Winter 2013

Volume 17, No. 2

Western Lands Project
95545 98145-2545 (206) 325-3503

Multilaterally Bad Legislation Introduced for Oregon BLM Forest Lands

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In This Issue:

3 4 5 6

New BLM Director Named

Resolution Copper Update

Desert Documentary

ome 2.5 million acres of public forest in Oregon managed by the Bureau of Land Management are facing a logging onslaught under different bills sponsored by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). The so-called O&C lands, originally granted for construction of the Oregon & California Railroad, reverted to public ownership in 1916 after the railroad company violated the terms of its land grant. The land eventually ended up under BLM management. By statute, the O&C lands were to be managed for several purposes, including water quality, recreation, and timber production, but the BLM always held that their dominant purpose was timber, and managed the land accordingly. Only the Northwest Forest Plan—formulated in the 1990s as a result of the emerging issues around old-growth forests and the imperiled northern spotted owl—could put the brakes on the unbridled exploitation of the O&C forests. Nonetheless, the O&C lands have remained a political showcase of nostalgia for the once great, timber-driven rural Northwest economy, and a backdrop to any forest policy issue du jour. Oregon’s DeFazio and Wyden both enjoy undeserved reputations as environmental champions. Both are liberal to progressive on social and civil liberties issues, but not on forest and public land issues. Both have favored legislated land exchanges and quid pro quo wilderness, and have consistently pandered to their state’s timber-dependent rural areas, cynically seeming to promise a comeback for the glory days of timber. The latest manifestations of this approach appear in separate, somewhat different bills for the O&C lands sponsored by the two.
Continued on page 2

Lochsa Land Exchange

New legislation could severely fragment what is left of O&C old growth. Photo: From page 1 Francis Eatherington

O&C Lands…

DeFazio’s bill would more than double logging on the O&C forests, to about 500 million board feet per year. These federal lands would be overseen by a trust for the State, and managed under state logging regulations. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other federal laws would no longer apply. Under State control, the land would be open to public “access privileges.” Land exchanges would be exempt from the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which establishes the public-interest criteria and equal-value requirement for trades. DeFazio’s bill passed the House as part of a larger, truly hideous, Republican-sponsored bill, HR 1526. Among other things, that bill mandates logging levels on national forests nationwide and requires that people mounting legal challenges against forest projects post a bond to cover the government’s legal expenses. Upon passage of the bill, a shameless DeFazio stated, “I voted today to move the whole package to the Senate, but I don’t support the three [other titles in the bill] that are dead on arrival.” Wyden’s bill for the O&C lands is a classic version of a Senate “less-worse” proposal. His would increase logging levels

to 350 million board feet. NEPA would not be totally circumvented, but truncated: compliance would be limited to the issuance of two environmental impact statements—one for the dry O&C forests and one for the wet forests—that would be deemed adequate NEPA coverage for all projects in their respective areas for a period of ten years. Land exchanges proposed for lands thought to be of “approximately equal value” could be finalized before actual completion of appraisals. The Obama Administration has promised a veto of the House bill of which DeFazio’s is a part, though its prospects in the Senate are so poor that a veto won’t be called for. The prospects for Wyden’s bill are less easy to read. The Administration has opposed a similar bill sponsored by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) that would mandate logging levels on three Montana forests, but it is possible a different calculus would apply to Wyden’s bill. It may be just as important to observe how Wyden’s proposal is received and amended (or not) in the Senate: as the new Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Wyden now has great influence over these policies, and the success of his proposal for the O&C lands within the Senate will say a lot about what we can expect from them in the near future on public land issues.

