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Remember the Government is Still in the Business of Land Grabs

What I call the Stalinist style land grabs when dealing with the CASCADE-SISKIYOU MONUMENT have not subsided here is anothe report of such grabs continuing. (comment by Ron Ruby)

1 year after refuge takeover, quieter federal land battle unfolds
Dec 22, 2016; from the Argus Observer

Andrew Selsky/The Associated Press/Jim Sproul,a member of the dissolved Grant County Public Forest Commission

JOHN DAY (AP) — On a recent wintry evening, members of the Grant County Public Forest Commission walked into the warmth of a rustic diner and took seats at their customary table for their bimonthly meeting.
They voiced anger and frustration. At this meeting, they were officially a non-entity.
A judge this fall dissolved the commission at the behest of a former county supervisor who worried it was becoming a risk, citing the takeover of a federal wildlife refuge in a neighboring county.
While the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge grabbed the world’s attention, a quieter struggle over federal lands is being waged by those trying to use elections and the levers of government. Their grandparents and great-grandparents wrested a living from the West’s rugged landscape.
But now, the forest commissioners say, the government is tightening access to the same natural resources by closing roads and curtailing logging and other industries that allowed previous generations to be self-sufficient.
The commissioners feel they lost, by the stroke of a judge’s pen, a tool voters gave them to fight back.
Kim McKrola, a local, voiced the concern of many: “I would think we should have more say, because what does the federal government know about what’s going on around here?”
With 1,700 residents, John Day is Grant County’s biggest town, named for a fur trapper who in the early 1800s survived being robbed of everything by American Indians but trekked with a compatriot to safety. The second longest free-flowing river in the continental United States also bears Day’s name.
Created by voters in a ballot measure 14 years ago, the forest commission was tasked with determining the fate of public lands, which comprise 66 percent of the county’s 4,529 square miles.
Hours before the meeting at the Squeeze-In Restaurant & Deck, forest commissioner Jim Sproul drove his pickup up a canyon and into the Malheur National Forest.
“My great-grandfather came here in the 1870s. He started the Humboldt Mine,” the 64-year-old said. A pin on his cap proclaimed support for Sheriff Glenn Palmer, a sympathizer of the refuge occupiers’ cause.
Sproul looked at skeletal trees killed by a 2015 fire that burned 43 homes and more than 172 square miles. He blamed the U.S. Forest Service, saying it let the forest grow too thick, allowing the blaze to crown and become a “huge fireball.” Sproul wants the agency to open more burned areas for loggers to salvage trees.
At the Squeeze-In, commission members voiced more complaints.
“You’re missing the point,” growled Commissioner Mike Smith from beneath the brim of his cowboy hat. “The point is, they want to make it so you can’t make a living in rural Oregon, so you have to leave.”
Others nodded assent.
Commissioner Dave Traylor said he suspects the government and environmentalists want to create a 200-mile-wide corridor from Canada to Mexico, with only animals present and no humans.
Federal officials say no such plots exist.
District Ranger Dave Halemeier noted the Forest Service has increased its transparency.
“We meet with the public before we even have an idea of what we want to do in an area,” Halemeier said in an interview. “Historically, we’d come up with a plan and then present that plan, and now the public’s involved in developing that plan.”
Malheur National Forest Supervisor Steve Beverlin said he had productive talks with a forest commissioner about modifying rules for gathering firewood, but faced hostility at commission meetings.
“It was difficult to engage because they wouldn’t share information,” Beverlin said
Mark Webb, whose petition for judicial review led to the commission’s dissolution, said he felt it was growing too close to Palmer and his “increasing belligerence toward federal government.”
The leaders of the wildlife refuge takeover were planning to meet with Palmer when officers intercepted them on Jan. 26. State police shot and killed LaVoy Finicum as he appeared to reach for a pistol.
Sproul said he had invited takeover leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy to speak to residents about the Constitution and states’ rights, with no ulterior motives.
“Anyone who says there’s a militia here is a liar,” Sproul said. “But are there patriotic citizens here? Hell yes.”
Forest commissioners say no one informed them of the petition.
Judge W.D. Cramer ruled Sept. 14 that the ballot measure that created the commission violated the U.S. and state constitutions and federal statutes. In explaining his ruling, Cramer said he “may have personal views that align with many on how public lands are managed (or not), and views on how those who live close to the land should be heard.” But “facts and the law” dictate a decision.
Webb heads another organization, Blue Mountains Forest Partners, which describes itself as a diverse group of stakeholders who work to improve local forests and communities. He said his group and the forest commission have similar goals but “radically different” approaches.
“The public forest commission thought they had authority to tell the county (officials) and the national forest how to manage public lands. But Blue Mountains respects the framework … we have to operate in.”
Webb ran in the May primary for one of the commission’s seven seats. His name was removed from the ballot because of a technicality, Grant County Clerk Brenda Percy said. Webb told The Associated Press he ran in case his petition failed, so he could “inform or redirect” the commission, which he said was ineffective.
The forest commission, meanwhile, is planning to appeal the judge’s decision and has been in contact with the secretary of state’s office, which manages elections, to seek a remedy, Sproul said.

