2017 marked the beginning of a dangerous new era for anti-public lands behavior in the federal government. CalWild and its partners are united in facing the increasing number of threats coming from Congress and the Trump administration, and we’ll be tracking our resistance to the policies that pose the greatest threat to California’s public lands here.
We are also monitoring progress of a number of lower priority threats, which you can view here. These bills are currently considered a lower priority because they have not had any recent movement, not because they would be less of a threat if they were enacted
President Trump has staffed his cabinet with pro-industry bureaucrats and executives from powerful corporations like ExxonMobil, avidly neglecting the health of our natural resources and our local communities in the process. These appointments will make our job that much harder in the coming years, as well as making it that much more important that we engage everyone who is opposed to them and the policies they stand for.
Luckily, we know that the majority of Americans support public lands and wilderness areas, and that grassroots activism can generate real change at every level, even against the toughest odds.
Bad Bill Tracker: High Priority
Fast-tracks construction of the Temperance Flat Dam, which would drown the San Joaquin River which is recommended for Wild & Scenic protection by the BLM, as well as inundate a couple thousand acres of lands with wilderness characteristics. Reduces water deliveries to federal and state wildlife refuges in the Central Valley, increases pumping of water from the Delta, eliminates the San Joaquin River Salmon Restoration Program, and weakens the Endangered Species Act.
Valadao (CA), Nunes (CA), Rohrabacher (CA), Cook (CA), Issa (CA), Royce (CA), Walters (CA), Calvert (CA), Knight (CA), McCarthy (CA), Hunter (CA), LaMalfa (CA), McClintock (CA), Costa (CA), Denham (CA)
– Received in the Senate and referred to Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 7/18/17
– Passed/agreed to in House (230 to 190) 7/12/17
– Numerous actions, hearings and amendments have taken place since introduction on 1/3/17
Would allow the use of non-motorized bicycles, motorized or non-motorized wheelchairs, strollers, wheelbarrows, survey wheels, and game carts in wilderness. Wheelchairs are already allowed in Wilderness. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act reconciled itself with the Wilderness Act of 1964 by saying that people who use wheelchairs for everyday indoor mobility are allowed to use them in a wilderness area. A wheelchair or mobility device, even one that is battery-powered, so long as it is designed solely for indoor use by a mobility-impaired person, is already allowed anywhere foot travel is allowed, even in federally designated wilderness.
McClintock (CA), Hunter (CA), Westerman (AR), Pearce (NM)
– Amended by HNRC and placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 805 on 11/16/18
– Approved by the House Natural Resources Committee 12/13/17 in a 22-18 vote
– Heard in the HNR Subcommittee on Federal Lands on 12/7/17; expected to be heard by the House Natural Resources Committee on 12/13/17
– Referred to HNR Subcommittee on Federal Lands 3/15/17
Would create numerous new “categorical exclusions” (CE) from the public participation and environmental analysis requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The CEs would apply to both Forest Service and BLM lands. Would “expedite” the NEPA process for salvage logging and reforestation activities after large-scale wildfires or other natural disturbances. Would get rid of opportunities for judicial review in several ways by eliminating or constraining the ability of citizens to challenge federal forest management decisions in court. Would significantly weaken the interagency consultation requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Includes convoluted language about roadless area management that could be interpreted to eliminate current regulatory protection of Inventoried Roadless Areas under the national Roadless Area Conservation Rule and the Idaho and Colorado roadless rules.
Would make several changes in the Secure Rural Schools Title II program that aim to shift the program’s emphasis and funding from environmental restoration to timber production. Would also shrink the size of RACs from 15 members to just 9 members, change the approval process from super-majority to simple majority rule, and limit RAC membership to local residents. Would add procedural hoops to road decommissioning, it would allow the logging of old-growth forests in Oregon and Washington.
Westerman (AR), Nolan (MN), Tipton (CO), Labrador (ID), McClintock (CA), Peterson (MN), McMorris Rodgers (WA), Thompson (PA), Stewart (UT), Cheney (WY), LaMalfa (CA), Smith (MO), Gianforte (MT), Walden (OR), Valadao (CA), Abraham (LA), Byrne (AL), Newhouse (WA), Sessions (TX)
– Referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry 11/3/17
– Received in the Senate 11/2/17
– Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed by recorded vote: 232 – 188 11/1/17
– Scheduled for a House vote 11/1/17
– Agriculture Committee had a mark up and voice vote on 10/4/17
– Passed the Natural Resources Committee (Yeas 23, Nays 12) on 6/27/17
– Referred to the Committee on Agriculture, and Committees on Natural Resources, Education and the Workforce, and Transportation and Infrastructure on 6/20/17
See explanation of bill under Senate version.