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Western Lands Update

Winter 2013

Vol. 17 # 2

Former Staffer to Harry Reid Nominated For Top BLM position

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n early November, President Obama

announced the nomination of Neil Kornze as the new Director of the Bureau of Land Management. True to form, national conservation groups hailed his candidacy and expressed delight at the prospect of working with him. Trout Unlimited CEO Chris Wood praised Kornze’s “perfect balance of a deep appreciation for the conservation value of public lands, and the role they play in providing goods and services that drive local economies….” We know Kornze as the former right hand man to Nevada Senator Harry Reid on public land issues. Kornze was Reid’s natural resources aide from 2003 to 2011, including the time when the senator was pushing through two big quid pro quo wilderness bills. Legislation for Nevada’s Lincoln and White Pine counties privatized thousands of acres of public land while designating new Wilderness areas. The Lincoln County bill included the conveyance of a free 448-mile pipeline rightof-way across public lands to facilitate the transport of northern Nevada water to Las Vegas, and it mandated completion of a 13,500-acre public land sale Western Lands Project had successfully challenged in court. It initially contained a cryptic provision that turned out to be a big public land gift to a Reid family friend—later removed after exposure in the press. The bills for both counties also included amendments to the 1998 Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act that opened up incrementally more land in the Las Vegas Valley to disposal by public auction. Kornze went to work at BLM in 2011. In his position as principal deputy director, he has been at the center of the policy

Neil Kornze, BLM Director nominee. Photo: BLM

siting industrial-scale renewable energy developments on public lands. Western Lands Project has filed suit against the BLM on its solar energy plan. I met with Kornze in Reid’s office a few years back, soon after having worked with the Los Angeles Times on several stories on Reid’s land deals that did not endear us to his staff. As expected, I was not warmly received, but most notable was that Kornze seemed baffled by the idea that someone in Seattle should care about public land giveaways in Nevada. Let’s hope he has adopted a broader perspective since then. -Janine

Western Lands Update

Winter 2013

Vol. 17 # 2

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Eight Years On, Mining Company Has Yet to Get Its Deal Through Congress
Over the last several years, a succession of members of Congress from Arizona have tried repeatedly to gain passage of a bill that would mandate a land exchange between the U.S. Forest Service and Resolution Copper Company, a joint venture of Britain’s Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billington of Australia. Resolution wants about 2,400 acres in an area called Oak Flat in the Tonto National Forest of south-central Arizona. In return the public would get about 5,400 acres the company has purchased. Resolution has stated that once operational, the mine would be the largest copper producer in the country, supplying one-quarter of U.S. copper demand. The area where mining would occur is protected under a Presidential order issued back in the 1950s by President Eisenhower. Only legislation can overturn this type of protection, and bills have been introduced Apache defenders of Oak Flat at Rep. Kirkpatsteadily since 2005, each falling short of rick’s office. Photo: Azanna S Az Jeffrey passage. Every version of the bill has introduced new complexities. In the beginning, current legislative proposals would allow Resolution included provisions that gifted the nearby town of Superior with land and no National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review until after the land trade is money; those dropped out after townspeople started questioning the benevolence completed. This provision is extremely rare, and deservedly controversial, because it of the company and the project. means the public land would be in ResoluFormer Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) took tion’s hands before the public could see any a turn sponsoring the bill and ended up analysis or disclosure of the environmental being convicted of extortion after tryimpacts that would accrue. The NEPA ing to add to the deal a piece of land that process would thus be an afterthought, and belonged to a business partner who owed public participation an empty exercise. Renzi money. The latest iterations of the From the beginning, an issue of acute bill are sponsored in the House by Rep. contention around the land exchange has Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) and Rep. Paul been the direct and cumulative impacts of Gosar (R-AZ), and by Arizona Senators mining operations on lands sacred to the San McCain and Flake in the Senate. Carlos Apache Tribe. Recently, the Apache A grassroots contingent of public land have waged a very effective fight against the lovers has fought the exchange, includproject, even managing to erode support in ing a scrappy group called the Concerned Citizens & Retired Miners Coalition. The Continued on page 9

