CPW and Keystone Policy Center announced on August 2 that they will host 2 virtual town hall meetings on August 17 and 26, beginning at 5 pm. They also have added 2 more open houses: LaJunta on August 19 and Eagle on August 24. Go to the link below, Wolf Restoration and Management Plan Public Engagement website, for schedule for open house listening sessions re wolf restoration and management planning.
In addition, we also have included a link to the on-line public comment form.
Summer 2021 Public Comment Form
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was introduced in the Senate (S. 2372) and the press release was issued on July 20, 2021 by original co-sponsors Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). Heinrich-Blunt bipartisan bill press release
The bill was reintroduced in the House on April 22, 2021 (HR.2773), led by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R- Nebraska) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan). It is a very important bipartisan bill that will significantly help to address wildlife species in decline. Colorado’s State Wildlife Action Plan lists 59 tier 1 species of greatest conservation need. Among these species are the golden eagle, greater sage-grouse, greater sandhill crane, burrowing owl, lynx and that state fish – greenback cutthroat trout. Of the $1.4 billion of annual funding, Colorado would receive approximately $26 million [subject to a 25% match from other sources]. Last year 185 Representatives were co-sponsors. People can see how important nature is right now to providing exercise and solace, from trail use to gardening. We believe shovel-ready jobs such as habitat restoration, invasive species removal and other conservation and recreation efforts will play a role to help jump start the economy.
UPDATE: The House Subcommittee Hearing is scheduled for July 29.
On June 22, 2021 Colorado’s Senator Michael Bennet introduced a bill to fund orphaned oil and gas wells cleanup and to strengthen bonding requirements. The Oil and Gas Bonding Reform and Orphaned Well Remediation Act. There are more than 57,000 orphaned wells across the nation which threaten wildlife habitat, clean water and air, and human health. Senator Bennet’s bill will clean up these toxic sites and reform the antiquated bonding system so that in the future, oil and gas companies will have to pay for the cleanup instead of the US taxpayer.
Sen. Bennet’s Press Release
The Keep Colorado Wild Pass bill was signed into law by Governor Polis on June 21.
The bill was introduced on Friday, April 23, 2021. Senate sponsors are Senator Stephen Fenberg and Senator Kerry Donovan. House sponsors are Rep. Perry Will and Rep. Kerry Tipper. On May 6, the bill passed the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on a 3-2 vote. CWF testified as to the goals in the bill that address wildlife conservation. On May 12 the bill passed the Senate Finance Committee and on May 14 passed Senate Appropriations Committee and on May 19 passed the Senate on a 29-6 vote. The bill passed the House on June 4 and headed to the Governor’s desk.
To read the bill (now law) text click on the link at the bottom of this piece. Revenue to achieve the goals listed below will be produced from an optional, discounted Keep Colorado Wild Pass that will be added when Coloradans register their passenger vehicles, light trucks, motorcycles and recreational vehicle [unless the person opts out] beginning in 2023.
The Pass revenue will be directed toward the following 10 goals [quoted from Colorado Parks and Wildlife factsheet]. Several will help support conservation,
The first $32.5 million in revenue will be allocated to fund the 42 existing state parks by replacing supplementing current daily and annual parks pass revenue that supports staffing and operations — to achieve Goals 1 and 2 below.
Goal 1 – “Provide a simple and affordable state parks and public lands access pass to ensure that Colorado’s outdoors are welcoming and accessible to all and that all users contribute to keeping Colorado wild.”
Goal 2 – “Ensure sufficient staffing and resources to manage and conserve Colorado’s 42 existing State Parks.”
If revenue exceeds the amount above, the next $2.5 million will fund search and rescue and $1 million will fund avalanche safety and awareness to achieve Goals 3 and 4:
Goal 3 – ” Support Search ad Rescue volunteers responding to backcountry emergencies.”
Goal 4 – ” Protect winter recreationists by supporting backcountry avalanche safety programs.”
Revenue that exceeds the $36 million above will be allocated equally between the Parks Cash Fund and the Wildlife Cash Fund to achieve the following goals:
Goal 5 – “Build new state parks in partnership with local governments, conservationists, and recreationists.”
Goal 6 – “Grow CPW capacity to address outdoor recreation beyond state parks, including on federal lands.”
Goal 7 – “Increase State Trails Program funds for new trails, trail stewardship, and river recreation projects.”
Goal 8 – “Dedicate resource for the State Wildlife Action Plan to conserve vulnerable species and habitats.”
Goal 9 – “Support CPW initiatives focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion in the outdoors.”
Goal 10 – “Fund Colorado Regional Outdoor Partnerships to support community-driven planning and projects.”
SB 21-249 bill text
US Fish and Wildlife Service Restores Protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
On May 7, 2021 the US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a rule to formally withdraw the prior administration’s rollbacks to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act regulations. The rollbacks had removed well-established, bipartisan protections for migratory birds — including revoking the incidental take protections. These protections needed to be restored. The public comment period closes in mid-June.
CWF had signed onto a letter submitted by NWF on March 1 urging withdrawal of the rollbacks. As stated in the letter,”The MBTA is a highly successful law that is more than a century old. It has provided longstanding protections for birds from avoidable hazards, including for game birds and birds hunted to the brink extinction for feathers. Reducing protections offered through the MBTA goes against decades of reasonable policies to improve bird conservation. The recently finalized regulation removes the law’s enforcement of all incidental take, and will no longer hold industries or any other actors accountable for incidental harms to birds. It eliminates penalties, and the legal responsibilities and liability for actions that kill a significant and alarming number of bird species each year. ”
We applaud the USFWS for taking this action.
