Biden Administration's Actions Jeopardize Forest Health
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 21, 2023 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
Tags: Federal Lands
This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced several forestry-related initiatives, including a new report and field guidance on old-growth and mature forests on federal lands, a new rulemaking on climate resilience and a new reforestation report, all of which could have significant ramifications on forest management.
"It’s time for federal land agencies to stop the explaining and take some action on forest management. Fixating on defining vague and subjective terms such as old growth and mature trees is irrelevant, wastes time and does absolutely nothing to make forest more resilient. Pinyon juniper forests have their place, but they aren’t the savior of the planet. Endless studies and ciphering are not accomplishing anything significant. Our federal land managers should focus on one metric: acres treated. Until then, their actions are essentially useless to the environment and the American taxpayer." – House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)
“While America faces a yearly wildfire crisis, the Biden Administration is planning ways to further restrict forest management and wildfire prevention projects. nstead of following sound science, President Biden is once again pandering to far-left voices and pursuing a deeply misguided agenda. A scheme to inventory and ultimately restrict management practices on our public forests will only hasten their destruction. If we are serious about preventing catastrophic wildfires, we should give the Forest Service and their state and local partners the tools for proper management—not tie their hands with unwise, partisan regulations.” – Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
The U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management published a notice to define and publish an inventory of old-growth and mature forests on federal lands over the summer of 2022. The announcement this week included notice of public rulemaking on climate resilience, joint reports on old growth and mature forests and reforestation and a climate risk viewer. These reports and tools fail to address the mismanagement of federal forests and will very likely make it more difficult for active forest management to be conducted in advance of fire season. There are significant concerns that this inventory and pending rule will be used to create additional restrictions on millions of acres of old-growth or mature forests, locking them up against any kind of active management and making them even more susceptible to catastrophic wildfires.
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