Thursday, July 16, 2009

Environmental group sounds off on forest bill

The Sierra Forest Legacy, an environmental group that has been fighting forest-thinning efforts under the so-called Quincy Library Group project in northeastern California, has issued an "action alert" on the forestry bill by Rep. Wally Herger that I wrote about several weeks ago.

The group asserts:

Each, year, for millennia, California's forests have burned. The rich tapestry of biologically diverse habitats that characterize the region is largely dependent upon regular fire return. Many species of plants and animals are actually threatened from lack of fire. Forests have naturally regenerated after fire for hundreds of thousands of years. Today, fires that are ecologically uncharacteristic -- due to timing, size, and intensity -- are the result of human activities and the legacy of 150 years of logging, fire suppression, and development.

Republican lawmakers are now attempting to capitalize on the public's fears concerning forest fire. Under the misleading title, "California Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention and Community Protection Act," HR 2899 is a radical attempt to force emergency by-pass surgery on California's national forests. The bill explicitly cuts bedrock national environmental laws and policies, and turns control of national forest management over to local counties.

Our national forests need a restoration prescription, not a radical scheme that will increase threats to imperiled species and habitats, driving them closer to the brink of extinction and potentially increasing fire hazards.

More here. (Hat tip: Bruce Ross)

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