TSW Weekend Roundup

Please add other news items of interest in the comments.

Senate Energy Hearing on a Potpourri of Bills.. check out the different FS vs. BLM testimony on the same topics…

Here’s a post from Wildfire Today that shows the locations on the video of different times of interest.


Could the proposed Sequoia bill have lit a fire under the FS feet (or the WH or Dept’s) to let them use existing emergency authorities?

Sometimes this is part of the “behind the scenes” cycle.  1. Congressional types want something to happen. 2. Admin doesn’t like being told what to do. 3. Comes up with “hey the Agency can already do it… if we let them..”. Therefore we don’t need legislation.  4. Congress loses attention. 5. Admin and interest group alllies stop supporting intervention and/or intervention is defeated in court.  6) Return to step 1 but if and only if Congress maintains attention AND interested Congressionals have enough clout to make things happen.

I have seen this happen most notably with Condition Based NEPA and bug projects.

We perhaps see this in the Sequoia Bill testimony from the FS. Perhaps the door will open for more uses of the emergency provisions- or, if the opening was directed to reduce Congressional interest in the Sequoia bill, perhaps not.


From E&E News..

Crockett said the agency supports several goals of the forest-thinning bill, S. 4904,introduced by Manchin and ranking Republican John Barrasso of Wyoming (E&EDaily, Sept. 22). But officials have “multiple concerns” with the bill’s language on forest-thinning targets, Crockett said. That bill, titled the “Promoting Effective Forest Management Act,” calls on the Forest Service to report regularly on whether land it manages is a net emitter or absorber of carbon on a regional basis.

It would also rein in the Biden administration’s efforts to define, take inventory of and potentially further limit timber harvesting on old-growth and “mature” forests — a section of the legislation that Crockett said the agency wants to “better understand” and help revise.

During the hearing, Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) promoted his S. 2561 to undo the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. Forest Service that has resulted in longer consultations between the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service on certain forest management projects. He pointed to support for undoing the ruling from federal officials, including during the Obama Daines’ bill, which would clarify that new consultations on forest management plants aren’t required when new information about potential impacts on endangered species emerges, passed the committee by voice vote in July, over objections from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) (E&E Daily, July 22). Daines said he’d like to see it attached to any revived permitting reform bill from Manchin.

Question to Oregonians… why does Wyden not support the Cottonwood fix?


David Hayes is leaving the WH.. is that good news for people hoping to not have to deal further with MOG? Rumor has it that he was the main push. for the effort.   Only time will tell.

Interesting take on MOG and carbon in the NE by Yale scientists.

Note that I got pushback on this blog for stating “Dead trees sequester no carbon” which is actually pretty obvious. I didn’t say they can’t store carbon. And these scientists say the same:

When a tree dies from logging or on its own, that tree is no longer going to be sequestering carbon, and the carbon from that tree is eventually going to go back into the atmosphere.

Eagles Permitting EA from Nossaman blog.

On September 30, 2022, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to amend its eagle permit regulations (Proposed Rule) administered in accordance with the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA). The Proposed Rule seeks to improve administration of the eagle permit program by establishing a general permit pathway for eligible wind energy and power line applicants for incidental take of golden eagles and bald eagles. Eligibility criteria proposed by the Service for participation in the general permit program include factors such as eagle abundance and nest proximity. The Proposed Rule also establishes general permits for disturbance of bald eagle nests and removal of bald eagle nests under most circumstances. At the same time, the Service has published a draft environmental assessment evaluating alternatives to its proposed general permits. The Proposed Rule arises as part of a court settlement from a lawsuit brought by the Energy and Wildlife Action Coalition challenging the eagle permit regulations. The public will have until November 29, 2022 to submit comments on the Proposed Rule.

And this from the Center for Western Priorities:

The Biden administration is proposing a new permitting program to address the issue of wind turbines killing bald and golden eagles, without slowing down the construction of new wind energy projects. Bald eagle numbers have quadrupled since 2009 to about 350,000 birds, but there are only about about 40,000 golden eagles left.

The proposal, which comes after several major utilities have been federally prosecuted in recent years for killing large numbers of eagles without permits, calls for new permits tailored to wind-energy projects and power line networks. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams said the new program would provide “multiple pathways to obtain a permit” while also helping conserve eagles.

Federal officials have declined to say how many eagles are killed illegally by wind farms each year. Last year, companies were permitted to “take” 170 golden eagles—meaning that many birds could be killed by turbines or lost through impacts on nests or habitat, according to permitting data obtained by The Associated PressCompanies are responsible for offsetting each death by ensuring at least one eagle is saved somewhere else.


Future webinars of interest:

A webinar on geothermal via the WGA (Western Governors’ Association), Oct. 6

Sparking Solutions: Reducing Risk at the Wildland-Urban Interface from RFF (Resources for the Future). Oct. 12

5 thoughts on “TSW Weekend Roundup”

  1. Senator Wyden opposes the Cottonwood fix because it is bad policy (and ecology) to waive ESA requirements to reinitiate consultation on forest plans in light of new information.

      • Yes, but project- and plan-level consultations have different (although similar) purposes. If there is new information that affects forest plan content (for example, standards or guidelines pertaining to conservation of listed species’ habitat), that issue needs to be addressed programmatically: project-level consultation won’t provide the broad-level look you need to know how the project affects listed species.

        Or, say for example, you have a megafire or several on your forest that burns significant acreage of suitable habitat for an at-risk species. Your forest plan didn’t account for that, and if you don’t look at habitat availability at the plan level, project-level-only consultation risks a death by a thousand cuts (perhaps literally).

        • This is a very thoughtful explanation, Susan. Thank you. I see your point.
          What I’m thinking, though, is that every year there are fires, say somewhere in some wide-ranging albeit endangered species range.
          Who decides how much of a change in necessary for reconsultation?New papers come out all the time, which could have more or less relevance to projects. And certainly fires, but first it seems like you’d have to know many acres of what kind of habitat are influenced how exactly in those fires?

          Because I suppose it could be argued that the importance of habitat in light of changes could be across forests (if that makes sense) also not just within forests. Suppose the neighboring forest has a large fire? It seems like the same argument could be made of a neighboring death by a thousand cuts.

          I suppose every year re-consultation could occur rangewide, but it would never get done before the next fires hit, so the FS would be chasing its tail and possibly never be able to get projects done. Which might be optimal conceptually but unsatisfying to project proponents and perhaps to Congress who authorized $ for projects.

          As to Senator Wyden, perhaps the cycle of put more $ in (the gas pedal), don’t take off the brake (current regulatory framework), and blame the car (the FS) for lack of performance, works in some way for him. For others, not so much.

  2. Even though projects depend on site-specific conditions, some people want to end or limit the Forest Service’s “discretion”, and have publicly said so. Luckily, there aren’t many (Congressional) Democrats who see things that way, too.

    Congress needs a full class on NEPA, so they can write relevant laws, which will stand up in court.


Leave a Comment

Discover more from The Smokey Wire : National Forest News and Views

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading