On Sunday, July 20, I had the pleasure of taking part in a small community gathering in Darrington, Washington, celebrating closure on an issue near and dear to the hearts of many: the protection of the historic Green Mountain Lookout.
By utilizing an expedited review process allowed under the National Environmental Policy Act called a categorical exclusion, the Forest Service can now speed up approvals for projects that restore aquatic health.
Yet, here we are, with people and the government unable to stop furloughs, job losses, and lower revenue to keep the government functioning. Our public lands have certainly not been spared from this indiscriminate budget ax.
New bills from Reps. Labrador (ID), Tipton (CO), Gosar (Ariz.), and the Chairman of the committee, Rep. Doc Hastings (Wash.) would force thousands, if not millions, of acres of forest to be all but handed over to timber companies, at the expense of the taxpayer.
The biggest issue facing the environmental community on the fiscal cliff is that the spending cuts will be devastating for environmental priorities and programs. The Wilderness Society is working to avoid these cuts.