Save our national forests — clear-cutting is not the answer to wildfires.
This Wednesday, the House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 2936, the “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017.” Far from what the name suggests, this bill will threaten the health of our forests and the ability of the public to have a say in how our public forests are managed.
Under the guise of preventing forest fires, this bill is actually a gift to the timber industry. H.R. 2936 would promote irresponsible logging, including allowing for the clear-cutting of up to 10,000 acres for any purpose. It would threaten endangered species living in our national forests by eliminating the requirement for consultation under the Endangered Species Act prior to allowing logging. The bill would also empower the Forest Service to let logging companies ignore stream buffer rules intended to protect waterways from the impacts of logging.
The bill also seeks to cut the public out of the decision-making process for managing national forests. It would prevent the public from taking the federal government to court when it violates the law by forcing the proceedings into arbitration and stopping citizens from being able to recover attorney’s fees when they win a lawsuit.
On top of allowing harmful, irresponsible logging and taking away the public’s rights, it is not clear that this bill will actually do much to combat wildfires. Instead, proponents of H.R. 2936, like sponsor Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, who received over $100,000 in campaign contributions from the timber industry, are trying to capitalize on the disastrous fires in California by selling off our public forests to loggers.
H.R. 2936 is being voted on this Wednesday, so we are asking you to call your Representative ASAP, and ask them to stand up for our forests:
“My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of ZIP code [ZIP CODE]. I am calling to express my concern about House bill 2936, called the ‘Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017.’ This bill claims to address the problem of wildfires, but actually would promote irresponsible logging in our national forests. It also would cut the public out of the forest management process, and prevent the public from taking the federal government to court when it breaks the law. I believe that this bill is capitalizing on the tragic fires in California to help the timber industry log more of our national forests. Therefore, I urge you to oppose this deceptive bill, and instead support responsible efforts to help combat and fight wildfires. Thank you.”