EPIC in Review

By
Thursday, May 7th, 2015

NSO-self-defenseOur staff is always busy working to save wildlife and wild places. The short list below illustrates some of the issues we have recently worked on. Several of the items are original works, and many of them are letters we have signed to support larger coalitions. Over the past month or so, we have advocated for the protection of northern spotted owls, sage grouse, bobcats, pygmy forests, national parks, public lands and waters, community forests and open space, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Environmental Protection Agency among other things. Special thanks to all of our allies and partners in working together to make an impact both at home and across the country, and thanks to EPIC volunteer Gisele Albertine for compiling and summarizing the documents for this article.

Original Works:

On April 10th, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at long-last produced its initial 90-day finding on EPIC’s petition to “uplist” or “reclassify” the Northern Spotted Owl from a threatened to an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act. 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.

Northern Spotted Owl uplisting 90 day finding official

Federal-Northern Spotted Owl-Endangered-Petition

EPIC submitted comments on the DEIR on the proposed Central Coast Transfer Station in Mendocino County’s Pygmy Forest.

EPIC petitioned the Office of Administrative Law alleging that CAL FIRE’s current use of review standards for proposed harvesting plans which may affect the Northern Spotted Owl, are not authorized and constitutes an underground regulation and is inconsistent with the Administrative Procedures Act.

Environmental Coalition Letters:

Supporting Tsongas amendment to strike sage-grouse provision on the National Defense Authorization Act.

Community Opposes Daines Antiquities Letter which would block designation of future National Parks.

Oppose drastic cuts in non-defense spending that would further cripple the ability of the EPA, and other agencies to carry out their missions to steward our natural resources. Environmental community opposition letter to House and Senate FY16 Budgets.

Opposed the RAPID Act of 2015  which undermines the core purposes of NEPA by prioritizing speed of decisions and project approval over the public interest.

Supported the Council on Environmental Quality’s revised draft guidance for federal departments and agencies on consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change in NEPA reviews.

Supported reauthorization of FLTFA to protect significant conservation lands and enhance local economies by allowing federal land sales and conservation transactions to occur through this no-cost program.

Urged the Department of Commerce to measure the overall contributions of America’s public lands and waters to the economy, and report on the employment and economic activity associated with the outdoor recreation industry.

Urged the rejection of SB 457 which would effectively permit trappers to kill bobcats near the boundaries of national and state parks.

Opposed the “Federal Permitting Improvement Act of 2015” which undercuts public participation and environmental review.

Supported the U.S. Forest Service’s Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (CFP).

In opposition to repealing California’s landmark law to protect people, wildlife and the environment from toxic lead dispersed by ammunition.

Opposed the so-called “Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015.”

Urged the creation of an ozone pollution standard that is protective of ecosystems, wildlife, and vegetation.