Archive for October, 2015

EPIC Fall Celebration Featuring Monophonics

Thursday, October 29th, 2015
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EPIC Fall Celebration SMYou are cordially invited to the Environmental Protection Information Center’s 38th Annual Fall Celebration with Monophonics! We are celebrating 38 years of EPIC’s important forest protection work on the North Coast that has helped to preserve some of the largest intact wildest places in the nation.

Monophonics2This year, EPIC proudly presents the Bay Area’s finest psychedelic soul funk band “Monophonics” at the Mateel Community Center on Friday, November 6th featuring a locally sourced, gourmet family-style meal catered by local favorite, Outlaw Kitchen. Doors open at 6:00 PM with a full bar featuring beer, wine and specialty cocktails.

Josephine JohnsonDine with friends while singer songwriter Josephine Johnson plays her sultry folk tunes with Piet Dalmolen. Josephine writes and sings music from the heart–think Norah Jones, Stevie Nicks, and Janis Joplin meeting up for an afternoon nip of Southern Comfort. Piet is a guitar heavy on the Humboldt scene, most notably in The Nucleus, Free Rain, Money, and Full Moon Fever. Together they deliver a dynamic punch of soulful rock.

Gary and Betty BallDuring dessert, the Sempervirens Lifetime Achievement Award of Environmental Activism will be presented to Betty and Gary Ball, co-founders of the Mendocino Environmental Center. Betty Ball, the consummate networker, was integral to the California Forests Forever ballot initiative, Redwood Summer and the campaign to protect the Headwaters Forest.

An elaborate auction featuring locally hand-crafted art and wares will be a great place for picking up holiday gifts for friends and family. Fall Celebration tickets are available at Wildberries Marketplace, Redway Liquors, and online at brownpapertickets.com. All-inclusive dinner and music tickets are $60 (seating is limited) and music only is $20. Doors open at 6pm and Monophonics begins at 9. For more information, visit wildcalifornia.org or call 822-7711.

We couldn’t do our work without people like you, and this event is a great way for us to commemorate nearly four decades of grassroots support. We hope you will join us on this special occasion to party for a purpose: “For the wild!”

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6:15 PM – Cocktail hour begins

7:00 PM – Gourmet dinner served by Outlaw Kitchen

8:00 PM – Sempervirens Lifetime Achievement and Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony takes place

9:00 PM – Bay Area psychedelic soul funk band Monophonics will take the stage

 

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Monophonics is “One of the best live soul bands I have ever seen!”  Al Bell (Record producer, songwriter, executive, and co-owner of legendary Stax Records)

Raised amid the rich musical culture and history of the San Francisco Bay Area, Monophonics proudly carry the torch through the generations into today’s musical landscape. Holding on to tradition, but by no means purists of any kind, they play their own brand of music known as “Psychedelic Soul.”

Touching on Northern soul, doowop, rock and roll, Psych pop, and cinematic music, Monophonics show off their diversity while remaining true to their roots. Overall it’s heartfelt music and old school vibes, without losing sight of the present. This is music steeped in that timeless feeling when people could write and produce songs that you could listen to over and over again.

Help us get the word out!

Join and Share the Event on Facebook 🙂

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We are seeking volunteers for setup, kitchen and cleanup, if you are interested in volunteering, please email amber@wildcalifonia.org or call 707-822-7711.

 


Push for More Logging Under the Northwest Forest Plan

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
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Bugaboo_Creek_Clearcut. wikimediacommonsOur federal forests, including those governed by the Northwest Forest Plan, are directed to be managed for “multiple uses,” such as recreation, wildlife habitat, and timber production.

In the late 1980s, before the Northwest Forest Plan, loggers were pulling 4.5 billion board feet of timber out of federal forests within the range of the forthcoming Plan. This amount was unsustainable, however, and was achieved largely through the liquidation logging of old-growth forests. The Northwest Forest Plan, adopted by the Clinton Administration in 1994, was largely a response to this excess and the ecological harm it inflicted on protected species like the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet.