Cook (CA), O’Halleran (AZ), and Gosar (AZ)
– Referred to Subcommittee on Federal Lands 8/1/17
– Introduced and referred to House Committee on Natural Resources 7/17/17
Would require the Secretary of the Interior to develop a categorical exclusion for “covered vegetative management activities” that are carried out to establish/improve habitat for greater sage-grouse and mule deer. [Using a categorical exclusion means that the activities would be done without considering their combined impacts on the area’s water quality, wildlife, or recreational resources.]
“Covered” activities include: manual cutting and removal of juniper trees, piñon pine trees, other conifers; mechanical mastication, cutting, or mowing, mechanical piling and burning, chaining, broadcast burning, or yarding; use of a herbicide, pesticide, or biological control agent, subject to the condition that the use shall be in accordance with applicable legal requirements, Federal agency procedures, and land use plans; installation of new, or modification of existing, fencing or water sources intended to control use or improve wildlife habitat; and construction of temporary roads.
“Covered” activities that are excluded: any activity conducted in a wilderness area or wilderness study area; or any activity for the construction of a permanent road or permanent trail. While these exclusions are good, the bill would still allow DOI to engage in many types of destructive and extremely impactful activities without any kind of environmental review.
The likely purpose(s) behind this bill – to “create” more sage grouse habitat, thus providing the ability to increase oil and gas development and cattle grazing in existing sage grouse habitat. May also be an attempt to get the support of hunting enthusiasts with the inclusion of mule deer habitat.
Stewart (UT), Tipton (CO)
– Introduced and referred to House Committee on Natural Resources 7/28/17
Allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to carry out any of their activities on federal lands located within 100 miles of the southern border without regard to numerous federal laws, including: the Wilderness Act, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Provides $3.75 billion per year (in 2018-2021) to fund CBP activities and infrastructure.
McCaul (TX), Banks (IN), Buschon (IN), Hudson (NC), Barr (KY), Rokita (IN), Norman (SC), Rothfus (PA), Noem (SD), Kinzinger (IL), Bacon (NE), Brooks (IN), Rutherford (FL), Russell (OK), Bishop (MI), McClintock (CA), Abraham (LA), Garrett (VA), Harper (MS), LaMalfa (CA), Grothman (WI), Zeldin (NY), Renacci (OH), Witman (VA), Byrne (AL), Gallagher (WI), Fleischman (TN), Hice (GA), Chabot (OH), Lance (NJ), DesJarlais (TN), Pittenger (NC), Thornberry (TX), Sessions (TX), Bishop (UT), Shuster (PA), Smith (TX), Brady (TX), Conaway (TX), Hensarling (TX), Carter (TX), Granger (TX), Calvert (CA), King (NY), McSally (AZ), Katko (NY), Donovan (NY), Ratcliffe (TX), Higgins (LA), Estes (KS), Poe (TX), Olson (TX), Burgess (TX), Marchant (TX), Farenthold (TX), Johnson (TX), Arrington (TX), Culberson (TX), Weber (TX), Williams (TX), Babin (TX), Barton (TX), Flores (TX), Meadows (NC), Hunter (CA), Cook (CA), Bridenstine (OK), Palazzo (MS), Bergman (MI), Kelly (MS), Collins (NY, Poliquin (ME), Franks (AZ), Goodlatte (VA), Cramer (ND), Loudermilk (GA), Rooney (FL) and Gaetz (FL)
– Placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 471 3/23/18
– Committee on Armed Services discharged 3/23/18
– Amended by the Committee on Homeland Security on 1/10/18. All other Committees were discharged on the same date.
– Approved by the Committee on Homeland Security (18 to 12) 10/4/17
– Referred to Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security 8/29/17
– Referred to Subcommittee on Federal Lands 8/15/17
– Referred to six Subcommittees 7/31/17
– Introduced and referred to Committees on Homeland Security, Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, Ways and Means, Oversight and Government Reform 7/28/17
Would amend the Wilderness Act to allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection to do the following within a wilderness area: gain access to structures; use motor vehicles and aircraft; deploy temporary infrastructure in “emergency situations” (without defining “emergency”); construct and maintain roads and fences with approval of DOI.
Bill says that these activities “shall be carried out in a manner that, to the greatest extent possible, protects the wilderness character of the area” which is vague and subjective and completely unenforceable, thus leaving wilderness at the mercy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Johnson (LA), McClintock (CA), Palmer (AL), Duncan (SC), Wilson (SC), Gibbs (OH), Gosar (AZ), Bucshon (IN), Rokita (IN), Westerman (AR), and Weber (TX).
– Placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 831 12/10/18
– Approved by the House Natural Resources Committee 11/15/18 (Yeas 19 Nays 12)
– Referred to Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security 8/29/17
– Referred to Subcommittee on Federal Lands 8/15/17
– Introduced and referred to Committees on Natural Resources and Homeland Security 7/28/17
Would give the provision of opportunities for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and fish and wildlife management, top priority in Wilderness, rather than protection of wilderness characteristics.
