TRCP and TU Weigh in Positively on Planning Rule

From Fly Rod and Reel online here.

“America’s 193 million acres of national forest lands are vitally important for fish and wildlife and public hunting and fishing opportunities,” said Joel Webster, director of the TRCP Center for Western Lands. “With America’s population surpassing 310 million, the significance of these lands to our outdoor traditions continues to grow – as do challenges in their management. The adaptive management approach of the new planning rule will help the agency address these challenges.

“Based on input from members of the public, including sportsmen,” Webster continued, “the Forest Service made specific improvements to the final rule, such as a commitment to use the best available science in making management decisions, an increased commitment to watershed conservation, added attention to commonly enjoyed fish and wildlife species and an improved approach to timber management. The next test will lie in implementation of the rule, and we will work with our sportsmen partners in development of the forthcoming planning directives that will guide how the rule is used.”

“National forests form the headwaters of many of our nation’s major river basins, provide habitat for trout and salmon and recreational opportunities for anglers, and provide clean water for communities and irrigators,” said Steve Moyer, vice president for government affairs at Trout Unlimited, a TRCP partner group. “The new forest planning rule outlines an ambitious vision for our forests and watersheds. Trout Unlimited and our partners in the hunting and angling community are committed to working with the Forest Service to ensure the rule’s success – and to upholding a crucial component of our nation’s outdoor legacy.”

15 thoughts on “TRCP and TU Weigh in Positively on Planning Rule”

  1. Here’s some (“it’s-a-small-world-afterall”) insights on TRCP’s “President and CEO” (sound corporate enough?) pursuing parallel goals and methods of the new improved Planning Rule with S.730. Both are carefully marketed, highly greenwashed campaigns of deregulation, devolution, and privatization of the management decisions on our national forest system. TRCP’s membership was rightly aghast at S.730’s impacts upon public lands of the Tongass which would be imposed by the infamous regional Native corporation named Sealaska Inc.

    Somehow though, Whit Fosburgh mysteriously caved recently to Senator Murkowski’s demands that TRCP needs to reverse their former opposition to the Sealaska legislation (S.730). This perpetually recycled bill from Murkowski’s desk is a well-known public lands grab which would privatize 80,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest in the name of finalizing Native land entitlements of ANCSA.

    Fosburgh was instructed by Murkowski to rather, advocate for the bill to be “improved.” That “improvement” will take the form of a Quid pro Quo for salmon watershed protections (mostly unnecessary due to the Roadless Rule) a campaign called “Tongass 77”, currently being shopped in Congress by Trout Unlimited and being lined up for an Omnibus Lands “protection bill”. TU receives millions of dollars from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to push QPQ “place- based legislation.” (By now, it should be patently obvious Martin Nie’s cheerleading for place based legislation on the Tongass is a Trojan Horse for devolution, privatization and deregulation.) After that cheerleading by Nie, U of M received its own QPQ in the form of several millions of dollars from the Moore Foundation.)

    What follows helps connect some other related dots.

    We’ve heard constant complaints of former staffers and legislators routinely using the “revolving doors” to improperly lobby and influence legislation. Here’s the unabashed “nonprofit” corollary:

    (from TRCP website)
    “Whit Fosburgh joined TRCP in June 2010. Prior to working at the TRCP, Fosburgh spent 15 years at Trout Unlimited, playing a critical role in that organization’s evolution into a conservation powerhouse. Additionally, Fosburgh served as fisheries’ director for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, was chief environment and energy staff person for Sen. Tom Daschle and was a wildlife specialist for the National Audubon Society.

    While NAS recently split from the ranks of the QPQ cheerleaders, Fosburgh is a key linking hub of TRCP, Trout Unlimited AND the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation?
    Yes, its a small world after all.

