The noisy political attack on new national monuments. We have heard the same now for 130 years | The Wildlife News

GR:  This insightful blog post provides historical perspective for public lands protection.

Cattle in the Sonoran Desert.  Heavily trampled soil without soil microorganisms that can absorb and store moisture, convert solar energy to nutrients, increase plant root efficiency, and protect the soil surface from erosion and invasive plants. Photo by George Wuerthner.

Cattle in the Sonoran Desert. Heavily trampled soil without soil microorganisms that can absorb and store moisture, convert solar energy to nutrients, increase plant root efficiency, and protect the soil surface from erosion and invasive plants. Photo by George Wuerthner.

“The recent designation of Bears Ear National Monument in southern Utah by President Obama engendered a predictable storm of rhetorical protest from Utah’s politicians. Yet a review of their comments and those made historically by western politicians when earlier Presidents had unilaterally created public reserves shows surprisingly consistent responses.

“In 1887, two weeks before leaving office, Democratic President Grover Cleveland after losing his bid for re-election to Republican candidate Benjamin Harrison, set aside 20 million acres of western lands as “forest reserves.” Republicans were offended that a “discredited leader” of a party that had suffered defeat in national elections two months before could unilaterally create new reserves on public lands.

“Reaction to President Grover Cleveland’s 1887 decision to create forest reserves (precursors to our national forests) in western states resulted in similar local outrage and calls to repeal the new reserves. In one historic account of events, the author claims that “in every case…these political spokesmen claimed they spoke for the people of the West. Their solicitude for the settler was in party hypocritical, insofar as they sought to use individual entry and claim to public lands for the enlargement of their own special interests.”

“For instance, Senator Wilson of Washington characterized the proclamation as a “ghastly mistake” and “dasterdly blunder”. He called it a “violation of all rights without notice to anyone.”

“Senator Petticrew of South Dakota denounced the order as contrary to law and called for the entire revocation of it.” –George Wuerthner (Continue learning:  The noisy political attack on new national monuments. We have heard the same now for 130 years.)

Managing the BLM: Please Help

GR:  The policy of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), “multiple use and sustained yield,” sounds great until you look at the results. Mining and mineral prospecting, cattle grazing, recreation, and energy transmission have led to invasions by alien plants and animals, soil erosion, increasing wildfires, and declining biodiversity. The BLM avoids conflicts with the profit goals of the companies that control our politicians. Thus, the agency responsible for more public land in the U. S. than any other does not hesitate to sacrifice the health and beauty of the land to avoid criticism from the resource harvesters that wish to use, and often abuse, the land. In fact, the BLM has a long history of anticipating the needs of private companies and adjusting polices to help them harvest the land.

As you will see in the item below taken from the Arizona section of the BLM website, BLM encourages public participation in formulating land-use plans. However, the agency often ignores public concerns when company profits are at stake. This might change if public participation grew as large as it has in North Dakota. So, follow the continue reading link at the end of the article and look for BLM public meetings in your area. And go.  Remember, “sustainable use” is meaningless if the use adds roads and depletes the habitat, soil, and wildlife. And remember, we don’t need no more stinking fossil fuels.

“The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Land Use Plans, called Resource Management Plans (RMPs), evaluate and guide the management of resources and uses on public lands over a fifteen to twenty year period. Using the principles of multiple use and sustained yield, BLM Arizona seeks to maximize resource values on public land for current and future generations, ensuring the health, diversity, and productivity of the public land.

“BLM Arizona manages approximately 12.2 million surface acres of public land, and realizes that public involvement is critical in the development and implementation of its RMPs. Throughout the planning process, the BLM uses a collaborative approach involving tribal, State and local governments, other federal agencies, and interested publics in addressing management goals for public land. When RMPs are ready for review and public comment, BLM Arizona makes copies available to field offices and on the Internet. New and revised RMPs are now being developed in the ePlanning database. We encourage you to get involved in the planning process to help determine how the public lands will be managed. Involvement by everyone, who is interested in the public lands, will help ensure that the best overall plan is developed.” –BLM (Continue reading:  Programs: Planning and NEPA: Plans in Development: Arizona | BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT)

Obama Administration Signs Death Warrant for Colorado Roadless Forest, Jump-starts Trump’s Attack on Climate

GR:  Perhaps Obama believes University of Arizona professor Guy McPherson’s prediction that global-warming feedbacks will cause human extinction within 10 years (by 2026). So it can’t hurt to give the wasters what they want–what difference could it make?–right? 😦

In Move That Will Undercut America’s Clean-energy Industries, U.S. Forest Service Opens 20,000 Acres of National Forest in Colorado to Bulldozing Roads for Coal Mining

DENVER, Colo., December 16, 2016— “The U.S. Forest Service announced today that it would on Monday reimpose a controversial coal mine loophole, issuing a final rule that opens 20,000 acres of wild Colorado forest to bulldozing for coal mining, something the agency admits will undermine clean-energy development, result in millions of tons of climate pollution, and cause up to $3.4 billion in global damage due to worsened climate change.

“The Obama administration just gave Arch Coal an early Christmas present,” said Nathaniel Shoaff, an attorney with the Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program. “The rest of us will be saddled with nearly half a billion tons of climate pollution and a $3.4 billion price tag. This is a sad and damaging bookend for President Obama’s climate legacy.”

“In 2012 the Forest Service adopted the Colorado Roadless Rule to protect 4 million acres of wild national forest in the state, but the rule included a loophole to permit bulldozing roads for coal mining on 20,000 acres of roadless national forest. In 2014 a federal court vacated the coal mine loophole because the Forest Service failed to disclose the climate change impacts of unlocking hundreds of millions of tons of coal for burning.

“The Forest Service will reimpose the loophole on Monday, Dec. 19. The loophole opens the door to mining 170 million tons of coal, and bulldozing up to 450 drilling pads and 67 miles of road in wild aspen and spruce forest in the Sunset and Flat Irons Roadless areas immediately adjacent to Mount Gunnison in the West Elk Wilderness, 45 miles southwest of Aspen, Colo. These roadless lands provide habitat for elk, goshawks, black bears and imperiled lynx, and are frequented by hikers and hunters. According to a Forest Service analysis released last month, coal mined from these roadless lands will displace nearly 10,000 gigawatt hours of clean, renewable power including solar and wind.” –Center for Biological Diversity (Continue:   Obama Administration Signs Death Warrant for Colorado Roadless Forest, Jump-starts Trump’s Attack on Climate

Save Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge!

GR:  Global climate change and other issues beset us from all sides, but we must still try to protect and care for the small wild places that remain.

“Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is one of the last remaining protected remnants of the northern Everglades left in Florida.

“It’s a national treasure, providing ideal feeding and nesting habitat for more than 250 species of birds, including the largest colony of wading birds in the Everglades. Acting as a natural filter, the refuge also provides clean water for communities in South Florida. But now it’s in danger of being lost forever.

“Loxahatchee isn’t like most other refuges. It is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) through a lease agreement with the South Florida Water Management District, which manages drinking water supplies and flood control in south Florida. Now the water management district wants to rescind the lease from the federal government, effectively closing the refuge for good.The District contends that FWS has done a poor job at raising funds from Congress to manage invasive plant species on the refuge, as stipulated in the lease agreement. These non-native plants, such as melaleuca trees and Old World climbing fern, damage the dwindling Everglades habitat. Yet the state has done a poor job itself of controlling invasive species in its surrounding Water Management District Areas. In fact, Loxahatchee became infested with Old World climbing fern from surrounding state-owned lands. Revoking the lease agreement will not solve this regional invasive species problem.” –Haley McKey (continue:  Save Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge!