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BLM Western Oregon RMP Workshops This Week

This week, the BLM is holding two workshops locally on the new RMP/EIS for Western Oregon. It’s very important to attend at least the first one. We need to make the BLM aware that none of the proposed alternatives in the current RMP will satisfy either the mandate of the 1937 O&C Act or be sufficient to help restore the economy of the O&C counties.

The first workshop is on Wednesday in Medford, and will be about Forest Management and Wildlife.

    What: BLM Workshop on Forest Management & Wildlife
    When: Wednesday, June 17
    4:00-7:00 PM
    Where: Ramada Hotel & Convention Center
    McKenzie Room
    2250 Biddle Rd, Medford

The second workshop will be on Thursday at the Grants Pass High School. This one will be on recreation.

    What: BLM Workshop on Recreation
    When: Thursday, June 18
    6:00-9:00 PM
    Where: Grants Pass High School
    830 NE 9th St, Grants Pass

The Big Idea: Help Rural Oregon – Cancelled

Oregon’s rural areas are struggling, and lawmakers have done little to stimulate these economies. The Oregonian is coming to Southern Oregon to take a look at current events in agriculture, including O&C lands legislation and the proposed Coos Bay LNG plant.

It’s very important for the two editors from the Oregonian who will be moderating the panel understand the far-reaching impact of natural resource utilization and constraints on the economies of rural Oregon. They’re very influential and could really help our cause.

Two editors from the Oregonian, Erik Lukens and Mark Hester, will be moderating the panel, which consists of Simon Hare, Dr. Peter Angstadt, Jon Redfield, Greg Addlington, and Andy Geissler.

You must reserve your seat at OregonLive.com/bigidea. Admission is $5.00, but you can get a free ticket by using the Promo code Partner.

    What: The Big Idea: Help Rural Oregon
    When: Monday, June 8
    6:30-8:30 PM (doors open at 6:00)
    Where: Jackson County Fairgrounds
    Mace Bldg
    1 Peninger Rd, Central Point
    Reservation required: OregonLive.com/bigidea (Use Promo code Partner to get a free ticket.)

For more information, click here.

Draft RMP/EIS Public Meetings

The BLM is planning how our O&C lands will be managed for the next twenty years. Except for Alternative C, all of the alternatives considered (including the “Preferred Alternative”) represent a significant reduction from our already decimated timber harvests. Any of these alternatives will yield a small fraction of the number of board feet havested when the O&C lands were managed for sustained yield timber production, as mandated by the O&C Lands Act of 1937. That Act is still in effect, and a federal judge has ruled that the BLM must still comply with it. Clearly, the BLM is not intending to do that.

The BLM is conducting public meetings and workshops on the new Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement in six of their district offices. The first public meeting in our area is on Wednesday, May 27, followed by two workshops in June. Please attend and give public testimony to the BLM on the inadequacies of the proposed plan.

    What: Public Meeting on BLM’s proposed RMP/EIS
    When: Wednesday, May 27
    4:00-7:00 PM
    Where: Ramada Hotel & Convention Center
    McKenzie Room
    2250 Biddle Rd, Medford
    What: BLM Workshop on Forest Management & Wildlife in RMP
    When: Wednesday, June 17
    4:00-7:00 PM
    Where: Ramada Hotel & Convention Center
    McKenzie Room
    2250 Biddle Rd, Medford
    What: BLM Workshop on Recreation in RMP
    When: Thursday, June 18
    6:00-9:00 PM
    Where: Grants Pass High School
    830 NE 9th St.
    Grants Pass

Sign the Petition, Send a Message: Don’t Shut Out Rural Communities

The leadership of the U.S. Forest Service doesn’t seem interested in listening to rural citizens in Oregon and Washington State. Why?

The Pacific Northwest and Southwest regions of the U.S. Forest Service have started a public process for revising forest management plans in the Northwest Forest Plan. Because these plans would guide how resources will be managed for the next two decades, the agency is holding public “listening sessions” to gather ideas on the revision process.

Yet, in Oregon and Washington these public sessions will only be held on March 17 near the Portland International Airport and March 18 near the Seattle-Tacoma International airport. It’s highly disappointing the Forest Service has failed to schedule meetings in rural communities in Oregon and Washington, where citizens have directly felt the impacts of current federal forest policies. We need your help to hold them accountable.

