Policy Update Week of
April 2nd and 9th, 2012
ACTION ALERT - Your Organization's Support Needed - Deadline COB Thursday, April 19th.
Please sign on your organization's support for permanent reauthorization of Stewardship Contracting in the 2012 Farm Bill. The link to the sign-on letter to the Senate Agriculture Committee can be found at: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dG01WU85QXZWdE9tZXZuZDRieGkyWkE6MQ.
The deadline for signatures is COB Thursday, April 19th. If you have any questions about the letter or about Stewardship Contracting, please contact SAF's Assistant Director of Forest Policy Kelsey Delaney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your time and consideration:
Kelsey Delaney, Society of American Foresters
Maia Enzer, Sustainable Northwest
Hank Kashdan, National Association of Forest Service Retirees
Brent Keith, Council of Western State Foresters
Laura McCarthy, The Nature Conservancy
Cassandra Moseley, Ecosystem Workforce Program
SAF and The Nature Conservancy to Host a Congressional Briefing: "Reducing Wildfire Dangers and Restoring Healthy Forests" - April 20th
The Society of American Foresters and The Nature Conservancy will be hosting a briefing this Friday, April 20th for both the House and Senate. The three speakers include 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 Bring, Vice President of Public Resources at the California Forestry Association. Topics to be discussed include 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
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
SAF Task Force Submits Comments to EPA Scientific Advisory Board's Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel - March 16th
The SAF Task Force, who recently published the report "Managing Forests because Carbon Matters," submitted another set of comments to the Environmental Protection Agency's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel regarding the Accounting Framework for Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Stationary Sources. The Task Force comments were submitted in advance of the SAB's Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel Teleconference on 3/20/2012. The Task Force comments can be found here: http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/30A99A024AC54B08852579C60049617B/$File/SAF+Comments.pdf
Information on the Teleconference and EPA Accounting Framework draft can be found here:
SAF's original comments can be found here: http://www.safnet.org/fp/EPA_GHG_Call_Info9-13-10.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
- Secretary of Agriculture responds to Senators' concerns about air tankers
Wildfire Examiner, Published by Bill Gabbert, April 3rd
The Secretary of Agriculture said in a letter to congress that conventional large air tankers, such as the P2V, are often more effective in suppressing wildfires and provide faster response than very large air tankers like the 747 and DC-10. We have obtained a copy of a letter that Thomas Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, sent to Senator Lisa Murkowski and other senators who expressed concerns about the management of the federal air tanker fleet. Mr. Vilsack's letter, dated March 29, 2012, is a very late response to a letter that the senators wrote on February 10, 2012. Mr. Vilsack's response comes shortly after a highly publicized letter dated March 27, 2012 that Senators Murkowski, Jeff Bingaman, Ron Wyden, and Dianne Feinstein wrote to the Government Accountability Office requesting an "independent third-party review....of the Forest Service and the Interior agencies' efforts since 2002 to identify the number and types of firefighting aircraft they believe are needed to respond to wildland fires". To read more of this article link to:
- US Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Advanced Biofuels Industry Roundtable
USDA News Release, April 3rd
The U.S. Department of Agriculture - along with the Department of Energy, and the Department of Navy - will co-host an Advanced Biofuels Industry Roundtable in Washington D.C. on May 18, 2012 as the next step in the partnership with the private sector to produce advanced biofuels to power military and commercial transportation. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement today during his keynote address to the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference. To read more of this article link to:
- US Forest Service targets $40.6M to purchase, restore lands in 15 states
US Forest Service News Release, April 6th
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the U.S. Forest Service will dedicate $40.6 million for 27 exceptional land acquisition projects in 15 states that will help safeguard clean water, provide recreational access, preserve wildlife habitat, enhance scenic vistas and protect historic and wilderness areas. To read more of this article link to: http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2012/releases/04/land-acquisition.shtml
- Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announces BioPreferred Final Rule
USDA News Release, April 6th
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the addition of 13 biobased product categories which are eligible for Federal procurement preference. Now more than 1,500 additional biobased products will be offered for preferred purchasing consideration by all Federal government agencies and contractors. The final rule was published in the April 4 Federal Register. To read more of this article link to: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/04/0119.xml&navid=NEWS_RELEASE&navtype=RT&parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent
This Week in Congress
- Congress is not in session 4/2-4/16.
