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Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Monday, March 27th, 2017.

WLJ Guest Opinion: Is your local government prepared?

Agriculture, Liberty, President Trump and officials, Property rights

Western Livestock Journal

March 27, 2017

By Karen Budd-Falen

Is your local government prepared?

President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have made promises about moving federal agency decision making back to the local level, putting Americans back to work and ensuring that the public lands are managed for “multiple use.”

While that sounds wonderful, making those promises means more than a directive from Washington D.C. It means that your local governments have to take the lead in dealing with the federal agencies. Local decision making is not just for counties with federal lands, but federal decisions can impact the use of private property as well.

There are three major ways that a local government can influence federal agency decisions; the type of process used by a local government will depend on the type of decision to be made and the time constraints of the local government. One type of local participation is not “better” or “worse” than another type. Again, it depends on the type of decision to be influenced and the preference of the local government.

So, again, I would pose the question: Is your local government prepared for local decision making? The following should help:

Consistency review

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) mandate that federal agency actions be as consistent as possible with local land-use policies or plans (LUP) and that the federal government must attempt to reconcile its federal decisions with the local LUP.

Those provisions are key in implementing the president’s promises, but there is a catch. In order to require this “consistency review,” a local government has to have a written local LUP, otherwise there is nothing for the federal agencies to be consistent with.

In my view, first, a local government should start with a review of the federal actions that the local government thinks will happen within the area. For example, are there threatened or endangered species or species of concern that will impact your constituents’ private property? Is the BLM or Forest Service revising its land-use plans or implementing their land-use plans? Was a local area included within a national monument, meaning that a management plan will have to be prepared? Are there any special designation lands that have been proposed like wild and scenic rivers, wilderness or conservation areas? Or are there other federal decisions that may impact the private property of your constituents and/or the public lands?

Second, the local government should determine its processes for dealing with the federal agencies. When do you want to update the federal agencies regarding the local government’s activities and when does the local government want updates from the federal agencies? How do you propose transmitting the local LUP to the federal agencies and offices? What is the local government’s view of “early consultation?” How does the local government want “coordination” to occur? These processes should be carefully articulated in the local LUP.

Third, the local LUP should discuss the “custom and culture” of the citizens, the history of the area, and the environmental features important to the local government. This information can come from historical accounts, personal stories, and environmental descriptions such as state wildlife habitat maps, National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil descriptions, forage surveys, and other data. I do not believe that a local government has to gather new data or participate in new studies, but it is important to compile existing data from as many sources as possible to support your policies.

Fourth, your local LUP should include economic data and analysis. This should be more than just gathering employment statistics. Rather, the economic data included in the local LUP should support the local government’s policies. For example, if agriculture is important to the local economy, the local LUP should describe the economic detriment of a federal decision that would reduce animal unit months (AUMs) on public land or restrict grazing on private land. Most land-grant universities have good statistical data that can assist you with this analysis. You should also include information like circulating dollars, job numbers for the various economic segments, etc.

Finally, once the data is gathered, the local LUP should include the policies that the federal agencies should use for consistency review purposes. I believe that these policies are always stronger and provide a good basis from which the local government can work, if they are based on the data described above regarding custom and culture, economic stability and environmental protection.

I do not believe a simple “wish list” from the local government is a strong basis for protecting your constituents.

Additionally, in making decisions in compliance with NEPA, the federal government must use the “best data and information available.” The best available information about the local effects of a federal decision on the local custom, culture, economy and environment should come from the local government itself.

Note that your local LUP has to be in compliance with federal statutes and regulations with the “full force and effect of law.” However most federal statutes are very broadly written and allow for the survival of the local citizens, businesses and economies; the local government just has to assert those requirements.

Coordination

FLPMA and the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) also require “coordination.” Coordination is a process; not a result. Additionally, while your local government should “coordinate” with the federal agencies to protect their constituents and influence federal decisions, there is no statute dictating the specifics of the coordination process. Because the elements or steps of coordination are not statutorily defined, local governments should use their local LUP to define what coordination means and how it should work.

Cooperating agency status

NEPA also allows local governments to participate in an agency decision making process as “cooperating agencies.” An applicant for cooperating agency status must both (1) be a locally elected body such as a conservation district board of supervisors or a county commission; and (2) possess “special expertise.”

A local government’s special expertise is defined as the authority granted to a local governing body by state statute. Being a cooperating agency allows the local government to participate in the “identification team” with a federal agency. It is just another tool that a local government should consider when dealing with federal agencies.

Local governments can have a major impact on federal agency decisions if they are prepared and willing to take on the challenge. There are over 1,000 counties in the U.S. with a population of less than 10,000 citizens. Each one of these rural counties should have a voice in federal decisions that impact it. Is your county prepared? — Karen Budd- Falen, Senior Partner at Budd-Falen Law Offices LLC

http://npaper-wehaa.com/wlj#2017/03/27/?article=2894910

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State water agency unlikely to meet deadlines to repair Oroville Dam spillway, expert says

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather

L.A. Times

March 24, 2017

An engineering expert who visited the troubled Lake Oroville reservoir said this week that it would be nearly impossible for the state to complete temporary repairs to its fractured and eroded main spillway by a target date of Nov. 1.

In a report submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week, a panel of five independent consulting engineers warned that “a significant risk would be incurred” if the main spillway was not operational after October, which is the traditional start of California’s rainy season.

MORE

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-oroville-repair-timeline20170324-story.html

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Get ready for Calexit! Now Nigel Farage and the ‘Bad Boys of Brexit’ set their sights on splitting California in two

Briexit

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WHERE’S JEFFERSON?

