"While we were offline"

Some of the items we compiled for News.bytes, while our public website was offline. Dates range from last month, to last April.



VOLUNTEERS AND EDUCATION

A raftful of fun on the river"Day on the River fun for kids" (News.bytes Extra, issue 204)
This event, coordinated by the BLM's Redding Field Office, provides a day of fun and relaxation for children (and their families) who are undergoing treatment for serious illnesses or disabilities. More than 50 volunteers from state, local and federal agencies came together to put on the event, with prizes, food and refreshments provided by local businesses.
See photos.

Volunteers pull invasive thistle weeds in the Red Hills"Columbia College Environmental Club kicks thistle out of the Red Hills" (News.bytes Extra, issue 204)
Noxious weeds such as Italian thistle and yellow star thistle compete with our native plants and can become a serious threat to rare plant populations. Eleven volunteers spent more than five hours pulling Italian thistle during a volunteer work day this Spring in the Red Hills Area of Critical Environmental Concern.
Read more and see photos.

Related: "Red Hills Area of Critical Environmental Concern" (BLM California, Folsom Field Office website)
The Red Hills is a region of 7,100 acres of public land located just south of the historic town of Chinese Camp in Tuolumne County. The Red Hills are noticeably different from the surrounding countryside. The natural serpentine in the area causes the plant assemblage to be limited to those species that are tolerant of such minerals.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/folsom/redhills.html

student pulls non-native plants at Humboldt County beach"Students restore balance at the Adopt-a-Beach event at the South Spit" (News.bytes Extra, issue 204)
Approximately 550 elementary students from Humboldt County hit the beach at the South Spit for the Annual Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup. Students participated in a beach cleanup, removed non-native grasses, and "took a stand in the sand" by forming a human design with letters that spelled out "RESTORE BALANCE." In preparation for the event, students learned about the fragile nature of native sand dune habitat and of the oceans through classroom presentations. The Arcata Field Office partnered with friends of the Dunes to organize this event. See photos and the story.



HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS

"Rails to the rescue"(Redding Record Searchlight, 10/1/05)
"It takes a great deal to deter a dumper. A 20-foot-long 'K-rail' might just do the trick. More commonly seen in freeway construction zones, upward of 40 of the narrow concrete curbs will be positioned along Clear Creek Road...to dissuade illegal dumping. The BLM used the rails to prevent mudslides and erosion after last year's French Gulch fire, but rains were not as heavy as feared and new grasses stabilized the hillsides."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.redding.com/redd/nw_local/article/0,2232,REDD_17533_4124751,00.html

"Soledad Canyon annexation gets OK" (Los Angeles Daily News, 10/5/05)
"Planning commissioners have approved a zoning change and annexation of Soledad Canyon land where Mexico-based Cemex plans to mine 56.1 tons of sand and gravel, a project the city has been fighting for years. ....The move is an effort to at least limit the amount of mining allowed on the land, where the federal Bureau of Land Management owns the mineral rights."
http://www2.dailynews.com/santaclarita/ci_3089851

Related: "Cemex fires back at city" (Los Angeles Daily News, 10/4/05)
"Mexico-based Cemex is opposing the city's plan to change the zoning and annex the Soledad Canyon land, where the company intends to mine 56.1 million tons of sand and gravel, calling the measures another attempt to foil the company's bid to mine the area. In letters written to the city, the company's lawyers accuse Santa Clarita of trying to circumvent environmental laws by annexing the land it owns without comprehensive environmental studies."
http://www2.dailynews.com/santaclarita/ci_3084480

"Proposed deal stirs controversy" (Redding Record Searchlight, 9/17/05)
"Shasta County's attempt to get rid of 40 acres that cover the old Buckeye Landfill in Redding has bumped into a controversy over a planned new subdivision. The county wants to deed property on the west side of Lake Boulevard to the city of Shasta Lake, which would use it as a disposal area for dirt excavated for development and eventually as a park." The parcel is part of 111 acres the BLM turned over to the county in 1976. "Under federal rules, the land must be used only for disposal or recreational purposes."
http://www.redding.com/redd/nw_local/article/0,2232,REDD_17533_4088532,00.html

