Colorado lawmaker expected to be a pro-environment voice on a panel led conservative Republicans who often undermine federal efforts to manage public lands on the behalf of all Americans
FRISCO — A languishing proposal to create new wilderness areas in the Colorado mountains may get a boost in Congress this year, as U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (CO-02) joins the House Natural Resources Committee.
In the last two years, the committee has been a bastion of anti-government rhetoric, in some cases considering bills that would significantly weaken protection for natural resources and public lands. As a member of the minority, Polis won’t be able to get any meaningful legislation passed on his own, but his pro-environmental voice will be a welcome addition for public lands advocates. Continue reading “Jared Polis to serve on House Resources Committee”→
The main take-home message appeared to be that there’s a vast conspiracy of liberal judges, conservation groups and Obama administration officials colluding to destroy the American way of life in the rural West (specifically Montana and Wyoming, where the hearings were held).
Hearing on forest treatment legislation turns into theater of the absurd
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Congress took another half-hearted swing at the so-called forest health crisis this week, with a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on a trio of forest managment bills.
At their most extreme, the measures would eliminate consideration of impacts to endangered species and require the Forest Service to implement proposals under a strict timeline — even if the required environmental reviews aren’t complete.
While each of the three bills include some provisions that could help public land managers address beetle-killed forests and potentially facilitate restoration work, the hearing itself quickly degenerated into classic partisan political theater, with anti-environmental Republicans blaming the Forest Service for the pine beetle epidemic, and liberal Democrats drawing analogies between baseball players on steroids and climate change.
Resources committee to consider issuing subpoenas on mining stream buffers, Gulf drilling moratorium
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY —The radical anti-environmental leaders of the House Natural Resources Committee last week announced the latest chapter of their anti-Obama witch hunt, scheduling a March 28 full committee meeting to discuss possible subpoenas related to coal mining stream protections and a moratorium on Gulf of Mexico oil drilling.
The bill would cede control of all federal lands with 100 miles of the U.S. border to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security by prohibiting the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture from using environmental regulations to hinder U.S. Border Patrol from securing the border on federal lands.
“H.R. 1505 is a common sense solution that addresses one of the prevailing issues preventing us from gaining full operational control of the border – the U.S. Border Patrol’s lack of sufficient access to millions of acres of federally owned land,” said Utah Rep. Rob Bishop, chair of the considered further and ultimately brought to the floor of the House for a final vote,” said National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee.
Conservation groups are not happy with the bill — to say the least. According to the Wilderness Society, the measure would also exempt the Department of Homeland Security from compliance with dozens of environmental statutes that protect the air and water quality, as well as habitat for endangered species. The group characterized the measure as an unwarranted land grab. Continue reading “Border security — or land grab?”→