Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Pacific Northwest members of Congress call on Forest Service to listen to public on forest plan revisions

March 10, 2015
Press Release

Pacific Northwest members of Congress call on Forest Service to listen to public on forest plan revisions

11 members of both parties urge agency to hold additional listening sessions around the Pacific Northwest

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Eleven members of the U.S. House from the Pacific Northwest wrote today to the U.S. Forest Service urging them to hold more listening sessions on upcoming revisions to the Northwest Forest Plan. The members expressed concern that sessions are only planned for three locations: Seattle, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; and Redding, Calif.

“For over 30 years, the Northwest Forest Plan has profoundly impacted the communities within our districts and any revisions to the plan will have a similar effect.  Holding only three listening sessions disadvantages our constituents in these rural communities. Many of our constituents would have to travel several hours and hundreds of miles to participate.  The cost and time commitments involved would likely present an unacceptable hardship for many residents who would otherwise participate in these sessions,” the members wrote. The full text of the letter is below.

Led by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the letter was also signed by every member of the Oregon delegation (Reps. Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader, Earl Blumenauer, and Suzanne Bonamici), five members from Washington State (Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Derek Kilmer, Dan Newhouse, Dave Reichert, and Suzan DelBene), and Rep. Doug LaMalfa from California.

“While incorporating the latest science and revising the Northwest Forest Plan is long overdue, the Forest Service should take all steps possible to ensure that the public has ample opportunities to participate,” the members continued.

In February, the Forest Service announced that the listening sessions would begin “a public conversation on the process for revising forest land management plans in the Northwest Forest Plan amendment area… The land management plans within the Northwest Forest Plan area guide how resources will be managed for 15 to 20 years. These plans are due for revision.” 

 

Jim Pena, Regional Forester                                      Randy Moore, Regional Forester

U.S. Forest Service, Region Six                                  U.S. Forest Service, Region Five

1220 SW Third Avenue                                               1323 Club Drive

Portland, OR 97204                                                    Vallejo, CA 94592

 

Dear Regional Forester Pena and Moore:

Recently, the Forest Service announced that it would be holding three public listening sessions to begin collecting public input on upcoming revisions to the Northwest Forest Plan, one each in Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and Redding, California. While we strongly support efforts to gather public input, we are concerned by the limited number and urban focus of these listening sessions. We request the Forest Service hold additional listening sessions in rural forested communities throughout the Northwest, where the residents feel the impacts of plan changes most directly.

For over 30 years, the Northwest Forest Plan has profoundly impacted the communities within our districts and any revisions to the plan will have a similar effect.  Holding only three listening sessions disadvantages our constituents in these rural communities. Many of our constituents would have to travel several hours and hundreds of miles to participate.  The cost and time commitments involved would likely present an unacceptable hardship for many residents who would otherwise participate in these sessions.

While incorporating the latest science and revising the Northwest Forest Plan is long overdue, the Forest Service should take all steps possible to ensure that the public has ample opportunities to participate. Once again, we urge you to hold additional listening sessions in a wider variety of locations to ensure that our constituents, both urban and rural, can have their voices heard and their input considered.

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