Archive for July, 2016

Headwaters Trail Stewardship Day a Success!

Thursday, July 14th, 2016
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On Sunday, June 12th, ten communities members joined EPIC staff and representatives of the BLM Headwaters Forest Reserve management for a volunteer Trail Steward Day on the South Fork Elk River Trail in the Headwaters Forest Reserve. The all-day event entailed 11 miles of hiking, a tailgate lunch session at the work site, and approximately three hours of work repairing a failing trail segment, located approximately 4.5 miles from the trailhead. The community members provided the muscle, and the BLM provided the tools, as a dangerous section of trail was recontoured, stabilized, and fallen logs and branches removed to allow for easier access. Fallen brush was also cleared from several other spots along the trail on this very successful volunteer work day in Headwaters. EPIC wishes to thank all those that came out to help make this day a success!

 

 

 

 

 


Public Rally Against Westside “Salvage” Logging Calls on Forest Service to “Stop Westside”

Thursday, July 14th, 2016
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StopWestSide_brookeanderson-23Public locked out of National Forest while private companies log for $2.50 a truck load – Despite rains, about 20 people gathered at the Grider Creek Campground to protest the massive clear-cut logging plan and forest closure in the Klamath National Forest. The timber sale that will purportedly take 102 Northern Spotted Owls, possibly result in a localized extinction of coho salmon, and negatively impact salmon bearing creeks and rivers is ironically called the Westside Fire Recovery Project. The timber sales are being sold for as little as fifty cents per thousand acre board feet to private timber companies, who are logging behind locked gates where members of the public are not allowed to enter or document the destruction that is taking place. The price for these forests amounts to $2.50 for an entire truck load of timber, from public forest lands containing endangered species, salmon bearing streams and old growth forests.

The Grider Creek Campground where the rally took place is surrounded by the project area and is located along the Pacific Crest Trail, where many backpackers were passing through and camping. The week before the rally was held, the Klamath National Forest’s website said the campground was open, and a phone call to the Klamath National Forest headquarters and Happy Camp offices verified that they were open. However, the day before the rally, Forest Supervisor, Patricia Grantham notified the Environmental Protection Information Center and Klamath Riverkeeper (rally organizers) that the campground was closed, but that she would issue a permit for the group to assemble. During the group picnic a Forest Service employee who regularly tends the campground said that the campground is and has been open.

As part of the Westside project, most of the largest trees in the campground had already been logged, and only large stumps remained along the creek. These stumps were likely marked as “hazard trees,” but it was clear that only the large marketable trees had been taken, and other potentially hazardous trees that were less marketable were left teetering over the trails.

Background

The Karuk Tribe, whose ancestral territory is within the project area, as well as environmental groups have been trying to work with the Klamath National Forest to promote a less environmentally destructive alternative, which has been proposed as the Karuk Plan, a plan that focuses on strategic ridge top fuel breaks, roadside hazard treatments, and minimizes the amount of large-scale salvage logging that would impact rivers, salmon and Northern spotted owls.

Since the inception of the Westside Project, Native American tribes, environmentalists and river communities that would be affected by the project have actively expressed opposition to the project, which is one of the largest timber sale projects ever proposed in the history of Klamath National Forest.

About two months ago, a protest took place along Walker Creek Road, a main artery into the Walker Creek Timber Sale, and a couple days later Klamath National Forest announced that a huge area surrounding the timber sale had been closed to the public. Many individuals and groups have tried to obtain permits to enter the closure area to “ground truth,” which consists of walking the project area and fact-checking to see if the logging on the ground is consistent with the Project Design Features, but to our knowledge, these requests have been denied.

After gathering at the Grider Creek Campground, the group went up to the end of Walker Creek Road, where the forest closure begins, and was greeted by Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers who were guarding the closure area and told the group they could only enter the closure area if they had a permit from the Forest Service office. Many members in the group had previously requested permits, but had been denied.

Our public forests are being auctioned off to private companies at dirt cheap prices, and endangered species habitat and old growth forests are being logged despite a pending court case that has been filed by the Karuk Tribe, EPIC, Klamath Riverkeeper, Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Thanks to Brooke Anderson for taking these awesome photos!


