Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy joined House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (AR-04) and Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) during a bipartisan forum on their bill, the Save Our Sequoias (SOS) Act.
The Members were also joined by fellow SOS Act co-sponsors, as well as constituents, stakeholders, and academic experts, to discuss the effects that catastrophic wildfires in California, exacerbated by inadequate forest management and endless litigation by extremist environmentalist groups, are having on Giant Sequoia groves. This forum explored commonsense solutions to protect these iconic trees.
Highlights of Congressman McCarthy’s remarks are below:
“As we speak, over 1,000 firefighters are battling the Washburn Fire at Yosemite National Park – where more than 500 Giant Sequoias are at risk, including the world’s largest and oldest tree, the Grizzly Giant. This fire – like the countless others that came before it – are the exact reason that we have been able to come together in a bipartisan fashion to support the SOS Act, because this crisis is happening right now in our own backyard.”
Below are additional key takeaways from other attendees:
“We need urgent action. When we think of something that has been around for millennia, it’s sad that we’re to the point where we need to act within days and weeks. We can’t wait until next year…For the love of these trees, for the sake of Americana, let’s do it now. Let’s work together in a bipartisan manner to do the right thing.” – Ranking Member Bruce Westerman
“If you are looking for an example of committed bipartisanship, this is it…Scientists tell us that we have a narrowing window of opportunity to protect our main trees and if we fail to act, we could lose the Giant Sequoias altogether…This bipartisan bill give us the best chance to save Giant Sequoias.” – Congressman Scott Peters
“The [Windy] fire spread quickly – especially in areas where there was little to no previous prescribed preventative work known as “hazardous fuel reduction” to minimize fire severity…The ‘Save Our Sequoias Act’ is a long overdue effort to empower resourceful experts and stewards to employ critical resiliency efforts to combat the very real threat of fire that plagues roughly 70 Sequoia groves as drought conditions increase.” – Tule River Tribe Councilman William Garfield
“We have lost more than 1,000 Monarch Giant Sequoias, which cannot be replaced within the next three generations. Change must occur. NEPA and ESA reform is crucial to saving the remaining Giant Sequoia groves. A full toolbox, with operable tools, must be provided to the Forest Service and others to achieve active forest management to reduce wildfire risk and create healthy ecosystems.” – Ms. Denise England, Grants and Resources Manager, County of Tulare
“From a personal perspective, it makes me sick to see the condition of our [Giant Sequoia] groves, black and if they haven’t burned, so overgrown they are ripe to burn in the next fire…Actions mut be taken rapidly to dramatically reduce or eliminate vegetation density in the understory in the Giant Sequoia Groves to reduce the risk of further losses due to drought, bark beetle, and wildlife.” – Mr. Kent Duysen, General Manager, Sierra Forest Products
Watch a short video about Giant Sequoias and the SOS Act here.