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Browsing the archives for the Politicians & agencies category.

President Kamala Harris? She’s making the first moves

Elections, Politicians & agencies

PNP comment: If this happens, rural America will have an even tougher go! — Editor Liz Bowen

Sac Bee.com

May 9, 2017

Now’s the time prospective presidential candidates start taking the subtle but crucial behind-the-scenes steps that get them noticed by the political intelligentsia, and Sen. Kamala Harris is quietly following the script.

She’s making speeches to key national constituencies. She’s due for an appearance at a Washington think-tank panel full of chattering-class presidential favorites that the national media will be reporting and analyzing, probably for days. She’s been fundraising for colleagues and making sure that she is forming relationships with key national reporters.

They’re all boxes that prospective presidential candidates routinely check. It’s a chance to ultimately convince insiders they’ve got the gravitas and the fundraising chops to be taken seriously. The California Democrat, sworn into office four months ago, insists she’s not thinking about a run for president. Her inner circle forcefully tries to tamp down 2020 speculation – after all, there is no upside to being seen as a new senator focused more on national political ambition than on California.

But the speculation is not going away, not with the absence of a clear Democratic presidential frontrunner and the party desperately in search and in need of a new generation of leadership.

“A lot of activists in the party would love to see a new leader step forward,” said Roger Hickey,” co-director of the progressive strategy group Campaign for America’s Future.

Harris is being closely watched.

“Looking forward to see how she performs as a senator, I think that the sky is the limit for her,” said Jaime Harrison, associate chairman and counselor of the Democratic National Committee.

So far, Harris has leaped into the political spotlight with a resume that screams potential presidential material. She’s 52, a generation younger than better-known favorites such as Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts or former Vice President Joe Biden.

“From everything I’ve seen of her she’d be an attractive candidate, she could be a compelling candidate, and I think she’d have a lot of appeal for primary voters,” said Bob Shrum, a senior adviser to the presidential campaigns of Al Gore and John Kerry.

A strong block of liberal Democrats, though, would eagerly embrace another Sanders run. And Shrum said Democrats would rally around a Biden presidential candidacy but, if the 74-year-old Biden doesn’t run, and he has said that he will not, “there’s a deep desire in the Democratic Party to move on to a new generation.”

What every new presidential hopeful needs is an early defining moment.

President Barack Obama’s was his 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. Harris’ was her energetic performance in a prominent speaking role at the Women’s March on Washington, a rally that attracted worldwide attention and had an estimated crowd of a half a million people. She instantly became a favorite of liberals, and followed that with remarks at an immigration rally at the White House and a podcast with former top Obama adviser David Axlerod, the architect of Obama’s out-of-nowhere 2008 campaign.

Harris’ rollout accelerates this month. She was the keynote speaker at last week’s National Democratic Institute’s Madeleine Albright luncheon, a prominent Washington event hosted by the nonprofit, nonpartisan group. She’ll give the May 13 commencement speech at Howard University in Washington, her alma mater.

Days later she’ll join a host of others floated as presidential wannabes, including Warren, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York in a speaking role at the Ideas Conference, a Washington gathering seen as the liberal equivalent of the Conservative Public Action Conference, a traditional testing ground of GOP presidential hopefuls.

Harris is building relationships in the party. She’s done fundraising emails for fellow senators Warren, Gillibrand and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

It’s the sort of quiet bridge-building that ultimately paid off for Obama, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and many others years before they were elected.

Read more here:

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/article149309469.html#storylink=cpy

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Feds allocate water for endangered fish, leave Calif. farmers high and dry

CA. Congressman Tom McClintock, Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs, Politicians & agencies, Water, Resources & Quality

– The Washington Times
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Despite wetter-than-average weather in California, some farmers are looking at another year of a zero federal water allocation even as the billions of gallons of water continue to be dumped into the ocean in order to save a three-inch fish.

The worst part for many lawmakers at Wednesday’s House subcommittee hearing is that the Delta smelt remains as vulnerable as ever after the loss of 1.4 trillion gallons of water since 2008 under the federal Endangered Species Act.

MORE

http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/feb/24/obama-admin-allocates-water-fish-not-calif-farmers/

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015 Passes House Natural Resources Committee

CA. Congressman Tom McClintock

From CA Congressman Tom McClintock newsletter:

The Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015 (H.R. 3382) was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee on October 8th. The bill is authored by Congressman McClintock and Congressman Mark Amodei of Nevada. The legislation focuses resources on fire prevention and additional measures to protect the lake from the introduction of invasive species.

“The House measure is specifically designed — after extensive input from fire districts throughout the Tahoe region — to reduce excess fuel loads in the Tahoe Basin before they burn. It streamlines the planning process that has severely hampered past attempts at forest management,” remarked Congressman McClintock. “It calls for new revenues generated within the Tahoe Basin to stay in the Tahoe Basin for environmental improvements. It also augments efforts to protect the lake from invasive species that have already devastated many other lakes in the West.”

“For the last eight years, Tahoe legislation has been introduced in the Senate and has not moved off the Senate floor,” continued Congressman McClintock. “This bill has been carefully crafted to fit within the budget parameters set by Congress and it addresses the two most immediate environmental threats to the Tahoe Basin. I believe this bill has an excellent prospect for passage out of the House.”

The bill:

— Expedites active forest management and fuel reduction projects consistent with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit land and resource management plan.

— Guarantees that funds generated by timber sales and recreation will stay in the Tahoe Basin to provide for further fuels management and promote public access.

— Supplements and expands the current inspection regimen of boats launched into Lake Tahoe and provides for fee-supported private, local, and state inspection and decontamination stations.

— Provides for disposition of federal-owned parcels of land in urban areas and acquisition of in-fill parcels within the national forest to streamline management and reduce the inefficient “checkerboard” pattern.

— Makes the involvement of local governments mandatory in land acquisition decisions that directly impact their communities.

— Promotes tourism by prioritizing public access to federal lands.

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Walden drafting bill to address Klamath Basin water issues

CA. Congressman Tom McClintock, Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA, Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs

PNP comment: The KEY to this article is the bottom sentence. This draft bill has not yet been submitted to the Natural Resources Committee, of which it must first be approved and the monies designated before it can go to the U.S. Senate for approval. And Dist. 1 CA Congressman Doug LaMalfa has reiterated over and over again that he is against the removal of the Klamath dams — 3 of the 4 are in his district. LaMalfa sits on the Natural Resources Committee, along with CA Congressman Tom McClintock, who is also opposed to dam removal. So this looks like another smoke-mirrors move for Walden to appease a few Tribes, Greenies, bureaucratic agencies and California Farm Bureau Federation. (Yes, Farm Bureau Attorney Jack Rice and Cal Trout NGO leader Curtis Knight held a meeting recently in Siskiyou County trying to talk Shasta Valley ranchers INTO supporting the KBRA and Klamath dams removal. It didn’t happen! The ranchers saw through the rhetoric.) So remember Walden’s DRAFT is not even in draft form yet. Also, remember that Walden is running for office again. But there is a possibility of Walden writing a bill to tag onto another unrelated bill — politics at its highest subterfuge. Also remember the bill previously submitted to the U.S. Senate still must go through the House Natural Resources Committee to be approved for the millions needed to fund the destruction of the dams. That hasn’t happened either! I believe the KBRA and KHSA are about to collapse, so the supporters are in a frenzy to make us believe the opposite. You know, the libs believe that if they repeat a lie long enough, people will believe it. So please be careful or at least skeptical these next few months. — Editor Liz Bowen

 

 Walden drafting bill to address Klamath Basin water issues

By GERRY O’BRIEN

Herald and News

The bill would be similar to one already introduced in the Senate and would include the removal of four dams on the Klamath River.

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Greg Walden said he is close to drafting a bill in the House that will focus on resolving the water issues for the Klamath Basin.

It will likely include the removal of the four dams on the Klamath River and have been a source of dispute among parties who have not signed on to the water agreement.

