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Weekly Forest News Digest from Greg Giuisti

Here is a weekly digest of on-line news pertinent to forestry in California provided by University of California Cooperative Extension Natural Resources Advisor Greg Giusti (gagiusti@ucdavis.edu):

National forest fees work: The U.S. Forest Service should work to change the law regarding fees in national forests to reflect the realities of modern recreational use, Los Angeles Times Editorial, March 1, 2012

Does a hiker go to the bathroom in the woods? It might matter, under a recent federal court ruling.  The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled correctly last month that parking fees were being wrongly levied in many areas of America's national forests. A 2004 law is quite specific that it is impermissible to charge fees for parking or for "general use" of the forests. But while the court's ruling was perfectly in line with the law, the real problem is with the law itself. Under its provisions, if you use the bathroom while hiking in the forest, you can be charged, but not if you use nature itself as the bathroom....

Trees have needs, By MIKE MATZ, Sacramento Bee, MAR. 01, 2012

Seventy-five years ago, Theodor Geisel wrote the first of his 44 popular books for children under the pen name Dr. Seuss. Included among such fanciful classics as "The Cat in the Hat" and "Green Eggs and Ham" is one of my family's all-time favorites, "The Lorax." My wife and I can hardly wait to take our children to see the new film adaptation - not only for fun but because it explains so well what I do......

Increased timber sales sought to fund rural counties, schools, Joanna Lin, California Watch, ABC, Wednesday, February 29, 2012

SISKIYOU COUNTY, Calif. (KABC) -- Proposed federal legislation would require increased timber sales in national forests to generate revenue for rural counties and schools - a plan that's at odds with other Congressional efforts to extend a decade-old program that compensates forest communities that have cut back logging.  Supporters of the bill - namely Republicans in the House Natural Resources Committee and groups representing counties and the timber industry - have applauded the proposal as a roadmap for better forest management and sustainable local revenue......

Sierra Pacific holding steady in economy, Lincoln sawmill’s production same historically, By Stephanie Dumm, February 29, 2012

When the housing bubble burst late last decade, Sierra Pacific Industries did not experience any layoffs at its Lincoln plant. That’s according to Sierra Pacific spokesman Mark Luster, who said the Lincoln sawmill “didn’t get affected as much” by the burst.  The News Messenger toured Lincoln’s Sierra Pacific sawmill with Luster on Feb. 24. Luster said three Sierra Pacific sawmills closed in 2008 and 2009.  “Lincoln has been a very efficient sawmill and the location helps,” Luster said. “There are a number of factors that allowed the mill to continue to operate.”.....

Additional Federal Spotted Owl Critical Habitat Designation on Private Working Forests Works Against Owls and People, by WFPA, Sacramento Bee, FEB. 29, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash., Feb. 29, 2012 -- /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) released its proposed critical habitat designation for the Northern Spotted Owl, doubling the amount of land from 6.9 million acres to nearly 14 million acres across three states (Oregon, Washington and California), and for the first time includes nearly 2 million acres of state and private working forests.  Critical habitat designation is a regulatory mechanism to contribute to the conservation of threatened and endangered species.  This is the third time the Service has designated critical habitat since 1992. .....

California legislators show their hypocrisy over hunting issue, Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee,  FEB. 29, 2012

Dan Richards, who chairs the California Fish and Game Commission, is under fire in the Capitol because he killed a mountain lion in Idaho and posed with his trophy for a picture that was later published on a hunting publication website. Forty Democratic legislators signed a letter to Richards saying he should resign. "Your actions raise serious questions about whether you respect the laws of the people of California and whether you are fit to adequately enforce those laws," the lawmakers told Richards. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom later joined the chorus......

Game official: cougar killing no one's business, Marisa Lagos, San Francisco Chronicle, February 29, 2012

SACRAMENTO -- California Fish and Game Commission President Daniel Richards said Tuesday that there is "zero chance" he will resign over a photograph showing him grinning as he holds up the body of a mountain lion he shot, killed and ate in Idaho recently. In a letter addressed to Assemblyman Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, one of dozens of public officials who called for Richards' resignation in recent days, Richards blasted lawmakers and others for their criticism of his hunting expedition and mocked their condemnation of the kill......

U.S. attorney warns California farmers against pot grows, By DON THOMPSON, AP, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, February 29, 2012

SACRAMENTO — The top federal prosecutor in the Central Valley said Tuesday that he plans a tour this week to tell agricultural landowners they could lose their property or be prosecuted if they permit large marijuana plantations on their land.  U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner will visit the Fresno County Farm Bureau on Thursday and the Kern County Sherriff's Department on Friday to warn of the federal crackdown......

