I am an outdoor enthusiast. There's nothing like a hike in the woods to forget my cares and appreciate the breathtaking beauty of our mountains in Colorado. Like most, I am concerned about protecting our forests from wildfires, excess logging, and environmental degradation. I naively hoped our legislators were also.
Our Rep. Scott Tipton states "The environment is one of my top priorities" and co-sponsored a bill in Congress, HR 2936, The Resilient Federal Forests Act, aimed at increasing and streamlining timber production in national forests and other federal lands. It passed the House Nov. 1, 2017
HR2936 masqueraded as a "solution" to fight wildfire, but instead, was a grab bag of bad news for our national forests. This tangled mess of legislation gives our forests over to industry, sidesteps environmental review, undermines restoration efforts, and limits the public's ability to fight back.
It eliminates any requirement to protect old-growth forests and allows for clear-cutting under the guise of creating what is called early successional habitat for wildlife.
I am perplexed. This legislation does not sound like someone who prioritizes the environment. It sounds like someone who represents the interests of the timber industry by silencing any potential opposition from expert assessment and public concern. It sounds like someone more interested in deregulation than protection of our forests.
How many tourist dollars can Colorado attract with large 10,000 acre swaths of clear-cut National Forests?