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Browsing the blog archives for November, 2013.

Air regulators modify rules on diesel trucks

Agriculture - California

Issue Date: November 27, 2013

By Kate Campbell

Ag Alert

 http://www.agalert.com/story/?id=6118

Truck owners working to meet state deadlines for replacing or installing emissions control equipment on their diesel vehicles have been granted compliance relief. The state Air Resources Board detailed regulatory changes last week that recognize “good faith” efforts to meet the Jan. 1 compliance deadline.

The agency said it’s implementing some flexible compliance options to provide more time for many fleets to install particulate matter (PM) filters. The regulation requires diesel truck and bus owners to take steps to reduce their engine emissions as part of a state plan to meet federal air quality standards.

“For growers who use diesel trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 14,000 pounds or more, this regulatory change could provide some breathing room,” said Cynthia Cory, California Farm Bureau Federation environmental affairs director. “But this is a time-limited opportunity that will require folks to take action before Jan. 31, 2014, to take advantage of these new options.”

Although many heavier 1996-2006 engine model year trucks and buses are required to have particulate matter filters by Jan. 1, certain agricultural and low-use vehicles, as well as vehicles that operate in specific counties, already had been granted compliance extensions under the regulation’s flexibility options.

ARB proposed further expansion of these flexibility options to include increasing low-use vehicle thresholds, adding new opt-in opportunities, expanding regions that are “NOx exempt” and providing more time in some areas to meet compliance requirements.

Cory noted the ARB will hold a series of public workshops to provide more information about the proposed amendments to the In-Use On-Road Heavy Duty Diesel-Fueled Vehicle Regulation. At the workshops, vehicle owners will have an opportunity to comment on proposed changes; see workshop times and locations below.

“The workshops will allow vehicle owners affected by the rule to evaluate proposed amendments and suggest modifications to regulatory approaches for meeting emission reduction requirements,” she said.

Cory recommended that truck owners print the 2014 reporting form and bookmark the link on their computers: www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdiesel/documents/reportonpaper.pdf.

“The most important fact to know is this reopening of the reporting for ag trucks and any of the other options—log truck phase-in, low mileage construction, NOx exempt, etc.—closes on Jan. 31, 2014. That gives us a very short window to register trucks and achieve compliance,” she stressed.

ARB staff said it plans to present the regulatory amendments for board approval at a meeting next April. Meanwhile, the board directed staff to allow fleets to take advantage of planned regulatory changes before they are voted on by the board.

“These changes will help businesses meet the cleanup requirements in a way that will not compromise the health benefits or the emissions reductions this vitally important regulation will achieve during its lifetime,” ARB executive officer Richard Corey said.

Counties and areas proposed to be defined as NOx exempt include Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Inyo, eastern Kern, Mariposa, Mono, Nevada, eastern Riverside, northeastern San Bernardino, eastern Solano, Sutter, Tuolumne and Yolo.

Trucks included in reports to ARB must have been owned by Jan. 1, 2009. Trucks bought after that date cannot fall under the AG mileage threshold provision.

In 2000, the ARB adopted its Diesel Risk Reduction Plan aimed at reducing diesel emissions from all sources, including trucks used in agriculture, urban buses, construction equipment, port trucks and fuels. The Truck and Bus Regulation was adopted in 2008. In 2010, it was amended to provide economic relief to truck owners affected by the recession, particularly small fleets, by delaying initial compliance requirements for one year and extending the time a truck could be operated before requiring replacement.

Of 260,000 diesel trucks registered in California that need a soot filter, the ARB said, about 140,000 already comply, with owners of about 100,000 using regulatory flexibility to delay the compliance date. For small fleets—three or fewer vehicles—the Jan. 1 deadline would have been the first time at least one vehicle in each fleet would have needed to comply with soot-filter requirements.

For small fleets, the ARB said the Jan. 1 deadline is a “critical compliance milestone.” ARB estimated about 15,000 vehicles in small fleets still need to retrofit or upgrade equipment to meet the deadline.

Information about regulatory requirements and modifications is available at www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/truckstop/truckstop.htm. Questions may be emailed to 866Diesel@arb.ca.gov.

(Kate Campbell is an assistant editor of Ag Alert. She may be contacted at kcampbell@cfbf.com.)

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News from Klamath Basin Crisis.org

Klamath Basin Crisis.org

KBC News

Mercy Chefs, ‘feeding body and soul’

Happy Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for!

