July 25, 2017

President Proposes $1.3 Billion FY 2018 Budget for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Press Release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

Budget Makes Commitments to Public Lands, Energy and Public Access

May 23, 2017

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump today proposed a $1.3 billion Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Service’s budget also includes $1.5 billion in permanent funding, which is mostly administered to states through various grants and other initiatives for their wildlife and sportfish conservation programs. The bureau budget helps put the federal government on track to a balanced budget by 2027.

“President Trump promised the American people he would cut wasteful spending and make the government work for the taxpayer again, and that’s exactly what this budget does,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Working carefully with the President, we identified areas where we could reduce spending and also areas for investment, such as addressing the maintenance backlog in our National Parks and increasing domestic energy production on federal lands. The budget also allows the Department to return to the traditional principles of multiple-use management to include both responsible natural resource development and conservation of special places. Being from the West, I’ve seen how years of bloated bureaucracy and D.C.-centric policies hurt our rural communities. The President’s budget saves taxpayers by focusing program spending, shrinking bureaucracy, and empowering the front lines.”

The President’s budget focuses funding on the nation’s highest priority conservation needs, access to public lands for all Americans, and the agency’s role in streamlining energy development, while containing costs through management efficiencies and other savings to address federal fiscal realities.

“Improving access to national wildlife refuges supports the great American traditions of hunting and fishing that together generate billions of dollars for conservation and billions more for our nation’s economy,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Virginia Johnson. “Accordingly, this budget request prioritizes deferred maintenance funding for national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries, active habitat management across millions of acres of public lands, and core wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities.”

“Timely environmental review of energy development and other infrastructure needs will create jobs and help the U.S. achieve energy independence,” said Johnson. “This budget also supports our law enforcement officers who support cooperative efforts to secure our borders.”

The FY18 budget includes the President’s continued focus on the following priorities:

America’s Public Lands:

Through the National Wildlife Refuge System, the Service continues the American tradition, started by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, of protecting fish and wildlife and their habitats and providing opportunities for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation to all Americans. The proposed FY18 funding level for the Refuge System is $470.1 million. The proposed budget maintains a commitment to providing outdoor recreational opportunities in rural, urban or suburban landscapes, including through the Service’s Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships program, as well as supporting the vital role of volunteers on our refuges.

American Infrastructure:

Included in the request for National Wildlife Refuges is $136.2 million for improving the Service’s maintenance backlog and to take care of the American public’s investments in facilities and infrastructure managed by the Service. Of this, $41.0 million is to address the backlog in deferred maintenance. This would sustain the Service’s current commitment to eliminate its maintenance backlog in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

In addition, $19.4 million is requested for maintenance of national fish hatcheries, which stock sport and subsistence fish for states and tribes and also propagate and release endangered aquatic species to aid in their recovery. . A further $51.9 million in funding is proposed for national fish hatchery operations.

Invasive species cost our economy billions of dollars each year. To continue its commitment to address this important issue, the Administration proposes level funding for programs that focus on preventing the spread of Asian carp, quagga and zebra mussels, and sea lamprey.

A total of $225.2 million is proposed to implement the Endangered Species Act and related programs, of which $79.6 million is dedicated for species recovery efforts. Recovery funding includes an increase of $1.8 million for working on five-year species reviews and delistings and downlistings.

Birds are important to Americans in many ways. Birdwatching generates $43 billion in economic activity yearly; hunting of migratory waterfowl is a traditional recreational pastime that generates billions more. A total of $44.0 million is requested for the Service’s Migratory Bird program, which provides waterfowl hunting opportunities and encourages conservation of birds and their habitats.

The budget eliminates funding for Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and the Service’s science program, as well as funding for youth programs and the Cooperative Recovery Initiative.

American Safety and Security:

Refuge law enforcement efforts are funded at $37.9 million to enhance visitor and employee safety on our public lands and honor the President’s commitment to improving border security.

