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

ESA Working Group Releases Findings

The Endangered Species Act Congressional Working Group, chaired by Rep. Doc Hastings, has released its final report on its Findings and Recommendations.

The report recommends constructive changes to the ESA in the following four categories:

  1. Ensuring Greater Transparency and Prioritization of ESA with a Focus on Species Recovery and Delisting
  2. Reducing ESA Litigation and Encouraging Settlement Reform
  3. States, Tribes, Local Governments and Private Landowners on ESA Decisions Affecting Them and Their Property
  4. Requiring More Transparency and Accountability of ESA Data and Science

This report is a must read!

Wyden Town Hall Sunday, February 7

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) will hold a town hall on Sunday, February 9, at 12:30 PM at the Anne Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass.

Please be sure to attend to let Senator Wyden know how strongly we in Josephine County oppose his O&C Land Grants Act of 2013, which will not only reduce timber harvests on O&C Lands, but will eliminate our legal grounds for demanding that the BLM comply with the O&C Lands Act of 1937.

Senator Wyden is in the pocket of the environmental activist special interest groups, and wants to permanently withdraw more than half of the O&C lands from any future timber or mineral production, while imposing “ecological forestry” mandates on the remaining lands that will significantly reduce potential timber harvests.

The preservationists will attend to admonish him to withdraw even more lands from production and make timber harvesting restrictions even more draconian. Supporters of natural resource utilization need to show up in equal numbers to present a voice of reason.

What: Wyden Town Hall
When: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Where: Anne Basker Auditorium
604 NW 6 St, Grants Pass

BLM Public Meeting on Post-Fire Recovery

The Bureau of Land Management is holding two public meetings, one in Glendale and one in Grants Pass, to discuss possible treatments and projects burned last summer by the Douglas Complex and Big Windy Complex wildfires.

The BLM says the goal of the meetings is to share information on post-fire projects, provide updates on accomplishments, and listen to concerns and ideas from members of the public. BLM personnel from both the Medford and Roseburg Districts will discuss a number of topics, including:

  • Roads and road safety
  • Fire planning for future suppression efforts
  • Riparian and watershed management
  • Vegetation habitat and recovery
  • Economic recovery
  • Emergency stabilization
    What: BLM Public Meeting on Post-Fire Recovery
    When: Thursday, January 23
    5:30-7:30 PM
    Where: Grants Pass Interagency Office
    2164 NE Spalding Ave, Grants Pass
    More Information: BLM flyer

Natural Resources Committee Holds Hearings on ESA Settlements

On Thursday, the House Natural Resources Committee held an oversight hearing entitled “ESA Decisions by Closed-Door Settlement: Short-Changing Science, Transparency, Private Property, and State & Local Economies.” This hearing examined the impacts of the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) closed-door mega-settlements on listing and critical habitat decisions and the need to reform this law to ensure that its focus is on recovering species while protecting jobs and local economies.

Click here for more information.

BLM “Community Listening Session” for Western Oregon Resource Management Plans

The BLM is hosting what they refer to as a “Community Listening Session” to talk about some of the key issues facing western Oregon’s land management project. (See press release here.)

The BLM is required by law to get public input on their Resource Management Plans (RMP). The purpose of this session is to get public input on key issues like timber production and forest management, endangered species conservation and recovery, protection of older forests, and providing clean water. They’re also going to update us on the RMP project team’s analysis of the current management situation and opportunities in Western Oregon and the planning criteria and guidance they’ve established for developing preliminary alternatives.

The environmentalists are well organized and 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 “Listening Session” will be on Tuesday, December 10, from 4:00-7:00 PM, at the Jackson County Fairgrounds, Padgham Pavillion, at 1 Penninger Rd in Central Point. Please plan to be there and bring as many people with you as you can.

They’re requesting people to RSVP to reserve a space. RSVP to blm_or_rmps_westernoregon@blm.gov, with the Subject line “Medford Meeting RSVP” and include your name and address in the body of the e-mail.

    What: Public Input on BLM’s new Resource Management Plan
    When: Tuesday, December 10
    4:00-7:00 PM
    Where: Jackson County Fairgrounds
    Padgham Pavillion
    1 Penninger Rd, Central Point
    RSVP blm_or_rmps_westernoregon@blm.gov