Klamath water task force to hold final meeting Tuesday December 3, H&N 11/28/13

Whitsett files for second term, H&N 11/28/13

ACTION ALERT Another Big Green power player moves up in Obama’s Washington, Washington Examiner, posted to KBC 11/27/13. “Those two large agencies have a track record of appalling behavior that ranges from massively coercing private property away from thousands of owners, to faking science for new regulations, to cozy sue-and-settle lawsuits with not-so-former green group colleagues.” “Urgent: Call Your Senators Today To Stop Rhea Sun Suh Green Grab!”

www.klamathbasincrisis.org

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California set to deny protections for gray wolves

Federal gov & land grabs, Wolves

Tim Hearden

Capital Press

 

 

   

John and Karen Hollingsworth/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A gray wolf is seen in this file photo.

    Buy this photo

A preliminary study by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife finds there isn’t a need to give the gray wolf protections under the state Endangered Species Act, mainly because no wolf populations have yet been established in the state.

SACRAMENTO — Wildlife officials in California appear to be preparing to deny state Endangered Species Act protections for the gray wolf.

A preliminary study by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife finds there isn’t a need for such a listing, partly because no wolf populations are established here, said Eric Loft, chief of the agency’s wildlife branch.

“We tentatively indicated to the peer reviewers … that we don’t think it’s warranted,” Loft said. “But it remains to be seen whether or not that’s going to be the final conclusion depending on the peer review comments.”

The study is being reviewed by outside scientists, then the agency will prepare a final document and send it to the state Fish and Game Commission, perhaps by its February meeting, Loft said.

The Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental groups requested the petition last year, shortly after the arrival of OR-7, the first known gray wolf in California in decades. That wolf has since returned to Oregon.

In an initial review of the petition last year, state officials wrote that the environmental groups had failed to submit materials to support its claims. However, the department was still required by law to evaluate the petition.

Amaroq Weiss, the Center for Biological Diversity’s West Coast wolf organizer, said she was told by a state official that the agency was leaning toward denying the petition because there are no wolf populations in California.

She said she believes wolves will gain protections here eventually, as they’re almost certain to migrate south from Oregon. When they do, another petition will be filed, she said.

“Wolves are going to get listed in California, whether it’s now or later,” Weiss said. “I think that their listing is certain eventually from the fact that more wolves are going to be coming here in the future.”

Weiss noted the Department of Fish and Wildlife spent two years studying wolves before the arrival of OR-7, and have spent nearly two more years studying the issue since the petition was filed in February 2012.

“Having spent four years, it would be a waste of time to turn their backs on the issue,” she said. “It’s going to come back.”

The petition comes as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is gathering public input on a proposal to remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for the gray wolf in the lower 48 states. A public hearing here was slated for Nov. 22.

Loft said the federal proposal could impact the Fish and Game Commission’s decision.

“I’m sure the Fish and Game Commission will take whatever the federal listing situation is and evaluate it,” he said.

– See more at: http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131119/ARTICLE/131119888/1185?utm_source=Capital+Press+Newsletters&utm_campaign=21a74df43b-California_Weekly_Update&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4b7e61b049-21a74df43b-69631317#sthash.NPRdhjZ6.dpuf

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Senator quits to avoid recall over gun control

2nd Amendment rights

 Democrat tries to preserve party’s control of state legislature

 By Bob Unruh

World Net Daily.com

A Colorado lawmaker targeted for recall because of her support for a White House-driven anti-gun agenda in the state legislature has quit rather than wait for the results of a recall vote, after two of her colleagues were voted out of office.

For state Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, the previous recalls of two Democrats left her party with only an 18-17 advantage in the chamber. A successful recall against Hudak would have shifted the majority to the Republican Party.

The Denver Post reported Hudak announced her decision in a letter to her party leadership, stating that by “resigning I am protecting these important new laws for the good of Colorado and ensuring that we can continue looking forward.”

State law allows the Democratic Party vacancy committee to appoint a replacement to fill her seat until 2014.

WND reported earlier on the dirty tricks in the anti-gun rights campaign to shut down the voices of Hudak’s critics.

The effort to remove Hudak followed the earlier recall of Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron. At that time, WND reported, recall backers charged that Chicago-style thug tactics were being used against them.

The tactics apparently were being employed again in the Hudak campaign.

Anti-recall activists were telling voters that the collectors of petition signatures could be criminals, according to a report posted at the Independence Institute website.

“Residents in the Arvada/Westminster area of Hudak’s district receive door hangers that made broad, unsubstantiated claims that signature gatherers in the area were criminals. The door hangers also suggested that the signature gatherers would use any information received on the petitions for nefarious purposes,” the report said.