Walden has been adamant about not removing the dams, but has softened that stance in the last few years.

In an interview with the Herald and News, Walden, a Republican from Hood River, said, “Personally, I’m not a dam removal support guy. But the facts that have been agreed to (in the pact) require (dam removal) and there are really no alternatives unless you want to blow the whole agreement apart and give up on water certainty for agriculture and all the other components that go with the agreement.”

The agreement is called the Klamath Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act. It was hammered out by irrigators, the Klamath Tribes, environmental groups, state and local officials as a compromise to provide consistent water to farmers and ranchers, as well as keep enough water in Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River for protection of endangered fish species.

Senate Bill 133 was introduced in January in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, but has yet to move forward. It must pass the House and Senate and be signed by the president before it can become law. SB 133 was about to be heard in committee prior to the August recess, but more pressing energy matters took the stage.

Now, Walden plans to sponsor a similar bill in the House, but he was not ready to talk specifics.

MORE at —

http://www.capitalpress.com/Water/20151015/walden-drafting-bill-to-address-klamath-basin-water-issues?utm_source=Capital+Press+Newsletters&utm_campaign=4d222ba4ec-Top_Stories_of_the_Week&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4b7e61b049-4d222ba4ec-69631317

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Sky-high fines are self-defeating

Assemblyman Brian Dahle

By Brian Dahle

California Assemblyman Dist. 1

Arthur came into my District Office one day with a problem. He explained his situation hoping to get help. Apparently, Arthur ran a red light and was caught by an automated camera system. Because no officer on patrol actually stopped him and told him what he had done wrong, he was not aware of the violation at the time.

Arthur never received his ticket in the mail because he is in between homes. Court records show that the summonses had been returned undelivered on two occasions. Fortunately, Arthur was able to receive some mail which was delivered to a friend’s home including a letter from the DMV. The letter from the DMV warned him his license would be suspended for failing to pay the ticket.

In order to solve the issue, Arthur went to the courthouse to explain the situation. He was offered a new court date and the judge said he would consider being lenient. Unfortunately, the court date was weeks after his license would be suspended. To clear up the suspension, he would have to pay the full fine and penalties; roughly $700 including hundreds in charges for failing to respond to a court summons. A summons the court’s own records show he never received.

If he did not pay the fine, Arthur would be breaking the law anytime he drove his car. The car he happened to be living in when he was looking for work. Arthur was able to solve his issue, but millions of Californians are not as lucky. This is an issue that must be addressed.

Caught between steep fines, automated enforcement, and a system that suspends driver’s licenses as a collections tool, millions of Californians have lost their ability to legally drive. A report this spring concluded that more than 4 million Californians’ licenses were suspended from 2006 to 2013, with only a tiny fraction ever restored. They owe some $10 billion in unpaid fines.

If citizens cannot pay their fines in the first place, exactly how are they going to pay a much larger fine without the ability to legally drive? Unless they live in one of the few parts of the state with a robust public transportation network, which none of my rural constituents in the 1st Assembly District do, how are they going to obtain and maintain employment without a license?

Some people are just too heedless or irresponsible to take care of their fines. Some measure of accountability is important. But suspending a driver’s license is a severe penalty that should be reserved for keeping the roads safe. Nobody is crying for the drunk drivers who lose their licenses. But the fact is, the law often treats DUI offenders with more grace than it does the fellow who could not pay the $230 ticket for an improper lane change.

California needs to take a hard look at how its ticketing practices punish poor residents beyond reason or justice. The money raised through traffic fines pays for important programs such as DNA databases, emergency medical services, court construction. Scofflaws are an easy target, but we have crossed the line into extracting money for too many public services from those least able to pay.

Suspending licenses for unpaid debts is not only cruel to those who truly cannot pay but counterproductive when it costs people the very jobs they need. For middle-class professionals, a ticket might be an embarrassment and a headache. For a family already scraping by on low or sporadic wages, the system leaves them stuck in a legal and financial trap – a “hellhole of desperation,” as Gov. Jerry Brown recently described it. The Governor has proposed an amnesty program for unpaid tickets with penalties waived and tickets reduced on a sliding scale based on ability to pay. It is a great idea, but just a start, more needs to be done.

Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, represents California’s 1st Assembly District, which contains all of Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Sierra, Siskiyou, and Shasta Counties, and portions of Butte and Placer Counties.

###

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Congressman Tom McClintock speaks at Federal Lands Oversight Hearing

Bureau of Land Management, CA. Congressman Tom McClintock, Federal gov & land grabs, Forestry & USFS

From: American Lands Council

Please take a few minutes today to read the opening statement at the Subcommittee on Federal Lands Oversight Hearing that took place on May 14th of this year. It gives important insight into why local control of our public lands is crucial to protect the health, access and safety of those lands, as well as the sovereignty of our states.

Chairman Tom McClintock Opening Statement at the Subcommittee on Federal Lands Oversight Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2015 – Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Lands made the following opening statement at today’s oversight hearing entitled “Litigation and Increased Planning’s Impact on Our Nation’s Overgrown, Fire-Prone National Forests.”

Remarks as prepared – The Subcommittee on Federal Lands meets today to examine Litigation and Increased Planning’s Impact on Our Nation’s Overgrown, Fire-Prone National Forests.

Between 1989 and 2008, 1,125 lawsuits were filed against the Forest Service. Many more have been filed since then and much more case law created. There is no doubt that litigation has had a profound impact on the Forest Service and subsequently the management and mismanagement of our national forests. Sadly, litigation has become a cottage industry for some extremist groups whose sole purpose is to litigate the Forest Service with little regard to the impact and destruction they are causing.

Responding to appeals, lawsuits or even the threat of frivolous lawsuits, Forest Service employees have reduced the size and scope of projects and tried to ‘bullet-proof’ environmental documents required to implement forest management projects. The goal of the Forest Service then becomes not good forest management, but to prevent litigation or endless legal delays. The result is thicker and thicker environmental documents, more agency time and taxpayer dollars spent on smaller projects that accomplish less. During the 80’s, environmental documents to approve average forest management projects took roughly 3-6 months. Now they take anywhere from 14 to 20 months to complete—that is if they are ever completed.

Millions of taxpayer dollars are spent on shuffling paper, over-analysis and ensuring process is followed. We currently estimate planning and environmental analysis are roughly 60% of the costs of forest management projects. The increased cost of paperwork does not translate into greater benefits to the environment. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The greatest threat to many endangered species and their habitat is catastrophic wildfire. Yet rather than thinning the forest to protect this habitat, we’re spending millions upon millions on extraordinarily long, complicated, voluminous documents that impede our ability to properly manage the forests for the benefit of all species.

A quarter century of extremist litigation has placed our forests in extreme distress. Forest Service employees are demoralized and have little incentive to plan meaningful projects. Vibrant rural communities that once had an integrated forest products industry providing high wage jobs have faded away and instead find their finances hostage to largess from the Federal Government. Our forests are dying and burning up at an alarming rate. This is surely not the vision Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot had when they created the Forest Service.

California’s National Forests serve as one of many examples of this problem. Its national forests average 266 trees per acre on a landscape that historically sustained 20 to 100 trees per acre. This extreme overcrowding means that forests are dangerously stressed, falling prey to disease, pestilence and catastrophic wildfire.

Today, we are pleased to have Dale Bosworth, who served as Chief of the Forest Service from 2001-2007. Chief Bosworth is a second generation forester and Forest Service employee, native Californian and was raised on ranger station compounds. During his time as Chief he provided great leadership and valiantly confronted the problem he aptly named the “process predicament.” While some progress was made, I think the Chief will agree that much more needs to be done.

Also appearing today is Dr. Robert Malmsheimer, professor of Forest Policy and Law at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Dr. Malmsheimer has published numerous articles on Forest Service litigation and will give us an update on his latest research.

