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Jason Church

Johnson Valley, a popular OHV area in California, is at risk. The Marine Corps is trying to expand the 29 Palms facility and take

Take Action to Protect 4WD Access

Johnson Valley, a popular OHV area in California, is at risk. The Marine Corps is trying to expand the 29 Palms facility and take over most of the OHV area for training exercises. The Marines would only need the extra space(147,000 acres) for less than 30 days a year. They plan to use the area for live-fire training, as a result, the area will be forever closed to OHV recreation.

An amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that passed the full House would require the Marines to identify the impact closing the area would have on OHV recreation and the local economy. The amendment requires the Marines to examine using the Johnson Valley area in ways that would not permanently lock out OHV access, and the potential of using other nearby public lands instead of Johnson Valley. This amendment only asks the Marines to consider other options.

The US Senate is poised to act on the Defense Authorization bill. Contact your 2 US Senators urging them to support the Johnson Valley amendment in the Senate bill.

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John Stewart

Solar power plants burden the counties that host them

The "gift horse" of economic income to counties from siting of solar energy projects appears to be a tired horse ready for retirement.  The below article from the LA Times notes "Eager for jobs and tax money, Mojave Desert counties welcomed big solar projects. But they may have been too optimistic. And expanding emergency services and infrastructure isn't cheap."

While companies will reap profits, taxpayers and rate payers will be footing the bill for many years to come...

By Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times,  November 25, 2012 - Solar power plants burden the counties that host them Eager for jobs and tax money, Mojave Desert counties welcomed big solar projects. But they may have been too optimistic. And expanding emergency services and infrastructure isn't cheap. When it comes to attracting business to California's eastern deserts, Inyo County is none too choosy.

Since the 19th century the sparsely populated county has worked to attract industries shunned by others, including gold, tungsten and salt mining. The message: Your business may be messy, but if you plan to hire our residents, the welcome mat is out.

So the county grew giddy last year as it began to consider hosting a huge, clean industry. BrightSource Energy, developer of the proposed $2.7-billion Hidden Hills solar power plant 230 miles northeast of Los Angeles, promised a bounty of jobs and a windfall in tax receipts. In a county that issued just six building permits in 2011, Inyo officials first estimated that property taxes from the facility would boost the general fund 17%.

But upon closer inspection, the picture didn't seem so rosy.

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John Stewart

Carbon Credit Auction Comes Up Short

The EPA has identified carbon as a pollutant and a "carbon credit" market has been designed to fund efforts to reduce carbon pollution. California, known for chronic budget shortfalls, was the first state to jump into the carbon market.  Lawmakers and environmentalists envisioned billions of income to plug chronic budget gaps and fund special programs fighting climate change.

As noted in the article from the Sacramento Bee, initial projections of income are falling short.

Like the "derivatives market", the "carbon credit market" is fiction.  The implosion of derivatives resulted in economic chaos.  With auction income falling short of projections, is this another economic calamity in the making?

--Sacramento Bee article--

State environmental leaders this week hailed California's first auction of carbon emissions credits a huge success.

But budget writers are hardly thrilled.

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John Stewart

UFWDA and USFS sign a MOU

A positive step forward has been achieved in on-going efforts to build relationships with public land managers by United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA) and was negotiated by Carla Boucher, the UFWDA legal advocate, who stated:

The recently signed Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the US Forest Service (USFS) and UFWDA indicates strongly the desire of both the Forest Service and UFWDA to express our common support for four wheel drive motor vehicle use recreationally on lands managed by the US Forest Service.

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John Stewart

Lack of Leadership in D.C. Impacts Hunters and Anglers

Hunters and anglers have something new to worry about in Washington, D.C.:   “sequestration.”  This technical term refers to looming automatic budget cuts—scheduled to go into effect in January – as a means of reducing the federal deficit.  We’re facing these cuts because the Obama Administration, Senate, and House of Representatives have not been able to agree on a federal budget and pass specific bills to fund the government, while reducing the annual deficit.  Without Congressional action to pass a budget and particular spending bills after the election, large automatic across the board funding cuts will be triggered in 2013.

Of particular concern to sportsmen are reductions of Pittman-Robertson (PR) and Dingell-Johnson (DJ) funds to state fish and game agencies.  Sequestration of these funds, which provide for hunting and fishing programs all across the country, could be an unintended and disastrous consequence of the process.

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