A new attempt to grease the skids for unregulated logging masquerading as forest restoration has been launched in Congress.

On Nov. 2 Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) introduced H.R 4200, the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill would exempt logging after "natural disturbances" from the environmental review and public participation provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Walden is a co-author of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, the notorious Bush administration law that would "save" national forests from wildfire by, essentially, cutting them down. Walden claims that logging is necessary after forest fires and many other types of natural disturbances, including but not limited to severe windstorms, floods, and the like.
Yet logging after a fire is very destructive. Soil is compacted and root systems damaged by heavy equipment. Stream quality is degraded by sediment runoff.

Burned and dead trees are harvested, removing nutrients from the forest ecosystem. Logging usually delays forest recovery rather than enhances it.

The bill would also divert funding from projects that protect communities from wildfire to logging projects far from the urban/wildland interface.

Above all, the legislation is unnecessary; there is no scientific need for immediate logging after a natural disturbance. Laws and regulations already in place allow legitimate recovery efforts.

"How did the forests restore themselves before Rep. Walden came along?" said Paul Hughes, executive director of Forests Forever. "Walden’s bill is not about forest restoration. Rather, it is a revenue transfer– from taxpayers’ pockets to the coffers of the timber industry."

The House Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the Walden bill on Nov. 10, and the bill could be sent from there to the House floor. It’s important to let our political representatives know that this is an unnecessary, destructive, costly piece of legislation that should not become law.


Call your member of Congress through the Congressional switchboard, 202-224-3121, and ask them not to support Rep. Walden’s H.R. 4200, the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act.


o There is no legitimate scientific reason to log a forest after a natural disturbance such as wildfire.

o Logging forests after a wildfire or other natural disturbance degrades the forest rather than restores it.

o Logging after natural disturbances wastes taxpayer dollars to enrich private industry.

o Congress should fund projects that will protect communities from wildfire, rather than salvage logging projects.

o The bill is unnecessary—the Forest Service already has all the legal and regulatory authority it needs to aid forest restoration after natural disturbances.


Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
John J. Berger

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places