"Humane Society says 'whoa' to Nevadan's wild horse bill" (Associated Press in San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/21/2005)
"Horse protection advocates said Tuesday that they'll oppose a proposal aimed at
boosting adoptions of wild horses unless Congress also bans the slaughter of any horses in the U.S."
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/nation/20050621-1926-nv-wildhorses1stld-writethru.html

"Commission to request new look at radioactive dump site" (Needles Desert Star, 6/15/2005)
"A multistate commission tasked with the problem of disposing of low-level radioactive waste has asked Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for timely action to develop a regional disposal facility. Among the options that the Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission discussed laying before the governor is a request to seek repeal of the law that prohibits use of the Ward Valley site for such a facility."
http://www.thedesertstar.com/articles/2005/06/15/news/local/news28b.txt

"Divided road" (Los Angeles Times, 5/31/2005)
"It's a big dispute for such a small road. An obscure 8 1/2 -mile jeep track in the White Mountains northeast of Bishop has escalated into the latest battleground between groups seeking vehicle access to public lands and environmentalists who seek to preserve sensitive areas....Two years ago, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service — which each have jurisdiction over sections of the road — closed the route because of pressure from the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. Since then, four-wheel-drive enthusiasts led by the High Desert Multiple Use Coalition have fought to reopen the seldom-used road."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.latimes.com/features/outdoors/la-os-jeep31may31,1,1904213.story

"'Stop this water project' says Lassen County" (Lassen County News, 7/5/2005)
BLM holds public meeting to gather comments on proposed water pipeline projects by two companies that want to "tap and ship water from the Fish Springs Ranch and Dry Valley to the Stead/Silver Lake/Lemmon Valley area in Washoe County, Nev."
http://www.lassennews.com/News_Story.edi?sid=2732&mode=thread&order=0

Related: "Proposed Nevada water projects leave Lassen ranchers frustrated" (Sacramento Bee, 7/3/2005)
"Two Nevada water projects planned along the California state line are getting a harsh reception from neighbors in Lassen County who share the bistate groundwater basins." 'This looks to us like a big water grab'," one speaker "told federal Bureau of Land Management officials at a public meeting last week to review potential environmental impacts of the projects." Said another: "It's Owens Valley all over again."
http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/california/story/13172115p-14015580c.html

"Spikes spur concern of eco-terrorism" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 5/3/2005)
Desert climbers "have come across some indications that they are not welcome: Six inch long nails, with sheet metal backing, sticking a half inch through the dirt placed along trails and in the parking lot. Also, the pedestrian trails they have labored to build have been blocked by big rocks." The booby traps have been brought to the attention of BLM rangers.
http://www.desertdispatch.com/2005/111512606973877.html

"Plant won't get habitat designation" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 04/11/2005)
"Partly to accommodate Fort Irwin's needs, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has decided not to designate land to conserve a rare plant related to the pea. Representatives of environmental groups were upset after hearing the news last week that lands where the Lane Mountain milkvetch grows north of Barstow will not receive critical habitat designation. However, federal officials said there are a number of steps being taken to protect the perennial herb, which is an endangered species."
http://www.desertdispatch.com/2005/111322539859511.html

"Feds pay counties 68 percent of what property taxes would be" (Oroville Mercury Register, 7/7/2005)
"A program aimed at helping counties recover the cost of tax-free federal land will bring some money to the north state, but state-owned property like Lake Oroville leaves Butte County dry. The federal Payment In Lieu of Taxes Act gives counties that have tax-exempt federal land a portion of the tax revenue they would have collected had the land been privately owned..."
http://www.orovillemr.com/Stories/0,1413,157%257E26686%257E2954757,00.html

"Badger habits, habitat" (Monterey County Herald, 6/28/2005)
"Doctoral student tracks animals at Fort Ord....The North American badger is a 'Species of Special Concern to California' because its population appears to be losing ground throughout the state."
http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/news/12003579.htm

