Please join us in calling on the California Board of Forestry to retract its proposed habitat clearance program that targets 1/3 of the state of California with herbicides, grinding machines, and unnatural fire.
We call on them instead to work with the California Natural Resources Agency and the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water to create a Comprehensive Fire Protection Program that:
- focuses on actual assets at risk rather than habitat clearance
- preserves the rights of citizens to object to destructive projects
- incorporates the most current science
- understands the difference between forests and other ecosystems
Specific details about the Board's proposal:
What: Draft Program EIR for the Vegetation Treatment Program
Deadline for comments: August 8, 2013
More info: http://www.californiachaparral.org/helpcalfireeir.html
View the EIR (1,300 pages!) here.
Summary of what's wrong:
Extensive scientific research clearly indicates that the best way to protect lives, property, and the natural environment from wildfire is through a comprehensive approach that focuses on community and regional planning, reducing ignitability of structures, and modifying vegetation within and directly around communities at risk. By focusing exclusively on clearing habitat, the Board is NOT addressing the main causes for loss of life and property from wildland fire.
The Board's proposal will target about 38 million acres (1/3 of the entire state) for "masticating," spraying with herbicides, burning, or grazing. This would increase its existing habitat clearance program five times over current levels. If certified, the program EIR will exempt individual habitat clearance projects from public oversight required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Everything from state parks to private lands could be stripped bare without local notice or a chance to appeal.
Every decade we increase funding for habitat clearance operations and fire suppression activities, followed by a decade of even worse fire impacts. The Board's proposal perpetuates and expands this same approach, one that has failed to reduce cumulative wildfire damage and firefighting expenditures over the past century. As a consequence, the proposal is a waste of tax payer money, will cause significant damage to the environment, and will fail to effectively protect Californians from wildland fire.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please sign this petition. Share it far and wide! We will be submitting it to the Board of Forestry during their August 8, 2013 meeting in Ventura. Please consider joining us. Details in the news below.
Also, please send your own letter (the one below can be used as a model) to the California Board of Forestry with a copy to the California Natural Resources Agency and the California State Senate Committee for Natural Resources and Water.
Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
Attn: George Gentry
with copies to:
California Natural Resources Agency
Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water
The Board's proposal focuses entirely on clearing vegetation, despite extensive scientific research that clearly indicates the best way to protect lives, property, and the natural environment from wildfire is by addressing the entire fire environment: ignitability of structures, community and regional planning, and science-based vegetation management within and directly around communities at risk. Leave the backcountry alone! Concentrate where the actual risks are: in and around communities.
I strongly object to the way this Program EIR proposes to take away my rights as a citizen to challenge individual clearance projects under the California Environmental Quality Act.
As a planning document, the program EIR is completely inadequate. It is so generalized that it is impossible to determine its environmental impacts on wildlife, plant communities, water and air quality, visual and aesthetic resources, recreation, soils, and invasive weed spread. There are no maps showing the location of clearance projects, only estimated number of acres per region. The proposal takes a simplistic, forest-based approach that views fire issues as broadly similar across California, when in fact they vary wildly across the state. Finally, the EIR does not properly evaluate the cumulative effects of the proposal. Among other things, it does not properly evaluate the impact of increased fire frequency on ecosystems already impacted by such a trend.
Please retract the Vegetation Treatment Program EIR. In its place, I urge you to embrace a collaborative approach with all stakeholders in order to develop a successful and sustainable wildland fire risk reduction program.
Thank you for taking my comments.