Would allow virtually any activity that would “facilitate, enhance, or both … wildlife conservation programs and projects or provide fish and wildlife dependent recreation opportunities” in Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, lands designated as wilderness or administratively classified as wilderness eligible or suitable and primitive or semi-primitive areas and National Monuments.
Would allow the construction of “temporary” roads to facilitate recreational uses and conceivably would allow the construction of other structures within Wilderness areas.
Would remove Wilderness Act prohibitions for agency managers against motor vehicle use for any management activities related to fishing, hunting, or recreational shooting, or for any wildlife conservation activities.
Would exempt all of the above actions from National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review. All of the above can be found in Section 403 of Title IV.
Duncan (SC), Carter (TX), Wittman (VA), Scott (GA), Sessions (TX), Green (TX)
– House was expected to vote on this bill the week of 9/25/17, but the vote was delayed because of the shooting in Las Vegas (because the bill also makes it easier to buy, sell and possess a silencer)
– Placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 224 9/18/17
– Committees discharged: Agriculture, Judiciary, Energy & Commerce, Transportation, Ways & Means 9/18/17
– Reported (Amended) by the Comm. on Natural Resources (H. Rept. 115-134, Part I) 9/18/17
– House Natural Resources Committee approved on a 22-13 vote 9/13/17
– Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearings held 9/12/17
– Referred to Subcommittees on Federal Lands and Water, Power and Oceans 9/05/17
– Introduced and referred to the following Committees: Natural Resources, Agriculture, Judiciary, Energy and Commerce, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Ways and Means 9/1/17
Would amend the Endangered Species Act by transferring “all functions with respect to anadromous and catadromous” fish from the National Marine Fisheries to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Anadromous fish (e.g., salmon and steelhead) migrate down rivers to the sea to spawn, while catadromous fish (e.g., eels) migrate down rivers to the sea to spawn. Rep. Calvert introduced this bill after the Marine Fisheries Service made fish-management recommendations, including changes to dam operations and dam removal, that displeased Rep. Calvert.
Despite the two agencies having roughly equivalent budgets for endangered species, the Fish and Wildlife Service is charged with conserving more than 1,400 endangered species, while Marine Fisheries only manages about 95 endangered species. To make matters worse, Congress continues to refuse to properly fund the Fish and Wildlife Service.
It should be noted that the Representatives who have testified in favor of this bill could not even pronounce the words “anadromous” or “catadromous”. In a Congressional hearing, Rep. Rob Bishop, the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said those words mean “yummy”.
Calvert (CA), LaMalfa (CA), Simpson (ID), Costa (CA), Valadao (CA), McMorris Rodgers (WA), McClintock (CA)
– Amended by the Natural Resources Committee and placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 648 7/18/18
– Approved by the Natural Resources Committee 5/16/18 (Yeas 22, Nays 14)
– Introduced and referred to Committee on Natural Resources 10/3/17
Limits the Antiquities Act to “Object or objects of antiquity” instead of “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest.” These are defined narrowly to include relics, artifacts, skeletal remains, fossils (but not fossil fuels), and buildings constructed before date of enactment. Does not include geographic features, or natural objects (except for human or animal skeletal remains).
Deletes “smallest area compatible” language and creates a bunch of new size-based classifications for monuments and rules for each:
a. Under 640 acres: no restrictions
b. Between 640 and 5,000 acres: All exterior boundaries of the monument must be at least 50 miles from the closest exterior boundary of another national monument. Interior or Agriculture Secretary must “review under NEPA” (maybe could use a CatEx?)
c. Between 5,000 and 10,000 acres: All exterior boundaries of the monument must be at least 50 miles from the closest exterior boundary of another national monument. Interior or Agriculture Secretary must prepare an EA or EIS under NEPA.
d. Between 10,000 and 85,000 acres: All exterior boundaries of the monument must be at least 50 miles from the closest exterior boundary of another national monument. Must be approved by the elected governing body of each county, the state legislature, and the Governor of each state where the monument is located. (Oddly, there’s no NEPA requirement here).
e. Over 85,000 acres: not permitted
Creates an emergency exception where “designation is made to prevent imminent and irreparable harm to the object or objects of antiquity to be protected by the designation” that is effective for one year, which cannot be repeated, and which cannot restrict any uses allowed on the land before designated.
Would allow the President to reduce the size of any national monument by 85,000 acres or less if reduction “has been reviewed under NEPA” and if reduction has been approved by the elected governing body of each county, the state legislature, and the Governor of each state where the monument is located.
No national monuments permitted that would place non-federal property within the external boundaries of the monument without express written consent of the property owner.
“Land” in monuments does not include submerged land or water (so presumably no marine monuments).
