Northwest Groups Oppose HR 2936

American Bird Conservancy | Audubon Society of Corvallis | Audubon Society of Portland | Bark | Californians for Western Wilderness | Cascade Forest Conservancy | Cascadia Wildlands | Coast Range Association | Conservation Northwest | Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) | Geos Institute | Great Old Broads for Wilderness | Klamath Forest Alliance | Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center | Northcoast Environmental Center | Olympic Park Associates | Oregon Wild | Pacific Rivers | Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment | Salem Audubon Society | Soda Mountain Wilderness Council | Umpqua Watersheds, Inc. | Western Environmental Law Center | WildEarth Guardians

July 24, 2017
 

Dear Senator/Representative:

 

The undersigned forest and wildlife conservation organizations seek to alert you to the profound and far-reaching changes in H.R. 2936 (Resilient Federal Forest Act). This bill threatens to eliminate existing environmental protections for the magnificent older forests of the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere that provide clean drinking water for local communities, habitat for threatened fish and wildlife, and outdoor hunting, fishing, and recreation opportunities for the public that cherish our nation’s public lands. We urge you to please vote no on H.R. 2936.

 

If enacted, H.R. 2936 would remove important protections provided by the Endangered Species Act, National Forest Management Act, the Northwest Forest Plan and the National Environmental Policy Act. The bill would allow forest plans to be changed without public involvement or environmental review, and removes important protections for rare species in wet forests and older forest habitat in drier forests of the Pacific Northwest.

 

Additionally, H.R. 2936 would spur more road construction, which is the leading cause of sediment in streams and rivers, and degrades fish habitat while polluting municipal drinking water supplies. The Forest Service currently receives only 20% of the funding necessary to maintain the existing road system. Building more roads is economically and ecologically irresponsible.

 

A more reasonable alternative would provide for permanent protection of the region’s mature forests and watershed restoration that would benefit the recreation economy, provide clean drinking water, sequester and store carbon that otherwise would pollute the atmosphere as these forests are recognized by scientists as a globally important carbon sink.

 

Federal forests belong to all Americans so it is also essential that all of the effort and public engagement that went into the existing forest plans, and the requirements for best-science and public participation as authorized by the Endangered Species Act, National Forest Management Act and National Environmental Policy Act, be retained.

 

Monitoring reports reveal that the mature forest ecosystem is being successfully restored, water quality improved, and the region’s forests have gone from being a source of carbon pollution from logging to an important long-term carbon sink for emissions. Building on this success would help ensure the high quality of life and the outdoor economy that is driving economic growth in the region.

 

More detailed analysis of H.R. 2936 provided by The Wilderness Society, Earthjustice, Western Environmental Law Center and American Bird Conservancy, and our recommended legislative principles are attached. If you have any questions or seek more information, please contact Steve Holmer, sholmer@abcbirds.org202-888-7490, or Susan Jane Brown, brown@westernlaw.org, 503-914-1323.

 

Please support protecting older forests, clean water, outdoor recreation, and fish and wildlife habitat of the Pacific Northwest by opposing H.R. 2936 and keeping the public involved in the fate of their public lands.

Sincerely,

Steve Holmer                                            Susan Jane M. Brown
Vice President of Policy                             Staff Attorney
American Bird Conservancy                       Western Environmental Law Center

Mitch Friedman                                         Tom Uniack                                     
Executive Director                                     Executive Director
Conservation Northwest                            Washington Wild

Greg Haller                                               Thomas Wheeler
Conservation Director                               Executive Director
Pacific Rivers                                            Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC)

Dominick A. DellaSala, Ph.D                      Joseph Vaile
President, Chief Scientist                          Executive Director
Geos Institute                                           Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center

David Harrison                                         Dave Willis
Conservation Chair                                   President
Salem Audubon Society                            Soda Mountain Wilderness Council

Brenna Bell                                               Josh Laughlin
Staff Attorney                                           Executive Director
Bark                                                         Cascadia Wildlands

Chuck Willer                                            Shelley Spaulding
Executive Director                                    Olympic Park Associates
Coast Range Association

Larry Glass
Executive Director
Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment

Joseph Patrick Quinn                               Nicole Budine
Conservation Chair,                                 Cascade Forest Conservancy
Umpqua Watersheds, Inc.

Jim Fairchild                                            Kimberly Baker
Conservation Chair                                  Public Land Advocate
Audubon Society of Corvallis                   Klamath Forest Alliance

Larry Glass                                              Bob Sallinger
Executive Director                                   Executive Director                                  
Northcoast Environmental Center            Audubon Society of Portland

Doug Heiken                                           Marlies Wierenga
Conservation Director                             Pacific NW Conservation Manager
Oregon Wild                                            WildEarth Guardians

Michael J. Painter                                     Shelley Spaulding
Coordinator                                             Polly Dyer/Cascadia Broadband, the Washington chapter of
Californians for Western Wilderness         Great Old Broads for Wilderness