Covering recreation and environmental issues within California

California Seeks to Expand Vehicle Retirement Program

A bill (S.B. 459) has been amended in the California Senate that would authorize the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) to provide other forms of financial assistance to an owner to retire a motor vehicle.  This assistance would be in addition to the $1,500 the Bureau currently pays to a low-income motor vehicle owner and the $1,000 to all other motor vehicle owners.   In addition, this bill would require BAR to establish a specified one-year pilot program to provide financial assistance to low-income motor vehicle owners for the retirement of gross-polluting vehicles, but would prohibit BAR from requiring proof that these vehicles were registered for the last 2 years prior to acceptance into the program.  If this effort is successful, hobbyists could be denied the availability of vintage cars and parts for restoration projects.  A hearing on S.B. 459 is scheduled for the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on Tuesday, April 23, 2013.

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GAO Reports Affecting Recreation Available

The Government Accountability Office exists to be a “watchdog” over other federal agencies.  The GAO performs regular audits of federal programs; often at request of Members of Congress.

Many of the audits involve environmental issues important to your recreation opportunity.  While those audits are available through the GAO website, the ones with an impact on recreation are now available in brief on 4x4Voice.com.

Check the GAO Reports link under the 4x4Voice Notebook menu tab to review a collection of of GAO Reports covering Recreation and User Fees, Endangered Species, and more topics.

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California Budget Report Issued

While the LAO is painting a bright picture of the California budget, the Sacramento Bee reports the state is headed for a $1.9 billion dollar budget shortfall.

The Legislative Analyst's Office has just issued the following report:

The 2013-14 Budget: California's Fiscal Outlook

The 18th annual edition of the LAO's Fiscal Outlook—a forecast of the state's budget condition over the next five years—shows that California's budget situation has improved sharply. The state's economic recovery, prior budget cuts, and the additional, temporary taxes provided by Proposition 30 have combined to bring California to a promising moment: the possible end of a decade of acute state budget challenges. Our economic and budgetary forecast indicates that California's leaders face a dramatically smaller budget problem in 2013-14 compared to recent years. Furthermore, assuming steady economic growth and restraint in augmenting current program funding levels, there is a strong possibility of multibillion-dollar operating surpluses within a few years.

This report (52 pages) is available using the following link: http://lao.ca.gov/laoapp/PubDetails.aspx?id=2668.

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DLRP, CFLRP and more acronyms

An alphabet soup of efforts is emerging from the government bureaucracy.  For starters is CFLRP - Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program.  That spawned DLRP - Dinky Landscape Restoration Project.

So, what does this mean?  In short, they are efforts to restore the forest to a "natural" state by reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire.  Using the term "catastrophic wildfire" does raise the hackles of a number on the preservation side as in their view, wildfires are not catastrophic; they are either natural or unnatural.  As I understand, a natural wildfire burns desired litter and understory while and unnatural wildfire burns everything; meaning it is catastrophic due to the amount it burns.

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Launching the BLOG

Welcome to the launch of the 4x4Voice BLOG.

Watch for weekly commentary about recreation and environmental issues affecting your recreation opportunity.

Expected commentary will address the increasing regulation burden on OHV recreation from local public land administrators and the federal EPA along with increased congressional action to create additional wilderness.

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