Executives Urge Congress to Extend Energy Efficient Tax Credit, Woodworking Network, 02/29/2012

Washington, DC - Today, nineteen executives of the nation's window, door and skylight companies sent a joint letter to Congress urging a robust extension of the residential energy efficient (25C) tax credit that expired at the end of 2011. The executives are urging lawmakers to extend the credit at the $1,000 level in order to preserve jobs and and promote energy efficiency......

Interior unveils new spotted owl habitat plan, announces reforms to ESA
E&E News, February 28, 2012

The Obama administration today announced it will consider designating up to 10 million acres of critical habitat for the federally threatened spotted owl, which could nearly double the George W. Bush-era plan. In addition, President Obama instructed the Interior Department to streamline its approach to designating critical habitats for all species by taking an earlier look at economic impacts....

3 accused of embezzling $900,000 from Yurok Tribe, AP - Press Democrat, February 28, 2012

EUREKA — Two contract biologists and the former director of forestry for the Yurok Tribe are accused of embezzling some $900,000 in money intended for spotted owl research over the past three years.

Court documents allege the men conspired to charge the tribe for phony spotted owl surveys on tribal forests, and that the former tribal forestry director improperly used a tribal credit card to buy iPads, car repairs, gasoline, and cleaning supplies.

The investigation began when tribal officials went to authorities with invoices that didn't match up, The Eureka Times-Standard (http://bit.ly/wgQUnC ) reported.

Burdensome EPA Challenged In Federal Court, Green Mountain Scribes, Posted on February 28, 2012

Washington, D.C. — The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and a coalition of business groups today argue their challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rulemaking to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Karen Harned, executive director of the Small Business Legal Center, issued the following statement.....

County Roads and Schools Marcia H. Armstrong Supervisor, District 5 Siskiyou County, February 28, 2012

Fiscal year 2011-12 is the last year that the Siskiyou County Road Dept. and our county schools will receive federal funding from the sun-setting Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS.) It is also the last year that emergency, fire, rescue and law enforcement will receive funds to their budget to somewhat offset the cost of County services for our federal lands and their visitors. It is the last year that the multi-interest Siskiyou County Resource Advisory Committee will award grant funds for projects such as habitat restoration, recreation and fuel reduction on National Forests and adjacent lands. It is the “last year” - unless Congress passes H.R. 3599.....

Roseburg Forest Products continues pioneering with renewable energy commitment, Forest Business Network, February 26, 2012

Roseburg Forest Products, a privately held forest products company with a long history of conservation and promoting sound and sustainable forestry practices, is extending its sustainability commitment to renewable energy. “Sustainably managing all aspects of our business is essential to the long-term viability of the company,” said Chuck Ulik, chief operating officer. “Access to clean, efficient energy is an ever-present need for Roseburg Forest Products. Fortunately, Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Renewable Energy Program is providing our company the opportunity to join with others in helping to fund the development of renewable energy. .....

Farmers and farm industries get review of British Columbia carbon tax, Climatewire, February 24, 2012

British Columbia plans to suspend increases to a controversial carbon tax next year, bowing to complaints from agricultural industries that the tax is hurting their ability to compete in world markets. The tax, which applies to diesel and all oil-based fuels, will increase from 5.56 cents per liter to 6.67 cents per liter July 1. All subsequent increases will be suspended while the British Columbian government reviews the tax's impact on the provincial economy....

Cogeneration firm converts coal plant to biofuel power
By Diarmaid Williams, Cogeneration & On Site Power, February 23, 2012

Macpherson Energy Company and DTE Energy Services (DTEES) have announced that Mt. Poso cogeneration power plant in California is completely converted to run 100 per cent biomass fuel instead of coal, and is successfully delivering its full capacity of 44 MW of clean, renewable energy to the California grid. The renewable energy power plant now operates solely on biomass fuel, primarily urban and agricultural wood waste. Before the 15-month conversion, it had run for 20-plus years on coal.....

STOP THE PRESS: AIR BOARD ADMITS AB 32′S DOWNSIDE, MAKES CASE (INDIRECTLY) FOR PROP. 23, Chris Reed, Flashreport, February 22, 2012
  

In 2006, when the California Legislature was considering AB 32, Arnold was so worried that the bill forcing a shift to cleaner but costlier energy would harm the economy that he demanded it include a provision that would allow the governor to suspend the law during times of economic distress. Within three years, however, the lunatic idea began to spread from the green cultists to the regular media that AB 32 was actually a jobs program, not a dramatic government interference in the free market that would make energy much more expensive than in rival states and nations. The warning of U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu was ignored in favor of happy talk. Now, thankfully, someone is admitting that what was obvious to Arnold in 2006 and to Chu in 2009 is still true in 2012......

