WWP wants bill to fail due to a rider that would lead to lawless grazing on public lands-

The National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA) set for a Senate vote this week contains language that will forever change the West. Renewal of many grazing permits would be exempted from public oversight and environmental review by being tucked in with a sprawling public lands packageundermining the already inadequate public lands grazing management performed by federal agencies

The new laws would mean that the BLM and Forest Service must continue status quo grazing regardless of the environmental laws being violated until the agencies have sufficient funding (or inclination) to do otherwise.  

If this seems like a bad dream, it is. Congressman Raul Labrador and Senator John Barasso snuck the language of the Grazing “Improvement” Act (GIA) into this must-pass defense bill. The GIA would severely limit the ability of groups like WWP to hold the agencies accountable for impacts to clean water, imperiled wildlife and plant species, soils, and sensitive cultural sites.

A coalition of conservation groups is opposing the inclusion of the public lands package in the NDAA because of industry giveaways and problematic anti-conservation language.

Citizens can add their voice to the growing opposition to the bill by calling or emailing their Senators, and asking them to remove the public lands provisions from the defense bill. 

This bill will be voted on within the next few days. If it isn’t stopped, it will be hard to ever hold ranchers to account.

The bill is ostensibly about national defense. Bills like this are often called “must pass” legislation because national defense is so important. Because of this they can attract many amendments that would otherwise die on their own. These amendments are unrelated to the main substance, the national defense part of the bill. Most of these additions are usually rejected by those managing a muss-pass bill on the floor of the House or the Senate, but once one of them gets the “go-ahead,” gets on the bill, it tends to ride along with the other stuff right into law.

The grazing rider is one of many amendments. They are mostly related to public land use. The typical senator does not even read the legislation, and if they did the language would seem obscure, hard to understand without a bit of work.

Some of the amendments to the bill would be judged good by conservationists. There is a bit of wilderness designation. Some national battlefield parks are established. However, in addition to the grazing permit changes there are a number of public land giveaways to big mining companies and to “native” timber cutters (SeaAlaska).

The bill has already passed the House. If it dies in the Senate, the national defense part will quickly be revived without the riders, so a person does not have to worry that national defense will be harmed.

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Recent News. Oil Industry Supports, Enviros Oppose NDAA Federal Lands Deal. Daily Caller

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Additional information.

Here is a detailed list of other objectionable riders in the bill opposed by WWP and 46 other organizations. This was sent to the U.S. Senators.

Title XXX would result in a net loss of wildland and wildlife protection on tens of millions of acres of public land. The provisions would undermine some of our nation’s preeminent environmental and public lands laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Wilderness Act,would give landscapes deemed sacred by Native American tribes to a foreign-owned mining company, and would diminish the federal estate held in trust for all Americans as an important part of our natural birthright.

Though certainly not an exhaustive list, the following provisions exemplify the problems with the bill:

Sec. 3002, Sealaska Land Entitlement Finalization, would give away 70,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest to Sealaska, a Native Corporation notorious for some of the worst logging practices in Southeast Alaska. The land giveaway would settle land claims outside the selection area Sealaska Corporation was assigned under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Nearly all of the 70,000 acres of forests, including ancient forests, are likely to be logged with minimal environmental regulation. This giveaway has faced strong opposition from grassroots Southeast Alaska conservation groups, many Native people, and communities that would be harmed by intensive clearcutting and theloss of forest habitat.

Sec. 3003, Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation, would trade 2,400 acres of national forest land protected by Executive Order in 1955 to Resolution Copper, a foreign- controlled mining company, in order to facilitate the development of a copper mine that has long been opposed by local interests. The lands are considered sacred by Native American tribes, who have successfully fought the land trade for years.

Sec. 3009, Northern Nevada Land Conveyances. This part of the bill encompasses several sales and conveyances of public land, including the sale of over 11,500 acres to the town of Yerington to facilitate mining. (Locations and acreages of the public lands near Yerington and several other conveyances are not even provided in the legislation, but cited to a map residing in a local Bureau of Land Management field office).

 Sec. 3023, Grazing Permits and Leases, would automatically renew livestock grazing permits on tens of millions of acres of public lands even where grazing operations are degrading wildlife habitat and fouling streams and rivers. No environmental analysis under NEPA, and no compliance with other applicable laws, would be required at the time of renewal, inhibiting citizens’ ability to protect public lands from harm. Sec. 3023 would further exacerbate habitat degradation that imperils the sage grouse and hasten the need for the species’ protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Sec. 3064 and 3066, Pine Forest Range Wilderness and Wovoka Wilderness, respectively, would grant exceptions to the Wilderness Act allowing the State of Nevada to routinely land helicopters and manipulate natural habitat conditions in direct contravention of basic tenets of the Wilderness Act.Such provisions diminish the meaning of Wilderness and degrade the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Sec. 3065, Rocky Mountain Front Conservation and Management Area and Wilderness Additions, removes wilderness study area (WSA) protections from two BLM WSAs in eastern Montana, hundreds of miles from the lands involved in the Rocky Mountain Front bill.  This stealth provision was inserted in the bill despite never having been publicly discussed nor included in any legislation previously pending before Congress.  Who is it for?                                                                                      

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides.

62 Responses to Western Watersheds Project urges no on National Defense bill full of “riders”

  1. avatar Yvette says:

    Thank you! Let’s start calling our Senators.

  2. avatar Nancy says:

    For anyone who didn’t notice the information linked above – how to contact your Senators:

    https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?

  3. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    From the Daily Caller article:

    The NDAA includes 250,000 acres of new wilderness designations in western states and withdraws some 400,000 acres from activities like drilling, mining and logging. The bill also includes 15 national park expansions and three new wild and scenic river designations.

    I’d like to know more about what these rather vaguely explained designations and expansions are? No doubt, these will be opposed by industry and some if not most politicians also.

    I hate legislation by rider (unless it’s for something I approve of 😉 ) – and I really hate destructive mining practices – this copper mine with it’s ‘collapse’ technique sounds really carelessly destructive, and these companies rarely if ever try to fix what they’ve destroyed afterwards. And I’ve had it with the way our native people are still treated. But again, are America’s (and the world’s) citizens ready to give up their creature comforts that use copper, oil and natural gas, and stop eating as much meat? Stop with the blindingly wasteful Christmas light shows?

  4. avatar Maska says:

    I just sent comments via my Senators’ contact forms asking them to oppose this collection of poison pills in the Public Lands Package. Let’s hope they get the same message from a large number of New Mexico conservationists.

    • avatar Marc Bedner says:

      Not surprisingly, Congress passed its “must pass” military appropriation bill along with the grazing rider and other anti-environmental provisions. I did not bother to contact our New Mexico Senators, both of whom are strongly committed to passing all military bills, especially when they involve expansion of the nuclear weapons program.
      Sen. Heinrich is a leading advocate of expanding hunting opportunities on federal lands, including national parks, as well as increased livestock grazing. This latest bill had everything he wants.
      To answer Ida’s question about designations, one of provisions, strongly supported by Tom Udall & Martin Heinrich, is the transfer of the Valles Caldera ranch and hunting preserve, which has been unable to sustain itself on grazing and hunting revenue, to the National Park Service. To further connect the national park system to military establishment, the bill also creates a Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Los Alamos.
      Reference Heinrich’s press release http://www.heinrich.senate.gov/press-releases/udall-heinrich-announce-momentous-gains-for-new-mexico-with-passage-of-public-lands-package

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        Marc Bedner,

        The bill is passed now, so it is good to celebrate the few good things in it even though the United States will be worse off, IMO when all this is implemented.

        By the way, I didn’t know about the new Valles Caldera National Preserve. From the start, I thought the way the Valles Caldera was set to manage(about 8 years ago?) was doomed to fail. This transfer to NPS ought to help.

