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Time for Congressional Oversight of the Forest Service

We are asking for some oversight on the Forest Service, particularly with how it is administering the roadless rules and accounting for its hazardous fuels reduction projects under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA), which both result in logging our national forests. From the Forest Service’s preliminary accounting 40,000 – 55,000 acres of roadless areas have been logged in the past decade. Congress needs to investigate why and how the Forest Service has managed to log so much under the National Roadless Rule and the Idaho Roadless Rule.

Secondly, we think Congress should investigate the acreage that the Forest Service has “treated” under HFRA. Congress capped authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects authorized under HFRA at 20 million acres. The Forest Service has self-reported that it has already completed 43 million acres of “hazardous fuel reduction” and “landscape restoration” between 2001 – 2017. When we submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Forest Service about hazardous fuel reduction conducted under HFRA, the Forest Service’s Washington Office reported to us that it had completed only 2.4 million acres of hazardous fuels reduction projects under HFRA from 2003 – 2018, but could not identify the projects that would account for 45 percent of the acreage the Forest Service reported completing. But, the Forest Service had reported to Congress that that it had treated approximately 3.7 million acres of hazardous fuel reduction projects between the fiscal years 2012 – 2014. Something does not add up, and we think Congress should dig into this math.

Talking points to consider for your Congressman or Congresswoman:

* Investigate the roadless logging that the Forest Service has approved under the roadless rules that govern our nation’s roadless areas.

* Investigate how much “hazardous fuels reduction” that the Forest Service has done, both as projects approved solely under review by the National Environmental Policy Act and projects authorized under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act.

* From each management unit in each region of the Forest Service, Congress should request monitoring results from a representative sample of projects and appoint scientist to review those results.

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