An Agreement for County Officials to have a better working relationship with the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management faced a wave of opposition as the item was introduced at the Board of Supervisors Meeting Tuesday. The Memorandum of Agreement was initiated by elected county supervisors representing their respective counties at the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) and the Regional Council of Rural Counties (RCRC). Counties, beliving more local voice is needed in the planning and decision making process regarding federal lands in their communities, see the agreement as a tool for counties to gain leverage in making Forest and BLM field offices more responsive to community needs. Supervisor Nate Beason who represents Nevada County at CSAC says a good example of how the MOA could have useful was when the US Forest Service was developing a trails plan.
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Over a dozen people came forward at public hearing opposing theMOA, some saying it was a direct threat to the sovereignty of Nevada County, and would strip local authority and give more power to the Federal Government. George Rebane said the document could jeopardize federal land in Nevada County that is an important element of tourism and the local economy. Judi Caler of Nevada City said the coordination process between federal and county officials that’s been in place for 35 years is still working.
Kirk Pharis cautioned supervisors not to rush this through.
Following the public hearing and board discussion Supervisor Beason said “It ‘s clear the public doesn’t want us to do it, so why do it, ” and he encouraged those who displayed such exuberance at the meeting to express their views at the Federal level .
Supervisors ended the discussion by taking no action on the MOA.