EPIC in Review & Annual Report

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016
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Annual Report 2015-2016CoverOver the past several months EPIC has been working countless hours collaborating with citizens, advocacy groups, agencies and politicians on a variety of local, national and international issues. The list below includes letters or comments in which EPIC, alongside fellow NGO’s and agencies support or oppose various proposed or existing programs, laws and acts to protect our environment.  EPIC business includes the most updated independently run efforts brought on by the EPIC staff. Also, in case you have not seen our annual report, which details our activities for 2015, you can check it out here. The list below was comprised by EPIC intern Briana Villalobos. Thank you Briana for dedicating a large chunk your summer to helping EPIC!

Letters of Support

Letter of Support – Night-time Hunting & Trapping in Wolf Territory Petition – EPIC joins conservation and animal advocates in writing a letter to the California Fish and Game to support regulations to ban night-time hunting and lethal trapping in gray wolf territory.

Letter of Support – Congress Mitigation – EPIC joins conservation groups across the country in writing a letter to Representatives  in support of the Presidential Memorandum to promote appropriate mitigation to protect our natural resources.

Letter of Support-FWS CCAA – EPIC joins conservation groups in commenting on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) draft Environmental Assessment for a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances between FWS and Sierra Pacific Industries. The CCAA would allow “take” for killing 60 fishers and clear cutting 338,800 acres of uneven-aged forest habitat within 10 years.

 Letter of Support – AK NWR – EPIC joins over 70  organizations in a letter to USDI  Secretary Jewell and Director Ashe of the  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s  to applaud the proposed changes to regulations governing Alaska refuges under 50 C.F.R. Part 36 as part of the proposed rule titled “Non-subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.”81 Fed. Reg. 887 (Jan. 8, 2016). If finalized as proposed, the new regulations would ensure that Alaska’s national refuges are managed in accordance with the National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) mandates to conserve species and habitats in their natural diversity and ensure that the biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health of the NWR system are maintained for the continued benefit of present and future generations of Americans on over 76 million acres.

Letter of Support – CFOSCP FY17 Appropriations Request – EPIC joins a broad coalition of conservation and forestry organizations and municipal agencies, in writing to representatives to express strong support for the U.S. Forest Service’s Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (CFP).

Letter of Support – Oak Flat Apache Stronghold – EPIC joins other in signing a letter of support to the Apache Stronghold  for the February 26-27, 2016, march from San Carlos to Oak Flat to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Apache Stronghold’s efforts to protect Oak Flat.

Letter of Support – Pesticide Reform – Telone Exposure  – EPIC joins the statewide coalition Californians for Pesticide Reform in urging the Director of Pesticide Regulation to put the health of Californians first when taking action on the soil fumigant 1,3-dichloropropene, also known as Telone and to adopt the strongest possible risk management plan.

Letter of Support – President Obama-ESA – EPIC joins over 150 conservation groups in signing a letter to President Obama asking him to oppose all policy “riders” that would undermine the Endangered Species Act during negotiations on final funding legislation for Fiscal Year 2016.

Letter of Support – Regional Haze Ruling– EPIC joins 82 conservation and public interest organizations, representing millions of members and supporters, to urge the Administrator of the EPA to strengthen the Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze Rule to restore clean air to national parks and wilderness areas and their neighboring communities.

Letter of Support – HR 3843 – EPIC joins others in writing to congress to urge them to oppose HR 3843, the Locatable Minerals Claim Location and Maintenance Fees Act of 2015. Rather than solve the estimated $50 billion taxpayer liability for cleaning up our nation’s inactive or abandoned hardrock mines, this bill allows mining companies to profit under the guise of “Good Samaritan” clean up.

Letter of Support – US Forest Service’s Deputy Chief Weldon  – EPIC joins others in writing to the US Forest Service’s Deputy Chief to commend the efforts to move the Forest Service road system to a more sustainable condition.

Letter of Support – CFOSCP FY18 – EPIC joins representatives of a broad coalition of conservation and forestry organizations and municipal agencies, we are writing to express strong support for the U.S. Forest Service’s Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (CFP).

Letter of Support – Monitoring Network Final Letter – Epic joins the Californians for Pesticide Reform and 43 other organizations in writing a letter to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation in seeking modifications to the Air Monitoring Network to make sure that monitoring resources are used most effectively to capture true community exposure.

