Our congressional representative Scott Tipton is co-sponsoring a bill, HR 2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, which, among many of its destructive features, is aimed at increasing and streamlining timber production in national forests and other federal lands.
Through the use of something called “categorical exclusions,” the bill would prevent any public participation and sidestep any environmental analysis requirements as required under the current National Environmental Policy Act. Such exclusions would apply to timber production projects of between 10,000 and 30,000 acres of land. It would also eliminate any requirement to protect old growth forests. Another of the “categorical exclusions” will allow for clear-cutting in projects of up to 10,000 acres, under the guise of creating what is called early successional habitat for wildlife.
In a time when we already know that each acre of forest protected stops the threat of deforestation and environmental degradation, this bill proposes to take us in exactly the opposite direction. It allows for the continued degradation of our environment while denying the public its rightful voice to participate in decisions that affect all of us. It sends a chilling message that our voices don’t matter, and that careful consideration of how we use our lands doesn’t matter either.
Is this the kind of leadership we want in District 3?