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Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Saturday, July 8th, 2017.

GOP: eliminate 10 national monuments & shrink 13 more

Dept. of INTERIOR, Federal gov & land grabs, Zinke - DOI Sec 2017
  • PNP comment:  This is great news!!!! — Editor Liz Bowen

  • Published on July 7th, 2017

red blue and green.org

As the nation prepared for the holiday weekend last Friday, 17 tea party Republicans—members of the Congressional Western Caucus—sent a letter to secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke asking that he downsize or eliminate 27 national monuments across the western United States.

By Meteor Blades Bears Ears, one of 27 national monuments GOP want to shrink or eliminate

Although the Western Caucus is theoretically open to anyone in Congress, all 70 members are Republicans, including some of the most extremist representatives in the government.

Zinke, himself a member of the caucus before he was appointed to head Interior earlier this year, is in the midst of a contentious 120-day review of national monuments, with an eye toward reducing their acreage or rescinding their presidential designation as monuments. The review was undertaken under Pr*sident Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13972.

In a thin interim report released in mid-June, Zinke showed clearly where he is headed in the review with his recommendation to cut the size of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, but he did not suggest how many acres should be removed. That plan will presumably be included in the final report due in late August. From Utah to Maine, Zinke has recently been traveling to several monuments.

National monuments on the chopping block

The 27 national monuments under review were all designated since 1996 by the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations under the 1906 Antiquities Act, a total of 773.8 million acres. The act was passed at a time when there was a free-for-all in extraction and development on public lands. It saved the Grand Canyon from plunder. The real target of the Zinke review and the Western Caucus members recommendations, however, is the lands President Obama protected during his eight years in office: 553.4 million acres. Most of that land—465 million acres—was added by Obama to existing monuments designated by previous presidents.

In their letter, the tea partiers recommend rescission of monument designations for:

Bears Ears
Bears Ears National MonumentBerryessa Snow Mountain
Cascade Siskiyou
Grand Canyon-Parashant
Grand Staircase-Escalante
Ironwood Forest
Kathahdin Woods and Waters
Sonoran Desert
Vermillion Cliffs
Northeast Canyons and Seamounts.

They also seek to greatly shrink other national monuments. For example, they recommend reducing the Basin and Range National Monument in southeastern Nevada from 704,000 acres to “approximately 2,500 acres.”

Foaming at the mouth

Environmental advocates have pointed out that the downsizing or rescission of Bears Ears and other national monuments that Zinke appears likely to propose in his final report will collide with court precedent and the Federal Land Management and Policy Act of 1976. That law restricts the secretary’s and the president’s authority to reduce the size of monuments or rescind them, putting such decisions firmly in the hands of Congress.

At the Western Caucus website, a headline on the press release detailing the tea partiers’ letter to Zinke called it “thoughtful.” Here’s the kind of thought that appears in it:

“It speaks volumes that of the 27 monuments and 773.8 million acres currently under review, 14 monuments and more than 553.4 million acres were designated by the Obama Administration,” said Chairman [Paul] Gosar [of Arizona]. “With the stroke of a pen and the blind support of out-of-state extremist groups foaming at the mouth to lock up lands to serve their own agenda, President Obama trampled the will of the people and ignored the wisdom of local stakeholders. I am pleased to have been joined by my colleagues in sending this letter that helps give a voice to those who were often silenced over the last 20 years and provide helpful insight to Secretary Zinke as he conducts his review.” […]

“The Obama Administration abused the Antiquities Act more than any President in our nation’s history. In California and in other western states, federal land grabs have infringed on private property, made it more difficult for the federal government to manage the land, and decreased public access.  I fully support the review of these monument designations by the Department of Interior to determine where adjustment is necessary – such as the Cascade Siskiyou Monument, which was expanded against the wishes of every county in the region. Eventually, we must reform the Antiquities act altogether to ensure that any federal land expansion occurs only with the support of Congress and those who live and work in the area,” said Congressman [Doug] LaMalfa [of California].

Corporate “rebels”

Ultimately, what this is all about is no different than when the so-called “Sagebrush Rebellion” began in the mid-’70s. It’s an attempt to transfer federal acreage to the states, which then may sell it outright, or keep it public but approve extraction and development projects that change the basic character of the land.

Congresspeople and others who make the argument typically call for giving great swaths of land “back” to the states. In fact, it was never theirs to begin with, and no promises were made when they became states to transfer federal land to them.

At the front of the queue if any decision were made to “return” the land would be the Native peoples who had it stolen from them in the first place—mostly at actual or implicit gunpoint.

(Originally appeared at DailyKos. Image CC by BLM.)

GOP: eliminate 10 national monuments & shrink 13 more

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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Update on Island Fire in Marble Mt. Wilderness

FIRES, Forestry & USFS

Fort Jones, CA – July 8, 2017 – The Island Fire continues to burn in the Marble Mountain Wilderness on the Klamath National Forest.  The lightning-caused fire is burning with moderate intensity, flanking and backing with short upslope runs through heavy fuels.  To date, the Island Fire has burned about 567 acres.