Letter of Support – SBRM Final Letter – EPIC joins others in urging NOAA Fisheries to withdraw its proposed rule for implementing the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology (SBRM) provision of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

 

Letters of Opposition:

Letter of Opposition – 5-year Offshore Leasing Program – EPIC joins 78 organizations to call on land management leaders to remove all offshore oil and gas lease sales from the final leasing program.

Letter of Opposition – Wildfire Budgeting, Response and Forest Managment Act of 2016 -EPIC joins others in writing to Senate members to express strong opposition to provisions in the discussion draft legislation, “Wildfire Budgeting, Response and Forest Management Act of 2016,” that could perpetuate harmful old growth logging on the Tongass National Forest, America’s largest rainforest.Lett

Letter of Opposition – UTTR Expansion NDAA – Epic joins others in writing to the congressional Armed Services Committees to express opposition to S.2383/H.R. 4579, the Utah Test and Training Range Encroachment Prevention and Temporary Closure Act, and to urge the committees to oppose any effort to add these bills to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016.

Letter of Opposition – Road Through Izembek – EPIC joins others in writing a letter to congress to reaffirm steadfast opposition to construction of a road through the heart of Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

Letter of Opposition – California Offshore Fracking – EPIC joins 129 groups to oppose off shore fracking along California’s coast.

Letter of Opposition – Wilderness Act Amendments – EPIC joins over 100 conservation groups in a letter to congress asking them to reject amendments to the Wilderness Act.

Letter of Opposition – ESA Amendments to Senate Energy Bill – On behalf of millions of citizens, Epic joins others in a letter to ask the Senate to vote NO on amendments undermining the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that have been proposed for S. 2012, the “Energy Policy and Modernization Act.”

Letter of Opposition – Blocking New Parks in Amendments 3023/3126  – EPIC joins over 100 organizations in signing a letter in opposition to Senator Lee’s  amendments that would undermine the Antiquities Act

Letter of Opposition – NEPA Waiver in S. 2240 – Epic joins conservation organizations in writing to Senators to express strong opposition to Section 6(c) of S. 2240, the “Federal Lands Invasive Species Control, Prevention, and Management Act,” which would seriously compromise public input and environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act

Letter of Opposition S 2902 – Epic joins 20 other organizations in writing to the California air Resources Board to express opposition to the proposed inclusion of International Sector-based Offsets in Californian’s Capand-Trade Program.

Letter of Opposition – Grizzly Endangered Delisting Proposal_ – Epic joins  8o organizations, to  oppose the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposal to remove grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) as threatened from the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Letter of Opposition – Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee S 2807 – Epic joins conservation organizations in writing to members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, asking them to oppose  S. 2807 which  would greatly harm 88 coastal national parks from Alaska to Washington, from Florida to Maine.

Letter of Opposition – Wildfire Budgeting Response and Forest Management Act  – On behalf of millions of people, EPIC joins others in writing to the energy and Natural Resources Committee to highlight serious concerns with the Wildfire Budgeting, Response and Forest Management Act policy discussion draft that was released for public comment on May 25, 2016.

Letter of Oppostion – Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill – EPIC with allies joins others in writing to members of congress to urge them to reject anti-environmental policy riders that threaten our air, land, water and wildlife on the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill.

Letter of Opposition – PROMESA – Vieques and Title V – Epic joins conservation groups in writing a letter to members of congress to strongly oppose two environmentally-damaging provisions in the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA).  The first, Section 411, aims to take thousands of acres of the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge away from the American people thereby placing nationally-protected endangered species habitat under threat of bulldozers and development and encouraging efforts to sell off public lands for private gain. The second, is Title V of the draft legislation which eliminates citizen input, public scrutiny, environmental review, and limits judicial review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for large-scale projects chosen by an unelected board.

 

EPIC Business

Final Comments on FWS Draft Prioritization Methodology – EPIC urges the US Fish and Wildlife Service to strongly support prioritizing the protection of our nation’s most critically endangered species, and moving as quickly as possible to fully protect those species under the Endangered Species Act.

Final EPA Comments on Forest Roads – EPIC joins others in writing to the EPA to stand up for clean water and skein them to regulate and limit storm water discharges from forest roads to protect water quality.

