CALLS NEEDED TO SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN (CA), AND OTHERS To Stop these logging bills and avoid any compromises that will cost tax payers millions of dollars and reduce biodiversity and resilience in our Federal Public Forests!
Over the summer of 2015, Republicans passed a bill, HR 2647, through the House that would suspend or severely weaken federal environmental laws in order to dramatically increase commercial logging levels on U.S. National Forests, including clearcutting of ecologically-rich post-fire habitat, clearcutting of mature and old forests, and forest degradation through deceptively termed “mechanical thinning” logging projects. The bill is now under consideration in the Senate.
Meanwhile, some western Republican Senators have introduced S. 1691, which would also suspend or weaken environmental laws, eliminating most environmental analysis of impacts of logging projects. S. 1691 would also mandate an enormous increase in clearcutting of post-fire habitat and mature/old forest on National Forests. Further, both HR 2647 and S 1691 would largely eliminate participation by the general public in forest management decisions on National Forests by essentially transferring power and authority to rural “collaborative groups”, which are dominated by local timber industry and development interests, and which effectively exclude participation from citizens, in urban and suburban areas, who have an equal stake in decisions on their National Forests, but who cannot regularly travel long distances to collaborative meetings in rural forest regions.
Anti-environmental Republicans, joined by some Democrats from logging regions, are attempting to use the public’s fear and misunderstanding of wildland fire to mount one of the most extreme attacks ever on our National Forests. Their views are outdated and scientifically inaccurate! The evidence that has been gathered over the past decade shows that (a) large mixed-intensity fires are ecologically beneficial, (b) we now have far less mixed-intensity fire in forests than we had historically, and (c) patches of high-intensity fire create “snag forest habitat”, which supports levels of native species richness and wildlife abundance that rival or exceed those of old-growth forest. The species that depend on snag forest for survival and to sustain their populations are already threatened by current levels of fire suppression, post-fire logging, and mechanical “thinning” logging projects. Many of them have now become rare, and/or are declining. Dispensing with environmental review, oversight by the Courts, and doubling or tripling logging levels will only mean further threats to these species, and an overall reduction in native biodiversity in both green and burned forests. In addition, such legislation will cost taxpayers many millions, if not billions of dollars, perpetuates the myth that fire is not a natural process, and will divert resources away from true home protection – when homes are the only things that actually need to be protected from fire.
It is particularly important to call Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who has been the architect of some bad compromises on Republican-led logging bills in the past. Don’t let Congressional Members indebted to the timber industry use fear of fire to leverage support from a few western Democrats, like Sen. Feinstein, for a “compromise” version of these logging bills. The end result will be harm to native biodiversity and increased costs to taxpayers while a few towns and mills in the west enjoy a couple of subsidized boom years. Sen. Feinstein’s office has made some troubling statements recently, and she urgently needs to hear from constituents that we want our National Forests protected, not damaged by more commercial logging. What you can do:
- CALL YOUR US SENATORS and urge them to oppose HR 2647 and S 1691, and stand firm against any “compromise” version of these bills. Urge them to instead protect our national forests and other public lands from logging. Please call California Senators Dianne Feinstein (at 202-224-3841 or at a local office listed below), and Barbara Boxer (at 202-224-3553). If you are in other states, your U.S. Senators need to hear from you too. The Capitol Switchboard number is: 202-224-3121. Ask friends and family to call too.
Senator Feinstein Local Offices
One Post Street, Suite 2450
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: (415) 393-0707
Fax: (415) 393-0710
The following counties are served by the San Francisco office: Alameda, Butte, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, Yuba.
11111 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 915
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: (310) 914-7300
Fax: (310) 914-7318
The following counties are served by the Los Angeles office: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Ventura.
880 Front Street, Suite 4236
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 231-9712
Fax: (619) 231-1108
The following counties are served by the San Diego office: Imperial, San Diego.
2500 Tulare Street, Suite 4290
Fresno, CA 93721
Phone: (559) 485-7430
Fax: (559) 485-9689
The following counties are served by the Fresno office: Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne.
- WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR OR A GUEST EDITORIAL to your local newspapers (submission instructions can be found on your paper’s website), and ask friends to write too. Check out JMP Letters to the Editor (here and here) and Editorials for some ideas!
For more information, please contact Chad Hanson, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org) of the John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute.