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House Democrats support amendment to conserve old-growth in National Forest System

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Forty-eight House Democrats signed a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in strong support of U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) proposal to amend all land management plans across the National Forest System.

The amendment would conserve existing old-growth forest and recruit future old-growth forest across America.

The House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) Nature and Oceans Task Force Co-Chair, Rep. Doris Matsui, and Task Force Members, Rep. Jared Huffman and Rep. John Sarbanes are among those who signed the letter.

“Old-growth forests are the bedrock of our National Forest System, providing a range of essential ecosystem services, from clean water and animal habitat to carbon sequestration and recreation. We must act to protect these forests and manage them responsibly,” the Task Force wrote. “We strongly support the proposed national plan amendment, and we urge USFS to swiftly finalize and implement the proposed amendment and to ensure the amendment is durable under future administrations. Further, we urge USFS to strengthen and clarify the prioritization of ecological health when managing existing old-growth forests and to include strong and consistent direction for the recruitment of future old-growth forests. Finally, we urge USFS to promote tribal co-stewardship and integrate indigenous knowledge throughout the amendment.”

The SEEC is a coalition of 96 members of the U.S. House of Representatives that was founded in January 2009 to be a focused, active and effective coalition for advancing policies that address climate change, promote clean energy innovation and domestic manufacturing, develop renewable energy resources, create family-sustaining clean jobs, protect our nation’s air, water and natural environment, and promote environmental justice.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.