BlueRibbon Coalition BRC: CALIFORNIA - Johnson Valley Action Alert Update

Discussion in 'Land Use News' started by BlueRibbon Coalition, May 9, 2011.

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    Date: 05/09/2011
    BLUERIBBON COALITION ACTION ALERT!
    CALIFORNIA - Johnson Valley Action Alert Update

    Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,
    We have an important update on our Johnson Valley Action Alert:
    Jerry Grabow, one of the main brains at AMA District 37 called and reminded us that the No Action Alternative is not Alternative A as we mentioned.
    We have revised our Alert and information on our website accordingly. I went ahead and pasted our revised alert below.
    Also, David Danelski, a reporter for Riverside, California's, Press-Enterprise has an article on the issue.
    Marines eye Johnson Valley for training
    http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/PE_News_Local_D_johnson05.23d2bb4.html
    If you haven't already done so, PLEASE send your comments in on this important issue.
    Thanks in advance,
    Brian Hawthorne
    Public Lands Policy Director
    BlueRibbon Coalition
    BLUERIBBON COALITION ACTION ALERT!
    CALIFORNIA - Submit Comments To Save Johnson Valley

    Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,
    As many of you know, the Department of Defense has proposed a major expansion of the Twentynine Palms Marine base. The DOD proposal would significantly disrupt OHV use in the popular Johnson Valley OHV Area.
    The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) prepared for the base expansion has been released for public review and comment. The comment deadline is May 26, 2011. Please see the Action Item below for tips and pointers on how to comment.
    Many off-highway enthusiasts feel conflicted on this issue; on one hand they support the US Military and understand the economic importance of the Twentynine Palms base to adjacent communities. On the other hand, off-highway vehicle users have, over the years, been "crammed" into the Johnson Valley area after decades of Wilderness designation, administrative closures, and lawsuits that closed millions of acres of the California desert.
    The great respect for our fighting men and women notwithstanding, a review of the DEIS indicates that the base expansion is based on the assumption that there is a need for three Marine Expeditionary Brigades to train simultaneously. Upon review, it appears the DOD has developed a proposal based on an outdated segregated training model. Also, questions regarding the cost of the base expansion; given budget constraints, the current fiscal crisis and ballooning national deficit; have been raised.
    Off-highway vehicle recreation is a very popular family activity, especially in Southern California. According to the California State Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVR), between 1980 and 2007 the number of registered OHVs has increased 370%. Unfortunately, since 1980 the amount of desert lands available for this type of recreation has fallen dramatically. Due to its proximity to southern California metropolitan areas, Johnson Valley is one of the most important areas to serve this growing demand for both in-state and out-of-state visitors.
    This is why BRC, as well as numerous other OHV groups, are opposing the base expansion. Groups such as CORVA, Cal 4WD and AMA District 37 are doing yeoman's work on protecting the popular Johnson Valley area. With your help, we believe there is a chance to save Johnson Valley!
    BRC is encouraging our members to submit comments in response to the DEIS, but we are also encouraging our members to contact their congressional representatives. Our Action Item below includes comment suggestions and a link you can use to find your U.S. Representative. Please take action today!
    Brian Hawthorne
    Public Lands Policy Director
    BlueRibbon Coalition
    208-237-1008 ext 102
    BRC ACTION ITEM
    SUBMIT COMMENTS TO SAVE JOHNSON VALLEY

    Situation:
    The proposed expansion of the Marine base at Twentynine Palms threatens to close the popular Johnson Valley OHV area.
    BACKGROUND INFO:
    For information on the DEIS, please see the BRC alert on this subject Don Amador's Blog on the Notice Of Intent with Various Letters and Comments 2009 BRC Comment Letter on the Marines NOI The proposed Twentynine Palms Marine base expansion DEIS
    What you need to do:
    STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO SEND YOUR COMMENTS:
    STEP 1: Click on the following link, which will take you to the Marie Corps DEIS comment webpage.
    https://extranet.tecinc.com/29Palms_DEIS/. Read and follow the instructions for completing
    the Comment Form.
    STEP 2: Use the comments suggestions below as a guideline for your comments. Cut and paste is
    okay, but try to make your comments as concise as possible.
    STEP 3: Once you have completed your comments, click the "Submit" button.
    NOTE: Comments submitted through the website must be limited to 3000 characters.
    Optional:
    You may also comment by mail to: Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest, ATTN: 29Palms EIS Project Manager, 1220 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92132-519.
    You should send a copy of your comments to your congressional representatives. You can find their contact information by going to our Rapid Response Center and entering your zip code.
    http://www.sharetrails.org/rapid_response/

    COMMENT SUGGESTIONS:
    Given the Alternatives presented, I strongly support the "No Action" alternative. Given the fatal flaws in the analysis, the public objection to the project and the national economic crisis I believe the base expansion as proposed in the DEIS should be withdrawn.
    The Corps has rigged "the purpose and need section" of this NEPA process to limit the range of alternatives.
    The Corps has failed to consider a reasonable range of alternatives analyzed during a NEPA process.
    The Corps EIS fails the "rule of reason" test. The "rule of reason" is essentially a reasonableness test that is comparable to the arbitrary and capricious standard.
    The Corps Failed to Justify Need for 1990s-era Simultaneous Training of 3 MEBs
    The Corps excluded the use of Fort Irwin based on false assumptions that scheduling conflicts, current infrastructure deficiencies, and other administrative hurdles cannot be mitigated.
    The arbitrary screening criteria eliminated a number of viable proposals and alternatives brought forward by the public
    There is Corps Bias Against Integration - On March 26, 2011 Corps spokesman, Captain Nick Mannweiller, told the BLM's Desert Advisory Council that, "What makes the Marine Corps special is that we play really well with each other and not really very well with the other services."
    The Corps Failed to Analyze DOD Budget and National Deficit Impact on Project Viability



    The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib - www.sharetrails.org
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    As a non-profit, grassroots organization funded primarily by membership dues and donations, we greatly appreciate your support. Visit http://www.sharetrails.org/make-a-difference-now to help fund our efforts to protect your trails!
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