Jim’s Corner: Omnibus Wilderness

Note: Mr. Huntly graciously allowed us to post this 3-part essay. As we write this introduction the U.S. Senate is fending off amendments proposed by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and they are about to pass The Omnibus Public Lands Act (H.R. 980 referred to below) grafted onto H.R. 146. It’s a sleazy end run around due process, engineered by Dirty Harry Reid [here].

by James Huntly

Courtesy The Central Idaho Post, 1206 S Hall St, Grangeville, ID (208)-983-2344 (No website, but a great periodical. Please subscribe. You won’t be sorry).

Part 1: Do you like to ride your ATV?

Feb. 20, 2009

Those of you who have recently complained about the Forest Service’s plans to further regulate motorized vehicle use on the forest need to start paying attention. In this column some 3-4 years ago I warned readers about restrictions that were going to be put in place to regulate ATV and other motorized vehicle use. With that in mind, pay attention, this is your next warning. Don’t wait until it is too late!

On February 11, 2009 Carolyn Maloney, Representative of New York introduced H.R. 980 which will designate certain National Forest Lands and other Public Lands in the States of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming as wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, wildland recovery areas, and biological connecting corridors.

There are 50 cosponsors and only one cosponsor is from a state that will be affected by this legislation. He is Jay Inslee, Representative from the State of Washington. Most of the cosponsors are from states that lie east of the Mississippi River or are from the Deep South. The exception is the amount of support from the State of California, where twelve cosponsors signed onto this bill. This amount of support should not surprise anyone who is familiar with the la la state; a place where fruits, nuts, and ferries are common place.

This bill will lock up 6,253,000 acres in the greater Salmon/Selway Area as additional wilderness and 394,000 additional acres in the Hells Canyon Area. Because of the number of areas involved, I will only be discussing the land affected on the Nez Perce National Forest.

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17 Mar 2009, 6:41pm
2007 Fire Season Federal forest policy
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Yellow Pine Road Workshop Planned

In 2007 the US Forest Service burned 800,000 acres (1,250 square miles) of the Payette, Boise, and Nez Perce National Forests in Central Idaho [here]. The fires were directly atop the Idaho Batholith [here], composed of highly erodable granitic soils.

During the following winter massive erosion, landslides, and mudflows clogged the creeks and washed out numerous roads [here, here] (much to the delight of anti-everything pseudo-environmental groups, such as the Wilderness Society [here]).

In November of 2007 Payette Supervisor Suzanne Rainville thanked the residents of Burgdorf, Secesh, Warren, Yellow Pine, Copenhaver, Mackey Bar, Badley Ranch, Big Creek, Indian Valley, and Weiser for their “positive feedback” [here]. She promised to “work on fire restrictions to improve their effectiveness and intention without causing adverse impacts to land owners, business owners and recreating public.”

Then a year later (October 2008), after the mudslides, Rainville decided to shut the roads to Yellow Pine permanently. Evidently she did not see any “adverse impact” to cutting off the town.

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Wild and Dirty Politics Threaten Forests and the Constitution

As we surmised if not predicted [here], the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 is not dead. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid allegedly intends to attach it to H.R. 146, “The Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act.”

The Omnibus Public Lands Bill was defeated in the House March 11 under emergency rules that require a two-thirds majority vote. Normal rules were suspended because nearly 100 of the bills in the 1,200-page package have never passed or have had a hearing in the House.

H.R. 146 has passed the House. Hence by attaching nearly 100 unconsidered bills to it, Dirty Harry and the corrupt Senate play the sham trick of bypassing the House of Representatives entirely. Should H.R. 146 pass the Senate laden with the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, the House will never hold a hearing on it. Instead, a conference committee will “resolve” the differences between the House and Senate versions of HR 146, and a simple majority vote will be all that is required to pass the conference report.