Healthy Forest, Healthy Communities has put together an online petition to top Forest Service officials. We’re sending a message to the Forest Service that it’s wrong to shut out rural communities as the agency determines the future of federal forests within the Northwest Forest Plan area.

The online petition can be found by clicking here, and it only takes a moment to add your name. Will you sign?

Rulemaking Hearing on Essential Salmon Habitat 10/21/14

The Department of State Lands is holding a rulemaking meeting on proposed new maps for Essential Salmon Habitat (ESH) on Tuesday, October 21, at 5:00 pm in the Grants Pass City Council Chambers.

Rulemaking hearings are where the Department of State Lands decide on rule changes that affect river users, land owners, and others. The impact of these rule changes can be significant. For example, any removal or fill in ESH designated streams requires a permit, unless it is a specifically exempted activity.

The first hour will be an informal discussion, and the last half hour will be a formal rulemaking hearing. ODFW staff will be on hand to answer questions about the mapping.

Click here for more information.

What: Rulemaking Hearing on Essential Salmon Habitat mapping
When: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
5:00 PM
Where: Grants Pass City Hall
Council Chambers
101 NW A St, Grants Pass

The Chain of Environmental Command – U.S. Senate Environmental & Public Works Committee Minority Report

The Republicans in the U.S. Senate Environmental & Public Works Committee recently published this Minority Report on the Chain of Environmental Command, highlighting the collusion between environmental activists, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and billionaires using large sums of money to influence environmental public policy.

The report uncovers the sophisticated practice of how wealthy donors, referred to in the report as the “Billionaire’s Club,” funnel money to far-left environmental activists through public charities. It also shows that current leadership at the EPA is very much an active partner in the far-left environmental movement, and even sponsors their efforts through grants to environmental activists. Read the full report here.

Key points from the report:

  • The “Billionaire’s Club,” an exclusive group of wealthy individuals, directs the far-left environmental movement. The members of this elite liberal club funnel their fortunes through private foundations to execute their personal political agenda, which is centered around restricting the use of fossil fuels in the United States.
  • Public charities attempt to provide the maximum amount of control to their donors through fiscal sponsorships, which are a legally suspect innovation unique to the left, whereby the charity essentially sells its nonprofit status to a group for a fee.
  • Public charity activist groups discussed in this report propagate the false notion that they are independent, citizen-funded groups working altruistically. In reality, they work in tandem with wealthy donors to maximize the value of the donors’ tax deductible donations and leverage their combined resources to influence elections and policy outcomes, with a focus on the EPA.
  • Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA) is a place where wealthy donors meet and coordinate the distribution of grants to advance the environmental movement. It is a secretive organization, refusing to disclose their membership list to Congress.
  • The Obama Administration has installed an audacious green-revolving door among senior officials at EPA, which has become a valuable asset for the environmental movement and its wealthy donors.
  • Former environmentalists working at EPA funnel government money through grants to their former employers and colleagues.
  • Under President Obama, EPA has given more than $27 million in taxpayer-funded grants to major environmental groups. Notably, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense Fund – two key activists groups with significant ties to senior EPA officials – have collected more than $1 million in funding each.
  • EPA also gives grants to lesser-known groups. For example, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade received hundreds of thousands of grants under former Administrator Lisa Jackson despite challenges by state regulators over the use of such grants.
  • In New York and Colorado, a pseudo grassroots effort to attack hydraulic fracturing has germinated from massive amounts of funding by the NY-based Park Foundation, as well as CA-based Schmidt Family Foundation and Tides Foundation.
  • Bold Nebraska is another example of faux grassroots where a purportedly local organization is, in fact, an arm of the Billionaire’s Club. It is a shield for wealthy and distant non-Nebraskan interests who seek to advance a political agenda without drawing attention to the fact that they have little connection to the state.
  • The circumstances surrounding the flow of money from 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) groups, and the likelihood of lax oversight, raises questions as to whether 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundations and charities are indirectly funding political activities.
  • 501(c)(4) Green Tech Action Fund receives millions of dollars from green 501(c)(3) organizations, then distributes the funds to other 501(c)(4) groups that donate to political campaigns.
  • The Billionaire’s Club knowingly collaborates with questionable offshore funders to maximize support for the far-left environmental movement.