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Western Lands Update

Winter 2013

Vol. 17 # 2

New Documentary Will Inspire Care For Our Deserts
For more than three years, Western Lands and our colleagues have been working to expose and slow down destructive, industrial-scale solar developments on desert public lands. We must continue to gain support for an approach that prioritizes renewable developments on already degraded areas, on rooftops, and everywhere in the built environment. A major obstacle to the understanding of this issue is the widely-held, deeply mistaken belief that the desert is an empty wasteland, devoid of life or complexity. Look in your typical online dictionary and you will see associated words like desolate, lifeless, forsaken, empty. A lot of people think, “What better place could there be for industrial development?” Or, as former California Governor Schwarzenegger said, “If we cannot put solar power plants in the Mojave Desert, I don’t know where the hell we can put it [sic].” Given the damage occurring on our desert public lands, it is urgent that we inspire our fellow citizens to care for them, as we do. Happily, such an opportunity is at hand. It started in the mind of our friend Terry Weiner of the Desert Protective Council. Terry saw a documentary called “California Forever,” on the history of California’s State Parks, which aired nationwide on PBS. Terry was so impressed with the filmmakers’ depiction of desert state parks in particular that she felt compelled to contact them about a possible desert documentary. When Terry met with David Vassar and Sally Kaplan of Backcountry Films, the three of them launched a new project that will focus on the deserts of California and Nevada, something David and Sally had already dreamed of doing. In just a matter of a few months, Terry and others were able to raise more than $20,000 as seed money for the project.

Mojave National Preserve. Photo: Chris Clarke

Western Lands put out our own plea for funding and got contributions from some of our members, including $3,000 from one generous supporter who loves the desert. We’ve seen “California Forever,” and it really is a beautiful and informative film. Thanks to Terry’s action, the filmmakers’ sensibility and commitment, and the generosity of supporters, the project is off and running. We believe this film could have a tremendous impact on public perception of our fragile desert ecosystems and the need to preserve them. With the help of a public more attuned to the magnificence of the desert, we can garner yet more support for a renewables policy that spares public lands and instead exploits the vast open spaces of our rooftops.

To contribute to the project or learn more about Desert Protective Council, visit dpcinc.org.

Western Lands Update

Winter 2013

Vol. 17 # 2

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Upper Lochsa Land Exchange Would Shortchange Idahoans
Janine Blaeloch and Gary Macfarlane
Reprinted by permission of the Spokane Spokesman-Review In spring 1999, The Spokesman-Review learned that a group of brokers called Clearwater Land Exchange was quietly putting together a 2-million-acre land exchange that would cover vast areas of federal, state and private lands across Idaho. Clearwater was meeting with sportsmen, conservation groups and politicians to tie up support for their scheme. They had maps and detailed plans. They hired a bigname public relations firm to shop it to the public. But they had yet to speak with the agencies whose lands would be involved. Once exposed in the pages of The Spokesman-Review, Clearwater dropped the deal. A few months later, a SpokesmanReview reporter found that some of the same guys had earlier reaped a huge profit courtesy of U.S. taxpayers when they bought a coveted 520-acre parcel of oldgrowth cedar on Priest Lake for $1.55 million, and later traded it to the U.S. Forest Service at a value of $8.75 million. Idaho is not alone in hosting land exchanges. Wherever there are swaths of public lands, there are land traders ready to go to work. Most Western states have seen dubious deals, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported in 2000 that land exchanges were harming the public interest. Not every exchange is a shady deal, but experience has taught people who value public lands to be deeply skeptical of these projects. It is within this context that Idahoans were confronted with the Upper Lochsa land exchange proposal. The overall plan was to consolidate checkerboard lands to simplify land management. Western Pacific Timber would trade 39,000 acres of mostly cutover land they own within the boundaries of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests for 18,000 acres of public land (and lots of trees) in those forests, and in the Panhandle. It seemed like a classic stumps-for-trees exchange. There would be value in the public acquiring WPT’s lands, but what would the public lose? People living in the Palouse Ranger District were especially concerned because that district would pretty much be privatized. Nevertheless, over seven years, hundreds of citizens participated in the U.S. Forest Service’s analysis and public involvement process for the trade under the National Environmental Policy Act. Many advocated the outright purchase of the WPT lands. Unfortunately, the Forest Service badly bungled its approach, at one point issuing an analysis of an acre-for-acre exchange at the behest of Idaho County commissioners who didn’t want any net gain in public land. Such an exchange is illegal because land trades are based on equal land value, not acreage. This foray outside the law didn’t bolster the public’s confidence in the Forest Service. Worse, it raised the specter of land-exchange legislation because that is the only way to get a trade through with such special provisions. Opponents of that trade understand that this opens the door to all manner of manipulation, and closes the door on the public. Flawed though it can be, the agency process for land trades involves the public every step of the way, and citizen input re-

