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MEMBER ALERT

Friends,
Yesterday, Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona proposed a last minute amendment, to the Department of Interior appropriations bill, that would cut off funding for the IFNM. His simple-minded amendment can be viewed by clicking here.
 
Last year, as you all know, the DOI “reviewed” 27 national monuments, including the Ironwood Forest. The IFNM, due in no small part to your comments and actions, was left untouched and unchanged. 
 
This last-ditch effort by a congressional representative to assuage a couple of his supporters is inappropriate, damaging and unfounded. 
 
We need you to let your representative in congress know how much you are against this Gosar amendment. It may come up for a vote tomorrow, so time is of the essence.
 
In particular, calls to these two Arizona representatives may be most effective:
Martha McSally at 202-225-2542
Kyrsten Senima at 202-225-9888

Get Involved in Mid-Terms

The current administration has been attacking national monuments, with tacit support from the current congress. The public has spoken, and has had some impact, but our government’s denial of climate change continues, the effort to shrink two national monuments continues, the cutting of park staff and budgets continues, allowing exploration of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge continues, and the threat to the Antiquities Act itself remains. 

However, this is the year of the mid-term elections. It is an understatement to say it will be interesting to see if these elections affect the nature of congress. All 435 seats in the house and one-third of the 100 senate seats are up for a fresh evaluation by the electorate. 

As the election season heats up, there may be a number of opportunities for us all to ask questions of those running for these seats, prior to the primaries and then later, for the seats themselves. I thought it would be interesting to list some questions that one might consider asking in some of these open meetings and quorums that will be occurring around in our vicinity. 

1) Do you think the climate is warming or do you deny it? If you agree it’s warming, what will you do about it? 

2) Do you think the USA should support the Paris Climate Accord? If yes, how will you try to make this happen?

3) Do you support the continued permanent protection of all of our existing national parks, national monuments, and wildlife refuges? If yes, what will you do about it when elected? Do you favor drilling in the ANWR?

4) Do you know what the Antiquities Act of 1906 says? Do you support letting this law stand or would you favor limiting it in any way? 

5) Do you know that the Department of the Interior is cutting their budget for public lands staff and devoting more resources to support energy exploration? Do you think this is appropriate or not? If inappropriate, since congress has the final say on spending, what will you do to change Interior’s budget priorities?

6) Do you know that the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976 gives congress authority over the use and management of public lands? If yes, what would you do regarding the protection of existing national monuments? 

What would you do to protect Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante from Trumps executive order to shrink them?

7) Would you consider legislative action to create or expand any national parks, national monuments, or wildlife refuges? 

Thanks to all for your actions related to protecting the Ironwood Forest National Monument and other public lands. And thanks to you for any and all of your renewed efforts to be heard as this mid-term year unfolds. 

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Desert Bighorn Sheep Update

Arizona desert bighorn sheep thrive with help of conservationists – and hunters

Gabriel Sandler | Cronkite News
Thursday, March 22, 2018
 
MARANA – After a two-hour hike through rocky, cactus-studded terrain west of Marana – with a left knee that no longer bends – 70-year-old Joe Sheehey arrived at Silverbell Peak and spotted an Arizona desert bighorn sheep.

The ram stood at the edge of the summit, read more …

Trump Takes Action to Dismantle Two National Monuments

Our national monuments are for all Americans. But today President Trump took executive action to dismantle two national treasures: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in southern Utah. Not only will this destroy these gifts to future generations, but it could decimate local economies dependent on tourism, result in destruction of important archaeological sites and scientific resources, and put access to our public lands at risk. Attacks on our national monuments are attacks on all public lands and oceans.

Your voice is needed again to fight the largest attack on protected areas in U.S. history. Take action at monumentsforall.org/action.

Harris Hawk Release

A Harris Hawk was released after last week’s press conference which Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) hosted with local environmental advocates highlighting the threat to Ironwood Forest National Monument and other national monuments across the country.

Left to right: Representative from Liberty Wildlife, Maria Klucarova from Supervisor Bronson’s office, Verlon Jose who is the Vice Chair Tohono O’odham Nation.

You can also view a video of the press conference by clicking here.

Fact v. Fiction

Bill Thornton separates fact from fiction in a letter published July 25 in the Arizona Daily Star. Bill addresses statements made by the Congressional Western Caucus, which includes three Arizona Congressman. Read Bill’s article here. Covered in the article are highlights from the letter the Caucus sent to Interior Secretary Zinke. Bill debunks statements such as the false implication that ranchers with grazing leases have concerns over access, that off highway vehicles are prohibited and that the monument has resulted in a loss of revenue for K-12 education.

Arizona Conservationists: Save our National Monuments

The Arizona Daily Star ran an article on Sunday, June 4 called Arizona Conservationists: Save our National Monuments. The article was by William Thornton, the Friends of Ironwood Forest (FIF) Vice President and Tom Hannagan, FIF President.  The article covers the history of how the Ironwood Forest National Monument achieved its designation, how the monument land has benefited from thousands of hours of hands-on work by hundreds of volunteers and information on how to make your voice heard in protest to the threat to our national monuments. Read the article here.

Action Items to Protect Our Public Lands

The executive order of April 26, 2017 to review designations under the Antiquities Act is nothing less than a frontal assault on our national parks and monuments. This executive order is a direct threat, if not a promise, to undo over a century of progress in conservation. The Friends of Ironwood Forest will use every resource to 1) educate the public on what is at stake, 2) advocate with lawmakers to stop any attempt to weaken the Antiquities Act, 3) take the position that an attempt to reduce or eliminate any existing park or monument is unacceptable.

Please refer to the documents in the Mission & Advocacy page of our website for actions we’ve already taken. Since April 26, we have been busy developing our position statement on the executive order, working with partners to send a letter opposing the order to the Secretary of the Interior, and combining with three other Friends groups in Arizona to issue a press release on our reaction to the order.

Here are Action Items each of us can take to counter this threat:

1) Continue to check the FIF website. It will have the latest news related to the executive order, what others are doing and where we stand.
 
2) Tell everyone you know that is concerned about the conservation of our natural treasures to bookmark the FIF website and connect with FIF by sharing their email address. Any donation to help is welcome, but not required.
 
3) Contact your elected federal officials by phone or email and let them clearly know where you stand on the executive order and the threat to the Antiquities Act of 1906. The undoing of monuments or changes to the Antiquities Act will likely end up in Congress directly or after going through the court system. 
 
4) Feel free to use our materials and add your own thoughts to comment to media in your area and groups you may belong to, regarding this threat to the direction of conservation. 
 
Thank you for your support, your concern and your outrage at this horrible executive order. We will do all we can to ensure the Ironwood Forest, and all our national treasures, survive this blatant attack. 

KVOA Interviews FIF President, Tom Hannagan

On Friday, May 5 KVOA interviewed the Friends of Ironwood Forest President, Tom Hannagan, in regard to President Trump’s Executive Order to review as many as 40 national monuments. Ironwood Forest, which was given national monument status in 2000 by President Bill Clinton, is one of the national monuments under review.

To see the news story and Tom’s interview click here.