WEMO

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Desertroad
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WEMO

Post by Desertroad » Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:05 pm

Now that the latest round of BLM WEMO documents are available, I have begun to read them (yes, I love pain) and am very interested in how access to the Western Mojave is going to eventually be defined by this agency of the Federal Government.

I wish to state my position clearly: I am for a balanced approached to Federal land management. I believe that resource preservation, motorized and non-motorized access, military reservation and agency budgetary limitations, and other matters, must all be considered when such management decisions are made. I truly believe that we as a society can create said balance. In order for this to happen, all parties must be committed to intelligent and innovative dialogue. No longer can the regurgitation of "Party Line" statements regarding Environmental or Motorized (for lack of better terms) culture be productive components of this process.

What can we try that we haven't tried before? Plants, animals, kids on ATV's and older kids in the Marine Corps all have equal standing. How do we share what we have so that everybody gets a piece, and that there is still lots left over to have years from now?

Your DUSA thoughts? (remember, please, no regurgitation).

Your compadre in sand and sunsets,

Desertroad

spiny
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Re: WEMO

Post by spiny » Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:22 pm

Good post, Desertroad. I agree with your call for a balanced approach to land management, but the tricky part is: What is balanced management? What to me is a balanced approach may not be considered balanced to some others. (In fact, as a long-time poster here, I can pretty much guarantee that.)

The only way any sort of balance has a chance is if everyone puts ideology aside, checks politics at the door, and opens their mind enough to consider other views. Sounds simple, but we know the history of this issue around here.....

But let's not stop trying.

Desertroad
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Re: WEMO

Post by Desertroad » Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:40 am

How to make a process fair is a really sticky question.

My wife is a child-care professional, taking care of pre-schoolers at a corporate employee day-care center. She reminds me that including all of the kids in her room in an activity is crucial to avoiding emotionally negative responses. Remember that phrase from a few years back? Went something like: "All I really need to know in life I learned in kindergarten"

So, inclusion becomes a real dilemma for me, because I have come to believe wholeheartedly that local control is the appropriate approach to land management. I simply do not want decisions about access in the Mojave being made by people in San Francisco or New York. Of course, the Bay Area is a lot closer to Cuddeback Dry Lake than Manhattan, or Tuscon for that matter (location of the Center for Biological Diversity). But the sticking point is BLM land is public land, management paid for by the US taxpayers. So I begrudgingly accept that the CBD and other non-local groups are, in fact, stakeholders, and get a seat at the table. But much like the pre-schoolers, I don't want to see the one, whiny kid dominate the situation with what amounts to tantrum lawsuits. So one aspect of fairness and balance in the latest round of the BLM WEMO process is that I'm willing to accept and work with a diverse cast, but I want to see a commitment to equitable solutions, not just running to the courts every time someone doesn't get their way. And if running to the courts and crying foul is actually how you make your money, then you've already lost all credibility with me.

Desertroad

Dan
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Re: WEMO

Post by Dan » Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:06 am

I think I'm with you, Desertroad. The one exception to that is CBD as a stakeholder. Local members of CBD are fine as stakeholders, however. We need multiple perspectives on this before we're going to reach solutions that actually work. Top-down imposition of nationwide decisions from DC, and statewide decisions from Sacramento, don't work. They listen to arguments from both sides in these things, and often do whatever they wanted to do before the hearings anyway. Too much corruption of the process from people who shouldn't have a say in the matter, and people who aren't affected directly and substantially by any of the outcomes.

Desertroad
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Re: WEMO

Post by Desertroad » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:36 pm

That's interesting. I had never thought about the CBD as being composed of geographically different parts. I perceived them as just one, homogenous, lock-step-in-their-ideology bunch, dedicated to the public perception of their cause and EAJA money. I have always found their stand on WEMO, and the accompanying lawsuits, to be somewhat confusing.

When it comes right down to it, I really do feel that the BLM could have done a better job with the original WEMO environmental documentation. I felt that the process had been rushed, and that the BLM really could have been in a position to expect litigation, if not from the CBD then from somebody, somewhere. Of course, I could sit here with my laptop on my lap all week and online quarterback the BLM. It doesn't help the process at this point one bit.

So much of the Federal environmental documentation process seems mind-blowingly complex. I do respect the amount of work that the BLM has had to put in to preparing EIA's, EIS's, TMP's, ROD's, alphabet soup ad infinitum. But...I'm wondering...has the Federal environmental documentation process evolved because of the environmental litigation industry? Or in spite of it?

Desertroad

Dan
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Re: WEMO

Post by Dan » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:08 pm

I think sending people here from CBD in Arizona to argue their organizational demands should fall on deaf ears. The moment they establish a California-based organization staffed by Californians, they get a seat at the table IF their environmental lobby decides that the CBD rep should be the one to represent their interests. Until then, they should have no greater standing to comment than the average member of the public, during an appropriate public comment period.