        There was some wilderness established in addition to the Columbine Hondo in New Mexico. There was about 30,000 acres of wilderness established in the southwestern part of the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Already protected in fact, if not by law, there were additions to the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana on the Rocky Mountain Front. It is very important wildlife habitat and scenic too.

        Additions were made to the Alpine Lakes
        Wilderness in Washington State. Two new wilderness areas were established in Nevada. I read the legislation regarding these two. It was very vague and allows non-conforming uses (bad precedent). I would rather not have these obscure wilderness areas with such language.

        The bill did create a small national monument in Nevada (Tule Springs), and it made additions to the Apostle Island in Wisconsin (Lake Superior), and Oregon Cave National Monument and Preserve. A bunch of “cannonball” parks were created. This might be all for the good, but it is not a conservation issue.

        • avatar Marc Bedner says:

          Although some of us raised objections at the first public meetings on the proposed conversion of the Baca Ranch into a federal livestock operation, the legislation creating the Valles Caldera 14 years ago mandated its continuation as a working ranch. The latest NDAA rider helps the Valles Caldera maintain its grazing operations. It is not the first unit in the National Park system to operate as a preserve with hunting, but I am not aware of any other cases of the NPS running a livestock operation.

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        Thanks, Marc!

  5. avatar Gary Humbard says:

    Clarification regarding the rider bill affecting Sec. 3023, Grazing Permits and Leases. The BLM currently has authorization (due to a 2002 rider) to automatically renew grazing permits for lower categories of grazing permits which typically consist of one or more of the following: small acreages, permit area surrounded by private land, minimal to no riparian areas, and no T&E species and greater sage grouse issues.

    There are thousands of grazing allotment permits just on BLM managed land in Oregon and what this rider bill will do is to allow the BLM to concentrate their resources on the permits that could adversely affect greater sage grouse, riparian areas, T&E species and other important resources. This rider will ultimately improve the BLMs ability to address the most important issues (e.g. greater sage grouse conservation, removal of cheatgrass, T&E species protection) instead of spending valuable time on less critical permits.

    As a former BLM employee of 37 years, I know the vast majority of grazing permitees meet the terms and conditions of the permit and when they don’t, the BLM will make sure the necessary corrections are made. Unfortunately its those few individuals who don’t meet the requirements that make the headlines; thus insinuating that cattle are destroying the range land.

    If an organization or individual believes that one or more of the terms and conditions are not being met, then they should contact the local BLM office and discuss and work to resolves the issue(s).

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Gary,

      did you spend any time checking out this map? (link below)

      Interesting when you bring up Yellowstone National park and then go out past the park borders, in any direction, its kind of obvious, too much grazed public lands, do not meet standards. Why is that?

      http://mangomap.com/maps/24736/BLM%20RANGELAND%20HEALTH%20STANDARDS%20EVALUATION%20DATA%20(2012)?

      • avatar Gary Humbard says:

        Nancy,

        The BLM responded to PEERs press release in 2012 (I’m assuming the map you provided was in conjunction with the release). The BLMs response is at the bottom of the page on the attached link. There are certainly past grazing management practices that were destructive to the land that will take time to heal, however, I refute the claim that BLM is in bed with the livestock industry and that overall the BLM is trying to improve the health of the land it administers.

        http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/grazing.html

    • avatar Barb Rupers says:

      Gary Hummbard
      Perhaps you could explain the reasoning regarding the transfer of old growth and mature forest O&C land to the Forest Service as illustrated on several maps for western Oregon. One example:
      http://defazio.house.gov/sites/defazio.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Siuslaw%20Resource%20Area.pdf

      It seems it would make management much more difficult and it certainly fragments the landscape.

      Why can’t BLM develop plans for managing these stands?

      • avatar Gary Humbard says:

        Barb, I was not aware of the land transfer on the map, and it makes no sense why these lands would have been transferred. When I get time I will check into it.

