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John Stewart

Lucerne Valley Solar Project Draft EIS Released

BLM Announces Availability of the Lucerne Valley Solar Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Plan Amendment for Public Review

A Bureau of Land Management (BLM) notice, published in today’s Federal Register, announces the availability of a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and draft plan amendment for the proposed Chevron Energy Solution’s Lucerne Valley Solar Project in San Bernardino County.

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John Stewart

President's Budget Proposal Would Slash Trail Funding

The proposed cut is particularly disturbing in light of the Forest Service's recent work on off-highway vehicle (OHV) travel management.  Many National Forest's have only recently completed their travel management plans and will need funding for implementation.  As these plans were developed local Forest Service staff repeatedly told OHV enthusiasts that they lacked sufficient funding to maintain existing trails, provide trailhead facilities or to adequately inventory existing trails.

Furthermore, funding for good trail design, construction and maintenance is >essential to meeting the Administration's stated goals of erosion control, watershed health and forest restoration.

The OHV enthusiast community has done all it can to assist the Forest Service in funding trails.  In partnership with the Forest Service, OHV enthusiasts provide thousands of hours of volunteer hours each year to maintain trail systems.  In addition to consistently asking Congress to provide adequate appropriations, enthusiasts also fostered the federal Recreational Trails Program and state level motorized trail programs that provide non-Forest Service funding for trails.  The OHV community even supported the Forest Service's controversial Recreation Fee program to get badly needed funds on the ground.  But it is incumbent on the agency to seek and provide a reasonable level of funding for trails in its own budget.

Congress will be considering the President's budget proposal over the next few months.  The American Motorcyclist Association urges its members to contact their federal elected officials and request that they oppose any cut in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's CIM budget. 

You can find contact information for your elected officials at AmericanMotorcyclist.com, click on "Rights," then "Issues & Legislation," and enter your zip code in the "Find your Officials" box. Additionally, a prewritten e-mail is available for you to send to your federal elected official immediately by following the "Take Action" option and entering your information.

Please write or call your Senators and Representative today and ask them to oppose any cut in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's CIM budget.

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John Stewart

The Heritage Fund: What its loss will mean to Arizona

“Adoption of this proposal could have significant impacts on Arizona’s land use and growth that will be vital for the state’s economic recovery, as well as affecting outdoor recreationists and the future well being of the state’s wildlife,” said Deputy Director Bob Broscheid. “We acknowledge the difficulties the state faces in addressing the budget situation, but we owe it to the public to inform and educate on what this could mean to them.”

Arizona Game and Fish is a “business-model” agency reliant wholly on non-tax dollars. It is critical that the customers who pay the bills in this “user pay, user benefit” model understand the potential statewide economic effects that could result from a permanent elimination of Heritage funding. Those effects potentially include constraints on land use that could affect our state’s economic recovery.

The approximately 30-minute presentation will start at 6 p.m. at the department’s Phoenix office at 5000 W. Carefree Highway (1.5 miles west of I-17). The public is invited to attend the presentation or view it live over the Internet at www.azgfd.gov/webcast.

The seminar, presented by Broscheid, will cover the history of the Heritage Fund, what it’s used for, how it benefits wildlife, its many success stories, and the impacts to wildlife, land access and Arizona citizens if the fund is lost.

After the presentation, an interactive question-and-answer session with the public will take place. Online viewers can submit questions for consideration via an e-mail link at www.azgfd.gov/webcast.

Passed as an initiative in 1990 by an overwhelming 2-1 bipartisan ratio of Arizona voters, the Heritage Fund provides up to $10 million each year from lottery ticket sales for the conservation and protection of the state’s wildlife and natural areas. The Arizona Game and Fish Department receives no general tax revenue and the Heritage Fund is one of the department’s primary funding sources. The Heritage Fund makes a difference in communities across Arizona and benefits all citizens.

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John Stewart

Grassroots and Industry Urge Permanent Fix to Controversial Youth-Model Bike/ATV Ban

The BlueRibbon Coalition, a national grassroots OHV advocacy group is encouraging their members to contact their congressional representatives and urge them to take action to end the unfair ban. BRC's Call to Action can be found here: http://www.sharetrails.org/alerts/?alert=1105

BRC's Executive Director, Greg Mumm, said, "Congress told the CPSC to report to them about this issue and I think it is appropriate for the American public to report as well. The way the CPSC has implemented this law has cost jobs and actually made children less safe. Congress needs to act now." Mumm said BRC is encouraging Congress to clarify the intent of the law and also to hold hearings on how CPSC is implementing the law.

The power-sports industry is also weighing in. Yesterday, the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) urged CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum to include an amendment that would end the current ban. MIC's letter noted there are a variety of options available to remedy the situation. MIC's General Counsel Paul Vitrano, said, "Everyone agrees that the key to maintaining the safety of youth riders is for them to operate only appropriately-sized vehicles. We are hopeful that CPSC's report to Congress will pave the way to legislation that will ensure youth motorcycles and ATVs remain available."

The American Motorcyclist Association appealed to its members yesterday in a nation-wide email action alert. AMA's Government Relations department has been doing yeoman's work on a bill introduced by Montana's Denny Rehberg. Rehberg's bill, H.R. 1587, would exempt youth-sized motorcycles and ATVs from the CPSIA. AMA reports that although it had 55 bi-partisan co-sponsors, no committee in the House or the Senate has scheduled a hearing on Rehberg's bill. The bill can be viewed here: http://www.sharetrails.org/fwd/hr1587

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John Stewart

BLM Uncompahgre Launches Public Process to Revise Resource Management Plan

Montrose, CO -- The Bureau of Land Management Uncompahgre Field Office is seeking public input as it begins revising its Resource Management Plans (RMP).

The new RMP will provide overall management direction for the next two decades for the almost 700,000 surface acres of public lands and 2 million subsurface acres of federal mineral estate in Mesa, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel, Gunnison and Delta counties managed by the BLM.  The revisions are necessary because the demands on these public lands have increased and uses have become more varied since the original plans were completed in 1985 and 1989. An Environmental Impact Statement will be developed during the planning process.

In this first opportunity for public comment, called “scoping,” the BLM is asking the public to help identify issues to be addressed in the plan revisions, as well as offer potential solutions.  The BLM will use the information it receives during scoping as it prepares the Draft RMP revisions and associated Draft EIS.

“Public involvement is critical to crafting a land use plan that reflects local, regional and national values,” said Uncompahgre Field Manager Barb Sharrow.  “Scoping is only the first of many instances that we’ll seek public input as part of this planning effort.”

The scoping period runs through February 26, 2010. Six open house meetings will be held in local communities. The public is encouraged to visit, speak with BLM employees, learn more about the planning process and major issues, and share their comments and concerns. Open houses will be held:

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