In 2009, The Forest Service issued guidance for “Climate Change Considerations in Project Level NEPA Analysis”. The document states that “As with any environmental impact, GHG emissions and carbon cycling should be considered in proportion to the nature and scope of the Federal action in question and its potential to either affect emissions or be affected by climate change impacts.”
This week the State Department issued the final environmental impact statement for the controversial Keystone tar sands oil pipeline project. According to Shawn Lawrence Otto of the Huffington Post The environmental impact statement doesn’t mention the words “climate change.” This despite the fact that the project taps North America’ biggest pool of carbon.
I’m looking forward to reading Otto’s new book “Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America. A gripping analysis of America’s anti-science crisis.” It ought to be more interesting than the Keystone EIS and might help me understand why that document never mentions climate change.
By NBC’s Jo Ling Kent
GILFORD, N.H. — After a lunch speech today, Ron Paul slammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and said that no national response to Hurricane Irene is necessary.
“We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960,” Paul said. “I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district.
“There’s no magic about FEMA. They’re a great contribution to deficit financing and quite frankly they don’t have a penny in the bank. We should be coordinated but coordinated voluntarily with the states,” Paul told NBC News. “A state can decide. We don’t need somebody in Washington.”
Fox News thinks that while we’re at it we should eliminate the National Weather Service as well.
Perhaps it’s time to also do away with “Federal” forests. We could just let “The Market” decide, couldn’t we? No need for Federal managers, ‘ologists, foresters, firefighters, and certainly not planners!
Oregon’s longest-serving senator, Mark Hatfield, died yesterday at 89. As a youngster, I remember my mother campaigning for Hatfield in his first election to the U.S. Senate (1967), notwithstanding her life-time Democratic Party affiliation. As Oregon’s governor, Hatfield had opposed the Vietnam War, and that was enough to earn my mom’s support. Later, as an adult, I got my own chance to see him at work.
The first time was during the Mapleton litigation, circa 1982. My employer, the National Wildlife Federation, sought to reform logging practices in the steep and erosion-prone Oregon Coast Range. For a generation, the Forest Service had paid little heed to its own scientists who warned that clearcut logging and roadbuilding would accelerate mass wasting and landslides. When environmental disclosure documents fabricated erosion calculations, we sued and won a court injunction stopping timber sales on the Mapleton Ranger District. Throughout the lawsuit and its aftermath, I made it a point to stay in constant contact with Senator Hatfield natural resources staff. Sure enough, the Senator used his Appropriations Committee chairmanship to attach a rider that allowed buy-back timber sales (sales returned to the government due to purchaser speculative bidding) to go forward, notwithstanding the court’s order. It was a measured legislative response (we had not sought to stop these sales in the first instance) to the beginnings of an inexorable reformation in Coast Range logging practices.
A couple years later, Hatfield presided over a fractured Oregon delegation as it passed the 1984 Oregon Wilderness Bill. His office vetted every roadless area included in the bill, which, among other things, gave Siuslaw coastal rainforests their first (and, so far, only) wilderness protection.
Although Hatfield did not have any great interest in forest or environmental policy — his scope was much broader — his last act as a legislator was the protection of Opal Creek’s ancient forests.
In today’s era when many elected officials seem less leaders than supplicants, Hatfield stood tall as a true Oregon statesman.
Be sure to check out this thoughtful piece by Char Miller here.
Bob Zybach sent this contribution for posting:
From: Center for Biological Diversity
Published August 2, 2011 03:41 AM
23 Oahu Species Proposed for Endangered Species Act Protection
HONOLULU— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to protect 23 species on the Hawaiian island of Oahu as endangered under the Endangered Species Act on Monday. The proposal also includes protection of 43,491 acres of critical habitat essential for the conservation of the species, which include 20 plants (including some with fewer than 50 left in the wild) and three damselflies — the crimson Hawaiian damselfly, blackline Hawaiian damselfly and oceanic Hawaiian damselfly.