The upshot is that through parliamentary shenanigans, the nearly 100 of the bills in the Omnibus Public Land Management Act will never be subjected to a single hearing. Open government will be shoved under the mud again.

From the National Center for Public Policy Research [here]

Outrage of the Day: Harry Reid Tries Again

Today’s Outrage of the Day goes to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for his reported intention to try again to get the monster Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (S. 22) into law without proper deliberation.

Following the bill’s defeat last Wednesday (under suspension of rules) in the House, Reid reportedly plans to try again by attaching the huge bill as an amendment to a bill, H.R. 146, “The Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act,” that has already received House approval, and is to be voted on early this week in the Senate.

As National Center for Public Policy Research Senior Fellow R.J. Smith pointed out in this extensive commentary last week, it’s likely that no one has read the bill-cum-amendment, as it’s 1,294 pages long and nine inches thick. There have been no hearings, mark-ups or floor debate about most of it.

The U.S. Congress is deathly afraid of transparency and open government. They know that shining the light of day on their machinations will result in outrage and ouster of the gang of thieves that taint our Capitol today.

For what it may be worth, please call 202-224-3121 and tell Congress to reject HR 146 with the Omnibus Public Land Management Act amended to it like a wart the size of an elephant.

From Julie Kay Smithson of Property Rights Research [here]:

This is criminal, what’s being done under the guise of “legislation” in Washington, D.C. Warm up that number, 202-224-3121, and don’t let them get away with locking up even more land! Locking up millions more acres needlessly, keeping the very people that paid for these lands from ever visiting or enjoying them — is nothing short of criminal. You know I will be making my calls first thing in the morning. Please, add your voices and make sure the mice ROAR!

Update of Western Bark Beetle Assessment

Highlights Call to Action

NEWS RELEASE, Council of Western State Foresters, March 16, 2009 [here]

DENVER: The Council of Western State Foresters (CWSF) supports the ‘call to action’ in the recent Western Forestry Leadership Coalition (WFLC) publication, The Western Bark Beetle Assessment: A Framework for Cooperative Forest Stewardship- 2nd Edition. As the bark beetle epidemic continues to decimate western forests the WFLC updated the 2-year old report so that information can be utilized now for quick on-the-ground action. The report includes new information on the importance of trees in storing carbon, progress over the past five years and a call to action.

Currently, over 7 million acres of western forests contain dead or dying trees due to bark beetle outbreaks. According to the recent assessment, approximately 22 million additional acres of western forests, on both public and private land, are likely to experience significant (over 25%) tree mortality from bark beetles over the next 15 years.

The report states that while we cannot stop large outbreaks, with additional resources we can minimize the impacts of ongoing and future outbreaks on 2.4 million acres of highest priority in the West. Nearly one-half million acres across the west have already been treated at a cost of $75 million. From this, the Council of Western State Foresters concludes that at least $300 million dollars can be productively utilized over the next five years to continue and improve mitigation efforts in the areas of highest risk in the western United States, while simultaneously create jobs.

“We cannot, and should not try, to treat all the acres affected,” states Pete Anderson, Chair of the CWSF. “That is why the Assessment lays out a plan for prioritization, looking at the all the factors at risk.”

As bark beetle-killed trees fall, heavy surface fuel loads are created on the ground. When burned, these fuels can carry a surface fire into tree crowns causing more damage. “With funding and focus, we can provide jobs while creating healthier forests and safer communities.” says Anderson.

Copies of the Western Bark Beetle Assessment can be downloaded [here]

The Council of Western State Foresters represents the State and Island Forestry Agencies in the seventeen states and six Island territories of the western United States. The responsibilities of these agencies include wildfire and forest health protection services to landowners in forests, cities and communities. For more information please visit www.westernstateforesters.org

Note: A new report from the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition, expected April 1, is The True Cost of Wildfire in the Western U.S. [here]. “Explores beyond the costs of suppression to give a more accurate accounting of the cost to communities and the environment from large wildland fires.”