No federally reserved water rights for monuments.
Bishop (UT), Lamborn (CO), McClintock (CA), LaMalfa (CA), Gosar (AZ), Westerman (AR)
– Not expected to come up for a vote before 2018, but elements of the bill may be placed as riders in other legislation that are likely to get a vote, including the SECURE American Energy Act (H.R. 4239)
– Passed Committee of Natural Resources 10/11/17
– Introduced 10/6/17
Eliminates presidential authority to designate marine national monuments.
Scalise (LA), Bishop (UT), Gonzalez (TX), Cuellar (TX), Gosar (AZ), Cramer (ND), Pearce (NM), Laborn (CO), Radewagen (AS), Weber (TX), LaMalfa (CA), Hudson (NC), Flores (TX), Duncan (SC), Young (AK), Abraham (LA), Brat (VA)
– May come to the House floor for a vote late 2017 or early 2018
– Passed by the House Natural Resources Committee (19-14) 11/8/17
Would allow USFS and DOI to use a Categorical Exclusion (exemption from environmental review, including public input) with regard to any activity conducted pursuant to the Mineral Leasing Act for the purpose of exploration or development of oil or gas, so long as the activity fits within a list of “activities” that are listed in the bill, including:
1) Reinstating a lease (no timeline is given; it seems that if there was a lease there 100 years ago, the Categorical Exclusion would apply)
2) Drilling where drilling has previously occurred, so long as surface disturbance and acreage remain within 20 acres as before (again, no timeframe mentioned about when the previous drilling must have occurred)
3) Expansion or modification of an existing drill site, with the same requirements about disturbance and acreage
4) Drilling at new well pad sites, so long as the new surface disturbance does not exceed 20 acres or acreage previously evaluated in a NEPA document
5) Constructing up to 1 mile of new road on federal or non-federal surface, not to exceed 2 miles total
6) Constructing up to 3 miles of pipelines or utilities regardless of surface ownership
Pearce (NM), Cramer (ND), Johnson (OH), Gohmert (TX), Gosar (AZ), and Bishop (UT)
– Amended and placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar Number 743 – 9/20/18
– Approved by Natural Resources Committee – 6/20/18
– Introduced and referred to Committee on Natural Resources – 6/14/18
Projects that provide minerals vital to job creation, energy infrastructure, American economic competitiveness, and national security must be considered to be “infrastructure projects” as described in Executive Order 13604, entitled “Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects” dated March 22, 2012. This order directed federal agencies to significantly reduce the time required to make permitting and review decisions on infrastructure projects.
The requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 are satisfied if the BLM or the Forest Service determines that the agency issuing the permit will address specified factors, such as environmental impact, alternatives to issuance of the permit, or any irreversible and irretrievable commitment of resources that would be involved in the proposed action. The time period for completion of the mine permitting review process cannot exceed 30 months, except by mutual agreement.
Projects on National Forest System land would be exempt from regulations that prohibit timber tree cutting and road construction in areas without roads.
Amodei (NV), Latta (OH), Cheney (WY), Rogers (KY), Mooney (WV), Graves (MO), Fleischman (TN), Renacci (OH), Hartzler (MO), Stewart (UT), Olson (TX), Barr (KY), Cole (OK), Thompson (PA), Bishop (MI), Sessions (TX), Johnson (OH), Love (UT), Hice (GA), Graves (GA), Culberson (TX), McClintock (CA), Simpson (ID), Sensenbrenner (WI), Labrador (ID), Cramer (ND), LaMalfa (CA), Young (AK), Pearce (NM), Flores (TX), Tipton (CO), Lamborn (CO), McMorris (WA), Duncan (SC), Gosar (AZ), Cook (CA), Westerman (AR), Amodei (NV), Latta (OH), Cheney (WY), Rogers (KY), Mooney (WV), Graves (MO), Fleischman (TN), Renacci (OH), Hartzler (MO), Stewart (UT), Olson (TX), Barr (KY), Cole (OK), Thompson (PA), Bishop (MI), Sessions (TX), Johnson (OH), Love (UT), Hice (GA), Graves (GA), Culberson (TX), McClintock (CA), Simpson (ID), Sensenbrenner (WI), Labrador (ID), Cramer (ND), LaMalfa (CA), Young (AK), Pearce (NM), Flores (TX), Tipton (CO), Lamborn (CO), McMorris (WA), Duncan (SC), Gosar (AZ), Cook (CA), Westerman (AR)
– Amended by Natural Resources Committee 4/11/18
– Placed on the Union, Calendar No. 482 4/11/18
– Subcommittee hearings held 2/15/18
– Referred to Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources 2/10/18
– Referred to House Committee on Natural Resources 1/13/18
Would prohibit actions that impede border security on certain Federal land. The Secretary of Agriculture or Secretary of Interior would be prohibited from impeding, prohibiting or restricting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) access to Federal land within the 100-mile zone if they are executing search and rescue operations or preventing unlawful entries into the US. This includes entries by terrorists, unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband. Would give Border patrol “immediate access” to federal land within the 100-mile zone for use of vehicles to patrol/apprehend “illegal entrants” and to rescue people; and for the construction, installation, operation and maintenance of tactile infrastructure (fence, wall, checkpoints, etc.) and border technology (any Federal equipment including fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, four-wheel drive vehicles, sedans, night vision goggles, night vision scopes, and sensor units use, for the purpose of detection, interdiction, and reduction of illegal immigration into the United States).
