10/15/2018

As Trump tweets about California fires, his administration wants to expand logging

The Trump administration is seeking to reopen some of the most sensitive and sought-after public lands in the state not just for timber production, but also for potential solar, wind, broadband infrastructure, mining, off-road vehicle and grazing uses.

When it comes to timber, the justification is fire prevention.

Environmental groups have long argued that the logging industry has used fire as an excuse to plunder forests, cutting big trees and leaving behind only small, unmarketable timber.

The timber industry, however, says that in order to remove flammable deadwood and stop the spread of insects to still-healthy trees, it needs greater access to more valuable live trees.

“Active forest and rangeland management, including harvesting, grazing, prescribed burns and other fuels treatments, would make our forests healthier, less prone to severe fires and help them adapt to a hotter, drier climate,” said Andrea Howell, a spokeswoman for Sierra Pacific Industry of Redding, Calif., one of the nation’s largest logging firms.

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