The Administration issued its report, “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful,” on May 6, 2021. The Executive Order issued on January 27 (EO 14008), entitled Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, stated that “the U.S. should aim to conserve ‘at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.’ This challenge is the first-ever national goal for the stewardship of nature in America.”
The report (page 10) emphasizes conservation “rather than the related but different concept of protection or preservation, recognizing that many uses of our lands and waters, including working lands, can be consistent with the long-term health and sustainability of natural systems. ”
This report makes clear that local and state driven conservation and restoration priorities are central to this new initiative, including honoring current stewardship by private landowners and continued access to public lands for outdoor recreationists. A key opportunity is to ensure our thriving wildlife populations and habitats will be thoughtfully conserved for future generations to enjoy.
Below is the link to this report.
Report (May 6 , 2021
Nominee to Lead Bureau of Land Management Is Lifelong Conservationist, Sportswoman
‘Tracy Stone-Manning a Thoughtful, Innovative Leader Who Builds Consensus by Seeking Bipartisan, Collaborative Solutions’
DENVER (April 22 2021) — The Colorado Wildlife Federation applauded the nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning to lead the Bureau of Land Management, which stewards more than 245 million acres of public lands. Stone-Manning has devoted her entire career to conservation and currently serves as the senior advisor for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation.
“Tracy Stone-Manning is a thoughtful and innovative leader who builds consensus by seeking bipartisan, collaborative solutions – whether it’s conserving and restoring our nation’s public lands, increasing access for hunting and fishing, or expanding opportunities for outdoor recreation in balance with wildlife conservation. As an avid hunter and backpacker, she will achieve a worthy path forward for public lands management so that our lands, waters and wildlife will thrive for future generations. Tracy’s nomination is good news for Colorado, and the entire nation,” said Suzanne O’Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation.
Stone-Manning joined the National Wildlife Federation in 2017 to lead its public lands program and was promoted last winter to senior advisor for conservation policy. Before joining the Federation, she served as Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s chief of staff, where she oversaw day-to-day operations of his cabinet and the state’s 11,000 employees. She stepped into that post after serving as the director of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, overseeing the state’s water, air, mining and remediation programs. She served as a regional director and senior advisor to Senator Jon Tester during his first term, focusing on forestry issues. Early in her career, she led the Clark Fork Coalition, a regional conservation group, as it advocated successfully for Superfund cleanups that created thousands of jobs and revitalized a river. The group also co-owned and managed a cattle ranch in the heart of the Superfund site.
Raised in a big, Navy family — her dad commanded a submarine — she was guided into public service from childhood. She is a backpacker, hunter and singer, and has been married to the writer Richard Manning for 30 years. She lives in Missoula, Montana and holds a M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and an B.A. from the University of Maryland. She started her career as an intern with the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, D.C., in 1987.
On April 16. 2021, Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland issued two Secretarial Orders. Order No. 3399 addresses climate and establishes a Climate Task Force. Order No. 3398 implements a review of earlier Sec. Orders and revokes those specific Orders found to be ” inconsistent with protecting public health and the environment and restoring science to tackle the climate crisis.
Interior Sec. Haaland Sec. Orders 4/16/2021
An awaited study released March 30, 2021 by the US Geological Survey (USGS) confirms a precipitous decline in greater sage grouse populations since 2002. USGS and Colorado State University researchers, assisted by state wildlife agencies, BLM and Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies compiled the data in 11 western states. In 2015 BLM adopted conservation plans that were weakened in 2019. Later that year an Idaho federal district court judge blocked BLM from carrying out the revisions to the plans. The new administration is expected to reinstitute the 2015 plans. CWF and other organizations had urged BLM to remove from its quarterly oil and gas lease sales during 2019 and 2020 parcels within Colorado’s high priority greater sage grouse areas. We are pleased that the new administration has ordered a pause on lease sales.
Click here to read the report: the USGS Report
On March 25, 2021 the Department of Interior (DOI) convened a public forum to gather input from panelists as DOI conducts a comprehensive review of oil and gas permitting processes on federally managed public lands and waters. DOI seeks to “restore balance to public lands and waters and create a path to align with climate conservation and clean energy goals.” This review is mandated by Executive Order (EO) 14008 issued on January 27. DOI plans to issue an interim report this summer. The public may provide written online substantive ideas and recommendations through April 15. DOI Secretary Deb Haaland opened the forum, followed by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Laura Daniel-Davis, who hosted the discussion. and asked questions. BLM Deputy Director of Policy and Programs presented an overview of pertinent laws and regulations and also posed questions of panelists. Culver noted that most public lands that are not required to be closed to oil and gas leasing have been are open to leasing before the Administration’s pause promulgated by EO.
Daniel-Davis also asked how DOI “can more meaningfully engage marginalized communities that are facing disproportionate impacts from pollution.” Panelists responded that there are organizations who have those connections and can help DOI, as well inviting their experiences and insights, perhaps through a formation of a federal advisory committee. Another recommendation was to extend comment periods and public notice across languages, and holding open public forums in communities where there is potential development.
Industry announced that American Petroleum Institute has developed a 5-point plan to engage with the Administration and voiced its support for climate goals and reducing emissions. Academic experts made recommendations as to how to improve onshore programs in the areas of increasing minimum bids to reduce speculation, and increasing rental fees and royalty rates; greater use of lease stipulations and conditions in applications for permits to drill (APDs).
The forum was recorded and will be available on DOI’s utube channel.