We need your help today to stop another devastating bill that takes aim at our national forests. The House of Representatives is voting on H.R. 2936, the so-called “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017,” this morning, Alaska time. This bill, introduced in June by Representative Bruce Westerman, sets a dangerous precedent and threatens the health of all our national forests by strangling the public’s ability to influence management of these valuable public lands, completely failing to address the real problem with wildfire funding in our national forests: the growing impact of wildfire suppression on the Forest Service's annual budget.
The GOP is trying to give our forests away to industry under the guise of preventing forest fires. Not only would this bill not help prevent forest fires, but it fails to fix wildfire funding, leaving the Forest Service spending over half of its budget on wildfire suppression, an unsustainable approach that leaves little for basic functions.
While forest fires are relatively rare on the Tongass, key elements of this proposed legislation amount to an attack on our public lands and must be stopped for the good of ALL national forests.
If enacted, this bill would cut the public out of the decision-making process for managing national forests by creating multiple sweeping waivers for informed public review of major federal actions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It would eliminate citizen opportunities to hold agencies accountable to the law by forcing citizens into an industry-biased “binding” arbitration process that completely eliminates the opportunity for federal court review and stops citizens from recovering attorney’s fees when they win.
H.R. 2936 promotes logging above all other uses of our national forests and makes millions of currently protected roadless acres vulnerable to harmful road building and logging. It threatens salmon, goshawks, wolves, and bears that depend on those national forests by eliminating the interagency collaboration currently required prior to logging, which is integral to enforcement of the Endangered Species Act. The bill would also let logging companies ignore stream buffer rules intended to protect waterways from the impacts of logging.
This bill is not about protecting local communities but making clearcut logging the dominant use of our national forests. In a time when the West is suffering from devastating fires, this is the time to make sustainable changes that protect our forests, homes, and communities, not promote Westerman’s unsustainable policies.
Call Representative Don Young’s office this morning and tell him to protect our forests by voting no on H.R. 2936.
Washington DC: (202) 225-5765
Anchorage: (907) 271-5978