New BLM Program to Survey Land From The Sky –
Only 60 percent of the 102 million federal acres of land promised to Alaska at statehood have been surveyed such that the parcels can be legally transferred.
Alaska became a state in 1959.
In its quest to look after state interests, the BLM now wants to employ a spiffy new GPS-based method called Direct Point Positioning Survey (DPPS) so it can catch up on the land-transfer process. BLM’s Director Neal Kornze speculates the remaining land can be transferred to the State of Alaska in half the time over traditional survey methods, and at a savings of millions of taxpayer dollars.
No matter that the accuracy of DPPS has been questioned by the National Society of Professional Surveyors, that Alaska has spotty satellite coverage, or that DPPS fails to protect property rights by not facilitating the placement of physical monuments. Violation of a 60-year-old Memorandum of Agreement with the State of Alaska? No problem for an Obama BLM.
Beyond the obvious issues of character, it would seem, lie problems with archiving land records in the cloud, reliance upon satellites over ground-mapping methods, and departure from accepted, difficult-to-implement land-based programs for protecting human systems.
If successful, BLM plans to impose the DDPS program on other states. KNRC plans to review, monitor and report on the details of this initiative as it unfolds.
House Passes Midnight Rules Legislation; Obama Moves –
The members of the 115th Congress are not letting any grass grow under their feet as they pass legislation for a collective rollback of last-minute regulations finalized by the Obama Administration.
As the U.S. House of Representatives was voting to pass the “Midnight Rules Relief Act” (MRRA), the first moving van was photographed parked at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The MRRA was passed mostly along party lines of 238 to 184, with four Democrats crossing the aisle in support. MRRA authorizes Congress — with one single vote — to collectively overturn multiple regulations finalized in the waning hours of the Obama administration.
Nothing like efficiency from a businessman-turned-president-elect nor a responsive Congress.
Meanwhile, the House is moving closer to passing the “Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act” (REINS Act), which requires Congressional approval of measures with an estimated annual economic impact of more than $100 million. At first glance, REINS appears already on the books, codified as the Unfunded Mandates Act (UFMA) 2 USC §1501.
If it’s efficiency we are after, it’s worth checking to see if UFMA has the statutory oomph needed to send federal agencies packing to the Congress for permission to place rules on the American public. Wait a minute . . . Congress already has that power.
Trump Administration [Already] Asking Difficult Questions –
President-elect Donald Trump has not even taken the oath of office, yet his transition team is losing no time alerting administrative agencies as to what polices they may soon expect.
In a polite, 74 Question List to the Department of Energy, the transition team has begun revealing the nature of decisions the Administration intends to make.
Specific questions include personnel information as to who may have helped advance the Obama administration’s climate policies, requests surrounding the nature of government loans for energy projects, fossil and renewable energy cost-comparison requests and even questions about the defunct, 25-year-old Yucca Mountain nuclear repository project.
KNRC staff will be analyzing the type and nature of the transition team requests to determine if opportunities exist for local government to provide similar requests to the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and other agencies.