"Forest Destruction Act" Slashes Its Way through the House
HR 1526 waives federal environmental laws
WASHINGTON (July 31, 2013) – In another swing of the ax to the protection of our nation’s forests, the House Natural Resources Committee today approved H.R. 1526, a bill introduced by the panel’s Chairman Doc Hastings. The so-called “Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act”would dramatically increase timber harvest on national forests, setting mandatory logging volumes achieved through the short circuiting of multiple landmark environmental laws. Embedded within H.R. 1526 is a proposal by Reps. DeFazio, Walden and Schrader which would turn over management of an undisclosed number of acres of federal forests in Oregon, including those known as O&C lands, to a non-federal timber trust for rampant and ecologically harmful logging.
Statement by Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife:
“This bill should really be called the ‘Forest Destruction Act.’ The legislation takes an ax to three decades-worth of federal environmental laws. It would severely limit, and in some cases even eliminate, review under the National Environmental Policy Act and compliance with the Endangered Species Act, arbitrarily transforming public forest lands into sawdust with no regard for impacts on wildlife and other forest values. H.R. 1526 takes us back to a time when stripping our natural resources for increased revenue in the short-term pushed our forests and our rural counties into ruin—a far cry from true healthy forests or healthy communities.
“Of particular concern is the conversion to industrial forestry of over 600,000 acres of critical habitat for threatened species on the O&C lands, including 44 percent of the O&C’s designated habitat for the northern spotted owl. Waiving federal environmental laws and ignoring all of the forest’s other values – like recreation, clean water and wildlife habitat – with the privatization of public lands for commercial timber production, H.R. 1526 rips off American taxpayers and cuts right into the old-growth core of our nation’s forests.”
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.organd follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.