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Capital Watch

Capital Watch is a rapid response advocacy tool to defend public lands and bedrock environmental protections. It is designed to help you hold Congress and the Trump administration accountable and stop in their tracks any attempts to sell off public lands, gut bedrock environmental laws, or roll back significant progress already made on climate and protections for wildlife and wildlands. Citizen activism has never been more important. Act today! (To receive important alerts, sign up here)


Issue: PRESERVE FEDERAL OVERSIGHT OF FEDERAL LANDS
Target: Representative Scott Tipton and Senator Cory Gardner
Action: Because the Federal Lands Freedom Act of 2017 currently resides in both chambers of Congress and could be fast tracked, this action is urgent. Email or call Representative Scott Tipton at (970) 241-2499 (Grand Junction Office) and tell him not to vote for the House version. Also, email or call Senator Cory Gardner (970) 245-9553 (Grand Junction Office) and urge him to use his seat on the Senate Committee for Energy and Natural Resources to prevent this bill from going to a vote.

Key messages: Tell Representative Tipton and Senator Gardner to keep our federal public lands FEDERAL and to protect our nationally held resources and not cede management to states.

For Rep. Tipton:

  1. This message is for Representative Tipton about H.R.3565, a bill in Congress called the “Federal Lands Freedom Act”. I am strongly opposed to this bill and I urge you to vote against it.
  2. This bill hands over decision-making authority on our nationally shared public lands to the states, gutting federal oversight of management and allowing states to assume federal leasing, permitting and regulatory responsibilities for oil and gas development.
  3. The bill allows common-sense regulations like the Endangered Species Act and environmental review to be circumvented, fast-tracking development and extraction projects, and cutting public input out of decisions that impact their lands.
  4. Oil and gas companies are currently sitting on more than 8,000 unused leases and yet won’t drill on those already-approved 14 million acres of land nationwide. This bill would leave public lands open to even more leasing, tying up huge swaths of land for development, in some states far more than others, instead of preserving it and keeping it available for every American to enjoy.

For Sen. Gardner:

  1. This message is for Senator Gardner about bill S.335, the “Federal Lands Freedom Act”. I am strongly opposed to this bill and I urge you to use your seat on the Senate Committee for Energy and Natural Resources to prevent it from going to vote.
  2. This bill hands over decision-making authority on our nationally shared public lands to the states, gutting federal oversight of management and allowing states to assume federal leasing, permitting and regulatory responsibilities for oil and gas development.
  3. The bill allows common-sense regulations like the Endangered Species Act and environmental review to be circumvented, fast-tracking development and extraction projects, and cutting public input out of decisions that impact their lands.
  4. Your platform encourages citizens to be “good stewards of our natural environment”, a message that should extend to our elected officials. Good stewardship of our national public lands means keeping our federal public lands FEDERAL.

Issue: DO NOT ALLOW FOSSIL FUELS TO BE FORCED AS AN ENERGY SOLUTION
Target: Representative Scott Tipton
Action: The Planning for American Energy Act of 2017 (H.R. 2907) was introduced in the House this June by our own Representative Scott Tipton. Email or call Representative Scott Tipton at (970) 241-2499 (Grand Junction Office) and tell him not to vote for the House version.

Key messages: Tell Representative Tipton to protect our public lands from unwarranted resource extraction at the expense of our public lands and our environment.

  1. This message is for Representative Tipton about bill H.R.2907, the “Planning for American Energy Act”. Mr. Tipton, I am strongly opposed to this bill and I urge you to abandon it.
  2. It prioritizes resource development and extraction on our public lands over other multiple uses such as recreation, hunting, fishing, wildlife and habitat preservation by directing the Secretary of the Interior to fast track energy production on public lands, prioritizing fossil fuel special interests over all other public lands uses and values.
  3. It gives little to no consideration as to how Colorado’s $2 billion recreation industry might be affected by destructive development of such lands. Millions of people flock here every year to hunt, fish and recreate in our wild, untouched places, untainted waterways and diverse habitats.
  4. Mr. Tipton, this bill unfairly places the burden of American energy production on public lands, with little regard for the expense to the land, our environment, and the American public. Please abandon H.R. 2907.

