Why do environmental groups oppose the bill to “Save Our Sequoias?”

Unfortunately, the "Save Our Sequoias" bill undermines environmental protections like the Endangered Species Act.

Forests

Bureau of Land Management | Public Domain
The Bakersfield Field Office includes the only Sequoia grove complex managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

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When something sounds too good to be true, it often is. Unfortunately, the “Save Our Sequoias” Act will not save the sequoias. It’s true that sequoias and other trees are facing more severe wildfires, but the bill introduced by Rep. Peters, Speaker McCarthy and Chair Westerman is not the answer. Instead, this bill would undercut environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 

This bill proposes to allow the unregulated Grand Sequoia Lands Coalition to supersede the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service in managing the sequoias and their surrounding forestlands. Without processes in place to ensure that the coalition protects wildlife habitats and gets public feedback, the logging projects approved might be rushed and poorly planned, damaging habitat and soil. More than 80 environmental groups, including Environment America, have spoken out against this ill-conceived plan.

Instead of undercutting existing environmental protections in the name of conservation, members of Congress should instead focus on policies that address climate change and the hot dry conditions that lead to more intense wildfires — reducing pollution from vehicles and promoting nature-based solutions, such as letting mature and old-growth trees grow. 

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Ellen Montgomery

Director, Public Lands Campaign, Environment America

Ellen runs campaigns to protect America's beautiful places, from local beachfronts to remote mountain peaks. Prior to her current role, Ellen worked as the organizing director for Environment America’s Climate Defenders campaign. Ellen lives in Denver, where she likes to hike in Colorado's mountains.