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John Stewart

ARRA Washington Newsletter - Feb 2015

(We prefer the new name.)  We have worked with Rep. McClintock and his staff on a number of issues over the years and believe he has a very good understanding of our issues.  He replaces Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) as subcommittee chair since Rep. Bishop has moved up to become the Chairman of the full committee.  With Chairman Bishop and Subcommittee Chair McClintock, the House Resources Committee has a strong team of leaders in place and we look forward to active engagement with them over the course of the next two years.

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Fire Suppression Funding -- One of our disappointments in the last session was the fact that Congress did not approve H.R. 3992, legislation that would provide for the establishment of a separate fund to cover the cost of fighting wildfires.  The establishment of such a fund would end the process by which the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management must reprogram funds from other departmental activities in order to fund the deficit in the wildfire accounts during times when the forest fire season is costly.  Our interest stems from the fact that the recreation budget for both agencies always gets squeezed when the wildfire accounts run out of money.

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Presidential Declarations -- The Obama Administration continues its pace of reshaping how our public lands are managed.  Monument designations continue, but the latest, most far reaching executive decision has to do with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska (ANWR).  The Administration just announced that it will begin managing an additional 12 million acres of the refuge as if wilderness.  Congress had previously designated 7 million acres of this refuge as wilderness.

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Forest Service Snowmobile Regulation -- The Forest Service has issued its final rule governing the use of snowmobiles.  Less onerous that the Travel Management Rule covering off-highway vehicles, the rule, nonetheless, will require the various national forests to determine a policy governing snowmobile use on the lands under its jurisdiction.

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Symbolic Votes on Monument Designations, Lesser Prairie Chicken and Wilderness Designations -- During the three week Senate debate on the Keystone pipeline issue, a number of amendments were offered having to do with monument designations, the removal of the lesser prairie chicken from the list of threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and the multiple use designation of certain federal lands.  In every case, these amendments received at least 50 votes or more, but all fell short of the 60 vote margin required for inclusion with the pipeline legislation.  Given the fact that the President had already indicated he would veto the pipeline legislation, votes on these issues were really symbolic in nature.  However, the value of offering these issues up for a vote in the Senate is that we now have the Senate on record.  We now know the supporters and the opponents on each issue. We have already begun to reach out to some of those Senate offices where we have a different view on certain issues.  One can only hope...


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John Stewart

ARRA Washington Newsletter - December 2009

Washington Newsletter
December 2009

The December Legislative Race
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Congress has returned to Washington from its Thanksgiving recess only to face a legislative agenda packed full of unfinished business items.  One commodity not in abundance is time since the Christmas holiday is a little more than three weeks away.  The Senate will spend much of December on health care reform, but both chambers may face possible votes on supporting additional troops for the war in Afghanistan and some yet-to-be-determined legislation to address the very high unemployment rate.

Nellis Dunes National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Act
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It seems as though we seldom have good news to tell you, but the Nellis Dunes National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Act of 2009, H.R. 765, has the potential of becoming very good news for OHV enthusiasts living in the Las Vegas area.   The legislation, sponsored by Representative Dean Heller of Nevada, would create an OHV recreation area of more than 10,000 acres by using lands owned by Clark County and the Bureau of Land Management.   The legislation would authorize the conveyance of approximately 1,200 acres of BLM land to Clark County so the County can develop an active off-highway vehicle recreation park.  An additional 9,000 acres would be designated as an off-highway vehicle recreation area to be managed by BLM.

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