Exempts CBP from a myriad of laws including many environmental and wildlife acts (including NEPA, ESA, Wilderness Act, Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, the Antiquities Act, etc.) but they are not allowed to restrict legal uses of the land (hunting, grazing, mining, recreation, airstrips, etc.)
Does not apply to state or private land. Does not affect tribal agreements.
Cornyn (TX), Inhofe (OK), Scott (SC), Heller (NV), Tillis (NC), Johnson (WI), Barrasso (WY), Wicker (MS), Lankford (OK)
– Read the second time and placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders (Calendar No. 208) 9/5/17
– Introduced, read the first time, and placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under Read the First Time 8/3/17
Would allow any state, county, political subdivision or agency of a state, company, or other person that asserts public acceptance of a right-of-way granted for the construction of highways over public lands to file a claim (or notice of intent to file suit) within the 25-year period beginning on the date of enactment of the bill. Would allow any state, county, political subdivision or agency of a state, company, or other person that asserts public acceptance of a right-of-way granted for the construction of highways over public lands to file a claim (or notice of intent to file suit) within the 25-year period beginning on the date of enactment of the bill.
Overwrites longstanding state and federal case law concerning the nature, validity, and scope of RS 2477 rights-of-way, allowing claimants to gain title to untold thousands of rights-of-way across public lands regardless of their validity under RS 2477.
RS 2477 was enacted in 1866 to grant rights-of-way across federal lands to prospectors and homesteaders. Congress repealed RS 2477 in 1976 when it passed FLPMA, but provided that valid existing rights established prior to FLPMA’s enactment would be recognized if the terms of the grant were met.
Opponents of FLPMA began using RS 2477—just one of a slew of right-of-way grants—to claim faded two-tracks, cow paths, and wash bottoms as “highways” that, if developed, could disqualify lands from wilderness eligibility and other protections.
The vast majority of claims—unimproved dirt roads and trails—do not serve any public purpose. S. 468 seeks to validate these spurious claims and many thousands more across the West by drastically lowering evidentiary burdens and fundamentally redefining the law surrounding RS 2477. The true purpose of the bill is to rubberstamp RS 2477 claims and, in so doing, undermine the protections of the American West’s most pristine public lands.
Specifically allows claims in wilderness study areas, areas of critical environmental concern, and lands with wilderness characteristics.
Flake (AZ), Hatch (UT), Heller (NV), McCain (AZ)
– Hearing held by Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining 7/26/17
– Introduced and referred to Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 2/28/17
Executive Orders & Other Threats
For more information, please refer to the following links:
– 3/22/18: Comments deadline.
– 2/26/18: Public scoping meetings begin in Lone Pine. Attendance is great throughout, with over 100 supporters showing up in Joshua Tree alone.
– 2/21/18: CalWild leads the charge to collect public comments before the March 22nd deadline through our Action Alert.
– February 2018: CalWild strategies with our desert coalition partners to engage with supports on the public comment process planned for later this month and early March. Assistant Policy Director Linda Castro publishes a piece on SVCNews.com. CalWild and our partners Friends of the Inyo and Conservation Lands Foundation secure a grant from the Rose Foundation to assist with awareness and collecting comments.
– 2/2/18: Notice of Intent (NOI) from the Department of the Interior to solicit public comments and identify issues for a plan amendment to the DRECP.
The administration and Congress have been increasingly interested in rescinding recent National Monument designations, specifically those of Bears Ears (UT), Katahdin Woods and Waters (ME), and Cascade-Siskiyou (OR/CA) – the latter of which CalWild helped expand in President Obama’s final week in office. California’s most recent Monuments, including Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, San Gabriel Mountains, Cascade-Siskiyou, and Berryessa-Snow Mountain, are vulnerable to any revocation or reduction attempts. Additionally, Carrizo Plain and Giant Sequoia also face review.
No President has ever revoked a National Monument before, and legal experts are confident that even an attempt is illegal if not foolhardy, time-consuming, and most certainly litigious and a drain of public resources.
