CALL Gov. Newsom TODAY! Urge Him to Use Housing Funds to Help Fire-Affected Communities Rather than Log Wildlife Habitat in the Rim Fire.

Scientists, including Chad Hanson, surveying an area of ecologically important post-fire habitat in the Rim Fire which is under threat from HUD funded biomass logging.
May 2018. Image by Rachel Fazio.

California received $70 million dollars in funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that was supposed to help communities affected by wildfire. Instead of using this money to assist people in communities where many homes were lost during recent fires (like Paradise or Santa Rosa), California is planning to use these funds to subsidizing destructive logging in a remote area of National Forest that burned in the 2013 Rim Fire.

Area of Rim Fire that was post-fire logged in June 2014.
Image taken June 2018 by Rachel Fazio

Spending millions of dollars on the so-called “Rim Fire Restoration Project” would not only deprive at-risk communities of funds they need to become fire-safe, it would also clearcut and destroy exceptional wildlife habitat that is home to imperiled Black-backed Woodpeckers (which depend on fire-killed trees) and California Spotted Owls. This HUD subsidized logging plan, which proposes to cut and haul these wildlife-rich burned forests off of our public forestlands and incinerate them in power facilities many miles away, would add to our climate crisis because incinerating trees for biomass energy produces 45% more greenhouse gases per kilowatt produced compared to burning coal.

Governor Newsom should step-in and change direction. This flawed project should be withdrawn and the $70 million in HUD funds should be redirected to help fire-impacted communities, such as Paradise, recover and rebuild in fire-safe ways. Research shows that the most effective way to protect homes from inevitable wildland fires is through retrofits such as fire-resistant roofing and placing fine-mesh screens over vents to repel the wind-borne embers that are responsible for most home ignitions during wildfires. This is a more appropriate and effective use of the HUD funds, which will benefit communities and the environment instead of failing both.

Action Needed: Please call Governor Newsom’s public comment line at 916-445-2841 (press “6” to speak to a secretary) and urge him to “Please withdraw the Rim fire Clearcuts-for-Kilowatts scheme”, and instead use the $70 million HUD disaster-relief grant to help the towns like Paradise recover from the Camp fire. Please ask friends and family members to call and let the governor know that logging the forest won’t protect our communities!