Forest legislation stonewalls public and fails to solve wildfire funding crisis

Nov 1, 2017
Brady Smith, U.S. Forest Service, Coconino National Forest.

The Wilderness Society strongly opposes HR 2936, the “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017,” controversial legislation that passed the House of Representatives today on a floor vote of 232-188.

The focus now shifts to the Senate, where similar legislation is currently being considered in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Both the Senate and the House bills claim to address the issue of wildfire in our national forests, yet both fall short and both would significantly weaken environmental safeguards for managing America’s national forests by eliminating key aspects of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Statement from Megan Birzell, National Forest Campaign Manager with The Wilderness Society:

“The floor vote today on HR 2936, the “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017,” was a misguided vote on a reckless bill that does nothing to make our forests more resilient and healthy.  It does not adequately solve the fire funding crisis that confronts the Forest Service, nor does it address fuel reduction where it needs to occur - near homes and communities.

“Today’s vote also strikes a significant blow at the landmark environmental law of our land by greatly increasing the amount of national forest lands that can be logged without public input or judicial review.

“The Senate should reject these irresponsible forest reforms.  Instead they should pass the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (WDFA), bipartisan legislation that will actually fix the Forest Service’s broken fire funding system.  The Forest Service must have the resources it needs to work collaboratively with the public to restore our forests’ health and reduce wildfire danger to our communities.”

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Kate Mackay, Director - Wildlands Communications
602-571-2603