We also have Supervisor Randy Hanvelt of Tuolumne County, California. Supervisor Hanvelt’s district, which includes a great deal of the Stanislaus National Forest, was severely impacted by the Rim Fire—the largest fire in California’s history. For all of the members on this subcommittee that have not seen the damage done by a catastrophic wildfire, I urge you to pay close attention to Randy’s testimony. The Rim Fire burned 402 square miles.

Eric Hofer once observed that every great cause becomes a movement, which becomes a business, which becomes a racket. Environmental litigation has reached this last stage, and Congress has a responsibility to the American people to set things straight.
You can view the original article HERE. Please share this information with those within your circle of influence and help us get out the facts. Together, we can make all the difference.

American Lands Council
http://www.americanlandscouncil.org/

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Congressman Tom McClintock authors amendment to save money

CA. Congressman Tom McClintock, Federal gov & land grabs

PNP comment: Hope these amendments pass. — Editor Liz Bowen

Amendments Forbidding Defense Dollars From Being Spent on Coal Earmark and Green Energy Mandates Adopted

Washington, D.C. – An amendment authored by Congressman McClintock and a bi-partisan amendment co-authored with Congressman Jared Huffman have been adopted by the House of Representatives to H.R. 2685 – FY16 Department of Defense Appropriations Act.

The Huffman-McClintock amendment strikes an unnecessary, expensive and wasteful half-century old earmark that requires the U.S. military base in Kaiserslautern, Germany to buy an expensive specific type of coal from Pennsylvania. The provision has cost taxpayers millions of dollars and the amendment frees up funds that the military needs to defend the nation.

The 36 other U.S. military installations in Germany operate effectively, and at a cost savings, without being forced into the same arrangement as Kaiserslautern. The Huffman-McClintock amendment was adopted by a bipartisan vote of 252 – 179.
The House also adopted a separate amendment authored by Congressman McClintock to save an estimated $7 billion by stopping expenditures for the Administration’s “green energy” programs.
“At a time when we are defending the nation both from external threats and a steadily mounting national debt, there is no excuse for wasting money in the defense budget,” Congressman McClintock said. “It is gratifying that the House is ending this wasteful spending, no matter how long-standing or well-intentioned it may be.”
H.R. 2685 – FY16 Department of Defense Appropriations Act was passed by the House by a vote of 278 – 149 and next goes to the Senate.

The Congressman’s remarks in support of both amendments are attached.

Defense Appropriations Act
Anthracite Coal Amendment

Mr. Chairman:

I do not support the war on coal waged by this administration and my friends on the left.

I DO support the war on waste, and I support this amendment based on that fiscal imperative.

Just a few weeks ago, so-called defense hawks demanded spending well in excess of budget caps because, they said our defense spending had been stretched to the breaking point.

In light of those warnings, I find it inexcusable that these scarce defense dollars would be so recklessly squandered in a corrupt earmark from a disgraced and deceased Pennsylvania Congressman that dates back to 1961.

That earmark requires that one – and only one – American Air Force base in Kaiserslautern, Germany must purchase 9,000 tons of Pennsylvania anthracite coal a year at a grossly inflated price estimated to be $20 million (or about 80 percent more expensive than commonly used coal). And that doesn’t include the cost of transporting this overpriced coal across the Atlantic Ocean and halfway across the European continent – a cost that is absorbed elsewhere in the Air Force Budget.

The excuse is that we would otherwise be dependent on Putin, but that doesn’t hold water – no other U.S. military base in Europe is required to buy this coal – only Kaiserslautern.

The Pentagon and successive Presidents have consistently protested this waste – but these protests have fallen on deaf ears in Congress – even while we’re told that our defense spending has been cut to the bone.

If we don’t change the spending trajectory of this government, the Congressional Budget Office warns that in the next ten years, just paying the interest on the national debt will exceed our entire defense budget. That makes rooting out waste like this a national defense imperative.

Green Energy Executive Orders
Department of Defense Appropriations Bill
(amendment was approved by voice vote)

Mr. Chairman:

This amendment forbids scarce defense dollars from being spent to fund three executive orders and several other provisions of law that require the military to squander billions of dollars on so-called “Green Energy.”

