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WLPUpdateWinter2011

WLPUpdateWinter2011

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Published by: westernlands on Dec 27, 2011
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Western Lands Update • The Newsletter o the Western Lands Project • http://westernlands.org
WesternLandsProject
 
P.O. Box
95545
 Seattle, WA
98145-2545
(
206) 325-3503
 westernlands.org
Winter 2011
Volume 15, No. 2In This Issue:
Western Lands BoardPresident Testies in Congress
Y
ou can count on a
Republican majority in the House o Representatives to come up with at least one proposal everysession to sell o public lands at a massive scale. In response tothe latest such scheme, Western Lands Project board president EricaRosenberg testied in late October beore the House Natural Re-sources Committee against HR 1126, the ”Disposal o Excess FederalLands Act.” Rep. Jason Chaetz (R-UT) has introduced this bill tosell public lands and apply the proceeds toward paying down the ed-eral decit. The bill is based on the shaky pretext o a 1997 report toCongress that listed 3.3 million acres o BLM land potentially availableor disposal. The 1996 Farm Bill included a provision that required aninventory o “disposable” public lands whose sale could be used tound the massive Everglades restoration, and the report was the result.Chaetz trotted out this 14-year-old document, complaining that thelands listed remain in ederal ownership and should be privatized inorder to generate tax revenues.Western Lands is the only organization in the country that actuallytracks and evaluates BLM land sales, so in addition to undamentallyopposing privatization, we are uniquely qualied to address the fawsin Chaetz’ s proposal and were called to testiy as the sole witness(other than the BLM) opposing the bill.The lands the report listed came out o the BLM’s planning processunder the Federal Land Policy & Management Act (FLPMA). EachBLM oce must put together a Resource Management Plan every tenyears or so to determine uture uses o the land it manages, includingidentication o land potentially suitable or disposal through sale or
Continued on page 
3
Save Point Reyes;Utah pipeline corridor
4
Skull Valley, Lochsa,Ivanpah updates
7
Appreciation:Conway Leovy
8
011 By The Numbers
 
Western Lands Update Winter 011 Vol. 15 #
exchange. Simply being so identied at theplanning level, however, does not meanthat a parcel will or should be sold—it mayultimately be ound unsuitable or sale ormay be undesirable or private purchase.As Erica told the Committee:
“These parcels were not ‘ready to go’ even then. According to BLM ‘…manylands identied appear to have confictswhich may preclude them rom beingconsidered or disposal…’ Furthermore,the circumstances around much o the landlisted … may have changed dramatically inthe 14 years since it was compiled.Some parcels may already have beensold, while others may now be consideredunsuitable or disposal—and all o themwould have to undergo up-to-date apprais-als and analyses, which cannot be doneovernight.”
Through our monitoring work, weknow that despite the political rhetoric,communities value their public lands anddon’t want to lose them. We were able toprovide concrete examples—such as landsmanaged by the Redding, Caliornia eldoce designated or disposal in the lastRMP that are now being integrated intoa trail network and will be kept in publichands. Erica testied:
“In reality, those most likely to be ad-versely aected by a broad-brush, expedit-ed disposal o ederal land are not environ-mentalists and public-interest groups suchas ours, but members o the communitywho have a day-to-day relationship withtheir public land.”
Ironically, proposals to sell o publiclands increase during economic downturnswhen demand is low, land value is de-pressed, and their sale would have the leasteect on the decit. Chaetz would haveus believe that communities and would-bepurchasers around the West are clamoringor public lands to be put on the market,but demand is currently stagnant.The proposal may pass in the House,but it is unlikely to get anywhere in thecurrently Democratic Senate. Should theRepublicans secure a majority in bothchambers in 2012, the prospects o passageor schemes like this may greatly increase,and public land advocates will have to stayon their toes.
Congress…
From page 1
 Janine has been invited to be part o a panel at a renewable energyconerence in Long Beach, Caliornia in February. The Solar POWER-GEN conerence will be attended by solar manuacturers, investors,consultants, architects, and wonks. Janine will be participating inthe panel “US Solar on Public Lands: Aligning Conservation andDevelopment Interests,” and will be speaking about the impacts o BigSolar on public lands.
 
Western Lands Update Winter 011 Vol. 15 # 3
Point Reyes NationalSeashore, CA
We are ollowing a permit extensionrequest or commercial oyster armingon ederal land within the Point ReyesNational Seashore in Caliornia. Drake’sEstero is a large estuary, providing wetlandand coastal habitat or a wide range o spe-cies, including the ederally-listed endan-gered leatherback sea turtle and centralCaliornia coast Coho salmon. Drake’sBay Oyster Company is currently operat-ing in the estuary under a 10-year permitthat will expire this month. The currentpermittee was granted an extension romthe 40-year permit “grandathered” to theprevious owner. Congressional intent atthe time the National Seashore was cre-ated was that the permit would expire, theoyster arm would close, and the Esterowould be designated as Wilderness. Wesubmitted our comments to the NationalPark Service in support o ending thiscommercial use and in avor o Wildernessdesignation.
For more requentshort news updatesvisit our website atwesternlands.org, andour Facebook pageat acebook.com/WesternLandsProject
White pelicans at Drake’s Estero, Point Reyes National Seashore. Rudi Dundas Schmidt photo
Our Work All Over The West
continued on page 4

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