Monument Continued

October 14, 2016

COMMENTS ON CASCADE-SISKIYOU MONUMENT PROPOSAL

Senator Jeffery Merkley, Senator Ron Wyden, Dpty. Secretary Conner

Gentlemen:

I grew up in a publishers family so words and their meanings are very important to me.

And I am concerned when I see all these words, that sound good, but it is pretty hard to see how they justify the potential impact on the resources and the land of this proposed additional monument withdrawl.

Your August 25, 2016 letter mentions, “Given the short time left in the year, we ask you to come as soon as practicable.” What’s the hurry? The land has been there for a long time, and, saving some major tectonic event, will be here for the foreseeable future. Haste would just arbitrarily limit the public’s ability to comment.

“Protecting the entity of the Cascade-Siskiyou region” sounds like an admirable aim but how does monument status achieve this?
Some of the other phrases are even more puzzling and less specific – “climate change” or “ecological integrity” – just how would monument status significantly affect either of these subjects.

And most important – how could monument status protect it from wildfire – the most likely risk. Actually rapid response time is the best fire protection. Roads – as firebreaks – have proven to be effective in fires such as the 2015 National fire in Crater Lake Park and the Rogue River Forest.
Monument status could limit road construction or even maintenance.

Currently the Oregon State Forestry is the fire protection agency for the proposed area – would there be added restrictions, such as MIST, under monument status? If this resulted in larger, more expensive fires that exceeded the State’s backup insurance limit, wouldn’t that result in costs to the taxpayers of Oregon?

Since these BLM lands are O&C, and included in the 1937 Act mandate, monument status would restrict their participation in the timber program.
At one time Secure Rural Schools compensated for the loss of timber revenue, but this has been fading, so we would be left with neither.

Aside from buzzwords is there much serious support for this expansion?
And how should it be measured? In the Owyhee Canyon lands area it was voted on by the local people – who were 90% opposed.
In this area there are several groups in favor, but is that a good criteria?

In 2010, when the Siskiyou Crest was proposed, there were several public meetings, and the main message was that adequate public hearings should be held. One comment was that a “business plan” should be part of any
monument, and this seems like a reasonable request.

In this context of unanticipated results of actions, I am reminded of a situation in the Kalmiopsis / Biscuit Fire area – where there appeared to be little or no funding for reopening the trails thru the burn. This left it to a group of volunteers doing the work with unpowered hand tools!

Sincerely,

Trenor Scott; tscott@uci.net

Monument Expansion

NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Expansion

Please join Senator Jeff Merkley for a public meeting regarding the proposal to expand the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Federal officials will listen to feedback from the community on the specifics of whether and how the Monument might be expanded. A copy of Senator Merkley’s letter requesting the meeting can be found here. A copy of a map of the proposed monument expansion can be found here.

Members of the public are invited to attend and comment
Friday, October 14th
2:00 PM

Rogue River Room
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Boulevard
Ashland, OR 97520

Federal officials include:
Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael Connor

KMED’s Bill Myer Testimony

Here’s my submitted testimony to the Joint Legislative Committee transportation meeting from last night. Submit your meaningful public comments by MONDAY to jtpm.exhibits@state.or.us

“Let me start by saying I’m an environmentalist, and that everyone here who wants clean air and water is also an environmentalist. Of course the main pollution we suffer today in our environment is unchecked forest fires engendered in part by faulty environmental policy, which has also crept into faulty transportation policy through the state’s Roadmap to 2020, Vision 2050, and so on.