Denver’s Channel 9 reported a robocall also was added to the mix.

The message said: “This is a community alert for Arvada and Westminster from the Democracy Defense Fund. Paid signature-gatherers who have not gone through a criminal background check could be in Westminster and Arvada this week asking for signatures in a recall petition.”

The woman in the robocall then tells listeners not to sign a petition and claims that personal information could be collected by someone who has not gone through a background check.

“If you sign this petition, your signature and personal information will become public record, available for anyone to access,” said the warning.

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Rep. LaMalfa Comments on Court Ruling Halting California High Speed Rail

CA & OR, Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

Washington, DCRepresentative Doug LaMalfa today commented on a state court ruling which found the California High Speed Rail Authority’s plan violated voter-approved law and effectively halted the project. LaMalfa, who authored legislation to place the project back on the ballot while a member of the state Senate, said the ruling would finally force the state government to recognize that the project bore no resemblance to the plan voters were promised.

“It’s been clear for years that the California High Speed Rail Authority has little regard for the promises made to voters in 2008. After spending $600 million the Authority has nothing to show for it but a plan that violates the written bond measure that was passed,” said LaMalfa. “This ruling is a victory for voters and a reminder that California’s goverment must abide by its own laws, regardless of what some politicians think.”

While voters were promised a system connecting Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego for about $34 billion, the Authority’s plan costs over twice as much and would reach from near San Francisco to near Los Angeles. Despite being promised a one-seat ride, Californians would need to transfer to local mass transit to actually reach those cities.

 

“The ruling halts state spending and most federal funds can’t be spent without matching funds from the state, meaning the project is dead in the water,” LaMalfa added. “I’ll be working in Washington to ensure that the unspent federal funding is redirected to more useful purposes, which at this point would be literally almost anything else.”

 

Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.

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‘Wolves’ showing changes venue

Wolves

Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 5:00 am

 White Mountain Independent

Show Low, Arizona

Karen Warnick – The Independent                                                                                     

In an article in the Tuesday, Nov. 19, edition of The Independent, it was reported that the showing of the documentary “Wolves in Government Clothing” would be shown in its entirety on Dec. 3 at noon at the Hon-Dah Resort Conference Center. That is the day of the public hearing by U.S. Fish and Wildlife on the changes to the wolf reintroduction program.

Due to a lack of space, the location of the showing of the documentary has been changed to the McNary Community Center from noon to 3 p.m. Part one of the documentary will be shown only, which deals with local people, and there will be several speakers afterwards. There will be time to then make it to the presentations by Fish and Wildlife at Hon-Dah at 3:30 p.m. and the public hearing at 6 p.m.

Reach the reporter at kwarnick@wmicentral.com

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A MUST HEAR! New Christmas Song

Enjoy

PNP comment: I heard this last year. It is a great fun song. — Editor Liz Bowen

A MUST HEAR! New Christmas Song

This is pretty cool……. Enjoy!

Don’t go CHRISTMAS shopping until you watch this YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln01p1M2cH0

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Op-ed on Oregon Forestry — politics and economy

CA & OR, Forestry & USFS

Hi Everyone  –

I’m sure many of you have seen that Senator Wyden/Chairman Wyden (which?) released his O&C Legislation today.    The bill, a section by section, maps and more can be found right on the Senator’s website   www.wyden.senate.gov

See the Oregonian Editorial below.

It was a long road to get here and there are more steps ahead.   I’m sure there will be lots of opinions and questions about it.  We look forward to discussing further with you – getting your questions and comments as we work to advance it through the legislative process.   Sorry about the timing.  The government shutdown put a real crimp in our ability to get it out and this was one of the few days where everything aligned to release it, but now it is out and we look forward to working with folks.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Mary Gautreaux

U.S Senator Ron Wyden

Deputy State Director

911 NE 11th Ave

Portland, OR  97232

503.326.7525

mary_gautreaux@wyden.senate.gov

 

Sen. Ron Wyden’s O&C plan follows right path: Editorial Agenda 2013

Senator Ron Wyden

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., discusses his proposed O&C lands legislation with The Oregonian editorial board. (Stephanie Yao Long/The Oregonian)

The Oregonian Editorial Board By The Oregonian Editorial Board
on November 26, 2013 at 3:56 PM, updated November 26, 2013 at 5:08 PM

The path to increased logging on federal O&C land in Oregon has been a treacherous one marked by detours, collapsed bridges of trust and political minefields. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., unveiled a new policy mapthis week that could put Oregon’s long-struggling timber counties back on the road to viability. The plan is a compromise that likely will leave all sides –environmentalists, the timber industry, elected officials in timber counties –a little bit uncomfortable. And that’s part of why the bill deserves support.

