It’s bad enough that industrial logging can occur on 250 acres of public land, and be excluded from routine environmental review. This includes limited opportunity for public involvement. The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017 (HR 2936) would drastically increase this scenario, and allow 10,000 acres of public land to be logged without the necessary environmental review or public input. It could multiply to 30,000 acres if developed by a collaborative group.
Besides making our forests less resilient, the bill would bypass U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service authority in their analysis of logging impacts to imperiled species, heavily promote salvage logging after wildfire, log old growth forests, log roadless wildlands around the country, favor logging over the protection of historical resources, and severely limit judicial review and ability of citizens to hold government accountable. Essentially, the legislation is a holiday fundraiser for the timber industry.
The legislation has passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate. This bill will bypass our public land laws, decimate our national forests and further erode our democracy. Remember that an acre is the size of a football field. Now imagine multiple 30,000-acre clear-cuts in every forest around the West.
Happy holidays, America.
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Brett Haverstick, Moscow