    • The below email message issued by TRCP is an “Action Gram” which was forwarded to me today by a member of TRCP, and whom follows the Planning Rule and also shares an antipathy for the rule’s measures undermining NFMA. Rather than a deliberative process The Planning Rule and the TRCP President and CEO employs a top-down directive providing an example of the dynamic by which its membership is instructed to think and act on the Planning Rule.

      Something tells me if a TRCP member were to have their favorite game species, watchable wildlife species, or any other dimension of their appreciation for indigenous species of their local national forest sidelined at the whim of the local NF Supervisor, they’d have a VERY different opinion than what Mr. Fosburgh would have them have.

      This TRCP position on the New Planning Rule of course, was NOT derived from a membership consensus deliberating the merits of the rule.

      This is the dynamic which is typical of most national organizations, and helps explain how “Positive Comments on the Planning Rule” get generated, registered, and distributed by others who feel such methods are a valid measure of public acceptance. Chances are very good, memberships are going to forego reading the Rule themselves and instead, will act based upon the instructions received. In some cases this is valid when an organization’s position is aligned with their mission statement.

      In this case, claims of benefits run contrary to actual possible outcomes of the Rule.

      Dear XXXX,

      The new planning rule benefits hunters and anglers and allows for safeguards for fish and wildlife habitat, watersheds and recreational opportunities.

      The U.S. Forest Service has completed a new planning rule that will affect all new land use plans for 155 national forests and 20 grasslands in 42 states – influencing the management of 193 million acres of public lands and impacting hunters and anglers across America.

      The new planning rule benefits hunters and anglers and will enable the U.S. Forest Service to safeguard fish and wildlife habitat, watersheds and recreational opportunities.

      Take a moment to express your appreciation for a job well done. Send an e-mail to the U.S. Department of Agriculture offering thanks for considering sportsmen’s values and embracing a conservation vision in the new planning rule.


  2. Mr. Beebe very eloquently describes the realities of QPQ collaboration which thwarts traditional public participation and steamrolls legitimate stakeholders who are not invited into the QPQ club. This was certainly my experience as an alternate member of the Tongass Future Roundtable (TFR).

    The TFR is a foundation-funded private collaboration process. For five years several foundations and the Forest Service have sought a forest-wide legislated rezoning of the Tongass. The objective is a “final solution” to the Tongass land use conflicts. The Forest Service and industry are very interested in blunting the years of successful litigation over the timber program. Environmentalists see a third bite at the apple for large scale lands protection – de-facto wilderness or Wilderness Light. Not a bad idea, until you take a closer look at the lack of transparency in this process.

    First and foremost, Forest Service and Foundation TFR participants were full-fledged members, debating and voting along with all other invited only TFR members/alternates. This participation was enabled by using consensus to determine decisions where individual affirmative votes were not recorded. This effectively hid the support or influence by TFR members having clear conflicts of interest, i.e., Forest Service line officers and foundation members representing the TFR funders.

    But the story gets better. An even less transparent sub-process was the lynch pin for the TFR in proposing a “final solution” for the Tongass. An off-the-books ad-hoc group of TFR members was formed dubbed the Devils Club. The ad hoc structure enabled the participating TFR members to enter the deal making without having to adhere to the record keeping required under the TFR charter. So it was not even remotely transparent.

    However, the most disconcerting story of the TFR “collaboration” happened long before the Devil’s Club failed. At the Coffman Cove TFR meeting one of the voting foundation members encouraged all of us to speed up the process and finally agree to a legislative solution — “because once it gets to Congress we will be unstoppable, regardless of any (regional) opposition.” Simply stated, if you were not invited into our country club your issues would never count. Fortunately, Alaskans do not take kindly to that sort of treatment. A related chapter to this collaboration is the secret negotiations stemming from the TFR concerning the Sealaska Lands Bill SB-730 – equally sleazy.

