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Protect Our Oldest Forests

Delivery to Secretary Vilsack
7 Days Remain

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What’s At Stake

Climate forests are a cost-effective solution to the climate crisis  – but these old-growth and mature trees often wind up on the chopping block. The United States Forest Service recently opened a comment period looking for input on their plans around federal old-growth and mature forests. Urge the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to protect climate forests from logging by advocating for permanent protections! 

Older trees accumulate and store enormous amounts of carbon over many centuries, providing vital wildlife habitats, clean air, clean water, and resilience against floods and droughts. In fact, 35 million metric tons of carbon is sequestered from the atmosphere by federal forestlands every year and 17.2 billion metric tons of carbon is stored in US federal forests. 

The Climate Forests coalition released a report which details federal logging proposals that target nearly a quarter of a million acres of old-growth and mature forests. These logging proposals contradict an executive order signed by President Biden on Earth Day, which committed to restoring and conserving mature and old-growth forests on federal lands as part of his strategy to address climate change. The threatened forests are found across a wide range of ecosystems, from the Eastern United States to the West Coast.  

Without a federal rule in place to restrict logging of these climate forests, these trees could be cut down, destroying a vital climate-mitigation tool we cannot afford to lose. Take action today to call on the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to enact permanent protections for these valuable climate forests!  

A river winds through a forest seen directly from above near Klamath Falls, Oregon.
BRIAN HANDY / GETTY IMAGES

A river winds through a forest seen directly from above near Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.