Save America's Forests and Wild Lands from Anti-Environmental Congress

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"436","attributes":{"alt":"save america's forests","class":"media-image","height":"189","style":"width: 197px; height: 189px; margin: 3px 10px; float: left;","width":"197"}}]]The logging, grazing, mining and other extractive industries are mounting an intense attack on our nation's public lands. 
 
The December 2014 lame duck session of Congress saw an ugly brew of anti-conservation initiatives removing legal conservation protection from millions of acres of public lands. But this was just the tip of the oncoming extractive industries iceberg.
 
With Republican capture of the Senate in the 2014 election, the goal of the ultra right wing to privatize public lands may soon become reality. Representative Peter DeFazio’s legislation to virtually privatize and allow clearcutting on one million acres of federal land in Oregon could pass into law in the new Congress and become a model for the rest of our public lands. This anti-conservation juggernaut must be stopped. The landmark environmental and conservation laws that for a half century gave some protection to our public lands are eroding, and will disappear like the glaciers in Glacier National Park or the polar ice caps unless we, the hardcore grassroots, unite and fight back in a coordinated national campaign. 

In response to this historic attack against our public lands, we the undersigned groups and individuals are joining together in a grassroots-led, nationwide public lands protection campaign and coalition focused on the U.S. Congress. We will expand the Save America's Forests coalition which has represented nationwide forest grassroots in DC since 1990 to include all public lands issues.  
 
Our campaign will have both an offense and defense. Our offense will be a package of bills that define our ambitious conservation goals for all our public lands. These goals, in short, are higher levels of protection for all public lands, and more and larger protected areas including wilderness areas and national parks. We will create legislation to reduce or eliminate destructive activities on public lands including grazing, mining, logging, oil and gas drilling, motorized recreation, and roads, and increase the ability of citizens to enforce environmental and conservation laws. We will work to remove the crushing and undemocratic control by extractive industries over local public land management policies through Resource Advisory Committees and other means. The first bills in our legislative package are the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act and the Act to Save America's Forests.
 
Our defense will be to fight the legislative and administrative attacks against our existing conservation and environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, National Forest Management Act, Federal Land Policy and Management Act, National Park Service Organic Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Wilderness Act.  
 
We will not support “quid pro quo” wilderness that increases protection for some areas in exchange for agreeing to increased destruction of other areas.  We will oppose lowering the high standards of wilderness designations.  We will fight against the use of public lands as national sacrifice zones for destructive resource extraction and industrial development.  We will promote protection and restoration of native biodiversity and natural ecosystems throughout our public lands systems.   
 
The Save America’s Forests coalition is a tried and tested champion for nature and the grassroots. It has been advocating for uncompromised public lands protection to Congress continuously for a quarter century. In the fall of 1989, the founder of Save America's Forests fought side-by-side with Oregon grassroots activists in Washington, DC against Senator Mark Hatfield’s “Rider from Hell,” which nullified federal court decisions that protected Ancient Forests and instead allowed them to be logged.   Save America's Forests is a registered lobby non-profit.  Experience and success count, and there is no need to start from scratch or reinvent the wheel with this strong foundation to build on.  
 
Save America’s Forests’ more than two decades of achievements include the following:  
 
First nationwide grassroots forest coalition with headquarters in Washington, DC since 1990
Gained over 100 congressional cosponsors in US Congress for first anti-clearcutting and biodiversity legislation, the Forest Biodiversity and Clearcutting Prohibition Act, gained multiple congressional hearings on that bill, and achieved a full House of Representatives debate and vote on the legislation
Led fight against Salvage Rider, exposed salvage logging as hoax, led campaign to repeal rider, led delegation of national groups to repeal the rider in meeting with Director and Staff of President’s Council on Environmental Quality, achieved votes in House and Senate to repeal salvage rider, prevented extension of salvage rider
Introduced the Act to Save America's Forests in both the House and Senate and gained more than 100 cosponsors for this comprehensive nationwide legislation to protect Ancient Forests and roadless areas, create special areas, end clearcutting, protect and restore native biodiversity, and study potential new national parks, based on principles of conservation biology, with guarantees for  citizens enforcement 
Board of directors has included legendary conservationists Martin Litton and Margaret Owings, two former members of the US Congress, and grassroots forest activist leaders 
Many of America’s most respected scientists, including Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. E.O. Wilson, and Dr. Peter Raven, have lobbied with Save America's Forests in meetings with Senators and Representatives for the Act to Save America's Forests
In December, 2014, Save America's Forests printed paper copies of the letter signed by 47 groups opposing the public lands provisions of the Defense Bill, and hand delivered them to half of the U.S. Senate offices, ensuring that the letter was read by the Senate public lands aides; and in meetings with Senate aides explained the letter point-by-point
 
The DC office will be fully staffed in order to lobby full time, coordinate organizing and congressional meetings by coalition members within states, and to help the coalition grow. The coalition will carry out a wide variety of media outreach and public education to amplify our congressional impact.  The coalition and campaign will be organized with committees of experts advising policy and writing documents and reports on specific topics, such as grazing, mining, logging, biodiversity, fire ecology, wilderness, and parks, and action teams for press, organizing, lobbying, special events, etc. We will link with scientists and be guided by science in our analysis and proposals.  We will use the power of the web to coordinate our individual groups together and multiply our effectiveness, and use old and new media to gain maximum public education and campaign involvement. 
 
Our coalition’s goal is to be the strongest DC conservation organization promoting strong protection for, and expansion of, our public lands by lobbying Congress, by promoting the wild ethic, and by being the true national voice for nature. No other organization or coalition is meeting this need. 
 
The extractive industries have their blueprints for public lands destruction, and the new Congress is awaiting their instructions.  We must, and only can do this, by joining together, and then rallying the American people to our cause. We must act now, before our conservation laws and the vast natural treasures of our public lands legacy are lost forever. 
 
To learn more or to support the Act to Save America's Forests, contact Carl Ross at carl AT saveamericasforests DOT org.