HR 2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, must be stopped:
.I just got this notice from one of my other "groups"...I know we often grumble about federal EIS regulations etc-BUT-having those in place is often the firewall-so to speak that slows down large project proposals on public lands until the local/regional entities and public can grapple with the potential consequences.
It is exactly the NEPA process that helped us here locally with both AWDI and Wolf Creek Village, as well as giving us time to consider the development of solar installations/large transmission lines (private vs public lands) etc.
Many times projects are pushed into our face as "economically viable" and they need the time and process to pick into the details to find out just exactly what that means for any given angle and if there are better alternatives to achieve the same goals.
This bill proposal-of which Colorado's Scott Tipton is part of-needs either some serious combing through and re-working-or scrapping all together.
Please consider letting our legislator's know your stance-which may not be mine-but at least you are now aware.
Thanks for your time!
Here is the nasty bill that was mentioned on the call, basically allowing private interest to manage large tracks of land.
It disempowers the agency regulatory process, including forest planning.
It's turning our forest and BLM lands into fiefdoms, minimizing public input.
In fact, it makes it very difficult to legally challenge land management decisions.
Lots of really bad bills have been introduced into this session of Congress. But HR 2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, is probably the worst. It is sponsored by Rep Bruce Westerman of AR. Our own Scott Tipton is a co-sponsor, as are six Reps from other states, including 2 Democrats. It would apply to national forest and BLM lands. It is similar to a bill introduced in the last Congress, but worse.
See attached memo by Mike Anderson of The Wilderness Society. (For these interested, I can send you the actual bill (86 pages) and/or an even more detailed analysis of it.) Below are some of the lowlights of this horrible bill:
--allows categorical exclusions (i. e., no EA or EIS) of up to 10,000 acres, and in some cases, 30,000 acres, for a wide variety of management activities, including producing timber.
--alternatives for some projects would not have to be considered, other than no action and proposed action.
--allows agencies to self-consult on Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National Historical Preservation Act impacts. In other words, the FS and BLM would not have to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, or the State Historical Preservation Officers if the Forest Service or BLM determined that serious impacts from a proposed project or activity were unlikely.
--reduces protection for roadless areas by allowing logging where permitted under forest plans.
--reduce protection for wilderness by not requiring the impacts of any activity therein to be disclosedin an EIS.
--forest plans would not have to be prepared with EISs.
--the language is confusing, but it appears the bill would not require any ESA consultation for Forest Service or BLM management plans, at least if critical habitat would not be affected.
--injunctions and restraining orders against some projects would be prohibited, and lawyers would not be able to recover attorneys' fees for any project prepared under the proposed law.
In short, the bill would cut the heart out of NEPA and ESA, and expedite large projects for just about any forest management activity on national forest and BLM lands.
STATUS: Unfortunately, the bill passed the House Natural Resource Committee, Subcommittee on Federal Lands this morning on a party-line vote. The Democrats on the committee offered several amendments, but they were all rejected. It is expected to go to the House floor for a vote sometime in July.
Be alert for further updates on this bill. We absolutely must stop it from becoming law.