During wildfires, Air Resource Advisors assist fire managers by providing timely smoke impact and forecast information, and messages based on best-available science. The Forest Service coordinates with multiple agencies to address public health risks and concerns related to smoke exposure, risks to transportation safety, and fire personnel smoke exposure including in fire camps. We are coordinating with the California Air Resource Board and Siskiyou County Air Pollution Control District to place smoke monitors in areas most likely to be impacted by the Island Fire.  Currently there are monitors in Callahan, Etna, Forks of the Salmon and Sawyers Bar.

The measurements by these smoke monitors are the foundation for informing the public and predicting impacts to firefighter and public health from smoke. This data is used to analyze and communicate smoke impacts to give people the information they need to minimize their exposure. The Air Resource Advisors help translate fire operational data into outlooks for smoke so that incident managers and air quality regulators can work together to minimize impacts from fires on air quality whenever possible.

A public meeting will be held in Etna on Sunday, July 9th at 5:30 pm at Bob’s Ranch House.   The purpose of this meeting is to provide an update on the current status of the fire, on planned future suppression actions, and to answer questions from attendees.

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is open through the Marble Mountain Wilderness.  Hikers may notice smoke from the fire. A fire crew will be clearing winter debris along the PCT north of Etna Summit to provide for potential emergency access.  They will have a spike camp at Shelly Lake.

Several National Forest System trails located in the vicinity of the fire are closed to protect people from the risks associated with an active wildfire.  These trails are Forest Trail No. 5424 (Lake of Island Trail), Forest Trail No. 5422 (Abbott Lake Trail), a portion of Forest Trail No. 5405 (North Fork Salmon Trail), and a portion of Forest Trail No. 5402 (Upper Abbotts Trail).

Additional information about the Island Fire is available on the U.S. Forest Service – Klamath National Forest Facebook page and on Inciweb (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5304/).
Information can also be obtained from the Salmon/Scott River Ranger District Fire Information line at (530) 468-1252 or by emailing to knfislandfire@gmail.com.

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Why some Californians aren’t thrilled about wolf pack discovery

cattle, Wolves

Sac Bee.com

July 6, 2017

It was a moment worth celebrating – the discovery of a rare wolf pack in rural Northern California, including three pups.

But if you raise cattle – or maybe you’re a beef eater sympathetic to ranchers – it was reason for anxiety and resentment.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s detection of a small wolf pack in Lassen County, announced Wednesday, set off another round of debate and finger-pointing between ranchers and environmentalists over the presence of wild predators in rural areas.

Ranchers such as Dave Cowley, who encountered a different wolf pack circling his herd of heifers in Siskiyou County two years ago, said Thursday that environmentalists and urban Californians don’t grasp the threat posed by wolves to their livelihoods.

“It’s a lifetime of work,” said Cowley, who was able to pull the heifers away from the wolves. “To have a wolf pack come in and destroy it, and to have environmentalists cheer, it’s disappointing.” He said he fears that the wolf population will continue to grow.

Fish and Wildlife announced that it fitted a tracking collar onto a 75-pound adult female wolf June 30, and confirmed that the wolf and her mate produced at least three pups this year. Officials have been searching for the adults since last summer, when they were first spotted on camera.

The so-called Lassen Pack is the second known family of wolves found in Northern California in 90 years, following the discovery of the Shasta Pack in 2015. Of special significance is that the father of the Lassen Pack pups is the son of OR7, the lone wolf who became an international media sensation when he crossed from Oregon into Northern California in 2011 and wandered for years before returning to Oregon. OR7 was the first wolf seen in California in decades.

“It’s a big deal because these wolves are making their way home,” said Pamela Flick of the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife. “This is natural habitat for them.”

Ranchers say this is no homecoming, however. In a case filed by Sacramento’s Pacific Legal Foundation, the California Cattlemen’s Association and California Farm Bureau sued the California Fish and Game Commission earlier this year, challenging its decision to list the gray wolf as endangered under the state’s Endangered Species Act.

Their argument: The Endangered Species Act only applies to native species, not visitors from other states. Listing them as endangered makes it harder for ranchers to protect their livestock, the suit added.

“You can’t harass them, you can’t shoot them,” said rancher Pam Giacomini, who owns about 1,700 head of cattle in Lassen and Shasta counties. “We’re probably OK managing around them, but if somebody becomes a killer, nobody has an answer.”

Wolves lived in California until they were eradicated about a century ago, but a Department of Fish and Wildlife report says it’s hard to determine how large the population was. “Their historical abundance and distribution are poorly understood and not verifiable,” the report said. “While there are many anecdotal reports of wolves in California, specimens were rarely preserved.  Wolves were likely killed to control predation on other animals. Other factors, including hunting, may also have contributed to their extirpation from California.”

The wolves’ presence feeds rural Californians’ frustration with state government, which they believe has little regard for their economic problems and way of life. Such resentments have helped fuel the State of Jefferson movement, which calls for Republican-leaning counties of Northern California to form their own state.

Commenting on The Sacramento Bee’s first story about the Lassen Pack discovery, one Facebook user wrote, “I know I could use a nice rug.” Two wrote, “SSS,” which is shorthand for “Shoot, shovel, shut up.”

Cowley, the rancher from Siskiyou County, said he thinks someone is deliberately planting the wolves in Northern California. He doesn’t know who.

Read more here:


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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