The Hardwood Federation produces a “D.C. Cheat Sheet” newsletter to keep the industry up-to-date on the latest news from Washington D.C. Check out the April 13th edition below and sign up to receive your copy.
Federal Court Suspends New WOTUS Rule in 24 States
On April 12, a federal court based in North Dakota granted a motion from 24 state attorneys general to suspend the new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule in 24 states until it is reviewed by the Supreme Court during the next few months. The high court is expected to issue a ruling in Sackett v. EPA, a case that involves landowners suing federal regulators for tying up their property over a wetlands designation. The federal court order suspending WOTUS only applies to states that are parties to the lawsuit, including West Virginia, North Dakota, Georgia, Iowa, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming. This comes on the heels of President Biden’s veto of Congress’s “Resolution of Disapproval” to rescind the administration’s stringent rule to expand permitting over wetlands and other bodies deemed to be subject to federal jurisdiction.
Administration Allocates $34M to Support Forest Management, Reduce Wildfires
On April 6, USDA announced $34 million in funding, primarily in the western states, for projects that promote sustainable forests, support the wood products economy and mitigate wildfire risk. The majority of the funding is going to projects that make use of small diameter timber and woody biomass from forests identified as at-risk of forest fire by the U.S. Forest Service in the western states. Funding allocation also prioritized projects based in disadvantaged and tribal communities. USDA also announced that a second round of funding will be available in the fall of 2023. The Hardwood Federation will share application information when it becomes available.
House Lawmakers Push “Resolution of Disapproval” to Rescind New NLEB Rule
On March 30, Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN) introduced a “Resolution of Disapproval” under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to rescind the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “endangered” listing of the Northern Long Eared Bat (NLEB) under the Endangered Species Act. In late November 2022, the USFWS finalized a rule reclassifying the NLEB from “threatened,” to “endangered,” thereby triggering more red tape for harvesting permits. Although the measure is likely to pass the House and may fare well in the Senate, it would require President Biden’s unlikely signature to cross the finish line. Meanwhile, the USFWS is offering an Interim Consultation Framework, that will provide guidance through March 31, 2024, for projects taking place within the NLEB’s 37-state range.
Mark Your Calendar: The Hardwood Federation Fly-In is June 13 – 15, 2023. To sign up and reserve your room, please click here.
Source: Hardwood Federation