Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 13, 2017

Contact: Patrick Donnelly, (702) 483-0449,

Senator Heller Proposes Massive Giveaway to Timber Industry

WASHINGTON— Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) introduced legislation today to rubber-stamp enormous logging projects and waive important forest protection laws.

The Emergency Fuel Reduction Act of 2017 would exempt logging projects of any size — potentially hundreds of thousands of acres — from environmental review, jeopardizing the clean water and wildlife habitat that America’s forests provide.

“Heller is preying on the public’s fear of wildfires to promote the agenda of the corporate timber industry,” said Patrick Donnelly, the Center’s Nevada state director. “He’s trying to return forest management to the dark ages, when reckless logging decimated wildlife, degraded rivers and caused irreparable harm to our forests.”

The proposed legislation is a giveaway to the timber industry, allowing logging projects of unlimited size to be exempt from environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act, if they meet certain criteria. Since the criteria include “removal of dead or dying trees,” any forest in the country could be logged without considering protections for wildlife, water and ecosystems.

This is the third attack on America’s forests this year by congressional Republicans. In June, Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced legislation to eliminate Endangered Species Act protections for species living within proposed logging projects. In August, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced companion legislation to prevent citizen access to the courts by allowing logging projects to sidestep judicial review.

“Heller is busy inventing new ways to auction off our forests to the highest bidder,” said Donnelly. “He should be promoting effective policies, like creating defensible space, that actually help reduce wildfire losses. This bill is a prime example of the extreme, anti-environment policies that have defined Heller’s time in the Senate.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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