Thursday, December 24, 2015

Progressive Women's Committee features candidates for US Congress and CA State Assembly - Thurs Jan 7

THE PROGRESSIVE WOMEN’S COMMITTEE will meet on Thursday January 7, 2016 at 11:30 a.m. at Thomi's Banquet Room in Jackson. The speakers for January will be Robert Derlet and Robert Carabas, candidates for US Congress and CA State Assembly.

Reservations are required and may be made by contacting Sally at trestrail@gotsky.com or 267-0177 no later than January 5th. All those interested are welcome to attend. The buffet luncheon is $15.00. Pay at the door - cash or personal check only.


Robert Derlet
Robert Carabas



Friday, December 11, 2015

Our CYA Wards Were a Huge Help During the Butte Fire

By Guest Columnist: Lynn Morgan, Amador County Supervisor District 3
(Published in the Upcountry News, Dec 2015, Vol. 14, No. 12 Courtesy of Rick Torgerson)
I was encouraged by Ruth Gottstein to visit the Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp (CYA) to see for myself what wonderful work they perform.  I arranged a meeting with Mr. Michael Roots, Superintendant for the camp and Ruth was right, I was so impressed!
Mr. Roots greeted me warmly and took me on a tour of the facility, starting with the visiting area. I was, frankly, somewhat surprised to see how nice it was--with picnic tables and barbeques for family meals and really--minimum security.  The wards at the camp normally wear khaki shirts and blue jeans, more informal attire than the jumpsuits that one normally associates with incarcerated men in institutions.
Then, Mr. Roots told me of the business of the camp—especially, that they are the only youth offender facility which works directly with another state agency (CALFIRE) to provide specific training for these young men. The age range is roughly 18-23. Currently, there are 70 wards in the facility that, because of good behavior, have been moved to the CYA from other correctional institutions, to better develop their education and work experience. The camp also requires all wards that have not completed a high school degree to go to school every day--to pursue either a diploma or GED.  This helps them to adjust to the real world once they are released.
But THIS is an amazing ‘halfway house!’ They require each ward to work directly with CALFIRE for firefighting training. The role of the CYA wards assisting during the Butte Fire was invaluable and they don’t get much credit for that. The wards are hard-working, durable and committed young men--and for that, we are all grateful.
When there are any behavioral issues, the CALFIRE staff is asked to report problems to the camp supervisors--and such behavior is quickly adjudicated, sometimes by simply sending back to their dormitory. The wards are assigned routine tasks from CALFIRE, like clearing drainages that would make any young person tired and sore at the end of the day.  
The camp supervisors establish ‘teams’ with a goal of diversification of both races and gang members.  These teams know the rules--that the most productive member becomes the leader and gets to sit at head of their team table during meals.  They asked for and now have a weight room, paid for with the extra money they earn from their work.
Frankly, the most impressive event of my visit was when one of the CYA supervisors approached Mr. Roots to ask to speak with him for a minute. So of course, I started to step aside. However, I was encouraged not to ‘step away’ because this supervisor simply wanted to ask his boss if it was okay to take one of the wards to the bank with him.  The purpose of the visit?  The supervisor wanted to show him how to establish a bank account, deposit his paycheck, get an ATM card and write a check.  I later commented about the great, real-world approach to helping prepare these young men for life…after camp.
We must all continue to support the work of this very special youth camp.  They do wonderful work with our troubled youth.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New fact sheet: California's Recovery Has Been Uneven Across the State

California Budget & Policy Center
GET UPDATES  |  FORWARD  |  VISIT OUR WEBSITE
December 8, 2015

California's Recovery Has Been Uneven Across the State
Millions of Californians continue to face economic hardship despite the steady job gains and declining unemployment of recent years. California's official poverty rate in 2014 stood at 16.4 percent, down slightly from the prior year but still well above the state poverty rate in 2007, the year the Great Recession started in California.

