More Positive Comments on the Planning Rule from Environmental Groups

Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO, Defenders of Wildlife

“The Obama administration has made a very strong commitment to wildlife and land conservation with the release of its final forest-planning rule. The forest policy charts a new course to conserve and restore the health and integrity of these lands and waters, and now the hard work for implementing the rule begins today. Moving forward, it will be critical for the Forest Service to make this vision a reality as it issues implementation policies and begins writing forest plans. Defenders of Wildlife is committed to working with the Forest Service as it transforms its stewardship and wildlife conservation obligations to ensure that our nation’s forests, wildlife and waters are protected for generations to come.”

Mike Anderson, senior resource analyst, The Wilderness Society

The Forest Service has produced a visionary national forest planning rule based on principles of sound science. The new planning rule takes a big step forward to a more collaborative way of restoring and protecting the magnificent rivers and wildlife habitat of our national forests. The Forest Service should be congratulated for their inclusive public involvement and responsiveness to public feedback on the rule. The agency has gone beyond the norm by reaching out and listening to thousands of people who care deeply about the national forests. Continued public participation and inclusiveness will be critical in ensuring many parts of the new rule are implemented consistent with the rule’s vision.”

Michael Brune, executive director, Sierra Club

“The Sierra Club applauds USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and the Forest Service for taking action today to protect our forests and grasslands. The new standards represent a victory for communities and families in the Western region of the country, half of whom depend on national forests for clean and safe drinking water. The finalized standards also include criteria to restore and protect the watersheds and waterways that supply about one-fifth of our nation’s water – a move that’s good for our families, our health and our economy. Fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing and other outdoor recreational activities generate more than $700 billion for the economy each year and support thousands of jobs.”

Outdoor Alliance

“Outdoor Alliance and the broader human powered community is especially excited about the early adopter forests that are slated to immediately use the new rule on their forest plans. These forests, including the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in Idaho, the Chugach National Forest in Alaska, and California’s Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests have a wealth of human powered outdoor recreational resources and will benefit from a modern planning approach.”

The Nature Conservancy

“The Forest Service should be complimented for producing a much needed Final Forest Planning Rule,” said Laura McCarthy, Senior Policy Advisor for The Nature Conservancy. “Healthy forests support the well-being of our nation, yet more than half of the national forests are operating with out-of-date plans. We are glad the Forest Service has come out with a Final Rule that will allow new plans to be developed more efficiently. It is time to roll up our sleeves and work with the agency to update these plans.”

14 thoughts on “More Positive Comments on the Planning Rule from Environmental Groups”

  1. Most certainly, these groups know that litigation will not be magically eliminated from collaborative stewardship. It has already been promised, by several groups. Just look at the Quincy Library Group to see how just one Ma and Pa eco-group can cause millions of dollars in wasted projects. It is unfortunate that the powers that be do not see that reality. The preservationist groups will always sue, and that cannot be changed until the profits are removed from litigation. I suggest a flat rate for litigation costs, and if groups exceed that on their way to winning lawsuits, then it is their (net) loss.

  2. Following the money is the best way to put these Positive Comments in Context:

    Positive Comments on the Planning Rule by Big Green is as newsworthy as their links to corporate money:

    Sierra Club Tells Members – We Don’t Take Money from Chesapeake Energy – When in Fact They Took $25 Million 26 Corporate Crime Reporter 6, February 2, 2012

    Nature Conservancy Faces Backlash from Financial Ties to BP in Gulf Oil Spill Disaster

  3. I find it fascinating that folks I’ve never met seem to know so much about what drives policy development and decision-making at Defenders of Wildlife. The insinuations that our decisions are influenced by “litigation profits” or “corporate money” are insulting, shallow and just plain stupid. You may disagree with our mission or policy positions, and you may have theories about the intra-organizational dynamics of the forest conservation movement, but the labeling and scapegoating is completely out of line for this type of forum.

    Pete Nelson, Federal Lands Director, Defenders of Wildlife

    • Pete- thanks for weighing in and holding us accountable. I said a few comments ago, I’d like us to be soft on people and tough on ideas. Maybe we should add “go after the ideas you don’t agree with, not your ideas of what motivates the purveyors of that idea.”

      Somehow people have got in the habit of doing this, including about the Forest Service. And as you point out both “sides” here do it.
      Could our regulars please try harder not to do this, and I will call out the newbies?

    • Perhaps I should have jumped in and pointed out the Defenders is one of the few organizations (like it or not, CBD is another) and Pete one the few people who actually know enough about the diversity aspects of NFMA and the planning rule to comment substantively on them. But when the comments of some folks here in this forum go off the deep end (in my perception) I just tend to ignore them rather than wasting a lot of time with counter arguments.

      I spoke with Chris Topik after he posted a article here on behalf of the Nature Conservancy. His post drew at least one negative comment that convinced him to stay away from posted anything additional.

      Maybe it’s just in the nature of Internet dialog that is moderated with a very light hand (in the interest of free and open discourse). Is there anything we can do to make this forum a better place for substantive policy debate?

      • Jim,

        If someone is going to visit a policy blog and not expect at least one negative comment, then I would say that that individual is living in a glass house world far apart from the blogosphere.