The House adopted this amendment by a voice vote last year.

I would again remind the House that just a few weeks ago, so-called defense hawks warned that our defense budget had been strangled by sequestration; that every dollar of waste had long ago been wrung from the Pentagon; and that our national security was directly imperiled as a result.

That argument carried the day, even though it will add billions of dollars to the national debt.

Yet, though we were told we didn’t have enough money to adequately pay and supply troops in the field, it seems we have plenty of defense money to indulge the “Green Energy” mandates that are imposed upon our armed forces.

What truly troubles me is that this was all aired during debate on the DOD appropriations bill last year, the limiting amendments were adopted by voice, and yet we see this same waste being allowed to continue in this year’s bill.

Let me refresh memories about these green energy mandates.

The GAO reports that these mandates have cost the Navy as much as $150 per gallon for jet fuel. In 2012, the Navy was forced to purchase 450,000 gallons of bio-fuel for its so-called “Green Fleet at the cost of $26.60 per gallon, when conventional petroleum cost just $2.50 per gallon.

These mandates forced the Air Force to pay $59 per gallon for 11,000 gallons of biofuel in 2012 – ten times more than regular jet fuel cost.

It’s not just biofuels.

Last year, the Pentagon was required to purchase over 1,000 Chevy Volts, at a subsidized price of $40,000 each.

As Sen. Coburn’s office pointed out, “EACH ONE of these $40,000 Chevy Volts represents the choice NOT to provide an entire infantry platoon with all new rifles, or 50,000 rounds of ammunition that cannot be used for realistic training.”

These “green energy” mandates have required the Army and Navy to install solar arrays at various facilities. At Naval Station Norfolk, the Navy spent $21 million dollars to install a 10 acre solar array – which will supply a grand total of two percent of the base’s electricity.

According to the Inspector General’s office, this project will save enough money to pay for itself in just 447 years. (Too bad that solar panels only last about 25 years).

We don’t know exactly how much these mandates waste because, as the GAO reports, “There is currently no comprehensive inventory of which federal agencies are implementing renewable energy related initiatives and the types of initiatives they are implementing.” But outside estimates are as much as $7 billion for the Department of Defense last year; a figure that is expected to grow in the future.

We’re told this program is necessary for flexibility. Really? Shouldn’t “flexibility” free us to get cheaper and more plentiful fuels – not more expensive and exotic ones?

We’re told that the military should do its part for the environment – as if it is possible to fight an environmentally sensitive war.

That, I fear, is the real reason for this wasteful spending: to sacrifice our military budget on the altar of climate change. This is part of an ideological crusade imposed on our military that will pointlessly consume billions of defense dollars, mainly to keep money flowing to politically well-connected “green energy” companies that can’t get anyone else to buy their products.

There’s a reason Admiral Mullin warned us that in his professional military judgment, the greatest threat to our national security is our national debt. We just increased that debt because of assurances we had stretched the defense budget to the breaking point.

As long as this program continues to consume billions of our defense dollars, this claim cannot be taken seriously.

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National Forests – Litigation and Increased Planning’s Impact on Our Nation’s Overgrown, Fire-rone National Forests

CA. Congressman Tom McClintock, Forestry & USFS

News from Congressman Tom McClintock, CA Dist. 4

May 14, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held an oversight hearing on “Litigation and Increased Planning’s Impact on Our Nation’s Overgrown, Fire-Prone National Forests.”

Supervisor Randy Hanvelt of Tuolumne County provided testimony at the hearing. Supervisor Hanvelt’s district includes large sections of the Stanislaus National Forest, which was severely impacted by the 2013 Rim Fire.

Committee hearing information can be found here. Attached is Subcommittee Chairman McClintock’s opening statement:

Opening Statement
Chairman Tom McClintock
Subcommittee on Federal Lands
Hearing on Litigation and Increased Planning’s Impact on Our Nation’s Overgrown, Fire-Prone National Forests
May 14, 2015

The Subcommittee on Federal Lands meets today to examine Litigation and Increased Planning’s Impact on Our Nation’s Overgrown, Fire-Prone National Forests.