SOS Forests will give that report a thorough review.

‘Appropriate Management Response’ Tantamount to Arson

The Ukonom Complex Fires were ignited by lightning June 21, 2008. Initial attack was slow and meager. Four days later, when the fires totaled 750 acres, the Six Rivers National Forest invoked “Appropriate Management Response” and drew (on maps) a fire perimeter that encompassed 40,000 acres. They began to build fire breaks on that line and backburn towards the fire, then miles away.

Eventually the Ukonom Complex [here] burned over 80,000 acres and cost over $40 million in “suppression.”

The exact numbers are unknown because the Ukonom Complex was bureaucratically merged with the Panther Fire on the Klamath NF [here]. The Panther Fire was ignited a month later (by lightning) and eventually grew to 75,000 acres. Both fires were merged into the Siskiyou Complex and then into the Klamath Fire Theater [here]. The numbers became impossible to extract from the accounting jumble, but something like 200,000 acres burned at a cost of over $160 million.

Appropriate Management Response was applied to fire starts on the Shasta-Trinity NF, too. The final result: 208,460 acres burned at a “suppression” cost of $158.9 million.

All told, on those three NF’s (Klamath, Six Rivers, Shasta-Trinity) something like 650,000 acres (1,000 square miles) burned at a “suppression” cost of over $400 million. The fires burned for three months, choking Northern California airsheds, causing extensive public health problems, ruining agricultural crops, all but eliminating an entire season of recreation, and inflicting (conservatively) $10 billion in collateral economic damage. Major traditional heritage sites were incinerated, and an unknown but significant number of spotted owl nesting stands and salmon spawning beds were destroyed.

Twelve firefighters lost their lives, in machine accidents — not burnovers.

Appropriate Management Response broke the USFS fire budget, too.

Large amounts of private land were burned, too, in backburns set by USFS fire crews. Fires that could have been contained miles away were allowed to burn to the city limits of Junction City, Hayfork, and other NorCal towns.

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Fed Fire Policy Is Arson

Federal fire policy leaves private timber in ruins

by Dennis Possehn, Speak Your Piece, Redding.com, March 15, 2009 [here]

Thousands of acres of private timberland are adjacent to and within National Forest boundaries, where fire protection responsibility comes under the U.S. Forest Service. It is the Forest Service’s legal duty to protect these private parcels just as Cal Fire protects lands outside of National Forest influence. It is apparent from last summer’s fires that fire protection no longer exists for thousands of acres of private timberland, as many private parcels were purposely set fire by the Forest Service and burned.

In fact, more acreage was burned, and more smoke and carbon were put into the air by the U.S. Forest Service than by natural wildfire. Most of the private timberland burned is not being reforested as owners are fearful of similar events happening in the future.

Following the death of several firefighters in Idaho a few years ago, the Forest Service adopted a new “safety policy” using indirect methods to fight fire. This policy change has resulted in the huge devastating fires and smoke plumes the western states are experiencing. The federal policy of indirect firefighting leads to larger fires that require many more bodies, equipment and aircraft be put in harm’s way. This action will always increase the number of accidents, not decrease them. The U.S. Forest Service must come to the realization that its policies are destructive and not meeting the agency’s safety goals.

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14 Mar 2009, 12:40am
Federal forest policy
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USFS Regions 2 and 4 Announce 1st Round Stimulus Projects

We have posted first round Stimulus announcements from USFS Regions 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. Two other Regions have now also made announcements about Stimulus (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) projects.

The Rocky Mountain Region 2 (17 national forests and 7 national grasslands in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming) announced funding for projects totaling $5.6 million [here]. The Arapaho–Roosevelt, Medicine Bow–Routt, and Pike–San Isabel NF’s will undertake hazard tree removal projects, especially those areas hardest hit by the bark beetle infestation. In addition about $500,000 will go to the Colorado Youth Conservation Corps to employ up to four 10-person teams of young adults to clear beetle–killed trees in campgrounds, picnic areas and trailheads and along hiking trails on the Routt National Forest. Also 20 restroom facilities will be replaced on the Pike–San Isabel NF.

The Intermountain Region 4 (12 national forests in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada) announced that $1.3 million will be spent on the Humboldt-Toiyabe NF [here]. Eradication of invasive and introduced species on 5 acres, thinning of hazardous fuels and competing vegetation on 25 acres, tamarisk abatement on 29 acres, juniper pocket rot treatment on 400 acres, tree planting on 20 acres, reseeding of 150 acres, fuel reduction on 30 acres, roadside fuel removal on 849 acres, and creating fuel breaks on 25 acres will provide 24 full-time jobs in Nevada and will retain four existing jobs.

Big Changes at Evergreen

Evergreen Magazine [here] has been the leader in forest news reporting for over two decades. The hard copy magazine business has seen its heyday, however, and Evergreen Mag has not published an issue in two years.

They are not dead. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, and like so much of the rest of the publishing world, Evergreen Foundation is going digital.

Sometime near end of this month executive director, publisher, editor, and chief bottle washer Jim Petersen will be unveiling Evergreen Magazine Online. It will be more than a periodical, though. It will be an active website updated daily with news and essays about forests, forest management, logging, sawmilling, fires, wildlife, and all things forest, in keeping with Evergreen’s long tradition of excellence.

We will keep SOS Forest readers apprised and when the Big Day comes, you will be the first to know.

As a teaser, we present a recent speech by Jim Petersen about forest biomass. The speech is entitled “We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming To Bring You this News Flash” and was delivered at the Western Wood Products Association Annual Meeting March 9 in Scottsdale, AZ.

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12 Mar 2009, 11:25pm
Federal forest policy
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Stimulus Fund Announcements From Other USFS Regions

We have posted Stimulus announcements from USFS Region 5 [here, here] and Region 6 [here, here]. Other Regions have also made announcements about Stimulus (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) projects.

The Northern Region 1 (national forests in northeastern Washington, northern Idaho, and Montana, and national grasslands in North Dakota and northwestern South Dakota) announced three projects (all in Montana) totaling $9.5 million [here]. The projects are culvert and bridge replacement and road surface improvement on the Bitterroot, Gallatin and Custer NF’s, culverts and road surfacing on the Gallatin, Custer and Kootenai NF’s, and road and bridge reconstruction and maintenance on Shield River Road in the Gallatin National Forest.

The Southwestern Region 3 (national forests in Arizona and New Mexico and grasslands in Oklahoma and Texas) announced today four projects (but not the funding amount) [here]. The projects are toilet replacement on the Apache-Sitgreaves NF, environmental cleanup of mining wastes on the Santa Fe NF, hazardous fuels removal and utilization on the Lincoln NF, and a hazardous fuels reduction project on the Tonto NF.

The Southern Region 8 (13 states from Virginia to Oklahoma – as well as Puerto Rico) announced 3 projects totaling $3.06 million [here]. The projects will repair roads and trails damaged in the January ice storm. All three projects are in Kentucky, two on Land Between The Lakes (LBL) National Recreation Area and one on the Daniel Boone NF.

The Eastern Region 9 (20 states from Maine to Wisconsin) announced one project totaling $100,000 to repair trails on the White Mountain NF in New Hampshire [here].

The Alaska Region 10 announced $2.4 million [here] to be spent replacing buildings, surfacing existing roads, closing roads, storing roads, replacing failing bridges and culverts, and restoring stream crossings on the Chugach and Tongass NF’s.

12 Mar 2009, 10:36pm
Federal forest policy
by admin
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Region 6 Announces More Stimulus Projects

The US Forest Service’s Region 6 (Oregon and Washington) has announced an additional $10 million in Stimulus funds will be spent on fuels management projects in Oregon.

