Posted on January 19, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
Some of Utah’s favorite public lands playgrounds could be privatized under a bill to be introduced in Congress this week. @bberwyn photo.
Fracking in national parks?
Given the extreme anti-federal positions gaining traction around the West, it’s probably not surprising that a new bill by advanced Utah Republican Congressman Rob Bishop was presented as a moderate proposal for public lands compromise by some news outlets.
But his bill, due to be introduced this week, is only moderate when compared to the armed Oregon takeover of public lands by trespassers. By any other measure, it’s one of the most extreme anti-environmental bills that has ever been considered in Washington, D.C. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, national parks, public lands | Tagged: BLM, Congress, Forest Service, public lands, Rob Bishop, Utah | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Rare species like lynx would face increased threats under GOP proposals to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Lawmakers rally to block attacks on key environmental law
Conservation-minded lawmakers are rallying to counter the GOP’s seemingly endless attacks on the Endangered Species Act. In a letter to President Barack Obama, 91 members of Congress warned that Republicans are “doubling down” on their efforts to undermine protections for threatened plants and animals.
Led by Arizona Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, the lawmakers asked the administration to reject the many proposals that undermine the Endangered Species Act, including those weakening or blocking protections for specific imperiled species. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Congress, endangered species, endangered species act, Environment, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The magenta-flowered fireweed, which springs up after a burn, dominates a landscape once covered in black spruce in Alaskas Yukon Flats. Credit: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
‘Fire is not destroying our forests, rather, it is restoring these ecosystems …’
A group of scientists has weighed in on the political tug-of-war over forest policies by writing a letter to the U.S. Senate and President Obama, warning that two bills currently on the table would be destructive to forest ecosystems and wildlife
At issue are House Resolution 2647 and Senate Bill 1691, both proposed in response to ongoing concerns about forest fires. But the measures won’t improve forest health or reduce fire risks, the scientists said. Instead, the laws are aimed at short-cutting environmental studies, reducing public involvement and preventing courts from enforcing environmental laws.
The role of the timber industry in federal forest management would also unfairly increase under the deceptive guise of promoting decision-making by “collaborative” groups, the scientists wrote.
Filed under: Environment, forest fires, Forest health, forests | Tagged: Congress, Environment, forest, forest fires, forest policy, public lands | 2 Comments »
Posted on September 15, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Budget ‘borrowing’ reaches $700 million as political gridlock prevents meaningful budget reform
A wildfire in Yellowstone National Park. Photo via National Park Service.
With wildfires still raging across the West, the U.S. Forest Service has already used up its firefighting budget for the year. This week, the agency notified Congress that another $250 million will be needed to cover the spiraling costs.
Subsequently, top cabinet officials sent a formal letter asking Congress to change the way the nation pays for firefighting so that the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management can invest in forest and rangeland restoration, and make lands less vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire.
Filed under: Environment, forest fires, forests | Tagged: Congress, firefighting, forest fires, Forest Service, wildfire budget, Wildfires | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Lawsuits against the government by environmental groups are not as big a deal as Republicans claim.
‘The real story is that Republicans are angered by the success of environmental groups in enforcing environmental laws and ensuring public health and safety …’
FRISCO — Claims by Republican leaders in Congress that environmental lawsuits prevent federal agencies from doing their job are unfounded, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment, federal government | Tagged: Congress, environmental lawsuits, EPA, US Fish and Wildlife Service | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A proposed bill in Congress would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to conduct testing on the impact of marijuana use on driving.
Colorado Congressman Jared Polis eyes federal guidelines for marijuana-impaired drivers
FRISCO — Teaming up with California Republican Tom McClintock, Colorado Congressman Jared Polis is continuing his efforts keep the federal government from interfering in state marijuana laws.
The McClintock-Polis Marijuana Amendment, which failed on a narrow House vote, would have prevented the federal Drug Enforcement Agency from prosecuting individuals who use, sell, or possess marijuana in compliance with state laws. Continue reading
Filed under: business, Colorado | Tagged: Cannabis, Colorado, Congress, Congressmand Jared Polis, federal marijuana laws, marijuana laws, marijuana-impaired driving | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 31, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The biggest threat of wildfires in early summer is in Alaska and northwestern Canada.
Year-to-date wildfire activity is well below the average of the last 10 years
FRISCO — While the wildfire season is off to a relatively slow start — at least compared to blistering pace of the past 10 years, Forest Service fire experts are still expecting an above-average season, and there is concern once again that the agency might have to use money and personnel from other programs to address the threat.
So far this year, wildfires have burned across about 390,000 acres through the end of May. The average for the pst 10 years is about 1.2 million acres. But the agency won’t let down its guard, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell told Congress during a recent budget hearing. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, forest fires, forests | Tagged: Congress, Environment, Tom Tidwell, U.S. Forest Service, wildfire funding, Wildfires | Leave a comment »