaiting the shipment from California. To read more of this article link to: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jzwW2eUEOWaS8MdTk7EduAJNyqhw?docId=90c7ee15f53c4c038a726556c95d6c5d

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