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Call to action – Public comment to USDA on tackling climate crisis

On January 27, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order requiring agencies to examine how they will tackle the climate crisis. In response to this order, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA, the department in charge of the U.S. Forest Service) asked for public comment and direction on climate-smart policy directions for agriculture and forestry, wildfire, and environmental justice.

Friends of the Clearwater is preparing comments to the USDA on behalf of our members, and we plan to provide science suggesting that the best climate policies involve protecting standing trees and intact meadows, recognizing the biofuels industry (powering plants for electricity) as polluters and carbon emitters, and coexisting with necessary, natural fire while protecting life and property.

Massive public pressure can move governments, and this is your chance to exert that pressure.

Below are some suggested talking points. (All points are contained in the draft letter below.)

* Intact forests, including old growth, mature trees, and roadless areas, are more valuable protected, which means not cutting any trees in these areas.

Cayuse Creek by Katie Bilodeau

* Logging eliminates carbon sinks and further emits carbon.

* Livestock grazing on public lands degrades soil and watersheds, in addition to contributing greenhouse gases.

* The USDA should not support the biofuels industry in the generation of electricity for towns and regions.

* Logging public forests miles from communities does not reduce risk of wildfire. Creating fire-wise, 40-meter (130 feet) spaces around buildings on private property is the single most important factor in reducing the risk of wildfire loss because the risk of home ignition depends upon home ignitability.

* Many national forests evolve with wildfire, even high-severity wildfire, and high-severity wildfire is driven not by fuels, but by climate and extreme weather—which are effects of global warming.

* While there is little scientific evidence that logging can reduce wildfire risk, there is more scientific evidence that logging emits three times more carbon into the atmosphere than wildfire, so logging increases the rate of global warming that feeds into the extreme climate and weather that drives wildfires.

The deadline to submit a comment is April 29, 2021 at 8:59pm Pacific Standard Time.

There are several ways to send your comments to the USDA.

1) Mail your comments to the following: Immediate Office of Chief Economist, 1400 Independence Ave. S.W., Room 112-A, Whitten Federal Building (mail stop: 3810), Washington, DC 20250

2) Email your comments to CCPOOCE@usda.gov

3) Use our comment form below—when you submit, the comment will be submitted to CCPOOCE@usda.gov. Below is a drafted starting point. Please edit, add, and make it yours. Don’t forget to sign before you hit the “comment now” button. Please note that if you use the below comment form, browsers or browser settings can sometimes interfere with the submission. We recommend that you bcc yourself on your submission.  If you receive the email, you will know that the USDA did, too.

Thank you, for helping us pressure the government to do right by the Earth and its ecosystems, as well as doing right by living and future generations.

 

USDA comment: Tackling the climate crisis

Dear United States Department of Agriculture

**your signature**