Before the Northwest Forest Plan was adopted, the Forest Service predicted that around one billion board feet of timber could be removed per year under the Plan. This amount, known as the “probable sale quantity” or PSQ, was merely an estimate; it was not a maximum amount which could be removed, nor was it a minimum that must be met, nor was it even a goal of the Plan. Many noted, including Jack Ward Thomas, the future Chief of the Forest Service, that because of the measures to protect wildlife, this billion board foot PSQ was overly ambitious and would not likely be met. (Indeed, the current PSQ was reduced to a 805 million board feet.) Some viewed the PSQ estimate as a political maneuvering—a deliberately ambitious number set to appease the timber industry. The timber industry, however, viewed the PSQ as a promise.

The annual PSQ estimates have rarely been met. There are a variety of causes. First, Congress has not appropriated enough money to the Service to plan projects that could meet the PSQ. Second, as Jack Ward Thomas predicted, the billion board foot PSQ was likely an overestimate. Third, attempts by Big Timber to weaken or remove habitat protect—which were, as confirmed by the judiciary, illegal—stalled normal timber operations resulting in several years of way-below average logging. Fourth, market forces, including the Great Recession and stagnant timber prices, removed demand for federal timber. Fifth, weird math by the Forest Service—for example, that timber removed from the reserve network doesn’t count towards the PSQ—also contributes to low official numbers. Despite all this, the timber industry continues to view the PSQ as a promise.

Big Timber is on the offensive. In the upcoming Northwest Forest Plan revision, the timber industry wants to remove important protective land designations and buffers around salmon bearing streams to open up more land for harvesting. This, they claim, is necessary to fulfill the billion board foot “promise.” They have some powerful friends in Washington D.C. too. In upcoming Northwest Forest Plan revisions, the conversation is already being framed by decision-makers that weakening the Plan is a necessity. That’s wrong. The Plan is just barely enough. The northern spotted owl continues to decline. Murrelets are nearly extirpated from Washington State. Instead of gutting the Northwest Forest Plan, the conversation must turn to what more must we do to ensure to protect our public lands. EPIC has joined forces with conservation groups across the West Coast to fight off Big Timber and their allies in the upcoming revisions.


CAL FIRE Botches Green Diamond THP Approval

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
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Aerial view of Green Diamond clearcut.

Aerial view of Green Diamond clearcut.

If a timber harvesting permit is approved illegally, and no one is watching, does the landowner still get to log the plan? Apparently the answer, incredulously, is yes, at least if it is Green Diamond Resource Company.

Green Diamond Timber Harvest Plan 1-15-066DEL, in the Turwar Creek watershed in Del Norte County, was approved by CAL FIRE in August, 2015, and is currently under operations, despite the lack of legally-required consultation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife over potentially significant impacts to federally-threatened and state-endangered marbled murrelets.

The marbled murrelet is a small seabird that has made its nests and reared its young on the mossy branches of old-growth trees along the Pacific Northwest coast for millennia. However, loss of old-growth forests to logging, combined with other ocean-related stressors, has reduced murrelet populations to the brink of oblivion throughout most of the species’ historic range. Murrelets are sensitive to human-induced noise, particularly noise from road use and infrastructural development relating to logging operations.

The Green Diamond THP involves use of a mainline logging road that traverses within 300 feet a known-occupied marbled murrelet nesting stand. The THP contains provisions to allow Green Diamond to conduct operations on the road within the vicinity of the occupied murrelet habitat during the species’ critical nesting season without approved consultation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

State forest practice regulations require that private landowners seek formal consultation with the CDFW if proposed THP operations may have a significant impact on or may potentially result in “take” of the listed forest-nesting seabird. However, CAL FIRE inexplicably approved the THP back in August, 2015, absent the required-consultation with CDFW for concurrence with the proposals contained in the THP.

According to CAL FIRE records, Green Diamond filed for start-up, and commenced logging on the THP shortly after the plan was approved in August, 2015, squarely in the middle of the defined-nesting season for the marbled murrelet.

Quite amazingly, there is no nexus in the forest practice laws or regulations that would allow CAL FIRE to rescind its approval of the THP, or to call a halt to ongoing timber operations in the absence of citizen-initiated legal action, aside from the commencement of a department-initiated administrative complaint process.

How could this happen? Quite simply, no one was paying attention. And, what can be done now? Apparently, short of federal or state ESA litigation, not much. State laws and regulations restrict citizen’s challenges to the approval of timber harvesting permits by CAL FIRE to a 30-day window following the approval; which means that all of this seems to have slipped through cracks.