        • avatar Barb Rupers says:

          Gary Humbard
          These scattered parcels have not been transferred yet but are shown in the plans for the legislation. The Valley of the Giants appears to be one of the proposed transfers and this is reasonable since it includes over 50 acres of rare west coast old growth Douglas-fir in proximity to Siuslaw National Forest.
          Valley of the Giants:
          http://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/grants-getaways/valley-of-the-giants/

          All the maps:
          http://defazio.house.gov/issues/bipartisan-oc-forests-plan

          • avatar Gary Humbard says:

            Barb, you would be hard pressed to see any difference between how BLM and FS currently manage the land except that BLM ownership is intermixed with private land. The NW Forest Plan treats federal ownership all the same, but unfortunately some “environmental organizations” have filed enough lawsuits to require new legislation.

            The areas that would be transferred to the FS are stands that are probably >80 years old and by transferring these lands from O&C land (timber production based) to FS they would “conceivably” be perpetually protected.

            Administratively, it would be somewhat more difficult, however since most of the lands are distinguishable by age class (>80 years old) and probably reserved from harvesting, the main problem would be for BLM as the agency would need to work with the FS when adjacent stands are ready for harvest.

            Its unfortunate that protests and appeals derailed the NW Forest Plan because it was a ecosystem approach that emphasized protection of not only old-growth forest but the majority of stands >80 years old while promoting (thinning) younger stands toward old-forest conditions. Environmental organizations basically support only commercial thinnings of young stands and those don’t provide a lot of timber volume.

  6. avatar Louise Kane says:

    The Tongass National Forest is home to the Alexander Archipelago Wolf

    I think back to that old commercial where the Native American looks out over a sea of devastation and trash with a tear rolling down his face

    This is how I feel when I think of these forests being trashed for logging and of the displaced lives.

    Once in St Thomas when I was living there a huge development overran a large ancient meadow where horses roamed and a unique endangered lizard lived. One day I saw horses grazing and the next week I saw the animals wild eyed running through the paved parking lot and stripped meadow. You could clearly see they were traumatized. They ran wildly to and from one end of the stripped lot to the other end. The meadow was completely devastated. I’ll never forget the awful sight of seeing the horses fear and confusion or of the sadness I felt at looking at that paved and wrecked meadow turned into a cheap lot for the upcoming Walmart and Costco.

    • avatar Yvette says:

      Now that is a magnificently beautiful animal. My mom once had a dog that looked much like the wolf in the pictures on your link below. Interesting story: mom worked on this dog for a long time (she named him Streetdog as that is where he lived…in the streets). Once she finally got the dog to trust her she was reluctant as whether to keep him. She hadn’t had a dog in years. She put him in my my yard for a few days while she decided what to do. It was spring and I had the windows open. I was in the kitchen and turned where I was able to see out the window. I caught this beautiful black dog watching me studying me as he could see through the window. He looked identical to the third picture of that wolf in the link. At that moment I knew exactly what she needed to do and told her if she didn’t keep the dog that I would. I told her the dog reminded so much of a wolf; his front legs and the way he dropped his head when he was studying something.

      He made her a wonderful pet for many years. I wish I could could raise him from the dead as he was one of my all time favorite dogs. Great disposition and beautiful beyond words.

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        Yvette what a strange coincidental story
        my GSD Akita mix is name Rue, because he escaped from a dog fighting group. They were using him as a bait dog. But he is smart and chewed the tether off his leather lead and escaped. A GSD rescue found him and took him in which is where i saw him first. I was looking for a purebred GSD but Rue looks like a black wolf also, shorter ears than a GSD almost black face with a very hint of a light bi color GSD mask. I named him Rue chien. But I call him Rue. It means street dog. Like your mom named her dog. He too is my constant companion, having the loyalty and intelligence of a GSD and a bit of the Akita independence. he looks like a black wolf.

