Forest thinning measures likely dead in Congress, despite Trump, California Republicans

Thinning logging in Arizona. Thinning sabotages natural forest adaptation to climate change. Credit /USDA Forest Service

By Emily Cadei | The Sacramento Bee

For more than a month, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue have been calling for a rollback of environmental regulations on forest-thinning projects they argue will help reduce the risk of wildfires, including the ones ravaging California.

Related: Forest Service puts new Arizona large-scale forest thinning contract on hold

“For too long, our forest management efforts have been thwarted by lawsuits from misguided, extreme environmentalists,” Zinke and Perdue wrote in a Sept. 4 op-ed in The Sacramento Bee. “The time has come to act without flinching in the face of threatened litigation.”

The state’s Republicans in Congress have been pressing the same agenda for years.

Congress, however, is poised to brush aside their pleas. Multiple sources on Capitol Hill and from advocacy groups affirmed that lawmakers are likely to drop most of the controversial forestry measures from the Farm Bill, the multi-year agriculture and land use law that members of Congress are trying to finalize this month.

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