Marbled Murrelet, Northern Spotted Owl, Climate Change and Federal Forests
The U.S. Forest Service published their final science synthesis report for the update of the Northwest Forest Plan,
The report includes chapters on the Marbled Murrelet, Northern Spotted Owl, climate change (Vol. 1), other species and aquatic lands (Vol. 2), and tribes, cultural values and environmental justice (Vol. 3). In three volumes, the survey covers science by the Forest Service, federal agencies, tribes and universities since 1994 when the Northwest Forest Plan was enacted. The science will help lay the foundation for federal forests on the Olympic Peninsula and the 16 other forests in Western Washington, Oregon and Northern California. The area covers 24 million acres of public lands.
Rep. Bishop (R-UT), Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and Rep. Westerman (R-AR), Subcommittee on Oversight, have launched an investigation into the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)’s efforts to protect aquatic species from military operations in the Pacific. The basis: NRDC is acting on behalf of China to weaken national security and must register as a “foreign agent.” The letter to NRDC states that given the “close ties between NRDC and the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Communist Party,” the Committee wants to explore the close relationship and NRDC’s efforts to influence U.S. security policy. The proof of NRDC’s ties?: the fact that NRDC reports on China’s environmental efforts and helps China to maintain a positive perception to the American public, and that NRDC is more critical, litigious and takes an adversarial approach to the U.S. government—in particular the U.S. Navy’s operations in the Pacific.
“We are interested in environmental litigation by U.S.-based 501(c) organizations against the Department of Defense and its negative impact on our national security,” House Natural Resources Committee Chair Rob Bishop and Oversight Subcommittee Chair Bruce Westerman wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis. – Reuters
NRDC responded to the probe saying they were looking forward to meeting with the Committee, and that their work is on behalf of Americans and the world our future generations will inherit.
The Wilderness Society (TWS) led the effort to oppose the forest provisions in the Forestry Title of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), known as “the House Farm Bill that aimed at deconstructing decades of conservation work for our federal forests.” See some of the attempted rollback of environmental protections here.
The bill failed passage in the House (yeas 198 to 213 nays). According to TWS, the takeaway: This version failed because of its radical departure from the past more bipartisan efforts. The Senate will be taking up some version of the farm bill. The regressive goals of the bill likely will come back in other forms; for now, they have failed. They include:
- Repealing the Conservation Stewardship Program and incorporating parts of the program into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program;
- Revising the requirements and process for the Environmental Protection Agency pesticide registration program;
- Requiring farmers to make a one-time election to obtain either price loss coverage or agricultural risk coverage for the 2019–2023 crop years; and
- Expanding the categorical exclusions that exempt certain forest management activities from requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act to prepare an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement.
(excerpted from the Congressional Research Service bill summary)
See the conservation letter here.
Essayist, poet and conservationist Tim McNulty wrote a wonderful “Letter to America” about the hope of the Elwha dam removal. Thanks to Tim and Terrain.org for their efforts to protect, respect and conserve our Olympic Peninsula.
The Olympic Forest Coalition and the West Coast Action Alliance submitted comments on March 22, objecting to the Navy’s Environmental Assessment for the Naval Special Operations EA-EV21.AW, Training in Washington State Parks. The Navy’s EA is inadequate and, if training is allowed to go forward as presented, represents serious risk to endangered species and state park users. The Navy should withdraw the EA, conduct a proper analysis and present an Environmental Impact Statement for public comment and review.