Acting Secretary Bernhardt Signs Order to Ensure Public Access is Considered in Land Transactions

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WASHINGTON – Today, Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt signed a secretarial order directing that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) adequately weigh public access for outdoor recreation – including hunting and fishing – when determining the appropriateness of the disposal or exchange of public lands. Identifying lands as available for disposal or exchange is required under federal law.

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) directs the BLM to identify lands for potential disposal or exchange, using a public process and with state and county involvement. BLM has carried out these provisions revising land use plans and disposal since 1976. However, the BLM’s criteria do not require the agency to weigh public access considerations for outdoor recreation (fishing, hunting, hiking, etc.).

BLM, Public Lands

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Wildfire risk in California no longer coupled to winter precipitation

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Wet winters no longer predict possible relief from severe wildfires for California, according to a new study from an international team that includes a University of Arizona scientist.

From 1600 to 1903, the position of the North Pacific jet stream over California was linked to the amount of winter precipitation and the severity of the subsequent wildfire season, the team found. Wet winters brought by the jet stream were followed by low wildfire activity, and dry winters were generally followed by higher wildfire activity. After 1904, the connection between winter moisture brought by the jet stream from December through February and the severity of the wildfire season weakened. The weakened connection between precipitation and wildfires corresponds to the onset of a fire suppression policy on U.S. federal lands, the team reports in the March 4 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

California, Wildfire, Climate Change

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Report: Biofuels Policy Backfires, Hurts Environment

monarch-bfSACRAMENTO,Calif. – A new report on the nation's Renewable Fuel Standard shows multiple ways the policy has had major unintended consequences for the environment. Researchers from University of California-Davis, Kansas State University and the University of Wisconsin found that promoting the biofuel ethanol drove up the prices of corn and soybeans – which led farmers to plant a lot more of those crops. 

David DeGennaro, agriculture policy specialist with the National Wildlife Federation, says that led to the conversion of 1.6 million new acres into farmland between 2009 and 2016.

Biomass, energy, bio-fuels, renewable energy

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Promoting Active Management of America's Forests, Rangelands, and Other Federal Lands To Improve Conditions and Reduce Wildfire Risk

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By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to protect people, communities, and watersheds, and to promote healthy and resilient forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands by actively managing them through partnerships with States, tribes, communities, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. For decades, dense trees and undergrowth have amassed in these lands, fueling catastrophic wildfires. These conditions, along with insect infestation, invasive species, disease, and drought, have weakened our forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands, and have placed communities and homes at risk of damage from catastrophic wildfires.

Wildfire, wildland fire, Executive Orders

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BLM taking proactive approach to reduce wildfire risks in California

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The Hazard Removal and Vegetation Management Project Programmatic Environmental Assessment streamlines vegetation management and removal of hazardous trees.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In advancing the Department of the Interior’s commitment to reduce wildfire risk, the Bureau of Land Management on Friday released its Hazard Removal and Vegetation Management Project Programmatic Environmental Assessment (EA). This assessment covers approximately 551,000 acres of BLM-managed public land in central and northern California and streamlines the process for right-of-way holders, utility companies, and counties to treat vegetation and remove hazardous trees within 200 feet of critical infrastructure to reduce wildfire risk.

BLM, fire

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