Additionally, the Office of Law Enforcement is funded at $73.0 million. The recent escalation in poaching of protected species and the illegal trade in wildlife poses an urgent threat to conservation and global security. Wildlife trafficking generates billions of dollars in illicit revenues each year, contributing to the illegal economy, fueling instability in range nations, and undermining regional security in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Poaching operations themselves have expanded beyond small-scale, opportunistic actions to become a coordinated, large-scale activity often commissioned by armed and organized criminal syndicates that also traffic drugs, arms and people, and that see wildlife trafficking as a low-risk, high-reward alternative. Our continued investment in combatting wildlife trafficking is important to addressing organized crime and saving hundreds of iconic species such as the African elephant and rhino from extinction.  The Service’s International Affairs program is funded at $14.2 million, nearly level with FY17 Continuing Resolution Baseline. The program provides grants and technical assistance for the international conservation of endangered and threatened species.

America First Energy:

The budget includes $98.8 million to facilitate planning and consultation that will support energy development, economic recovery and job creation in the United States. Timely evaluations of proposed infrastructure, energy and other development projects contribute to job creation and economic growth. Funding will allow the Service to expedite project reviews and work with developers on appropriate mitigation and avoidance measures.

The President’s budget also contains proposals to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling; to enable the National Wildlife Refuge System to recover damages from persons who injure or destroy federal resources; and to permanently authorize the Recreation Fee Program.

The President’s FY18 budget proposal for the Department of the Interior supports his commitment to create jobs, provide outdoor recreation through hunting and fishing, facilitate energy development, and support law enforcement needs. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Congressional Justification can be found online: www.fws.gov/budget/2018/FY2018-FWS-Greenbook.pdf.

The Department of the Interior oversees one-fifth of the nation’s land and the entire Outer-Continental Shelf. The Department is charged with overseeing energy development on federal lands and waters, grazing allotments and timber sales, water conservation and delivery, upholding tribal trust responsibilities, conservation of wildlife and habitat, and maintaining access for recreation throughout public lands, among other priorities.

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Ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, made the following comment about Trump’s budget proposal:

“Once again, the Trump Administration has turned its back on Teddy Roosevelt-style conservatism and is instead trying to allow special interests to pillage our natural resources so a wealthy few can make themselves even wealthier. We won’t let him.”

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Trump’s Dysfunction Carrying Into USFWS

As has been shown since Donald Trump became President of the United States, much of what he attempts to do proves either a lot of blather or useless drivel, and about all of it embroiled in controversy and corruption. Blame the Media if you choose, but Trump ain’t the first president to have to deal with a Media, of which he or any other president has the authority to control. In other words, Trump’s Administration is no different than many that have come before him.

In another way the President and his administration are showing their ineptitude, is the carrying out of such elementary, and yes, probably mundane, task of getting the newly appointed Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, to name a director of the Fish and Wildlife Service. What’s the big hold up? Excuses are like – you know what – and they all stink.

I was told that a director had already been picked but that the department was waiting for the “right” time to make the announcement. WTF? What kind of Nazi approach is this? What’s the right time? Is it that Zinke is that dysfunctional himself that he can’t name a director? Or, is the holdup in order that certain political and criminal activities can be undertaken while nobody is looking?

Regardless of the reasons the Department of Interior hasn’t appointed a director, the fact that it has been nearly 4 months since there has been new Trump Administration leadership at the Fish and Wildlife Service, like much of what Trump has done so far, it’s just another reflection of how he and his administration are not up to the task.

I remember when George W. Bush told the public about his job: “It’s hard!” And now he is followed by another, whom everyone thought walked on water, who seems to now think his new job as President of the United States is “hard.”

Well no shit Sherlock!

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Jim Beers for Director, USFWS, The Frosting on the Cake

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Fascist USFWS Will Release Wolves Without State Permit

This is typical of the fascist government under which we are subjects of. The Feds are required to get approval and permits from the proper state agencies before wolves are “introduced” onto the land. Because of incomplete and unsatisfactory “plans” by the USFWS, New Mexico officials refused to authorize a permit for release. The USFWS says it is, “exempting the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program from a policy of complying with state permit requirements.”

Why are there laws? Why is there an Endangered Species Act? The United States Government is out of control, promoting chaos and creating a mockery out of any semblance of law and order.

Perhaps the state of New Mexico could find better understanding if Feds were actually releasing real Mexican wolves instead of lab-grown, cross-bred mongrels and calling them wolves. Maybe it’s time to give the fascists a taste of their own medicine and “exempt” them from any wolf recovery program promising to kill any wolf released.