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Western Lands Update

Winter 2013

Vol. 17 # 2

ally can make a difference in the outcome. Once a deal goes to Congress though, your only recourse is seemingly futile letters and phone calls, or the expensive option of flying out to Washington, D.C., to give five minutes of testimony. That is, if you are invited. Fears were recently confirmed when Idaho Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo and Rep. Raul Labrador asked the Forest Service to suspend the exchange so that they can put together legislation that would include “additional authorities” (read: special provisions) for the Upper Lochsa trade. The list of “principles” guiding their effort is mostly a bland litany of good intentions, but one standout in the list is that the exchange “must provide a net economic benefit to the citizens of Idaho County.” That goal is sufficiently off the rails of a normal land trade to signal that the legislation will end up a treasure trove

The Upper Lochsa would be best protected by public purchase. Photo: Friends of The Clearwater of special language aimed more at gifting constituents than creating a better landmanagement situation. The Forest Service largely failed the public on this land trade, and Congress is almost guaranteed to make matters worse. The best outcome at this juncture would be for both the Forest Service and the Idaho delegation to walk away from the exchange. Time, energy and public dollars would be better spent finding a way to purchase the lands in the Upper Lochsa that should be in public hands.

Janine Blaeloch is founder and director of the Western Lands Project in Seattle. Gary Macfarlane is executive director of Moscow-based Friends of the Clearwater.

Western Lands Update

Winter 2013

Vol. 17 # 2

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Thank you, wonderful members!

Lori Andresen Jeffrey Grathwohl Marlin Ard Tom Herschelman Anonymous Foundation Jack and Rosemary Bailey John Horning Sylvia Barrett Darrell Howe Deer Creek Foundation Carol Battenberg Dave Kaiser and Firedoll Foundation Janine Blaeloch* Kristin Temperly* Gene L. Brenowitz and Fund for Wild Nature Thad King Karen B. Domino Chris Krupp* Kuehlthau Family Evelyn Campbell Joseph D. Krupp Foundation Rob Castleberry Joseph Lee and Maki Foundation Charles Couper Susan Eisner Emily and Drew Gary Macfarlane New-Land Foundation Crandall* Mike Maloney* Norcliffe Foundation Tom Deveny Marion Marsh Ann Down Carolyn McConnell Seattle Foundation Linda Driskill Rick McGuire (Give Big Campaign) Sheila Dugan Laurene McLane Tides Foundation Mark and Lois Eagleton Russell McMullen Donor Advised Fund Paul and Gladys Raye John Middleton Eaton Steve Munsell Weeden Foundation Donald L. Ferry Dorothy Musil White Pine Fund Dot and John Rich Nelson *Monthly donors Fisher-Smith George Nickas Whole Systems Karl Forsgaard John Osgood Foundation Jack Freer Elanne Palcich Michael Frome Sandra Perkins and Linda Garrison Jeffrey Ochsner Lydia Garvey The donations and grants shown were received between June 7, 2013 and December Steve Gilbert 5, 2013. If your gift was received after this date, you’ll be acknowledged in our next Shaun Gonzales newsletter. Thank you for your support – we could not do this work without you! Stacy Goss Western Lands Project is proud to be among the grassroots groups who receive a portion of the profits from the sale of these stickers. Found in museum shops or online at earthsticker.com, these stickers were created by artist Philip Krohn to help environmental groups working to protect biodiversity and wild nature.