"They're public lands not landfills" (Inyo Register, 4/12/2005)
"Agencies dismayed by spree of illegal dumping in local woods and desert areas this spring...Apparently some folks with garbage for brains have decided to trash their own backyard, which is also everyone else's backyard....Paying a hefty fine for illegal dumping would be a delightful irony if the dumb dumper who got busted was trying to avoid the $2 gate fee at the Inyo County dumps."
http://www.inyoregister.com/articles/2005/04/12/news/819new02.txt

"Herds, history fade from desert" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/3/2005)
"After 30 years of ranching in the desert, the cowboy who was once the model for the Marlboro man is packing it in....It's not an easy job; the land the Wettermans lease from the Bureau of Land Management encompasses 350,000 acres to the north and south of Interstate 15...."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.pe.com/localnews/riverside/stories/PE_News_Local_D_roundup07.666e4.html



BLM CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT

"Recovery in action" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/27/05)
"Damage from a June fire at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve is still visible, but repairs are under way. The resilient plants have already brought some green back to the barren land, and preserve staff is working on rebuilding trails, boardwalks and bridges. The Paradise Fire in Morongo Valley scorched about 2,000 acres of the 30,000-acre preserve, which is popular with bird watchers and hikers."
(Free registration required)
http://www.pe.com/localnews/desert/stories/PE_News_Local_D_morongo25.124515c2.html

Related: "Big Morongo Canyon Preserve" (BLM California website)
This canyon oasis has gained a national reputation among birdwatchers as "a usual spot to see the unusual." At least 235 species of birds have been observed here. The land is managed by the BLM to protect rare and endangered wildlife, enhance sensitive riparian areas, promote the growth of a wide variety of plants, provide for scientific research, and offer educational opportunities.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/pa/wildlife/watchable/areas/morongo.html

"A kayak adventure; Healing a watershed" (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/23/05)
"Environmental damage made fish runs plunge to a few scant survivors -- a tale repeated up and down the coast. But the Mattole had a plot twist: Thanks to a few newcomers, it became the first place where a crusade to start community-based salmon restoration occurred....Though there are occasional disagreements about specific measures, the state Fish and Game and the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management are now valued allies and full partners in restoring the watershed."
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/09/23/MNGCHES76R1.DTL

"There's more room to roam" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/28/05)
"Efforts to help protect rare birds, toads, bighorn sheep and other endangered wildlife in Riverside County received a $5.3 million boost this week as federal officials [the Department of the Interior] awarded three grants to buy pockets of land where threatened plants and animals live." A county spokesperson said "the money puts the county that much closer to acquiring all land identified for preservation. 'We have acquired 23,000 acres, that leaves 130,000 (acres) to go.'"
(Free registration required)
http://www.pe.com/localnews/corona/stories/PE_News_Local_D_grants29.1754830d.html

"City to help save land" (Sacramento Bee, 04/10/2005)
"The city of Elk Grove plans to join with the Nature Conservancy in protecting 50,000 acres south of the city limits....If, as expected, the two sides reach agreement, Elk Grove would join agencies such as the Sacramento County Department of Parks and Recreation, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the California Department of Fish and Game" in the Cosumnes River Preserve Cooperative Agreement.
(Free registration may be required.)
http://www.sacbee.com/content/community_news/elk_grove_laguna/story/12697944p-13550456c.html

Related: "Cosumnes River Preserve" (BLM California, Folsom Field Office website)
The Preserve's mission includes "Safeguarding and restoring the finest remaining example of California Valley oak riparian (stream side) ecosystem and its surrounding habitats," providing a rest stop for migrating waterfowl and demonstrating human uses compatible with the environment.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/folsom/cosumpres.html

"Big Morongo Canyon corner" (Hi-Desert Star, 4/25/2005)
"As the first resident managers of the preserve in the 1980s, Woody and Esther Hengst cut many of the original trails by hand. Funds were tight, equipment was limited and they completed much of the work using only their trusty wheelbarrow, a shovel, a hammer and a handsaw."
http://www.hidesertstar.com/articles/2005/04/23/features/feature3.txt

"Carrizo Plain makes endangered list" (Bakersfield Californian, 6/3/2005)
"These and other Western wildlands are among the country's 11 most endangered historic places, according to an annual list released Thursday by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The problems at Painted Rock are part of a larger trend, according to the trust. It's going on throughout the 26 million acres of pristine federal land run by the bureau, known as the National Landscape Conservation System."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.bakersfield.com/local/story/5571622p-5543416c.html