Issue: DO NOT ALLOW STATES TO RECEIVE ROYALTIES FOR ENERGY EXTRACTION ON FEDERAL LANDS
Target: Representative Scott Tipton
ActionH.R. 2661 State Mineral Revenue Protection Act of 2017
Action: The State Mineral Revenue Protection Act of 2017 was introduced in the House by Liz Cheney, (R-WY) this September. Email or call Representative Scott Tipton at (970) 241-2499 (Grand Junction Office) and tell him not to vote for the House version.

Key messages: Tell Representative Tipton to protect royalty payments from our nationally owned resources.

  1. This message is for Representative Tipton about bill H.R.2661, the “State Mineral Revenue Protection Act”. Mr. Tipton, I am strongly opposed to this bill and I urge you to vote against it.
  2. This bill proposes to shift millions of dollars in mineral royalties from federal to state coffers, incentivizing states to rubber stamp energy development, severely impacting clean air, clean water, healthy habitat and western states’ recreation economies.
  3. Our national public lands and the resources they hold belong to the United States and to every American citizen, not any one particular state. Historically, western voters have demonstrated that they agree with this notion, having rejected state and national efforts to break up and sell off their birthright of federal public lands.
  4. Please protect our nationally owned resources and ensure that every American has the opportunity to benefit from the bounty of our public lands. Vote against H.R. 2661.

 

 


Issue: PROTECT OUR NATIONAL FORESTS AND PUBLIC LANDS FROM EXCESSIVE LOGGING AND KEEP THE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW PROCESS INTACT AND TRANSPARENT
Target: Representative Scott Tipton and Senator Cory Gardner
Action: Email Representative Tipton or call him at (970) 241-2499 (Grand Junction Office). Tell him to abandon his support for the 2017 Resilient Federal Forests Act, and vote against it. Also, email Senator Gardner or call him at (970) 245-9553 (Grand Junction Office) and urge him not to vote for any Senate bill that may contain language from the House Bill.

Key messages: Tell Representative Tipton to protect our national forest and public lands and withdraw his co-sponsorship from bill H.R.2936, the “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017” and vote against it

  1. I am calling to leave a message for Representative Tipton about bill H.R.2936, the “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017”. Please let Mr. Tipton know that I am strongly against this bill and I urge him to withdraw his co-sponsorship and vote against it.
  2. If this bill becomes law, it would leave millions of acres of national forest and public lands vulnerable to excessive logging and make them susceptible to long-term and irreversible environmental impacts from projects that have not been properly assessed for their effects on the land and ecosystems.
  3. This bill sets a dangerous precedent in gutting public participation in the environmental review process and makes the management of our public lands less democratic and transparent.

Key messages: Tell Cory Gardner that a bill in the Senate that includes any variation of the language from the House bill is unacceptable.

  1. This message is for Senator Gardner. I am strongly against House bill H.R.2936, the “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017” and I urge you to vote against any bill that may arise in the Senate with similar language or intentions.
  2. Any bill that strips away or weakens the NEPA review process is an assault on public lands and the public’s right to participate in a transparent process. Please protect our public lands and our public right.

Sample letter to Rep. Tipton

Dear Representative Tipton,

Our national forests and public lands are a precious public resource that provide a myriad of benefits to local communities, including economic boosts from tourism, places to enjoy the outdoors, recreation, clean air and water, and protection for ecologically sensitive areas. I am deeply concerned about the bill you are currently co-sponsoring (H.R.2936, the “Resilient Federal Forests Act), which seeks to streamline logging activities in our national forests and on public lands by rolling back environmental review requirements – and I am urging you to vote against it.

The 1970 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) currently protects our public lands from the detrimental and irreversible environmental effects of development and resource extraction by requiring the agencies that manage the lands to perform an environmental review and allow for public participation and comment. NEPA is the cornerstone of protection for these lands and keeps the review process democratic.

H.R.2936, a bill that you are co-sponsoring, would cut the legs out from under NEPA. It goes too far in scaling back the review process and due diligence currently required for proposed logging projects and offers far more sole decision-making power to the Forest Service and BLM than these organizations need in order to effectively manage and care for the land. The Forest Service’s own former deputy chief, Jim Furnish, stated to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands that a collaborative approach to forest management worked well for him when he oversaw the Siuslaw National Forest in Corvallis, Oregon and he argues that when the Forest Service prioritizes public involvement over timber harvesting, stakeholders are able to agree on more moderate outcomes that protect the environment, while allowing some tree harvesting to continue.