This is in addition to the $3.25 million announced a week ago [here] to be spent on existing school programs followed by a summer youth employment program in Washington.

The additional $10 million in economic stimulus funds is to be spent in Deschutes, Douglas, Jefferson, Josephine, Curry, and Crook counties.

The announcement was posted yesterday (March 10) on the brand new Region 6 website news page [here].

The March 10 news release [here]:

Forest Service Announces More Economic Recovery Projects

Released: 10 March 2009

PORTLAND, OR – Jobs clearing brush and trees to prevent disastrous wildfires in rural Oregon will be funded with $10 million in economic stimulus funds, U.S. Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell announced today.

Hazardous fuel reduction projects in six central and southern Oregon counties will receive the money, meant to create jobs quickly. The work will employ approximately 100 people with private companies already under contract with the Forest Service.

Another $3.25 million will fund the second half of a $6.5 million Oregon Youth Employment Initiative that will put 1,500 youth to work in Oregon’s national forests doing natural resource conservation and restoration work on public and private lands.

“I am excited that we will be doing our part in helping put people to work,” Regional Forester Mary Wagner said Tuesday. “Reducing wildfire threats and putting young people to work in the woods are two of our highest priorities.”

The announcement marks the balance of initial funds the Forest Service is spending nationwide to create jobs within seven days under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Contracts are expected to be awarded by March 17.

The Pacific Northwest region of the Forest Service will get $13 million of $33 million awarded nationally today.

The Forest Service received a total of $1.15 billion nationally under the Recovery and Reinvestment act. The other 90 percent of the Forest Service’ allotment is expected to be announced in a few weeks. Project proposals were solicited from forests as well as cities, counties and non-profit agencies.

Deschutes, Douglas, Jefferson and Josephine counties will receive approximately $2 million each for hazardous fuel reduction work, while Curry and Crook counties will receive approximately $1 million each.

Information on the overall U.S. Forest Service role in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act can be found at: http://fs.usda.gov/recovery/. For information on the total federal effort please visit http://www.recovery.gov/.

Region 5 Updates Stimulus Statement

USFS Region 5 (California) has updated their first round Stimulus spending announcement to include an additional $1.5 million for “fuels projects” on the Shasta-Trinity and Stanislaus National Forests.

On March 5th Region 5 issued a News Release announcing that the first round of Stimulus projects had been selected. In that News Release [here, discussed here] Region 5 revealed that:

First round projects on lands managed by the Forest Service in California will include maintenance and construction on facilities, roads and trails totaling 70 jobs and $7.75 million. The jobs are estimated to last from four months up to a year. These projects will benefit 11 counties.

Today (March 12) Region 5 issued another News Release [here]

The language is virtually identical except that the above paragraph has been removed and the following two paragraphs added.

First round Forest Service “fuels” projects in California will total approximately $1.5 million. The jobs are estimated to last up to 18 months. Projects will take place on the Shasta Trinity National Forest and Stanislaus National Forest through contracts and agreements and with a Grant through State and Private Forestry.

Overall, first round total projects on lands managed by the Forest Service in California which was rolled out on March 5 will include maintenance and construction on facilities, roads, trails and now “fuels” totaling $9.25 million.

There is no matching announcement at the Shasta-Trinity NF website. They do note, however, that 208,460 acres burned on the S-TNF last summer, at a suppression cost of $158.9 million.

The Stanislaus NF has a number of fuel management and forest restoration projects in various stages of planning and implementation. These include:

* Phase II of the South 108 Fuel Reduction, Forest Health and Road Management Project. Phase I implemented a variety of treatments, including various combinations of mechanical and hand thinning, mastication, prescribed burning, and goat browsing on approximately 4,840 acres along the Highway 108 corridor. Phase II proposes an additional 5,500 acres to: 1) thin the forest stands to reduce the fire danger and improve forest health, 2) create a shaded fuelbreak system, 3) reduce the brush by prescribe burning, shredding and/or goat browsing, and 4) close or obliterate roads and trails that are in poor condition and are unneeded for management access.

