Mar 12, 2012
PNP comment: What a bunch of hooey! The public lands must be open to “the public!” Enough Nanny State by the USFS, which is an extremely poor manager of wildlands. Tax payers — take your land back. We pay taxes to pay for salaries of government officials to manage our land and then we are not allowed to use our land? What a bunch of hooey! — Editor Liz Bowen
Latest News from the Associated Press
Mar 12, 8:39 PM EDT
ELKO, Nev. (AP) — A U.S. Forest Service regional official on Monday defended the agency’s decision to close some roads in national forests across the West as an unpopular but necessary response to a rapid increase of off-road vehicle travel.
Regional Forester Harv Forsgren said in testimony prepared for a congressional field hearing in Elko that motor vehicle use has damaged natural and cultural resources.
Forsgren said he is aware the restrictions “may change the way people experience their national forests.” But he said he wants such plans is “an ongoing process” and suggested that officials are willing to modify the plan if circumstances change.
Forsgren oversees 34 million acres of national forest land in Nevada, Utah, western Wyoming, western Colorado and eastern California. He spoke before the House Resources subcommittee on national parks, forests and public lands.
Mar 12, 2012
It now looks as if Gov. Jerry Brown intends to finish up this piece of unresolved business.
Opinion By Jim Newton
March 12, 2012
When Gov. Jerry Brown wrapped up his tenure last time through, he left a huge unresolved question for California: In the wake of a failed 1982 initiative to fund the so-called peripheral canal, how would the state distribute and safeguard its water supply?
How to maximize the water supply and allocate it fairly has been debated often in the years since without producing a solution. But it now looks as if Brown intends to finish up this piece of unresolved business.
Earlier this month, state water officials presented him with the basics of a plan that would have profound implications for the future of California, as well as the legacy of its governor. If it is approved by the relevant state and federal agencies and overcomes any legal challenges, it would reroute water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, diverting freshwater around the marshy area that sits below sea level and transporting it, either by tunnel or canal, into the State Water Project, which serves parts of the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. The plan calls for extensive habitat restoration as well.
That sounds simple enough, but even the hint of it resurrects an exceptionally divisive debate. In the early 1980s, Brown’s proposal for a peripheral canal — which had much in common with the project now being proposed — split Californians along geographic lines. Wildly popular in Southern California, the idea was reviled in the north. I was in high school in Palo Alto when it first began to circulate; my friends and neighbors could not mention the proposal without deriding it as a Los Angeles “water grab.” Some Northern Californians even advocated splitting the state in two.
Proposition 9, the bond measure that would have paid for the canal, went down to a narrow defeat that highlighted the tensions between north and south. Los Angeles County backed the measure by 61% to 39%; in Northern California, meanwhile, more than 90% of voters in many counties opposed it.
Mar 12, 2012
Michael Doyle – Bee Washington Bureau
Friday, Mar. 09, 2012 | 11:23 PM
WASHINGTON — Lawmakers have quietly begun laying groundwork for a California water bill that could pass the Senate and become law.
If it happens, it will be less ambitious than one passed recently by the Republican-controlled House. It’s likely to avoid dramatically rewriting a San Joaquin River restoration plan. And, it’s going to demand some give-and-take from all sides.
“I think we have to be able to work across the aisle to help the San Joaquin Valley,” Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, said, “and we also have to be able to work across both houses [of Congress].”
In recent days, Denham met with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in her Senate office to discuss the California water legislation and other common concerns. Significantly, there will be more meetings to come.
Following next week’s congressional recess, Denham said he will privately be convening again with Feinstein along with Reps. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater. Costa and Cardoza were among a handful of Democrats to vote for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act on Feb. 29.
The bill would lengthen irrigation contracts to 40 years, rather than the 25 years currently in place. It would override state law, would increase deliveries to farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and would significantly revise a San Joaquin River restoration plan.
Even as they voted for the controversial House water bill, Costa and Cardoza had stressed the need to collaborate with Feinstein in order to make long-term progress.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to reach some level of consensus on how we can move forward,” Costa said.
Two House members who aren’t scheduled to join the Feinstein meeting are the bill’s chief House author, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, and the chairman of the House water and power subcommittee, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove.
Nunes has not endeared himself to Feinstein, as he has regularly denounced her for being allied with those he calls “radical environmentalists” and members of the “hippie generation.” Last year, he sponsored ads attacking her alleged “hypocrisy” on water issues.
“We have to work together,” Feinstein said, “but it’s difficult when you’re being trashed.”
Nunes, in turn, stresses that he has other, conservative allies in the Senate with whom he can work.
McClintock has not talked to Feinstein about water legislation in the year that he has led the House water and power panel, the senator said, but the congressman’s press secretary, Jennifer Cressy, said in an email that McClintock “respects the independent role of the Senate.”.
“Congressman McClintock is looking forward to participating in the conference process once the Senate has acted,” Cressy said.
The House bill’s provision to change San Joaquin River restoration plans appears to face the stiffest Senate opposition.
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