This Week in Washingtonby Public Lands Council
Bald and Golden Eagle CommentsPLC will submit comments as part of the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s call for comments on how to improve the permitting process for incidental take of bald and golden eagles. Many of our producers see the impacts of plentiful eagle populations each year during calving and lambing, and they know well how cumbersome the permitting process has been to capture, relocate, or move birds off their allotments. Have a story to share? Email Kaitlynn (email@example.com) to share your experience in the permitting process and suggestions for future improvements.
Submit your own comments through the PLC comment portal by October 29, 2021.
PLC participates in Council on Environmental Quality NEPA listening sessionsThe White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) will be revisiting the government-wide guidance on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) issued during the Trump Administration. Some of our PLC leadership, Niels Hansen, Mark Roeber and Dave Daley, participated and gave a strong testimony on behalf of PLC. The trio discussed a variety of issues affecting public lands ranchers. A few highlights below:
- Returning NEPA to pre-2020 conditions will be detrimental to conservation objectives.
- Forest management needs to be a more active process; currently, forests are burned rather than thinned.
- NEPA is a core component to public lands management; it needs to be utilized well.
- Many could be affected by any whiplash in agency transition, the agency should keep this in mind.
Our voices were heard loud and clear at the listening session. We thank our leadership for taking time to share our story and needs and look forward to the outcome.
Martha Williams Nominated for Director of U.S. Fish and WildlifeOn Friday, the Biden administration nominated Martha Williams for Director of USFWS, a role she has been filling on an interim basis for nine months. Williams has a long history with environmental work in the West. She previously served as Director of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and as Deputy Solicitor for Parks and Wildlife at the Department of Interior under President Obama. Williams also co-directed the University of Montana’s Land Use and Natural Resources Clinic and worked with the nonprofit Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Given her previous experiences, PLC will remain vigilant in advocating for voluntary conservation incentives, multiple use on federal lands, efficient ESA delistings, and other policy priorities. That said, we are pleased to see the administration making progress on filling this significant vacancy. Williams spoke at the Public Lands Council Annual Meeting in September and expressed her commitment to an approach of conversation, not preservation. She has spoken publicly on her desire to work with agriculture and protect ranchers’ way of life, and we look forward to asking more questions during the confirmation process about what that would look like for USFWS.