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4x4Voice

Covering recreation and environmental issues within California
MUIRNet-News covering environmental and state and federal administrative and legislative issues
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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John Stewart

From the Landuse Frontlines...

Cal4Wheel NRC South April 2019 Report

Department of Interior - Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed two secretarial orders in March highlighting the administration's support of outdoor recreation on public lands. Secretarial Order (SO) 3373 directs the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to adequately consider public access for outdoor recreation when determining the appropriateness of the disposal or exchange of public lands. The second order, Secretarial Order 3374, establishes a departmental task force to ensure that the department efficiently and fully implements the most comprehensive public lands management legislation in a decade for the benefit of all Americans. The SO directs the BLM work to strike the proper balance for land and resources management, increase opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreation on Federal lands, create economic prosperity while protecting and preserving America's treasures.

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John Stewart

From the Landuse Frontlines...

March 2019 - The “administrative” issues are many in number and have a major impact on OHV recreation. Forest Plan revisions are high priority at the federal level while State Parks re-organization and SVRA plan updates are a high priority at the state level.

Nineteen national forests are wholly or partially within the borders of California and are important recreation destinations for Cal4Wheel members.  Of those, the four southern California Forests (Los Padres, Angles, San Bernardino and Cleveland) have current forest plans.  The Sequoia, Sierra, and Inyo NFs have forest plan revisions in progress.  The Inyo NF is now in the “objection” phase.  On behalf of Cal4Wheel, I attended meetings and submitted comments to the proposed Forest Plan revisions.  The final draft for the Inyo NF has been released and, on behalf of Cal4Wheel, I submitted objections to the proposed final plan.  Those objections have been deemed valid concerns to be addressed prior to the final plan release.  A conference was scheduled for Feb 19-21 to address my objections along with objections of others.

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John Stewart

Red Sticker Regulatory Workshop (Northern Session)

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will be holding a Northern California session of the public workshop to discuss the regulatory proposal for off-highway recreational vehicles (OHRV). 

At the request of stakeholders, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) invites interested parties to participate in a Northern California session of the public red sticker workshop on Thursday, May 17, 2018, in Sacramento, California, to discuss proposed regulatory amendments for Red Sticker off-highway recreational vehicles (OHRV).

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John Stewart

OHV Program Renewed, Now Permanent

For months, a coalition of off-highway vehicle recreation associations (Coalition) representing off-road recreation enthusiasts throughout the state of California, have worked on legislation to provide reauthorization of the highly successful Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation program that is administered by the Department of Parks and Recreation. 
 
The State Assembly recently passed amended legislation that provides permanent status for the program.  The State Senate concurred and the legislation was submitted to the Governor for signature.  On October 3, 2017, the Governor signed legislation making the OHMVR program permanent.
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John Stewart

SB-249: Help OPPOSE, Save OHV

Your assistance is needed to help save the California OHV Program.  Senate Bill 249 is scheduled for a hearing before the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife on July 11, 2017.  This proposed bill is OPPOSED by state OHV groups and would eliminate the OHV program as it now exists.

The immediate need is for people that live within the districts of Members of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife to send letters asking them to OPPOSE SB-249.  A list of those members is provided below.

However, if you do not live in their district, please feel free to contact any or all and express your opposition.

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