With wildfire season upon us, it’s time to play the annual game titled, “Let’s chop the forests down or else they are going to burn to the ground!” Like clockwork, House Republicans recently passed HR2647, The Resilient Federal Forests Act and it is now heading to the Senate. Please call your Senator today and ask them to oppose the legislation. As written, HR2647 would do the following:
- Increase logging on the national forests under the guise of improving “forest health”, reducing “hazardous fuels”, or eliminating “disease infestation.”
- Timber sales between 5,000 – 15,000 acres on the national forest, including clear-cutting, would fall under a “Categorical Exclusion” and not require any environmental review. Therefore, potential impacts to water quality and fish/wildlife habitat would not be considered.
- Genuine public involvement would be seriously curtailed or not part of the decision making process. Restoration projects (timber sales) developed through “collaboration” would be prioritized, however.
- Challenging a timber sale in a court of law would require a bond and upfront payment of government attorney fees (defense), making the constitutional right of judicial redress irrelevant and unaffordable.
- Current forest plan protections for ancient forests in eastern Oregon and eastern Washington would be lifted.
Proponents argue that public land laws and “environmentalists” regulating commercial logging on the national forests have led to more intense fires. Of course, more logging and clear-cuts do not improve forest health, nor do they benefit wildlife habitat. Science suggests that high-intensity wildfires are important for true forest resiliency, ironically!
Read the recent editorial in the New York Times.
Please call your Senator today. Tell them to oppose The Resilient Federal Forests Act and keep the timber industry from cutting down our national forests.