If this bill becomes law, it would leave millions of acres of national forest and public lands vulnerable to excessive logging and make them susceptible to long-term and irreversible environmental impacts from projects that have not been properly assessed for their effects on the land and ecosystems. Further, it would set a dangerous precedent in gutting public participation in the environmental review process and make the management of our public lands less democratic and transparent.

I am firmly opposed to bill H.R.2936 because I enjoy national forests and public lands. I think it’s important to keep the environmental review process intact when considering logging projects so that the Forest Service and the BLM are able to make informed and pragmatic decisions. Further, as an American citizen and beneficiary of public lands, I want to keep the management of these lands open and democratic. I strongly urge you to abandon your support for this bill, which will devastate our public lands if it becomes law.


Issue: SIGN UP TO REVIEW PUBLIC COMMENTS ON NATIONAL MONUMENTS
Action: Volunteer to help review the public comments received on our threatened national monuments. Help hold the Trump team accountable for an honest review of the 2.7 million public comments submitted on our national monuments. Here’s how:

1. Sign up to volunteer!

2. After you sign up, you will receive an email with instructions.

a. The email will come from team@keylogeconomics.com. If you don’t receive the email within 5 minutes of signing up, please check you spam filters.

b. The email will include a link to a brief video with step-by-step instructions. You can view the video here.

c. In the email, it will include a link to the “Comment Review form from this link” – this is the form where you will submit your response. The email will also include a link to the comment for you to review.

3. Once you complete your first comment, you will receive a link to review a second and so on. You can stop and restart at any time by following the instructions in your email.


Issue: SAVE 27 NATIONAL MONUMENTS
Target: Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke (pronounced zin-key)
ActionSubmit a letter to Interior Secretary Zinke. Tell him to keep protections for our national monuments.

Key messages: Tell Secretary Zinke not to eliminate or shrink any national monuments

  1. Please do not shrink or eliminate any national monuments. I am especially concerned about Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Monuments in Utah. These monuments contain some of the most spectacular western landscapes and preserve amazing cultural artifacts. An attempt to reduce their size in any way would be an affront to the sovereignty of the tribes who have lived there for millennia.
  2. The lands and waters protected by national monuments not only protect important historic, ecologic and cultural lands they are critical to local economies especially in the West.
  3. National monuments protect some of the most scenic and sacred lands in America. An attack on any monument is a threat to all our national parks, monuments and public lands. I urge the secretary to listen to the American people and maintain protections for these special places.
  4. Mention time you have spent in any of our country’s national monuments.



Issue: SAVE BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT
Target: Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke (pronounced zin-key)
ActionSubmit a letter to Interior Secretary Zinke, or call him at 202-208-7351 (Office of the Secretary) or 202-208-6291 (Office of the Deputy Secretary). Tell him to keep protections for Bears Ears National Monument.
Key messages: Tell Secretary Zinke not to eliminate or shrink any national monuments, including Bears Ears in Utah.

  1. I am calling to leave a message for Secretary Zinke about the executive order to review national monuments, particularly Bears Ears. Please let the Secretary know I don’t want to see any change to Bears Ears and he needs to listen to the vast majority of Americans who support protecting monuments, parks and public lands.
  2. Bears Ears and other archeological sites deserve the protections given to them and any change in their boundary would rob our children of their heritage.
  3. National monuments protect some of the most scenic and sacred lands in America. An attack on any monument is a threat to all our national parks, monuments and public lands. I urge the secretary to listen to the American people and maintain protections for these special places.

BearsEars_Map


IssuePREVENTING METHANE WASTE FROM OIL & GAS DRILLING CW-Methane
Target: Senator Cory Gardner
Action:  Call Sen. Gardner: (202) 224-5941 or (970) 245-9553 or (303) 391-5777 
Key messages: Let Sen. Gardner know that ending the rule that limits methane leaks and waste is not in our best interests

  1. I’m calling to ask Sen. Gardner to oppose any attempts to roll back the Bureau of Land Management’s natural gas waste rule.
  2. I do not want oil and gas companies to waste natural gas or leak methane from operations conducted on public land. The current rule is necessary to protect clean air.
  3. The current rule is good for taxpayers. I want the public to continue to receive royalties for natural gas produced on public lands.
  4. Already since 2013, over $1.5 billion worth of natural gas has been wasted. Loosening oversight will increase waste. Keep the rule in tact.
  5. Wiping out carefully constructed standards at the whim of the oil and gas industry endangers our climate, pollutes our air, and costs American taxpayers money. Please do not vote to dismantle this important rule.