“These unique Hawaiian species are a national treasure, and we’re thrilled they’ll be getting the Endangered Species Act protection they need to survive,” said Tierra Curry, a conservation biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity.
In early July, the Center reached a legal settlement with the Service to expedite protection for 757 imperiled species, including 19 of the 23 proposed on Oahu.
The Center petitioned in 2004 to protect 19 of the species proposed Monday. The 19 species — 16 plants and the three damselflies — have been waiting on the federal “candidate” list for protection for years. Candidates are species known to qualify for Endangered Species Act protection that are placed on a waiting list instead of receiving that protection.
In addition to the 19 candidates, Monday’s proposal includes four plants identified as the “rarest of the rare” by the Plant Extinction Prevention Program. Each of the four plant species has fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the wild and is in need of immediate conservation.
The plant species occur in a variety of habitats and are threatened by habitat loss and foraging and trampling by invasive goats, pigs and rodents. They are also threatened by invasive insects that outcompete native pollinators.
The damselflies are threatened by agricultural and urban development, stream alteration and predation by nonnative insects. The damselflies hatch and develop in streams, small cascades of waterfalls and wet, mossy areas. They then undergo metamorphosis and become shiny-winged adults that move into the forest.
Monday’s proposed critical habitat designation for the 23 species also includes a revision of critical habitat that has already been designated for 99 endangered Oahu plant species. In 2003, more than 55,000 acres of habitat was designated to protect the 99 plant species. The proposal includes only 43,491 acres of habitat for the 99 already-listed plants and the 23 new proposed species.
“We are concerned that this proposal appears to be reducing habitat that has already been designated to protect Oahu’s species, so we’ll work to make sure these rare plants and animals get the full habitat protection they need to survive,” said Curry.
This week, in a 3-0 opinion, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Forest Service’s use of a deer habitat suitability model was “arbitrary and capricious” because key numbers in the model were altered without any rational explanation. The case is a testament to the persistence of Greenpeace’s Larry Edwards, a Sitka resident, the advocacy skills of co-plaintiff Cascadia Wildlands Project (one of my favorite grassroots outfits for its combination of smarts and passion) and their legal counsel’s (Chris Winter of Crag Law Center) talents.
It is the back story that it is especially poignant to me.
That story begins six years ago, when Tongass wildlife biologist Glen Ith emailed me aerial photographs taken by an Alaska Department of Fish and Game employee. The photos showed on-going logging road construction to access the Overlook project area. Overlook was an old-growth forest timber sale that is prime winter range habitat for Sitka black tail deer. What caught Glen’s eye was that the Forest Service had not yet completed the Overlook NEPA analysis, but had already started building the roads. Turns out that there were several million dollars that Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) had earmarked for Tongass road work; money that if not spent by fiscal year’s end would be lost to the Forest Service, and incur Stevens’ displeasure. Overlook’s NEPA documents were behind schedule, but that didn’t stop the road engineers from moving forward. [NB: The conspiracy to spend the money was broader than the engineers alone, including district and forest-level planning staff, line officers, and contracting officials.]
Glen and FSEEE filed suit, challenging the Overlook and Traitors Cove (another site of illegal “advance” work) road building. It was the first-ever environmental lawsuit by a Forest Service employee. We won. The Forest Service retaliated, suspended Glen from work, and eliminated his job. Several days thereafter, Glen passed away from sudden heart failure.
Early on in our roads litigation, Glen told me that the Tongass was using irrational numbers in its deer habitat capability model. He wanted to cure the errors. We agreed the on-going roads case wasn’t the place to do so, primarily because the issue was not ripe as the timber sale environmental reviews were not complete. Glen said he would try to work internally to fix the modeling problem, but he wasn’t confident he would be successful. He believed the errors were intentionally designed to allow the Forest Service to defend logging high-value old-growth forest habitat.
Glen assiduously documented the problems with the deer habitat model; documents that Greenpeace’s Larry Edwards later found in the administrative records. Glen also administratively appealed the Scott Peak sale on these grounds.
Larry Edwards dedicated this week’s court victory to Glen’s memory.