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another attempted public land grab

Monday, August 14, 2017 - 18:30

Oregon Wild has drawn attention to HR 2936 which is co sponsored by Mr. Walden. The following is a "fact sheet" Oregon Wild published. Please let your MOC hear your opinion. John S

HR 2936 targets protected old-growth forests on public lands and guts our country’s most important environmental laws
America’s National Forests, Monuments, and other public lands are facing the most serious threats of our lifetime. The latest attack comes in the form of a new bill moving forward in Congress that would suspend many of America’s bedrock environmental laws and limit the voice of the public in management decisions. Sponsored by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Arkansas), the so-called “Resilient Federal Forests Act” (HR 2936) would prioritize aggressive logging above all other uses of our public lands and eliminate long-established protections for some of Oregon’s most pristine, wild places.
The bill seeks to do three things:
1. Dramatically increase clearcutting on Oregon’s public lands
a. The Westerman bill (also known as the “Logging Without Laws” bill) mandates that logging be prioritized over all other values and uses, such as recreation, clean water, and wildlife on millions of acres of Oregon.
b. ThebillwouldmandatebystatutethattheBureauofLandManagement(BLM)log,at a bare minimum, triple the current logging levels, a goal that cannot be met without targeting old-growth forests.
c. ManyofeasternOregon’smostimpressiveold-growthforestswouldbeplacedonthe chopping block. The current safeguards (often referred to as the “Eastside Screens”) would be scrapped by this bill.
2. Gut America’s bedrock environmental laws
a. To help the BLM and Forest Service meet aggressive logging mandates, the bill would gut our country’s most important environmental regulations by expanding the size of “categorical exclusion” zones.
b. Thesezonesallowagenciestobypasskeyrequirementsinourbedrockenvironmental laws, which means logging could take place without meaningful public input or scientific review of environmental impacts.
c. This logging loophole could apply to projects up to 45 square miles in size, an area larger than the city limits of Eugene!
3. Repeallong-establishedprotectionsforcherishedpublicplaces
a. ThebillspecificallytargetsOregonbyrepealingexistingconservationsafeguardsin places like:
- The Wild Rogue Wilderness (designated in 1978)
- The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (designated in 2000, 2017) - The Table Rock Wilderness (designated in 1984)
- And more protected areas...
b. Thebillwouldnotonlyrepealprotectionsfortheseplaces,butwouldalsorequirethat these public lands be managed for the primary purpose of logging.

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