EPIC will continue to evaluate potential options for redressing this egregious situation.


EPIC in Review

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
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Trinidad. Photo by Amber SheltonAt EPIC we work countless hours collaborating with citizens, advocacy groups, agencies and politicians, but the bulk of our work is not always obvious to our readers. We have compiled a long list of letters and comments that address contemporary issues facing our region, state and nation. Our staff has been very busy speaking up for our forests, rivers and wildlife. Below are examples of some of the collaborative and individual work we have done in the past few months, to help make our world a better place for generations to come.

FINAL FY16 Omnibus Letter – Letter to congress emphasizing the importance of restoring funding for environmental programs and avoiding environmentally damaging policy riders in the FY16 Appropriations bills.

Kangaroo letter – EPIC joins wildlife organizations in writing a letter to the California Senate and Assembly leaders to urge them in letting the exemption on California’s kangaroo trade ban expire. If the legislature does nothing, California’s long-standing prohibition on trade in kangaroo parts will be reinstated. This would allow California to stop its contribution to the world’s largest land-based commercial slaughter of wildlife. Three million adult kangaroos and hundreds of thousands of joeys are ruthlessly killed every year, threatening the species’ long-term viability.

HR 974 – Organization letter 10 8 15 – EPIC joined other conservation groups in writing a letter to US Representatives to urge them to keep Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks’ rivers and streams protected and oppose Rep. Lummis’ proposed amendment to H.R. 974 and the underlying bill. The bill, as written, would lift existing protections and regulations on hand-propelled vessels in most of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and may effect up to 6,500 miles of backcountry streams and rivers.

