Some of the awful provisions in the bill include:
- Allowing up to 6,000 acres of logging, including clearcutting, for any reason whatsoever with essentially no public input and no environmental analysis under what’s known as a “Categorical Exclusion,”
- Loopholes to exempt logging projects from the Endangered Species Act,
- Mandating that 50% of funds previously allocated for watershed restoration (including trail and road repairs) under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act be diverted to logging projects,
- Eliminating environmental review and public input for new, permanent road construction through a “Categorical Exclusion,” even though the Forest Service has a more than $3 billion maintenance backlog on its 370,000 miles roads.
If enacted, massive logging projects on the Daniel Boone National Forest and Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, like the 3,200 acres proposed for logging in the South Redbird Project and the 4,000 acres proposed for logging in the Pine Creek project, could happen without public input or environmental review.
The Farm Bill forestry provisions largely mirror those in the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017 (the Westerman bill), which passed the U.S. House but did not advance in the Senate. Congress later approved a “fix” to the wildfire spending (aka “fire borrowing”) issue in the 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which also included some bad forestry provisions – including a 3,000 acre Categorical Exclusion to eliminate environmental review for logging projects deemed to address “hazardous fuels” issues. While the wildfire issue was supposedly the reason for loosening environmental protections in the Westerman bill, it’s now abundantly clear that forest health and wildfire concerns have nothing to do with it. This is, plain and simple, a giveaway of our public lands to the timber industry.
Please take a minute to call your Congressional Representative and ask them to oppose the forestry provisions in in the 2018 Farm Bill. Congressmen Jim Comer (R) and John Yarmuth (D) voted against the Westerman bill. Please thank them, and ask that they continue to vote in support of Kentucky’s public lands. Congressmen Barr (R), Massie (R), Rogers (R), and Guthrie (R), all voted in support of the Westerman bill.
If you make a call or send an email to your representative, please let us know!