    With that said, QPQ collaborative steamrolling is what I fear most in the new planning rule, both as an Alaska resident and as a former Forest Service economist/planner. For example, I understand the treatment of wildlife populations is one of the biggest changes in the new planning rule. I note that the prior hard requirements to protect habitat diversity and productivity now take a backseat to “species of concern.” Whose concern – the Forest Service decision makers or members of the country club or the common citizens who still own the National Forests?

      • Sharon, Again thanks for your reply. I left a reply yesterday but it seems it did not make it. Before I reply again is there any reason for the first reply not making it I should know? I do not believe so but wanted to check. Thanks

        • You had duplicate posts yesterday that began “Larry is describing a catch-22 situation” I deleted the older one and approved the other. Is that what your are talking about?

        • I used to lose some “comments” far too frequently, much to my chagrin. I no longer do because I’m more careful. I lost one night before last though, but that was my error. My problem was in crafting longer ‘comments’ in the “leave a reply” box. I learned some years ago to craft comments in a word processor and cut and paste them into the box. That way, if something goes wrong, I can re-post. The only reason I lost a comment the night before last was that I’d forgotten my rule.

  3. Jim, No, but thanks for monitoring my duplicate post. I’m relatively new to the blog world so my expertise and skills will be trying to others. I posted a short description of the connection between TU and collaborative planning under the new rule and my apprehension over this new collaboration paradigm — which in my experience was negative. I logged in under Word press and it appeared to post. Thanks

    • I don’t see it in the spam or trash folders so I guess the electrons are lost somewhere in the ether (that’s my technical explanation). Try re-posting it.

  4. Sharon,

    My connection between TU and the new planning rule to TU and the TFR is simply this. The foundations who were underwriters of the TFR would often tout the TFR as a collaboration model for forest planning, i.e., rezoning the Tongass or what I described as the Devils Club final solution. It failed, but the TFR continues. The TFR has devolved into forum dealing with Native issues. One primary issue is the Sealaska Lands Bill SB730.

    One of the sponsering TFR foundations has f since financed TU to take up where the Devils Club failed — now under the banner of the Tongass 77. The primary legislative vehicle for the Tongass 77 is the Sealaska Bill. Simply, the TU Tongass 77 has roots in the TFR — a very non-transparent and undemocratic process. So when TU endorses collaboration under the new planning rule I believe it is a step backwards and dangerous.

    • TU is a large organization that does a lot of good work. I have had disagreements with some of their national and local folks on policy issues, but even when I disagree, I would say that their case for their position is 90% of the time made in a very professional and skilled way. In other words, I can understand why they think what they think, even if I don’t agree. With other groups, sometimes there is a fuzz factor and I can’t follow the logic of their positions.

      As I’ve said before, I am a particularly big fan of their climate change strategy, Protect, Reconnect, Restore.

      I don’t think that because you disagree with one thing that an organization does, that you can assume that the other things that organization does are questionable. I hope no one think that about the FS!

      • You make an excellant point. One position or even a mistake does not make an organization (TU or FS). However, we must learn from experience — especially bad experiences. And, the TU participation at the TFR and as an enabler of the Sealaska Lands bills is just plain wrong and hardly defensible on the basis “they” do good elesewhere. Simply stated, once one has step over the line it becomes much easier the next time. Consequnetly, my concern over TU/TRCP endorsement of collaboration and the new rule — even as a broad stroke.

        In specific reference to the FS, it is a battered organization that still has an important public role. A role I hope the FS fullfills successfully. No doubt, Alaska may be an exception, but a good part of that exceptions is the conflicts here have many of the options that were lost decades ago in the lower 48.

        I remember well in the 1970s and 1980s how accelerated timber harvests would eventually play out — I did not envision a future timber program rationalized on the concept of restoration. In our case, that means more heavily subsidizd old-growth logging for export with far fewer local jobs. Moreover, to damage more old-growth to restore past damaged old-growth. Simply stated, my collaborative criticism of TU/and the FS at the TFR is in sincere hope it does not happn elesehere. Thanks for the opportunity to respond.


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