Between 1989 and 2008, 1,125 lawsuits were filed against the Forest Service. Many more have been filed since then and much more case law created. There is no doubt that litigation has had a profound impact on the Forest Service and subsequently the management and mismanagement of our national forests. Sadly, litigation has become a cottage industry for some extremist groups whose sole purpose is to litigate the Forest Service with little regard to the impact and destruction they are causing.

Responding to appeals, lawsuits or even the threat of frivolous lawsuits, Forest Service employees have reduced the size and scope of projects and tried to ‘bullet-proof’ environmental documents required to implement forest management projects. The goal of the Forest Service then becomes not good forest management, but to prevent litigation or endless legal delays. The result is thicker and thicker environmental documents, more agency time and taxpayer dollars spent on smaller projects that accomplish less. During the 80’s, environmental documents to approve average forest management projects took roughly 3-6 months. Now they take anywhere from 14 to 20 months to complete—that is if they are ever completed.

Millions of taxpayer dollars are spent on shuffling paper, over-analysis and ensuring process is followed. We currently estimate planning and environmental analysis are roughly 60% of the costs of forest management projects. The increased cost of paperwork does not translate into greater benefits to the environment. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The greatest threat to many endangered species and their habitat is catastrophic wildfire. Yet rather than thinning the forest to protect this habitat, we’re spending millions upon millions on extraordinarily long, complicated, voluminous documents that impede our ability to properly manage the forests for the benefit of all species.

A quarter century of extremist litigation has placed our forests in extreme distress. Forest Service employees are demoralized and have little incentive to plan meaningful projects. Vibrant rural communities that once had an integrated forest products industry providing high wage jobs have faded away and instead find their finances hostage to largess from the Federal Government. Our forests are dying and burning up at an alarming rate. This is surely not the vision Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot had when they created the Forest Service.

California’s National Forests serve as one of many examples of this problem. Its national forests average 266 trees per acre on a landscape that historically sustained 20 to 100 trees per acre. This extreme overcrowding means that forests are dangerously stressed, falling prey to disease, pestilence and catastrophic wildfire.

Today, we are pleased to have Dale Bosworth, who served as Chief of the Forest Service from 2001-2007. Chief Bosworth is a second generation forester and Forest Service employee, native Californian and was raised on ranger station compounds. During his time as Chief he provided great leadership and valiantly confronted the problem he aptly named the “process predicament.” While some progress was made, I think the Chief will agree that much more needs to be done.

Also appearing today is Dr. Robert Malmsheimer, professor of Forest Policy and Law at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Dr. Malmsheimer has published numerous articles on Forest Service litigation and will give us an update on his latest research.

We also have Supervisor Randy Hanvelt of Tuolumne County, California. Supervisor Hanvelt’s district, which includes a great deal of the Stanislaus National Forest, was severely impacted by the Rim Fire. For all of the members on this subcommittee that have not seen the damage done by a catastrophic wildfire, I urge you to pay close attention to Randy’s testimony. The Rim Fire burned 402 square miles.

Eric Hofer once observed that every great cause becomes a movement, which becomes a business, which becomes a racket. Environmental litigation has reached this last stage, and Congress has a responsibility to the American people to set things straight.

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Rep. Tom McClintock to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

CA. Congressman Tom McClintock

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, May 9, 2015. McClintock will discuss bipartisan legislation to hold Washington accountable for better trade agreements that mean more jobs, prosperity, and freedom for the American people.

“The Constitution gives Congress the authority to regulate commerce with other nations,” Congressman McClintock said. “Since the 1930s, Congress has chosen to exercise its responsibility by establishing the broad terms of trade agreements it seeks and then giving explicit instructions to our negotiators at the beginning of the process. That process is now called Trade Promotion Authority. It has stood the test of time and has been used to the great benefit of our nation. It is freedom that produces prosperity – the free exchange of goods between people and between nations for their mutual betterment. The greater the freedom, the greater the prosperity. Trade Promotion Authority is a means by which this freedom is advanced.”

