EPIC in Review

By
Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Trinidad. Photo by Amber SheltonAt EPIC we work countless hours collaborating with citizens, advocacy groups, agencies and politicians, but the bulk of our work is not always obvious to our readers. We have compiled a long list of letters and comments that address contemporary issues facing our region, state and nation. Our staff has been very busy speaking up for our forests, rivers and wildlife. Below are examples of some of the collaborative and individual work we have done in the past few months, to help make our world a better place for generations to come.

FINAL FY16 Omnibus Letter – Letter to congress emphasizing the importance of restoring funding for environmental programs and avoiding environmentally damaging policy riders in the FY16 Appropriations bills.

Kangaroo letter – EPIC joins wildlife organizations in writing a letter to the California Senate and Assembly leaders to urge them in letting the exemption on California’s kangaroo trade ban expire. If the legislature does nothing, California’s long-standing prohibition on trade in kangaroo parts will be reinstated. This would allow California to stop its contribution to the world’s largest land-based commercial slaughter of wildlife. Three million adult kangaroos and hundreds of thousands of joeys are ruthlessly killed every year, threatening the species’ long-term viability.

HR 974 – Organization letter 10 8 15 – EPIC joined other conservation groups in writing a letter to US Representatives to urge them to keep Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks’ rivers and streams protected and oppose Rep. Lummis’ proposed amendment to H.R. 974 and the underlying bill. The bill, as written, would lift existing protections and regulations on hand-propelled vessels in most of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and may effect up to 6,500 miles of backcountry streams and rivers.

FY16 environmental group letter 7 20 15 – Letter sent to Obama and congress to emphasize the importance of restoring funding for environmental programs and avoiding environmentally damaging policy riders in the FY16 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bills
FY16 Omnibus Letter – Letter to congress emphasizing the importance of restoring funding for environmental programs and avoiding environmentally damaging policy riders in the FY16 Appropriations bills.Letter of support for the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act– Letter supporting the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act (S. 1081), sponsored by Senator Cory Booker, to prohibit the use of body-gripping traps within the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS).
Federal-Northern Spotted Owl -Endangered-Petition – The Fish and Wildlife Service found that our petition and the other available evidence before the agency presented sufficient information to determine that the uplisting “may be warranted.” Uplisting the Northern Spotted Owl will have numerous conservation benefits for the species and would provide the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with additional authority to protect the spotted owl. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will now commence its 12-month status review; however, the 12-month review and finding will not actually be available until September, 2017. EPIC will continue to work to see the Northern Spotted Owl protected to the fullest extent possible under the Endangered Species Act.
Tongass 872 and 1955 letter – Letter of opposition to S. 872, the Unrecognized Southeast Alaska Native Communities Recognition and Compensation Act and S. 1955, the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act. S. 872 would establish five new village corporations in Southeast Alaska and give away over 115,000 acres of public lands in the Tongass National Forest to these newly-created private entities, The Tongass National Forest is a national treasure and the engine of the region’s economy – transferring these valuable lands into private ownership endangers the region’s wildlife and sustainable economy, as well sets a precedent to reopen land claims settled through previous law.
Oppose S 750 – Letter urging Senators to vote NO on S. 750, the “Arizona Borderlands Protection and Preservation Act” which neither protects nor preserves public lands and would instead harm 10 million acres in Arizona. S. 750 purports to provide “100 percent” access for the functioning and operations of the United States Border Patrol on national parks, national monuments, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and other public lands administered by the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture within 100 miles of the border in Arizona by eliminating the rule of law on those lands.
Letter Opposing the RAPID Act of 2015 – Letter to Representatives, to urge them to oppose H.R. 348, the misleadingly named “Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2015.” Instead of improving the permitting process, the bill would severely undermine the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and, consequently, the quality and integrity of federal agency decisions.
HR 1937 sign on letter – EPIC join other conservation groups in a letter to congressional representatives to express opposition to H.R. 1937, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015. Cloaked as a bill about increasing production of strategic minerals, this legislation is actually about hiding the mining industry’s poor environmental practices on the public’s federally managed lands.
 Community Letter McClintock Discussion –  Thirty-one conservation groups wrote to representatives on the Subcommittee on Federal Lands to express strong opposition to the discussion draft bill, the so-called “National Forest Improvement Act of 2015.” This damaging legislation contains harmful and polarizing provisions that undermine the balanced set of laws and policies that govern the National Forest System and would result in severe degradation of the environmental, social and economic values that all Americans enjoy from our national forests. Under the pretext of “forest health” and “collaboration,” the bill does the opposite by moving towards analysis-free, high-risk production-based logging on our national forests and reducing collaboration.
Letter to oppose Lucas anti-ESA amendment on NDAA –  Urging representatives to vote NO on an amendment proposed by Rep. Lucas to H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act for 2016 (NDAA), which would undermine the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by legislatively delisting two protected species.
Oppose HR 1335 NGO Community Letter – 5.27.2015 – Letter urging the House of Representatives to oppose H.R. 1335. The latest word is that the bill will be on the House floor during the week of June 1.  H.R. 1335 weakens conservation requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and undermines several bedrock environmental laws — National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, National Marine Sanctuaries Act, and Antiquities Act of 1906.
Community Oppose FY16 Senate Interior Bill – EPIC joined 30 conservation groups in writing to the Committee on Appropriations to voice  strong opposition to the Fiscal Year 2016 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which contains many destructive policy riders as well as  damaging funding levels for many programs and agencies in the bill.
CFOSCP FY17 USDA Request Letter-FINAL – EPIC joined 48 other groups in a letter written to the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment and to the Chief of the US Forest Service to express strong support for the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (CFP).
Huffman Drought Bill_Support Letter_FINAL_7 17 15 – EPIC joins others in a letter to Representative Huffman to express support for H.R. 2983, recently introduced legislation that would provide drought solutions from new investments in lasting water solutions, growing the economy while also protecting our rivers, wildlife, and the thousands of jobs that depend on them.
Oppose NEPA Rollbacks in HR 22 – Joining other conservation organizations EPIC writes to Senators to express strong opposition to provisions in the transportation bill, (H.R. 22) that radically undermine the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), by limiting public participation and environmental review of the construction of critical transportation and infrastructure projects in our communities.
FINAL DPR VOC CRLAF et al Comments 2015 – EPIC joins in a letter to the Department of Pesticide Regulation to take real steps to reduce pesticide emissions as part of its smog reduction requirements in the San Joaquin Valley and other polluted regions in the state.
Oppose S. 1691. Community Letter – EPIC joined conservation groups in a letter to Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Wyden Subcommittee on the Public Lands, Forests and Mining to express  strong opposition to S. 1691, the so-called “National Forest Ecosystem Improvement Act of 2015. This extreme legislation imposes dangerous and irrational logging mandates on our national forests while undermining bedrock environmental laws, posing a serious threat to wildlife, watersheds and communities. It severely curtails judicial review, weakens collaboration and limits public engagement in forest management decisions.
NWFP Regional Framework Letter – FINAL – EPIC joins conservation partners in writing a letter to national forest leaders urging them to uphold the principles of the Northwest Forest Plan.
Final_StrengthenRHR_Letter_10.7.15 – EPIC joined 82 conservation and public interest organizations to  urge the Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen the Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze Rule to restore clean air to national parks and wilderness areas and their neighboring communities.
*Thanks to EPIC intern Aaron Cobas for helping to compile these files!