Front Porch Blog

Another Day, Another Attack on our Most Valued Spaces

HR 4200 is a bill, scheduled to be voted on in the House of Representatives as early as this week. According to WV Highlands Conservancy HR 4200…

1) Excludes the public from decisions regarding the management of our public land,
2) Ignores important scientific research,
3) Threatens the Endangered Species Act,
4) Could increase the risk of wildfire, and
5) Leaves roadless areas, old growth forests, and other special areas unprotected.

Write your Congressperson asking them to oppose HR 4200, and compliment it with a phone call.

An editorial in the Charlotte Observer expands on the bill:

Here’s what 169 forest scientists argued in a March letter to Congress about HR 4200:

“Although logging and replanting may seem like a reasonable way to clean up and restore forests after disturbances like wildland fires, such activity would actually slow the natural recovery of forests and of streams and creatures within them…. For example, no substantive evidence supports the idea that fire-adapted forests might be improved by logging after a fire. In fact, many carefully conducted studies have concluded just the opposite. Most plants and animals in these forests are adapted to periodic fires and other natural disturbances. They have a remarkable way of recovering — literally rising from the ashes — because they have evolved with and even depend upon fire….

Kissingrock did a fantastic post on HR 4200 and salvage logging the other day. Keep reading for more details.

“Specifically, post-disturbance logging impedes regeneration of forest landscapes when it compacts soils, removes or destroys so-called biological legacies (such as soil organic material, seeds in the soil, large standing and downed trees), damages riparian corridors, introduces or spreads invasive species, causes erosion, delivers sediment to streams from logging roads and steep slopes, degrades water quality, and damages populations of many aquatic species.”

Firefighters agree:

“Even low-to-moderate intensity fires can cause severe damage in young plantations, and the ember-filled smoke columns they produce can ignite crown fires in adjacent old-growth stands,” says a group called Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics and Ecology. The bill, the group argues, “fails to reflect the future economic costs to taxpayers and safety risks to firefighters from fighting all fires near plantations.”

Besides our own kissingrock‘s great post on this bill the other day, The Defenders of Wildlife delivers probably the most eloquent opposition to the bill:

Whenever there is fire, drought, storm, disease, insect outbreak, or other natural disturbance, H.R. 4200 lifts the protections of the Endangered Species Act in order to speed the sale of trees from the affected area.

Kissingrock has also pointed out that HR 4200 is an indirect violation of NEPA (the National Environmental Policy Act).

What is salvage logging? According to Kissingrock…

Salvage logging, one of the most ecologically dangerous practices in modern forestry, employs an overriding short-term economic rational as an excuse to summarily ignore all current ecological knowledge about the long- term biological sustainability of forests. The sole objective of salvage logging is to convert trees into money, thus replacing the art of forestry with the technology and economics of cutting trees.

Again, write your Congressperson asking them to oppose HR 4200, and compliment it with a phone call.





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