Action Alert: Westerman bill, H.R. 2936 , ironically called the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017

From our friends at Forest Unlimited

Thank you for taking action.

Larry Hanson, Board President

Forest Unlimited

www.forestunlimited.org

The potentially disastrous Westerman bill, H.R. 2936 , ironically called the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, passed the House by a vote of 232 to 188 on November 2, 2017 and is now on its way to the Senate. It was sponsored by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), a licensed forester. 

So why is this disastrous – surely we all want resilient forests?  But no, this is a logging bill, that promotes logging on public lands, guts current environmental protections, undercuts the public process, and is masquerading as a bill to promote forest management and reduce fire risk.  It would allow logging in massive units of 10,000-30,000 acres with greatly reduced oversight.  

H.R. 2936 has nothing to do with fire protection.  “The top fire scientists and an ever-increasing contingent of scientists armed with over a century of fire data and decades of their own research, are spreading the word: Logging far from homes and communities destroys forests and their processes, and does nothing to protect homes or communities.” (Maya Khosla, filmmaker, “Firewise” – interviews with firefighters).  

Studies by Alex Syphard, Ph.D. of the Conservation Biology Institute, and others, have shown that while defensible space of up to 100 ft around homes can protect homes and communities from fire, massive fuel reduction and fire suppression efforts further from communities, do not.

“It makes no sense to clear-cut miles away from a community,” says Tim Ingalsbee, director of Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics and Ecology. “We just have to make homes more fire-resistant, and we know how to do that.”

The bill ignores all the new science. It will be discussed in Senate sessions very soon. Please contact your US Senator now, to oppose HR 2936 or any other pro-logging bill that would be promoted as a “compromise.”  Sen. Barrasso (R-WY) is working with some others to attempt this.  Urge your Senators to strongly oppose any bills that would in any way further weaken environmental laws to promote logging on our federal public lands. 

Please call your Senator NOW asking her to oppose the Westerman Bill. 

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris

San Francisco:  (415) 355 9041

Sacramento:   (916) 448 2787

Washington D.C.:  (202)224 3553   

Please phone as a priority, but if for some reason you can’t, then try emailing via https://www.harris.senate.gov/content/contact-senator

 

Senator Dianne Feinstein

San Francisco: (415) 393-0707 

Washington D.C.: (202) 224-3841

Please phone as a priority, but if for some reason you can’t, then try emailing via

https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me

According to the League of Conservation voters, H.R. 2936 if passed “would severely undermine bedrock environmental laws and ultimately harm, rather than protect, our national forests. This bill would allow for environmentally devastating projects without the necessary environmental checks required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), dramatically expanding exclusions ideally meant only for non-controversial forest management practices. Among several environmentally harmful provisions, the bill includes language that would allow for harmful logging and road building in currently protected areas and even a section that would effectively repeal the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument’s protections under the Antiquities Act.

“By promoting commercial logging on a massive scale at the expense of sound environmental review and exempting huge projects without adequate safeguards, this bill represents another attempt by the radical leadership in Congress to meddle in the science-based decision making process that should be made by experts at the U.S. Forest Service and other land management agencies under existing law. Furthermore, by reducing public participation through the NEPA process, waiving the ability for citizens to challenge harmful logging projects in court, and limiting the rights of citizens to recover attorneys’ fees when they prevail in court, this bill curtails the public’s ability to engage in our forest management process.

“The goal of our nation’s forest management should be to make forests more resilient to the impacts of climate change, drought, and excessive wildfires, but this bill does nothing to achieve those goals.” https://www.lcv.org/article/re-oppose-h-r-2936-attack-forests-environmental-protections-public-input/

For further information see:

http://trib.com/opinion/columns/wuerthner-the-westerman-bill-is-a-trojan-horse/article_42f787cf-65f5-5e5b-a2ff-d8cc97add408.html

http://www.wildcalifornia.org/category/blog/publiclands/

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2017/national-forests-11-01-2017.php

http://www.sierraclub.org/mother-lode/yahi/bad-public-land-bills

http://bark-out.org/content/northwest-groups-oppose-hr-2936

https://earthjustice.org/news/press/2017/earthjustice-statement-on-westerman-forestry-bill?s_subsrc=redirect

Questions? Contact: Maya Khosla  Email: creekshade@gmail.com

https://boomcalifornia.com/2017/10/20/heating-up-california-spotted-owls-and-wildfire/

KRCB TV Sonoma fire update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNGyX3Pxt9w

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