• Inter-department letter, Forest Supervisor to Regional Forester, seeks assistance in segregating a significant area of the San Bernardino National Forest from mineral entry.
The following is excerpted from an April 28 inter-departmental letter from Forest Supervisor Gene Zimmerman to the Regional Forester:
"This is a request to seek assistance from the Bureau of Land Management to segregate a significant area of the San Bernardino NF from mineral entry.
The Forest has long identified the need to initiate a withdrawal action to ease the impacts of mining on listed T&E species...Our intent is to utilize segregation as an interim measure to protect these habitats until a formal request for mineral withdrawal can be prepared...The report on the arroyo southwestern toad explains the threat to the habitat posed by an organized group of recreational miners who operate on a mining claim in Little Horsethief Creek.
The validity of their claim is suspect, but we need to have the land withdrawn before a validity exam is scheduled...We request that some priority be placed on the request to BLM ... "
• Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) stopped in Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Thanks to Senator Slade Gorton (R- WA) CARA did not get out of committee. It appeared that most everyone else among the budget negotiators were willing to throw in the towel and give President Clinton what he wanted on Lands Legacy 2000 or include some version of CARA in the Interior Appropriations bill for 2000.
• Forest Service meetings on Roadless Initiative have ended and the comment period closed December 20. but we are advised that the public will have another opportunity for input.
The Forest Service will now begin writing the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and accompanying proposed rules. When the agency releases those documents (expected in the Spring of 2000) the public will again have an opportunity to comment before the Final EIS is released.
• On November 8, the BLM held a hearing in Placerville, California, regarding withdrawal of 3,368.85 acres of public land along the South Fork of the American River.
According to Miners Alliance board member, Charles Bertolette, the approximately 50 hearing attendees requested the withdrawal to be put off until a river management plan can be devised that will fully address recreational use of the public lands—mining, rafting, etc. The area of the river under consideration is between Chili Bar and Folsom Lake.
According to the December 8, Mountain Democrat newspaper, the BLM has decided to go forward with the withdrawal.