In order to provide a closer look at how the current recovery is failing to reach many parts of our state, a new Budget Center fact sheet looks at poverty rates at the county level and shows that many places have yet to make up lost ground. In fact, in 32 of the 40 counties for which data are available, poverty was higher in 2014 than in 2007, and these include several counties that currently have booming job markets. Read the fact sheet.









Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Register today for California Budget & Policy Center's Annual Budget Briefing - Dec 16

California Budget & Policy Center
GET UPDATES  |  FORWARD  |  VISIT OUR WEBSITE
December 1, 2015

December 16 in Sacramento
Join Us for Our Annual Budget Briefing
Reserve your spot today for the California Budget & Policy Center's upcoming event, Looking Ahead: Everything You Wanted to Know About the State Budget and What to Expect in 2016. This free, half-day event includes two sessions that will help you get ready for the upcoming year's budget debate and learn about the issues to look for in 2016.
Part I  (9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.)
Dollars and Democracy: An Introduction to the State Budget Process
  • Scott Graves, Director of Research, California Budget & Policy Center
Part I is geared to those interested in learning about — or refreshing their knowledge of — the basics of California's state budget process, including what happens when and the roles of the Governor, the Legislature, and the public. Attendees who prefer to skip the first session are welcome to attend Part II only, but event registration is still required.

Part II (11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)
State Budget Preview: What to Expect in 2016
  • Ben Adler, Capitol Bureau Chief, Capital Public Radio
  • Nicole Vazquez, Deputy Chief & Human Services Consultant, Assembly Budget Committee
  • Chris Hoene, Executive Director, California Budget & Policy Center
Attendees wishing to attend only Part II are welcome to register and join us just for this second session.

This budget briefing will be held Wednesday, December 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, East Meeting Room, 828 I Street in Sacramento. Please register no later than Monday, December 14.
Register today at budgetbriefing2015.eventbrite.com. For additional information or any questions, contact the Budget Center at (916) 444-0500 or contact@calbudgetcenter.org.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Amador Superior Court to decide if signed Referendum Petition 2203 goes forward - Fri Dec 4

The County Recorder Registrar certified our legal referendum, and no one, not even the County is challenging 2/3rd of our referendum, which is legal and deals with the asphalt plant.

Is A Reclamation Plan referendable? Should the People of the area be able to weigh in on a Reclamation Plan?

COME SHOW COMMUNITY SUPPORT TO THIS NEW JUDGE: Please join us and come to Amador Superior Court - located at 500 Argonaut Lane, Jackson, CA 95642 - on Friday December 4th at 10:00 am. 

Why? Last June, the Amador County Clerk-Recorder Registrar of Voters officially presented to the Amador County Board of Supervisors a properly written, processed and Certified Referendum from us, with more than enough, legally obtained and verified signatures of registered voters in Amador County – to challenge the Asphalt plant and Strip mine Quarry (Newman Ridge) from being built just one mile from the City of Ione.

What should the Board have done in June? The County was mandated under California Elections Code law to fulfill their duties, requiring them to do one of two things:

Overturn their approvals of Newman Ridge, or...
Place the matter on a ballot for the People to decide.

What did they do? Neither! They decided to sue the Ione Valley Land, Air & Water Defense Alliance (LAWDA) instead! LAWDA is made up of grass roots supporters trying to save Agriculture and the Environment in Amador County from this terrible project. The Board also completely disregarded thousands of thousands of objections from their own constituents as well as several State Agencies.

Note: No one, not even the Supervisors, nor the Developers, dispute that two out of three of the actions challenged by the Referendum - a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change (which were done specifically for the project) are properly subject to the Referendum. The reclamation plan is the only point of contention.

Why is this Important? There were severe flaws in the project, including the reclamation plan, and thus we felt that the People should have a chance to vote on it.

A Referendum is a precious right in our Democracy preserved in our California Constitution. A Referendum provides an ability of the electorate (registered voters) to overrule the actions of their elected officials.

