The Laudable Pursuit: The Missing Ingredient in BCRA: Humility

Senator Mike Lee
2017-06-30 12:44:56
June 30, 2017 "to elevate the condition of men--to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance, in the race of life." --Abraham Lincoln Chairman's Note: Congress Can Better Prevent Forest Fires Anyone who has spent time in the forested alpine highlands that surround Brian Head, Utah knows they are one of the state's many hidden treasures. People from all over the country come to this corner of Dixie National Forest to enjoy its natural beauty and utilize its resources. It has been devastating to watch a catastrophic wildfire burning across these mountains. I am grateful for the firefighters who are working around the clock in dangerous and difficult conditions. They deserve our support and prayers. In Utah, the only thing spreading faster than the fire is the wave of public opinion about it. Utahns are discussing who is to blame, how we got here, and what we can do to prevent more fires like this from starting in the future. This is an important discussion. As beautiful as the Dixie National Forest is, those who had observed it over the last few decades knew something was wrong. We knew that a catastrophic fire wasn't a question of if-it was a question of when. Like so many Western fires, this one was started by an individual who thought he was acting safely. This is a sobering reminder that wildfires can be started by anyone, anywhere. It's also worth pointing out that if this person hadn't started the fire, a fire of similar magnitude was likely to occur at a future date. For this reason, those who played a role in managing this forest share responsibility for this fire. Like many of Utah's forests, Dixie National Forest faces many threats besides fire, including beetle infestations and drought. The prolonged decimation of the timber industry in Utah has taken an important fire-management tool away from forest managers. Resistance to controlled burns has created dangerous levels of fuel build-up. Additionally, protracted lawsuits by activist environmental groups often tie the hands of local land managers and prevent them from taking the timely actions necessary to sustain forest health. It's easy to point fingers while fires rage, but I believe Congress deserves the most blame for the Brian Head Fire. After all, it is Congress that is responsible for passing laws that have resulted in the basket-case management of our national forests. As a member of Congress, I plan to do whatever I can to remedy the situation that is turning our forests into tinder boxes. It's easy to point fingers while fires rage, but I believe Congress deserves the most blame for the Brian Head Fire. After all, it is Congress that is responsible for passing laws that have resulted in the basket-case management of our national forests. Last Congress, I introduced the Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act to expedite wildfire prevention projects in at-risk forests and wildlife habitats. The bill would give federal land managers firm deadlines for reviewing and approving projects and empower them to use proven wildfire prevention strategies like livestock grazing and timber harvesting. I plan to reintroduce a strengthened version of this bill that will empower state and local officials to prevent nearby forests from reaching the point of catastrophe. Any solution that restores our forests to good health must empower those who live closest to them. If this fire has taught us anything, it is that we don't have time to lose. Too many forests across the country are just as vulnerable as Dixie. While Brian Head is the largest fire in the country, other fires are already burning across the West and it is still early in the fire season. It is urgent that Congress fix the problem it created. As the chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forest, and Mining, I plan to work with my colleagues to pass this reform. I will also be reaching out to local officials, land managers, and the people of Utah to learn how we can better steward the environment. Challenging Overly Broad Surveillance Authorities Click here to watch video Issue in Focus: Let the States Lead on Drone Regulation Last week, drone industry executives told President Trump they needed more regulation, not less, before they could expand further - a man-bites-dog story if ever there was one. But the answer isn't to keep waiting on Washington. It's to make use of one of our nation's founding principles: federalism. For now, the drone industry is grounded because the Federal Aviation Agency hasn't written guidelines for drones that fly beyond the operator's line of sight. Rules are also absent for drone flights at night. It will take years for this bureaucratic behemoth to pass through all the procedural hoops and hurdles necessary to produce a comprehensive regulatory scheme. The agency itself predicts drones won't be fully integrated into our nation's airspace until 2025. But our rivals aren't waiting. The Chinese-based manufacturer DJI is dominating the drone market, winning 50 percent of sales in North America alone. The only North American market not dominated by DJI is for drones priced under $500, which are mostly toys. Meanwhile, drones are making home deliveries in Japan. They're providing medical supplies in Rwanda. And they're tracking poachers in South Africa. All around the world, drones are changing the economy. American communities and businesses could use drones for plenty of tasks, too, if only they were allowed. But right now Americans don't have the regulatory certainty they need to hire workers and turn their ideas into products. The drone industry will be stuck on the launch pad until this is fixed. That's why we're introducing a bill with our Democratic colleagues Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT) to break the regulatory logjam and return power to states and local communities. The bill, titled the Drone Federalism Act, would recognize the right of states and local communities to govern drones within a specified zone of authority, the airspace under 200 feet. The FAA would still be responsible for the overall safety of the skies. But at this low altitude, state and local governments would be able to set guidelines for the "reasonable time, manner, and place" of drone flights. The bill also preserves the rights of every American by reaffirming the long held doctrine that owners control the immediate 200 feet of airspace above their property. The FAA would be prevented from authorizing the operation of an unmanned aircraft in the immediate reaches of airspace above a property without permission of the owner. Hobbyists would also be required so secure permission from the owner before flying a drone within 200 feet above a private held property. This bill is a logical extension of one of our founding principles, federalism. Below 200 feet, drones are almost exclusively a matter of local, not federal, concern. They affect pedestrian byways, community events, and the activities of first responders. They could also prove to be handy tools for state and local law enforcement, firefighting, disaster management, and environmental preservation. But until now, states and local communities have been shut out of the conversation. Not a single state, regional, or tribal authority serves on the 37-member Drone Advisory Committee to the FAA. Only one member, Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco, represents a local government. Yet the committee is considering pre-empting local regulations by assuming full jurisdiction over drone use, regardless of height. Such a move would stall the growth of the American drone industry. Our bill would stop this power grab in its tracks. It would give state and local authorities the clarity and authority they need to develop rules for local drone use. It would give the drone industry the certainty to invest, experiment, and expand. And it would give our economy a boost. Under the Drone Federalism Act, the sky's the limit for this promising new technology. We hope Congress will begin debate and pass it as soon as possible. This article first appeared in The Washington Times and was co-written by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). Washington, D.C. Office 361A Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C., 20510 Phone: 202.224.5444 Fax: 202.228.1168 Salt Lake City Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building 125 South State, Suite 4225 Salt Lake City, UT 84138 Phone: 801.524.5933 Fax: 801.524.5730 St. George Office of Senator Michael S. Lee 285 West Tabernacle, Suite 200 St. George, UT 84770 Phone: 435.628.5514 SaveSaveSave SaveSave Save This message was intended for: xxx You were added to the system October 2, 2015. For more information please follow the URL below: newsletter.senate.gov/p/iWUiPSjE9N Follow the URL below to update your preferences or opt-out: newsletter.senate.gov/p/oWUiPSjE9N To unsubscribe from future mailings, send an email to mailto:xxx?Subject=Unsubscribe&body=Please%20remove%20me%20from%20further%20mailings with "Unsubscribe" as the subject line.
June 30, 2017