Issue: BLM ANNOUNCES OIL AND GAS DRILLING IS TOP PRIORITY
Target: The Bureau of Land Management, Secretary Ryan Zinke
Action:  Call the BLM (202) 912-7790
Key messages: Tell the BLM oil and gas development shouldn’t be prioritized over other uses on public lands like recreation and conservation.

  1. I am concerned and upset about the leaked BLM priority document that prioritizes oil and gas development over all other uses on public lands. The BLM should work for all citizens of the country not just the oil and gas industry.
  2. I spend a lot of time on BLM land with my family and don’t want to see the oil and gas industry given priority over ordinary citizens on public lands.
  3. The BLM should honor the National Environmental Policy Act. The recently leaked BLM document that directs staff to speed up or circumvent the NEPA process is extremely concerning to me. NEPA ensures that ordinary citizens have a voice and land management decisions aren’t dominated by extractive industries.

Issue: PERMANENTLY REAUTHORIZING THE LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND
Target: Sen. Cory Gardner
Action:  Call Sen. Gardner: (970) 245-9553 or (303) 391-5777 or (202) 224-5941
Key messages: Thank Senator Gardner for introducing legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which disperses millions of dollars to Colorado’s open spaces.

  1. I am calling to thank Senator Gardner for co-sponsoring legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  2. The Land and Water Conservation Fund helps conserve and create new parks, open space, and wildlife habitat, and is critically important to my community.
  3. I hope Senator Gardner will support similar legislation to protect new wilderness areas and protect National Monuments.

 

Issue: POTENTIAL OIL AND GAS DRILLING IN THE ARCTIC REFUGE
Target: Sen. Cory Gardner
Action:  Call Sen. Gardner: (970) 245-9553 or (303) 391-5777 or (202) 224-5941
Key messages: Ask Sen. Gardner to oppose any action to open the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas drilling.

  1. Hi, I’m calling to urge Senator Gardner to oppose any efforts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy development.
  2. Oil and gas drilling in the arctic would have devastating impacts on this pristine and fragile ecosystem caused by the massive infrastructure needed to extract and transport the oil. Senator Gardner should oppose any oil and gas drilling there.
  3. Please support the recently introduced bill to protect the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge as wilderness. This is one of the most important things you can do to protect public lands.
  4. Oil and gas drilling and accompanying air, water and noise pollution would threaten the existence of wildlife and harm indigenous populations that rely on this ecosystem for subsistence hunting in the Arctic. Senator Gardner should oppose any oil and gas drilling there.

Issue: SELLING OUR NATIONAL FOREST AND ALLOWING BIKES IN WILDERNESS
Target: Rep. Scott Tipton
Action:  Call Scott Tipton, 970.241.2499 (Junction), 970.259.1490 (Durango), 202.225.4761 (D.C.)
Key messages: Ask Rep. Tipton not to co-sponsor or vote for either of these bills that would undermine protections for public lands.

  1. I’m calling to ask Congressman Tipton not to co-sponsor or vote for either H.R. 232 or 1349. Both bills would undermine critical protections for forests and wilderness areas.
  2. During the campaign and more recently you have stated your support for keeping public lands public. H.R. 232 could transfer tens of millions of acres of Forest Service land to the states for logging, reducing public access and eliminating important protections.
  3. Wilderness Areas are a critical way to protect Colorado’s most iconic landscapes, H.R. 1349 would undermine these protections and betray the work of local citizens who have crafted community oriented bills like the Hermosa Creek bill you worked to pass.

Issue: TRANSFERRING USFS AND BLM LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY TO LOCAL SHERIFFS
Target: Rep. Scott Tipton
Action:  Call Scott Tipton, 970.241.2499 (Junction), 970.259.1490 (Durango), 202.225.4761 (D.C.)
Key messages: Let Rep. Tipton know that transferring law enforcement on public lands by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to local sheriff’s departments is a bad idea, and will likely result in these laws not being enforced.

