Our ongoing quest to delist the coho salmon south of San Francisco has one a round in the California Supreme Court.  CCFA have been arguing for years that coho are NOT native south of San Francisco and that our streams cannot successfully support a coho population without continuous human intervention.  Ten years ago, we hit a roadblock when the  Appellate Court ruled that delisting petitions were not an appropriate mechanism for introducing new scientific evidence, without providing another mechanism for introducing said evidence.
The California Supreme Court has just ruled that a delisting petition is an appropriate means for introducing new scientific evidence to adjust the listing parameters of a species listed on the California Endangered Species List.  The Court has remanded the petition back to the Court of Appeal to settle other unresolved portions of the case, including.
  1. does the term “native species” in the definition of “endangered species” (§ 2062) mean “native to the area” in which the species is listed, as plaintiffs assert, or “indigenous to California,” as the Commission claims;
  2. does the term “range” in that definition (ibid.) mean “historic,” “native,” and “natural range,” as plaintiffs argue, or “present range,” as the Commission contends; and
  3. when a species is listed as endangered — here, “Coho salmon . . . south of Punta Gorda (Humboldt County)” (Regs., § 670.5, subd. (a)(2)(N)) — under what circumstances, if any, does CESA permit the Commission to delist only a portion of the listed species — here, coho south of San Francisco — i.e., to carve out a population included in the listed species and remove it from CESA‟s protections?
Nor did the Court of Appeal address the parties’ disagreement over whether plaintiffs’ evidence substantiates their claim that coho are not native to the streams south of San Francisco and cannot survive in those streams without hatchery support.
The full text of the judgement can be found here: S208181.

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California Legislation 22 August 2016

by Cate Moore on August 23, 2016

The legislative session has passed the final date to amend the bills, August 15, and is now rushing to complete passage of what remains on the books.

The latest amendments on a number of bills raised some doubts on our part.

AB-197 was significantly rewritten on August 19.  It now has much more social engineering worked into the language with a great deal of emphasis on supposedly helping “disadvantaged communities”.  The true effect of the bill is likely to be even more job losses in these economically impacted areas as the regulatory burden on businesses becomes even heavier.

SB-1383 still has not dealt exempted the smoke from prescribed fires from its “anthropogenic black carbon” reduction goal.  Otherwise, the bill is now focusing on methane from land fills.

AB-2651 is becoming more dangerous to private landowners as the state’s love affair with conservation easements  for open space preservation and wildlife corridors continues.

Ditto for AB-2444, although there are also opportunities for private landowners with a higher tolerance for governmental involvement.

AB-1958 changed some of the criteria for reducing conifers from oak woodlands, some of which make no sense at all economically or biologically.  The bill now prohibits commercial use of any tree over 24″ at stump height felled for the project, including using the wood for on site fences and similar uses.  It also still has restriction on removing large conifers, ignoring the fact that these are the succession drivers that generate the most seeds.

AB-2087 just changed conservation planning into a Pay to Play scheme, requiring anyone who wants to participate to pay fees to the Department of Fish and Wildlife for the “privilege”.

Check the bills out in detail on our handy legislative table:  The first column provides a link into the text of the bill and its latest status.

Legislation_status_22_aug_2016

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EPA WOTUS Update

by Cate Moore on July 11, 2016

The EPA WOTUS Rule is still hung up in the Sixth Circuit, but even if the Court ultimately rules against the EPA, they won’t give up seeking to put themselves in the middle of anything you do on your land.

How are we to defend ourselves?

We have just created a toolkit of legal cases to reference if you run into problems with the EPA over your land.  Check it out.

 

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California legislation – July 10, 2015

July 11, 2015

Next week will be incredibly busy, since the deadline for bills to pass the policy committees is July 18.  After that, the legislature goes on leave for a month, giving us all a breather.  Actions of interest for this week:  AB-56 Unmanned aircraft systems has been amended.  The changes still do not fully address the […]

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Legislation Update – June 26

June 29, 2015

The active bills are now working their ways through the non-origin house (i.e., active Assembly bills are now in the Senate, active Senate bills are now in the Assembly). The most interesting amendments for this week are: AB-56 Unmanned aircraft systems. (leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB56) has stepped its data collection restrictions down from all public agencies to just law […]

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California adopts emergency regulation for removing dead and dying trees

June 24, 2015

The California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection has adopted an emergency regulation for removal of dead and dying trees. The emergency regulation will allow individual landowners or professional foresters to apply for an exemption to cut dead and dying trees of any size without the typical timber harvest plan, submission requirements, and completion and stocking report requirements. […]

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Federal Assistance for Biomass is Back

June 16, 2015

Release No. 0159.15 Contact: Isabel Benemelis (202)720-7809 USDA Announces Restart of Biomass Crop Assistance Program for Renewable Energy WASHINGTON, June 1, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that incentives will resume this summer for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners interested in growing and harvesting biomass for renewable energy. The support comes […]

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The latest developments for the EPA and the Clean Water Act

June 16, 2015

In October of last year, CCFA joined the Farm Bureau and several other rural voices in opposing the EPA’s latest attempt to redefine the scope of the Clean Water Act to the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), which would include just about every mud puddle and golf course water trap in America. We hope […]

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CA Legislative Update June 12

June 13, 2015

This week was mostly spent assigning bills to their committees now that they have crossed over to the other legislative house.  A few bills did get amended and two bills caught my attention. AB-453 has just added provisions that allow local water agencies to impose fees and collect data on groundwater extractions.  There is no […]

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SRA Fee (Fire Tax) Update

June 13, 2015

As fire tax season approaches again for this year, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) reports the following about SRA fees, aka the Fire Tax. The state has once again been able to delay the progress of the HJTA class action lawsuit challenging the legality of the SRA fee.  They report their “Motion to Certify […]

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