"Whose paradise is it?" (Sacramento Bee, 4/24/2005)
In King Range National Conservation Area, managed by BLM: "A drive to designate a scenic stretch of Humboldt as wilderness runs into landowners who cherish their piece of heaven."
http://www.sacbee.com/content/politics/story/12780768p-13631702c.html

"Help for habitat" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 4/8/2005)
"Members of the Student Conservation Association's local restoration project — who aren't actually students — spend most of their time camping in the desert near Barstow, where they help the U.S. Bureau of Land Management by locating, logging and disguising illegal off-road routes that threaten desert tortoises."
http://www.desertdispatch.com/2005/111296680661144.html



WILDLIFE

"Biologists delve into bighorn sheep pneumonia mystery" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/28/05)
"Since Tuesday, the California Department of Fish and Game has snagged 15 sheep in San Diego and Riverside counties, part of an effort to test 40 of the sheep living in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains....Wildlife officials fear an epidemic is threatening to decimate the sheep, whose numbers had rebounded to about 700 this year. The sheep had dwindled to 280 in 1996, two years before being listed as endangered by the federal government."
http://www.pe.com/breakingnews/local/stories/PE_News_Local_H_bighorn29.17618b57.html

Related: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM California website)
The National Monument is home to creatures such as the Peninsular Ranges Bighorn Sheep, desert tortoise and the slender salamander -- all listed federal species.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/palmsprings/santarosa/santa_rosa_national_monument.html

Development could erase decades of compromise in Coachella Valley" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/26/05)
Opinion: "More than a decade of work and compromise by Coachella Valley governments could be derailed....If developers get their way, a new city of 45,000 people...would sprawl between Joshua Tree National Park and the Mecca Hills Wilderness, well outside of the Coachella Valley's current urban boundaries.Since 1995, local governments, developers and conservationists have worked together to create the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, which sets forth a vision of development and conservation for the Coachella Valley's next 75 years." BLM is a participant in the plan.
(Free registration required)
http://www.pe.com/localnews/opinion/localviews/stories/PE_OpEd_Opinion_D_op_27_shaver_loc.ce26fd9.html

"Sorry bear, no picnic basket" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6/15/2005)
"Palm Springs residents are used to seeing out-of-towners walking their streets. But a 185-pound black bear easing her way down the road early Tuesday was enough to stop traffic....John Blachley, chief ranger with the Bureau of Land Management, said, 'In the drought years, the bears usually come out of the mountains to find water. But this isn't a drought year...'It could be that (the bears) are just running out of habitat.'" BLM rangers joined with other agencies to move the bear.
http://www.thedesertsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050615/NEWS08/506150327/1006



RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS

"GAO again rules in favor of reservation contract protester" (Government Computer News, 10/25/05)
"The Government Accountability Office for the second time has ruled in favor of Spherix Inc. of Beltsville, Md., in the vendor’s protest of the Agriculture Department’s award of its $97 million recreation information and reservation service contract to ReserveAmerica of Ballston Spa, N.Y." The reservation service is meant to offer "centralized information for more than 57,000 campgrounds, cabins and parks, and tours of national sites, historic homes and caves through a single portal at www.recreation.gov."
http://www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/37417-1.html

"City, activists preserve hillsides for foot traffic" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6/9/2005)
"The jagged mountain ridges that form Palm Desert's western skyline have long been laced with narrow, winding footpaths that are popular with hikers.
Now the mountains will be home to the Coachella Valley's first public park dedicated specifically to hiking. Fox Canyon Hiking Park will officially open in about three weeks, providing residents with 24-hour access to its rocky trails and rustic, desert atmosphere. The city of Palm Desert, Friends of the Desert Mountains and the Bureau of Land Management" purchased the property.
http://www.thedesertsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050609/LIFESTYLES0106/506090323/1050



LAW ENFORCEMENT

"Pot raid leads to arrest of SR man" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 9/23/05) "Evidence seized during a major marijuana raid in northern Mendocino County has led to the arrest of a Santa Rosa man suspected of having ties to a Mexican drug cartel....[Mendocino County's] local pot squad, along with a team from the state Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, assisted in the raids, which were part of a federal Bureau of Land Management investigation into the large marijuana growing operation."
http://www1.pressdemocrat.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050923/NEWS/509230350/1033/NEWS01

"Campaign against pot growing starts" (Porterville Recorder, 7/25/2005)
"In 2004, Tulare County was ranked No. 4 on the list for most marijuana plants seized in the State of California with more than 64,000 plants destroyed. But illegal marijuana cultivation continues to take place every day all over the Central Valley, so state officials are hoping once again that with the help of a statewide eradication program law enforcement can drastically decrease the number of marijuana gardens growing this season." BLM takes part, along with other agencies and local police and sheriff's departments.
http://myopr.com/articles/2005/07/25/news/local_state/news03.txt

"Suspects face hate crime charges in assault case" (Bakersfield Californian, 7/19/2005)
"Four men have been arrested in the case over an assault with racial overtones at a popular swimming hole near Ridgecrest last week, the Kern County Sheriff's Department said. 'White power' was shouted just before the beating, officials said....The attack happened at 'The Pond,' a creek on Bureau of Land Management property near Sand Canyon."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.bakersfield.com/local/story/5586488p-5559413c.html



WEST MOJAVE PLAN

"Nation's Largest HCP Takes Aim At High Desert Urban Sprawl" (California Planning and Development Report, May 2005)
"The high desert is booming, particularly the Antelope Valley and the hinterlands of San Bernardino County, thanks to cheap desert land, soaring housing costs near the coast, and the apparently boundless willingness of Californians to commute on congested freeways. That boom has raised the stakes with regard to a habitat conservation plan (HCP) released in March by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and two local agencies."
http://www.cp-dr.com/binn/main.taf?function=&type=detail&section_id=3008

"Protests mount against West Mojave Plan" (Hi-Desert Star, 5/9/2005)
"The hills are alive with the sound of protest over a document the Bureau of Land Management has crafted and intends to use for governing 9.3 million acres of public lands in the southern California desert. Called the West Mojave Plan (WEMO), and originally conceived as an instrument for implementing the 1994 Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan, the document has been scorned by some among the opponents as 'a giveaway to industry that would harm the desert's quality of life.'"
http://www.hidesertstar.com/articles/2005/05/07/news/news3.txt

Related: " Environmentalists protest West Mojave Plan" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 5/3/2005)
"Environmental groups Monday formally protested the Bureau of Land Management's West Mojave plan, a prelude to a possible lawsuit against the 900-page document that will guide development and environmental protection for decades."
http://www.desertdispatch.com/2005/111512597971538.html



NEW GRAZING RULES

"New grazing rules mean less down time" (Associated Press at MSNBC, 6/17/2005)
"New rules for livestock grazing on 160 million acres of federal lands were welcomed by ranchers but criticized by environmentalists."
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8258213/

Related: "BLM publishes final EIS on changes to grazing regulations" (BLM national office news release, 6/16/2005)
The Bureau of Land Management announced the availability of a final environmental impact study that concludes upcoming grazing regulation changes will produce long-term benefits for public rangelands.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2005/pr050616_grazing.htm

"Bush eases land use for ranchers" (Christian Science Monitor, 6/21/2005)
"New federal regulations loosen restraints on ranchers who use public lands, raising environmental concerns."
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0622/p03s01-uspo.html

"Doctored Science" (Sacramento Bee, 6/21/2005)
"Days after revelations that a Bush administration political appointee had doctored climate change reports and resigned, along comes news of major alterations to an analysis of livestock grazing on public lands."
http://www.sacbee.com/content/opinion/story/13102118p-13946902c.html



WILDFIRE PROTECTION

"New growth protects fire areas from major mudslides" (North County Times, 04/09/2005)
"[P]lants are important for many reasons, not the least that their roots hold dirt in place and counteract the kind of erosion and mudslides that regularly plague areas of California after wildfires....Just after the 2003 fires, geologists and erosion specialists identified a number of spots in unincorporated San Diego County that could be vulnerable to mudflows....Federal officials also performed surveys for National Forest, reservation and Bureau of Land Management lands."
http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/04/10/news/top_stories/14_54_084_9_05.txt

"Fire and Burn Prevention - Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM California Palm Springs Field Office website) Concerned with the amount of burn injuries that occur during off-highway vehicle recreation, partners including the BLM, U.S. Forest Service and nonprofit Burn Institute formed a team to reach out to visitors at the Imperial Sand Dunes, a very popular off-roading spot. The team of six people contacted more than 1,000 visitors at 50 camps, with information on preventing burns and training on the use of dry chemical fire extinguishers.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/palmsprings/fire_president05.html

"Council burned by decision" (Grass Valley Union, 5/13/2005)
"In what might be a devastating blow to the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County, timber giant Sierra Pacific Industries has withdrawn its offer to let the council run a brush-grinding operation on the old Bohemia Mill site.
http://www.theunion.com/article/20050513/NEWS/105130169

"Greenery presents hazard" (San Bernardino County Sun, 4/29/2005)
"Heavy rains over the past six months have produced a lush landscape in the mountains and desert....The bountiful vegetation is forcing fire officials in San Bernardino County to face the potential of a catastrophe. Plant life populating the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains won't burn as hot, but it will move faster. Extra growth in the desert means plants are closer together, creating more opportunity for fire to spread....Property owners in the desert are doing their part to trim the vegetation, and the county is working with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to maintain the land around the parks...."
http://www.sbsun.com/Stories/0,1413,208%257E12588%257E2843828,00.html

"Firefighting preparedness" (Legislative testimony, 4/26/2005)
Statement of Mark Rey, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, United States Department of Agriculture And Lynn Scarlett, Assistant Secretary, Policy, Management and Budget, United States Department of the Interior, Before Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests Concerning Firefighting Preparedness.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/legislative/pages/2005/te050426.htm

"4-H kids study regrowth after Paradise fire" (North County Times, 5/7/2005)
"The 4-H clubs' data will be important because of the debate among ecologists and government officials over whether to replant fire-scarred areas or let them naturally regrow," says 4-H coordinator. "The Paradise fire burned 56,000 acres, killing two and destroying over 220 homes in and around Valley Center....All the monitored sites are on public lands, whether county preserves, state parks or federal Bureau of Land Management lands."
http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/05/08/news/inland/22_13_285_7_05.txt

"Snapshots" of National Fire Plan (BLM Office of Fire and Aviation website, 4/29/05)
California items include:
- "Finding fire prevention education opportunities"
- "Surprise Valley communities come together in Cedarville"
- "Reflective address markers aid rural fire department emergency response"
(PDF file, 2 megabytes):
http://www.fire.blm.gov/textdocuments/4-29-05.pdf



ENERGY: OIL AND GAS

"Low-producing oil wells to pay higher royalties; Interior will end discounts for small operations" (Red Nova, 7/25/2005)
"With oil prices high, small-time oil producers whose wells generate fewer than 15 barrels a day will be required to pay more royalties to the government. The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management says it will end its discount royalty rate for those who operate low-producing 'stripper' oil wells. The Bush administration has been seeking more royalties from energy production, and this decision could bring in more than $50 million a year, split among the federal Treasury and states."
http://www.rednova.com/news/science/185572/lowproducing_oil_wells_to_pay_higher_royalties_interior_will_end/

"Federal agencies propose regulation change to improve energy development on public lands" (BLM national news release, 7/27/2005)
The U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service today announced proposed changes in regulations to improve the processing of oil and gas drilling applications while protecting surface owners and public land resources. “The proposed changes reflect the federal government’s strong commitment to manage America’s public lands for multiple use as intended by Congress,” BLM Director Kathleen Clarke said. “These changes are necessary and important to ensure that we protect the rights of surface owners and improve the health and productivity of America’s public lands.”
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2005/pr050727_imprv_energy_dev.htm

"Feds cite lapses in oil, gas, drilling" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 7/20/2005)
"The Interior Department is spending so much time approving oil and gas drilling permits on public lands that it often fails to do an adequate job policing the environment, congressional investigators say."
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/n/a/2005/07/20/national/w154550D29.DTL

"Feds to raise oil production royalties" (Associated Press at ABC News, 4/27/2005)
The Bureau of Land Management gave notice...that it plans to suspend its policy of offering discounted royalties for producers of heavy crude oil....Celia Boddington of the BLM "said the department's action 'is linked solely to the price of oil.'"
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=709796&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312

Related: "Royalty program suspension may hurt oil producers" (Bakersfield Californian, 4/28/2005)
"The bureau put the royalty reduction program in place about eight years ago when oil prices tanked...to provide an incentive for oil companies to retrieve heavy oil from public lands....with the stipulation that if the price of oil reached a certain level and stayed there for at least six months, it would be suspended....if heavy oil prices fell and natural gas prices remained high, it's possible some independent producers would decide they can't afford to produce heavy oil without a break in royalties."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.bakersfield.com/business/story/5476960p-5471536c.html



NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR ITEMS

"Selma Sierra named Chief of Staff at BLM" (BLM National news release, 4/25/2005)
Sierra has been acting Chief of Staff since May 2004. She had been the agency’s Assistant Director for Communications since 2003.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2005/pr050425_staff.htm

"Larry Benna named BLM Deputy Director for Operations" (BLM national news release, 4/26/2005)
"Larry’s extensive experience with the business, administrative and financial aspects of the BLM gives him essential insight into the bureau’s daily operations,” said BLM Director Kathleen Clarke. “His leadership, problem solving skills and strategic vision already helped the BLM resolve significant issues and meet important goals, and will serve him well as Deputy Director."
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2005/pr050426_benna.htm

"Impacts of Federal Land Ownership on Communities and Local Governments" (BLM national testimony, 6/15/2005)
Statement of Jim Hughes, Deputy Director Bureau of Land Management House Resources Committee Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health...focusing on BLM land disposal and acquisition authority, land survey program and land status records.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/legislative/pages/2005/te050615.htm

"Bureau of Land Management releases National Trails Plan" (BLM national news release, 4/29/2005)
Over the next 10 years, the National Scenic and Historic Trails Strategy and Work Plan will enhance visitor services along the trails, provide consistent standards for protecting and developing trail resources, and boost the BLM’s partnerships with trail organizations and other agencies in managing the trails under the Bureau’s jurisdiction.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2005/pr050429_nsht.htm

"BLM will recover costs and streamline operations for Right-of-Way Program" (BLM national news release, 4/21/2005)
Each year, thousands of individuals and companies apply to the BLM to obtain a right-of-way (ROW) on public land for uses such as roads, pipelines, transmission lines, and communication sites. The new policies modernize and streamline the ROW program, commit the agency to better service for ROW customers, and reaffirm the agency’s commitment to protecting public health, safety and the environment.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2005/pr050421_row.htm

"U.S. plans new pass for public lands" (Los Angeles Times, 4/12/2005)
"Federal officials are creating a new pass that will allow visitors to use national parks, national forests and public lands without paying separate fees. The America the Beautiful pass, set to go on sale in 2007, will cover lands managed by the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Forest Service."
http://www.latimes.com/features/outdoors/la-os-briefs12apr12,1,5229363.story?coll=la-headlines-outdoors

"Federal Diary Live" (Washington Post, 4/6/2005)
"Looking for tips and strategies that allow you to make the most out of new systems that emphasize job performance and performance-based pay? Trying to get a grasp on what the changes underway at the departments of Defense and Homeland Security will mean for employees and managers there? And what their impact could be on the rest of the government?" The columnist and invited guest discussed "potential strategies for federal managers and employees."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18979-2005Apr1.html

"American Indians offer to settle suit" (Associated Press in Sacramento Bee, 6/20/2005)
"American Indians suing the Interior Department for more than a century's worth of lost royalties said Monday they were willing to settle for $27.5 billion if Congress agreed not to draw the money from other Indian Country programs."
http://www.sacbee.com/24hour/politics/story/2495868p-10849286c.html

News.bytes, issue 204

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