Editor’s Note: This petition has been updated to include considerations pertaining to COVID-19.
The citizen right to petition the United States Government for a redress of grievances is guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution.
“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
We thus petition our federal government – Congress – to instruct the U.S. Forest Service to do everything humanly possible to address the underlying causes of the wildfire pandemic that is sweeping through western national forests. Very simply, the pace and scale of forest restoration work currently underway in our nation’s publicly-owned forests must be significantly increased.
We are asking our Evergreen website followers to sign the attached electronic petition urging Congress to grant the Forest Service the regulatory authorities it needs to treat diseased and dying national forests before wildfires destroy them.
Our colleagues at the National Association of Forest Service Retirees [NAFSR], including Michael Rains, whose essays appear here regularly, have assembled a series of reports that expertly explain the crisis we face and what must be done to reverse course before it is too late.
Our petition, Michael Rains’ Backgrounder, and links to the five supporting letters and reports signed by NAFSR chairman, Jim Caswell – appear below. Mr. Caswell spent 33 years in various capacities with the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bonneville Power Administration. The reports are addressed to Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture, to whom the Forest Service reports.
These reports are best read in the following order:
- Michael Rains’ Backgrounder
- NAFSR’s April 8, 2019 cover letter to Secretary Perdue concerning an Executive Order that Rains had written for President Trump’s signature.
- NAFSR’s April 8, 2019 position paper supporting the Executive Order
- NAFSR’s July 26 cover letter Secretary Perdue concerning lagging workforce capacity in the Forest Service
- NAFSR’s July 26 position paper explaining the inadequate staffing and funding in the Forest Service, both directly related to the fact that more than half the Forest Service’s annual budget is now allocated to the soaring cost of wildfire.
- NAFSR’s August 6 response to proposed changes in the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA], which was last modified about 20 years ago. An update is necessary to accommodate increasing pace and scale in national forest restoration work.