Scott Phillips Theresa H. Potts Prof. Bill Rodgers Paul Rogland Erica Rosenberg and Dan Sarewitz Dr. Justin Schmidt Mary Ann Schroeder Sue Sheppard Ford Susan Sorrells Janet Torline Wolter and Anneka Van Doorninck Wade and Shirley Vaughn Sally Vogel Roger Waha Cathy Weeden* Terry Weiner Jerry Williams Steve Wolper* Jennifer Yogi and Matt Adams

Foundation Support:

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Western Lands Update

Winter 2013

Vol. 17 # 2

A Long-Term Way to Support Western Lands
Recently we were contacted by a Western Lands Project Board member and longtime donor, who told us that she and her husband were updating their wills, and they were naming Western Lands Project as a beneficiary of their estate when they are both gone. What an amazing gift! This generous gesture got us thinking that other members may want to learn more about this option. Because gifts to charity upon death qualify for both the estate-tax charitable deduction and the income-tax charitable deduction, a bequest to Western Lands Project can be a tax efficient way to benefit an organization that means a lot to you. Bequests upon death can be made several different ways. A donor can make a bequest to “Western Lands Project, Seattle, Washington,” by Will or Codicil. The bequest can be a specific asset (e.g., 100 shares of XYZ stock), or a dollar amount (e.g., $10,000), or a percentage of the residue of the donor’s estate. A donor can name WLP as beneficiary of all or a portion of a life insurance policy or retirement account, including a 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan, or individual retirement account. NOTE: Naming WLP as beneficiary of a retirement account is especially tax efficient and helps to stretch your dollars farther, because WLP will receive 100 cents on the dollar. In contrast, an individual beneficiary of a traditional retirement account will owe income tax and may also owe federal and/or state estate tax on the amount received, meaning that he or she may ultimately receive a fraction of that amount. If you are interested, please ask your attorney about including a gift to WLP in your estate plan. For WLP donors over age 70½, please note that the $100,000 “charitable rollover” rule applicable to individual retirement accounts has been extended through 2013. This rule allows up to $100,000 to be transferred directly from an IRA to a charity – regardless of how high the donor’s maximum income tax rate might be – without payment of income tax. The amount transferred qualifies as all or part of the donor’s “required minimum distribution” for that year, but the amount is not included in taxable income. If this technique is of interest to you, please contact your tax advisor for details. We are very grateful to all of our donors, who keep Western Lands Project strong and financially stable. Please keep Western Lands Project in mind when you are updating your estate planning. Thank you for all you do!

Copper…
From page 9 the House enough for the bill to be withdrawn from the House Floor just as it was coming to a vote. It could not have hurt that San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler, who testified against the bill in Congressional hearings, was one of a dozen tribal leaders who met personally with President Obama in November in a forum that included discussion of sacred lands. While it is discouraging that Members of Congress continue to sponsor land deals like the Resolution Copper exchange, it’s fortunate that the consequences of these projects aren’t lost on locals who value public land, nor on natives whose culture is tied up in it. Kudos to the citizens who are standing up to defend our public lands in their backyards!

Western Lands Update

Winter 2013

Vol. 17 # 2

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Western Lands Project P.O. Box 95545 Seattle, WA 98145-2545
http://westernlands.org

We’re scrappy… & we get the job done!
Making a donation is easy. You can give online or by mail – for yourself or to honor your Erica Rosenberg, Washington, DC (President) family and friends. No matter how you give, your generosity helps Western Lands Project keep public lands public. To make your donation today, please complete and return this form Marianne Dugan, Eugene, OR with your tax-deductible contribution. Steve Gilbert, Helena, MT

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Janine Blaeloch, Director blaeloch@westernlands.org Christopher Krupp, Staff Attorney krupp@westernlands.org Emily Crandall, Development Manager crandall@westernlands.org

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