Citizens For Sensible Forest Management
The Petition to The Sierra Club & Other Environmental Groups
We, as concerned citizens, implore the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations to work with federal, state, and private landowners to manage our forest in a holistic way rather than oppose them. In doing so, all options must be considered such as controlled burns, thinning of the overabundance of dead trees, and using modern lumbering methods. Additionally, federal and state laws must be reconsidered and modified by government leaders to meet the needs of today’s climate and resource consumption.
The Reasons for the Petition
2020 has been a devastating year for forest fires, especially on the west coast. This year more than 1,000,000 acres has burn in Oregon and over 4,000,000 acres have burnt in California. For the first time ever, California has recorded its first giga-fire.
The firefighting costs are ever escalating, now in the billions. However, the loss in human lives and communities are incalculable. The environmental impacts dwarf the hard-won efforts from other programs. The insurance losses, cost of stabilizing and rebuilding infrastructure, securing the watersheds will also run into the billions – this is all money that could be better spent.
Vital habitats have been lost. Millions of tons of carbon dioxide have been released and critical carbon sinks no longer exists. Climate change has increased the length if the fire season and drier climates have increased the severity of burns.
All of this was predicted for years. Even though there are many factors, scientists, ecologists, and land managers have been saying for years that the forest management of western forests have been a leading problem in forest fires. Forests are denser and less healthy than ever. Over 130 million trees have died. Large sections of forest are disease prone and far less able to survive changes in climate.
There are many issues that have contributed to the unfolding calamity. Climate change and drought need to be addressed, but so do political issues that have spawned out of the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. These laws passed in the early 1970s have not kept pace with need for renewable resources and are frequently used to prevent any progress on forest management. Overly aggressive environmental groups have frequently used these laws as legal obstacles, as well as other objections, to prevent any forest management. With devastating impacts:
• Loss of lives, homes, and businesses as well as recreational assets for all to enjoy
• Death of animals and habitat for those species the environmental groups originally wanted to protect
• Huge amounts of CO2 emissions. It has been estimated the fires in the Santa Rosa, California region in 2018 produced more carbon dioxide than emissions from all automobiles in the state does in an entire year
• Tremendous impact on air quality and health. Stanford University estimate over 1200 premature deaths in California due to smoke.
• Reduction of carbon absorbing trees which further impacts climate change
We know what to do. Forest management viewpoints, prescribed burns, forest thinning and fire resilient communities are well understood. Our private land managers have worked to adapt their forest practices to new techniques and alternate, sustainable methods allowing them to work within the current and future environmental frameworks. These techniques worked for Native American Tribes for centuries. They managed the forests effectively and have tried to teach us the ways to be in harmony with nature. It is time we listened.
However almost no progress has been made over the last 20 years. Despite the scientific evidence, despite even bipartisan political efforts, the federal, state, and private land managers have been thwarted by excessive bureaucracy and lawsuits. Costs spiral, paperwork grows and while real forest management stalls, our forests, communities, and wildlife burn.