The County Board of Supervisors does not want to concede that the People have the power to overrule their actions. Instead of doing what the law tells them to do when their constituents speak up, they sued to try to intimidate us. It is not working!

The fact is that Amador County has not been able to point to a single legal case that has ever determined that a reclamation plan is not subject to Referendum.

Our Constitutional Rights: The County’s avoidance of their duties is a threat to the orderly workings of our Constitutional Government. They have tried to place themselves above the law and we expect to be vindicated (again) soon in court, which, by the way, will waste more of the Amador County taxpayers’ money. The Developers in this project are a backed huge San Francisco hedge fund founded by Tom Steyer.

The Ione Valley LAWDA, in contrast, depends on your donations to keep up this fight (Please see What You Can Do on this website) but rest assured, we will not stop.


More on the LAWDA Legal Documents

Monday, November 23, 2015

Don't Let Us Become the State of Jefferson!

Dear Friends,

For the second time, the Amador Board of Supervisors have placed on their agenda, the "State of Jefferson." A group of people from the rural northern counties of California are wanting to break away from California and become the 51st state. Although this sounds extremely far-fetched, the Boards in several counties have already signed on to a declaration stating they support it.

Don't let Amador become one of those! The Board of Supervisors' meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 24.  We don't think this will come up before 11:00. The "Keep It California" group will be there to show why it is not feasible, financially and otherwise, for a new state  Please show up - we need to show lots of support for keeping us California! There will be lots of people from Amador and elsewhere to try to convince the sups. that they should sign the declaration--we need to show the supervisors that it is not supported in this county.

Thanks and hope to see you at the open house tomorrow at our office in the Mother Lode Plaza (557 S. Hwy 49--around the corner from Modern Cuts)  from noon - 3:00.

Amador Democrats

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Adam Gottstein: “Big Time Underscores What a Spiritual Place We Have”

(Guest column in the Upcountry News: Nov 2015 Vol 14, No. 11 ~ Republication courtesy of Rick Torgerson, Publisher)


I’ve often thought that in certain geographical areas of California, one could easily imagine being back in a completely different era. The Central Valley can sometimes do that…like a scene from a colorful fruit or vegetable label on a wooden box or walking into Coit Tower and seeing murals depicting West Coast life from the 1930s.
A version of that occurred on Sunday, Sept 27th, as my mother Ruth and I strolled towards the Round House in Chaw’se Indian Grinding Rock State Park. Smoke curled out of the opening in the newly rebuilt roof as the hypnotic beat of the Miwok’s hand percussion instruments floated across the tawny colored grasses and the flat limestone grinding rocks. It was the annual Big Time event. Booths were set up and families with kids moved languidly, even though the temperature was in the 80s and not yet too hot.
At age 93, mom ambled slowly but purposefully using her walker, towards the Round House. I followed trying to take in the panorama, albeit using her “prism.” She has attended many Big Time events at Chaw’se over the years that she’s lived in Volcano, and she was greeted by a few of the State Park volunteers who recognized her.
As a stark contrast to the ancient feel of the day, three teenage boys were walking towards us. One of them was wearing a newly printed T-shirt…on the front the stark words: “F*** Serra” (in reference to the Pope’s recent decision to canonize Father Junipero Serra, despite his record of abuse and torture of California Natives) and on the back: “Ain’t No Saint” --  a reminder that for all of the new and at times, radical ideas this Pope has introduced--not all are embraced.
To enter the Round House (picture above), we had to wait until the drumming and dancing stopped for a break. We were instructed to keep the entry space into the building clear…as that was important to the ritual going on inside. Once we entered, the scene was mesmerizing. A fire with significant coals was burning in the center while men, women and children were chanting and dancing. Though most of the smoke rose with the heat and exited through the opening in the roof, it was still smoky inside the building…hot too, and the smell a somewhat uncomfortable reminder of our recent Butte Fire. However, this was only a momentary distraction.
This gem of a state park, host to the annual Big Time event, once again underscores what a special and spiritual place we have…right in our back yard. As we left, we learned that November is Native American Heritage Month. There will be an event taking place at Chaw’se on Saturday, November 21st from 1 to 3 pm. Fred Velasquez will be giving a presentation free of charge. I will post more about this on my Facebook page. Please plan on attending.
It is also a beautiful time of year to admire the towering oak trees. The park volunteers had just cleaned the grinding rocks…something they do four times a year--corresponding with the change of the seasons.
For more information, visit the website: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=553 or call them: 209 296.7488.