FY16 environmental group letter 7 20 15 – Letter sent to Obama and congress to emphasize the importance of restoring funding for environmental programs and avoiding environmentally damaging policy riders in the FY16 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bills
FY16 Omnibus Letter – Letter to congress emphasizing the importance of restoring funding for environmental programs and avoiding environmentally damaging policy riders in the FY16 Appropriations bills.Letter of support for the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act– Letter supporting the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act (S. 1081), sponsored by Senator Cory Booker, to prohibit the use of body-gripping traps within the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS).
Federal-Northern Spotted Owl -Endangered-Petition – The Fish and Wildlife Service found that our petition and the other available evidence before the agency presented sufficient information to determine that the uplisting “may be warranted.” Uplisting the Northern Spotted Owl will have numerous conservation benefits for the species and would provide the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with additional authority to protect the spotted owl. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will now commence its 12-month status review; however, the 12-month review and finding will not actually be available until September, 2017. EPIC will continue to work to see the Northern Spotted Owl protected to the fullest extent possible under the Endangered Species Act.
Tongass 872 and 1955 letter – Letter of opposition to S. 872, the Unrecognized Southeast Alaska Native Communities Recognition and Compensation Act and S. 1955, the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act. S. 872 would establish five new village corporations in Southeast Alaska and give away over 115,000 acres of public lands in the Tongass National Forest to these newly-created private entities, The Tongass National Forest is a national treasure and the engine of the region’s economy – transferring these valuable lands into private ownership endangers the region’s wildlife and sustainable economy, as well sets a precedent to reopen land claims settled through previous law.
Oppose S 750 – Letter urging Senators to vote NO on S. 750, the “Arizona Borderlands Protection and Preservation Act” which neither protects nor preserves public lands and would instead harm 10 million acres in Arizona. S. 750 purports to provide “100 percent” access for the functioning and operations of the United States Border Patrol on national parks, national monuments, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and other public lands administered by the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture within 100 miles of the border in Arizona by eliminating the rule of law on those lands.
Letter Opposing the RAPID Act of 2015 – Letter to Representatives, to urge them to oppose H.R. 348, the misleadingly named “Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2015.” Instead of improving the permitting process, the bill would severely undermine the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and, consequently, the quality and integrity of federal agency decisions.
HR 1937 sign on letter – EPIC join other conservation groups in a letter to congressional representatives to express opposition to H.R. 1937, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015. Cloaked as a bill about increasing production of strategic minerals, this legislation is actually about hiding the mining industry’s poor environmental practices on the public’s federally managed lands.
 Community Letter McClintock Discussion –  Thirty-one conservation groups wrote to representatives on the Subcommittee on Federal Lands to express strong opposition to the discussion draft bill, the so-called “National Forest Improvement Act of 2015.” This damaging legislation contains harmful and polarizing provisions that undermine the balanced set of laws and policies that govern the National Forest System and would result in severe degradation of the environmental, social and economic values that all Americans enjoy from our national forests. Under the pretext of “forest health” and “collaboration,” the bill does the opposite by moving towards analysis-free, high-risk production-based logging on our national forests and reducing collaboration.
Letter to oppose Lucas anti-ESA amendment on NDAA –  Urging representatives to vote NO on an amendment proposed by Rep. Lucas to H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act for 2016 (NDAA), which would undermine the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by legislatively delisting two protected species.
Oppose HR 1335 NGO Community Letter – 5.27.2015 – Letter urging the House of Representatives to oppose H.R. 1335. The latest word is that the bill will be on the House floor during the week of June 1.  H.R. 1335 weakens conservation requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and undermines several bedrock environmental laws — National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, National Marine Sanctuaries Act, and Antiquities Act of 1906.
Community Oppose FY16 Senate Interior Bill – EPIC joined 30 conservation groups in writing to the Committee on Appropriations to voice  strong opposition to the Fiscal Year 2016 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which contains many destructive policy riders as well as  damaging funding levels for many programs and agencies in the bill.
CFOSCP FY17 USDA Request Letter-FINAL – EPIC joined 48 other groups in a letter written to the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment and to the Chief of the US Forest Service to express strong support for the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (CFP).
Huffman Drought Bill_Support Letter_FINAL_7 17 15 – EPIC joins others in a letter to Representative Huffman to express support for H.R. 2983, recently introduced legislation that would provide drought solutions from new investments in lasting water solutions, growing the economy while also protecting our rivers, wildlife, and the thousands of jobs that depend on them.
Oppose NEPA Rollbacks in HR 22 – Joining other conservation organizations EPIC writes to Senators to express strong opposition to provisions in the transportation bill, (H.R. 22) that radically undermine the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), by limiting public participation and environmental review of the construction of critical transportation and infrastructure projects in our communities.
FINAL DPR VOC CRLAF et al Comments 2015 – EPIC joins in a letter to the Department of Pesticide Regulation to take real steps to reduce pesticide emissions as part of its smog reduction requirements in the San Joaquin Valley and other polluted regions in the state.
Oppose S. 1691. Community Letter – EPIC joined conservation groups in a letter to Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Wyden Subcommittee on the Public Lands, Forests and Mining to express  strong opposition to S. 1691, the so-called “National Forest Ecosystem Improvement Act of 2015. This extreme legislation imposes dangerous and irrational logging mandates on our national forests while undermining bedrock environmental laws, posing a serious threat to wildlife, watersheds and communities. It severely curtails judicial review, weakens collaboration and limits public engagement in forest management decisions.
NWFP Regional Framework Letter – FINAL – EPIC joins conservation partners in writing a letter to national forest leaders urging them to uphold the principles of the Northwest Forest Plan.
Final_StrengthenRHR_Letter_10.7.15 – EPIC joined 82 conservation and public interest organizations to  urge the Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen the Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze Rule to restore clean air to national parks and wilderness areas and their neighboring communities.
*Thanks to EPIC intern Aaron Cobas for helping to compile these files!

State of the Redwoods – Remembering the Past, Envisioning the Future

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015
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RNP RDWhat did Jedediah Smith think when he came here as the first-known European-American to explore the majestic coastal redwood forest, back in 1828? Did he know, or care about the Pandora’s Box that he’d opened by leading European settlers into this remote region? When Smith first arrived in Northern California, an estimated two million acres of native old-growth coast redwood forest spanned from Big Sur to the Oregon border, and these were certainly no ordinary forests. The coastal redwood forest is home to the tallest living organisms on earth, reaching over 300 feet tall at their peak. These giant trees live an average of 500-700 years-of-age, and some have been documented to live in excess of 2,000-years-old. These massive trees can grow as large as 25 feet in diameter or more, sequestering huge masses of carbon, while, at the same time, providing essential habitat for innumerable species of plants, animals, birds, lichens, and others species.

