Friends of Jawbone meeting April 2009

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Elder Statesman
Supporting Vendor
Apr 14, 2004
Well, the bombshell of yesterday's meeting is that hot on the heels of the new Wilderness bill that Congress just passed, Senator Feinstien has introduced a NEW bill to create a NEW NATIONAL MONUMENT in the East Mojave. It stretches east and south from Daggett [east of Barstow] to basically the California border, and will encompass over 600,000 acres!:eek: There may be press releases on this elsewhere, but this is the first I have heard about it. It is apparantly being referred to as the Mother Road Monument.

Part of the impetus for this move comes from a company her husband sits on the board of directors of, Catellus. They have been acquiring old railroad lands for quite a while, and intended to make a deal with the BLM to make them public lands. However, they object to the fact that when BLM administers lands in a 'limited use' category, they are potentially still open for development [read: alternative energy] So the move is designed to get the lands into public ownership, while making sure it is not developed.

Not surprisingly, several alternative engergy companies have already scouted some of these areas for development, and were sandbagged by this whole new twist. It will be interesting to see if the public interest in alt energy slows momentum on this one.

And in a twist sure to enfuriate the off road groups, the Johnson Valley area is encorporated into this proposed monument! Verbally, but not in writing, Feinstein spokesmen have indicated an interest in creating a designated Vehicle Recreation Area there. Presumably, that would buy-off one of the more vocal opponents to the proposed monument.

All of this is understandably beyond the scope of the Friends of Jawbone, so I will have to initiate contact with yet another group to stay abreast of this one.

Closer to home, BLM Ridgecrest announced that at the upcoming Steering Committee meeting April 23rd they will give an overview of all 25 alternative energy proposals they are currently evaluating. Slowly but surely, they are losing all manpower for other aspects of their management duties to evaluating these proposals. Reminds me of that saying "Show me the money!"

4 representatives from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department made an appearance to begin a new interface with FOJ as stakeholders. They indicated their patrol area encompasses 1700 sq miles, with 8 enforcement officers to deal with illegal off road use. They said one of their bigger 'hotspots' was near Littlerock Dam, and that a majority of violators are actually local residents.

Russ Dingman from Red Rock Canyon State Park announced that they have a problem with their sewer dump facility, so they are still offering water, but no waste disposal. Mark Aslin queried Mr. Dingman on issues of GPAA miners being cited in Last Chance Canyon, and Mr. Dingman deferred Mark's questions for a future private meeting.

Craig Peterson indicated that the latest rumblings from up north are that Kern County will lose 100-150 million in state funding under the new budget, which comes just as FOJ is leaning more on the BOS to help with funding the Jawbone Station until the new Grant moneys become available. In the meantime, Honda and Kiewit Energy companies have each donated 1000 to the FOJ to help keep the station open.

Martha Ibarra from the State OHV commission came down to give us a progress report. Public comment period has ended. Objectdions will be filed May 1st, and the agency intendes to post Intent to Warrant [fund grants] June 1st. I asked Ms. Ibarra for some help on understanding the subsequent phases of the grant process, as I intend to write a grant for the Friends of Last Chance Canyon in 2010.

FOJ has recieved a Federal RTP grant to start the expansion of the Jawbone Station. Apparantly, the check is in the mail. I am not sure, but this may be the 'match' money that the BLM pointed to in their STATE grant application. Another ironic twist there.

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