Natural Resources Chair Grijalva, Agriculture Chair Scott Issue Statements on Biden Administration Emergency Actions for Giant Sequoias

Washington, D.C. House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and House Agriculture Committee Chair David Scott (D-Ga.) released the following statements on the U.S. Forest Service’s announcement of emergency actions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to protect giant sequoias. Over the past several years, wildfires have destroyed nearly one-fifth of the nation’s giant sequoias.

On the announcement, Chair Grijalva said, “Today’s emergency action is a sad reminder that climate change has pushed one of the most iconic species in the world, Giant Sequoias, which have stood for thousands of years, nearly to the brink. Fortunately, the U.S. Forest Service has the expertise and authorities—and critical funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—to restore fire-adapted conditions in these groves. As we saw with the recent Washburn Fire in Yosemite National Park, effective forest management by the National Park Service, including a history of prescribed fires, can help protect Sequoias from intense wildfires. That’s why it’s more critical than ever to keep existing protections for our national parks, national monuments, and endangered species in place.

“The climate crisis is putting our forests and public lands at risk in real time. There is no question that protecting them will require new approaches that take the quicky accelerating challenges of climate change into account, as well as consistent federal agency funding and staff support. Any public figure who talks about saving our Sequoias or any other species should, at a minimum, first be required to recognize that climate change is real, is caused by burning fossil fuels, and must be dealt with immediately and systematically. Without that pledge, anything else they may say or suggest can’t be taken seriously.”

Chair Scott said, “I strongly support the actions that the Forest Service is taking to address threats facing Iconic Sequoias on National Forest System lands. Chief Moore is to be commended for investing over $20 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (IIJA) to address 13,000 acres and 12 Sequoia groves. Treating these areas, most of which are already in the NEPA process, is the type of work we need to be doing to ensure that we are protecting special species, ensuring future generations can visit these areas, and providing jobs in rural communities.”

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