Resilient Federal Forest Act of 2015

RobG

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Dec 10, 2010
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Bozeman, MT
Hi,
I just got an email from a "strong advocate for increased management of our forests" about how awesome the Resilient Federal Forest Act of 2015 (HR 2647) is and that I should urge my Congressmen to vote yes on it. The bill "Authorizes a categorical exclusion to improve, enhance, or create early successional forests for wildlife habitat improvement."

So I looked at the bill. A few things caught my attention.

SEC. 2. Definitions.
In this Act:

(1) CATASTROPHIC EVENT.—The term “catastrophic event” means any natural disaster (such as hurricane, tornado, windstorm, snow or ice storm, rain storm, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, drought, or insect or disease outbreak) or any fire, flood, or explosion, regardless of cause.

(2) CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION.—The term “categorical exclusion” refers to an exception to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4331 et seq.) for a project or activity relating to the management of National Forest System lands or public lands.
and
SEC. 102. Categorical exclusion to expedite certain critical response actions.

(a) Availability of categorical exclusion.—A categorical exclusion is available to the Secretary concerned to develop and carry out a forest management activity on National Forest System lands or public lands when the primary purpose of the forest management activity is—

(1) to address an insect or disease infestation;

(2) to reduce hazardous fuel loads;

(3) to protect a municipal water source;

(4) to maintain, enhance, or modify critical habitat to protect it from catastrophic disturbances;

(5) to increase water yield; or

(6) any combination of the purposes specified in paragraphs (1) through (5).

Okaaay... so perhaps a better name would be "The Logging Act that will Waive NEPA for Just About any Reason Act." And if you don't like it...
SEC. 203. Prohibition on restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, and injunctions pending appeal.

No restraining order, preliminary injunction, or injunction pending appeal shall be issued by any court of the United States with respect to any decision to prepare or conduct a salvage operation or reforestation activity in response to a large-scale catastrophic event. Section 705 of title 5, United States Code, shall not apply to any challenge to the salvage operation or reforestation activity.

Don't sound that good to me....

And for the curious about beetle kill and fire... https://www.google.com/search?q=does+beetle+kill+increase+fire+risk&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
 
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JLS

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Mar 26, 2012
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Where the Wild Things Are
Anyone that can't figure out the beetle kill issue by now is brain dead. The fires in the Gravellies have been testament to that. The stands of dead whitebark pine actually acted as fire breaks in some of them. The green stands of spruce got nuked and the dead whitebarks were still standing and uncharred.
 

Joe Hulburt

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Feb 23, 2012
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Oregon Coast
I know very little about the interior forests but here in the coastal rain forest of the Oregon coast wildlife would greatly benefit from some increased management of the national forests. Things have been pretty much at a standstill since 1993 and our deer and elk populations have suffered terribly. The only real logging taking place is on corporate timber land and they dump more herbicide on the land than anything.

We could really increase hunting opportunity with some clearcutting followed by slash burning which used to be the standard practice. It creates some outstanding habitat and regenerates the forest and it grows back quick here....
 

VAspeedgoat

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Sep 4, 2014
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Timberville, VA
An increase in logging would help here in Va too. However, I don't like the seemingly limitless power this bill gives. Abuse of power would certainly follow. Was this a federal bill or state? It may have been stated and I missed it.
 

RobG

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Dec 10, 2010
Messages
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Location
Bozeman, MT
I should say I'm from NW MT and think there are worse things than logging, and I also wish there was a way to keep folks like Garrity from clogging up the system with lawsuits, but categorical exclusions will invite abuse and will do nothing to solve these "catastrophic" beetle kills. In fact, these beetle kills (and forest fires) open up the forest and create habitat too.

For hunting, the worse thing you can do is punch a bunch of roads into the area for logging. Even if they are "decommissioned" you will have ATV riders using them.
 

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