* Pinecrest Interior Healthy Forest Restoration project. Fuels reduction (tree thinning) is proposed on approximately 780 acres within and adjacent to the cabins, camps, campgrounds, open spaces, and businesses of the Pinecrest Basin.

* Soldier Creek Healthy Forest Restoration Project. Mechanical thinning would be conducted on 575 acres.

* Middle Fork Fuel Reduction and Forest Health Project. The Proposed Action treats approximately 1772 acres and includes mechanical thinning, hand thinning, biomass removal, shredding, piling and burning, and broadcast burning.

Wilderness Bill Fails!

And now for some good news. The Omnibus Public Lands Bill was defeated in the House today.

The vote was 282 for, 144 against, but it still failed. The reason is that House leaders (Nancy Pelosi) tried to force passage under emergency rules. Emergency rules require a two-thirds majority (290 votes) and that was not achieved.

Normal rules were suspended because nearly 100 of the bills in the 1,200-page package have never passed or have had a hearing in the House. The House leadership (Nancy Pelosi) tried to jam the Omnibus Public Lands Bill through without discussion, debate, hearings, analysis, or any proper legislative consideration.

It was a damn emergency!

But too bad, enough responsible Congress-persons said wait a second, shouldn’t we deliberate through the normal processes?

The vote tally was 248 Dems and 34 Reps in favor, 3 Dems and 141 Reps opposed. Despite the betrayal of 34 Republicans, enough remained in opposition to suspension of the rules to quash the bill. The Democrats were almost uniform in their effort to circumvent due process in order to inflict 100 ill-considered land bills on the nation.

From the failing and close to bankruptcy New York TimesNearlyUp [here]:

House rejects public lands omnibus

By Eric Bontrager, Greenwire, March 11, 2009

The House rejected an amended omnibus package of more than 160 public lands, water and resources bills despite a last-minute change designed to ease concerns about the bill.

By a vote of 282-144, the House failed to pass S. 22 under a suspension of the rules, which barred any amendments from being added to the bill but also required a two-thirds majority for passage.

The bill would have designated more than 2 million acres of wilderness in nine states and established three new national park units, a new national monument, three new national conservation areas, more than 1,000 miles of national wild and scenic rivers and four new national trails. It also would have enlarged the boundaries of more than a dozen existing national park units and established 10 new national heritage areas. …

The House Democratic leadership had held off bringing the bill to the floor since the Senate passed the package in January while they attempted to gather enough support for the bill to pass it under suspension. …

“This is an extreme abuse of considering bills under a suspension of the rules,” said Natural Resources ranking member Doc Hastings (R-Wash.). “Any notion that this is just a package of bills already passed by the House is absolutely false.”

Is this the end of it? Doubtful, but the ugly thing has hit a snag for now.

Lock Up the Land Fanatics Go Nuts

Ready for some more bad news? Not only does the US Government own half the land in the West, they now wish to dedicate that land to catastrophic holocaust via wilderness designation.

Many people wrongly believe wilderness designation means “protection.” Far from it. Wilderness designation effectively condemns land to severe fires that destroy environmental values.

All of the land in the U.S. has been occupied by human beings for thousands of years. The residents have had significant impact, including alteration of vegetation through anthropogenic fire, extensive trail and home site development, agriculture and irrigation, and thousands of years of hunting and food gathering.

The 1964 Wilderness Act is fundamentally flawed in that it fails to acknowledge the true history and conditions of the land.

Further, wilderness designation means elimination of stewardship, unchecked fuel build-up, and as a result catastrophic fires that degrade heritage, habitat, watershed, airshed, recreation, and public health and safety values.

Wilderness is a myth, and a destructive one at that. It is based on a-historical, a-scientific, and anti-human bogosity. Further, it is manifestly untrue that land without wilderness designation is summarily raped and peppered with condos.