“In a direct snub to state officials, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday that it will release about 10 Mexican gray wolves into the wilds of southwestern New Mexico, even though state game officials have refused to issue a permit for the action.

The federal agency issued a statement Wednesday that said it will release the wolves as part of its recovery program for a species that is at risk of extinction.

“It is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s obligation under the law to recover this species, and reintroductions into the wild from the more genetically diverse captive population are an essential part of that recovery process,” the statement said.

Fish and Wildlife said it notified New Mexico Game and Fish Department Director Alexandra Sandoval, who previously denied a permit for the release. Despite protests from dozens of environmental groups, the seven-member State Game Commission late last month unanimously rejected the federal government’s appeal of her decision.”<<<Read More>>>

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Fed’s Canada Lynx Review Excuses

PORTLAND, Maine — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is applying a new threat assessment for federally protected Canada lynx from Maine to Washington State, delaying completion of the first five-year review.

The structured threat assessment will involve several other agencies, at least 15 states and more than 20 Native American tribes. The resulting assessment will serve as the basis of a streamlined five-year review, and a recovery plan if one is necessary, said Jim Zelenak of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Montana.<<<Read More>>>

Perhaps it is time for some kind of accountability within the ranks of the Federal Government. In the Private Sector, if anyone performed as ineptly and corruptly as these clowns, they would have been fired a long time ago.

By law, before any species can be officially listed as “threatened” or “endangered” under the guise of the Endangered Species Act, a statement of what the environmental impact will be must be drafted, finalized and published in the Federal Register. In order to list a species as “threatened” or “endangered,” by law it is required to present a Recovery Plan (before the listing) – after all, if a species is in trouble there must be a plan to save and recover the species. That plan for Canada lynx was never done, but that didn’t stop the Feds, under pressure from corrupt, environmental groups, to list the lynx anyway.

Five years later, we are now hearing that the Feds need more time to complete their required-by-law assessment while stating, “The resulting assessment will serve as the basis of a streamlined five-year review, and a recovery plan if one is necessary.”

Are you kidding me? If one is necessary? How did the Feds get away with listing the lynx as a threatened species to begin with?

But does it really matter?

In those states where the Canada lynx is illegally listed as a species in trouble, people will never see this critter removed from federal protection. It was never intended that way and it will never happen. Oh, the Feds may put on a dog and pony show to convince enough people that they are doing all that they can – the most being enabling the pocketing of millions of dollars by environmental crooks.

On a project that should have been done BEFORE listing, the Feds “hope” to have a five-year recovery plan in place by this coming December. How thoughtful of them.

If you read the article, linked to above, you will read the Fed’s planned-out excuse of why Canada lynx will not be removed from Federal protection:

In Maine, the lynx population’s fate is tied to the snowshoe hares upon which they feed, and the populations of both are believed to be declining because of lack of suitable habitat for the hares. The end of clear-cutting forestry practices in Maine has allowed forests to fill in, taking away the habitat preferred by hares.

Try to understand this statement, if you can. The attempt here is, as any good environmentally biased group or person would do, to demonize the forest industry because they destroyed habit that is affecting the Canada lynx. But, notice the article unknowingly states that the only way the Canada lynx can remain at artificially high levels is due to the presence of the snowshoe hare, which flourished due to clear cutting – clear cutting, by the way, that was done to mitigate the devastation from the spruce bud worm.

Also take note, that in the permitting process for Maine to obtain an Incidental Take Permit for Canada lynx, the state had to agree to clear-cut hundreds of acres of public land in order to artificially create lynx habitat. Does this at all make sense? The same environmental, mental midgets who demand that forests be left in their “natural” state, also demand that forests be clear-cut in order to artificially grow Canada lynx.

Imagine that the spruce bud worm attack never happened. There wouldn’t be the extent of clear-cut forests and because of that, there would have been fewer snowshoe hares, thus fewer Canada lynx. Therefore, the current conditions that caused the Canada lynx to be in large numbers, as they are at present – and now predicted to shrink – were all caused artificially – GASP! by man.