"to elevate the condition of men--to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance, in the race of life." --Abraham Lincoln

Chairman's Note: Congress Can Better Prevent Forest Fires

Anyone who has spent time in the forested alpine highlands that surround Brian Head, Utah knows they are one of the state’s many hidden treasures. People from all over the country come to this corner of Dixie National Forest to enjoy its natural beauty and utilize its resources.
 
It has been devastating to watch a catastrophic wildfire burning across these mountains. I am grateful for the firefighters who are working around the clock in dangerous and difficult conditions. They deserve our support and prayers.
 
In Utah, the only thing spreading faster than the fire is the wave of public opinion about it. Utahns are discussing who is to blame, how we got here, and what we can do to prevent more fires like this from starting in the future. This is an important discussion.
 
As beautiful as the Dixie National Forest is, those who had observed it over the last few decades knew something was wrong. We knew that a catastrophic fire wasn’t a question of if—it was a question of when.
 
Like so many Western fires, this one was started by an individual who thought he was acting safely. This is a sobering reminder that wildfires can be started by anyone, anywhere. It’s also worth pointing out that if this person hadn’t started the fire, a fire of similar magnitude was likely to occur at a future date.
 
For this reason, those who played a role in managing this forest share responsibility for this fire. Like many of Utah’s forests, Dixie National Forest faces many threats besides fire, including beetle infestations and drought. The prolonged decimation of the timber industry in Utah has taken an important fire-management tool away from forest managers. Resistance to controlled burns has created dangerous levels of fuel build-up. Additionally, protracted lawsuits by activist environmental groups often tie the hands of local land managers and prevent them from taking the timely actions necessary to sustain forest health.
 
It’s easy to point fingers while fires rage, but I believe Congress deserves the most blame for the Brian Head Fire. After all, it is Congress that is responsible for passing laws that have resulted in the basket-case management of our national forests. As a member of Congress, I plan to do whatever I can to remedy the situation that is turning our forests into tinder boxes.

It’s easy to point fingers while fires rage, but I believe Congress deserves the most blame for the Brian Head Fire. After all, it is Congress that is responsible for passing laws that have resulted in the basket-case management of our national forests.

