Covering recreation and environmental issues within California
John Stewart

From the Landuse Frontlines - NRC South Report - July 2019

NRC South Report - July 2019

USMC - The Johnson Valley Shared Use Area will remain open to the public August 1-30, 2019. Closure of the Shared Use Area for military use during this time was determined to be unnecessary after the Marine Corps revised the scope of training scheduled for August 2019.

Training conducted during that time will occur within Combat Center boundaries, utilizing ranges on the installation, including land acquired through the land expansion. The Marine Corps reminds the public to be safe and respect base boundaries when recreating near the installation. Individuals have a personal and legal responsibility to avoid trespassing on the Combat Center.

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John Stewart

From the Landuse Frontlines...

NRC South Report - June 2019

Sierra National Forest - The Sierra NF recently requested comments on travel management issues.  I have submitted comments on behalf of Cal4Wheel. The focus of my comments is that this effort is proceeding without the release of the Forest Plan Revision which may influence the outcome.

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John Stewart

From the Landuse Front Lines...

NRC South Report for May 2019

Angeles NF – The USDA Forest Service has completed the Land Management Plan Amendment, Environmental Assessment (EA), and Decision Notice for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The Monument Plan provides guidance for the Angeles National Forest to manage the area’s unique ecological, social, and cultural resources for years to come.
The Monument, established in 2014, is part of the Angeles National Forest and encompasses more than 346,000 acres of high-use public land. More than 17 million people live within 90 minutes of the San Gabriel Mountains, which provide area residents roughly 30 percent of their water and 70 percent of their open space.
Federal Legislation - SOAR Act - This legislation will update the permitting system that guides and outfitters need to operate trips on public lands by simplifying processes, increasing flexibility in allowed activities, reducing unnecessary costs of permit administration and much more.
SOAR is written to make changes to the permitting processes and provides greater access to public lands in a way that increases economic benefits and continues environmental protections. SOAR simplifies permitting to allow outfitters across the United States to work with federal agencies, and more importantly, to get the American public outside to enjoy the wonders of nature.

Panamint Valley - The Australia-based firm Battery Mineral Resources Ltd. asked the federal government for permission to drill four exploratory wells to see if the hot, salty brine beneath the Panamint Valley floor which contains economically viable concentrations of lithium. The soft, silvery-white metal is a key component of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and is crucial to the production of electric and hybrid vehicles.

The drilling request is opposed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and the Defenders of Wildlife, who say the drilling project would be an initial step toward the creation of a full-scale lithium mining operation. They say lithium extraction would bring industrial sprawl, large and unsightly drying ponds and threaten a fragile ecosystem that supports Nelson's bighorn sheep, desert tortoises and the Panamint alligator lizard, among other species.

The only functioning lithium mine in North America is about 150 miles away in Clayton Valley, Nev. Most of the lithium used for batteries now comes from the so-called Lithium Triangle of South America, a region that includes the world's largest salt flats.

Inyo NF - I was in Bishop a couple months ago for a Forest Plan Revision meeting with Region 5 and Inyo NF.  The meeting revolved around an object to the pending release of the Inyo Forest plan revision that I filed on behalf of Cal4Wheel.  My objection was one of about a dozen that were addressed at the meeting.

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