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        http://www.hcn.org/blogs/goat/a-rare-wolf-subspecies-faces-a-host-of-threats-on-alaskas-prince-of-wales-island

        more on the Alexander Archipelago wolf. Threatened by logging and clearcutting allowing poachers, hunters and trappers to kill them. The logging also reduces numbers of their prey the Sitka deer. If the Tongass Forest giveaway passes as a rider it will be a terrible blow to these wolves.

  7. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://www.cosmosmith.com/alexander_archipelago_wolves.asp

    a handsome magnificent looking animal. considered a subspecies, smaller and dark or black. 750 to 1000 left

    what will become of these wolves if that forest is heavily logged?

    • avatar Joanne Favazza says:

      “What will become of these wolves if that forest is heavily logged?”

      The logging company doesn’t care what will become of the wolves, and neither does this greedy, destructive culture. This culture has always been based on the conquest, control, domination, and exploitation of any living being or any living community it deems inferior or expendable.

      The destruction will not end until the culture collapses, which I’m sure cannot come too soon for all of the beings (human and non-human)that have experienced so much suffering and loss. Can’t come too soon for me, either.

  8. avatar Yvette says:

    They intend to pass this bill and an atrocity is getting ready to happen in America. When that happens it will be an incalculable and devastating loss for all of us, the unique ecosystem that is the Oak Flats, and all of the fauna and flora that depends upon it. Would you trade a mansion for a shack? That is the brink we are upon.

    “We have to pass this bill,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said ahead of the vote. “The House is going to go home and there are no ways to make any changes.”

    Senators on both sides of the aisle defended the lands use portion, saying the Congressional Budget Office reported it would be deficit neutral. It designates new national parks and wilderness areas and expedites the permit process for oil and gas drilling, among other things.

    “That is why the package of lands bills in the National Defense Authorization Act is vitally important to America.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said. “This compromise is the chance for the Senate to get something done.”

    Here is an 11 minute video that shows what will be lost.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiME3XWEPjU

    Here is a 36 minute video that thoroughly explains the issue and the fight to save the Oak Flats from the foreign mining company. This fight has been ongoing for years and this rider is how the elected lawmakers tend to win.
    http://www.azminingreform.org/content/great-oak-flat-land-giveaway

    You will see how our lawmakers have conspired with this foreign company to circumvent NEPA.

    I do believe this NDAA will pass with the riders. Is there legal recourse if that happens? Can this be stopped? Where is WM when you need him? I would love to hear his opinion on potential legal options is this passes.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      Yvette its heartbreaking. The Tongass is at risk also. Its almost too much to bear sometimes seeing the last few wilderness areas up for grabs and just waiting to be destroyed by greedy politicians that lobbyists and their clients have in their back pockets.

  9. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    Even Nancy Pelosi is now fed up with President Obama. The environment and wildlife isn’t on his radar, so those are easy sacrifices (oops, excuse me ‘hard choices’) that he can make. Really, I don’t think very many in our country are losing any sleep about devastating loss of wildlife and wild lands. Just keep gas cheap and plentiful.

  10. avatar Louise Kane says:

    This was written on the Tongass National Forest
    a give away of 70,000 plus acres for logging of old growth tress was just done by rider. The Tongass is a unique temperate forest ecosystem
    I feel sick

    http://archive.audubonmagazine.org/features0309/giants.html

  11. avatar Louise Kane says:

    does anyone here know if the giveaways can be challenged, and how that might occur?

    • avatar Yvette says:

      That’s what I wanted to know. Is there a way to challenge these riders?

      On the Tongass NF giveaway, I think it is unlikely any of the riders will be reversed. Are you familiar with the Alaska Native Corporations? I’ve heard of them, but know almost nothing about them. I have heard many are ripe with corruption and the Alaska Natives, who were supposed to be the beneficiaries, have benefited very little, while those running the AN corporations became rich. Lots of corruption.

      Sealaska is one of those Alaska Native Corporations.