The coastal redwood forests are considered part of the larger temperate rainforest system that once blanketed the coast of the Pacific Northwest states. However, European exploration, combined with the gold rush of the 1850’s, ushered in the era of old-growth logging in the redwoods that continues to this day. By the time Redwood National Park was created in 1968, an estimated ten percent of the original forest remained. Today, approximately five percent of the original old-growth temperate coastal redwood forests remain. About 23 percent of the original range of the redwoods is preserved in parks and reserves, while a whopping 77 percent of the redwood region land base is still privately owned and managed. In Humboldt County today, the two largest timberland owners, Green Diamond Resource Company and Humboldt Redwood Company, own a combined 600,000-acres of forestland, much of which constitutes the original range of the coast redwood forest.

After a century-and-a-half of logging, road-building, and urban and agricultural development, the original coast redwoods are a shadow of their former selves. Of the five percent or so that remains of the original forest, the largest chunks are preserved in Big Basin State Park, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and the Redwood National and State Parks system. Much of what remains in the Redwood National and State Parks system is fragmented and disjointed.

On private lands, the largest remaining patches of old-growth redwood forest are found on the former Pacific Lumber Company lands, now owned and managed by Humboldt Redwood Company, most of which are “set-aside” and protected from logging for a period of 50 years as a result of the 1999 Headwaters Forest Agreement. However, these “set-asides” are not protected into perpetuity.

Following the signing of the Headwaters Forest Agreement in 1999, the commonly-heard narrative was that the redwoods had, at long last been “saved.” However, this is much more myth than fact. Logging, agricultural and urban development, human recreation, and of course, climate change, all remain as stressor on the redwood ecosystem.

The advent of global as well as localized climate change now poses a significant threat to the survival of the coastal redwood forest, and the people, plants and animals that depend upon them. The signs of localized climate change are readily apparent. Fog levels on the north coast have decreased by as much as one-third since the early 20th century, while temperatures continue to rise, and rainfall declines in the face of California’s unprecedented drought. A recent study published by the global research journal Global Change Biology notes that increasing temperatures will likely significantly alter the climate in the southern extent of the redwood region in the coming decades, putting the survival of the redwoods in those regions at-risk. In the northern part of the redwood range, research conducted by Dr. Steve Sillett suggests that old-growth redwoods are currently growing at an unprecedented rate, likely as a result of decreased fog and increased sunlight. However, research on the fate of large, old trees on a global level suggests that climate change, particularly the effects of drought and disease, are an increasing threat to these ancient ecosystems.

The redwoods region’s temperate rainforest is globally significant for its biodiversity, as well as for its potential capacity to resist, adapt to, and become resilient to, the progress of climate change. Here in Humboldt County, we occupy the northern extents of the redwood range, where the opportunities for restoration and connectivity for the redwoods remain strongest.

In 2013, EPIC, along with the Geos Institute and others sponsored and participated in the very first Redwood Climate Symposium, which brought together stakeholders and land managers to discuss possible strategies for steeling the redwood region against the progress of climate change. Symposium participants from diverse backgrounds identified four primary strategies to increasing the resilience of redwood ecosystems in the face of climate change. These included:

  1. restoring old-growth characteristics that protect stands from many stressors;
  2. improving connectivity among intact redwood forest patches throughout the range of redwoods;
  3. reducing stressors that exacerbate the impacts of climate change, such as roads, fragmentation, development, and fire exclusion; and
  4. coordinating management across the redwood range, and across land ownership, allowing for conservation and/or restoration of climate change refuges and areas of connectivity.

These four strategies form the basis of a collective way forward for managing the redwoods into the future, and form the basis of EPIC’s Connecting Wild Places Campaign in the region, which largely focuses on existing parks and reserves, as well as privately-held forestlands with significant ecological, connective, and restorative value.

The coastal redwood forest of Northern California has been here for some 20 million years. If it is to persist into the future, a new holistic approach to ecosystem restoration and preservation must take hold. EPIC is dedicated to working towards this more holistic future for the benefit of the forest, the species that depend upon it, and for humanity itself.


