Breaking: House to vote on bill that would seriously undermine forest protections

A timber clearcut in Washington

By Cascade Hiker, flickr

UPDATE: On Sept. 20, the House voted to pass H.R. 1526.

Obama has threatened to veto the bill. Read our most recent H.R. 1526 update here

The House of Representatives is planning to vote Friday, Sept. 20, one of the most radical forest management bills in recent memory. 

The deceptively named "Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act" is an egregious attack on sensible and sustainable forest management.

H.R. 1526 is disastrous for forests

The bill, H.R. 1526, would effectively undermine more than 100 years of bedrock forest management laws, carving gaping loopholes in laws designed to protect our forests and our environment and would essentially lead to “logging without laws” in our national forests.

Introduced by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, the bill is an unbalanced approach to forest management that would make unsustainable logging paramount to all other uses of our national forests. 

This unbalanced legislation would lead to logging of vast amounts of our national forests. 

Logging would be mandated in many of the places Americans treasure for unrivaled outdoor recreation opportunities – including our nation’s river corridors, roadless areas, wildlands and many other areas set aside for uses such as recreation and wildlife.

Why this bill is bad for forests and communities

H.R.1526 would do anything but restore healthy forests and communities. Instead this dangerous bill would lead to: 

  • Loopholes in forest protection laws that will lead to fouled forest water, degraded habitat, and despoiled lands in wild places beloved by Americans
  • Permanently marred opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking and camping 
  • Harvesting decisions that don't take science, public opinion or changes brought about by fire, flooding or insect infestations into account
  • Curtailed environmental review processes
  • Not enough input from local communities
  • Rural communities that are dependent on revenue from logging - a failed practice that causes dramatic funding shortfalls for schools

Help us stop this bad forest bill: Tell Congress not to support H.R. 1526


Photo by Duncan Brown (Cradlehall), flickr

While we support sustainable timber production, forest restoration, as well as collaborative efforts to improve overall forest health, this unbalanced legislation would lead to logging of vast amounts of our national forests by mandating unsustainable and disastrous timber production quotas abandoned decades ago.

It would also preclude any discretion as to how timber harvests should be managed based on science, public opinion, and changes brought about by fire, flooding and insect damage.

This bill would once again make rural communities and schools dependent on national forest logging for revenue. This failed approach was rightfully abandoned over a decade ago because it caused dramatic funding shortfalls for schools. We support permanent authorization and full funding of the Secure Rural Schools Act to help our rural communities, but rural counties and schools should not be dependent on unreliable revenue from timber harvests, as would be mandated in HR 1526.

This bill would also effectively cut off any opportunity for these communities to weigh in on how their local forests are managed by eliminating or severely curtailing the environmental review process.

Ultimately, we agree that we must work together to increase the resiliency of our national forests and improve forest health overall, but this misguided approach to forest management would have disastrous effects on our forests nationwide.

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