      Here is an old Propublica article that provides a little background.
      http://www.propublica.org/article/what-are-alaska-native-corporations

      Two articles on the land conveyance:
      http://www.alaskapublic.org/2014/12/12/sealaska-lands-bill-passes-congress/

      http://www.adn.com/article/20141203/defense-bill-includes-sealaska-land-transfer-provisions

      Apparently, the Alaska Natives are shareholders in these corporations, but cannot sell their shares. They can only be passed down to descendants. Their benefit from it is only dividends. I’m unsure if they have any say over the business decisions of the AN corporations.

      Lastly, Sealaska apparently donated large sums of money to Senator Murkowski, who is the one that attached this rider. Surprise, surprise.

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        Lisa Murkowski is the slightly more enlightened version of Sarah Palin. I am still in shock that our Congress would give away public lands and national treasures for resource extraction in these deliberately undemocratic riders. Im wondering if the Alexander Archipelago wolfs listed if that could stop the foresting. Its such a hopeless feeling to see these riders pass when these issues require public debate and transparency. I feel hopeless sometimes.

  12. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    Rio Tinto, which removed Iran’s two members of the mine board in 2012, has argued that Iran gets no benefit from the property, that there is no active partnership, and that it has discussed the issue with the U.S. State Department to ensure that no sanctions against Iran are violated.

    Nice to know that our raw materials and resources are for sale to just about anybody. Not.

  13. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    Under legislation offered in the House and Senate, the company’s subsidiary, Resolution Copper — which Rio Tinto co-owns with another international mining giant, BHP Billiton — would get land originally set aside during the Eisenhower administration to conserve the environment and protect sacred Native American sites.

    Iran Uranium Partner Could Get Gift from Lame Duck Congress

  14. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    But the land also includes sites sacred to the San Carlos Apache tribe, including Apache Leap, where warriors once leapt to their deaths rather than being killed or captured by U.S. troops moving west through the frontier.

    Sally Jewell Profoundly Disappointed by Land Exchange at Sacred Native American Sites

    This is truly heartbreaking. Nothing is sacred in this country anymore. This administration ought to be ashamed – talking about racism and poverty and lack of health care all over the world, and never acknowledging what we’ve done and continue to do to our own indigenous people right here in this country. We refuse to acknowledge it or do anything to make amends!

    Reading the comments, the cross-section of the American public thinks this deal stinks.

    • avatar Yvette says:

      Ida, check out the video links in my previous comments. The 11 minuet one shows what is going to be lost. The 30 minuet documentary provides background on the decade long fight to save Oak Flats.

      “It is truly heartbreaking”. Yes, it is. This is a huge loss, and it is not just an ‘Indian thing’. The documentary shows that.
      “Nothing is sacred in this country anymore.”
      I don’t know that anything ever has been sacred in America—-unless it can be sold.

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        Yes, it’s a huge loss from every viewpoint. 🙁

        • avatar Ida Lupines says:

          I hadn’t had a chance to see the video, but I’m watching now. Gah, I get that same knocked-on-my-butt feeling that I had when I first saw the Tetons. So beautiful.

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            With all the talking we do about getting kids and people outdoors, this would be a great loss also, where it’s so close to Phoenix? Just talk I guess.

            • avatar Ida Lupines says:

              And the waterfalls and water supply – what are these people thinking? It’s such a relaxing place I would imagine. How can they jeopardize this? I understand they are worried about the economy, but these short-term, damaging compromises aren’t going to help. And I don’t want to be helping Iran build nukes!

  15. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/alexander-archipelago-wolf-03-28-2014.html

    WM if you are reading this can you comment on whether you think the rider that gave away the 70,000 acres of Tongass will help the listing of the Alexander Archipelago Wolf or hurt it. Also, if listed its my impression that logging will need to be curtailed and also the state plans of killing 80-90% will need to be ended. How is it possible now that the state can kill 80-90% of the wolves. Alaska makes Idaho look enlightened. What is interesting/distressing however is that the people that live there don’t necessarily want these predator killing frenzies, they are pushed for by the state management agencies. This is why the National Park Service is having to create new rules in the parks. The state is so aggressive on predator management. another reason why I feel federal management is better than state management of resources, states are too provincial and partial to small scale corruption that more easily escapes detection.

