The already passed bipartisan infrastructure bill has allocated billions of dollars to facilitate deforestation in our national forests, although these provisions are little known to the public. The House-passed Build Back Better Act contains similar sections.
Over 200 US climate scientists and ecologists oppose these deforestation regulations.
If negotiations resume, lawmakers could reach a compromise by ruling out sections devoting more billions to “restoration,” “fuel reduction,” “forest health” and other euphemisms for commercial logging.
The removal of these provisions would free money to extend the child tax break, which families have brought back into the economy through, among other things, the purchase of food, gasoline, toilet paper, medicine and shoes for growing children.
But the cost of logging public land is not all money. Deforestation releases more than 723 million tons of carbon annually, accelerating climate change and destroying wildlife habitats, accelerating species extinction.
Large logging companies have already put many independent lumberjacks and jills out of business with mechanized logging, which usually leaves clearcuts and slashes (what is left after hauling away the profitable parts of a tree). Clearcuts are hideous all year round, but are tinderboxes in fire season. In other cases, mature, fireproof trees are removed by the thousands under the deceptive guise of “thinning” – another euphemism for commercial logging.
The good news is that we have a defense against deforestation and forest degradation: large areas of designated wilderness where deforestation is not allowed.
representative Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyHouse Republicans Call For Oversight Over Biden’s “Failed” COVID-19 Response (DN.Y.) and Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseGarland Swears Law Enforcement “At Every Level” Over Jan 6 To Save America’s Democracy, Democrats Must Start Behaving Like Republicans On The Money – Presented By Citi – Schumer Signals Delay For Biden Plan MORE (DR.I.) are the main sponsors of the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA, pronounced ner-EE-pa), HR1755 and S.1276.
NREPA would protect more public land in the lower 48 than any other currently proposed legislation that designates approximately 23 million acres as wilderness at high altitude through the Wilderness Act of 1964 and prevents water from draining prematurely in the spring. In addition, this important piece of legislation was cited as a climate solution on page 430 of a House Report entitled “Solving the Climate Crisis”.
And NREPA doesn’t cost anything. In fact, it saves money.
Question: How can the United States credibly urge other nations to stop deforestation and forest degradation if we not only allow but also subsidize logging in our national forests?
Answer: “It’s hard.”
Tell me about it. I have been campaigning for NREPA regulations for 31 years.
As we and our fellow citizens suffer from increasingly devastating weather events, lawmakers from both parties must work together and NREPA must work together. send President BidenJoe BidenBiden Coronavirus Vaccine Or Test Mandate Goes On The Money – Democrats Are Losing Less Confidence That Manchin Fed Vice Chair Clarida Resigns Over Pandemic Stock Trading MORE‘s desk immediately.
Rather than allocating billions more to multinational logging companies to mow down large swaths of our national forests under the guise of “restoration” and other euphemisms, we should allocate that money in the Build Back Better Act to help families and grow the economy.
I know. Change of direction is difficult. But we, the public, are counting on you, our lawmakers, to be up to the moment.
Carole King is a singer, songwriter, author and environmentalist. She has lived in Idaho for 44 years and has campaigned for the passage of the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act for over three decades. Follow her on Twitter @Carole_King and on Instagram @carole_king. Your facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleKing