Comment by Jim Campbell
Let’s just get to it on this one shall we?
The seventy-nine year old Senior Senator from California is taking a page from Team Obama’s play book. The United States Marine Corps. has filed all the proper and necessary paperwork so that excess terrain on their 29 Palms base would not be allowed for recreation.
Is this Diane going environmentalist on Californians again or just an arrogant seeking a fifth term in the United States Senate that wasn’t to make sure Californians are prevented from having fun.
In the parallel universe in which the tired senator resides for get about the law, it’s her way or the highway.
USMC Preferred Alternative: Alternative 6 was selected in the DEIS as the preferred alternative and slightly modified in the Final EIS: it is the optimal alternative for the Marine Corps considering operational and environmental impact factors together. Developed in response to public comments it was designed to preserve public access to important off-road recreation areas during periods when MEB training did not require use of those lands. The Preferred Alternative would allow for reopening to public recreation use approximately 40,000 acres of the acquisition area for ten months a year. The land would fall under management of the Marine Corps under this proposed plan.
Public comments are due by August 27
California voters have had enough of her out dated thinking thus a new constituency, those that just “wanna have fun” will be voting for Elizabeth Emken in November.
The next month could be the most important 30 days in the last three years of this fight. Please help us activate every OHV enthusiast in the United States with this message. We need every off-roader to participate in a targeted outreach. One phone call or fax a day is all we ask. Talking points can be found below. Contact name is underlined. Congress is on recess this week, they should be in the District Office. Every off-roader must participate!
For context, issuance of the EIS has been anticipated for months. Nevertheless, Congress is still expected to enact the 2013 Defense Authorization Act that will include a provision requiring the Marines to undertake a study on alternative ways to share the land with the OHV community. The House has included the provision in its version of the bill, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein intends to sponsor the provision when the Senate takes up their version of the bill, thereby guaranteeing it will be in the final law. Although the Marines have put forth their EIS, Congress must ultimately enact legislation authorizing any transfer of land from the BLM to the Marines.
See the senators talking points below:
Johnson Valley OHV Area Talking Points
ISSUE: Marine Corps plans to acquire 160,000 acres of BLM land next to Marine Corps Ground Air Combat Center (MCGACC) Twenty Nine Palms eliminates most of the land available under the California Desert Conservation Plan (1980) available for to off highway (OHV) recreation impacting OHV activity and the local and national economy.
- Johnson Valley OHV recreation area is 189,700 acres that develops at least 300,000 visitor days per year and is world-renowned as a OHV recreation area.
- Economic impact: BLM estimates $71.5 million annually into the local economy and $191.2 Million into the national economy.
- USMC has a new requirement for MEB level maneuver training and intends to acquire 160,000 acres of this the land from BLM and conduct live fire on all but 40,000 acres – permanently closing access to 120,000 acres.
- Local authorities and State authorities and thousands of citizens are opposed to the transfer of this land.
- USMC is well into the EIS process and could issue a Record of decision as early as this summer.
- Options other than those in the Draft EIS need to be considered: Permitted use of land from BLM (like at other BLM sites used for training) o Other BLM land in the region (not necessarily adjacent).
- More time needed for deliberation and seeking options on both sides and with the State. Not urgent since Marines have been deploying to combat for 10 years without this extra range – should have more time to seek a broader solution set. o Once live fire starts the land is permanently lost. We need to find accommodation for OHV needs and that will require BLM and State officials.
- The US House of Representatives passed an Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that requires, prior to transfer, the Secretary of the Navy to provide a report on the new Marine requirement for this land and on the economic impact and on other potential solutions to the elimination of recreational land.
- In spite of this Congressional interest, the Secretary of the Navy just entered the final Environmental Impact Statement into the Federal Register and can now within a short time announce his “Record of Decision” to acquire this land.
- The intent of the House of Representatives was to slow this down to have a better look at it. The Navy has run roughshod over the House and ignored their intent. The House should be angry. We are.
- Please call the Secretary of the Navy and tell him to stop this process until all the stakeholders – including federal legislators – have had their voices heard.
- If the Marines went through 10 years of war without this extra land, it surely could wait a few months until all interests could be accommodated.
You can learn more about the effort to save the Johnson Valley OHV area by visiting savethehammers.org
HOW TO HELP: Monday August 6, 2012 Call: Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) or District Director Tevor DaleyLos Angeles 310-914-7300 fax 310-914-7318
Tuesday August 7, 2012 Call: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 22) or District Director Vince Fong Bakersfield 661-327-3611 fax 661-637-0867
Wednesday August 8, 2012 Call: Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA 25) or Deputy COS Bob Haueter Santa Clarita 661-254-2111 fax 661-254-2380
Thursday August 9, 2012 Call: Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA 41) or District Director Rachel Khalili Redlands 909-862-6030 fax 909-335-9155
Friday August 10, 2012 Call: Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA 45) or District Director Marc Troast Palm Desert 760-320-1076 fax 760-320-0596
Monday August 13, 2012 Call: Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA 44) or District Director Jolyn Murphy Corona 951-784-4300 fax 951-784-5255
Tuesday August 14, 2012 Call: Rep. David Drier (R-CA 26) or District Director Mark Harmsen San Dimas 909-575-6226 fax 909-575-6266