Two Republican bills currently making their way through Congress should anger any American who cares about the nation’s forests. Introduced this summer, both bills are pro-industry and anti-environment — and seek to eliminate the public participation in federal decisions about forest management that could negatively impact local communities, ecological health and wildlife.
The first one, HR 2647 , the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, was introduced by Rep. Bruce Westerman of (R-AR-4). It passed the House and is now under consideration in the Senate. The other, S 1691 , the National Forest Ecosystem Improvement Act of 2015, was introduced Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). Hearings were held last month by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which is chaired by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who has consistently supported corporate interests over the environment . Both bills would suspend or weaken several federal environmental laws, clear the way for the timber industry to dramatically increase commercial logging across U.S. National Forests.