BLM Mineral Withdrawal Final Letter – Epic advocates further protections for the greater sage grouse by joining organizations in a letter to the BLM Director to support the proposed withdrawal of federal mineral estate which is proposed to protect key habitats and to urge federal agencies to expand the withdrawal in areal extent and scope.

CALFIRE Support in Suspending Post-Fire Logging Final Letter – EPIC condemns post-fire logging by Fruit Growers Supply Company in Siskiyou County which likely resulted in the “take” of northern spotted owls. EPIC calls on CALFIRE to suspend all logging and conduct a full investigation.

Waste Transfer Station Final Letter – Original EPIC Comments on the Revised DEIR for the Mendocino Central Coast Waste Transfer Station.

EPIC Letter of Opposition for House Amendment S.2012 – EPIC urges Representatives to oppose the House amended version of S.2012. The amended bill fails to cut carbon pollution, invest in job-creating clean energy technologies, and modernize our energy infrastructure while maintaining environmental safeguards.

EPIC Compliance Manual – In 2016, under new state and local laws and regulations,medical cannabis farmers can now take steps to obtain licenses to sell their product. In response, EPIC comprised a handbook intended as a tool to provide the basics of how to comply with state and local laws and regulations that govern cannabis production. The regulatory landscape is changing quickly.
This handbook represents our best efforts to encompass state and local regulations at the time of printing, as well as provide an abridged look at some of the most important facets of the new regulations.

EPIC Letter of Support for Pomo Tribes  – EPIC’s letter of support for the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians who are requesting government to government consultations between the Tribes and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).


Action Alert: Help Re-open the Klamath National Forest; Broad Closures Hurt Local Communities!

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016
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Salvage LoggingAll eyes are on the Klamath National Forest as clear cut logging continues within the Westside Project area. The damaging project subsidizes the destruction of spotted owl and salmon habitat above the Klamath River and could result in the “take” of up to 103 northern spotted owls – two percent of the species entire population. The controversial project drew a record 14,000 comments in opposition and the timber sales that were so unattractive the Forest Service reduced their price to $2.50 per log truck load. To make matters worse, Klamath National Forest has issued an unconstitutional closure order.

We have two ways you can help reopen the Klamath National Forest:

1) Click here to send a message to decision-makers

2) Join a rally Friday 7/8 to expose timber welfare on public lands

KNF is shutting the public out of tens of thousands of acres of national forest under the guise of public safety. This is unacceptable. Closing controversial areas surrounding logging operations is used frequently by the Forest Service, to shield itself from scrutiny and attempt to prevent protests. On principle, closures like this one defy the values that set aside national forest land for use—our national forests were established for the enjoyment and benefit of the people; closing them to benefit timber interests is antithetical to that purpose. Closures have a real impact on the rural, river-dependent communities of the Klamath and all people who enjoy the area.

Land that comprises the Klamath National Forest is within Karuk Ancestral Territory, where cultural practitioners frequently gather medicine and basket weaving materials that thrive in post-fire areas, including within the closure area. Other users of the forest have been shut out of popular trail systems leading to the Marble Mountain Wilderness area, and still others are blocked from traveling the road system and collecting firewood during dry summer months. Klamath National Forest is the backyard for many and this closure impacts the ability to recreate and enjoy our public lands.

The Klamath National Forest claims that the closure is necessary to protect public health. This claim falls apart under any scrutiny. If the closure is necessary to protect public health, then why is the Klamath National Forest closing areas where logging is not set to occur? Why is the order in effect for one full year, even though logging is set to wrap up in the fall? If logging is so dangerous, why only close areas which have drawn public protests? And why issue it now, when logging began in March?

The Klamath National Forest has something to hide. Kimberly Baker of the Environmental Protection Information Center has documented failures by the Klamath National Forest to implement key mitigation measures they promised to implement to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Based on these violations, the Klamath National Forest has been put on notice that it will be sued under the Endangered Species Act.

Click here to ask Klamath National Forest to re-open the closure area.

The rally for public lands will be at Grider Creek Campground to raise awareness of industrial logging activities hidden behind locked gates on public lands. Bring a snack for our noon picnic potluck, and a poster to express your love for our public lands. This is a family-friendly public rally, all are encouraged to come.

 

WestsideRallyPoster1