Despite these verities, spurred by the election of a Chicago socialist as President and a far left leaning Congress, the mad lust for new wilderness is reaching hysterical proportions. The NY Times reported:

By Scott Streater, Greenwire, NY Times, March 5, 2009 , [here]

The 111th Congress is poised to usher in the largest expansion of the nation’s wilderness in a generation, with 2.1 million acres of public land in line for the strictest environmental protections allowed under federal law.

An omnibus lands bill that could receive final congressional approval this month would create new wilderness areas in nine states — from the San Gabriel Mountains of California to Michigan’s Lake Superior shoreline to a portion of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia — covering almost as much land as the 2.4 million acres designated during the entire eight years of the Bush presidency.

Meanwhile, Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) last month introduced the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, which would designate 24 million acres of mostly Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service land in five states as wilderness area.

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9 Mar 2009, 12:24pm
Federal forest policy Forestry education
by admin
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Forest Service Announces Region 6 Economic Recovery Projects

The first round USFS R6 Stimulus projects have been announced:

Pacific Northwest Region 6 News Release, 04 March 2009 [here]

PORTLAND, OR – Chief Abigail Kimbell has announced the first set of U.S. Forest Service projects to be funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The first two projects in the Pacific Northwest are the Oregon Youth Employment Initiative Phase 1 and the Olympic Peninsula Structure Restoration.

“I am honored that the Forest Service will play a vital role in providing jobs for Pacific Northwest communities and performing important natural resource conservation work in our Forests,” Regional Forester Mary Wagner said.

The Oregon Youth Employment Initiative Phase 1 is a partnership delivering a state-wide youth employment program focused on natural resource conservation and restoration on public and private lands. The first phase will begin within seven days and will spend $3,250,000 in existing school programs followed by a summer employment program.

The Olympic Peninsula Structure Restoration project includes painting, re-roofing and minor building repairs on four administrative sites and several recreational facilities on the Olympic National Forest. The work will provide jobs for the various communities around the Olympic Peninsula in Clallam, Jefferson, Mason and Grays Harbor counties.

More projects are expected to be announced in the coming days and weeks. Information on the overall U.S. Forest Service role in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act can be found at: http://fs.usda.gov/recovery/

By the way, we agitated successfully for the web posting of this announcement:

Enquiry submitted by Mike Dubrasich on March 7th, 2009 at 04:31PM (EST).

I’ve been hunting but cannot locate R6 News Releases.

Reply from Dennis Lapcewich, US Forest Service Webmaster, on March 9, 2009 at 10:51AM (PDT).

Mike,

The Pacific Northwest Region generally has not issued news releases for publication on the web. Since Forest Service activities within the Pacific Northwest traditionally occur at the local level within individual Forests, news information may be found at the local Forest level.

With the introduction of stimulus information coming from the White House, we are now starting up a new regional news releases area. I just received information this morning and the new site should be available shortly from here —> http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/ The actual news release about Region 6 stimulus plans under ARRA should be available now from here —> http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/pdx/news/20090304-arra-projects.shtml

7 Mar 2009, 8:26pm
Federal forest policy
by admin
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Wildfire Risk Reduction and Renewable Biomass Utilization Act

US Rep Denny Rehberg (R-MT) introduced HR 1111, the Wildfire Risk Reduction and Renewable Biomass Utilization Act, last month (2/23/2009). The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to allow biomass removed from forest lands in connection with hazardous fuel reduction projects to be considered a source of renewable fuel for purposes of the renewable fuel standard.

As the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 currently stands, biomass removed from Federal forests is not eligible for incentives for removal and bio-energy utilization [here, here, here, here, here].

The text of HR 1111 follows. Note that biomass from “old-growth forests” and “late successional forests” is still excluded, unless the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture determines that the removal of organic material from such land is appropriate. The quoted terms are undefined in the Bill.

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