  1. I’m calling to ask you to vote no on H.R. 622. Law enforcement on public lands is a specialized job and should remain in the most capable hands the Forest Service and BLM.
  2. The destruction of archaeological sites, timber theft, drug trafficking, illegal immigration, wildlife poaching and catastrophic wildfires cannot be policed by local sheriff’s departments. These crimes will most likely not be pursued if the BLM and Forest Service lost law enforcement capabilities. I’m calling to ask Mr. Tipton to vote “no” on H.R. 622.
  3. Don’t jeopardize my public lands by turning law enforcement over to local agencies. They won’t be equipped to enforce laws that protect public lands. I’m calling to ask Mr. Tipton to vote “no” on H.R. 622.

 

ARCHIVED ACTIONS


Issue: PRESERVING BLM’S PLANNING 2.0 RULE

On March 6th the Senate voted to eliminate BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule. We were disappointed to hear that the Senate attacked this democratic provision that would have allowed better opportunities for participation by the American people on their public lands.

Planning 2.0 would have provided three new and important opportunities for stakeholders to learn about and comment on land use plans as they are being developed. This means that states and counties, scientists, ranchers, hunters and anglers, miners, hikers, boaters, and all the other varied users of our public lands could more effectively participate in the planning process and help guide the way our shared lands are managed.

Planning 2.0 also included steps to ensure that important fish and wildlife habitats, such as migration corridors and undisturbed refuge areas, were identified early in the planning process so these important areas were not overlooked as the agency makes decisions about development, recreation and other public land uses.


Issue: PUBLIC LAND SALESuccess!
In early 2017, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz introduced a bill to sell 3.3 million acres of our public lands to the highest bidder. The outcry from folks like you across the country was loud and swift and as a result Congressman Chaffetz pulled his bill citing the lack of support from folks who care about public lands.


Issue: CREATING NATIONAL MONUMENTS Grand-Canyon-web
Target: Senator Cory Gardner
Action: Call Sen. Gardener: (970) 245-9553
Key messages: Thanks Sen. Gardner for his continued support of  National Monuments

  1. I’m calling to thank Sen. Gardner for NOT co-sponsoring Senate Bill 33 which would gut the Antiquities Act.
  2. I’m glad to see Mr. Gardner continue his support of the Antiquities Act. Senate Bill 33 would make it almost impossible to designate new National Monuments, which have led to the creation of numerous National Parks.
  3. Places like Colorado National Monument, the Grand Canyon, the Grand Tetons, Olympic National Park were all protected as monuments and are beloved by all Americans. It would be a disaster to change the Antiquities Act in any way that made it harder to protect special places like these.

 


Issue: PUBLIC LAND SEIZUREPublic-Lands-for-Sale-web
Target: Congressman Scott Tipton
Action: Call Rep. Tipton: (970) 241-2499
Key messages: Let Tipton know transferring public lands is unacceptable.

  1. I am calling to let Congressman Tipton know I’m very disappointed he voted for the house rules package that makes it significantly easier to sell or transfer public lands.
  2. During the campaign Mr. Tipton repeatedly said he was an advocate of public lands; his vote directly contradicts these statements and paves the way for a public lands transfer or sale.
  3. I am calling to ask that Mr. Tipton pledge never again to vote for any provision that facilitates or enables the transfer or sale of public lands.
  4. Public lands are crucial to the economy in Mr. Tipton’s District. I never want to see them sold or transferred to the states.

 

Issue: CLIMATE DENIER TO LEAD EPAPollution
Donald Trump nominated Oklahoma attorney General, Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Pruitt has sued the EPA numerous times, siding with industry over the health of our children. His lawsuits sought to enable polluters to emit more mercury, smog, and methane. Mr. Pruitt’s views on climate change, clean air and clean water are a direct threat to our children’s health and future and Colorado’s snow based economy . On February 17th the Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt as administrator of the EPA. Senator Bennet voted against his confirmation, Senator Gardner voted for his confirmation and against a livable future and climate justice.
While the vote has already happened please call Senator Cory Gardner at: (970) 245-9553 to express you disappointment in his vote against the interests of our children and Colorado.