    • avatar Yvette says:

      Yes, I’ve been hoping WM would weigh in on potential legal responses to the riders.

    • avatar WM says:

      I’m not sure what the impact would be, but first let’s consider the numbers. The Tongass NF is about 17 million acres (70,000 acres/17,000,000 = .4 percent). The Alexander Archipalago where the “possibly endangered” wolf may reside contains roughly a thousand islands. So, there is the question of how much wolf habitat is affected, and even if logged would it adversely affect, or maybe even IMPROVE habitat, by lopping down mature forest to regrow, providing more habitat for prey, and ultimately benefit this subspecies of wolf. probably quite a bit of stuff to consider. Of course, it would mean loss of old growth and it might be ugly to look at for many years.

      On the other end of the spectrum, is there a potential conflict of laws – the ESA and its goals vs. the impacts to a candidate endangered species (not listed yet, just under review), as a result of turning over contested federal lands to a native corporation. Well, what about the native peoples of that area? Do they want these wolves, how many and where?

      As for the legal stuff on the riders, if there is a potential conflict, I expect CBD and some others conservation/wolf advocacy groups will take a shot at that. Gotta remember, riders are indeed a way Congress does business, mostly in a legal manner it would seem. They are, of course, the same body that has passed the laws whose objectives maybe adversely affected. I think the BLM FS rider on grazing basically guts FLPMA. Kind of a shitty way of doing business. And, there is the pundits’ assertion that the collective IQ of Congress has been going down rather dramatically every 2 years, recently.

      ________

      Footnote on Sealaska, a native Alaska corporation. Here is their version of how they manage land, for the benefit of tribal members (think like a shareholder here, with a directors and management staff that has duty to the corporation (ironically some of those duties, if an individual human did, might just land them in prison) . http://www.sealaska.com/page/sealaska-lands-myths-and-facts

      Strikes me they are no more/less greedy than their corporate counterparts that trade on Wall St., looking out after their own interests. They talk of “sustained yield” of their forest holdings. Guess we have heard that term before. And, by the way, native corporations are highly diversified, and some have contracts to clean buildings in Washington DC, high tech security firms.

      Here is Sealaska’s list of subsidiaries. Rather striking their diversity is, and if I recall correctly early on after passage of the Alaska Native Settlement Act creating these corporations, they got some kind of preference from the federal government on some contracts. A couple are even on the list of the top 100 federal government contractors (imagine that):

      http://www.sealaska.com/page/mbs

  16. avatar Ed Loosli says:

    As far as the Land Give-Away in Tongess NG and Tonto NF goes; in the Tongass there are many groups that have a long history of fighting to protect it and they are not going sit idly by while a 70,000 acre corporate “inholding” is clear-cut — among these groups are: Center for Biological Diversity, Earth Justice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Audubon Society, and the Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEEE).

    As for the Tonto NF give-away in Arizona to the Australian Company, the legislation says that a full Environmental Impact Statement must be completed BEFORE the transfer of land takes place. Then as I understand it, once the transfer is made, all federal and state land-use and environmental laws are still in place.

    • avatar Ed Loosli says:

      timz article:
      “Jewel said the rider in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act won’t stop efforts to continue working with ranchers, the states and energy companies to develop conservation plans to reduce the threat of wildfire and invasive species invasion that protect the birds and allow economic activities to continue.”

      Notice that Sally Jewell pointedly left out the main culprit in the decline of the sage grouse — cattle grazing.
      New Study Finds That Grass Height Drives Sage Grouse Nest Success:

      http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/sage-grouse-12-16-2014.html

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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