Upcoming in Congress
- 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
- 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
- Judge allows SD, WY to intervene in federal lawsuit over Black Hills National Forest
The Associated Press, Published by Blake Nicholson, April 3rd
A judge in Wyoming has granted requests by South Dakota and Wyoming to intervene in a federal lawsuit involving management of the Black Hills National Forest. Four environmental groups sued the U.S. Forest Service last October, saying the agency was allowing "extreme levels" of logging that were damaging plants and wildlife habitat. The lawsuit seeks a halt to certain timber sales and grazing projects. To read more of this article link to: http://www.aberdeennews.com/news/sns-bc-sd--forestlawsuit,0,4106121.story
- Court stalls USFS projects
Juneau Empire, Published by Russell Stigall, April 4th
Southeast mines could find current and future projects slowed as a recent Federal District Court decision has halted close to 600 projects in the nation's forests. The decision requires extra levels of public review before new or existing projects can proceed under a U.S. Forest Service categorical exclusion. Categorical exclusions are a part of the National Environmental Protection Act. The exclusions allows an agency, based on its experience, to determine that certain categories of actions "do not result in significant impacts to the human environment," according to Forest Service documents, "eliminating the need for unnecessary or lengthy documentation in an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement." The court's decision in Sequoia Forestkeeper v. Tidwell determined the Forest Service fails to comply with the Forest Service Appeals Reform Act, according to the court's findings. To read more of this article link to: http://juneauempire.com/state/2012-04-04/court-stalls-usfs-projects#.T3xONtVARUk
- Judge stops logging over Clean Water Act concerns
Capital Press, Published by Mateusz Perkowski, April 5th
A federal judge has blocked a Montana logging project partly because the U.S. Forest Service didn't properly disclose that it may need to obtain Clean Water Act permits for logging roads in the area. A timber industry group worries the ruling will spur new lawsuits that make similar accusations to stop other logging projects on national forest land. "Copycat environmental groups are going to file this claim all over the place," said Scott Horngren, an attorney for the American Forest Resource Council. The project in Custer National Forest, authorized by the agency last year, allowed for logging on about 1,500 acres as well as 35 miles of new road construction and 8,000 acres of prescribed burning. Native Ecosystems Council and Alliance for the Wild Rockies, two environmental groups, claimed the project violated environmental and forest management laws. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy has agreed with some of the plaintiffs' arguments and ordered an injunction against the project until the U.S. Forest Service further analyzes and explains its environmental consequences. To read more of this article link to: http://www.capitalpress.com/montana/mp-logging-injunction-040612
- Sen. Thune, US Rep. Noem filing pine beetle bill
The Wausa Daily Herald, Published by The Associated Press, April 12th
The U.S. Forest Service would be able to move faster to fight the mountain pine beetle infestation in western South Dakota's Black Hills and other states under a measure being introduced in Congress, two lawmakers said Thursday. U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., said the measure would require the U.S. agriculture secretary to respond to fire hazards caused by beetle infestations, disease and drought in national forests. The agriculture secretary would have to designate at least one national forest in each state for the expedited work, they said. Under the bill, the Forest Service could declare emergencies in some areas to speed up the environmental review process and begin cutting or spraying trees, or conducting proscribed burns, Thune said. The measure also would increase the size of areas where the expedited treatment could take place from the current 200 acres to a new maximum limit of 10,000 acres. To read more of this article link to: http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/usatoday/article/39024643
- Invasive Barred Owls Interfere with Spotted Owls in Critical Ways
USGS News Release, April 12th
High densities of invasive barred owls appear to be outcompeting the threatened northern spotted owl for critical resources such as space, habitat, and food, according to a study released today by Oregon State University. The three-year study - conducted in western Oregon through a research partnership including the U.S. Geological Survey and OSU -also confirms that barred owls not only use similar forest types and prey species as spotted owls, but also that a high density of barred owls can reduce the amount of those resources available to spotted owls. To read more of this article link to: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article_pf.asp?ID=3165
- Rehberg plans hearing on Baucus' Rocky Mountain Front bill
Great Falls Tribune, Published by Tribune Staff, April 13th