        As per “Is there anything we can do to make this forum a better place for substantive policy debate?” I don’t know. I visit financial blogs and social policy blogs where people feel very free to comment and do engage in very lively exchanges. My only suggestion here would be for regulars to keep doing what they are doing, and for new comers to feel free to post things (via guest contributions). If we have interesting, policy relevant posts, we’ll continue to build our conversation. If people get offended. So be it. They can do as Pete Nelson did, and “call people out” on their mis-placed critiques.

        As far as “being soft on people and tough on ideas,” that is a good thing for all of us to keep in mind. But it gets hard when people are affilaited with PACs or near-PACS, else where they are being paid (either directly of via revolving doors) for advocacy. As to this, I guess all any of us can do is to recognize who is aligning themselves with which ideologies, and if they are doing so as part of organizations that some disagree with, noting that can’t be viewed as anything but fair. As they say, All is fair in love and war politics.

        • Dave, I don’t believe that the ends justify the means. And I think that many of the climate blogs are turnoffs because they don’t discuss ideas but “why people who don’t think like me are venal.”

          As Martin Luther King Jr. said (not “all is fair”):

          “The means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.”

          • I didn’t mean to imply that “ends justify the means.” Rather, I was attempting to point out that it proves useful to know who you are dealing with and who pays them. Way back when I had libertarian leanings in my economics I read a little book by Henry Hazlitt, wherein he said of the ‘selfish pleading of special interests’, paraphrasing: “Economics is different from the biological and physical sciences in one way: Special interest groups will hire the best buyable minds to either convince the general public that their side has the right answers, else so befuddle the conversation that all further discourse proves useless.” [In an update, maybe I’ll get the exact quote.]

            When we are dealing with bought and paid for “best buyable minds” the rest of us need to know who we are up against. That requires daylighting who people are being paid by, and who they align themselves with. And that’s pretty much all I wanted to argue for. The little line about “All’s fair in love and politics” at the end of my comment was an attempt a humor. But since the humor was dark, I didn’t bother to put a smiley face after it.

            [UPDATE] Here’s the quote I mentioned, from here.

            Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man. This is no accident. The inherent difficulties of the subject would be great enough in any case, but they are multiplied a thousand fold by a factor that is insignificant in, say, physics, mathematics or medicine-the special pleading of selfish interests. While every group has certain economic interests identical with those of all groups, every group has also, as we shall see, interests antagonistic to those of all other groups. While certain public policies would in the long run benefit everybody, other policies would benefit one group only at the expense of all other groups. The group that would benefit by such policies, having such a direct interest in them, will argue for them plausibly and persistently. It will hire the best buyable minds to devote their whole time to presenting its case. And it will finally either convince the general public that its case is sound, or so befuddle it that clear thinking on the subject becomes next to impossible.

            • Dave- I don’t see it quite that way. I see that all of us have points of view. If ours align with different groups, different groups will pay us to say what we think (so far this hasn’t happened to me yet, but I can dream).

              In my opinion, we can keep best those groups from “befuddling” anyone by having the discourse here where all points of view can weigh in and the strength of the arguments are tested. I don’t think this was as possible pre-blogging because there was no venue for these kinds of discussions to occur.

              Sorry about not catching your humor. Maybe we need to develop a “dark humor” emoticon… perhaps a smiley face with horns?

            • Just for the record, I haven’t been paid by ANYONE in the last three and a half years, surviving on my dwindling savings. Since there will be no forestry jobs where I live, I’m seriously considering becoming a long haul truck driver. In this economy, that seems to be my only option. No one has any money to buy my photography.

              • And “for the record,” neither have I “been paid by ANYONE in the last three and a half years.”

                [UPDATE]: But I do chair the board for Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEEE), a group that advocates for matters dealing with forests, environment, and related “ethics”. And FSEEE does receive money from individuals and foundations as outlined in public Annual Reports.

                [Update2] Although I don’t receive money from ‘anyone’, I do receive money from ‘everyone in the US’ in the form of my federal retirement pension.

    • Of course, I didn’t specify DoF in my comment as a preservationist group, nor did I intend to imply that. The comments of the four groups above imply that they are willing to work through the differences, willing to compromise, through collaboration and consensus, on at least some issues. However, I stand by my call for exposing and limiting payments to the victors of litigation. The EAJA was never meant to fund the legal departments of the corporate serial eco-litigation industry. Such monetary losses represent a double hit to budget-challenged Forests, as the awarded cash is taken from their annual allotments. I tend to think that if the monetary issue was set to a flat rate, groups would have to think twice about their “bang for the buck”.

    • And yet there are other people who don’t find it fascinating at all, “about what drives policy development and decision making” on their national forest system simply because they’re familiar with Citizens United v FEC.

      (You know, that “landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court, which held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting political expenditures by corporations and unions.”(Wiki)), and the effect it had on influencing their elected representatives?)

      Well gosh, if “political expenditures by corporations” can influence ELECTED representatives weighing-in on the management of public lands, why should there be any fascination around political expenditures by corporations and their respective foundations influencing their UNELECTED representatives on the management of public lands?

      For goodness sake, there are already too many examples over the decades of egregious sell-out activities occurring within the ranks of “Big Green.” (aka “Gang Green”)

      For instance, NRDC’s early role in the promotion of Enron. (Now there’s a fascination-worthy subject you might remember. How bout the extensive greenwashing by NRDC accomplished in the name of that amazing energy company that did so much for electric ratepayers of the West?)

      I look forward to hearing more about how DoW has distinguished itself from its association with the rest of Gang Green.

      Now that would be something I would regard as fascinating.


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