– 12/4/17: President Trump announced his intention to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah by 85% and 50% respectively. These reductions will, in the end, reduce the land protected under the designations by President Clinton (in the case of Grand Staircase-Escalante) and President Obama (for Bears Ears) by a collective two million acres. While we anticipated the action, the President’s ultimate decision to move forward marked one of the greatest anti-conservationist decisions by any administration in history.
– 9/18/17: A leak reported by the Wall Street Journal this weekend revealed Interior Ryan Zinke’s recommendations to President Trump to reduce protections and drastically alter boundaries on at least six national monuments across the country, including the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument shared by California and Oregon. See our Press Release.
– 8/24/17: Expected recommendations from Secretary Zinke never come. Silence from the Trump administration after Zinke’s report is delivered to the President but not made public.
– 8/22/17: About 100 people rally in Bakersfield to show support for the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s local office closes in anticipation of the event.
– 8/1/17: CalWild targets Rep. Kevin McCarthy in an Action Alert geared towards gaining his support to retain Giant Sequoia National Monument’s current boundaries.
– 7/18/17: Executive Director Chris Morrill contributes a blog wrapping up the public comment process; 2.7 million comments received overall nationally, with over 99% in favor of maintaining or expanding our National Monuments!
– 7/10/17: Public comment process closed. CalWild supporters submitted 1,621 comments.
– 6/30/17: Despite our best attempts, Tulare County Board of Supervisors vote 3-2 to send a letter to Ryan Zinke asking for a reduction to the Giant Sequoia National Monument. On the same day, he Congressional Western Caucus also sent a letter to Zinke, but asked for 10 of the monuments to be eliminated altogether (CalWild responded with an Action Alert targeting the CA representatives who signed on). A few days later, the Kern County Board of Supervisors, who were expected to write a similar letter, decided to instead ask Zinke for better funding and management of their National Monument – all because of a CalWild-assisted campaign of public outcry.
– 6/26/17: Senior Policy Director Ryan Henson was on KPFA explaining threats to the Giant Sequoia National Monument outlined here.
– 6/12/17: Secretary Zinke recommended that Bears Ears National Monument in Utah be shrunk but did not quantify the new proposed size. This is an alarming beginning to the recommendation process and could set a precedent for further recommendations.
– 6/11/17: During the public comment process, CalWild supporters submitted 1,621 comments to the DOI amongst the 2.7 million comments received in total (98% of the those were in support of maintaining or expanding National Monuments across the country)- 6/12/17: Secretary Zinke announces that the DOI will not seek changes to the Hanford Reach and Craters of the Moon monuments in Washington and Idaho, underscoring a likely attempt to change the remaining 25 monuments under review in the coming weeks. Announced a mere 2 days after the comments session was closed – hardly enough time to read a fraction of that 2.7 million comments – this move reveals just how arbitrary the decision-making is at the current DOI.
– May-July 2017: Events held throughout California in support of our 7 Monuments under threat while CalWild and its partners spread our action alerts generating comments. See a blog about the successful passage of the state resolution AJR15 here.
– 5/3/17: Rep. Judy Chu introduced legislation to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, a week after President Donald Trump ordered the review of the Monument and six others in California. Take action on this here.
– 4/26/17: Thanks to our D.C. ears and eyes, we were alerted to this with enough time to coordinate in a big way with our allies across California and the country, sending a loud message to D.C. that the public does not support this review.
Rep. Rob Bishop [R-UT] is trying to use the House budgetary process to earmark $50 million dollars (not coincidentally, the annual budget of the National Conservation Lands) to make easier the transfer of public lands and wilderness areas to the states, a long-lived fantasy of extremist Republicans that seems downright plausible under President Trump and the 115th Congress.
Despite our actions, Conservatives used the Congressional Review Act to overturn a progressive new Bureau of Land Management (BLM) policy dubbed “Planning 2.0,” which would have increased public input for land management decisions for that federal department.
Read more about Planning 2.0 here.
On its first day in session, the 115th Congress quietly passed a rules package that “changed the way Congress calculates the cost of transferring federal lands to the states and other entities” – The Washington Post
This internal move anticipates future attempts to dismantle federal public lands designations, which have been proven to help generate more jobs and increase economic health in counties across the country.
Good Bill Tracker
This bill establishes the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area in California. The Delta Protection Commission is designated as the local coordinating entity for the heritage area. The Commission shall submit a proposed management plan for the heritage area to the Department of the Interior for approval. The management plan shall not be approved until Interior has received certification from the Commission that the Delta Stewardship Council has reviewed such plan for consistency with the plan adopted by the Council pursuant to state law.
Garamendi (CA), DeSaulnier (CA), Lofgren (CA), McNerney (CA)
– Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands 4/4/17
– Received in the House and referred to Committee on Natural Resources 3/27/17
This bill establishes the San Gabriel National Recreation Area in California as a unit of the National Park System, consisting of approximately 51,107 acres of identified federal lands and interests.
