Outsourcing US Land Management to the Indians
Recently, the US House of Representatives passed the Resilient Federal Forest Act of 2015 and it has wording buried deep in the bill that would have some serious consequences for the people of Coos County, while fundamentally changing the structure of management for the Coos Bay Wagon Road lands.
The following are some excerpts from federal legislation H.R.2647, Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, which pertains to the management of the National Forest System and public lands. The Sections that should be of most concern is Section 702, and Sections 808, and 809, which relates to the management of lands in Coos County.
In Section 702, it authorizes supposedly independent Indian Nations to include US National Forest Lands and public lands in the forest management plans of the individual tribes. The legislation imposes some weak limitations on any other designations for using the land other than stated in the legislation, neutralizing the ability of any of the Indian Nations who may try to usurp the property. The problems with these restrictions are the legal interpretations of the law, especially when dealing with a sovereign nation.
SEC. 702. Management of Indian forest land authorized to include related National Forest System lands and public lands.
Section 305 of the National Indian Forest Resources Management Act (25 U.S.C. 3104) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
“(c) Inclusion of certain National Forest System land and public land.--
“(1) AUTHORITY.—At the request of an Indian tribe, the Secretary concerned may treat Federal forest land as Indian forest land for purposes of planning and conducting forest land management activities under this section if the Federal forest land is located within, or mostly within, a geographic area that presents a feature or involves circumstances principally relevant to that Indian tribe, such as Federal forest land ceded to the United States by treaty, Federal forest land within the boundaries of a current or former reservation, or Federal forest land adjudicated to be tribal homelands.
“(2) REQUIREMENTS.—As part of the agreement to treat Federal forest land as Indian forest land under paragraph (1), the Secretary concerned and the Indian tribe making the request shall--
“(A) provide for continued public access applicable to the Federal forest land prior to the agreement, except that the Secretary concerned may limit or prohibit such access as needed;
“(B) continue sharing revenue generated by the Federal forest land with State and local governments either--
“(i) on the terms applicable to the Federal forest land prior to the agreement, including, where applicable, 25-percent payments or 50-percent payments; or
“(ii) at the option of the Indian tribe, on terms agreed upon by the Indian tribe, the Secretary concerned, and State and county governments participating in a revenue sharing agreement for the Federal forest land;
“(C) comply with applicable prohibitions on the export of unprocessed logs harvested from the Federal forest land;
“(D) recognize all right-of-way agreements in place on Federal forest land prior to commencement of tribal management activities; and
“(E) ensure that all commercial timber removed from the Federal forest land is sold on a competitive bid basis.
“(3) LIMITATION.—Treating Federal forest land as Indian forest land for purposes of planning and conducting management activities pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not be construed to designate the Federal forest land as Indian forest lands for any other purpose.
“(4) DEFINITIONS.—In this subsection:
“(A) FEDERAL FOREST LAND.—The term ‘Federal forest land’ means--
“(i) National Forest System lands; and
“(ii) public lands (as defined in section 103(e) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1702(e))), including Coos Bay Wagon Road Grant lands reconveyed to the United States pursuant to the first section of the Act of February 26, 1919 (40 Stat. 1179), and Oregon and California Railroad Grant lands.
“(B) SECRETARY CONCERNED.—The term ‘Secretary concerned’ means--
“(i) the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to the Federal forest land referred to in subparagraph (A)(i); and
“(ii) the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to the Federal forest land referred to in subparagraph (A)(ii).”.
SEC. 808. Management of Bureau of Land Management lands in western Oregon.
(a) General rule.—All of the public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the Salem District, Eugene District, Roseburg District, Coos Bay District, Medford District, and the Klamath Resource Area of the Lakeview District in the State of Oregon shall hereafter be managed pursuant to title I of the of the Act of August 28, 1937 (43 U.S.C. 1181a through 1181e). Except as provided in subsection (b), all of the revenue produced from such land shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States in the Oregon and California land-grant fund and be subject to the provisions of title II of the Act of August 28, 1937 (43 U.S.C. 1181f).
(b) Certain lands excluded.—Subsection (a) does not apply to any revenue that is required to be deposited in the Coos Bay Wagon Road grant fund pursuant to sections 1 through 4 of the Act of May 24, 1939 (43 U.S.C. 1181f–1 through f–4).
SEC. 809. Bureau of Land Management resource management plans.
(a) Additional Analysis and Alternatives.—To develop a full range of reasonable alternatives as required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Secretary of the Interior shall develop and consider in detail a reference analysis and two additional alternatives as part of the revisions of the resource management plans for the Bureau of Land Management’s Salem, Eugene, Coos Bay, Roseburg, and Medford Districts and the Klamath Resource Area of the Lakeview District.
(b) Reference Analysis.—The reference analysis required by subsection (a) shall measure and assume the harvest of the annual growth net of natural mortality for all forested land in the planning area in order to determine the maximum sustained yield capacity of the forested land base and to establish a baseline by which the Secretary of the Interior shall measure incremental effects on the sustained yield capacity and environmental impacts from management prescriptions in all other alternatives.
(c) Additional Alternatives.--
(1) CARBON SEQUESTRATION ALTERNATIVE.—The Secretary of the Interior shall develop and consider an additional alternative with the goal of maximizing the total carbon benefits from forest storage and wood product storage. To the extent practicable, the analysis shall consider--
(A) the future risks to forest carbon from wildfires, insects, and disease;
(B) the amount of carbon stored in products or in landfills;
(C) the life cycle benefits of harvested wood products compared to non-renewable products; and
(D) the energy produced from wood residues.
(2) SUSTAINED YIELD ALTERNATIVE.—The Secretary of the Interior shall develop and consider an additional alternative that produces the greater of 500 million board feet or the annual net growth on the acres classified as timberland, excluding any congressionally reserved areas. The projected harvest levels, as nearly as practicable, shall be distributed among the Districts referred to in subsection (a) in the same proportion as the maximum yield capacity of each such District bears to maximum yield capacity of the planning area as a whole.
(d) Additional Analysis and Public Participation.—The Secretary of the Interior shall publish the reference analysis and additional alternatives and analyze their environmental and economic consequences in a supplemental draft environmental impact statement. The draft environmental impact statement and supplemental draft environmental impact statement shall be made available for public comment for a period of not less than 180 days. The Secretary shall respond to any comments received before making a final decision between all alternatives.
(e) Rule of construction.—Nothing in this section shall affect the obligation of the Secretary of the Interior to manage the timberlands as required by the Act of August 28, 1937 (50 Stat. 874; 43 U.S.C. 1181a–1181j).
Moreover, the US Federal government should allow the county to sell these lands on the open market, and all other land owned by the US Federal Government should be reverted to the state of origin, so those lands can go back into production for the betterment of humankind.
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