Read the full report here.

BLM Roads Update and Public Comments during 8/6 WBS

In response to SORA’s petition for an open roads ordinance, Commissioner Hare has arranged a presentation by the BLM on a road policy update. This presentation will be the first item on the agenda at this Wednesday’s Weekly Business Session, on August 6 at 9:00 AM.

Everybody interested in open roads should make an effort to attend and comment.

    What: BLM Roads Update with Public Comment
    When: Wednesday, August 6
    9:00 AM
    Where: Anne Basker Auditorium
    604 NW 6 St, Grants Pass

House Approves Legislation to Update ESA

On Tuesday, July 29, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4315, the Endangered Species Transparency Act with a bipartisan vote of 233-190. This common sense legislation focuses on sensible and specific updates to the Endangered Species Act in the areas of data transparency and species recovery.

The legislation includes the following:

  • Require data used by federal agencies for ESA listing decisions to be made publicly available and accessible through the Internet, while respecting state data privacy laws and private property. (Sec. 2 reflects the text of H.R. 4315 as reported)
  • Require the federal government to disclose to affected states data used prior to an ESA listing decision and it would require the “best available scientific and commercial data” used by the federal government to incorporate data provided by states, tribes, and local county governments. (Sec. 3 reflects the text of H.R. 4317)
  • Require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to track, report to Congress, and make available online the federal taxpayer funds used to respond to ESA lawsuits, the number of employees dedicated to ESA litigation, and attorneys’ fees awarded in the course of ESA litigation and settlement agreements. (Sec. 4 reflects the text of H.R. 4316)
  • Prioritize species protection and protect taxpayer dollars by placing reasonable caps on attorneys’ fees to make the ESA consistent with existing federal law. For example, the federal government limits the prevailing attorneys’ fees to $125 per hour in most circumstances, including federal suits involving veterans, Social Security, and disability. But under the ESA, attorneys are being awarded huge sums, in many cases, at a rate much as $600 per hour. (Sec. 5 reflects the text of H.R. 4318)

Click here for more information.

House Natural Resources Committee Introduces Four Bills to Amend ESA

On Thursday, March 27, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04), Rep. Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming-at large), Rep. Randy Neugebauer (TX-19), and Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02) introduced four limited bills to improve and update the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The bills are supported by all of the Members of the ESA Congressional Working Group, representing districts across the nation, and are based on the recommendations and findings of their report and input from a broad array of stakeholders, including the Western Governors’ Association. The four bills focus on transparency and species recovery.

  • H.R. 4315 (Hastings) , 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act
  • H.R. 4316 (Lummis), Endangered Species Recovery Transparency Act
  • H.R. 4317 (Neugebauer), State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act
  • H.R. 4318 (Huizenga), Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act

Probably the most significant of these bills is H.R. 4316, which requires the USFS, the BLM, and the National Marine Fisheries Service to disclose at the end of each year all expenditures related to any suit brought against the agency under the Endangered Species Act, who filed the suit, the record of decision, how much it cost the agency to defend against the suit, and how much money was paid to whomever filed the suit.

As astonishing as it is, this information is not disclosed today, and the agencies do not even keep records on it! This is a very important bill to get passed.

BLM Public Information and Input Session

The BLM has released its Planning Criteria Document for the Western Oregon Resource Management Plan, and is hosting a Public Information and Input Session to inform the public and get our input on the planning criteria they’ve adopted.

The Planning Criteria document is intended to provide an in-depth look at guidance, policy, analytical methodology, and preliminary alternatives for the new RMP. The BLM claims that this document is “the public’s look at how the BLM is proposing to analyze alternatives and move towards land management plans for western Oregon.” The comment period for the Planning Criteria will run until March 31, 2014.

The environmentalists are well organized and, just like last time, they will be there in force presenting the preservationist point of view, so it’s vitally important to have as many people there as possible representing resource industries and pro-resource utilization perspectives.

The Public Input Session will be on Wednesday, March 12, from 5:00-8:30 PM, at the BLM District Office, 3040 Biddle Road in Medford. Please plan to be there and bring as many people with you as you can.

    What: Public Input on BLM’s new Resource Management Plan
    When: Wednesday, March 12
    5:00-8:30 PM
    Where: BLM District Office
    3040 Biddle Rd, Medford