Berkeley-based scientist causes ethics storm over climate change documents, By Dana Hull and Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News, 02/22/2012

For the past two decades, Peter Gleick has earned a reputation as a nationally known expert on water and climate issues, winning a MacArthur "genius award," penning a long list of scientific articles and testifying before Congress.  But over the past two days, the 55-year-old Berkeley resident has found himself at the center of a national maelstrom of his own making: using a false name to obtain confidential documents from a pro-industry think tank known for minimizing the risks of global warming.......

Delta left out of fight over Hetch Hetchy, Michael Fitzgerald, STOCKTON RECORD, February 22, 2012

There's a Stockton angle to the very interesting movement to drain and restore Hetch Hetchy, San Francisco's reservoir in a corner of Yosemite Valley. If you just tuned in, in 1913 San Francisco got a historically wrongheaded Congress to approve damming and flooding an 8-mile-long scenic wonder John Muir called "a wonderfully exact counterpart of the great Yosemite."  That's a big source of San Francisco's water today.  If I understand history correctly, the city was still traumatized by running out of water during the fire that destroyed the city following the '06 quake.  Still, Hetch Hetchy is San Francisco's most glaring contradiction: the loftily green headquarters of the Sierra Club sustains itself from a barbaric environmental travesty......

Greenhouse gas battle could reap billions in auctions, By John Howard, Capitol Weekly | 02/21/12 

As California’s attempt to curb climate-changing greenhouse gases ramps up, critical pieces of the landmark law remain uncertain, including the impact of the all-important auctions of hundreds of millions of so-called “emission allowances” that will serve as the spur for utilities, refiners and others to comply.  Over the next eight years, the quarterly auctions by some estimates are projected to raise between $8 billion and $41 billion, with the money going to everything from helping balancing the state budget to promoting the virtues of clean energy to giving breaks to millions of residential and commercial electricity customers......

West Coast log and lumber exports jumped in 2011, with China as the major destination for both, Eric Mortenson, The Oregonian, February 21, 2012

West Coast log and lumber exports increased 42 percent in 2011 over the previous year, continuing a trend that has seen China become the biggest customer for the raw material and finished products coming from the forests and mills of Oregon, Washington, Northern California and Alaska......

In dry season, San Joaquin River restoration a sore point among farmers, By Mark Grossi, The Fresno Bee, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012

This is the year east Valley farmers have dreaded. It's one of the driest seasons in the past 100 years, and they must share precious water with the federal government to restore the San Joaquin River.  It's a tender subject among the 15,000 farmers who irrigate with the San Joaquin. For 18 years, they fought a losing legal battle against restoring the dried river and finally agreed to cooperate in 2006.  Every year of the legal fight and every year since the agreement, they have worried about this kind of dry year during the restoration. The snowpack is a third of what it should be, and their livelihood is at stake.  "Yes, it will be hard this summer," said Cathie Walker, who farms 600 acres of citrus in Tulare County with her brother, Kevin Riddle. "These trees can't go without water.".....

Going green will cost California more green, Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee,  FEB. 19, 2012

The state of California has made a full-blown commitment to reducing reliance on fossil-fuel energy and other limited resources.  Utilities are required to use solar, wind and geothermal sources for a third of their electricity supply by 2020, while owners of homes and businesses are being urged to install solar panels.  The state is mandating that automakers dramatically ramp up sales of battery-powered and other low-emission cars. It is imposing new cap-and-trade emission controls on business with hefty fees.  Essentially, the state is trying to force California into an entirely new economic structure, claiming, in Gov. Jerry Brown's words, that "California is positioned perfectly to reap the economic benefits that will inevitably flow."....

Housing Starts in U.S. Rise Above Forecasts, By Shobhana Chandra, Bloomberg; Feb. 16, 2012

Housing starts rose 1.5 percent to a 699,000 annual rate from December’s 689,000 pace that was stronger than previously reported. Betty Liu reports on Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop." Builders broke ground on more homes than forecast in January, helped by warmer weather and adding to signs the U.S. residential real estate market is stabilizing....

Committee Passes Secure Rural Schools, PILT Legislation to Create Jobs, Stimulate Rural Economies & Restore Forest Health, Natural Resources Committee, February 16, 2012

The House Natural Resources Committee today passed H.R. 4019, the Federal Forest County Revenue, Schools and Jobs Act of 2012, by a vote of 26 to 17. The bill aims to restore economic stability in forested counties that lost valuable revenue used to support schools, infrastructure and emergency services when the timber industry sharply declined in the 1990s due to federal regulations and lawsuits. The bill will create jobs, foster forest health and provide a steady revenue stream to rural communities through restoration of active, healthy forest management. The bill also authorizes a five year extension of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program and modifies the cabin fee formula to make if more predictable and affordable for families who own cabins in our National Forests.....

Posted on Friday, March 2, 2012 at 12:21 PM

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