WASHINGTON -- A coalition of 39 environmental groups have asked the U.S.Department of Agriculture to reconsider Trump administration Forest Service decisions. The request calls for the department to follow the lead of the Department of the Interior by reviewing all decisions for 60 days in light of the Biden administration's new priorities, including “to improve public health and protect our environment; to ensure access to clean air and water” and “to reduce greenhouse gas emission.”
“Right now, protecting our lands and waters absolutely has to start with putting Trump-era environmental policies under a microscope,” said Environment America Public Lands Director Ellen Montgomery. “For the ones that are not in the best interest of preservation and biodiversity, they should be consigned to the dustbin of history.”
Even with the sharp pivot by President Biden and his team away from the Trump administration's anti-environment agendas, projects that could result in habitat destruction or unnecessary global warming pollution could be automatically greenlighted unless the Department of Agriculture institutes a higher level of scrutiny. The letter identifies several examples, including a proposal to allow logging in more than 9,000 acres in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, an action that would damage the endangered Southern Sierra Nevada Pacific Fisher’s habitat.
“The USDA and the Forest Service desperately need to weed the garden to make it grow, and that means getting rid of the previous administration's anti-nature policies,” concluded Montgomery.
Environment America is a national network of 29 state environmental groups. Our staff work together for clean air, clean water, clean energy, wildlife and open spaces, and a livable climate. Our members across the United States put grassroots support behind our research and advocacy. Environment America is part of The Public Interest Network, which runs organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world, a set of core values, and a strategic approach to getting things done.