The Department of the Interior must cooperate with the Department of Defense (DOD) to develop opportunities for the management of the federal lands under DOD jurisdiction that are included within the recreation area.
The bill establishes the San Gabriel National Recreation Area Public Advisory Council and the San Gabriel National Recreation Area Partnership. Interior and the San Gabriel National Recreation Area Public Advisory Council shall create a comprehensive management plan for the recreation area.
Interior shall develop an integrated visitor services plan for the recreation area and is authorized to construct visitor use facilities. The Department of Agriculture must modify the boundaries of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in California to include approximately 109,143 acres of additional, identified National Forest System lands and administer them as part of the monument.
Chu (CA), Schiff (CA), Napolitano (CA), Cardenas (CA), Sanchez (CA), Gomez (CA), Barragan (CA)
– Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands 5/11/17
– Received in the House to the Committee on Natural Resources 5/3/17
This bill designates specified federal lands in Angeles National Forest in California as wilderness and as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System.
The bill amends the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate specified segments of the East Fork San Gabriel River, the North Fork San Gabriel River, the West Fork San Gabriel River, and Little Rock Creek in California as wild, recreational, or scenic rivers and as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
Chu (CA), Schiff (CA), Gomez (CA), Barragan (CA)
– Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands 7/10/17
– Received in House and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources 6/23/17
This bill adjusts the boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California as depicted on a specified map to include the Rim of the Valley Unit.
The Rim of the Valley Unit, and any lands or interests acquired by the United States and located within its boundaries, shall be administered as part of the recreation area.
The Department of the Interior may acquire only through exchange, donation, or purchase from a willing seller any nonfederal land within the boundaries of the Rim of the Valley Unit.
Schiff (CA), Brownley (CA), Cardenas (CA), Chu (CA), Gomez (CA), Lieu (CA), Napolitano (CA), Sherman (CA), Knight (CA), Lowenthal (CA), and Barragan (CA)
– Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands 10/24/17
– Received in House and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources 10/19/17
Requires federal agencies to address environmental justice and to consider cumulative impacts in certain permitting decisions and gives a private right of action to challenge discriminatory practices. Requires Federal agencies to address and eliminate the disproportionate environmental and human health impacts on communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities. Increases cooperation and requires coordination among Federal agencies in achieving environmental justice.
Ruiz (CA), Schiff (CA), Soto (FL), Watson Coleman (NJ), Foster (IL), Moore (WI), Sewell (AL), Khanna (CA), Schakowsky (IL), Carson (IN), Green (TX), Blumenauer (OR), Espaillat (NY), Ellison (MN), Waters (CA), Lee (CA), Kihuen (NV), Carbajal (CA), Gutierrez (IL), Payne (NJ), Hastings (FL), McEachin (VA), Jayapal (WA), Thompson (MS), Evans (PA), Roybal-Allard (CA), Jackson Lee (TX), Barragan (CA), Bonamici (OR), Lawson (FL)
– Referred to the Subcommittees on Aviation, Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, Highways and Transit, Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, Water Resources and Environment, and Environment 10/25/17
– Introduced and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Natural Resources, Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Judiciary 10/24/17
This bill requires the Department of the Interior to publicly disclose the amounts of fossil fuel production, including amounts of gas released (as by flaring), and renewable energy production on public lands.
The data shall present amounts of greenhouse gas emissions using the 20- and 100-year Global Warming Potential-weighted emission values and, for renewable energy production, compare fossil fuel-generated emissions resulting from the same amount of energy.
As determined necessary to implement this bill, Interior shall promulgate regulations regarding accurate measurement and reporting of methane emissions.
Lowenthal (CA), Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Deutch (FL), Curbelo (FL), Tsongas (MA), Velazquez (NY), Coffman (CO)
– Referred to the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources 10/27/17
– Introduced in House and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources 10/25/17
Would reauthorize the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and certain wildlife conservation funds, to establish prize competitions relating to the prevention of wildlife poaching and trafficking, wildlife conservation, the management of invasive species, and the protection of endangered species.
Lowenthal (CA), Clarke (NY), Radewagen (AS), Young (AK), Cartwright (PA), Shea-Porter (NH), Swalwell (CA), Lofgren (CA), Huffman (CA), Espaillat (NY), Meeks (NY), Fitzpatrick (PA), Schiff (CA), Katko (NY)
– Referred to the Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans 6/5/18
– Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands 6/5/18
– Referred to the Subcommittee on Environment 5/22/18
– Introduced in House and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology 5/18/18
This bill amends the California Desert Protection Act of 1994 to, among other things:
– establish or designate wilderness areas, a special management area, off-highway vehicle recreation areas, and a national scenic area;
– release specified wilderness study areas;
– adjust national park and preserve boundaries; and
– specify land withdrawals and conveyances.