As for BLM, I think they have an impossible job. They have no budget for litigation. So, when threatened with a lawsuit, they cave. That inherent weakness is not lost on litigation-happy environmental groups like CBD, who use it as a bludgeon to force policy decisions they can build on later. BLM's bar is set impossibly high by statute and by the people they work for at DOI. When (not if) they fail to comply with the impossible standards, they are sued, and they cannot win. So, they give up and compromise time after time, eventually reaching the initial goals of the organization(s) who continue to file endless lawsuits. The result is nothing short of legislation from the bench, using ESA as the authorization to eliminate checks and balances in the structure of our government in these highly contentious issues. Piece by piece, the law is written through court decisions by an anti-access-friendly court system here in the State of California, or by a BLM that is literally afraid to oppose organizations such as CBD.

Desertroad
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Re: WEMO

Post by Desertroad » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:00 am

I am in agreement that litigation is not constructive to the land management process. As far as the BLM is concerned, I believe that we, the tax-paying public, should not just blame our land management agencies for decisions that we do not like. When I say I thought the BLM could have done differently earlier on in the WEMO process, I don't want to come off as just being critical, I merely wish to express my personal take on it.

I would like to change the public land management process. Where to start? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I have a more simplistic view. The process is basically a loop. But it's not a closed system, changes enter the flow all the time, and are a normal part of the process.

Something like this: (?)

Public accesses land
Public votes for representative government
Representative government enacts legislation
Legislation funds land management agencies
Land management agencies apply policies and procedures
According to policies and procedures, public accesses land
[ Return to top ]

Now, of course, that's just too simple. So we examine the process in greater detail:

Public accesses land
Access is perceived by public as being either too much or too little
Public votes for representative government, based on public's desire for more or less access
Representative government enacts legislation
(one hopes that the legislation reflects public desire...big variable in loop)
Legislation funds land management agencies
(Again, politics enter the loop here, agency funding not always, uh, adequate)
Land management agencies apply policies and procedures
(Variables here as well with agency culture, individual agency manager bias, possible local (State?) restrictions)
According to policies and procedures, public accesses land
(And do we, the public, even bother to play by the rules? Big, fat, hairy variable here)
Public access perceived as appropriate (for a while?) or conditions change
[ Return to top ]

I'm re-reading this and laughing :lol: But it's kind of a fun mental exercise. Anybody have anything they'd like to add?

Going mental,

Desertroad

Desertroad
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Re: WEMO

Post by Desertroad » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:50 pm

Jeeze Louise!

Is it really that dead here on DUSA, or is it something I said?

I guess I'll just have to have a discussion with myself. That's not the same as, uh, "amusing" myself. No pix of me in a speedo, ala Tradclimber.

But, really, no one has anything to add to a discussion of WEMO?

Maybe things have finally gotten so bad in this country that the patriotic and creative minds here on DUSA have just decided to throw up their hands and declare: "Why bother!"

I'm sad...

Desertroad

MMM
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Re: WEMO

Post by MMM » Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:50 pm

In all honesty, what we say in this fine forum, will have little, if any, impact on the final outcome of WEMO. People from groups like CBD will never accept anything other than complete closure of public lands form anyone who operates mechinized transporatation. No plan will be or can be perfect to everyone. The CBD will find something they do not like and sue to stop the plan. Like the closing of Johnson Valley OHV area by the Marines, public input will have little, if any, impact on the final outcome.

Mike

Desertroad
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Re: WEMO

Post by Desertroad » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:55 pm

I agree that this forum does not have a formal place in the decision-making process but I still believe that our dialogues and exchanges play a role in what happens in the Desert Southwest of the United States.

As of this writing this thread has had only 8 replies but 295 views. To me, that's important. Somebody, somewhere, is going to take something away from reading threads like this. Even if only that one person takes the time to learn more about environmental and land use issues, then a small change has occurred. If that one person influences others, then who knows how far an idea may travel.

Today, we toss ideas around using our keyboards and this incredible infrastructure we call the the Net. But always remember, once we sat around tables in taverns, or spoke with our neighbors over low, stone walls. And the idea then was: We're way over here, and the King is still all the way back in England. Who better to be making decisions for ourselves than us?

Local control of land use issues? Who the hell do we think we are?

I one for see the DUSA Forums as the new town square. And I, personally, have read much which has caused me to consider my points of view. Often I simply learn that I did not really know as much as I should have about a subject. In my case, this compels me to read up on the matter, so that I not only can follow what's being stated, but so that I may contribute if I may.

WEMO is personal for me, this time it is my favorite trails and dirt roads that are at risk. I am not going to sit by and watch the Western Mojave be taken away from us. But I need to know more. I need to hear what has worked in the past, and what has not. And whether or not the "King" is the BLM or the CBD is not going to matter to me. Because when I read the Constitution, I see very clearly what the power of an idea can accomplish.

I want to change the Federal land management process for the Western Mojave Desert.

We might have to dress up like Sierra Clubbers and toss some carsonite markers into a dry lake somewhere, or something. :D

Who's in?

Desertroad

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