And a final footnote, there is a new Museum Curator at Chaw’se. His name is Lee Eal. Welcome him to the neighborhood: Lee.Eal@parks.ca.gov

Adam Gottstein


Friday, October 30, 2015

The Climate is Changing! We Should, Too - Sat Nov 7

Discover What YOU Can Do On November 7
                       
JACKSON, California. On November 7th, Citizens’ Climate Lobby will hold a community meeting to introduce their strategy for empowering local citizens to take effective action on climate change.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots advocacy organization focused on a free market policy to address climate change. CCL works at the local community level to generate the political will needed to pass such national legislation.  We propose a simple carbon fee that returns all revenue to American families. 
           
With active members in over 400 Congressional districts, we are one of the fastest growing and effective grassroots groups in the country.  In 2014, volunteers like you held 1086 meetings with members of Congress or their staff and wrote over 2000 editorial pieces that were published in newspapers across the U.S.  Our Congressional district (CA-04) is quite large, and a chapter in our area would give our community a voice that speaks for sane energy and climate policies.
           
Politicians don’t create political will, they follow it, and Citizens’ Climate Lobby is proving that citizens who are well trained and organized with a good system of support can influence the political process.

Anyone interested in working on such an important problem is invited to come hear more about CCL’s policy and ways that you and your neighbors can join this exciting work.

When:  Saturday, November 7th at 10am -11:30am (coffee and visiting at 9:30am)
Where:  Amador Senior Center, 229 New York Ranch Road, Jackson, CA
What:  Learn about Effective Action on Climate Change!
Appreciate RSVP/not required:  Gwen Starrett: gstarrett@volcano.net

More Information: www.citizensclimatelobby.org

Harold Hedelman, CCL NorthernCal RegionalCoordinator: Harold@climateadvodates.net

Short video of CCL:



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ione Valley LAWDA vs. Amador County in Superior Court; Please come and support! - Fri Oct 16

News Flash!  We have a new judge for both our legal actions, Judge Leslie Nichols, for both the Referendum Case and our new CEQA case.


This Friday, October 16th in Superior Court at 500 Argonaut Lane in Jackson at 10 am is very important, as we seek to stay our new CEQA case until the Referendum case is heard in early December. The Referendum (to stop the Asphalt Plant and Quarry) was certified with 2,203 signatures by the County Registrar of Voters, but the County and Asphalt Plant/Quarry Developers are trying to use a strange legal process to keep it from going on a live ballot in either June or November of next year. Important to note that their action only affects 1/3 of the Referendum, but we do need your support now!


Simultaneously, they are now trying to throw out our new CEQA case - which does have an abundance of new information, just one is the Official State of Drought in California.


Judge Nichols is not from Amador County, so it is very important that he see in his courtroom this Friday the People of our County that oppose these projects. Their side will be filled with lawyers. Our side needs to be filled with our folks, with our  excellent attorney Doug Carstens. All are welcome to come that oppose these destructive, super polluting and environmentally disastrous projects.

Please mark your calendar, invite friends and see you there! This will take about 90 minutes, we anticipate. Court starts at 10 am, but we will be there at 9:30 am. THANK YOU!



