We asked Congress to repeal the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. Natural processes, including insects, disease, and wildfire, result in healthy forests because this is how forests renew themselves. Logging is not needed for forest health. Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), environmental review, through environmental impact statements and environmental assessments, provide a hard look at the impacts of logging. Under NEPA, categorical exclusions (CEs) are a category of actions that do not have a singular or cumulative impact on the environment and, for that reason, CEs significantly abridge public review. HFRA passed in 2003, allowing the Forest Service to shorten public comment periods and limit ranges of alternatives otherwise required under NEPA in order to approve projects faster. In 2014 and 2018, Congress amended HFRA to add two types of categorical exclusions to allow projects up to 3,000 acres if the intended purpose was for forest “health” or wildfire. In 2017 – 2018, we observed the Forest Service utilize this law to propose or approve 32,692 acres of logging under HFRA on the Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forests, which means that the public’s ability to participate, shape, or oppose these projects were reduced under HFRA and its amendments.
Talking points to consider for your Congressmen and Congresswomen:
* Not taking any action against HFRA is a threat to Western national forests. Restore the meaningful review of projects under NEPA by repealing HFRA and its categorical exclusions.
Also please consider sharing your message with the House Natural Resources Committee.
It’s very important that they hear from you, too. Call 202-225-6065 or via US Mail:
Chairman Raul Grijalva
House Natural Resources Committee
US House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Download the educational handout that we provided to various representatives.