Last Congress, I introduced the Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act to expedite wildfire prevention projects in at-risk forests and wildlife habitats. The bill would give federal land managers firm deadlines for reviewing and approving projects and empower them to use proven wildfire prevention strategies like livestock grazing and timber harvesting.
 
I plan to reintroduce a strengthened version of this bill that will empower state and local officials to prevent nearby forests from reaching the point of catastrophe. Any solution that restores our forests to good health must empower those who live closest to them.
 
If this fire has taught us anything, it is that we don’t have time to lose. Too many forests across the country are just as vulnerable as Dixie. While Brian Head is the largest fire in the country, other fires are already burning across the West and it is still early in the fire season.
 
It is urgent that Congress fix the problem it created. As the chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forest, and Mining, I plan to work with my colleagues to pass this reform. I will also be reaching out to local officials, land managers, and the people of Utah to learn how we can better steward the environment.

Challenging"Overly Broad Surveillance Authorities

Click here to watch video

Issue in Focus: Let the States Lead on Drone Regulation

Last week, drone industry executives told President Trump they needed more regulation, not less, before they could expand further - a man-bites-dog story if ever there was one. But the answer isn’t to keep waiting on Washington. It’s to make use of one of our nation’s founding principles: federalism.
 
For now, the drone industry is grounded because the Federal Aviation Agency hasn’t written guidelines for drones that fly beyond the operator’s line of sight. Rules are also absent for drone flights at night. It will take years for this bureaucratic behemoth to pass through all the procedural hoops and hurdles necessary to produce a comprehensive regulatory scheme. The agency itself predicts drones won’t be fully integrated into our nation’s airspace until 2025.
 
But our rivals aren’t waiting. The Chinese-based manufacturer DJI is dominating the drone market, winning 50 percent of sales in North America alone. The only North American market not dominated by DJI is for drones priced under $500, which are mostly toys. Meanwhile, drones are making home deliveries in Japan. They’re providing medical supplies in Rwanda. And they’re tracking poachers in South Africa. All around the world, drones are changing the economy.
 
American communities and businesses could use drones for plenty of tasks, too, if only they were allowed. But right now Americans don’t have the regulatory certainty they need to hire workers and turn their ideas into products. The drone industry will be stuck on the launch pad until this is fixed.
 
That’s why we’re introducing a bill with our Democratic colleagues Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT) to break the regulatory logjam and return power to states and local communities.
 
The bill, titled the Drone Federalism Act, would recognize the right of states and local communities to govern drones within a specified zone of authority, the airspace under 200 feet. The FAA would still be responsible for the overall safety of the skies. But at this low altitude, state and local governments would be able to set guidelines for the “reasonable time, manner, and place” of drone flights.
 
The bill also preserves the rights of every American by reaffirming the long held doctrine that owners control the immediate 200 feet of airspace above their property. The FAA would be prevented from authorizing the operation of an unmanned aircraft in the immediate reaches of airspace above a property without permission of the owner. Hobbyists would also be required so secure permission from the owner before flying a drone within 200 feet above a private held property.
 
This bill is a logical extension of one of our founding principles, federalism. Below 200 feet, drones are almost exclusively a matter of local, not federal, concern. They affect pedestrian byways, community events, and the activities of first responders. They could also prove to be handy tools for state and local law enforcement, firefighting, disaster management, and environmental preservation.
 
But until now, states and local communities have been shut out of the conversation. Not a single state, regional, or tribal authority serves on the 37-member Drone Advisory Committee to the FAA. Only one member, Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco, represents a local government. Yet the committee is considering pre-empting local regulations by assuming full jurisdiction over drone use, regardless of height. Such a move would stall the growth of the American drone industry.
 
Our bill would stop this power grab in its tracks. It would give state and local authorities the clarity and authority they need to develop rules for local drone use. It would give the drone industry the certainty to invest, experiment, and expand. And it would give our economy a boost.
 
Under the Drone Federalism Act, the sky’s the limit for this promising new technology. We hope Congress will begin debate and pass it as soon as possible.
 
This article first appeared in The Washington Times and was co-written by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR).

Washington, D.C. Office
361A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C., 20510
Phone: 202.224.5444
Fax: 202.228.1168
Salt Lake City
Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building
125 South State, Suite 4225
Salt Lake City, UT 84138
Phone: 801.524.5933
Fax: 801.524.5730
St. George
Office of Senator Michael S. Lee
285 West Tabernacle, Suite 200
St. George, UT 84770
Phone: 435.628.5514



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