So, according to the perverted reasoning of the Feds and the environmental groups they love to crawl in bed with, the only way we can hope to save and perpetuate more lynx so more cars and trucks kill them on the highways, and more will die of diseases, and more will kill more threatened white-tail deer, and more lynx get incidentally caught in traps, and more romantics can dream about one day having a lynx of their own to love and coddle, is to pray for another severe outbreak of spruce bud worm.

Brilliant! Just brilliant!

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Revitalizing The Information Quality Act as a Procedural Cure For Unsound Regulatory Science: A Greenhouse Gas Rulemaking Case Study

Lawrence A. Kogan, Esq.
Introduction – Dr. John D. Graham, Indiana University
Foreword – Jim J. Tozzi, Center for Regulatory Effectiveness

Executive Summary:

Congress passed the Information Quality Act (IQA) in 2000 to implement and amend the Paperwork Reduction Act. The law requires federal agencies to ensure the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of the scientific, technical, and statistical information that federal agencies adopt and disseminate to the public. Although the law is nominally a procedural statute, this WORKING PAPER explains how regulated entities and other stakeholders can successfully seek judicial enforcement of the IQA when agencies rely upon flawed science for federal rules, and those rules impose paperwork, compliance, and other burdens.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is responsible for implementing the IQA. OMB’s IQA Guidelines required that each federal agency develop and adhere to their own IQA guidelines, and set out minimum criteria for scientific peer review of agency-drafted and third-party studies and scientific assessments, as well as criteria for the selection of peer reviewers. OMB dictated that these peer-review standards be especially rigorous for “highly influential scientific assessments.” Federal agencies must also provide an administrative review mechanism that will allow affected entities to seek correction of agency-disseminated information that was not adequately validated. Agencies routinely carry out this mandate by addressing requests for correction as part of their responses to public comments in a final regulation—an approach, the paper argues, that does not afford sufficient due process to stakeholders.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2009 greenhouse gas Endangerment Findings, and the decision-making process underlying them, offers an instructive IQA case study. A review of the extensive record and the peer review activities underlying the Findings reveals extensive violations of conflict-of-interest and other IQA-related standards. EPA also did not consider stakeholders’ challenges regarding these violations in a timely or sufficiently specialized manner. Stakeholders’ requests for reconsideration of the Findings were also rejected.

Stakeholders faced with such adverse, final agency actions would traditionally consider legal action against the responsible federal agency. As the WORKING PAPER explains, however, federal courts have been generally skeptical of regulated entities’ private causes of action to redress agencies’ noncompliance with IQA standards. Those complaints have foundered on plaintiffs’ standing to sue, as well as their assertion of a positive right to properly peer-reviewed government information.

This paper proposes an alternative approach to judicial enforcement of the IQA, one which addresses past lawsuits’ shortcomings. It explains this alternative approach in the context of a challenge to EPA’s violation of IQA during its development of the Endangerment Findings. The contemplated cause of action is based on the theory that Congress intended that the IQA, as an implementation of the Paperwork Reduction Act, protect the negative right of a designated class of persons not to be burdened, financially or otherwise, by poor quality science that agencies disseminate in support of major regulations. The lawsuit would formally be brought as an action under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

Private entities, such as regulated businesses could establish standing to sue based on the particularized economic injuries they have suffered from regulatory burdens. State governments could take advantage of U.S. Supreme Court precedents that convey standing Copyright © 2015 Washington Legal Foundation ixunder the doctrine of parens patriae when such public actors are suing in their quasi-sovereign capacity. A narrowly-pled, factually-supported challenge utilizing the APA would not only be consistent with the longstanding presumption that Congress intends judicial review of administrative action, but it would also be sufficient to overcome some federal courts’ presumption against implied causes of action.

Fueled by decades of ineffective oversight, federal agencies’ respect for science and the scientific process has severely diminished. For that reason, one can easily foresee many potential applications of the enforcement framework offered in this paper. Other actions by EPA where stakeholders have strongly questioned the supporting science could be particularly inviting targets as well. They include: EPA’s “Waters of the United States” proposal; its social cost of carbon proposal; its proposed ozone regulations; its NEPA review of the Keystone XL pipeline; its study on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing; and EPA and NOAA disapproval of state coastal nonpoint pollution control programs. Another possible target could be the Fish and Wildlife Service’s threatened or endangered species designations.<<<Get Full Study>>>

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