AGENDA 21 RADIO

BY PAUL PRESTON

The ‘Bad Boys of Brexit‘ who led the campaign to break Britain away from the European Union have taken on a new exit challenge: splitting California into two states.

Former UKip leader Nigel Farage and Leave backer Arron Banks have just returned from the United States, where they helped raise $1million (£800,000) for a ‘Calexit’ campaign, which would split California into two eastern and western regions.

There are several ‘Calexit’ campaigns competing for a referendum in the United States, with one aiming to remove the state from America entirely as a response to President Donald Trump being elected last year.

Farage and Banks, who led the ‘Leave.EU’ campaign, appear to be pitting the eastern, more rural side of California against the western ‘coastal elite’ liberals in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

If broken apart, the eastern part of California would more likely vote Republican, giving the party two more senators and electoral college votes for a 2020 presidential election.

The Western side of the state would likely continue to vote Democrat in elections.

Farage and Banks’ goal is to hold a referendum during the US midterm elections in 2018, according to The Sunday Times.

Banks said of the campaign: ‘It would be portrayed as the Hollywood elites versus the people, breaking up the bad government. Seventy-eight per cent of people in California are unhappy with their government. It’s the world’s sixth largest economy and it’s very badly run.’

Banks said he and Farage wanted to show people in California ‘how to light a fire and win’ the Calexit referendum.

The pair were recruited for the campaign by polling expert Gerry Gunster and Republican Scott Baugh, a former member of the state assembly.

Banks, Farage and their spokesman Andy Wigmore were in California two weeks ago to receive an award for their Brexit campaign from the American Association of Political Consultants.

While in the state, Farage attended several events in Orange County, where Baugh is based, and about $1million was raised for the ‘Calexit’ campaign.

Banks, Farage and their spokesman Andy Wigmore were in California two weeks ago to receive an award for their Brexit campaign from the American Association of Political Consultants

Wigmore said that those who raised money – agriculture tycoons and tech entrepreneurs – have felt ‘left out since [Former President Ronald] Reagan’.

‘This has been done before with West Virginia and Virginia and North and South Dakota, so it can work,’ he said.

Banks added: ‘We were saying that people said the same about Brexit — and we just went and did it. The money was pledged to take it to the next level. This could be the greatest political showdown ever.’

Gunster has helped win 30 state referendums in America and predicted the EU vote within .01 per cent.

In California, 365,800 people have to sign a petition for a proposition to appear on a ballot.

With a population of nearly 40 million, California is one of the most diverse states in America, with whites outnumbered by Hispanics and members of other ethnic groups,

In 2015, it also had the sixth largest economy in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund — ahead of France and India.

In November’s election, the state broke nearly two-to-one in favor of Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Another Calexit campaign emerging, called Yes California, would see the state seceding from America entirely.

Should that initiative make it on the ballot, a ‘Yes’ vote would repeal clauses in the California Constitution ‘stating California is an inseparable part of the United States and that the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land,’ a statement from California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office said.

Farage, the former UKip leader, was the first British politician to meet President Donald Trump after his election win

Farage, the former UKip leader, was the first British politician to meet President Donald Trump after his election win

Voters would then need to decide in another referendum in 2019 whether California should become a separate country.

Yes California campaigners are pushing for independence on grounds the state is out of step with the rest of the US and could flourish on its own.

‘In our view, the United States of America represents so many things that conflict with Californian values, and our continued statehood means California will continue subsidizing the other states to our own detriment, and to the detriment of our children,’ according to their website.

Farage, the former UKip leader, was the first British politician to meet Trump after his election win.

He and the other ‘Bad Boys of Brexit’ held a boozy Washington DC party ahead of now-President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January

Farage toasted the billionaire tycoon in front of a rowdy crowd during a speech ahead of the presidential win.

In a speech to the packed room he said: ‘Brexit was great but Trump becoming president is Brexit plus, plus, plus. He was right when he said it was a movement – but a movement can’t exist, or flourish, without a leader. And Trump is the only man I’ve ever met in my life who has made me feel like an introvert.

‘He is a larger than life personality. When he was given the rule book for how you run for president he tore up the book and threw it out of the window.

In February, Farage posted a picture of him having 'dinner with The Donald' at a Trump Hotel on Twitter

‘And I guess, when I look back in the years to come, perhaps the greatest joy of 2016 was that realisation, as state after state in the mid-West went red, just to see the faces of those democrats.

‘I’ve spent most my life in politics being regarded, I suppose, as the patron saint of lost causes.

‘Through most of my life, what happens in America in terms of social trends or developments, we follow four or five years later. America is the leader.

‘Now I would like to think in my own little way that what we did with Brexit was the beginning of what is going to turn out to be a global revolution and that Trump’s victory is a part of that.’

Farage said: ‘We’ve had Brexit and perhaps that contributed just a little bit to things changing in the USA and who’s to say that bandwagon won’t continue to roll in 2017 across much of Europe.’

In February, Farage posted a picture of him having ‘dinner with The Donald’ on Twitter.

Finding common ground with some of Trump’s criticism of the political establishment, Farage met the president in November and has offered his services as Britain’s ambassador to the United States – something that has been rejected by Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.

Entitled ‘Dinner with The Donald’, Farage posted a picture of himself smiling at a camera, with Trump and four other people around a table in a photo which gave the location as the Trump International Hotel.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4350388/Nigel-Farage-s-Bad-Boys-Brexit-look-Calexit.html#ixzz4cXE6o600
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