For Immediate Release
Susan Jane Brown, 503-914-1323, email@example.com
House Logging Bill (HR 2936) Guts Federal Environmental Laws, Literally Privatizes Public Lands, Creates Logging Free-for-All
TAOS, N.M. - Tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representatives begins its consideration of HR 2936, known as the Westerman Bill after its author, Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR). The bill contains a cornucopia of loopholes, exemptions and categorical exclusions for environmental, judicial, and public review; and, incredibly, gives away public lands to adjacent private landowners.
- Requires the Bureau of Land Management to offer for sale at least 500 million board feet of timber from the Oregon and California lands in southern Oregon, even when the maximum sustainable yield is much lower
- Gives private landowners with easements over public land full ownership of that land
- Allows logging projects under 10,000 acres to avoid detailed environmental analysis
- Allows salvage logging projects under 10,000 acres without any analysis
- Allows unstudied logging, grazing, livestock infrastructure construction, and herbicide application under the guise of wildfire risk mitigation for areas under 10,000 acres
- Caps Endangered Species Act consultation for environmental issues arbitrarily at 90 days
- Grants the Forest Service unilateral authority to forgo Endangered Species Act consultation
- Severely limits public involvement timelines for large-scale projects on public lands
- Prohibits restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, and injunctions pending appeal, severely limiting public oversight via the courts
- Erodes public oversight by extending logging projects' maximum duration from 10 to 20 years
- Diverts money from stewardship contracts and collaborative forest restoration to the Forest Service to plan additional timber sales
- Prevents consultation for endangered species after a land management plan has been changed
- Prohibits awarding of attorney fees when courts find the government broke the law
- Removes enforceability of forest plans making them strictly advisory
- Redirects authority to determine harm to endangered species from the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to land management agencies
- Eliminates application of Survey and Manage, one of the key old growth forest protections of the Northwest Forest Plan
- Requires that all Oregon and California Lands be managed according to the Oregon and California Lands Act of 1937, which may supersede subsequent designation as National Monument lands pursuant to the Antiquities Act of 1906
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The Western Environmental Law Center is a nonprofit public interest law firm that works to protect and restore western wildlands and advocates for a healthy environment on behalf of communities throughout the West.