There simply is not enough common ground to create policy for the former Oregon & California Railroad trust lands that will please everyone. The various constituencies can’t agree on the definition of clear-cut, much less finer points such as the best ways to protect streams and species. Without compromise, management of these unique forestlands in 18 Oregon counties never will change.

This might be the best chance to pass O&C legislation before at least some of Oregon’s timber counties become what Wyden termed “economic sacrifice zones.” Wyden is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., is chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., is the ranking Democrat. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., is part of House leadership and has close ties to Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. After 2014 elections, committee assignments will change and the odds of pushing a similar piece of public lands legislation through Congress likely will diminish.

But more importantly, Wyden’s plan makes sense. It seeks to roughly double timber harvests on O&C lands from the levels of the past 10 years, reduce litigation, protect old-growth trees, provide habitat for sensitive species, safeguard drinking water and fisheries, and create new conservation areas. To accomplish this, Wyden leans on “ecological forestry” concepts developed by Jerry Franklin of the University of Washington and K. Norman Johnson of Oregon State University. Franklin and Johnson, two of the region’s leading forest scientists, helped develop the Northwest Forest Plan in the early 1990s.

Of course, disagreements arise from the details – some of which are certain to evolve as the legislation moves through Congress – more than from the principles. “We should be adapting what we’ve learned to how we manage the land,” said Steve Pedery, conservation director for Oregon Wild. However, Pedery disagrees with Wyden on how to make those changes.

In general, Oregon Wild and other conservation groups feel that the O&C plan undercuts the Northwest Forest Plan. Among other specific reservations, Pedery said the O&C plan was developed too quickly with too little input, doesn’t set aside enough new wilderness area and does not maintain reserves of older trees that don’t meet the old-growth cutoff of 120 years.

“What he’s trying to do is solve a political problem,” not improve forest management or the environment, Pedery said. And that’s the rub, no matter your point of view on logging and forest practices. Because this is a political problem – one that affects the ability of many rural Oregonians to earn a living.

DeFazio, Walden and Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., sponsored an O&C bill that passed the House earlier this fall. But that bill has no chance of passing the Senate, and President Barack Obama has said he would veto it anyway. While withholding judgment on the Wyden plan until they had time to study it, the Association of O&C Counties released a statement Tuesday saying it “remains steadfastly supportive” of the House bill.

Somehow, Congress will have to reconcile the House and Senate bills. DeFazio told The Oregonian editorial board that he had not seen Wyden’s full bill, but from the outline that he had read, it looked like “bridging the differences will be a difficult task.” Gov. John Kitzhaber issued a statement Tuesday pledging to assist the Oregon delegation in trying to overcome those differences and pass legislation.

Certainly, aspects of both bills raise legitimate questions. Would the House bill grant the state too much control over federal land and set a regrettable precedent? Are Wyden’s proposals for limiting the times and circumstances for appeals achievable? Will ecological forestry, an emerging science practiced on test plots so far, produce the habitat projected by Franklin and Johnson? Will Wyden’s plan produce enough timber to slow the economic bleeding in Oregon’s timber counties?

No one really can answer all those questions. Despite collapsed bridges of the past, the conservation community and those striving to help economically distressed timber counties must trust each other and the system enough to make needed adjustments along the way. The alternative would be to create economic sacrifice zones that would be uglier than a clear-cut.

© 2013 OregonLive.com. All rights reserved.

Mary Gautreaux

U.S Senator Ron Wyden

Deputy State Director

911 NE 11th Ave

Portland, OR  97232

503.326.7525

mary_gautreaux@wyden.senate.gov

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Fresno farm dispute spolights California’s ag labor law

Agriculture - California

    By Jeremy B. White
jwhite@sacbee.com

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 – 12:00 am

http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/27/5950207/fresno-farm-dispute-spolights.html

It has been 23 years since workers at a massive farming company in Fresno, led by labor icon Cesar Chavez, organized and voted to have the United Farm Workers union represent them.

Certifying a union does not guarantee a contract, and in the decades since the UFW came to Gerawan Farming, laborers have picked and sorted peaches and grapes without one. As the years have passed, many of the Gerawan workers who worked to unionize have moved on.

It has been so long that, just as a contract finally appeared to be forthcoming this year, some workers clamored to strip the UFW of its right to represent Gerawan workers. While union officials contend workers were prodded by management, the workers who repudiate the UFW ask where the union has been all these years.