I want folks to understand that your policy isn’t law. Your legislative policy of adhering and taking an environmental stance in our transportation issues is illegitimate. As a citizen I do not wish the state pursuing environmentalism in our transportation choices as a byproduct of implementing Sustainable Development policy. 1000 Friends of Oregon isn’t my stakeholder, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now is not my stakeholder, nor is Oregon Wild and a myriad of “gang green” consensus groups.

This is a legislative information gathering meeting, but any use of the policy consensus stakeholder input process here, if used, is a fraud. This isn’t a dispute resolution. The input required by the law of the state of Oregon is to be that of the people. I demand that we get actual statements of USERS of the road, and not the fraudulent voices of manufactured stakeholder consensus from outside our area. This is important as much of our current transportation policy has been brought forth via the stakeholder groups especially selected for your pre-determined outcome of implementing “Sustainable Development”, also masquerading under the term “Smart Growth”.

This transportation system is a matter of county concern, and it’s a matter of the people of the county who use and own the roadways. We want actual statements of the USERS of the road.
The vast majority of Jackson County’s real road users demand safe, efficient transportation systems and roads. And when I say roads, I mean USEFUL roads. We are not demanding road diets, we are not demanding bicycle paths, on Highway 99 for example, built at the expense of actually useful automotive and truck commerce-capable roads.

Let me explain that this bicycle lane while feeling good, (and under-utilized I might add) is a clear and present danger against your constitutionally-mandated concern for the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens. On one hand the legislative transportation policy wants us prepared for a cataclysmic seismic event, while on the other hand faulty transportation policy encourages the actual reduction of road capacity needed in an emergency.

As to the rest of your faulty legislative agenda, I would add that we are not demanding OreGo, or other citizen travel tracking and taxing schemes born from the sustainable development-addled technocrats in the legislature and administration. Nor are we demanding a carbon tax, which would be yet another intolerable financial rape of what’s left of southern Oregon’s productive sector, which has largely been kicked to the curb by the Oregon legislature’s treacherous embrace of this false God, Sustainable Development. What we ARE demanding is the full use of these granted roads for peaceful travel and commerce.

So yes, I demand that we build and maintain the roads, and stop this insane state policy of implementing the voluntary executive orders of Sustainable Development. This isn’t a conspiracy theory, its concepts are all over your state documents – For example, this from the “Interim Roadmap to 2020” report:

“In 2010 the Oregon Global Warming Commission is undertaking a “Roadmap to 2020” Project that will offer recommendations for how Oregon can meet its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction goal (“10% below 1990 levels”), get a head start toward its 2050 goal (“at least 75% below 1990 levels”), and build a prosperous, clean‐energy‐based 21st century state economy.”

This is a preposterous road map to economic ruin in the name of Sustainable Development, based on the unproven concept that carbon dioxide, a byproduct of life itself on the planet, is somehow a danger to that life.

This is NOT what the road users in Jackson County wish. We demand the unencumbered use of these granted roads. Follow the lawful LAW, not the corrupt state policy. We are not Portland, we are not Eugene, we are southern Oregon. And I very much doubt you’ve been getting REAL input by REAL users of these roads. I demand you get this lawful real input as a matter of county concern.

In conclusion, I demand you cease any plans, legislative or administrative, for implementing an evil carbon tax, or low carbon fuel standards, mileage tracking and taxing schemes, road diets, and any further implementation of sustainable development policies. Remember, these are not ODOT roads, they’re not “stakeholder” roads, they are “The People’s” roads.

I demand that you cease your illegitimate policies of pushing “The People” off their roads and their actual preferred and effective modes of transportation. Thank You.”

Meetings

Elmer’s Restaurant
(at the corner of Parkway 199 and Agness Ave
Workshop and Discussions:
Monday’s,  7:30 to 9:00 am
Speaker Even:t
Last Monday of the month,   6:00 to 8:00 pm
(except holidays)

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