Fire as an Excuse for Logging

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015
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Wet Weather Logging in Klamath National Forest October 2014

Wet weather “salvage” logging in Klamath National Forest 2014

Fire is a difficult subject because it defies easy or generalized characterizations. Fire is powerful and scary. That statement probably rings true to most folks. Fire is also natural. And for the most part, fire is good for our forests and wildlife—fire helps clear debris on the forest floor, encourage new growth, produces important habitat elements like snags (standing dead trees), and helps accelerate the development of old-growth characteristics (like deformed branches and cavities) in younger forests. That fire is natural and more often than not good for forest health is something most people don’t know (and that the mainstream media has no interest in discussing).

The timber industry has long used the specter of fire as an excuse to log. The language used regarding fire is deliberately chosen to reinforce their clearcut agenda.   (The science to justify this claim, coincidentally, is largely funded by the timber industry.) To justify logging post-fire, Big Timber says it needs to “salvage” the standing dead trees or else it will go to “waste.”

In California, the way fire is managed depends on who owns the underlying lands. On private lands, timber companies have wide discretion and very little oversight when managing their lands either for fire prevention or for post-fire logging. (Both activities, to varying degrees, are exempt from the requirement to prepare a Timber Harvest Plan.) On federal lands, however, Big Timber is bound by federal law which has traditionally placed greater restrictions on timber harvests, both for undisturbed green trees and for post-fire forests.

Big Timber wants to capitalize on logging our national forests (for, among other reasons, logging on federal lands is heavily subsidized). To do so, Big Timber has its eyes set of weakening federal environmental laws, particularly the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires federal land managers to consider the environmental impact of a project before acting.

The timber industry’s logic—that a tree is nothing more than a pile of fuel—has found champions in federal legislators. In 2002, following a string of large fires in a drought year, the Bush Administration, at the behest of Big Timber, passed the “Healthy Forest Restoration Act.” The Act, which has been mocked as the “Leave No Tree Behind Act,” weakened environmental laws for “fuels reduction” projects by, among other things, limiting the public’s right to comment and object to projects and limiting and in some cases removing environmental impact analysis.

Big Timber is at it again. In response to this summer’s fires and the lingering anti-fire sentiment, House Republicans are pushing to pass a new law which will weaken or remove environmental laws. H.R. 2647 or the “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015,” would, among other things:

  • Shift money devoted to environmental restoration to logging.
  • Categorically exempt many destructive activities—including pre- and post-fire logging up to 15,000 acres—from environmental impact analysis.
  • Fast-track projects to bypass public participation.
  • Increase the road network on our national forests and make road decommissioning more difficult.
  • Require environmental groups to post bonds before litigating projects.

It is not clear whether H.R. 2647 will pass the Senate or if its authors will attempt to sneak it into another “must-pass” bill. What is certain is that Big Timber and its friends in Congress will continue to use fire as a vehicle to get the cut out, whether in this Congressional session or the next.

Where does this end? With an educated public. So when someone tells you that fire is a problem and that “active management” is the solution, call them on it! Or when a friend repeats a line about how environmental groups are standing in the way of healthy forests, politely correct them. Together, some conversations over coffee or in the comment section on Facebook, we can change the narrative that the mainstream media and Big Timber is trying to sell us.


Whistleblower Tip Line

Monday, October 12th, 2015
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AGENCY POLITICSGovernment science impacts us daily—whether it is ensuring that the food we eat is safe, the water we drink is pure, or the air we breathe is clean. Yet, according to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, staff from major federal agencies tasked with protecting our health and environment believe that too often important decisions are made based on politics and not science. At the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for example, 76 percent of respondents indicated that consideration of political interests were “too high.”

This is not a problem confined to federal agencies. In our work, we often see the frustration and disappointment in state agency staff because their work is improperly influenced. We hear from you that you want to share some information, but you are afraid that you may be retaliated against for sharing information. We also hear about techniques employed by agencies to avoid a paper trail that might be discoverable through the Freedom of Information Act or the Public Records

To the government workers or others out there with information you think needs sharing, we have developed two anonymous ways to share information. Both are anonymous and confidential. EPIC commits that it will only reference or otherwise make public information that you give permission to share.

Anonymous Submission via Google Forms

Anonymous Document Submission via DBinbox for Dropbox