Scientists call on Obama to order national policy to conserve old growth forest

US News and World Report 6/25/2014
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — More than 75 U.S. and Canadian scientists have sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking for a policy to preserve what remains of America’s old-growth forest.

The scientists include two former chiefs of the U.S. Forest Service, Jack Ward Thomas and Mike Dombeck. They say less than 10 percent of the old-growth forest before European settlement is still intact.  >>>”
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Outdoors: Public lands access advocates win another round in the battle over federal recreation fees

Summit County Voice  4/30/2014
Excerpt:      “FRISCO — The see-saw legal battles over public land recreation fees took another twist last week, as a judge in California decided that the U.S. Forest Service can’t continue selling its Adventure Pass for heavily visited recreation areas in Southern California national forests.

According to the judge, the pass violates federal law — specifically the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act — because it makes visitors pay to use public lands even, if they’re not using any developed facilities. …”
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Peer News Release 4/22/2014
Excerpt:         “
Washington, DC — Facing a tidal wave of discontent inside its law enforcement program, the Chief of the Forest Service has backed away from any pledge of change, instead proposing yet another work “climate assessment” and a “content analysis” of hundreds of angry messages from a “virtual” all-hands meeting, according to a letter posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Participants confirmed that torrents of email messages “queued” by Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations (LE&I) line staff paralleled the results of a recently released all-employee survey by PEER.  …”
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Public lands access advocates lose latest skirmish with Forest Service over recreation fees

Summit County Voice 3/31/2014
Excerpt:    “
FRISCO — One of the legal efforts to try and check the recent proliferation of public land access fees was rebuffed by a federal court in Washington, D.C. last week. U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras ruled that private companies running recreation facilities on federal lands don’t have to follow the same regulations as agency managed facilities.

In a worst-case scenario, the ruling could open the door to more widespread fees for trailhead parking and other types of access that have traditionally been free, said Kitty Benzar, president of the West Slope No-Fee Coalition, a group dedicated to eliminating fees charged for access and recreation on undeveloped public lands.  ….”
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Forest Service’s law enforcers give management low marks

Seattle Times 3/31/2014
Excerpt:     “A new survey shows morale at the U.S. Forest Service — not the happiest workplaces among federal agencies — is particularly low among law-enforcement officers who patrol the national forests.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is not known for workplace contentment, ranking fourth from the bottom among 19 federal agencies as best places to work in an annual report last year.
Morale inside the USDA’s Forest Service branch is lower still.  …”
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Federal judge upholds bighorn protection plan

Washington Times 3/26/2014
Excerpt:      “
BOISE, Idaho (AP) – A federal judge has ruled that a U.S. Forest Service plan to reduce domestic sheep grazing on the Payette National Forest by about 70 percent to protect bighorn sheep from diseases will remain in place.  Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge A. Wallace Tashima, sitting by designation for the District of Idaho, made the ruling Tuesday.

“This really helps solidify that the Forest Service has done a first-rate analysis of the disease transmission between bighorn and domestic sheep,” said Craig Gehrke of The Wilderness Society, which intervened in the case along with several other conservation groups. …..”
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Appeals ruling would allow logging in Tongass forest roadless areas

Los Angeles Times 3/26/2014
Excerpt:      “
A federal appeals court sided with the state of Alaska on Wednesday in a ruling that could open a large portion of the Tongass National Forest to road building and logging.

In a split decision, a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling by a district court, which found that the U.S. Forest Service had improperly exempted the Tongass from a 2001 rule banning new roads and timber harvesting on relatively pristine national forestland across the country.  But it’s unclear what the practical effects of the new ruling will be. The panel sent the case back to the lower court to decide whether the Forest Service needs to prepare environmental documents for the exemption. ….”
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Government Accounting Office Report Shows Limited Cost of Environmental Litigation

Santa Cruz IMC 3/26/2014
Excerpt:     “
WASHINGTON— A report released on March 26 by the Government Accountability Office (see PDF) demonstrates that litigation brought by environmental groups is not the calamity-inducing threat to the National Forest system that House Republicans have repeatedly claimed for the past three years. The GAO’s analysis shows that from 2001 to 2010, fees awarded in 16 successful lawsuits brought because of violations of the Endangered Species Act amounted to $1.6 million. By contrast, the U.S. Department of Agriculture paid $13.5 million in attorney’s fees to citizen plaintiffs for violations related to the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. ….”
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Thompson Agriculture Oversight Hearing Exposes Widespread Abuse of Taxpayer Funded Lawsuits

Gant Daily 3/27/2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-5), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry, held a public hearing to review the impact of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and related litigation on the U.S. Forest Service and National Forest System management.

The ESA was signed into law in 1973 in order to “preserve, protect, and recover key domestic species.” Since its enactment, more than 1,500 domestic species have been classified as either threatened or endangered, with only 28 of those species having been delisted as of September of 2012.  …”
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