Congressman Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., says he's going to conduct his own listening session on the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act, saying he's hearing concerns from his constituents. The group that's backing the bill is asking the congressman for a chance to make a presentation. Rehberg announced Friday that he has scheduled a public listening session at 2:30 p.m. April 21 at Choteau Country Club. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., introduced the legislation in October. The Coalition to Protection the Rocky Mountain Front previously conducted eight meetings on the proposal. If approved, the act would add 67,000 acres of new wilderness to the Bob Marshall Wilderness and designate another 208,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land as conservation management areas. To read more of this article link to:
In the States: Oregon, Colorado, Montana, and Tennessee
- Outrage won't die down over Wallowa-Whitman forest road closure plan
The Oregonian, Published by Richard Cockle, April 5th
Public outrage continues to mount over a final plan to close nearly 4,000 miles of roads in the state's biggest national forest, with one congressman saying the government needs to "go back and get it right" and local leaders promising to file an appeal or a lawsuit if necessary. "Our people have grown up recreating out in the woods, and now they are closing it down," said Union County Commissioner Mark Davidson. "That tears at the fabric that makes up our culture." Starting in June, the U.S. Forest Service will prohibit travel by passenger cars, ATVs, dirt bikes and four-wheel-drive rigs on targeted roads in a 1.3 million-acre portion of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Only bicycles, hikers and horseback riders will be allowed on the closed roads. To read more of this article link to:
- Colorado law would try to force the sale of federal lands
The Summit County Citizens Voice, Published by Bob Berwyn, April 12th
Republican Colorado legislators are putting a new twist on the concept of takings by introducing a bill that would try to force the federal government to sell off public lands that are suitable for agriculture. House Bill 12-1322 would require agencies like the Forest Service to sell those lands by Dec. 31, 2012. Any land not sold by that date would no longer be exempt from property taxes, and would also require the federal government to pay the state 5 percent of the net sales proceeds from the sales. The money would be earmarked for water projects and education. The bill exempts national parks, private property, land held in trust by the state and land belonging to tribes. To read more of this article link to: http://summitcountyvoice.com/2012/04/12/colorado-law-would-try-to-force-the-sale-of-federal-lands/#more-40832
- Conservations groups sue over Gallatin National Forest logging projects
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Published by Carly Flandro, April 12th
Conservation groups filed a lawsuit this week against two proposed logging and road-building projects in the Gallatin National Forest. The conservationists previously brought their objections before the U.S. Forest Service but were unsuccessful in getting the projects dropped or postponed. Now they have resorted to the courts. Mike Garrity, executive director of Alliance for the Wild Rockies, believes the federal district court, where the complaint was filed Tuesday, will rule in the groups' favor.To read more of this article link to: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/article_affa70e4-842f-11e1-9756-0019bb2963f4.html
- Colorado: Sen. Udall says Forest Service may not have enough air tankers to fight large or multiple wildfires
The Summit County Citizens Voice, Published by Bob Berwyn, April 13th
The potential for a long and dangerous fire season this week prompted Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to express concerns about the U.S. Forest Service's capability to fight fires from the air. In a letter to Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Udall said he's not sure the agency's air tanker fleet is capable of keeping Coloradans safe in a timely and effective manner. He stressed the importance of having a reliable fleet to adequately address wildfire threats across the state and country. To read more of this article link to: http://summitcountyvoice.com/2012/04/13/colorado-sen-udall-says-forest-service-may-not-have-enough-air-tankers-to-fight-large-or-multiple-wildfires/
- Groups collaborate on Cherokee National Forest restoration plan
The Knoxville News Sentinel, Published by Morgan Simmons, April 15th
The northern zone of the Cherokee National Forest has a new land restoration plan thanks to an initiative led not by the U.S. Forest Service, but by a committee of private stakeholders. The planning process began 2 1/2 years ago when The Nature Conservancy gathered together a group of environmentalists, sportsmen, loggers and forest managers as representatives of organizations that often don't see eye to eye when it comes to managing the 640,000-acre Cherokee National Forest. To read more of this article link to: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/apr/15/groups-collaborate-on-cherokee-national-forest/
Last Week in Congress
- March 27th - House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry Hearing on "U.S. Forest Service Land Management: Challenges and Opportunities". To read more about this hearing link to: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/hearingDetails.aspx?NewsID=1551
- March 30th - Full House Committee on Agriculture Hearing: "Farm Bill Field Hearing - Arkansas". To read more about this hearing link to: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/hearingDetails.aspx?NewsID=1541
- There were no relevant wildfire updates last week.
About the Policy Update:
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