This week, Earthjustice and a coalition of more than 80 conservation organizations sent a letter to Members of Congress in opposition to the Save Our Sequoias Act by Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Scott Peters (D-CA). The bill would weaken existing environmental laws and could potentially expedite harmful logging operations in sequoia groves.
“Protecting the sequoias is urgent and we share that goal, however this bill will not protect these iconic trees,” said Earthjustice Senior Legislative Representative Blaine Miller-McFeeley. “Despite its local focus, the bill would set a precedent for further weakening of environmental laws that could have far-reaching repercussions nationwide. It’s nothing more than a trojan horse to diminish important environmental reviews and cut science and communities out of the decision-making process.”
One provision of the bill would allow for a waiver of environmental laws like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), and National Historic Preservation Act (NHSA) under the guise of an ‘emergency.’
“The bill would remove the NEPA process for decisionmaking on management activities and would instead place those decisions into the hands of a ‘Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition,’ which does not have to abide by standard transparency requirements afforded by the Federal Advisory Committee Act,” the groups wrote. “The legislation would prevent the voices of community members, scientists, and others from being heard. This legislation would lead to rushed and poorly planned logging projects with major impacts on soil, streams, and wildlife that could result in increased wildfire risk and harm recreational opportunities and other uses. Smart planning and public engagement as required by NEPA are integral to success, not a barrier to success. This is especially important when addressing an iconic forest species such as the Giant Sequoias.”
Read the full letter.