The beginning of state management of national forests

A group of Western senators, including Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, both R-Idaho, have introduced a bill to allow states to implement their own conservation plans to protect sage grouse and their habitats, in lieu of federal management. Congress would be allowing states to override the decisions by the Forest Service and BLM to …

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Interior nominee Zinke talks about federal lands

He had a lot of interesting things to say that generally put him within the normal range of political appointees to this position (a nice surprise, given some of Trump’s other nominees), including retaining federal ownership and understanding of climate issues, and this: An admirer of President Theodore Roosevelt, Zinke said management of federal lands …

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Post-Election Thoughts About Our Forests?

With a new Republican President and a Republican-controlled Congress, how will this affect the Forest Service and the BLM? Regarding the picture: I did some processing with a High Dynamic Range (HDR) program to get this artsy view. It is interesting that it enhanced the flames better than in the original scan, from a Kodachrome …

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Who gets the most legal fees from the federal government?

Environmental groups barely register.  And it’s a good bet that the partner-named law firms on this list are not doing much public interest litigation. The article this is taken from was about the novelty of Earthjustice being on the list, and its focus on EPA.  It added: “Garcia said these fee awards play no role …

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Remember the “Shovel Brigade?” Court unsettles settlement.

This was the Bundy gang of the 90s.  The Forest Service decided that it would not rebuild a washed out road along the Jarbridge River in Nevada to avoid impacting the now federally threatened bull trout.  The locals threatened to rebuild it themselves.  The issue in court became “who owns the road.” Under the Bush …

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“Patriot” attack on public lands (and its users and employees)

Some members of Congress are trying to shine a spotlight on the threat to public land from armed militias.  They point out the direct threats, but also link them to the attempts to transfer federal lands to states: “Anti-government extremists didn’t always direct their ire at public-lands agencies. That changed, in part, because a group …

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National forests on the campaign trail (or Hillary on the stump)

“Hillary Clinton’s Plan for Conservation and Collaborative Stewardship of America’s Great Outdoors” Hillary Clinton believes that restoring and protecting the health of America’s forests requires managing them for the full scope of benefits they provide. Clinton will work with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to set clear management goals that not …

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It’s just an administrative rule

The courts are finished with addressing the Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation Rule’s application to Alaska.  The Supreme Court won’t review the Ninth Circuit’s reversal of the attempt to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the rule.  Whew – glad that’s finally over.  But wait, there’s an election coming, and roadless rule opponents are thinking …

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Howdy, Folks

I’m just going to drop this here. A side by side comparison of the land that some serial litigators insist is clear evidence of Forest Service salvage clearcutting in the Rim Fire. The caption reads, “Post-fire clearcutting on the Stanislaus National Forest in the Rim fire area, eliminated the wildlife-rich snag habitat and left only …

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Politicizing science – the view from the front lines

A survey from the Union of Concerned Scientists included employees of CDC, FDA, FWS and NOAA. A significant number of scientists (46 to 73 percent of respondents across agencies) reported that political interests at their agencies were given too much weight in their agencies.  Many scientists told us that scientific decisions were being swayed by …

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