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article imageOp-Ed: Trump administration is now set to destroy National Forests

By Karen Graham     Jun 15, 2020 in Politics
On Friday, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue issued a memorandum - a “blueprint for reforms” -to Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. His list of "priorities" will destroy our national forests.
Oil, logging, mining, and grazing will be the priorities of national forests and grasslands, with expedited environmental oversight, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told the U.S. Forest Service Friday, reports Bloomberg Law,
Basically, Perdue's memo wants the Forest Service to refocus on using the nation's 193 million acres of forests, grasslands, and wilderness areas as a base for producing products and services while providing relief from "burdensome regulations."
But that is not all the Forest Service has been ordered to accomplish. Forget about managing the national forests and providing wildfire control and maintenance of forest assets for the public - The agency has now been directed to produce energy on national forest lands while providing “active management” to rural communities.
Oh, and Perdue also wants the Forest Service to "expedite broadband development to provide Internet service to rural areas." But environmentalists say the memo affirms a number of dangerous strategies already underway by the Trump administration, according to The Hill.
While all of the priorities listed on the memo are a dose of bad news, the worst may be the order to "expedite environmental reviews to support active management." In other words, this means the agency must streamline their environmental review process - making it easier to get by environmental regulations such as the Clean Water Act and others that take into accountant pollution and chemical contamination.
File photo: Bison near a hot spring in Yellowstone.
File photo: Bison near a hot spring in Yellowstone.
Daniel Mayer (CC BY-SA 3.0)
"This is a roadmap to national forest destruction, and it’s painful to read,” said Randi Spivak, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s public lands program.
“In the midst of the climate and extinction crises, Perdue offers a dystopian vision of expanding mining, fracking, logging, and grazing in national forests. This will increase air and water pollution, kill wildlife, and increase carbon pollution. It’s the extractive industry’s agenda on steroids.”
“Our mission delivery today includes a whole range of values and benefits that people expect from their forests and grasslands,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. Yes, I can just see an oil drilling platform in Yosemite or Yellowstone National Park. It makes me wonder how stupid the Trump administration thinks the American public really is?
The memo comes as a result of an executive order that President Donald Trump signed last week, directing federal agencies to use the coronavirus pandemic to expedite infrastructure projects on federal lands, said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, a trade group representing fossil fuel companies operating on public lands.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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