Target: U.S. Representative Greg Walden
Goal: Protect national forest land and wildlife from timber harvesting, development projects, and water scarcity.
Two hundred thousand acres of national forest land is about to be transferred away from the public and the forests potentially cut down for timber. The move is part of an effort by U.S. Representative Greg Walden to undermine agreements regarding the preservation of the Klamath Basin area in Oregon.
Scarcity of water supplies and the degradation of fisheries and wildlife habitats in the region has led to a collaboration between a diverse group of interested parties – local tribes, farmers, landowners, conservationists, and national, state, and local governments – to find a solution. Three bipartisan agreements were reached to promote wildlife restoration and water quality, provide local farmers and businesses with economic stability, and to remove four hydro-electric dams along the Klamath River. The agreements need federal approval to take effect, but the process is still ongoing with the deals set to expire at the end of 2016.
Walden’s bill will eliminate the requirements to remove the dams and will give away large sections of the Klamath and Winema-Fremont National Forests to neighboring Klamath and Siskiyou counties for the purposes of timber harvest or sale for development. Klamath Riverkeeper Executive Director Konrad Fisher claims that such a move would “result in unsustainable logging practices and water quality impairment,” and it has been contested that the proposal will leave the region at risk of extreme water and economic uncertainty for wildlife, irrigation, fisheries, agriculture, and tribes.
The timing of Walden’s proposal is not by chance, as the draft bill was put forward a mere four weeks before the expiration date for the previous, locally reached agreements. Sign this petition to let Representative Walden and his supporters know that the public forests, along with the wildlife within and their habitats, are not for sale. Prevent this bill from passing.
Dear Representative Walden,
Your recent draft bill concerning the Klamath Basin issue will destroy wildlife habitat, halt the removal of dams, promote unsustainable logging, and give away natural land for development. Our national forest should be treasured, not destroyed.
Your bill will eliminate the requirement to remove four hydro-electric dams along the Klamath River. Going back on your own words in October: “there are really no alternatives [to dam removal] unless you want to blow the whole agreement apart and give up on water certainty for agriculture.”
In addition, the proposal could result in the sale and logging of up to 200,000 acres of publicly owned national forest land, which endangers the already stressed ecosystem. A short-term economic boost from the sale of this land and the timber it would produce does not weigh up well against the damage that will be caused, both in the short and the long term.
Please, I urge you to reconsider this bill and to either redraft it as a better reflection of the wishes of the tribes, farmers, landowners, conservationists, and government officials of the region, or to allow the agreements they have already achieved to be authorized at the federal level. Please take action to protect this native and natural land.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Erik Wheaton