Rep. McClintock is in his fourth term representing California’s Fourth Congressional District. Learn more about Rep. McClintock by visiting his official website.

The Weekly Republican Address will be available nationwide starting Saturday, May 9, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

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CA. Dist. 4 Congressman Tom McClintock speaks of California drought

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, CA. Congressman Tom McClintock, California Rivers, California water

Save Our Water
House Chambers, Washington, D.C.
April 22, 2015

Mr. Speaker:

California is now in its fourth year of the worst drought on record. Hydrologists estimate it is the worst drought in 1,200 years. The Sierra Snowpack today is just six percent of normal. Many of our reservoirs are nearly empty. One of our largest, the New Melones Reservoir on the Stanislaus River, is at just 22 percent of its capacity – with the rainy season now officially over.

Water rationing is now in effect in many communities. Many Californians face $500 fines if they take too long in the shower or spill a gallon of water on their sidewalks.

And yet in the last several weeks, the Bureau of Reclamation has released about 10 BILLION gallons of what precious little water remains behind the New Melones Dam in order to nudge a handful of steelhead trout toward the ocean.

That’s enough water to meet the annual residential needs of a human population of 300,000. How many fish are affected?

Biologists estimate that it will affect the offspring of about 29 steelhead trout in the Stanislaus River – a few hundred smolts almost all of which will be eaten by predators long before they reach the ocean. And that assumes they won’t swim toward the ocean on their own – as they have been doing without our helpful assistance since time immemorial.

Put in financial terms, with water selling for $700 per acre foot, the cost of this ridiculous exercise is about $21million. But the real cost will be felt in the fall if the rains don’t return. At that point, these releases guarantee there will be no water left for human beings OR fish.

All this occurs AFTER a compromise without which Lake Tulloch, below New Melones, would have been drained below the water intake pipes that serve a population of nearly 10,000 human beings.

When are we going to wake up to the lunacy of these current environmental laws and the ideological zealots who are administering them?

Who in his right mind would dump enough water to meet the annual residential needs of a population of 300,000 human beings in order to nudge toward the ocean the offspring of maybe 29 steelhead trout – it could be as few as 6 – in the worst drought in 12 centuries? Yet that is precisely the policy of this administration.

President Obama has authority under the existing Endangered Species Act to convene a process to suspend these laws during the drought. Governor Brown also has the authority to request the president to act. Despite repeated calls to do so, neither has responded.

Ironically, before we built these dams, in a drought like this, there would be no water in the rivers and there would be no fish.

Nor is this waste limited to just one reservoir and one river. The Bureau of Reclamation is ordering pulse flows throughout the state, completely uncaring of the impact on the rapidly endangered species called Homo sapiens.

Mr. Speaker, three weeks ago, I introduced HR 1668, the Save Our Water Act. It simply provides that during an extreme drought, the requirements for massive environmental pulse flows are suspended. I want to urge speedy consideration and passage of this act, but I fear it will not come in time to prevent the exhaustion of our remaining water supply.

I warned of this practice last year, and I appealed to state and federal water managers to suspend these water releases during the drought. Sadly, I was unable to rally much public interest – I think in large part because few people actually believed that our water policy could possibly be so foolish.

They do now. We are now reaching a crisis that can no longer be ignored, and Californians are now starting to realize that our environmental laws long ago passed from the realm of reason to the realm of ideological extremism.

Droughts are nature’s fault. Water shortages are OUR fault. We once built dams to store water from wet years so that we would have it in dry ones. But the same radical environmental laws that are squandering our existing water supply have also obstructed the construction of any major new storage since 1979, while the population has nearly doubled.

Dr. Johnson once said that when a man is to be hanged in the morning, it concentrates his attention remarkably. If any good comes out of this drought, it may be that the American people finally have focused on the damage these laws have done, and are ready to change them and the zealots responsible for them.

 

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