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Covering recreation and environmental issues within California

MUIRNet-News covering environmental and state and federal administrative and legislative issues

John Stewart

From the Landuse Frontlines...

September 2019 NRC South Report

The Cal4Wheel website is now hosting a fairly comprehensive Glossary of Landuse and Environmental Terms. ( I have been working on this glossary for the past 15 years by compiling terms and definitions from a variety of landuse documents. It is now in a format that is relatively easy to update with new terms and is a good fit for the Cal4Wheel Access Advocacy section of the website. If you encounter any terms you do not understand, send me a note and I will get it added to the glossary.

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John Stewart

Comments for Sequoia-Sierra Forest Plan Revision

September 25, 2019

Plan Revision Team Lead

323 Club Drive

Vallejo CA 94592

Subject: Sequoia and Sierra Forest Plan Revision Update

Dear Planning Team:

These comments are submitted on behalf of the California Four Wheel Drive Association (Cal4Wheel) and its membership. Cal4Wheel represents clubs and individuals within the state of California that are part of the community of four-wheel drive enthusiasts. These comments are directed to the Revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Revision of the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests Land Management Plans. This document shall not supplant the rights of other Cal4Wheel agents and organizational or individual members from submitting their own comments and the agency should consider and appropriately respond to all comments received to this proposed planning project.

While the main focus of Cal4Wheel is to protect, promote, and provide for motorized recreation opportunities on public and private lands, many of our members participate in multiple forms of recreation; including but not limited to hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, horseback riding, bicycle riding, and gem and mineral collection.

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John Stewart

Comments for USFS Proposed NEPA Rule Change

The comment deadline for the Forest Service's proposed revisions to its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations is Monday, August 26, 2019. Below are the comments to the NEPA proposed rule changes submitted on behalf of Cal4Wheel.

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John Stewart

What is Standing?

Many people are voicing complaints about the pending loss of their favorite trail and are threatening to file a lawsuit.  Sounds simple.  But, is it that simple?

Keep in mind, to file a lawsuit, you must have “standing” and prove that you are “harmed” by the decision.  So, just what is “standing” and what is “harm”?

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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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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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