Saturday, October 10, 2015

Gov. Brown signs AB 142, Mokelumne River Wild and Scenic study bill

On Friday morning, October 9, 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 142 (Bigelow, R-O'Neals), which names 37 miles of the upper Mokelumne River as a potential addition to the state Wild and Scenic River system. The bill provides interim protections for the river while the state studies its suitability for permanent Wild and Scenic River protection. The bill passed the state Legislature on an overwhelming, bipartisan vote last month.

“We're excited that Gov. Brown signed AB 142,” said Foothill Conservancy President Katherine Evatt. “We’re sure the study called for by the bill will demonstrate the many reasons the Mokelumne River should be protected for generations to come while it answers local water agencies’ questions. We see this as a major milestone in our decades-long effort to protect the Mokelumne from new dams and diversions.”

As passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, AB 142:
·      Names the Mokelumne from Salt Spring Dam to Pardee Reservoir as a potential addition to the state Wild and Scenic River System.
·      Calls for a state study to analyze water supply, climate change and other issues of concern to local water purveyors, to be completed by the end of 2017.
·      Requires that the study will provide for input from a broad range of stakeholders.
·      Analyzes the effect of previous state Wild and Scenic designations on water rights applications and water rights granted after designation.
·      Adds protections for the river, including a bar on construction of new dams and diversions on the river upstream of Pardee Reservoir and a ban on state funding or assistance for projects (with some exceptions), that could harm the free-flowing condition and natural character of the same river reaches. Those protections will stay in place until the implementation of any Wild and Scenic designation recommendations resulting from the study or the end of 2021, whichever occurs first.
·      Requires local agencies to pay up to 50 percent of the study’s cost.

AB 142 was a compromise among stakeholders concerned with river conservation and those focused on Mokelumne River water supply and power generation. It was supported by Amador and Calaveras counties, foothill water agencies, the East Bay Municipal Utility District, the California Farm Bureau Federation and PG&E in addition to river conservation, recreation and fish organizations. A full designation bill for the Mokelumne, SB 1199, failed in the Legislature last year after passing the state Senate when foothill counties and water agencies complained about the lack of a state suitability study.

“We’d like to thank Assemblyman Bigelow for his leadership in shepherding this bill through with the agreement of diverse stakeholders,” said Evatt. “It's also important to note that passage of this bill will not affect watershed protection and restoration efforts following the Butte Fire.” That recent fire burned nearly 71,000 acres in Amador and Calaveras counties, including some lands in the Mokelumne watershed.

For more information, contact Katherine Evatt, Foothill Conservancy, 209-296-5734, katherine@mokeriver.com.

Friday, October 9, 2015

AWA Disenfranchises Amador Voters over Water Rates

October 5, 2015 Amador County Elections certified that more than enough voters signed the petition against a resolution that would raise water rates by 34% to as much as 137%. Amador Water Agency (AWA) did not certify petition for the ballot. In doing so, AWA disenfranchised over 2,300 voters who recently signed the petition. The voters merely asked to have the decision on the ballot so the people could decide on the rate increase. Ratepayer Protection Alliance (RPA) is consulting with those voters, and has not decided on which options to pursue.
AWA offered three legal arguments for not certifying the petition. RPA is not persuaded by the arguments: 1) Without the rate increase, AWA allegedly cannot safely operate, 2) the Proposition 218 process replaces the referendum procedure, and 3) the petition causes confusion because it is improperly worded. Each of the arguments is easily seen to be false.
1) AWA cites the “Mission Springs Water District versus Verjil” case as prohibiting referendums to limit rates. In fact, Mission Springs is about an initiative, not a referendum. However, the underlying issue is that State law requires that the revenue must be sufficient to safely operate a water system. Mission Springs decided that an initiative cannot set rates so low that the system cannot operate. AWA’s rates are very different because AWA’s own records show that the rate increase challenged by the referendum is greater than the amount needed to operate the system. Furthermore, there was no emergency requiring the Directors to act at this time. AWA has repeatedly stated that unless rates are raised, it will exhaust its reserves within 2 years. Unlike an initiative, the referendum did not set rates, but merely sought to invalidate a hasty rate increase that is not justified by any actual shortfall in revenue.
2) Proposition 218 gives certain rights concerning water rate increases to property owners. The referendum process gives voters the right to overrule the officials they elect to represent them when those officials behave irresponsibly. While many voters are property owners, many more are not. Furthermore, Prop 218 gives one vote to each parcel, while the referendum law gives one vote to each elector. The two procedures exist independently side by side.
3) AWA cites a particular section of the Elections Code to say that the wording of the petition was confusing. Section 9147(b) says “Each section of the referendum petition shall contain the title and text of the ordinance or the portion of the ordinance which is the subject of the referendum.”  That was done. AWA objects to the following sentence in the petition: “The title and text of the 'FY 15-16 Water Rate Update and Water Shortage Financial Strategy' and 'System-Wide Cost of Service and Water Rate Study' are below in their entirety.” However, the sentence is true because those documents were included with the title and text of the subject ordinance. There is no confusion.
RPA believes that AWA deliberately took this action to thwart the rights of the voters of Amador. Now AWA will use those same voter’s funds to defend AWA’s actions if the voters challenge it.