“We got surprised because we never knew the union” represented us, said Silvia Lopez, a 15-year employee who has organized the UFW dercertification campaign. “So many years working here, and then they show up and say they have a union there.”

The situation at Gerawan is raising questions about whether California’s landmark agricultural labor law, a signature achievement of Gov. Jerry Brown’s first tenure, is working as intended to expedite contract disputes.

Brown signed the Agricultural Labor Relations Act in 1975. It was an era that saw a younger Brown publicly cultivating a relationship with Chavez and expressing solidarity with farmworkers. The law sought to quell farm labor strife by providing protections for workers and a legal framework for organizing.

But even after the UFW won its election at Gerawan, management continued to oppose the UFW’s drive for a contract, according to union officials. The stalemate mirrored stalled farm labor fights across the state, where more than 25 years after the act’s passage Democrats maintained that union representation failed to yield a contract in the majority of cases.

By the time Gov. Gray Davis was in office, the United Farm Workers and allies said the Agricultural Labor Relations Act had become ineffective. They called for mechanisms to resolve bogged-down contract clashes where management refused to negotiate.

Davis obliged in 2002. Over strident opposition from employers, he signed amendments aimed at ending the most stubborn farm labor disputes by allowing parties to invoke what is known as “mandatory mediation,” in which a state mediator listens to both sides and then dictates a contract.

“It is clear that that some parts of the system are broken,” Davis wrote in his signing message, adding that “in nearly 60 percent of the cases in which a union wins an election, management never agrees to a contract.”

Since the changes went into effect, the UFW has proceeded cautiously. With an eye on legal challenges and the occupant of the Governor’s Office, labor officials targeted smaller farming operations before eventually turning to Gerawan. UFW spokesman Marc Grossman said that organizing thousands of workers, many of them seasonal and thus transient, is arduous, time-consuming work.

“Gerawan is like an aircraft carrier,” Grossman said. “You don’t turn it around easily.”

Then something unexpected happened. Just as the UFW appeared on the verge of securing a contract for laborers at Gerawan, some of those workers rallied behind a different message: What has the union done for us lately?

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/27/5950207/fresno-farm-dispute-spolights.html#storylink=cpy

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News from Klamath Basin Crisis.org

Klamath Basin Crisis.org

KBC News / www.klamathbasincrisis.org

Psalm 38:17-22:  “For I am ready to fall and my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare my inequity; I will be in anguish for my sin. But my enemies are vigorous, and they are strong; and those who hate me wrongly have multiplied. Those also who render evil for good, they are my adversaries, because I follow what is good. Do not forsake me O Lord; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation.” Sent from Frank Tallerico

State lawmakers confer in three-day session; Gail Whitsett in favor of independent OIT board. U.S. Rep Greg Walden addresses water quality rules. Klamath Tribes chairman Don Gentry visits White House, H&N 11/22/13. “President Obama has committed to following through with obligations to tribes and to honor treaties,” Gentry said. During the conference, Gentry spoke about the Mazama Forest acquisition at an economic tribal development breakout session. He said the session was an opportunity to open a dialogue about generating support and finding administrative consultants for the 90,000-acre acquisition, which is part of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement signed in 2010.”

Crater Lake water crisis. Crater Lake faces significant cutbacks. Yearly budget trimmed by $150,000. Water quality worries, H&N, posted to KBC 11/23/13. Because the park has a low priority among water users — it ranks 28th — calls for water last summer by the Klamath Tribes, which have priority water rights, created concerns the park might have to close. Ackerman said trucking water to the park was not feasible because it would have cost $900,000 a month.”

Klamath County Water Crisis by Heather Smith Thomas, posted to KBC 11/23/13. “One of the most devastating government “takings” in the history of the U.S. is in progress in Klamath County, Oregon.  This movement to get farmers and ranchers off their privately owned lands has been brewing for many years but came to a head after a sequence of events this spring and summer shut off long-time water rights and deprived landowners of their ability to irrigate or water their livestock.”

Hatchery Salmon – Progress seen in Hood River’s spring chinook run; Starting to build a self-sustaining program, H&N, posted to KBC 11/23/13. Beginning in the early 1990s, the tribes and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife started stocking the river with hatchery bred spring chinook, taken from Deschutes River stocks, to try to resurrect the wild run. Under the “supplementation” approach, when the hatchery fish return to the river, they’re allowed onto wild spawning grounds. When their offspring return, they’re counted as wild….We’re looking for a middle ground, where we can have both fish and farmers.”

Salvage logging planned on Oregon fire site. Miami Herald 11/21/13

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