Friday, February 27, 2009

OHV Groups Say Closure of Johnson Valley is Bad Idea

After reading an excellent Feb. 24 article on about the proposed Marine Corps takeover of the popular Johnson Valley OHV area, The General was struck by the rather arrogant tone of Marine Corps spokespersons who basically stated that the OHV community had to make their case to the Marine Corps regarding the recreational and economic importance/value of Johnson Valley.

As stated in the Oct. 2008 OHV Coalition letter against the proposed expansion of the Marine Corps base into Johnson Valley, the coalition wants the Marine Corps to justify the need for expansion. In the many public meetings and associated documents, the Marine Corps has used circular logic and vagaries in an attempt to justify the expansion.

In this day of economic crisis, The General agrees with the BRC Jan. 26, 2009 letter that basically opposes the expansion. However, if the planning process goes forward, the Marines must have alternatives that include using nearby military lands for joint/integrated operations and training instead of taking the Johnson Valley OHV Area for segregated exercises.

Also, both Congress and the Department of Interior have yet to approve the land withdrawal. During this economic crisis, the public should ask Congress if this Donald Rumsfeld-era land withdrawal makes sense.

In the DOD section of the 2010 President’s Budget, there does not appear to be a great
deal of support for massive base expansion, but rather improving the military facilities that already exist.

Feb. 11, 2009 – SEMA Fights Back on Johnson Valley Closure

Feb. 24, 2009 - Article

Oct. 2008 OHV Coalition Letter

Dec. 2008 BRC Letter to BLM on the Withdrawal

Jan. 2009 BRC Letter to the Marine Corps DEIS

The General’s concern about the withdrawal of Johnson Valley should not be taken as a lack of support for our military. Rather, it should be looked upon as a member of the public holding a government agency accountable. With billions of dollars being tossed around like lettuce on a dinner salad, private citizens and user groups will have to watch government spending and keep an eye open for things like a $10,000 hammer, a $20,000 toilet seat, or an unwarranted land withdrawal.

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