Ratepayer Protection Alliance

Thursday, October 8, 2015

On my mind are two crises that are half a world apart - Ruth Gottstein

(Reprinted/published courtesy of The Upcountry News, Oct 2015, Vol 14, No. 10 – Thank you, Rick Torgerson)
Although we are still so close to the raging fires that have swept through our forests to fully comprehend both the extent of the disaster—and the human responses which are so heartwarming and eloquent--all I can say at this point is—I feel blessed to live in our community. Our home in Volcano was not threatened, although for awhile nothing was really known. And a special thanks to Ron Regan, owner of Jackson Gardens where I am a resident, for inviting our families to come and stay.  On the first night of their arrival, Adam, Meg and Scuppers, our family dog, camped here. It was actually comforting to look at Adam and Scuppers, asleep on the floor in my room. The next night, they had a wonderful space at Oak Manor, until it was time to go home…four days later.
In the midst of the crisis which we are still in the process of resolving—and undoubtedly will for a long time to come--I receive a message from a family friend in Berlin, Germany. Michael is the creative director of their National Theater (which, by the way, is a cultural treasure of many decades), about how they are handling the refugees arriving from Syria. He describes the National Theater being used for a first staging area for the newly arrived—it sounds somewhat similar to some of the immediate needs which took place here.
Michael says: “… we started to host refugees in our theatre, because there are thousands now in Berlin and they have to sleep on the street otherwise. So we provided beds, food, showers, we are cleaning their clothes and we look after them all night long. Last night it was my turn to look after them and then bring them to the official register points early the next morning. It is so sad...these poor people--they arrived here from Syria with absolutely nothing but their lives.”
Over time, I hope to comment on what our fire and its impact means to Amador County in many ways. How did county government respond? Are improvement in communications needed? At this point, it certainly seems so. A report of a community meeting held in Pine Grove states that our District Three Supervisor Lynn Morgan represented us very well. But what have the other supervisors done? For a small start, take down many of the photos in the lobby of our county building, and display the heroes who fought the fire, and some of the homes which were lost. Show people leading animals to safety, and food and other needs being collected and distributed.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Federal Lands Subcommittee Hearing on "State, Local, and Tribal Approaches to Forest Management: Lessons for Better Management of our Federal Forests