Specified federal land shall be taken into trust for the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe. Lands and interests in land, including improvements, outside the boundary of Joshua Tree National Park in California may be acquired for the purpose of operating a visitor center.
The bill makes amendments to the California Desert Protection Act of 1994 regarding the California State School lands.
The bill amends the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate specified segments of rivers and creeks as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
The bill establishes the Renewable Energy Resource Conservation Fund for use in regions impacted by the development of wind or solar energy.
Feinstein (CA), Harris (CA)
– Hearings held in Subcommittee Public Lands, Forests, and Mining 7/26/17
– Introduced in Senate and referred the Committee on Natural Resources 1/5/17
This bill designates specified lands in the Bakersfield Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and in the Lost Padres National Forest in California as wilderness areas and as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System.
It also designates certain land in Los Padres National Forest as the Machesna Mountain Potential Wilderness Area, which shall be incorporated into the Machesna Mountain Wilderness Area.
Specified segments of the Indian, Mono, Matilija, Sespe, and Piru Creeks and Sisquoc River in California are designated as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
Certain land in the Los Padres National Forest in California is designated as the Fox Mountain Potential Wilderness Area, which shall be incorporated into the San Rafael Wilderness.
This bill designates specified land: (1) in Los Padres National Forest as the Condor Ridge Scenic Area; and (2) in Los Padres National Forest and in the BLM Bakersfield Field Office as the Black Mountain Scenic Area.
The Department of Agriculture shall: (1) study connecting the northern and southern parts of the Los Padres National Forest using a trail corridor across parts of the Northern and Southern Santa Lucia Mountains of the Southern California Coastal Range; (2) designate the Condor National Recreation Trail, extending from Lake Piru to the Botchers Gap Campground in the Monterey County corridor in California; and (3) conduct a study to improve nonmotorized recreation trail opportunities (including mountain bicycling) on land not designated as wilderness within the Santa Barbara, Ojai, and Mt. Pinos ranger districts.
The Forest Service shall study the feasibility of opening a new trail, for vehicles measuring 50 inches or less, connecting Forest Service Highway 95 to the existing off-highway vehicle trail system in the Ballinger Canyon off-highway vehicle area.
Carbajal (CA), Brownley (CA), Panetta (CA), Thompson (CA), Huffman (CA), Speier (CA), Eshoo (CA), McNerney (CA), Napolitano (CA), Lofgren (CA), Lee (CA), Schiff (CA), Lowenthal (CA), Ruiz (CA), Takano (CA), DeSaulnier (CA), Lieu (CA), Sanchez (CA), Davis (CA), Garamendi (CA), Sherman (CA), Chu (CA), Gomez (CA), Torres (CA), Matsui (CA), Barragan (CA)
– Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands 10/18/17
– Referred to the Committee on Natural Resources 10/16/17
– Introduced in House 10/16/17
Bill text is currently unavailable.
Among other provisions, the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act will:
- Promote fuel reduction and forest and woodland restoration on 729,000 acres of public lands in southern Trinity and western Humboldt counties. Any proceeds generated from tree removal will be used to fund additional restoration and fuel reduction.
Protect 317,000 acres of federal public lands as “wilderness.” Wilderness is the strongest protection available for certain areas of public land available under federal law.
- Designate 379 miles of new “wild and scenic rivers” and mandates federal agencies to create management plans for 101 miles of existing wild and scenic rivers providing critical habitat for threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.
- Direct federal agencies to explore ways to improve motorized and non-motorized recreation trail opportunities, including mountain biking, on national forest and adjacent Bureau of Land Management lands in Del Norte, Humboldt, Trinity, and Mendocino Counties.
- Restore public lands affected by illegal trespass marijuana grows.
- Authorize the construction of two public visitor centers in Trinity and Del Norte counties.
- Study the establishment of the “Bigfoot National Recreation Trail” from Crescent City to the southern Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness boundary that will highlight the immense ecological diversity of northwestern California’s ancient forests and other unique landscapes.
– Referred to the Committee on Natural Resources 7/26/18
– Introduced in the House of Representatives 7/26/18
Companion bill to HR 4072.
Harris (CA), Feinstein (CA)
– Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 10/16/17
– Introduced in the Senate 10/16/17
This bill would allow California to safeguard the over 747 miles of wild and scenic rivers in California in the event that the federal government weakens or removes their federally protected status. This bill would authorize the state’s Natural Resources Agency to temporarily apply state protections to rivers (or segments of rivers) that have lost federal protection, and would allow the Legislature to act on making the river or segment permanently part of the State System.
Friedman (A), Allen (S)
– Committee on Appropriations hearing date set for 8/6/18.
– Referred to the Committee on Appropriations 6/26/18.
– Introduced in the Legislature 2/16/18