September 29, 2015
Speeches
Congressman McClintock is the Chairman of the Federal Lands Subcommittee.  The subcommittee held a hearing on "State, Local, and Tribal Approaches to Forest Management: Lessons for Better Management of our Federal Forests” on September 29th, 2015. Congressman McClintock delivered the following opening statement at the hearing:
Chairman’s Opening Statement
Subcommittee on Federal Lands
House Natural Resources Committee
September 29, 2015
The Subcommittee on Federal Lands meets today to examine state, local, and tribal approaches to forest management and how we can apply these approaches to better federal forestry management.   We will begin with five minute opening statements by the Chairman and Ranking Member.
When Gifford Pinchot founded the U.S. Forest Service in 1905, he envisioned an agency that worked cooperatively with local communities to maximize the sustainable use and enjoyment of our resources.  His policy was to manage our forests “for the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the long run.”
For decades, the Forest Service did just that.  The emerging science of forestry offered us principles of sound forest management with which to assure healthy, thriving and resilient forests in perpetuity.
These practices prevented vegetation and wildlife from overgrowing the ability of the land to support them.  The sale of excess timber provided a steady stream of revenues to the treasury which could, in turn, be used to further improve, protect and manage the public lands.  It also contributed significantly to our nation’s prosperity.
But 45 years ago, we replaced these sound management practices with what can only be described as a policy of benign neglect.  In the 1970’s, Congress opened a floodgate of ponderous and Byzantine laws, regulations and lawsuits, with the explicit promise to “save the environment” from the predations of mankind. 
After 45 years of these policies, I believe we are entitled to ask, “How are our national forests doing?”  The answer is damning.  Our forests have not been improved by these policies, and in fact, have been tragically and catastrophically harmed by them.  
Surplus timber harvested from of our national forests has dropped more than 80 percent in those years, while acreage destroyed by forest fire has increased proportionally.  Wildlife habitats these laws were supposed to preserve are being incinerated as forests become choked with the overgrowth these laws have prevented us from removing.  We have lost vast tracts of national forests to pestilence, disease and fire.  We cannot even salvage the fire-killed timber before it loses its value and is abandoned to insects and decay.
Ironically, our non-federal forest lands are conspicuously healthier than the federal lands precisely because they are freed from so many of the laws that are tying the hands of our federal public foresters.  
Adequately funding our national forests would not be an issue IF we could sell the excess timber out of our forests before it burns as we did for many decades.  This paid not only to clean out and protect our forests, but also to replant the acreage we lost, assure a perpetual resource for future generations, restore a vibrant and prosperous economy to our forested regions. 
The House has already taken the first step toward restoring sound forest management to our public lands by adopting the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, HR 2647 by Congressman Bruce Westerman.  
It seeks to provide the Forest Service with immediate reforms that require no new regulations, rules, planning or mapping.  Among other things, it streamlines fire and disease prevention programs by providing categorical exclusions from NEPA for forest treatment and salvage operations.  It sets a 90-day time limit on environmental studies for salvage sales, assuring that fire-killed timber can be quickly removed to create both revenues and room so that we can restore fire-damaged lands.  
It permanently fixes the fire borrowing problem by amending the Stafford Act to allow wildfire costs that exceed the budget to be paid for by the Disaster Relief Fund.   
HR 2647 passed the House in July, and we now await action in the Senate. 
This legislation, however, was just the first step.  We must consider additional approaches and new ideas to improve the health of our federal forests and that is why we are here today. 
We are here to answer the question, “Why are the federal forests in such poor condition while forests managed by states, localities and tribes are healthy and thriving?” 
Today we will hear expert testimony from a panel of witnesses who will be able to tell the subcommittee what works for them and offer guidance for how we can improve management of our federal forests. We will also hear about the devastating economic impacts of what happens when our federal lands are mismanaged.    
The American people want our forests returned to health. We want the continually rising threat of wildfire brought back under control.   That will require a dramatic change in current policy. We began that process with the passage of HR 2647, and we will continue to look for solutions to this forest health epidemic.

Wild Horse Adoption Program at Murieta Equestrian Center - Sat Nov 14


For More Information Contact:
R3C Ranch Mgr. Joe Misner

Murieta Equestrian Center
7200 Lone Pine Drive
Rancho Murieta